Let’s be honest; fishing on the Yellowstone River has been up and down the last couple of weeks. One day is great, the next is tough. But the outlook is good, as water temperatures cool and the brown trout begin to get aggressive. The weather this weekend is looking a bit unsettled, with the possibility of thunderstorms this afternoon and a good breeze predicted for tomorrow. But you should get out sometime this weekend and catch yourself some trout.
Hoppers are still catching fish, and will continue to do so until at least the first hard freeze. Reports came in of very good dry fly fishing yesterday. The Thunder Thighs Hopper has been doing very well for us this year, and it’s easy to see on the water. But don’t get stuck on one pattern; if you’re not getting eats, try something in a different color, size, or profile. Other hopper patterns to try include the Morrish Hopper (of course), the Panty Dropper Hopper, and the More-or-Less Hopper. By now, the trout have seen a ton of high-floating foam hoppers, so you might want to tie on a fly that floats a little lower in the water, such as Kingfisher’s Red-Legged Hopper or Stalcup’s Hopper. Double your chances; tie a couple of feet of tippet off the bend of the hook of your hopper and tie on an ant pattern or a Parachute Purple. Chances are, you’ll get some eats on the smaller dropper, so keep an eye on both flies. You could instead go with a nymph dropper, but if you want to avoid some of the whitey circus, you probably want to use something rather large, like a Rubberlegs.
We haven’t yet heard of anyone having a great day stripping streamers, but it’s only a matter of time. An overcast day like today is the ideal time to give it a try. You can certainly throw a smaller streamer with your 5- or 6-weight rod and a floating line. Some streamers worth trying include Sparkle Minnows, Sculpzillas, Zonkers, and Baby Gongas. Any of those could also be dead-drifted under a larger foam dry (Chubby Chernobyl?) or an indicator. Want to target the big boys? Get out your 7-weight, preferably with a sink tip line, and tie on something large and articulated, like a Bottoms Up or Peanut Envy. You’re not likely to catch a lot of fish, but the ones you do….
No reports yet of any baetis (blue-winged olives) on the river or the spring creeks, but it should happen soon. Think about booking a day on one of the spring creeks late this month or in October. The rod fees are down to $80 after September 14 (and to $40 after October 14) and the baetis hatches can be prolific. Some of the best dry fly fishing of the year. Don’t miss out!
Fishing in Yellowstone National Park is open for a couple more months, and the crowds have thinned out. I’ll have more to say about fishing in the park in another post in the near future.
See you out on the water this weekend!0