the Yellowstone River
Yellowstone River : Carbella Access Site to Livingston
This is the most heavily fished section of the Yellowstone River, flowing
through the beautiful Paradise Valley. Besides offering solid trout
fishing, any angler will be awarded with scenic vistas of the towering
Mountains to the east and the Gallatin Range on the west.
In this section of the Yellowstone River a solid mix of large brown trout,
cutthroat and rainbow trout are found, providing an angler with a wide
variety of fly fishing opportunities.
As in the upper section, the Yellowstone River is typically swollen
and muddy due to spring run-off from mid May to early July, limiting
top water fishing. However, for those times when the river runs clear
due to either cold weather or a limited snow pack, excellent dry fly
fishing can be had using standard Caddis flies, such as the Elk Hair
Caddis. When going after rainbow trout, locate the edges of slow and
fast current, floating the fly right along the seam. Brown trout can
also be taken by floating the fly right along the rivers edge and around
obstructions in the river, such as rocks and downed trees.
Most likely, however, early summer conditions will leave the Yellowstone
River murky and muddy. When this happens, fly fishing this stretch isn't
much different than fishing further upstream discussed previously. Use
large nymphs or large attractors, floating them down deep in slower current.
Dark colors are once again recommended.
Later in summer, this stretch of river, as is the rest of the Yellowstone
River, turns into prime hopper fishing waters. As the river flows through
the Paradise Valley, the riverbanks are lined with grass and hayfields
- prime hopper country. Use a larger hopper in sizes 2-10, noisily plopping
them in the water and floating them right along the banks. If you're
tired of fishing hoppers, attractor flies such as Royal Wulffs also work
A number of feeder creeks feed into the Yellowstone River along this
section. For the angler who has a boat or is willing to walk along the
riverbanks to reach these feeder creeks, fly fishing at the mouths of
these creeks can provide for some excellent action. Many of these little
creeks have their own little mayfly and caddis hatches, providing the
angler with excellent fly fishing if they happen to be there when the
hatch happens. Additionally, some of these creeks will run clear when
the Yellowstone River is running murky, allowing an angler to fly fish
top water when they would otherwise be forced sub-surface due to spring
run-off. When fly fishing at the mouths of these creeks, float a dry
fly along the seams of fast and slow current, as the large trout will
frequently be found holding there.
Finally, as the Yellowstone River nears Livingston, a number of braids
and channels begin to occur in the river. Don't ignore these channels,
as they often hold large fish. Additionally, since most anglers do tend
to ignore the side channels and braids, fishing pressure tends to be
less. Look for braids and channels that are fairly deep with a decent
current, as they are less likely to have frozen over during the winter
or run dry during a previous summer of low water. While you will find
trout in braids that do freeze over, you won't find many large trout
for the simple reason that food will be scarce in braids that freeze
over during the winter.
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