1 October, 2021 - Yellowstone River and Livingston Area Fly Fishing Report

Happy October! It’s pretty crazy how fast this year is flying by, and with the warm afternoon weather we’re having it certainly doesn’t feel like fall most days. The leaves are beautiful, the morning and evening air is nice and crisp, and the promise of great fishing is here. October is one of the best months to be in Montana for a lot of reasons. 

First off, how does the Yellowstone River look these days? Water temps are trending down, thanks in large part to the colder nights we’ve been having lately. One night the water dipped below 50! While flows are still hovering just above record levels as they have been all season the cooler temps are a godsend for fall fishing conditions. 

As we talked about in our last fishing report, fall fishing means streamers and dry flies - both of which aren’t optimal when it’s clear, bright and sunny out. There have been reports of a few BWOs here and there in the mornings, and if we can ever get a cloudy, drizzly day the hatch should be really good. Keep an eye out for the occasional caddis in the afternoons as well. 


Streamer fishing would also benefit from a cloudy day, but as fish get more aggressive through the fall they’ll be chasing more. Remember - bright day, bright fly. Change up patterns, profiles, and colors until you find something that works. With how low the water is, you can leave the sink tip at home in most cases. We’ve got a wide selection of streamer patterns available in the shop. 

Our own Rick Smith was down in Yellowstone Park for a few days this past week fishing with some friends. They focused on the Firehole, trying to catch a piece of the great fall BWO hatch. While they didn’t see many Baetis, there were caddis out in the afternoons that provided good action on top. Yellowstone has had an incredibly busy year, and that traffic hasn’t tapered off going into October like it normally does. 

The rest of our area rivers are in about the same boat. Still waiting on the epic fall BWO hatches, streamer fishing has been decent, nymphing has been consistent. Fishing a dead drifted streamer with a BWO nymph behind it would be a great option right now. After a few freezes, the hopper and terrestrial fishing is pretty much done. Can you still try it out on a slow afternoon? Absolutely, but it’s not like it was a few weeks ago. 

Fall is a great time to be in Livingston. Stop by the shop for the latest info, the right flies, and the gear you need to stay safe and comfy on the water.