The guys are back in the shop and back with another timely Yellowstone River fishing report. Get out there (safely) while you can!
Caddis! The beloved Mother’s Day caddis are definitely starting to pop about the banks of The Yellowstone River. Evan and I just got back from a fishing access in the middle of the valley and saw a very decent number of caddis both in the willows and on the water. No fish on them up top for us tonight, but you could expect to see fish rising in the evenings when the water temps reach their peak. The magic number for heavy caddis activity is right around 53 degrees, which the river has been getting very close to the past few nights. Specifically around 7 pm.
A few things to remember about caddis:
Unlike mayflies that hatch, mate, and die all within a day or so, caddis will stay alive in the bushes along the banks for up to a few weeks! So once the fish have seen a few good evenings of surface activity, it’s game on. We think that if the water clarity clears just a little bit, we will see fish looking up.
If you do find yourself in a situation with rising fish, but your typical elk hair caddis keeps getting refused, we have had a lot of success trailing a soft hackle that sits right below the surface film behind our dry fly. A lot of caddis won’t make it through the surface and fishing a “cripple” type caddis can often times solve the problem. You could do this with practically any caddis dry pattern too. Try to purposefully sink the fly (no floatant) and keep your line tight with a slow, and short ticking retrieve. This is also a good trick to try if you can’t tell your fly from the naturals during a heavy hatch.
That all being said- the nymph bite is very good right now on the river. Flows have dropped from around 8,700 CFS on Sunday to around 7,000 CFS this evening. If that trend continues into the weekend, I would expect to see some awesome fishing on the Stone. With the color as it is, a hot head fly is a great first choice- make sure they can see it! A heavy stonefly nymph as well as Pheasant tails have also been productive flys for us subsurface. Remember, there is a lot of other bugs in the water right now too. Big stoneflies and all sorts of mayfly nymphs are all very active. Plenty of options. Just don’t forget about the worm!
Flows are still safe to float but it might not stay that way for long so get it while the gettins’ good! We are opening things up at the shop these days and have tons of awesome flies for your next fishing outing. Stop by the shop and heckle the boys! Stay safe out there folks.0