Parks' Fly Shop fishing reports: yellowstone fishing reports and montana fishing reports

Fishing Report

This is our basic, just the facts Yellowstone country fishing report. This fishing report is organized first by jurisdiction (Yellowstone fishing reports followed by Montana fishing reports), then by river drainage, with the private lakes, spring creeks, and distant Montana waters in their own categories at the end. Small creeks in a given river drainage will be discussed under their parent drainage. If you have any specific questions, or want an up to the second report, give us a call. The links following some location names will take you to stream gauges (and in one case a webcam). Sudden spikes in streamflow usually mean muddy water.

 

Quick Links to Each Drainage/Category

In YNP: Yellowstone inside YNP, Lamar, Gardner, Madison inside YNP, Snake, Gallatin inside YNP

In Montana: Yellowstone, Madison, Private Lakes, Spring Creeks, Other Montana Waters

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone River Drainage Inside YNP

 

Yellowstone River Above the Lake and Lake to Falls

Yellowstone Lake Outlet

Updated August 9

Fishing well if you're okay with small numbers of big fish. You want to "head hunt" here. Sight-nymphing is probably the best bet now, but you might get some fish to rise to terrestrials. "Top rods" might get into double digits here on a good day, though 1-3 fish per day is more likely for most people, though probably half the fish are 20-24 inches.

Yellowstone River, Grand Canyon (Falls to Mouth of Lamar)

Updated August 9

Fishing well but seeing some crowds near the easier accesses. Hatches will be limited except perhaps on cloudy afternoons, when there might be some BWO (more and more as the month progresses). There might also be a few caddis and Midnight Stones, but probably not enough to trigger rises. Large hoppers, crickets, and attractor dries with beadhead droppers will be the most consistent bet, followed by a combo of a big streamer and a little streamer. TOP FLIES: Bead Hare & Copper #12, BH Prince #12-16, Olive Woolly Bugger, #6, PT-Bugger #6, Bow River Bugger #6, Little Chocolate Bugger #10, Card’s Cicada #10, Pink GFA #10-12,. Gold Chubby Chernobyl #8-12, Coachman Trude #12-14, Pink Pookie #10, Cinnamon and Bicolor Flying Ants, #16.

Yellowstone River, Black Canyon (Mouth of Lamar to Gardiner)

Updated July 18

The Black Canyon will generally mirror the Grand Canyon, save that hatches are probably even less likely and we’re more likely to stick to straight terrestrials such as hoppers rather than “multi-role” bugs like Trudes. This water has been muddy some days due to PM thunderstorms. TOP FLIES: Bead Hare & Copper #12, BH Prince #12-16, Olive Woolly Bugger, #6, PT-Bugger #6, Bow River Bugger #6, Little Chocolate Bugger #10, Card’s Cicada #10, Pink GFA #10-12,. Gold Chubby Chernobyl #8-12,

Yellowstone Drainage Small Streams

Updated August 9

All are now in great shape for all your small trout needs. Fish attractor dry/dropper combos and try to stay away from other anglers. The wooded creeks will fish well with Spruce Moths, while those in meadow terrain will fish well with small hoppers and other terrestrials.

Yellowstone Drainage Lakes and Ponds

Updated August 9

All are kind of in the summer doldrums, though Cascade might produce if it's cloudy and there's a midge hatch.

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Lamar River Drainage

Lamar River

Lower Lamar

Updated August 9

Fishing well except when it’s muddy after thunderstorms. Small terrestrials and crickets are now the most likely bets, with a dash of tiny hoppers thrown in. There are still some PMD, Green Drakes, Flavs, Epeorus, and Heptagenia, but hatches will probably only be intense on cloudy days for awhile. TOP FLIES: Soda Fountain Parachute #10-16, Foam Gray Drake #14, Extended Body PMD #16-18, Purple Haze Cripple #16, Flashback Pheasant Tail #16, Lightning Bug #16, Tan Bob Hopper, Black Bob Hopper, Pink Bob Hopper, Pink GFA Hopper, Bicolor Ant (parachute and standard), Foam Beetle.

Soda Butte Creek

Silver Gate (Park Boundary)

Updated August 9

Flies and hatches generally match those of the Lamar, though you may see some fish rising to Spruce Moths, particularly above Round Prairie and you should also be prepared to nymph fish the deeper holes if there’s no hatch. Terrestrials have been producing particularly well here. Expect crowds to be intense, particularly when Soda Butte is clear and the Lamar isn’t.

Slough Creek

Updated August 9

Generally similar to Lamar. You will do best if you hike to the Second Meadow (close to five miles), because Lower Meadow and First Meadow are now seeing heavy pressure and the fish are getting educated. On an average day, expect some rising fish from midmorning to lunch, with terrestrials best at other times.

Trout Lake

Updated August 9

In its summer doldrums. Stick to the flowing water.


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Gardner River Drainage

Gardner River Above Osprey Falls

Updated August 9

Fishing well on attractor dry/dropper combos for lots of small brook trout. About 2-3 weeks of good fishing remain on this water for the season.

Gardner River, Osprey Falls to Boiling River

Updated August 9

Fishing well on medium-sized hoppers and crickets with beadhead droppers. You might see a few Midnight Stoneflies, as well. It's best to get away from the easier accesses, because this water has been getting hit hard when the Lamar system has been muddy, particularly when the lower Gardner is also muddy. Don't hesitate to dredge bigger nymph rigs in the larger pools.

Gardner River, Boiling River to Yellowstone River

Just Below Boiling River

Updated August 9

The recent cool, wet weather has both helped and badly hurt this water. It helps in that the water temps have fallen back into the low 60s and the fish are more active throughout the day than they were during the spate of 90s we had through most of July, but it hurts in that many days this water has been chocolate soup because of runoff from Mt. Everts, the dirt mound "mountain" that rises steeply from the river along this whole section. Flies will generally mirror those mentioned in the previous entry, though you might stick with hoppers here. There are good numbers of them this year.

Small Streams

Updated August 9

All are fishing well, though the roadside water on Obsidian sure gets hammered. Fishing attractor dry/dropper combos is your best bet. About two weeks of good fishing remain on most of the creeks, at least down near the roads.

Lakes

Updated August 9

The Park Service has introduced cutthroats into Joffee Lake, a good move in our opinion. Right now these fish are tiny, six inches or less for the most part, but they're active in warmer water than the brookies and have been rising well in the evenings, particularly when it's damp. Whatever small dry should work fine to put your kid on some rising fish.

 

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Madison River Drainage Inside YNP

Please note: this drainage is infested with New Zealand Mud Snails, an invasive species that poses a large threat to other river drainages in the region. Please clean your gear between fishing this drainage (especially the Firehole) and fishing elsewhere. This website includes information on how to effectively clean your gear.

Madison River in Yellowstone Park

Near West Yellowstone

Updated July 18

Too warm.

Firehole River

At Old Faithful, Lower River

Updated July 7

Now touching 80 degrees daily from Biscuit Basin on down and so done for the summer in this section, the famous water.

Above the Old Faithful closure zone, attractor dry/dropper combos will work well for small brook trout, with an occasional better fish below Kepler Cascade. This water will continue to fish well all summer.

Gibbon River

At Madison Junction

Updated July 18

Too warm below Norris. We'll be fishing elsewhere until fall. Some little brookies are possible on dry/dropper combos above Norris.

Grebe & Wolf Lakes

Updated August 9

Summer doldrums. Stick to flowing water.


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Snake River Drainage

Snake River

Updated July 2

High, murky, and cold, but clearing. Streamers will be your best bet.

Lewis River

Updated July 2

Still very high, but more than clear enough top to bottom. The canyon water might produce a fish or two on dry/dropper combos, while the meadows will be so wet and sloppy that we suggest staying away. The mosquitoes will suck you dry before you get to the river, anyway.

Lewis and Shoshone Lakes

Updated July 2

Starting to get challenging as the fish move into deeper water. Mornings will be best. Fish streamers along the dropoffs.


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Gallatin River Drainage Inside YNP

Gallatin River

Updated August 9

We've been selling lots of spruce moths to folks headed over here. For more details, check with Gallatin River Guides in Big Sky or Blue Ribbon in West Yellowstone.

Small Streams

Updated August 9

Should be fishing well on terrestrials.


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Montana

Yellowstone River Drainage

Yellowstone River, Gardiner to Emigrant (Gardiner Basin and Upper Paradise Valley)

Yellowstone River Webcam, Corwin Springs Stream Gauge

Updated August 9

Fishing well on small hoppers, ants, attractor dries, and flashy/bright beadheads, though in all honesty we don't fish nymphs on this water much. With the river at 4000+ cfs still, the fish are often still right on the banks. When in doubt, aim for the first current seam off the bank, whether it's 2 inches or 20 feet from shore. Make sure to give the cutts time to eat. We've been seeing more 16-19" cutthroats over the past week or so, a sign they're dropping out of the creeks from spawning and are now back on the feed. TOP FLIES: Pink, peach, and cream Bob Hoppers #14, Bicolor and Cinnamon Flying Ants #16, Pink and Peacock Clacka Caddis #14, Purple Haze Cripple #16, Pink Caddis Pupa #16.

Yellowstone River, Emigrant to Shields River (Middle of Paradise Valley to just east of Livingston)

Livingston

Updated August 9

The dry fly fishing is getting better and better on this stretch as more terrestrials show up. Small hoppers and ants (same as those mentioned above) have been producing the best numbers, but big gold Chubby Chernobyls are producing a few big fish on the surface. Underneath, we're dead-drifting olive streamers in the #2-6 range trailing either caddis pupae or flashy mayfly nymphs. This technique produces more whitefish than trout, but you can expect to turn at least one brown over 20 inches every day you try this technique, if you stick to it and hammer the turbulent seams. This is our best year ever for browns over 22 inches, and every one has come with this method...

Yellowstone River, Shields River Confluence to Clark Fork Confluence

Springdale, Big Timber

Updated August 9

Fishing very well when clear. The bugs are generall the same as above, save that the hopper fishing might be even better on this stretch, and we're inclined to go BIG on hoppers, in the hopes of hanging one absolute monster brown.

Other Waters

Updated July 18

Mill Creek is fishing well on attractor dry/dropper combos.

 

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Madison River Drainage

Madison River, Hebgen Lake to Quake Lake

Updated June 15

This water is clear but crowded. For details, check in West Yellowstone.

Madison River, Quake Lake to Ennis Lake

Below Quake Lake, Near Cameron

Updated July 2

Salmonfly hatch in full swing! Check with our friends at Blue Ribbon in West Yellowstone, Troutfitters in Bozeman, or Gallatin River Guides in Big Sky for details. We're too busy close to home to have the details.

Madison River, Lower

Below Ennis Lake

Updated July 2

Salmonflies are finishing up here. Check with Troutfitters for details.

Hebgen and Quake Lakes

Updated July 2

Check with Blue Ribbon Flies or Gallatin River Guides for details.

 

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Private Lakes

Story Lakes

Updated August 9

Too warm until mid-September.

Merrell Lake

Updated August 9

Too warm until mid-September.

Burns Lake

Updated August 9

Marginally too warm until early September. The springs help keep this one fishable, but unless other water is muddy, there are better places to fish.


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Spring Creeks

Armstrong's, Nelson's, Depuy

Updated August 9

Hatches have been fragmentary of late, which isn’t unusual. On cloudy days you may see some cream summer Baetis, but otherwise expect a smattering of PMD, midges, terrestrials, and caddis to bring up fish. You will probably need to figure out what you need to fool INDIVIDUAL fish, rather than covering water trying to fool them, in general. Sight-nymphing with midge larvae or skinny mayflies is another fair bet.


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Other Montana Waters

Missouri River, "Land of Giants"

Updated July 2

Walter had his last couple "LoG" days of the summer on the 26th and 27th. Slender, flashy PMD nymphs were the tickets, but he did find some pods of risers. There were good numbers of risers (eating PMD cripples) in the evenings. We'll be back to this water and its 17-22" average trout come late September...

Missouri River, Holter Dam to Cascade

Updated July 2

PMD and caddis are the main hatches now, and crowds are diminishing as more waters around Montana drop into shape.

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