12 December, 2021 - Yellowstone River and Livingston Area Fly Fishing Report

With just a couple weeks til Christmas, fishing is the last thing on a lot of people’s minds. This time of year is historically a pretty quiet fishing window, especially on the Yellowstone. The holidays occupy a lot of bandwidth, the weather usually isn’t great, and the winter hatches haven’t really kicked off yet. After a busy summer and fall season, it’s kind of nice to have a period of rest too. 

With a few much colder nights the Yellowstone River is beginning to get some slush and ice. If you’re wade fishing, be mindful of shore ice and be ready to deal with slush during the first half of the day or longer. Hopefully we’ll continue to get some colder temps (and maybe even some snow??!?) and this trend will continue. 

The Spring Creeks are a good option for right now. Just be mindful of the wind. This has been one of the windier December’s we’ve had in a hot minute, and that’s saying something for Livingston. When it’s gusting 60+, you can do your best to find a sheltered spot or just call it and wait for calmer conditions. 

We are still advising anglers to avoid the Upper Madison River, to give the fish there a much needed break after their busy season and recent dewatering. Conservation organizations are urging the same, even though Montana FWP lifted the fishing closure almost immediately. There are enough other places to go - leave the river alone. 

The Lower Madison and Missouri are both good choices if you simply have to get out. The Lower is a close option for many in our area, and is almost always a solid winter performer. If you’re not up to getting blown around on the water this is the best time of year to break out the vise and start tying. Those summer boxes aren’t going to fill themselves! 

With Christmas coming up fast, now is the time to get your last minute shopping done. We’ve got a store full of great items, including a preloaded fly box with some of our favorite flies from the past year. This classic Dan Bailey’s Fly Shop box ships with 2 dozen flies and is a great deal at only $69.95. Get this perfect gift for the angler in your life here: https://bit.ly/DanBaileys2021FlyBox

Don’t miss Men’s Night coming up this Thursday night (December 16th) from 3pm-9pm. As always, stop by or call the shop for the latest info and the gear you need!