Yellowstone River Fishing Report

This Yellowstone River fishing report is valid from April 13 until the Mother’s Day Caddis hatch begins or the heavy spring runoff hits, whichever comes first.

There’s no reason to start before 9:00 even on the warmest/sunniest days. Afternoon fishing will generally be best, especially if you’re hoping for any dry fly fishing.

Fishing a stonefly nymph with a BWO nymph dropper is your best bet, possibly subbing the BWO for an egg or an attractor nymph (Bead, Hare, and Copper) or San Juan Worm. You can also try swinging or stripping slinky, dark streamers. Out of a boat, streamers are a bit higher on the usability scale since you can often prompt a reaction bite from trout in smaller holding areas with them (including larger browns that usually aren’t found where rainbows are this time of year).

Hatches will be heaviest on calm, cloudy days. March Browns and BWO are most likely to interest the trout, though you’ll probably see a lot of midges, too. The hatches will intensify through the month both in duration and intensity. Even so, you shouldn’t throw dries this time of year unless you see rising trout.

Regardless of technique, look for walking-speed runs from waist to chest deep, or possibly the slightly faster riffle corners. The warmer the water gets and the more insects there are, the faster the water the trout will hold in. Even so, those fast, steep banks are not your friends until at least the caddis hatch, and more often post-runoff.

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

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

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

Yellowstone River Fishing Report – Relevant Links