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

Our warm weather fall continues! After cold and snow last week, we are back in the 60s with bluebird skies. While this might not be ideal for BWO hatches, it’s pretty darn awesome for about everything else. These late falls extend our hiking, biking and fishing (comfortably anyway) seasons before winter hits and we shift into ski mode. 

Flows on the Yellowstone have continued to hover just above record lows, as they have all season long. Water temps are damn near perfect, allowing for less stressed fish and some good fall hatches. The cooler temps and shorter days have kicked trout into a period of hyperphagia - making them more aggressive as they seek food before the long winter. 

If you want to catch a truly large brown trout on the Yellowstone River, now would be the time to do it. Streamer fishing has been effective and long days casting large flies will generally pay off. Fish the right water, fish the right flies, and you’ll be rewarded. For those after a more casual float, nymphing has been solid as well. If you want bent rods all day and don’t care what you’re catching, put on a couple flashy flies and catch whitefish all day long for a good time. 

BWOs are coming off in early afternoons, more heavily on cloudy days than these bluebird days we’ve had lately. Remember, fall Baetis are generally smaller than their spring time counterparts and the fish have had a busy few months behind them. Expect the fish to be pickier and the fishing to be more technical than you might expect. 

October is a great time to be out on our local rivers. Fishing pressure and boat traffic is way down, even on beautiful weekends. Pack the right gear to stay warm (the mornings are still pretty chilly!) and you’ll have a great time. 

Other waters such as the Upper and Lower Madison, Gallatin, Boulder, Missouri, and Stillwater are all great choices right now as well. You really can’t go wrong with any body of running water in October here in Montana. Yellowstone National Park is fishing well, especially the Firehole River and the northeast corner. The Lamar in the fall is well worth the visit. Be bear aware, watch out for redds from spawning fish, and have a great time. Yellowstone’s fishing season ends the first Sunday of November, so get down there while you still can! 

Come down to the shop for the latest up to date information and the gear and flies you need! Thanks for shopping local, and good luck out there this weekend.