Fishing on the Yellowstone has been slow the past few weeks. The browns have all been on their redds, which means the rest of the river and all the “normal” good streamer spots are vacant. Hopefully this will change sooner than later and the post spawn browns will return to some of their normal winter and early spring spots, however typically the Yellowstone browns will be on their spawning beds until early December. On calmer, cloudy days (and sometimes in the evenings) there have been some rainbows rising to midges in the foam eddies and along the edges of the Stone. Much of this water is so slow, you’ll want 5X tippet and a Griffith’s Gnat or one of Harrop’s Hanging Midge patterns that are easier to see than most. If you are nymph fishing a $3 dip with a zebra midge is a good combo. Once the browns return to their normal runs you can also nymph a rubber legs or dead drift a sculpin. There are no major ice jams yet, however conditions are always changing and if you do decide to get out there and float you will want to arrange your shuttle a day ahead of time or plan on doing it yourself. No need to get out early, the best bite will be later in the afternoon and as water temps warm up slightly.
Once you have put the drift boat or raft up for the winter the Yellowstone still has some decent wade fishing to offer, although it may be better to book a day on one of the Paradise Valley Spring Creeks. Winter rates are now $40 per rod. The water temperatures are much warmer on the spring creeks and the fish are more active than the river fish this time of year. Midges will still be the main staple if you are hoping to fish dries. For nymphs you can try midge larva patterns, scuds, eggs, and leeches.