As of now
We (The state of Montana) still have the 14 day quarantine in place for anyone arriving from out of state. And with that Montana has all three of our entrances to Yellowstone National Park closed due to Covid-19. As of Monday, May 18 the South entrance and the east entrance on the Wyoming side are open. The regular fishing season starting the third Saturday in May will be on time for the southeastern portion of the park. See Map below.
So the big question is what about Montana?
When is Montana going to open their entrances to Yellowstone Park.?? After staring at my crystal ball my guess will be on June 1, 2020. My guess is that on the same day (Hopefully) our governor well drop the 14 day quarantine for out-of-state visitors. With that said our season opener for Montana-based guide services will have to wait. There is a small glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel and keep your fingers crossed and hopefully our guides and clients will be able to enjoy Yellowstone Park starting June 1, 2020
Don’t forget, fishing in Yellowstone requires a special fishing license that is different from your Montana fishing license. Starting next week we will have them for sale at the shop.
Normally but not this year
The Saturday of Memorial Day is opening day and will greet anglers with opportunities for quality fishing. Opening weekend typically finds most of the park’s streams and rivers swollen with snowmelt. Many river systems such as the Yellowstone and its tributaries (the Lamar, Slough Creek, etc.) are virtually unfishable during the early portion of the park’s fishing season. The portion of the Gallatin River within the park is typically fishable from a clarity standpoint, but the river and its tributaries will be flowing high and water temperatures will be cold.
Some of the best early season fishing opportunities in the park can be found along the Madison River and its two primary tributaries. The Firehole River and the Gibbon River. These fisheries are located near the park’s West entrance and are go-to destinations for most of our guide trips in the park. The Firehole is a popular opening weekend destination for anglers, and for good reason.River flows are typically moderate and it’s a fairly safe bet that trout will be found rising to hatches. Both caddis and baetis in the classic meadow water above the falls.
Below the falls on the Firehole, anglers may still find a few large, holdover fish that migrated up from Hebgen Lake during the fall spawning run. These fish can be taken on large stonefly nymphs imitating the giant salmonfly, a hatch that occurs in early June on the lower Firehole due to its thermal influence. Should opening weekend find the Firehole flowing high and turbid, anglers can still find success, but may need to shift gears and trying swinging soft hackles or nymphing.
The Gibbon River
This is a very diverse fishery that provides less reliable fishing for opening weekend.Some years it fishes very well on the opener, and during other years it is too high and off color to be productive. If conditions allow, anglers will do well nymphing below the falls with stonefly patterns, or with baetis imitations along the river’s upper meadow reaches.
Opening weekend in Yellowstone is a tradition for many anglers, give us a call (800-423-4742) to discuss planning your own trip.