Wind (rather than ice) has been the biggest factor keeping people off the river these days. While the wind helps keep up the fight against ice, a steady 45 mph wind makes rowing a miserable chore at best, and in the worst conditions, a little dangerous. Unless you really like rolling the dice, wade fishing is the way to go. If you get totally blasted by the wind you can always call it quits and reel in, where as on a boat you’re committed to 5 or 6 more hours of torture. The best way I’ve found to fish the Yellowstone in the winter is with a spey rod. With the Stone down to 1660 CFS you can cover a lot of water (and high stick it over the rapids to hit the slower water on the other side just right). I tried a handful switch and spey rods this winter and for dealing with the wind, my favorite by far is the G. Loomis 15′ 10/11 NRX matched with Rio’s 650 grain Skagit line and a 10′ sink tip. Even my worst roll cast with this rod beat my best cast with a 9’#8. A lot of people would say it’s way to much rod for playing trout, but it’s not really about how it will fight fish, it’s more about how it will cast two meaty streamers to the other bank on a windy day.