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The Yellowstone River

The float down this marvelous river is simply gorgeous and the fishing can be excellent. Like all un-dammed freestone rivers, how good the fishing is has much to do with the water level, its temperature, and clarity. In mid May of 1999, the Mother’s Day caddis hatch offered some of the finest dry fly fishing one could find anywhere and this lasted until runoff in early June. Again, in mid July (after runoff), the fishing picked up where it left off with superb dry fly action all the way into late August. This is a float river–at least in so far as coverage is concerned.

However, usually by late July, the water level has dropped enough to open an almost never ending series of pools, runs, riffles and back eddies and just about any other type of trout holding water one could imagine–most of which, once reached by drift boat, can be well covered on foot. Rainbows, cutthroats and browns average 10″ to 20″ and an occasional genuine “hog” is possible.