Fishing Report Updated September 5, 2021
This Yellowstone River fishing report is valid from September 5 until the next cold snap, usually around September 20. Our next report will drop when the weather changes.
The Yellowstone is fishing fair on hoppers, ants, and small mayfly-type attractors. Most of the fish eating on the surface of late have been small, but not all. Slender purple, pearl, and black nymphs in the #14-16 range have been producing as well, but mostly whitefish except in the fast, turbulent, bouldery areas (such as Yankee Jim Canyon or near Gardiner). Dead-drifted Zonkers have produced a few big browns.
Hatches will be better on gray days. A variety of small-medium mayflies are possible. Baetis are the most consistent mayflies, though on the Yellowstone you seldom need to match them precisely. Instead we’ve been running #16-18 copper Hazy Cripples to match the approximate size of just about all the mayflies popping now. During gray weather, fish a purple Hazy Cripple. If you’re seeing larger numbers of #12-16 rusty mayflies, opt for a Brindle Chute or Brindle Cripple instead of a hopper ahead of the smaller mayfly-style attractor.
Terrestrial fishing will be better when it’s sunny or partly cloudy. Small peach hoppers have been drawing some good eats. Rusty or bicolor flying ants have been getting more fish. Fishing the hopper ahead of the ant or a small mayfly has been our main rig.
Yellowstone River Fishing Report – Relevant Links
- Lamar River Streamflow Data: Sudden flow spikes in the Lamar will reach Gardiner in about 8 hours.
- Gardner River Streamflow Data: Sudden flow spikes in the Gardner River (yes, river and town are spelled differently) will reach Gardiner in about an hour and blow out this hole section inside 6 hours. They also run through quickly, though.
- Corwin Springs Streamflow Data: Keep an eye on this graph. Sudden spikes the day before or even the morning you plan to fish can catch you on this section.
- Livingston Streamflow Data: Flows under 6000cfs on this graph mean this stretch is safe to float.
- Shields River Streamflow Data: Watch for big spikes in spring. These indicate muddy water that will trash the Yellowstone below for the duration of spring runoff.
- Springdale Streamflow Data
- Big Timber Streamflow Data
- Gardiner Weather
- Corwin Springs Weather
- Emigrant Weather: Check this page for wind forecasts. Strong south winds are common here. They are usually worse between Carbella and the rest area at the 24 mile marker and not as bad from the rest area down. The upper Yellowstone above Carbella is also seldom as bad as Carbella to the rest stop during windy periods.
- Livingston Weather Check this page for wind forecasts for the area downstream of Carter’s Bridge. When south winds are blowing, this stretch can be a nightmare.
- Big Timber Weather: Watch the wind forecast. If they’re forecast to be out of the east at 10+mph or out of the west at 20+, it’s best to float somewhere else.
- Columbus, MT Weather (Lower Yellowstone R and Stillwater R)
- Gardiner Webcam This raft company webcam gives a good sense of Yellowstone River level and clarity for the Upper River.