This Evening? Tomorrow?

We’ve gotten reports of good numbers of caddis out in several spots on the Yellowstone last evening, but no word of fish actually eating them consistently. There were a fair number of bugs behind the shop last night, but only a few splashy emerger rises. The water at Carter’s Bridge got up to about 50 yesterday and should go a bit higher late today. Tomorrow’s weather is predicted to be even warmer. The question is, which will come first, the caddis hatch or the dirty water? If I were you, I’d head out this afternoon/evening, just in case. And if it doesn’t happen today, check with us about the water conditions tomorrow. Stop in the shop and pick up a few caddis emergers to tie in as a dropper behind your dry fly. Often, you’ll as well or better with the emerger pattern as you will with the dry.

A Short Window

The Yellowstone River has dropped a bunch over the last few days and the clarity right now is quite good (over 2 feet). Don’t know how much longer it will last with the warmer weather, but we’re crossing our fingers for the weekend. Right now, the water temperatures are pretty low (42 degrees), so the likelihood of a significant caddis hatch is low until things warm up again. But you might see some March Brown mayflies. And the nymphing and streamer fishing should be good. Get out while you still can!

Caddis Update

There were caddis hatching yesterday below and through town, at least as far up as Carter’s Bridge. Some fish were caught on dries, though the action wasn’t red hot (though we had one report of really good fishing below Livingston). Water temperatures are back on the way up and should reach the “magic number” of 51-52 degrees sometime around mid-afternoon. So far, the relatively good water clarity is holding, though the flows at Corwin Springs went up quite a bit overnight. So there could be some dirtier water coming through the Paradise Valley today. Our advice? Float near or through town this afternoon. Fish a caddis pupa early on, under an indicator. Try an olive Mangy Caddis or a green Hotwire Caddis. When the bugs start coming off, switch to a dry with an emerger dropper. The Parachute Caddis is one of our favorite dries, with a pink post to aid visibility (which can be a big issue if there are lots of naturals on the water). Take a “sick day” this afternoon; it might be your last chance to fish the Mother’s Day hatch in relatively clear water!

Are They Here?

The Yellowstone River looks great this morning. Just a touch of green, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The fish are eating, though primarily below the surface. Especially on these bright, sunny days. I caught several trout (and a couple of whitefish, of course) yesterday evening on an olive and yellow Rubberlegs (size 8) with a small pheasant tail dropper. Streamers would be another good option today. With the sun, you might start with something light-colored, but switch it up (color, size, pattern) until you start getting chases. A white Sculpzilla or a yellow Bellydancer Zonker might be just the thing today. Dry fly fishing has been spotty, at best. The March Browns have been noticeably sparse. But you might still get a few fish on dries if you fish them hard. Try a Purple Parachute or a Sweetwater McDougal in about size 14. What about the Mother’s Day caddis, you ask? Unsubstantiated rumors had the bugs coming off downstream from Livingston yesterday. I did see a single caddis flying about behind the shop last night; a couple of days of warmer weather could bring them on strong, though it could also bring on the muddy water. Stop in and get some caddis pupa, emerger, and adult patterns, just to be prepared.

p.s. Since I first posted this, we’ve had several people coming through the shop who have reported seeing caddis around and through town yesterday afternoon and evening. Today could be the start of things!

Looking (Pretty) Good

The Yellowstone River looks better than it has in a few days, with dropping flows and plenty of clarity for catching fish. It’s still likely to be mostly nymphs and streamers, though there have been baetis and a few March Browns hatching. Bigger and darker patterns (e.g., brown or black Rubberlegs and Wooly Buggers) are still going to be most visible with some color to the water, but it’s getting clear enough that it’s worth running a smaller nymph as a dropper. No caddis yet; the water temperatures have dropped well below the level that heralds the beginning of the Mother’s Day Hatch. Look for water temps to heat back up with the warmer weather predicted for the end of the week and the weekend. Maybe next week; it all depends. But if the clarity continues to improve, we are likely to have a fishable caddis hatch.

Fishing has been good on the Paradise Valley spring creeks. Baetis are still hatching in the early afternoon, just enough to get the trout interested and eating. Nymphing has been good when the bugs aren’t on the water. Sawyer Pheasant Tails, Split-Case BWOs, and Zebra Midges have been enticing fish below the surface. Remember that baetis nymphs are swimmers, so a little movement to your fly can attract attention from an otherwise wary trout. When the hatch is on, a Surface Emerger or floating nymph can be as or more effective than a dun pattern. Stock up on some Frog’s Fanny and run one as a dropper off of your dun pattern. Tippets down to 6X (or even 7X, if you’re still getting refusals) will give you the best chance of fooling fish. And small indicators, especially in white, are going to be less likely to alert the fish when you’re nymphing.

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