The Park should really shine in its’ final week of snow-dusted glory — after the sunshine and balmy temps of the last few weeks, it feels like Christmas came early in Yellowstone country – and it came just in time too. While we might not get much more of the white stuff over the next five days, daytime temps seems like they should hover in the low 40s, with consistent cloud-cover to boot. You couldn’t ask for better fall fishing conditions. With October 31st marking the final day of fishing in Yellowstone, it’s a truly special time to be out on the water for those still in the area. Regardless of how many fish you catch, just being in the water and enjoying the quieting down of the natural world is an wonder in and of itself — elk bugling, bison roaming, trees losing the last of their leaves, and – most importantly – way fewer humans getting in the way of your fishing experience. Get out there, commune with nature, be “zen,” and catch a few!
While these conditions are a boon to autumnal anglers across the board, those hoping to strip streamers for those lake-run trout along the Madison should have considerably more luck throughout the day. Though early morning hours are generally the most productive, we’re starting to have a lot more success fishing the “big stuff” well into the afternoon (thanks clouds!). My favorites have been the BFE and the Bouface Leech in olive, black, and white. While stripping has always been my go-to method of streamer manipulation it’s worth noting that we’ve been picking up a lot of fish on the swing recently as well. As always, nymphing continues to be super productive, with the usual suspects being the most effective as of late: Copper Johns, Prince nymphs, big Pat’s Rubberlegs, tungsten Duracell’s, and even the occasional squirmy worm— get ‘em down deep and fast!
For those anglers hoping to wring out the last few days of dry-fly fishing in the park, the Firehole River remains a solid option with stellar Baetis hatches popping off throughout the mid-day / afternoon hours — there’s truly nothing quite like catching fish on dries in October, surrounded by snowy geyser basins and grazing Bison. Outside of these few options, however, there’s not much else to write fishing-wise! While beautiful, much of the park’s other river systems are much higher in elevation and getting to be truly frigid at this point. Sure, you may catch a few, but it won’t be a very enjoyable (or warm) experience. I’d focus on this western-edge of the park closest to the shop, dress warm, and always remain bear aware!
It’s been a great season of writing these reports and fishing throughout the park — thanks for reading (I hope I’ve been at least somewhat helpful!), stay safe, and we hope to see you all next Memorial Day back here in Yellowstone country!
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