Fishing Report Updated June 19, 2021

This Yellowstone River fishing report is valid from late June 18 through June.

The Yellowstone River saw a short and intense spring runoff and is now dropping rapidly towards record-low flows. We are about two weeks ahead of normal in terms of clarity, flow, and hatches, and therefore fishing.

The Salmonfly hatch is underway, primarily downstream of Emigrant. Trickles of Salmonflies are possible, though the bite has mostly been subsurface. The Salmonfly hatch will intensify over the next few days and peak from Gardiner to Yankee Jim Canyon (the best Salmonfly stretch) around June 25. Low overall flows should make for good fishing during the hatch, but a fast-moving and brief hatch.

Right now, top flies include TJ Hookers, Lex’s Golden Stones, 20-Bomb Stoneflies, and assorted caddis pupae, all fished deep. A few risers are popping every day, though the river’s still murky and the dry fly bite is inconsistent. It will be better near Gardiner, especially when Salmonflies are heavy. That said, the trout often prefer large attractors (#10-12 Trudes and Synth Double Wings, or small Chubbies) to Salmonflies. They’ll also eat caddis, Yellow Sallies, PMD, and Green Drakes.

For right now, stick to areas upstream from Pine Creek Access south of Livingston. Once flows on the Livingston gauge (link below) reach 6,000cfs, floating below Pine Creek makes sense.

Our next Yellowstone River fishing report will appear around July 1, when the Salmonflies tail off.

Note that we anticipate widespread closures on the Yellowstone by mid-late July given current water levels and summer weather outlooks. 2:00 closures in late July and August for the entire river are almost certain.

Learn more about fishing the Yellowstone River (in Montana).

Learn more about our float trips, a majority of which take place on the Yellowstone.

Learn more about our Montana walk & wade trips, which in winter and early spring take place on the Yellowstone.

Yellowstone River Fishing Report – Relevant Links