The day began with a beautiful sunrise and the promise of some warmer air temperatures, maybe even 50 degrees. It was breezy at our place in Paradise Valley, but when we got out of the car along the Yellowstone River above Yankee Jim Canyon, the air was much more calm. I’ve noticed this many times before and it just goes to show that the only way to be sure of what the weather will do during your fishing trip is to go fishing. Never be deterred by a poor forecast.
The water was low and clear, typical for this time of year, but there were clouds of midges and that’s the first time I’ve seen this many aquatic insects since sometime pre-winter 2015. I’d like to say that we found a few noses poking through the surface film, eating those midges, but we didn’t. Not yet. But midges give hope for spring and for today, that was enough. In spite of the lack of risers, the fishing was good. And small rubberlegs and pheasant tail nymphs were once again the nymphs of choice. We didn’t get anything big–about 13 inches was probably it–but we caught a bunch of fish. Somehow, Ruthann even avoided catching a whitefish, though I can’t say the same because i caught two.
All of the trout we caught were rainbows, which I find interesting. We were above the canyon, where rainbows and cutthroat dominate, but there are browns up there too. There seems to be something more aggressive in rainbows when fishing in the winter. Maybe it’s because they spawn in early spring. Or maybe they just don’t mid the cold temps as much as other trout species. But even when I fished eastern waters in the winter, if a stream had multiple trout species–brown, rainbows, brookies–more often then not, rainbows would dominate my catch.
This past week produced my best fishing trip of 2016, but that may not be fair since it was only my second fishing trip of 2016. There are many, many more to come.