The Madison River also starts within Yellowstone National Park, at the confluence of the Firehole and Gibbon Rivers. Streamers accounted for 20”+ brown trout for each of us. Some sections of the Big Hole provide excellent access for wading. It has information on individual local chapters and can be found here: There are many excellent fly shops across Montana. For the lakes, make sure you bring callibaetis and trico patterns as well as some leech and crawfish patterns. Do yourself a favor and fish the fall run on the Madison River sometime. © Copyright 2021 PlanetWare Inc. All rights reserved. Access points to this section of the Missouri River are abundant off the adjacent Interstate 15. The Bitterroot River offers some of the earliest season fishing with a spring Skwala hatch. The Yellowstone River and Missouri River are the best destinations for anglers planning a fall fly fishing trip in Montana. Add a name or favorite quote. This makes it ideal for fly anglers. Highway 43 extends from Wisdom to beyond Wise River and parallels the waterway. There are plenty of access points to launch a boat on Hebgen. Streamers and dry flies tend to work best, brown and rainbow trout waiting to bite. The narrow stream presents its own challenges but plenty of fish make the effort worthwhile. Cutthroat are also known to swim in these waters. This is probably because of the lower overall fish counts on the Jefferson. Book now. That’s close enough for us though. Don’t forget some spruce moth patterns as they are particularly plentiful on the Gallatin. Rainbow and brown trout dominate although a few brook trout can be found in the upper reaches. But it's the 30- to 40-mile stretch below Holter Dam that is the focus for most trout anglers. Angler heading onto the Missouri River near Wolf Creek Bridge. 6 Smith River. The Madison River is one of the best-known fly-fishing rivers in Montana. In a state world-renowned for big mountains and a landscape carved by glaciers, it’s fly fishing that best captures Montana's essence. The first day was tough as it can often be on new water, but the evening hatch more than made up for it. Nailing down the specifics on this run is tough, but if you hit it right you might catch the brown trout of a lifetime. A particularly good plan is to fish the lake in the morning until the winds pick up. 5 Bighorn River. Outside the park, the river collects at Hebgen Dam, a popular spot for still-water fishing. While there are many great places to fly fish on the Missouri River, some of the best fishing is in the stretch below Holter Dam. This is one of the only places in Montana where it is legal to do so although there are some limitations. Here is a guide to the best fly fishing in Montana. The valley is home to Bozeman, where several outfitters love to flex their knowledge of the waterway. Although these are mostly all privately owned making access somewhat pricey, the fishing is worth the price of admission. Montana's premier fly fishing guide service. I’m going to suggest a 9 foot 5 weight for most dry fly applications and who am I to argue with George Anderson and his 5 weight Shoot Out. All inclusive trips with professional and knowledgeable fly fishing guides. Outside Yellowstone, the river flows for over 40 miles past Big Sky and through Gallatin Canyon. However, if you want to target those cruising gulpers, then a four weight might be best. The 60-mile section between Camp Baker and Eden Bridge is iconic fly fishing. No floating is allowed within park boundaries. Overall numbers of trout begin to decline as you head downriver from Livingston although there are some large trout and even a few sections that still have high densities. The short tailwater below the lake is excellent, but our favorite fishing is downstream of Quake Lake. Rainbow trout are the main quarry on the Bitterroot although some cutthroat and brown trout can be found as well. Here are a few of the flies you shouldn’t leave home without. Some of this notoriety, as well as heavy opposition against a proposed gold mine, led to a revamped appreciation for the river. This stretch of river is famous for fly fishing in Montana, as it is where many of the iconic scenes in A River Runs Through It were filmed. Montana Angler … Fly fishing season in Montana occurs every day of the spring runoff, summer, and fall, depending on the river. 1 The Missouri River. Because the river flows through wilderness, you will have to walk to get to the stream. Because these are spring creeks, they are extremely nutrient rich. Top 10 Dry Flies For Montana . All those big lake fish head up into the Park waters starting in late summer. Anglers come from across the world to land 16-inch rainbow and brown trout, which are in no short supply thanks to superb hatches. Contents hide. Another excellent option is fly fishing on the South Fork or North Fork Sun River within the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. Six months into the pandemic, when the travel itch became unbearable, I quelled my misgivings and took a 17-day trout-fishing trip to Montana and Wyoming. Rainbow, brown, brook, cutthroat, and lake trout are all found in Yellowstone along with grayling and mountain whitefish if you know where to look. The river makes dramatic changes along its path, widening from a small stream to a large river by the time it reaches Missoula. Angling pressure is lower here which probably helps. Wade anglers generally have access to both banks along the river, thanks to the shallow depths. Anglers on the upper section should head to anywhere below where Rock Creek meets the Clark Fork. The history of fishing the Clark Fork River is one of a dead river due to runoff of mining waste. Anglers looking to imitate these unique stoneflies put fishing pressure on the river in spring. You will find rainbow, brown, and a few cutthroat trout here. Here are just a few of our favorites. The amazing diversity of wild trout waters ensures that there is destination to match nearly all interest and skill levels. If you intend to fly fish with streamers for larger trout, then a seven weight fly rod with sinking or sink tip line is a good choice. Rainbows become more common as you head downriver, especially as you enter Paradise Valley. Both wade fishing and float fishing are popular along this 30-mile stretch. Take me to Vrbo. The Ruby River has two distinct sections, the upper and lower. Big Sky Country. The lower Beaverhead suffers from summer drawdowns due to irrigation demands. For anglers, fishing in Montana is about as close as you can get to heaven. If you are interested in local fishing clubs in Montana, check out the state’s Trout Unlimited page. While these permits are hard to get, the limited fishing pressure makes landing a fish easy on the Smith River. Even better, take a break during the heat of the day and fish the evening hatch once other anglers have left the river. The National Park Service does have special regulations including seasonal and permanent closures on certain stretches. The gravel Rock Creek Road that parallels the water also makes finding spots on the river easy. If you get the opportunity, make an effort to hit the salmonfly hatch here. Evening caddis hatches can be fantastic as well. Chances are, though, anglers are going to land something on the Big Hole River. The Big Hole in the southwest part of Montana offers 150 miles of postcard Montana fly fishing. The good news is that the Gallatin is a premier dry fly river. Many of the large trout in Ennis Lake migrate upstream to spawn. Stonefly patterns, egg patterns, and midge larva are a good choice. As with most cutthroat trout, standard attractor dry flies from size 8-16 are best. For many, fly fishing Montana is a way of life and for others it is a fly fishing trip of a life-time. The Smith River is unusual because of the limited access and restrictions on the number of boats allowed to launch each day. This section of the Madison is what drives the international traffic. A boat or float tube is ideal to get you out to where the fish are. The length of the river makes it seem overwhelming to find the right spot to fish. The big treat here is that you can also fish for bull trout. Due to the river’s large size, float fishing is probably the best bet although walk and wade anglers can find fish as well. You can visit their website here: On their website, you can find information about fish stocking, regulations, and buy your fishing license. With some of United States’ very best scenery to go with the amazing fly fishing, Montana is a must fish destination for any serious angler. 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