The Yellowstone River is looking great this morning. The water has cleared up – just a hint of color this morning at Carter’s Bridge. The flows have dropped to a hair under 3000 cfs at Carter’s Bridge. Dropping and clearing water tends to turn on the trout bite. In other words, you should fish today!
Everything should be on the table today – nymphs, streamers, even a possibility of some dry fly action. Baetis (blue-winged olive) mayflies are still around in spots, and you could run in to some bigger March Brown mayflies as well. Size 18 Parachute Adams and Purple Hazes are good enough imitations of the baetis, and you might want to pick up some bigger (size 14) Parachute Adams, Copper Hazes, or Sweetwater McDougals to imitate the March Browns. Rubberlegs in various colors (I’ve been doing well with the peacock version) and other medium-sized (6 or 8) stonefly nymphs are picking up trout. A purple Psycho Prince has been a producer as a dropper. A dead-drifted Wooly Bugger or Zonker is also a good bet. If you’re stripping streamers, you might want to try a Peacock or Sculpin Sparkle Minnow.
Baetis are out on the Paradise Valley spring creeks as well. Of course, the spring creek trout are going to be a bit more selective when it comes to your BWO patterns. We like the Sprout Baetis and Biot Sparkle dun a lot, but we’ve got a bunch of other juicy patterns to try. Nymphing has been very good lately. Try a dark olive Sawyer Pheasant Tail or a Split-Case BWO as a baetis nymph imitation. Zebra Midges and other midge larva and pupa imitations have also been effective.
Try dusting an unweighted baetis nymph with Frog’s Fanny or another powdered floatant and dropping it off your dry fly when the hatch gets going. A floating nymph can fool fish that are picking off the baetis nymphs that are struggling to break through the surface tension.
Wherever you’re headed, be sure to get out this weekend. They’ve lowered the predicted highs for next week a little, but the warm weather could muddy things up again for next weekend.
Speaking of next weekend, Saturday the 23rd is the annual Yellowstone River Clean-Up. Meet at the Livingston Civic Center (in Sacajawea Park) at 8:00 a.m.. Take care of the river you love!0