Still time for a big one…

Chris Lambert with a Valley predator! Photo: Doug Mcknight

Mike Craig with a nice valley brown in the boat... Photo: Dave Bryan

Although Chris’ big brown (shown above) was caught a couple weeks ago, the Yellowstone continues to deliver some really nice fish.  Last Friday the fishing was completely off the hook, Saturday and Sunday were on the slower side.   Snow pack levels are currently 116%, which means we’ll have a good amount of water to last through August and September.  (We’ve also been seeing quite a few hoppers in the tall grass lately and it looks like this year will be a better hopper year than last year).  CFS at Carter’s Bridge has dropped to 7,600 which means it’s go time.  Today we have 50-70% chance of rain with 20% chance of rain the rest of the week.  We were in YNP yesterday and the coast is clear for now, however if it rains in the park tonight or tomorrow we may have to work around a plug or two.  The forecast is calling for 40% chance of rain in the Lamar Valley today and tonight, and 20% chance Wednesday night.  No rain in the forecast for Thursday on.  As for the Spring Creeks, we are starting to see sulphur’s in the afternoons and the fish are starting to key in on them.  It’s still midges and midge larva in the mornings and PMD’s from 10:00 on.  There has been some great spinner falls out there the past few days, today with all those clouds should be epic.  On brighter days guides have been fishing ants, crickets, and beetles successfully.

John Bond with a solid Valley brown... Photo: Tessa Taylor

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It’s ON on..

Brent Johnson living large! Photo: Doug Mcknight

Trey with a nice one! Photo: Doug Mcknight

The Yellowstone has been fishing well the past few days… There has some mud but we’ve managed to work around it.  There have been a lot of anglers and boaters out on the water but the fishing has been good.  Most anglers are throwing streamers or larger nymphs as the big bugs are now in the park.  There has been good caddis hatches in the evening, although the big browns will not likely be interested in eating them for now.  The water has been dropping steadily, finally we’re in that magical 8,000 CFS window (8,200 today at carter’s) and the good fishing reflects that.   Wade fishing has not been that great, you’ll definitely want a boat if possible.  Give us a call if you want to get out there and we can hook you up with a great guide.  406-222-7130…  Most anglers have been fishing with 6-8 weight rods, which makes it easier to chuck the big bugs and also to keep the bigger browns away from trouble like undercut banks and brush piles.   If you only have a 5 weight rod and are looking for a good yet inexpensive set up, we recommend a TFO BVK.  The BVK comes in many sizes but the 9′#6, 9′#7, and 9′#8 are all great rods for the time being. At $240-260 a BVK won’t break the bank, it gets the job done well, it only costs $25 if you happen to break it, and the lead time on repairs is only around a week with shipping…

Rob Koehn doing things right! Photo: Nathan Anderson

Star and Matt, double locked again! Photo: Jedwards

Shaun Gordy and Jim Floyd tearing it up... Photo: Paul Bloch

The Bird Float (Grey Owl to Mallard’s) has been fishing ridiculously well, both for numbers of fish and big browns. Town down is still an expert oarsman’s game, with the shot at one or two big browns.  If you are not super comfortable on the oars you may want to avoid floating from Pine Creek down until CFS drops to around 6,000 or so.

 

Shogun with a nice afterwork brownie. Photo: Jed

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Double Trouble

Valley browns caught by Star and Matt... Photo: Jed

Harely and Casey Anderson, Pine to Carter's... photo: Jed

 

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Mud plugs avoidable

Ye-haw… Jester’s fed! Blart, Star, & Jed afterwork… Photo: Josh Edwards

We’ve had a few mud plugs the past couple days but they have been clearing quickly and it’s been great fishing in between plugs.  Big fish are going for dead drifted streamers, rubberlegs, and large beadhead nymphs.  There have been caddis out in the evenings, so if you want to fish dries you can try fishing an elk hair caddis or trude in the foam eddies.  Most anglers have been trying for a big one since this is the time of year that it can happen.  For streamers and buggers, almost every color has been working but black still seems to have the upper hand with olive, sparkle, or natural tan coming also fishing strong.

Charley Polmatier with a nice Valley fish... Photo: Brian S

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Girls out-fishing the boys?

Maggie Secrest with not one but TWO 22" Valley browns! Photo: Tate Higgins

The past couple days the Yellowstone has been tiger striped with “green is good” and slightly too-brown-to-fish water.  Thankfully we’ve been able to work around the clarity and those who have hit it right have caught some really nice browns!  Dead drifting streamers or larger nymphs has been the most effective, although several folks have been doing well stripping streamers.  Dry fly action has been best above Yankee Jim, but we are starting to see some normal (non-chocolate) caddis in the evenings.  A size 12-16 trude, or hi-vis elkhair works well for this.   As for salmonflies, you might still find a few stragglers between Gardiner and Carbella, but for the most part this hatch has moved up into Yellowstone National Park.  For those who are willing to hike, this can be one of the most exciting days you’ll ever have!  Give us a call if you’d like to book a “hike and strike” trip for YNP… 406-222-7130.

Maggie Secrest with another lunker! WOW... Photo: Ian Secrest

 

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Spring Creeks

George casting with his favorite spring creek rod, the 8'6"#4 Zenith....

We’ve had mixed reports on the Spring Creeks lately.  Angler’s with reports of difficult fishing have come in disappointed with very few PMD hatching.  Angler’s who have hit the right day have reported fantastic fishing, one angler even called it the best fishing he’s ever seen in 20 years of fishing the spring creeks!  In some respects, you have to play the cards you’ve been dealt – with luck you’ll get a little cloud cover and hopefully not much wind.  Midges have been working in the morning, start looking for PMD’s around 10:00 – 2:00.  The PMD’s are now smaller, so expect to be fishing #18′s and #20′s.  You’ll want to be fishing 6X in the riffles and 6.5X or 7X in the flatwater…

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Stone is good to go…

Bruce Ullock and Hank Bechard with a nice valley brown

Matt Carara with a nice townie. Photo: John Nehring

We’ve had a few calls about mud today since it rained hard last night in Bozeman.  So far so good… the Lamar continues to flow up and down so you can expect to see the same type of clarity we’ve been having.  The webcam above Yankee Jim is currently showing that “green is good” water, we’ll be keeping an eye on it just in case and we also have some great shuttle drivers that keep us posted with plugs.  For now the coast is clear.  This weekend is your last chance to get Salmonflies from Gardiner to Point of Rocks.  The Bird float has been on fire lately with streamers and nymph rigs, with lots of 18-20″ browns paying attention.  Through town and down low is still big water and remains an “A” team only game, meaning great rowers and good sticks.  The party-time boat float should be between Springdale and Big Timber today if you there are any pleasure floaters that would like to join in the fun, just keep in mind that this year the water is huge and to take the proper precautions.   CFS at Carter’s is finally below 10,000 today.  Usually we don’t recommend floating from Pine down until the river hits 8,000 CFS.

Troy Lichtenegger breaking in the new hat Valley style! MC Photo

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Last call for Salmonflies out of the boat…

Paulson with a nice brown to the boat... Photo: Jeff Blatter

Still some big waves/water down low...

If you are looking to see salmonflies from the boat the next few days are likely your last chance.  The bulk of the big bugs are already up past the canyon and heading into the park.  Still, the dry fly fishing has been good up high, even below Yankee Jim canyon.  Sallies, caddis, and general attractor pattens can be highly effective behind the hatch, if you are above Yankee Jim then you should be fishing salmonflies and goldenstones.  The fish above Yankee Jim are typically smaller however, so keep in mind a 16″ fish up there is like a 20″ in the valley.  Yesterday’s mud plug has gone through and is well past Big Timber, leaving 2 feet of vis or more through the valley.  One other thing to keep in mind is that the annual “Booze Cruise” boat float starts today (all kinds of contraptions putting in at Mayor’s Landing today) and will keep floating a few days to Reed Point.  Fishing down low right now can be very dangerous with wicked hydraulics, nasty whirl pools, and big wave trains… which means rafts or experts only.

Skip Herman with a nice brown above Yankee Jim

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Salmonfly Fever continues

Natalie Vais with a nice upper Valley brown... Photo: Paul Vais

Camille Vais and Matt Carara with a nice Carbella bow...

The Yellowstone continues to fish well up high with both salmonfly dries and nymphs.  Yesterday Carbella to Point of rocks fished good, not great.  It definitely seemed like the fish (and bugs) were spotty and while we didn’t catch a ton of fish (we averaged about 10 per float) we did have quite a few doubles.  If we had another 6-8 inches of visibility the dry fly fishing could have lights-out, but as is you’ll likely want to add a rubberleg or beadhead dropper.  Quite a few folks have also been been doing well dead drifting a sparkle minnows, Bow River Bugger, black leadeye.  We saw big bugs as high as Brogan’s Landing yesterday, although several are likely already in Gardiner or in the park by now…

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Busy River…

Samatha Brokman with a nice valley brown. Photo: Matt Carara

Attack from the back! Sam with another nice valley fish. Photo: Matt Carara

You know the Yellowstone is fishing well when you can’t find a parking spot at Point of Rocks, Mallard’s, or Carter’s!  The bad news is that it’s bumper boats.  The good news is lots of bent rods on big fish, on nymphs, streamers, and big dries.  Lots of people have had better luck fishing behind the bugs rather than right in them.  Perhaps it takes the fish a day or two to key in on the big dries, or perhaps they are already gorged on nymphs.  Either way the fishing has been excellent anywhere from Carbella to Carter’s.  Down low is still too high and dangerous to be worth it.  Look to fish town and below once it drops to 8,000 CFS.  For now focus on the big bugs since this is one of the few years you can fish Salmonflies on the stone.  We did have less clarity today up high and the river with the roller coaster CFS has been striped with green is good followed by olive is OK… No super brown mud yet but enough change in clarity to pay attention to it.   Tomorrow is certainly a go… either go early and beat the crowds or go afterwork.

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