Abstract Lines

Montana Rivers 

The Most Recognizable Names in Fly Fishing

A streamer caught Yellowstone River Brown Trout

The Yellowstone 

The Yellowstone is the longest free flowing river in North America. With nearly 200 miles of highly productive trout water, the Yellowstone's fame is well deserved. The Yellowstone provides an incredibly diverse venue for a Montana fishing trip. The upper river is teeming with native cutthroat eager to eat on top. As the river winds through Livingston, the fishery provides ample opportunities to catch plus-sized brown and rainbow trout.

The Season: We fish the Yellowstone in April prior to runoff. Pre runoff fishing provides both surface and subsurface opportunities to catch fish that haven't seen flies in months . We return to the Yellowstone after run off in June and fish it into November. 

The Madison 

The Madison River is unparalleled when it comes to diversity. The Madison River provides anglers the opportunity to experience the best wade and float fishing around.  Because of its shallow nature, the river is highly oxygenated and harbors a plethora of aquatic insects, growing big fish and providing a lot of surface activity. The river's population mainly consists of brown and rainbow trout, nearly all of which are full bodied and spry. 

The Season: The Madison provides a legitimate 12 months of fishing year in and year out. Some of the rivers best months of dry fly fishing are in the dead of winter.

Spring fishing on the Madison River near Ennis
A Stillwater River Rainbow Trout.

The Stillwater

The Stillwater is an outstanding attractor dry fishery and bolsters a vibrant trout population. Because of its rocky nature, rafts and the ability to row are required to safely navigate the river. While pitching hoppers out of raft to structure is the main attraction, large emerald pools afford anglers excellent wade fishing. For the night owls, late starts mean evening hatches of caddis that seemingly every fish 

The Season: We fish the Stillwater through April until runoff strikes in May. Once the river clears in June we return to the Stillwater and fish it into the fall.

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The Boulder

The Boulder River originates in the high country and provides cold clean water year round. Optimal water temperatures coupled with ample structure makes the Boulder a fish factory. Limited access and technical boulder gardens deter many anglers and outfitters from running this hidden jewel. The Boulder provides ample opportunities for float and wade angler. The river bolsters an impressive population of caddis and stoneflies providing anglers action from top to bottom. 

 

The Season: We fish the Boulder through April until runoff strikes in May. Once the river clears in June we return to the Boulder and fish it into the fall.

 

Dry Fly Fishing the Boulder River in Montana
A brown trout and trout spey on the Missouri River

The Missouri

The Missouri River is seemingly synonymous with big trout and lots of them. For beginning anglers, a few days on the Mo' will build confidence and provide early success. For advanced anglers, a plethora of hatch insects provides technical dry fly scenarios while fishing to respectable trout! The  Mo' provides something for everyone.

The Season:  As a tailwater fishery the Missouri provides 12 months of quality opportunity to catch trout. Spring nymphing and trout spey season begins in March. The insect activity picks up in April and continues through the summer. As the weather cools the fishing becomes primarily subsurface.

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The Gallatin 

The Gallatin is a quaint, local freestone just west of Bozeman. While the access sites receive a lot of enjoyment from local and traveling anglers, floating the river can provide anglers with a secluded fishing experience and fresh fish. The Gallatin boasts good numbers of brown and rainbow trout caught from the boat or wade. 

The Season: We have caught fish 12 months of the year on the Gallatin, however we generally target this river in March and April and in mid-June following runoff.

Winter fishing on the Gallatin River.
Sun Rise and morning dry fly fishing on the Big Horn

The Bighorn 

The Bighorn River is perhaps the most recognizable river in fly fishing. The 'Horn is a spectacular spring, winter and fall fishery with clean, oxygenated river. While the river has had down years, the shoulder season months have remained solid and fish filled. The Bighorn provides prolific dry fly fishing at times and consistently good nymph fishing. 

The Season: While the Bighorn is a tailwater and fishes 12 months of the year, we target the Bighorn in the spring and winter when the river is  free from vegetation and the crowds have abated.