Copyright 2013 James Marsh
Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
1. BWOs (Little BWOs)
2. Light Cahills
3. Cinnamon Caddis
4. Eastern Pale Evening Duns
5. Little Short-horned Sedges
7. Green Sedges
8. Little Yellow Stoneflies
9. Golden Stoneflies
10. Slate Drakes
11. Little Green Stoneflies
Most available - Other types of food:
12. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
13. Inch Worms
Fishing Tales - Yellowstone River Spawning Cutthroat
The first time Angie and I ever fished the Yellowstone River was in Yellowstone National Park at
Buffalo Ford, or what is now, Nez Perce Ford. It was the opening day of the season on July 15th.
We traveled there from West Yellowstone first thing in the morning. When we arrived, the parking
lot and the river were already crowded. We had been warned it would be crowded but we wanted
to see why. The river is wide and relatively shallow in that area and provides the perfect
spawning ground for the cutthroat. Most of them spawn and move back to the lake before the
delayed opening but there's always, well use to be, plenty left.
While we were putting our waders on sitting on the back of our vehicle a gentleman walked up
from the river and asked about our cameras and video equipment. I guess he thought we were
from a local TV station. It turned out that he worked for Dan Bailey. He had arrived at the river at
daylight. That must have been some drive across the park at night but anyway, he had already
finished fishing. He had caught two cutthroats on a streamer, both around 16-18 inches. By the
way, that is about the average size of the cutthroats you used to catch in this part of the
Yellowstone River. Doing that now, is much more difficult due to the lake trout problem in
I asked why he was quitting. He said it was because he no longer had a chance to catch
anything. He said the crowds had already waded all over the river and disturbed the trout. That is
why he came so early in the morning. He had fished the river for the past several years and knew
exactly what would happen. There were probably 50 to 75 anglers within our sight at that time
and we were in the parking lot, not down on the river. When we got down to the river it was
obvious we needed to leave and look for another area. It would have been impossible for any
trout to not have already been spooked by a wading angler. I'm not saying you shouldn't wade
the Yellowstone there to catch the trout. You should do just that. The problem was we were too
late getting there.
We stayed, but should have left and looked for another location. I decided I would do something
no one was doing and fish along the bank. I fished downstream for maybe a half mile. I saw a
couple of fish but managed to spook them both. They were not on redds. I think they had been
spooked from their redds by wading anglers. After a couple of hours of searching the banks, I
gave up and just sat down near the edge of the bank to rest. Anglers that were fishing and some
that were not fishing, just watching others fish, would walk along the banks all the way down the
river right along the edge. They spooked every fish in sight of the bank.
I noticed when someone walking down the bank got near me, they would politely walk around me
to my rear, not between me and the water. After sitting and resting for a while, watching the other
guys and gals fishing, I noticed a large cutthroat right under my nose. It wasn't over fifteen feet
out from the bank. The people walking around Angie and I sitting on the bank had apparently
given the cutthroat the opportunity to come back on its redd. We were below the line of sight of
the trout because the water was up almost to the top edge of the bank.
I told Angie and asked her not to move. At first I was afraid to do anything but in a minute or two, I
slowly reached for my rod still sitting down and somehow was able to make a side arm cast to the
fish without hanging the fly in the grass behind me. The fly landed in the perfect spot for the drift.
It drifted right to the trout and it swirled and took the fly. Like a total greenhorn, if not a complete
idiot, I proceeded to set the hook and break the tippet. Actually, I don't know if I set it too hard, or
if the tippet had been damaged. I had not looked at it (like you should) in a long time. The big
trout swirled and left. I sat there for another forty-five minutes hoping it would come back. It didn't.
All I know for sure is it left with a barbless hook fly in its mouth.
New Schedule of Daily
Mondays: Weather and Stream
Conditions Forecast - Coming Week
Tuesdays: Fly Fishing Strategies -
Which Flies To Use - Coming Week
Wednesday: Fishing Tales
Thursday: Smoky Mountains Fishing
Friday: Getting Started
Saturday: Fly Fishing School
Sunday: This Week's Featured Trout
More Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us with the dates you will be
fishing the park and we will send
you a list of our fly suggestions.
Please allow up to 24 hours for a
2. Call us at 800-594-4726 and we
will help you decide which flies you
3. Call or email us with a budget for
flies and we will select them and get
them to you in time for your trip.
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