It’s Cutty Time – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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It’s Cutty Time

Your Green Drake imitation is drifting out of the riffles and into the slow pool. Out from the deep green hole, a golden bullet zooms to the surface. It turns downstream, hovering just below your fly. As it floats to the end of the pool, you see your line start to belly. “Eat it. Eat it.”

Afraid of mending and spooking the fish, you let your fly drift until that belly catches up to it and drags it free from its natural drift. The fish darts back down into the depths, to rise another day. Heartbreak.

A similar situation happens at the next spot. But this time you came prepared – with a reach cast. That mid-air mend allows the fly to drift naturally for a few more feet, just long enough to pass the cutthroat inspection. He inhales it and dives to the river bottom. Thirty seconds later you are netting Yellowstone gold, awed by the bright orange slash on its lower jaw and the yellow sides turning to pink then red as more spots abound near its tail.

Now is a great time to go searching for these native treasures. The world-famous streams in the northeast corner of Yellowstone National Park – The Lamar River, Soda Butte Creek and Slough Creek — are clear and fishing pretty well. Mornings have seen good hatches of Green Drakes along with Grey Drake spinner falls. A few hoppers are starting to make noise in the sagebrush but the numbers aren’t there and they haven’t migrated to the river banks yet. Because of this, the fishing is best in the morning and early afternoon, during mayfly activity. On Monday at Slough Creek, the fishing seemed to shut down around 3 p.m.

Hoppers, beetles and ants should be fluttering around shortly, bringing with it primetime terrestrial fishing. Be sure to keep an eye on flows and storms, as a rainstorm can dirty these rivers rather quickly.

Stop by our Bozeman fly shop to get an update on river clarity and check out our fly bins, which are currently full of terrestrial patterns.