Fly fishermen in Upper Yellowstone make transition from caddis to hopper

In this Enterprise file photo, Lew Evans of Collbran, Colorado fishing at Carter’s Bridge south of Livingston last summer. Enterprise photo by Hunter D’Antuono.
Jordan P. Ingram
Enterprise Staff Writer

The hot and dry weather is ushering in a change of bait. 

Local fly fishermen are making the shift between the early summer varieties of caddis and stoneflies to late-season terrestrial patterns such as hoppers, beetles and ants in the Upper Yellowstone River, according to longtime Park County fisherman Rick Wollum of Angler’s West Fly Fishing Outfitters in Emigrant. 

“As it dries out, it becomes more about terrestrial fly-fishing,” Wollum said. “The next hatch we’ll experience is closer to the fall. There are still some caddis, but they are waning.”

For the best results in the upper portion of the Yellowstone River, Wollum recommends the Chubby Chernobyl in a size 10, adding that optimal fishing will most likely occur in the hours just before sunrise until noon while the water is still cool from the previous evening. 

For those individuals fly fishing in the lower part of the Yellowstone, Wollum said that midnight stoneflies and mutant stoneflies are starting to pick up. 

Despite a murky appearance to the river this morning, John Bailey of Dan Bailey’s Fly Shop in Livingston also suggested casting to the riverbank.

“People floating streamers along the banks has been good because the river is high,” Bailey said. “But I think the river is going to be dirty for a couple days, but we’ll see what tomorrow brings.”