18 July, 2021 - Yellowstone River and Livingston Area Fly Fishing Report

It’s a hot one out there folks. With temps hovering around 100 forecast for today, we are under a heat advisory. Bring lots of water if you’re headed outside, avoid the main part of the day, and most importantly don’t fish when things get too hot. The Yellowstone River here in Livingston hit 70 degrees yesterday afternoon and today we’re expecting the same. The forecast isn’t calling for this heat to abate anytime soon, so fish early and follow these tips we wrote about for keeping fish healthy in hot weather. 

Get up to the minute water temp and flow data for the Yellowstone River here

While temps have been hot, the fishing has been pretty hot too! There are still lots of caddis around, as well as some Yellow Sallies. The PMDs are done, but you might see a few spinners around. Is it hopper season yet? Short answer: yes. You should have some of these tasty terrestrials in your box, they’re out early this year. 

With this hot, dry summer we are having we’re expecting a banner year for hoppers. We have been seeing these guys a lot earlier than we should this year and the fish are taking notice. Next time you’re out on the river try to catch a few and take a look at colors, profile, and size. It’s useful to have a variety of different patterns to try and match the naturals. Our bins have a lot of options, but they probably won’t last long! Stock up while you can.

There are currently no fishing restrictions on the Yellowstone River (see the most updated list on the FWP website here). We’re seeing the majority of pressure in the Valley, but lots of people have been floating down below town too. There are good options everywhere! Fishing a dry/dropper rig is a solid option this time of year. Keep a rod rigged up for fish rising to caddis and another with a hopper and a flashy dropper beneath it. Those who enjoy throwing big streamers are still getting it done! 

It’s been busy out there, especially on the weekend. We wrote a blog about boat ramp etiquette, brush up on the topic here. Remember - everyone is out there for the same reasons. Be patient, be kind, and have fun! 

Much of the rest of the state is in the same boat as the Yellowstone. Low, warm, yet still fishing pretty well. The Boulder, Gallatin (Upper Gallatin anyway), Upper Madison, Stillwater… There’s a lot of choices. The same report applies. Bring a variety of dries, some flashy droppers, and stop fishing once the water hits 68 degrees!

For Yellowstone Park, avoid the rivers on the west side. They’re too warm on the whole for fish safety. The Lamar, Soda Butte, and Slough Creek (among others) in the Northeast corner are fishing pretty well. Terrestrials, caddis, and we’ve heard some rumors of drakes… We highly recommend getting on the road early for not only cooler water temps, but less traffic.

High mountain lakes and streams remain a solid choice, and a fun one. Go stretch your legs and your boundaries as you pick a good looking spot on the map and head out. There are tons of lakes that can be reached in a day trip or are great choices for backpacking trips. These lakes fish so differently than rivers they can be a really enjoyable challenge to figure out. 

We’ve got everything you need for your hike, bike, fish, and camp trips this summer in Montana at the shop. Fishing conditions are changing fast, stop by or call for the latest info!