Summer Fly Fishing with the Montana Angling Company
Montana fly fishing during the summer offers anglers the combination of excellent hatches, consistent conditions, and plentiful variety that makes for the best fly fishing of the year. Summer is the backdrop for many of our Montana fly fishing guides’ fondest memories of early days and late nights, on the water in pursuit of rising trout with anglers. From the wild freestone waters of the Yellowstone River to the mighty Missouri River tailwater, anglers can count on truly blue ribbon fly fishing on all of our Montana rivers throughout the summer season.
Montana is dry fly country in the summer with world-class hatches of salmonflies, goldenstones, caddisflies, mayflies, and terrestrials on our blue ribbon rivers. Anglers will find favorable weather and flows perfect for both wade fishing and drift fishing throughout the summer months. This combination makes the summer months the best choice for anglers planning a fly fishing trip to Montana and Yellowstone National Park.
- June offers some of the best fly fishing of the year on the Missouri River. Strong hatches of caddis and PMDs kick off the summer dry fly fishing season with sight fishing for trophy trout.
- The freestone rivers and streams near Bozeman, MT including the Yellowstone River, Madison River, and the many waters of Yellowstone National Park offer anglers the best fly fishing in Montana in July and August.
- The world famous Montana salmonfly hatch in Bozeman, MT is can’t miss fishing. June 20-July 15 is the prime window.
What to Expect
Anglers fly fishing during the summer months of June, July, and August can expect consistently great fly fishing, on all of our Montana rivers. By June 1st spring weather is generally behind us, and our Montana fly fishing guides trade waders and gore-tex for sandals and sunscreen. Stable weather, reliable flows, and predictable hatches makes the summer fly fishing in Montana a ‘sure-thing’ particularly for anglers visiting on a Montana fly fishing trip. Favorable conditions also make a summer fly fishing trip in Montana perfect for anglers of all skill levels.
June is the start of the summer fly fishing season and anglers can expect the best fly fishing on the Missouri River tailwater and nearby, lower elevation rivers and streams. Annual spring run-off on our higher elevation rivers such as the Yellowstone, Madison, and Gallatin Rivers generally subsides by the 25th of June, making these rivers a better option for July and August. By the 1st of July flows are perfect for floating and wade fishing on all of our Montana rivers, and anglers can expect quality dry fly fishing on a daily basis.
The Salmonfly hatch is the main-event for anglers fly fishing in Montana during the summer months. By June 15th the salmonflies start to hatch on the Blackfoot River, near our Missouri River Basecamp, and by the 20th of the month the first big bugs appear on the Madison River. The hatch is in full swing on the rivers in Bozeman, MT by the 1st of July, and makes for some of the most exciting fly fishing of the year on the Yellowstone River. An angler that knows where and when to go could reasonably expect to fish nothing but salmonfly dry flies from mid-June through mid-July everyday with our Montana fly fishing guides. The salmonfly hatch is the best opportunity for catching the largest trout of the season on dry flies.
Where to Fly Fish in Montana
Summer fly fishing in Montana offers the widest variety of fly fishing destinations for anglers in the Big Sky State. By the 1st of July all of our blue ribbon rivers, streams, and lakes are fishing well and boast strong hatches that make for world-class fly fishing. There are many lifetimes worth of water to fish and explore near our home in Bozeman, MT, and no better time to break out the map, grab your fly rod, and start your Montana fly fishing journey than the summer months of June, July, and August.
June fly fishing in Montana is centered around the fly fishing on the Missouri River tailwater and surrounding waters in Craig, MT. Anglers can expect strong hatches of PMDs and caddisflies on a daily basis by the 10th of June, making for some of the best technical dry fly fishing and sight fishing of the season. The quality of fly fishing on the Missouri River in June cannot be over stated. Many of our Montana fly fishing guides are generally booked out a year in advance for this prime window and we see our highest percentage of returning anglers. Earlier in the month, smaller nearby freestone rivers also offer good fly fishing and by the 15th of the month, the Blackfoot River becomes a great option for anglers and boasts one of the best early salmonfly hatches in Montana.
When our outfitter and guides are asked ‘when is the best time to plan a Montana fly fishing trip?’, the answer is always the same: July. July fly fishing in Montana is when most anglers fall in love with fly fishing in Montana, and we are reminded why on an annual basis. By the 1st of the month, spring run-off has generally subsided statewide and all of our rivers are fishing well. From the famous waters of the Yellowstone, Madison, Missouri, and Gallatin Rivers, to the rivers of Yellowstone Park, and smaller waters off the beaten path, there is something for every angler during the month of July. Bozeman, MT is the best destination for a Montana fly fishing trip in July as it offers anglers access to the best range of fly fishing opportunities.
August is hopper season in Montana and anglers can count on solid fly fishing on our larger rivers on a daily basis. The hopper fishing on the rivers near Bozeman, MT is the best in Montana on an annual basis, with great dry fly fishing on a daily basis on the Yellowstone River and Madison River. The Missouri River can also offer great terrestrial fly fishing with both hopper and ant patterns, although the conditions can often be more demanding. Excellent trico hatches on the Missouri River can also be had earlier in the month. Flows on all of our rivers drop by early August, and wade fishing becomes a great option on small and medium sized rivers throughout the month in both Montana and Yellowstone National Park. The famous Yellowstone Park waters in the Lamar Valley including Slough Creek, Lamar River, and Soda Butte Creek and all great options for fly fishing anglers.
Summer Fly Fishing Tactics in Montana
Summer is dry fly fishing season in Montana. Strong hatches throughout the summer months keep our trout looking up and willing to rise to well-presented flies. On the Missouri River and Paradise Valley Spring Creeks, the dry fly fishing is often technical sight fishing where anglers are rewarded by the challenge rather than the number of trout in the net. On our freestone rivers it is all about action, as eager wild trout are willing to rise to large attractor dry flies throughout the prime summer season. While dry flies are king, pre-hatch and challenging conditions will demand nymphing at times and the streamer fishing can also be excellent for anglers targeting quality trout over quantity of trout.
The early summer hatches of PMDs and caddis on the Missouri River is ‘match-the-hatch’ fly fishing at its best. The daily cycle of emergers, duns, and spinners keep the wild trout on the feed throughout the day and eager to take a well presented fly. Anglers can expect to sight fish to both pods and single fish actively rising throughout the day that demand perfection. Drag-free drifts are a must and the correct choice of fly certainly helps. #14-18 emergers, cripples, and spinners are generally preferred to duns. Make your first cast count!
The hatches of stoneflies and terrestrials on the rivers near Bozeman, MT make for different conditions and tactics. These rivers are often more forgiving of anglers, and the trout willingly rise to #6-14 large attractor patterns. High-floating foam flies are often the best choice on these rivers and dry fly and dry-dropper tactics can be used throughout a day of fly fishing. At times, technical presentations and ‘match-the-hatch’ tactics are necessary, but generally anglers of all skill levels can expect success on the Yellowstone River, Madison River, and other nearby freestone rivers and streams. Late-June and early-July, stonefly patterns are the best starting point with #14-18 mayflies and caddisflies also on the menu. By late-July and all through August, terrestrials take over with #6-14 hoppers and #12-18 ants accounting for the majority of trout caught by anglers.
Nymphing in the summer is also very productive but tends to take a backseat to the quality dry fly fishing. For those that prefer sub-surface tactics, expect success with a variety of nymphs throughout the summer. Stonefly nymphs and larger attractor nymphs #6-14 are always a great choice for a top fly, followed by a #12-18 smaller, imitative nymph.
Streamer fishing during the summer, particularly early in the morning and in the evening can be extremely productive. As always, many of the biggest trout of the summer will be caught on streamers. Big patterns are most productive early in the season, but as flows drop and rivers clear, smaller natural patterns becomes more effective.
Summer Fly Fishing Trips in Montana
Summer is the heart of the prime season for Montana fly fishing trips with our professional guides. June and July are always the busiest months of the year with August as a close second. Anglers planning a Montana fly fishing trip for the summer months will enjoy great fly fishing on all of our rivers as well as the widest variety of trip offerings. Our multi-day Custom Trips are the best way to enjoy the best fly fishing, on the most rivers, and the best lodging on a summer fly fishing trip in Montana.
During the month of June, we recommend our Missouri River fly fishing trips in Craig, MT. Float trips on the Missouri River are the highlight of these Montana fly fishing trips and offer some of the best technical dry fly fishing of the year. Float trips on the Blackfoot River and Dearborn River are also great options in June as well as wade fishing on smaller streams and our Private Waters. We also offer Adventure Trips, on a limited basis, for anglers wanting to venture well off the beaten path.
Bozeman, MT is the best destination for a Montana fly fishing trip in July and August. From our home base in Bozeman, anglers will enjoy the widest variety of rivers and trip offerings in Montana with our Bozeman fly fishing guides. From float trips on the Yellowstone River, Madison River, Gallatin River, and smaller freestone rivers to wade fishing trips on smaller streams, private waters, and in Yellowstone National Park, our Bozeman fly fishing trips are the best Montana fly fishing trips in July and August. We also offer Overnight Camping Trips on the Yellowstone River, for anglers wanting a fully immerse Montana fly fishing trip.
Our outfitter handles all bookings personally and treats every trip as custom. We work with anglers directly to book their perfect Montana fly fishing trips. Our Montana fly fishing guides are all seasoned professionals with the experience to make your next Montana fly fishing trip, your best one yet.