SEASONS OF FISHING
"The trout do not rise in the cemetary, so you better do your fishing while you are still able."
-Sparse Grey Hackle
March through Mid-May is what we call pre-runoff time. It is a great time to fish in our region if you want to avoid the summer crowds. Many rivers you will have to yourself. And if the weather cooperates, you might experience some of the best fishing of the entire year. Spring baetis hatches love to come off during this time frame if cloud cover blankets the sky. In late April and May, our rivers experience wonderful emergences of March browns, and blanket hatches of the Mother's Day caddis hatch. Our local spring creeks also fish well due to the influx of spawning fish that move into these tributaries of the Yellowstone River to reproduce.
Mid-May through Late June is peak snow melt on most of our freestone streams, but the tail waters, private lakes, and spring creeks are fishing very well. This time frame transitions us from spring time hatches to the beginning of our summer hatches. Mid to late June is a magical time, with the beginning of emergences of salmon flies, green drakes and grey drakes on local rivers, and pale morning duns on the spring creeks. Stillwater fisheries are also starting to have a huge emergence of Callibaetis, which force trout to the surface to gulp down duns.
July is by far the busiest guide month of the year. This is the month that a lot of options become clear and fishable, so where you can fish every day is limitless. Yellowstone National Park waters are taking form with salmonfly and drake hatches, PMD's are popping up on the spring creeks, and a smorgasbord of caddis, stoneflies, and mayflies are emerging on a daily basis on most regional rivers. The days are long, and the wet wading is enjoyable. July is a wonderful time to put on your waders or hiking boots, and explore what fishing destinations Long Outfitting has to offer.
August through Early September really brings us into terrestrial season. Many of the hatches we see in July have disappeared, but the trout are still looking up for food. Ants, beetles, and hoppers are some of our favorite patters during this month. At this time of the year, many clients find success floating the Yellowstone River, or wading in the northeastern part of Yellowstone National Park. On the occasional cloudy or rainy day, you will find fish rising to mayflies, but terrestrials run supreme.
Mid September through October is one of our favorite times of the year. The mornings are crisp, with afternoons potentially warm and sunny. If it is abnormally warm, terrestrial patterns work best, but if the weather turns rainy, fall mayfly hatches emerge with a vengeance. Streamer junkies also get excited about the potential to stick some nice brown trout, but you need to be patient and watch the weather. The worse the weather is, the better the fishing can be. Weather patterns this time of the year are unpredictable, so come prepared for any type of temperatures.
November through February is a tough time of the year to preschedule guided trips. Some of the best options this time of the year can be our local spring creeks, or one of the tail water fisheries like the Madison or Missouri. On the right day, don't be surprised if you can catch a few trout on midge and mayfly adults. Many of our clients take a day off from skiing and call us about fly fishing for a day. We can let you know whether or not it is worth your while. Our guides have had some incredible guide days during the winter season, but you need to be prepared with proper clothing.