It’s been a roller coaster of a week on the Yellowstone River. High temps and some rain last week bumped flows up considerably early in the week, but they have come down and clarity has gotten a lot better. The warmer temps yesterday and today might have an adverse effect, but with it cooling off over the weekend things should stay fishable.
Mother’s Day Caddis are the name of the game, just like last week. They need water temps at a consistent 54 degrees to hatch well, and it’ll be close over the weekend. Check the gauge here for the most up to date information.
Even with the forecast we can expect to see elevated boat traffic over the weekend. Remember everyone is just as excited to get out there as you are. Be ready when it’s your turn to launch and take out, inflate rafts out of the way or at home, and give everyone plenty of space. We’re all just trying to have a good time!
For fly selection, have plenty of caddis pupa and subsurface options if the fish aren’t looking up. Fishing a short leash nymph rig tight to the bank will target fish keying on the bugs staging up to hatch. If you do see fish on top, a dedicated Mother’s Day Caddis pattern or smaller (Size 16ish) dark caddis pattern is a good idea.
One of our guides, Pat Joyce, had a good day recently with a Pat’s Rubber Legs followed by a Hare’s Ear. Since stoneflies have such a long lifecycle and are always in the river, they make an excellent point fly for a nymph rig. Don’t forget about BWOs and March Browns! They’re still out in good numbers these days.
Another thing to note with rising water temps and cloudy days is that streamer fishing is going to be picking up. This can be an excellent tactic in the spring as fish are becoming more active and hungry, and smaller flies are hard to see in turbid water. We have a great selection of articulated and single hooks streamers available in the shop.
All the freestones in our region are in the same up and down pattern with flows and will be until runoff actually starts here soon. There are a lot of great options right now depending on how far you want to drive. As the freestones become high and dirty, shift focus to the tailwaters like the Madison and Missouri. If you feel like a change of pace, head for some stillwater. As the lower elevation lakes ice out, they’re fishing really well this spring!
If you’re just not feeling like dealing with dirty water and rainy weather this weekend, how about making some fishing plans over a Dan Bailey’s Wall of Fame Red Ale at The Murray Bar? You can swing in the shop to pick up the latest flies, gear, and get the most up to date info.