The Yellowstone River is the last major undammed river in the lower 48 states. It flows for 671 miles from just outside Yellowstone National Park until it empties into the Missouri River in North Dakota. We’ve fished the Yellowstone numerous times both inside and outside the park. The three sections outside the park we’ve fished are from Gardiner down to Yankee Jim Canyon, the Paradise Valley section and the section below Livingston. All of the sections offer great fishing and while similar, offer a bit different fishing experience.
For our “official River Ramble” guide trip on the river, we fished with Jeff Pavlovich, guide and owner of Flies Only Fishing. We actually had a connection to Jeff via our daughter Krista who had worked in Yellowstone National Park with Jeff’s wife, Chris.
We met Jeff in the Albertson’s parking lot in Livingston, not really knowing which section we were headed to fish. It turned out a mud plug had come out of the Lamar River in the park that muddied the section below Livingston, so Jeff decided we’d head up toward Gardiner and fish the section down to Yankee Jim Canyon.
When we put in, Jeff had a yellow bodied “Chernobyl” dry fly on my line and a brown bodied one on Barb’s. These dry flies are mainly a couple of pieces of foam tied together with a little foam topper to help you see the fly; nothing fancy at all. About an hour into our trip, I’d been catching fish at a ratio of about 5:1 to what Barb was catching, so, Jeff put Barb on with a yellow bodied fly and BOOM, she was catching fish, too!
We had a great stream side lunch and when we went back to fishing, Jeff tied on flies exactly as we’d started the day… Barb with a brown bodied Chernobyl and me with a yellow bodied one. Of course, Barb started catching fish right and left with the brown Chernobyl and after she’d caught about 4 fish to my none, Jeff pulled over and tied a brown onto my line… POOF… I was catching fish too.
The funniest part of the day occurred when we’d caught so many cutty’s with our brown Chernobyls Jeff decided we needed fresh flies and tied on yellow Chernobyls. Immediately, we stopped catching fish… so…. Jeff asked us to give him back our torn up, ragged, brown Chernobyls and he tied them back on. BAM… we were catching fish again. At the end of the trip, after these brown flies had caught dozens of fish, Jeff gave them to us as a memento of our trip…. especially given that he couldn’t possibly tie them onto another clients line. However, he did make a stop at the Angler’s West fly shop to buy some new brown Chernobyls.
We had an epic day on the Yellowstone with Jeff and really enjoyed our Guide Talk with him. We hope you do too!