Yellowstone Park Fishing Report

This Yellowstone Park fishing report is valid from May 27 through about June 5, 2024

Yellowstone Park opened for the season on the 25th. Portions of the park will be open year-round moving forward provided no morons poach heavily in the winter or something. As usual this time of year, spring runoff is a limiting factor. By far the most consistent options over the next couple weeks will be the Firehole, Lower Gibbon, and Madison Rivers. On a day-to-day basis you might find the Lower Gardner River fishable near the N Entrance, and the Yellowstone in the Grand Canyon (not the Black) might be fishable during cooler weather periods. Park lakes are fishable now but will improve quickly between now and the 5th.

Gardner River: Ice water even if clear upstream from Boiling River. Downstream of Boiling River, it’s worth a shot with stonefly and large attractor nymphs anytime the water appears green rather than brown/yellow. This is not for the faint-hearted. Nymph a short line right tight to the bankside rocks or anywhere else it’s slow, and for Pete’s sake don’t wade much past your ankles lest you be washed away.

Yellowstone River – Grand and Black Canyons: The Black Canyon (downstream of the Lamar) will be muddy until about June 15–20. The Grand Canyon will generally be a murky green-brown color, but it’s worth a shot with stonefly and attractor nymphs and streamers in the big slow spots anytime you think there’s 18″ or better of visibility. Take a gander before you take the hike. This water will get much better around the 15th–20th.

Lamar River Drainage (Including Slough & Soda Butte Creeks): Except for Trout Lake, this water will be filthy muddy until roughly June 20–25 and not really good until more like July 1.

Firehole River: Probably the best bet overall. Clarity might go in and out of “ideal” downstream of Midway with the upcoming shot of warm weather, but it should remain fishable from the Old Faithful Closure Zone all the way to Madison Jct. The best fishing for this week is likely to be from Biscuit Basin (the end of the OF closure) to Midway even if the river isn’t dirty below. Swing Glasshead PT Soft Hackles or other modest-sized wets in the riffles while hoping to see caddis and PMD hatches. These will be best on cloudy days, and except on the warmest days they may actually be better in afternoon and evening than in late morning as they will be in ten days. You might also try fishing stonefly and attractor nymphs below Firehole Falls while keeping your peepers open for Golden Stoneflies and Salmonflies.

Gibbon River: High and tea-stained from top to bottom. Too cold and probably swampy upstream from Norris Geyser Basin, but a good changeup from the Firehole downstream of Norris. Fish streamers in the meadows if you don’t like small fish, but don’t expect many. In the rough water, fish either a modest stonefly like a #10 20-Incher trailing a #14–16 Prince or similar or a big, fluffy attractor dry with that Prince underneath it. The dry-dropper bite will get better as time goes by.

Madison River: We don’t hit the Madison in YNP all that often, but it can turn out some big fish on streamers and nymphs over the next week or so before it transitions to a match-the-hatch option in the second week of June.

Park Small Streams: Some might look clear and inviting from the road, but you’ll find they’re are too high and cold to produce. Even the gentlest meadow streams won’t turn on until probably June 10.

Park Lakes and Ponds: All should be ice-free, though those that require a hike will be wet, swampy, muddy, possibly snowy “type 2 fun” to access until about the 5th. On the big lakes, fish leeches and streamers, perhaps with a generic nymph dropper. On the smaller lakes, small leeches are a good bet, but with the warm weather upcoming you might be better off with small, dark soft hackles, slender and flashy nymphs like olive-brown BLM (our favorite lake fly around here), or chironomid pupae. Keep an eye out for chironomid (aka big lake midge) and Callibaetis mayfly hatches. Hatches will get much better in the second week of June.


Yellowstone Park Fishing Report – Relevant Links