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 July 18

Fishing well if you're okay with small numbers of big fish. You want to "head hunt" here. Find big risers along the bank, spot and stalk them, and carefully present your PMD, Green Drake, caddis, or stonefly. "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 July 18

Fishing well but seeing some crowds near the easier accesses. There are still some Salmonflies on this water and should be for another week plus. Evening caddis are the other main hatch. You can do well here fishing large attractor dry flies with beadhead droppers. A big Woolly Bugger trailing a small one is also a can’t miss combo. 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, Parks’ Salmonfly #6, PMD Sparkle Dun #16, Parachute Adams #12. Gold Chubby Chernobyl #8-12, Coachman Trude #10, Clacka Caddis #12.

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

Updated July 18

Still murky, but dropping and clearing fast. Good numbers of Salmonflies are found throughout this water, with the best fishing above Blacktail Creek. Golden Stoneflies, Yellow Sallies, and caddis are also working well, as are big attractor dries. Streamers are also a good choice. 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, Parks’ Salmonfly #6, PMD Sparkle Dun #16, Parachute Adams #12. Gold Chubby Chernobyl #8-12, Coachman Trude #10, Clacka Caddis #12.

Yellowstone Drainage Small Streams

Updated july 18

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.

Yellowstone Drainage Lakes and Ponds

Updated July 7

Blacktail Pond produced some good fish on the July 3 opener and on the day after, but only before 8AM.

Yellowstone Lake will produce lakers and cutthroats along the shorelines on leeches and baitfish imitations. We're really liking various colors of Sparkle Minnows. Some Callibaetis are also possible. Hot bright days might be slow.

Cascade Lake is fishing great now on tiny leeches and flashy beadheads, and might turn out a chironomid or Callibaetis hatch. The best fishing will be from midmorning until lunchtime.

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Lamar River Drainage

Lamar River

Lower Lamar

Updated July 18

Finally dropping into good shape, though the main current is still quite high. Fish the bank seams with Woolly Buggers if there’s no hatch. Hatches are very likely. Look for Green and Gray Drakes, Yellow Sallies, and PMDs throughout, but there may be some Salmonflies and Golden Stoneflies in the canyon. TOP FLIES: Soda Fountain Parachute #10-14, Foam Gray Drake #14, Olive Conehead Bugger #4-6, Yellow Crystal Stimulator #16, Extended Body PMD #16, Flashback Pheasant Tail #16, Lightning Bug #16.

Soda Butte Creek

Silver Gate (Park Boundary)

Updated July 18

Soda Butte is still quite high but fishing. Please beware of disturbing any fish that might still be spawning in shallow side channels. Flies and hatches generally match those of the Lamar, though we are more inclined to fish medium-sized attractors like Turck Tarantulas and Chubby Chernobyls here than elsewhere in the Lamar system and you should also be prepared to nymph fish the deeper holes if there’s no hatch.

Slough Creek

Updated July 18

Getting crowded below the campground but fishing well otherwise. The Second Meadow (5+ mile hike each way) has been particularly productive. Flies and hatches generally mirror those of the Lamar. The Green Drakes have been particularly good so far this year, though you have to hit them at the right time (typically mid-late morning to early afternoon).

Trout Lake

Updated May 31

Fishing fair on tiny soft hackles and beadheads. Surprisingly, the fish are spooky. They may get a little friskier as weeds start to grow and insect activity picks up.

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Gardner River Drainage

Gardner River Above Osprey Falls

Updated July 18

Fishing well on attractor dry/dropper combos for lots of small brook trout.

Gardner River, Osprey Falls to Boiling River

Updated July 18

Fishing well with some adult Salmonflies. Stick to smaller Salmonflies and Golden Stones, since the fish here aren’t huge. We’ll usually fish a medium-sized beadhead nymph dropper on this water. There have also been good evening caddis hatches. TOP FLIES: Minch Golden Stone #12, Parks’ Salmonfly #8, Carnage Attractor #12, Synth Double Wing #10, Yellow Stimulator #10, Coachman Trude #12-14, Peacock Clacka Caddis #12-14, 20-Incher #12, BH Prince #12-16, Bead Hare & Copper #12-14.

Gardner River, Boiling River to Yellowstone River

Just Below Boiling River

Updated July 18

Salmonflies are finished on this water. Big attractor dries with nymph droppers are now the best combo. Afternoons on the hottest, brightest days might be a bit slow. TOP FLIES: Chubby Chernobyl (various colors) #8-12, GFA (various colors) #10-12, Coachman Trude #10-14, Coachman Clacka Caddis #12-14, Gold Carnage Attractor #10-12, Minch Golden Stone #12, Bead Hare & Copper #12-14, BH Prince #14-16.

Small Streams

Updated July 18

All are fishing well, though the roadside water on Obsidian sure gets hammered. Fishing attractor dry/dropper combos is your best bet.


Updated July 2

Grizzly Lake is fishing well if you don't get carried off by mosquitoes. Small leeches, flashy beadheads, and Joffe Jewels fished under indicators are the top bet, but some chironomid or Callibaetis hatches are possible. The other lakes are now getting too warm and have seen heavy pressure, to boot, so we're done with them for the season.


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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 July 18

Fishing well on tiny leeches and flashy little beadheads. Callibaetis and chiromonids can also bring the fish to the surface. The best fishing will be from midmorning until early afternoon. This water has about ten days more consistent fishing before entering the summer doldrums.

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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 July 2

Clear (above the Taylor Fork outside the park boundary), but still running high and cold. Nymphing in the afternoons will be best.

Small Streams

Updated July 2

High and cold. Another week will do wonders.

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Yellowstone River Drainage

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

Yellowstone River Webcam, Corwin Springs Stream Gauge

Updated July 18

Fishing well on gold and yellow-colored attractor dries in the #8-14 range, plus evening caddis and large (#10-14) peacock-bodied attractor dries. There are still some Golden Stoneflies and Yellow Sallies around, but Salmonflies are essentially finished. There are also PMD, a few Green Drakes and Epeorus, and lots of tan caddis in the evenings. We haven't sullied this water with a nymph yet this season, since the dry flies have been so productive. Just get them in tight to the bank.

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


Updated July 18

Dry fly fishing has been inconsistent on this stretch, though it should get better as the water continues to drop. For now, Gold Chubby Chernobyls with large nymph droppers are your best bet if you want to try dries, or wait for evening caddis. We've been dead-drifting large olive, black, or white Woolly Buggers with caddis pupa droppers and getting small numbers of trout, but some of our best fish of the season (lots of 17-22" browns).

Yellowstone River, Shields River Confluence to Clark Fork Confluence

Springdale, Big Timber

Updated July 18

This water is still quite high and we suggest waiting a week to float it.

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 July 2

Warming up quick. We're about done with these lakes for the season.

Merrell Lake

Updated July 2

Fish San Juan Worms and chironomids deep for the most consistent action (often 10+ feet deep), but in the mornings you might see fish rising to damselflies, chironomids, and Callibaetis.

Burns Lake

Updated July 2

Callibaetis and chironomid hatches are the main draw here now, but fishing deep with chironomid pupae might be necessary if the wind is up. As it continues to warm up, some action is possible on ants and small hoppers, but fishing chiros close to the spring holes will become the best bet through the summer.

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Spring Creeks

Armstrong's, Nelson's, Depuy

Updated July 2

The PMD hatches are near maximum now, but everyone knows this is the time of year for the creeks and so it will be hard to get a booking with any of them. Expect the fish to get steadily spookier as the month goes by. For now a Sparkle Dun might be close enough. By the end of the month, they'll laugh at anything but an "eyeballs and a$$holes" imitation of a crippled, half-emerged, drowned, or otherwise annoying PMD imitation.

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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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phone 406 848 7314, address 202 Second Street South PO Box 196 Gardiner, MT 59030 E-mail Walter Wiese E-mail Richard Parks link to PFS Youtube Channel link to PFS Facebook

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