Fall Fishing on the Yellowstone River

Montana Fly Fishing Float


Late September and early October have brought us unseasonably warm/sunny weather, but there are still plenty of fishing opportunities to be had.  As many of you know Fall fishing is very weather dependent – the more overcast the weather the better the fall drakes (big size 10/12 mayfly) and baetis hatches.  However, fishing small dry flies (size 16/18) can still be quite productive in the right water.  Small baetis nymphs in the foam back eddies are also productive but if you don’t want to catch the whitefish don’t fish it through the long runs!

If nothing seems to be working for you a small 12 or 14 hopper has still been effective – as Kirk S. found out with this great 21″ cuttbow caught with Eric Adams on October 1st.


Fall Drake – commonly and incorrectly referred to as a green drake or gray drake, Baetis or Fall Blue Wing-Olive, and the bane of all anglers the Psuedo – a nasty size 22-26 mayfly.

Weather & Water Conditions:

Bright and sunny lately, but the weather is supposed to change over the next couple days to cool and cloudy.

Best Technique:

Running small dry flies in the deeper and more structured water has been most effective.  Trout have also been areas with foam holes along with the rip/rap – for these areas fish shallow nymph rigs with size 16s and 20s.

Best Bugs:

Parachute Rat Face McDougal, Morrish Hopper, Purple Haze Parachute, Sparkle Dun, Zebra Midge, and B.H. Pheasant Tails

One thought on “Fall Fishing on the Yellowstone River

  1. JB – This drake is poorly understood. It’s called a Green drake by some, a Gray Drake by others. In all reality it’s neither. Regardless of the specific species it is a size 10 to 12, grey in color with slightly mottled wings – commonly found on many of our local freestone streams in SW Montana.

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