YNP Report - May 23, 2024

YNP Report - May 23, 2024

Opening weekend is here, and like every year, we are chomping at the bit to get into the park for some fun early season fishing. Our perennial favorites, the Firehole, Gibbon, and Madison Rivers, are in great shape and we expect them to fish well for the opener. In fact, on recent trips into the park this week to check on conditions, we’ve already seen good numbers of beatis mayflies hatching and fish rising to them on the Madison and Firehole.

Conditions look ideal for the opener. Cool weather this week has kept snowmelt to a minimum. Flows on the Firehole  are clear, and have been dropping from a high around 600 cfs last week to around 400 cfs approaching the opener. Weather forecasts are showing a cool, wet weekend which bodes extremely well for mayfly hatches, and the first opportunities at rising trout of the season.

A good portion of this year’s heavy snowpack remains in the high elevations throughout the park. The Black Bear Snotel Site is a good reference for the snowpack in the high plateau above the the Firehole River. Currently, Black Bear shows 62 inches of snow remaining on the ground with a Snow Water Equivalent of 28 inches. With that much snow (and water) still on the ground, any periods of warm, sunny weather, or rain on snow events, will likely bump the Firehole back up, making fishing, especially with dry flies, more difficult. So, keep a close watch on the weather, and follow the Firehole River flows HERE. (For reference, this time last year the Black Bear site was reporting 67 inches of snow on the ground with 35.3 inches of snow water equivalent.)

Cool, wet weather this weekend is ideal for hatches of size # 18-20 Baetis and size #14-16 Pale Morning Dun mayflies. With daytime highs struggling to reach the mid 50’s, mayfly hatches may not begin until as late as 2:00 or 3:00 pm on the Firehole. It’s important to keep in mind that both air and water temperatures play a big role in the timing of mayfly hatches, and water temps will vary drastically from one section to another on the Firehole depending on the proximity to thermal areas. There are many micro-climates on the river. So, if conditions look good, and you’re not seeing bugs and rising fish where you are at, don’t be afraid to jump in your vehicle and move up or down stream to a different section.

In addition to the Firehole, the Gibbon and Madison rivers will also present great opportunities this weekend. Both rivers could produce good hatches of beatis and pmd mayflies, as well as excellent pocket water and runs to fish with nymphs or streamers.

Many of our other favorites waters in YNP open to fishing this weekend as well, but water conditions remain too cold, high, muddy, or all of the above. With warmer weather predicted by early next week, expect to see many of the park waters return to a state of run off as they swell with melting snowpack.

Have a terrific Memorial Day Weekend. We hope you can get out and enjoy some fun fishing in the park, or wherever you find yourself able to wet a line.

Here’s to another great season exploring Yellowstone Park with rod and fly!

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Yellowstone

An angler could spend a lifetime of summers exploring and mastering the roadside waters of Yellowstone Park alone. Rivers like the Madison, Gallatin, Gibbon, Firehole, Lamar, and Yellowstone all have relatively easy access. And that is just a small fraction of the over 200 fishable streams and 45 fishable lakes in the Park.

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