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

It finally feels like fall! After a protracted period of late summer weather, it’s chilly and drizzly in Livingston today. Perfect fall fishing weather! The moisture we’re getting is supposed to keep up through tomorrow then shift over to snow Monday and Tuesday. Break out the warm jackets and rain gear! 

This cooler weather has turned fishing back on. Things are good on the Yellowstone River and our other area waters. The streamer bite is getting better on these cloudy days, and we’re expecting to see good hatches of fall BWOs this weekend into next week. 

This hatch is generally smaller and more technical than the spring Baetis. Combine a busy summer season of fishing pressure and near record low flows and the fish are highly educated and spooky by this time of the season. If there was ever a time of year to be more stealthy and precise with your dry fly approaches, this is it. 

Longer leaders, smaller flies, and making a plan on feeding fish is the order of the day. Look for BWOs to start hatching mid morning. Fishing a two fly rod with a nymph on the bottom and an emerger on top is a great strategy as you wait to see fish actively feeding on top. Swinging soft hackles is a stellar option this time of year as well. 

The local private spring creeks are a great spot to have your patience and dry fly fishing skills tested on the fall BWOs. These pay-to-play fisheries are known for their large fish, gin-clear water, and dry fly hatches. If the fishing is slow, head for the warming hut and a good lunch. 

Other waters such as the Upper and Lower Madison have been fishing well lately also. From what we’ve heard the report is similar to the Yellowstone. Look for BWOs, fish streamers, nymphing has been solid. The Missouri, Stillwater, Boulder, and Gallatin are all fishing well. 

Yellowstone National Park’s fishing season has less than a month left, and it’s arguably the best month of the year for fishing. It’s still quite crowded down there, especially compared to past fall seasons. However, go into it with that in mind, be patient, enjoy the views and wildlife and you’ll have a great time. The Firehole has cooled off enough to be a great fall fishery, and there have been reports of lake fish coming into the Madison. Just watch your step and avoid disturbing redds. The northeast corner has been a good option for those approaching from our side. 

Fall is an incredible time of year to be fishing the Yellowstone River and Montana. Who knows what the weather will do beyond this next week, but we can enjoy this more classic “fall” weather while it lasts. Need a new rain jacket or warm puffy? We’re getting more and more cold weather gear in every week! Come down to the shop and check it out.