26 November, 2022 - Yellowstone River and Livingston Area Fly Fishing Report

Hope everyone enjoyed Thanksgiving! Now we’re in the midst of the holiday season, Christmas will be upon us in no time. It’s kind of a blessing that this is about the slowest time of year for fishing - life is busy enough with all the holiday stuff. But if you do need to get out of the house and find some peace and quiet, here’s what's going on. 

Yellowstone River

Things are pretty icy these days. There’s a fair bit of the Valley that is locked up with ice, and there are quite a few chunks and slush floating down as well. If you’re wading, watch out. With the colder temps in the forecast, expect a lot more ice coming up. 

From here on through the colder months, except the wind to be a constant companion. Hold on to your hat and try to find shelter if you do go out. In the colder temps it dies down a bit but holy wind batman it’s been breezy. 

Honestly, at this point, either fish the spring creeks or stay home and tie flies if your only option is the Yellowstone. 

Madison River 

The Lower Madison is a solid winter fishery that is close enough to town to be worth the drive if you only have a few hours to get out and go fishing. The ice isn’t too bad in Bear Trap and down to Black’s Ford, and the fishing has been decent. Things are moving slow, so fish the deep buckets and slow water. If you’re streamer fishing stick to swinging or dead drifting under an indicator. 

Crayfish and attractor nymphs have been producing as a point fly, with a midge hanging off the back. Zebra midges, Rainbow Warriors, and Ice Cream Cones are all good options. A double nymph rig is your best bet at this point. Things get windy this time of year down on the Lower Madison River, but if you can find a sheltered spot or get lucky and have a calmer day look for midges hatching. 

The Upper Madison has been getting a bit icy in the lower stretches, but up by Three Dollar and Reynold’s Pass you can have some really good fishing. The Three Dollar area has well earned reputation as a really good winter fishery, if you feel up to the drive. 

Gallatin River 

Winter has set in on the Gallatin. It’s a fun winter fishery in the canyon, at least below Big Sky. The river stays reasonably ice free below Big Sky with the town’s runoff. Fish the deep, slow water with attractor nymphs and midges. 

Down in the valley, you’ll find a bit more ice and a few less fish. Less people also, so it’s a trade off. Be willing to walk a ways from any access point and you’ll do pretty well. It’s a great option for just getting out when you need a breather. 

Spring Creeks 

The Spring Creeks are a solid option for local fishing for us right now. Their constant flow and water temp keeps them reasonably ice free and the fish somewhat active this time of year. Right now you can access them with reduced winter rates. If you’re after technical fishing and your best local chance at dry fly fishing, this is where you want to be. Fish long leaders, small flies (midges), and get sneaky. 

Livingston and the Shop 

There is always a lot going on around town this time of year. This evening the 26th we have the Light Up Livingston event at the Depot Park where the Christmas lights get switched on by Santa - always a great event for kids and families. There are a host of festive events for the rest of the year all over town. 

For us, we are hosting our annual Ladies’ and Men’s Nights shopping events again. It kicks off with Ladies’ Night on the 8th, and Men’s Night a week later on the 15th. Save 10% on the entire store with an additional 5% off anything on your gift registry! Stop by the store and talk to us for more details on that. There will be snacks, libations and some fun games to save even more. 

We’ve got a ton of great clothing and gear for all tastes, activities, and budgets. It’s never too early to finish up your Christmas shopping! 

Tight lines this week.