Montana and Yellowstone Park Fishing Report

Montana and Yellowstone Park Fishing Report

This report is valid from November 8 through November.

The Yellowstone National Park season is now closed for the year! The season reopens Memorial Day Saturday, 2022. The park closure means we’re down to just a handful of good fisheries. Really, it’s getting to be fly tying season, and ski season starts around December 1.

The best nearby options if you have $40 burning a hole in your pocket are the Paradise Valley Spring Creeks. These private creeks stay warm due to the constant-temp groundwater, so active fish are possible all year. This month, beware of spawning browns over gravel. That said, the resident rainbows will eat brown trout eggs downstream of spawning areas, so egg flies are a good choice. Also look for BWO or midge hatches, or fish medium-sized streamers.

The Yellowstone River continues to fish well in the afternoons. Fish stonefly nymph and egg (or attractor nymph) combos downstream of spawning areas, swing streamers in larger pools, or look for midge and BWO hatches in the afternoons. The best hatches will occur on the east bank of the river since this side gets more afternoon sun. The trout will generally be moving into slow water now, since the Yellowstone is cold.

The Madison River and Missouri River are further afield, but both should be warmer than the Yellowstone. The same tactics will work on these rivers. If fishing the Missouri between Toston Dam and Canyon Ferry Reservoir, stick to large runs and use swung streamer techniques for a (small) shot at the largest trout of your life.

The brown trout spawn is starting to wind down, but it’s important to still be careful to avoid spawning areas, particularly spawning nests aka redds themselves. Redds are areas of clean pea to fist-sized rock in areas with a steady flow of walking speed water. There are tons of redds right now, both at the tailouts of larger pools and in areas of gravel within pocket water. Stick to fishing the deep boulders and you’ll avoid disrupting the spawn.