As it has been for most of the month of June, the runoff is still in progress in most of the streams in the park. It won't be long but for now, that's still the situation. There are some changes taking place for the good.
Up until now, if you wanted to travel to Yellowstone National Park, and for most people, that's a few hundred or thousand miles, to fish high, off-colored water with streamers and nymphs by walking the banks, then you should have been there. The Firehole River has been the only stream that provided that opportunity and quite frankly, I could name a hundred places elsewhere in the nation that would have provided better fishing opportunities. Things are changing and changing fast and you will see conditions improve greatly over the next few days on many streams.
Madison River: The Madison River is just now beginning to be fishable. Yes, I know, the locals have been fishing it and the Firehole River for days now, and they have been catching some trout or at least claiming they did. Sometimes it's difficult to tell exactly which one.
According to our local sources of information that we can rely on, the Madison is just now beginning to provide some good fishing opportunities. Salmonfly hatches are being reported along with PMDs and plenty of caddisflies. The great thing about the Madison is we expect it to fish well throughout the Summer, except maybe on the very hottest days. That's not usually the case. It's purely an advantage of what's called a "wet" year.
Firehole River: The Firehole should be dropping for the next several days, although there will be fluctuations. The PMD and caddisfly hatches will get better and better as the river warms. It should fish very good from now until at least the middle of July, pending decent weather. There have been recent reports of Salmonflies in the canyon.
Gibbon River: The lower canyon section of the Gibbon River is fishable at this time and should get better every day. The meadows are still very soggy and only fishable if you want to fish the banks with nymphs and streamers.
Gallatin River: The Gallatin River is still high and cold. There's better places but that won't be true for long. Our guess is it will be at least mid July for this stream to fish well.
Gardner River: The Gardner River is still high and cold. Lots of muddy water from the runoff. I expect it to be at least mid July before I could recommend it. Again, please keep in mind, that's not because you couldn't catch plenty of trout before then. I just don't think anyone would want to take a trip to Yellowstone to fish high, off-colored water.
Slough Creek: We just outfitted a gentlemen from Alabama with flies for fishing Slough Creek in mid July. That will be close, very close, to the time it really begins to fish well. Of course, when it does get good there will be plenty of anglers there to fish it and competition will begin not only from the fish, but from other anglers.
My guess is it will be at least mid July before the upper meadows becomes very fishable. It could be even later, depending on several factors but mostly the weather. One thing is for certain. It should fish much better than it normally does during August.
Lamar River: The Lamar River can become muddy even after the runoff is over. Right now, forget it. You should always check ahead before traveling there from anywhere but the Northeast Entrance. My guess is that it will be near the end of July before the Lamar River gets into prime shape.
Soda Butte: It will clear before the Lamar but expect mid July at the earliest date and maybe even later for it to be in great shape.
Yellowstone River: Opening July 15th above the Falls but I wouldn't doubt it still being on the high side. From the Falls to the Lamar River Confluence, you may as well forget it until at least near the end of July. The Black Canyon should also begin to get into good shape by the end of July.
Lewis River and Snake River: I understand the Lewis River is fairly clear just below the Lake in the channel. The Snake River is out of the question until near the end of July.
Get Ready, Set, Go: Now is the time you should be purchasing flies for your trip to Yellowstone. Give us a call and we will help you select the flies based on the date and streams you intend on fishing. If you don't know where you will want to fish, we will be glad to help you out with that.
800 594 4726
You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Provide the dates you plan on fishing and if you know, the streams you intend to fish.