Salmonflies were hatching on the upper Yellowstone River over the weekend and provided some fun fly-fishing action. I had backpacked into Yellowstone National Park from the Hellroaring Creek trailhead to reach the Yellowstone River Trail, an 18-mile long hike (22 if you can’t use the creek ford) between Hellroaring and the Eagle Creek Campground above Gardiner.
It was hot, in the 80s every day, and the water was cold but relatively clear. I tied on a big fat sofa pillow salmonfly imitation as a dry fly, and then put a coneheaded salmonfly nymph as a dropper behind that. At first, most of the fish were going for the nymph. My hiking buddy was getting more hookups because he was fishing two nymphs. I started to get more hits when I let the dry fly sink.
On the second day, though, more fish were looking up and taking the dry fly. The fish weren’t huge, Yellowstone cutthroat trout measuring about 6 to 14 inches on average, but they were feisty and at times the action could be fast.
In one hole I landed four fish and lost two in about 10 minutes. For more on the fishing and hiking route, check out my stories on The Billings Gazette’s Outdoors page online at http://billingsgazette.com/lifestyles/recreation/
(Post written by Brett French, Outdoors Editor – Billings Gazette; Cover Photo: Brett French)