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March Browns, Mother's Day Caddis and Run-off on the Yellowstone

Western March Brown Male Dun

The Yellowstone River's spring hatches are in full swing right now. I fished the river a couple days ago, and the Mother's Day Caddis were everywhere. They are all over the outside of my house as I write this today. There were also a lot of Western March Browns ("Western" only for my eastern friends) hatching and a few olives. Heavy wind limited the dry fly action the day I was fishing, but trout and whitefish ate beadhead caddis wet flies and big (size 10/12) Pheasant Tail nymphs readily for the 4 hours I was there.

The Mother's Day Caddis hatch is always a bittersweet event on the Yellowstone. The sheer numbers of caddis are an amazing natural wonder that's cool to witness even if you don't fly fish. But for fly fisherman, the hatch also signifies the beginning of the end for the Yellowstone River's spring season. The river has now nearly doubled its flows since I fished a few days ago. It was about 4,500 cfs when I fished and it's now over 7,000 cfs, off-color, and still rising. The forecast is calling for air temperatures in the mid 70's the next couple days, and high country snow-melt will probably kick into high gear. Very soon, Yellowstone River anglers will begin the great waiting game for run-off to subside, probably some time in early July.

Mother's Day Caddis

I pulled out my old, trusty Nikon for the March Brown photo. But the caddis pic was taken in the wind with my cell phone. It's amazing how phone camera technology has advanced the last few years.

Caddis emerger eating rainbow

The rare whitefish photo of a very common Yellowstone River fish species

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