Looking back on 2019 it’s hard to put into words how special this years fishing was. The theme of the summer was hoppers, and we had several guides, locals and visiting anglers tell us that this was the “single greatest hopper fishing year they have ever seen!“ And this was especially true on the Yellowstone River.
It took a while for the snow to melt this year in Montana, so we weren’t fishing quite as early as normal. This gave the river a rest and cool temps prevailed throughout the summer.
We had a good spring season on the Yellowstone and it fished well almost every day in April. We did see a good caddis hatch this year but it wasn’t quite what everyone had hoped for after a long snowy winter.
Runoff was longer than normal this year too, giving us the opportunity to travel around the state to check out how the other great rivers were fishing during May and June. This was also a great time of year to fish some of our private lakes. When the river gets muddy, the local private lakes are at the top of our hit list.
Once the Yellowstone started to drop (around July 1st) we were on it every day. It was a great start and we saw another good salmon fly year. We saw good fishing for the month of July and this was only the beginning to an incredible August and September.
This year’s hopper fishing was truly legendary. If you were lucky enough to experience it, you will know what we are talking about and how special it was. Our guides were fishing single hoppers almost daily and our fly bins were taking a hit because of it. It was fun trying out different hoppers that we are not used to fishing however, and some of the classic patterns from year’s past came through in a big way.
Fall can come quickly in SW Montana and that was certainly the case this year. Starting around the end of September temps dropped quickly and the snowflakes started flying. The Yellowstone fished well when the weather cooperated, and many anglers made the drive towards West Yellowstone to swing streamers and soft hackles for the big browns making their way up the Madison River from Hebgen Lake. If you are willing to put in the time this can be one of the most rewarding fisheries in the fall.
Thanks again to everyone who made this a successful 2019. As we move into winter we are getting the snow shovels ready and filling the hopper bins in anticipation for an excellent 2020.