Yellowstone River Report 9/4/2017
Hopper fishing continues to be solid. While there is an occasional eat on the hopper first thing, the bite doesn’t turn on until early afternoon when it warms up and there’s a light breeze or wind. A consequence of all the smoke in the air has been that it creates an overcast effect on the water, making the fish more prone to look up.
A hopper/dropper set up works well early, and usually throughout the day. Hopper/large dry patterns like Chubby Chernobyls, Jack Cabe, PMXs, Yeti Hoppers, Fat Franks, Water Walkers and Yellowstoner Chubbys in size 10 to 12 in a variety of colors are all taking fish at one time or another. For a dropper nymph, anything with a beadhead, like the Beadhead Prince, Hare’s Ear and Beadhead Flashback Pheasant Tail on a long leash have all been consistent winners. A dropper about a sleeve’s length is recommended. Rubber leg Princes, the Batman and other rubber leg patterns work well in the morning too.
In the afternoon if there’s no action on the hopper or it’s too windy to cast with a dropper, just go with the single hopper pattern. Try giving them a twitch every now and then, particularly when drifting calmer water. By now, fish have seen scads of flies as well as the real thing drift their way, so don’t hesitate to mix it up a bit and look to fish water other than the banks too. Try a double dry set up with a smaller hopper or other terrestrial like an ant or beetle, or a smaller dry fly trailed a foot or so off of a bigger hopper. The very heads of riffles and shallow water along gravel bars have been producing some nice fish.
If getting out early, try throwing streamers like the Grinch or a black or olive bugger. Trail a nymph a foot or so off the back too. There have been some sporadic Tricos as well as Mahoganys and Ghost flies. For pods of raising fish, a small size dry like a Purple Haze or Parachute Adams may get the job done.
Flows are still running slightly above normal for the date, and the water temperature is in the mid-60s, so expect fishing conditions to remain good as we move into late summer/early fall.