Yellowstone's Top Patterns?

Ed Call

Well-Known Member
So with a trip to Yellowstone for the family looming now about 5 months away (last week of June) I need to start buying and/or tying flies for that area and its rivers. I've started compiling some lists from local guide sites and that has been very productive.

What I ask the collective, those of you who have fished this amazing place, what are your must have flies for the late June, early July time frame? I realize that depending on temps, winter's weather and snowpack and how fast those temps change that run off could be done or it could be high.

Fishing is not the priority, the family enjoying the trip and park is. As such, any tips on what might get noticed and slurped or struck would be appreciated.


Active Member
check out kelly galloups 3 videos on articulated flies, how to tie them and how to fish them . it is really eye opening if you want to catch big fish. the flies are not that hard to tie but they take time and you cry when one is lost. his latest video is the best, i think. if you like to go to fly shops then you are in luck cause there are more fly shops than bars. mike w


Active Member
When I'm researching a new neighborhood to fish I'll call a local shop or two, intro yourself and secure the name(s) of a few guides. Contact the guides directly, talk fisherman to fisherman by phone. The info I recieve is more detailed and pertinent to the waters I'll be fishing. Guides will help with techniques that work for them and substantially shorten the learning curve which helps alot during a short visit to their neck of the woods. In their business, personal contact is the backbone of their living, referral is both the present and future. It's understandable that shop owners/workers get tired of answering these questions but this is what guides do for a living. Any good guide will welcome your call.

Tom Palmer

Active Member
Hey Mumbles,

I fished the Yellowstone area last summer but about three weeks later (July) and faced the same pattern questions. Here are a few takeaways-
1) Take what local guides/shop owners daily fishing reports tell you with a grain of salt. Some are honest but plenty give generic answers and keep what is really working to their close friends. Use what they suggest as a starting point but be ready to change quick if it's not working.
2) Definitely agree with Blue Ribbon flies and patterns. They are awesome.
3) Charlies Fly Box patterns and step-by-step instructions are also great.

Flies I wouldn't want to be without: (besides the usual stuff)
Barr's PMD emergers- 16
Green Drakes- 12, 14
Purple Haze- 14,16 (para wulfs in different colors)
Lightening Bug- 12-16
Two bit hooker- 16-20
$3 dip- 16-20
Iris Caddis

The key is to be able to switch color and size until you find the right combo for that day and location. You have plenty of time to fill the box(es) between now and then... Good luck!

Ed Call

Well-Known Member
Thank you all very much. I'm going to begin tying flies soon, doing them in batches so that I actually might not only fill the boxes but hone some skills too.

Ed Call

Well-Known Member
LfC, thanks for posting that. I've been browsing your trip planner!
I do not fish two hook flies, and I do not fish barbed hooks.
I will fish a dropper fly, if legal, but I'm not chucking a three fly rig. Seems like a searching tactic to me. I'd rather fish a fly and do my best, given my limited skill, to feel connected to that one fly rig. I do fish hopper/dropper rigs when both flies are tending to be productive though. Thanks again.


Indi "Ira" Jones
I once did very well in Yellowstone Lake for some nice cuts in the Lakes area on a windy day from shore with an indicator on my favorite pattern the... wait for it... the chironomid... Now the secret is out. In fact I once in a subtle way tried to let LFC know this but he really in a not so subtle way blew me off (had to be 6 years ago now). I also hit a lot of Lakers no not Kobe and the bunch just thought I'd do the upper case thing but this time not in Yellowstone Lake or any of it's tribs so only was able to keep a couple each day. I really do not think that the chironomid should be overlooked.


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