Yellowstone National Park will open for fishing on the 28th of May. As more and more rivers are being opened up to year-round catch and release fishing, the excitement of “Opening Day” has lamentably started to go by the wayside. The Memorial Day weekend opening in Yellowstone NP is one place where you can still feel that contagious excitement of the season officially getting underway.
Typically, the Firehole River is one of the most reliable early season options in the park, and we anticipate that this year will be no different. However, what is different this year is that Yellowstone is still holding A LOT of snow that has yet to melt.
Given the altitude in the park, hatches are usually a bit behind where they are in much of the surrounding areas. Expect that the Firehole at this time of year (and this year in particular), will still feel like early spring, and as a result, insect activity will start off with Blue Wing Olives and Midges, and possibly a smattering of March Browns. While the Firehole may not be known for holding lots of big fish, it is still one of the best opportunities around to kick off your dry fly season on one of the most unique rivers in the country.
As of this writing, the Firehole is still running clear and at low to moderate, pre-runoff levels. If temperatures heat up, we could see that change quickly for the worse, but hopefully these conditions will continue and we should see some great fishing in the park before runoff truly kicks in. And, in the big picture, given the huge snowpack, we should continue to see a healthy abundance of water in Yellowstone waters throughout the season.
– Bruce Smithhammer