Today might be your last chance to fish the Yellowstone River for a while. There’s still plenty of visibility at Carter’s Bridge this morning (more than a foot) to catch fish on nymphs and streamers. But the water is on the rise and getting dirtier. The gauge at Corwin Springs is at nearly 7000 cfs right now and that push of water is on its way downstream. Flows are steadily rising on the Lamar River, which likely means that more mud is dumping into the Yellowstone up high. In other words, if you want one more day on the Yellowstone before it blows out, today is the day.
This year’s Mother’s Day Caddis hatch was great fun, but don’t expect to find many fish rising to dries today. There may still be caddis hatching up high (they’re done down near Livingston), but the water clarity is likely to be worse the higher you go.
As the water rises and muddies up, concentrate your fishing on the soft water near the banks. Trout will congregate there to get out of the strong current. Bigger, dark-colored nymphs and streamers are the way to go. Rubberlegs, Wooly Buggers, black Sparkle Minnows, and the like. You might still try running a caddis pupa pattern as a dropper, as the fish have seen a lot of those recently and are likely to still be interested in them.
If you’re floating today, use caution. Rising flows will change the hydraulics of the river and there will also be debris (tree branches, etc…) heading downriver. If you’re not confident on the oars, better to leave the boat home and wade near the banks.
As runoff arrives, don’t forget about the Paradise Valley spring creeks. There are still plenty of rods available on most days in May. There aren’t any major hatches occurring at the moment, but on cloudy days you might find fish looking up for midges. There are plenty of fish in the creeks right now and they’re munching on nymphs (mayflies and midges), scuds, and sowbugs. Stop by Sweetwater Fly Shop for some specific pattern recommendations and general spring creek fishing advice.0