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

Well now it feels like fall! Earlier this week we had our first snowfall of the year in town. We got quite a bit in Livingston proper, with our mountains receiving the early start to the winter snowpack. After the low water year we had this summer, we are grateful for every flake of snow we can get! 

Things are warming back up after the cold weather and snow, which is causing a lot of melt. These early season snows have a high moisture content. That’s great for building a snowpack (and makes for great snowman snow), but when it melts there tends to be a lot of water. The Yellowstone is going to be coming up and getting a bit off color with all this melt. 

With the cooler nights and melting snow water temps are pretty low, especially early in the morning. Feel like sleeping in or getting a good breakfast before you hit the water? Have at it. The BWOs aren’t coming off until early afternoons most days anyway, and the fish will only get more active as the water warms later in the morning. 

Limited clarity isn’t the worst thing in the world, especially when you’re talking about streamer fishing. Fish a darker pattern in the off color water and the fish will see the profile stand out. The streamer fishing conditions this week are prime. Trout are aggressive, water temps are right, and it’s time to get out on the river. 

If streamers aren’t your thing, nymphing has been productive this week. Fishing a BWO nymph behind a larger fly such as a big prince, stonefly pattern or small dead drifted streamer works great. If you just want to catch fish all day, fish a big hares ear and a flashy lightning bug and be ready for whitefish all day. 

We’re in prime time for the fall BWO hatch. They’re primarily hatching in the early afternoons and the hatch is best on cloudy days. You should still find fish eating dries on sunny days, and fishing emergers is a deadly tactic. Swinging soft hackle emergers can be a great way to fish this hatch. 

Our other area rivers are in about the same boat as the Yellowstone. Mid-October is one of the best months of the year to be in Montana. For dry fly purists, the Missouri offers some of the best technical fishing around. Those chasing big brown trout head for the Madison. Yellowstone National Park offers incredible fishing and wildlife viewing during the fall. 

Regardless of where you’re headed, you’ll have a good time. This winter storm we had early in the week is a good reminder that winter is just around the corner. Our nice fall days are numbered. Make the most of them! We’ve got all the gear, flies and info you need down at the shop. Good luck out there!