31 May, 2023 - Yellowstone River and Livingston Area Fly Fishing Report

Happy start to the work week everyone, we hope you all enjoyed the long weekend. A stroll through Sacajawea Park here in Livingston over the weekend was a great reminder that Memorial Day isn’t just bbqs, an extra day off work, and celebrating the start of summer. We humbly thank and remember those who gave all in service to our country. 

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer in our neck of the woods, and it certainly feels like it. We’re still solidly in the middle of runoff, but the warmer weather has opened up a few options for the area that should keep us occupied for a while. 

Here’s what's happening in our area: 

Yellowstone River 

While the Yellowstone has been coming down, visibility is still sitting right around zero. Flows are still elevated, and we aren’t expecting to be on the river anytime soon. That being said - if this downward trend continues, we might get a window of opportunity! Stay tuned. 

Madison River 

The Upper Madison River has quite a bit of color in it these days, but is still fishing reasonably well. The BWOs are pretty much gone, it’s still a bit early for PMDs, and the caddis are still there in places. With the water this off color, most of your action is going to be subsurface. While many people associate streamers solely with the fall, spring can be the best time of year to throw big flies off the bank and get into some really nice fish. 

Other standard spring nymphs such as rubberlegs, caddis pupa, worms, and larger attractors like Perdigons, lightning bugs, and other jig nymphs are a solid bet. Don’t be afraid of adding extra weight to get the flies down to where they need to be. In heavier water like we have now it can take more than you think. 

While the bulk of the Mother’s Day Caddis hatch on the Lower Madison is over and the buzz around it is winding down, there are still lots of them around. If you want to go catch fish on dries, this is about the best bet for you. Streamer fishing has been really good as well, as has nymphing the buckets this stretch of the river is known for. 

The Lower is getting pretty busy, especially on weekends. It’s allllllmost warm enough to start seeing a lot of recreational floater traffic on the river, so pack your patience. 

Gallatin River 

The Gallatin is still running pretty high and dirty. There are other, better options. You might find some clearer water up above Taylor’s Fork and into the Park, but there are closer options. 

Paradise Valley Spring Creeks 

We’re entering that time of year when the spring creeks are fishing really well, but they are generally booked solid for the next few months. If you’re lucky enough to have one of those dates, come into the shop and talk! We’ll make sure you get what you need. 

Yellowstone National Park 

The fishing season for Yellowstone National Park is open! While the Northeast Corner is pretty high and muddy right now, you can still find some fishable water in the smaller creeks and streams. Keep your head on a swivel and mind the fast water. This part of the park is going to just get better and better as we move into summer. 

The West side is in much better shape. The Firehole River has been fishing well with BWOs and PMDs giving a good show for opening weekend, and we’ve heard the Madison was doing great as well. The Firehole shines in the early and late season, before water temps rise mid summer. Get out there! 

Lakes and Stillwaters 

With area rivers high, a lot of anglers have been headed to the local lakes and ponds in the area. Hyalite Reservoir has iced out, and is always a good time in the spring. Leeches and chironomids slowly stripped from just under the surface to within the first couple feet of water always do well. Have some small parachute adams or purple haze in the box too.

Dailey Lake can be a lot of fun on a calmer day, with some large trout and other species providing some good fun. Get the boat out, get the tube out, just go walk the edges even. It can be busy on the weekends so if you can go during the week, have at it. 

The higher mountain lakes are in various stages of ice off, and if you can hit it just right when the ice melts off you can have some of the best fishing of your life. We’re entering the time of year when the odds are decent you will find fishable water in most lakes instead of a sheet of ice, but stop in or give us a call before headed out if you have any questions. And if you have any updated info, we’d love to hear it! 

Livingston and the Shop 

Summer is basically here! There is a ton of stuff going on in our area from now through the summer and it’s a great time of year to be in Montana. Our shop is in full swing for the season and we have everything you need to get out and make the most of your time in our incredible part of the world. Dale even dressed up the front of the shop with the traditional flowers for the season. 

We hope to see you in the store this summer season. Tight lines this week!