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Top 5 Rivers to Fly Fish in Bozeman, MT

Top 5 Rivers to Fly Fish in Bozeman, MT

5 Best Fly Fishing Rivers in Bozeman, Montana

Fly fishing in Bozeman, MT is a world-class experience that brings anglers from all over the country and beyond to fly fish the many blue ribbon rivers surrounding town. With the headwaters of the Missouri River to the west, the mighty Yellowstone River to the east, and the legendary Madison River to the south, Bozeman truly is the epicenter of fly fishing in Montana and the best destination for your next Montana fly fishing trip. With hundreds of miles of blue ribbon water within and hour of Bozeman, it can be overwhelming to plan exactly where to fly fish. Our Bozeman fly fishing guides and outfitter spend roughly a thousand days on the rivers each year and with that have put together our list of the top 5 rivers to fly fish in Bozeman, MT on your next trip. Contact us to learn more and book your next Montana fly fishing trip today.

1) The Yellowstone River

The Yellowstone River is the longest free-flowing river in the lower 48, boasts over 150 miles of floatable and fishable trout water, and offers anglers the purest experience of fly fishing for wild trout in a wild and scenic setting in Montana. Dry fly fishing is king on the Yellowstone River with excellent early season mayfly hatches in April, the world-famous Salmonfly hatch in late-June and early-July, followed by excellent terrestrial and mayfly action through the heart of the summer and into the fall. Anglers planning a Bozeman fly fishing trip should count on spending a few days on the Yellowstone River due to the sheer size and variety offered. The upper reaches are highlighted by healthy populations of native Yellowstone cutthroat trout that are always eager to rise. The middle reaches of Paradise Valley through the town of Livingston, MT offer fly fishing in Montana’s most picturesque and scenic mountain setting. Downstream of Livingston, MT anglers are greeted by the vast Montana prairie and the large trophy sized brown trout lurking around every bend. Our Bozeman fly fishing guides are experts on the Yellowstone River and offer float trips on

2) The Madison River

The Madison River is the iconic Montana river in the storied legacy of fly fishing for many anglers. These hallowed waters flow from the high reaches of Yellowstone through the sweeping Madison River Valley to the southwest of Bozeman, MT on its course to the Missouri River headwaters. From its inception in the high country, through it terminus in the prairie, the Madison River boasts some of the highest fish per mile counts in the west and strong hatches that fuel the wild Madison River rainbow and brown trout. The “50-mile riffle” section on the Upper Madison River near Ennis, MT is the big show for most anglers with productive fly fishing available year-round. April-October is prime time with highlights including the Salmonfly hatch in June and July, streamer fishing early and late season, and epic caddis hatches in July and into August. Every year the biggest trout we see come to net are on the Madison River. This is can’t miss fly fishing on any Bozeman fly fishing trip.

3) Northeast Corner of Yellowstone National Park

What’s better than a single river to fly fish? How about arguably the highest density of productive wild cutthroat trout water in the world. The northeast corner of Yellowstone National Park is home to the headwater of the Yellowstone River and all of its storied tributaries: Soda Butte Creek, the Lamar River, Slough Creek, and the dozens of lesser known creeks in this region. This part of Yellowstone National Park is dry fly country. Anglers can reasonably expect to fish dry flies and have eager cutthroat rising from 7/1-10/15 each year. There is no better wade fishing opportunities in our area, with ample access and limitless wide open spaces. Our Bozeman fly fishing guides feel Yellowstone is the best option for anglers with a sense of adventure, wanting to put in the time on foot, and willing to take the road less travelled for the pursuit of wild trout. Anglers looking for the classic ‘small-stream’ experience will want to plan 1-3 days in this area to really take it all in. The Lamar River in the Lamar Valley is the best starting point. From there, the options are limited only by your sense of adventure.

4) DePuys and Armstrong Spring Creeks

If you know, you already know. If you don’t know, but casting delicate dry flies at spooky and selective rising trout is your idea of a fun time, then the Paradise Valley Spring Creeks are can’t miss fishing or your next Bozeman fly fishing trip. The Depuy’s and Armstrong Spring Creeks are quintessential trout water with high fish per mile counts, predictable hatches of mayflies throughout the summer, and a sense of history and lore on every run. Just don’t expect easy. The Paradise Valley Spring Creeks will test the best of anglers on their best of days. These technical fisheries reward patient anglers willing to put in the time and thought to better their own angling ability and humble themselves to these wild trout. Bring your A-game and a learning mindset and you will be rewarded with one of the most unique fly fishing experiences in all of Montana. Guide availability is very limited on the Paradise Valley Spring Creeks and trips are limited to small groups of 1-4 anglers.

5) The Gallatin River

The Gallatin River is the “river that runs through it” with many of the iconic moments filmed on its winding course between Big Sky and Bozeman, MT. While guiding is limited, access to the Gallatin on this stretch is plentiful with Highway 191 paralleling the banks as is passes through US forest service land, making for excellent roadside fly fishing. This is a perfect river for first-timers venturing to Bozeman as the classic riffle-run-pool structure of the Gallatin River makes for a perfect beginner learning experience. The Gallatin River is also one of the best winter fisheries in Bozeman, MT with excellent nymphing available throughout the snow season. Our Bozeman, MT fly fishing guides primarily focus on the float section of the Lower Gallatin River downstream of the Gallatin Canyon, and the headwaters section upstream of Big Sky, MT in Yellowstone National Park. The lower river is excellent fishery and a great option for a chance at a truly trophy trout. The upper reaches fish akin to a spring creek with challenging but rewarding dry fly fishing throughout the summer months.

There are countless other rivers favored by local and visiting anglers to Bozeman, MT that could be on this list. This is the tip of the fly fishing iceberg. With that, a sense of exploration will yield a lifetime of fly fishing adventure in Bozeman. Fish on!

Ready to book your next Bozeman fly fishing trip with our fly fishing guides? Book online with our Montana fly fishing outfitter today.

2023 Montana Fly Fishing Season Kick-Off

2023 Montana Fly Fishing Season Kick-Off

2023 Montana Fly Fishing Guides and Trips

It is officially fly fishing season again in Montana and our guides are ready for what is shaping up to be another great season. We have had a busy winter with our Winter & Spring Special Trips going out on the Paradise Valley Spring Creeks near Bozeman, MT and the Missouri River near Craig, MT. These trips are a great way to get out for some early season action, with anglers treated to wide open rivers, good fishing, and a great discounted rate.

Looking ahead at what’s to come, we have had an excellent winter with cold temps and a great snowpack sitting just above average. Pending extreme weather this spring we are looking forward to normal flows and cold water all summer long. The Yellowstone River fished excellent following the early season flooding of 2022, with great catch rates and healthy trout by late July, with strong hatches through the fall. We are looking forward to what should be a great Salmonfly and stonefly hatches this year by early July.

Our calendar is booking up quickly for prime dates in 2023. Our Montana Fly Fishing Lodges in particular have limited availability for May-July. If you are planning a trip for 2023 and want an “all-inclusive” experience, the time to book is today.

2023 Bozeman, MT Fly Fishing Trips

Close to home in Bozeman, MT we are expecting really great fly fishing by early April on the Madison River, the Yellowstone River, and the Paradise Valley Spring Creeks. All three have great early season hatches with the Yellowstone River offering consistently great dry fly fishing my the middle of the month. Streamer fishing can be another great option early season and gives anglers a chance at truly trophy sized trout.

With a strong snowpack we are expecting a full run-off season from May-late June. During this time frame anglers will do themselves well by planning on fly fishing the Missouri River near Craig, MT. By late June we expect flows on the Madison River to drop, salmon flies to pop, and the fly fishing to be solid. We expect the Yellowstone River to fish well soon after. The prime float trip season of 7/1-8/15 is booking fast. Contact us today for more information and to book your 2023 Bozeman fly fishing trip.

For 2023 we are expanding public water wade trip offerings. These trips are perfect for 1-2 anglers with a sense of adventure looking to explore some of Montana’s hidden gems. These trips are all on smaller water and require hiking 1-3 miles during the course of a day. Late July-mid September is the best time for these trips.

2023 Missouri River Fly Fishing Trips

Our fly fishing guides on the Missouri River have already been hard at work in 2023 getting anglers into some great fly fishing this winter and we are looking forward to a great spring ahead. The Missouri River basin has had an excellent winter and we are expecting good flows throughout the spring, summer, and fall. Generally this translates to great early season fly fishing in April, excellent catch rates in May-early June, and strong hatches of caddisflies and mayflies from mid-June through October.

Prime dates for May and June are just about fully booked, but we do have availability for 2-3 days trips for smaller groups of 1-4 anglers. The nymphing in May will be as good as it gets and the dry fly fishing in June should be great. We have had excellent hopper fishing the past 3 summers in August and we expect 2023 to bring more of the same, followed by great hatches and fly fishing in September and October.

New for 2023 we are offering lodging packages with 3 different lodges on the Missouri River. Expanded offerings have increased our availability. Ready to book? Contact us today for more information and to plan your 2023 Missouri River fly fishing trip with our Montana fly fishing guides.

2023 Yellowstone National Park Trips

Want to learn about our guided trips in Yellowstone National Park? Find us on the Destination Angler Podcast, where our outfitter talks all things Yellowstone. Great way to learn more about fly fishing in Yellowstone National Park with our guides.

We look forward to fly fishing with you in 2023! Contact us today to plan your next Montana fly fishing trip.

May 2021 Montana Fly Fishing Forecast

May 2021 Montana Fly Fishing Forecast

Montana Fly Fishing in May 2021

May is right around the corner and with it our anglers and guides will kick-off the prime Montana fly fishing season. As water temps climb out of winter lows, some of the first great hatches of the year will arrive on our Montana rivers. Great hatches mean great dry fly fishing.

The mother’s day caddis hatch on the Madison River, Yellowstone River, and Missouri River is usually the star of the show early-mid May. This hatch gives a whole new meaning to the term “blanket hatch” with mats of caddis piling up in every river eddy and trout rising to take them. Mixed in on overcast days anglers will also find hatches of Blue Winged Olive (BWO) mayflies continue on through the middle of the month. Anglers with a keen eye will also find March Brown mayflies, skwala stoneflies, and even a few early season terrestrials mixed in as water flows come up.

Spring run-off on our area freestone rivers has held off for now but with day time highs in the 70s it is a matter of days before the Yellowstone River, Gallatin River, Jefferson River, and other area freestone rivers run high and muddy. With that anglers in Bozeman, MT will find the best fly fishing on the Lower Madison River, Upper-most Madison River, Paradise Valley Spring Creeks, and private water lakes through late-June. Yellowstone National Park opens for fly fishing the Saturday of Memorial day weekend and is a great option for wade fishing later in the month of the Firehole and Gibbon Rivers.

Anglers fly fishing on the Missouri River near Craig, MT will be treated to some of the best fly fishing of the year through the month of May. The Missouri River tailwater is not affected by spring-run off due to snowmelt and projected flows below average for 2021 should make for excellent dry fly fishing. The nymphing on the Missouri River is always some of the most productive of the year with high catch rates and the largest average sized trout of any river in Montana. We are also hopeful that lower flows could make for some of the best streamer fishing in recent history.

Montana Fly Fishing Trips in May 2021

Our Montana fly fishing guides are looking forward to a great May 2021 with anglers able to safely travel and enjoy Montana fly fishing trips after our operations were closed for April and limited in May of 2020. We do still have good guide and lodging availability for anglers planning a last-minute Montana fly fishing trip. We offer all-inclusive guided fly fishing and lodging packages with the Missouri River Ranch that make for a truly incredible trip.

Looking ahead past May guide and lodging availability is extremely limited from June 1- August 15. Anglers interested in booking a Montana fly fishing trip in Bozeman and on the Missouri River during this time frame can contact our outfitter to start the planning process.

We are looking forward to another great season of fly fishing in Montana, see you on the water soon!

4/19/2021  Bozeman, MT Fly Fishing Report

4/19/2021 Bozeman, MT Fly Fishing Report

Bozeman Fly Fishing Overview

Spring has sprung in Bozeman, MT and April is always a favorite time for fly fishing in Montana for our anglers and fly fishing guides. Cooler mornings make for great nymphing and streamer fishing, with mid-morning hatches of Blue Winged Olive (BWO) Mayflies, midges, skwalas, and larger March Brown mayflies making for excellent dry fly fishing or dry-dropper fishing most afternoons.

The rivers around Bozeman, MT are quiet and anglers can expect solitude on the water most week days. Nicer weather on weekends has brought anglers out of their winter slumber, but a short drive past the popular put-ins will make for weekend solitude as well.

The Missouri River has been the star of the fly fishing show as of late with above average catch rates nymphing on the upper river. Closer to Bozeman, the Yellowstone River and Madison River have also been productive with the best fly fishing in the afternoon. Our anglers and guides have found success daily with nymphs, streamers, and dry flies all accounting for trout in the net.

Due to ever increasing demand for fly fishing in Montana and COVID-rebookings from the 2020 season our Montana fly fishing guides already have limited availability for most of the prime-2021 season from May thru October. Anglers interested in booking a Montana fly fishing trip are encouraged to book as far in advance as possible, last minute availability for trip booked inside of 2 weeks will likely be non-existent for June, July, and August.

Contact our Montana fly fishing outfitter today to learn more and book your next Montana fly fishing trip with our professional guides.

Missouri River Fly Fishing Report

The Missouri River is the go-to river for our anglers and Montana fly fishing guides in April. 2021 has spoiled us so far with great fly fishing from Holter Dam, thru Craig, and downstream to Cascade. Nymphing has continued to be the most productive tactic with anglers enjoying above average catch rates on the upper river. Streamer fishing has been productive downstream of Craig, MT and dry fly fishing opportunities have been available daily. Expect the dry fly fishing to only improve as we move late into the month and into May with BWO hatches improving daily. Overcast and rain will be the best forecast for the bugs to show and trout to rise.

Yellowstone River Fly Fishing Report

The Yellowstone River has been rock solid since mid-March and looking ahead conditions will remain great until flows spike due to snowmelt. Nymphing has been great with stonefly nymphs #8-14 and a variety of mayfly, caddis, and midge attractor flies #12-18. Mornings are still cold so no rush to the water: anglers will find the best bite from 1PM-5PM. Strong hatches of BWOs and midges have made for the most consistent dry fly fishing in the Bozeman area.

Madison River Fly Fishing Report

Good to great on both the Lower and Upper Madison River as of late. The streamer bite has been solid and anglers willing to commit to the strip will find big brown trout. Nymphing will put numbers in the net. The trout have started to spread out, but deeper slower runs have remained the most productive. Consider stopping and wade fishing. Dry fly fishing has been limited to slower water and slicks, but keen anglers will find rising trout in shallow riffles as BWO hatches improve on overcast days.

Paradise Valley Spring Creeks Fly Fishing Report

DePuy Spring Creek, Armstrong Spring Creek, and Nelson Spring Creek are always spring favorites for anglers in Bozeman, MT. The best wade fishing around. Nymphing has been productive daily with strong hatches of midges and BWOs on cooler, overcast days. Look for these hatches to remain strong through late-May with “bad weather” making for the best fishing. Walk slow, observe the stream, and match the hatch!

April 2021 Montana Fly Fishing Forecast

April 2021 Montana Fly Fishing Forecast

Montana Fly Fishing in April 2021

April is a favorite month for our Montana fly fishing guides and anglers and 2021 is shaping up to be a great one. April is the official kick-off to the fly fishing season each year and it is amazing to think how far we have come over the last year and how much we have to look forward to in 2021. Anglers from all over the country will be joining us in the next month for Montana fly fishing trips on the Missouri River, Madison River, Yellowstone River, and more as life and fly fishing have started to take a step back to normal.

Spring fly fishing in Montana means streamers and nymphing in the morning with great dry fly fishing in the afternoon. This pattern is exemplified on our western rivers in April with great late afternoon hatches of BWOs, March Browns, and skwala stoneflies that reward the anglers that sleep-in and stay out late. No rush to the water.

Looking ahead the weather is moving into a spring weather pattern that should make for ideal conditions. A solid snowpack will make for good flows all season. The freestone rivers near Bozeman, MT should hold through at least the 25th of the month with reliable flows and clarity. The Missouri River will only get better as temperatures warm and flows increase.

April 2021 Montana Fly Fishing Trips

Planning a Montana fly fishing trip for April 2021? There is likely no better destination in the US than the Missouri River. The nymphing, streamer fishing, and technical dry fishing will treat even the most seasoned of anglers. We still have good guide availability and lodging capacity thru the end of the month.

Closer to Bozeman, MT the Yellowstone River offers great early season dry fly fishing most afternoons. Dense hatches of mayflies and midges make for exciting action. The Madison River offers reliable subsurface fly fishing, with great wade fishing at early spring flows.

Solitude is plentiful on Montana’s rivers in April. For anglers willing to roll the dice on weather, there is no better month to come on a Montana fly fishing trip. Contact us to learn more about our Montana fly fishing guides and book your next trip with the Montana Angling Co.