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 September 21

Not enough fish left this season. They're mostly back in the lake. Check back July 15, 2015.

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

Updated September 21

Still fishing well, though there's no need to be on the water before 10:30AM even on warm days. Midafternoon will fish best. Streamers are currently the most consistent flies, but as long as it's warm, large cricket imitations, pink hoppers, and modest-sized beadhead droppers will work. Look for Tan Drakes (Hecuba) and Gray Baetis hatches in the afternoons. TOP FLIES: Bead Hare & Copper #12-14, BH Flashback Pheasant Tail #16-18, Olive Woolly Bugger, #6, PT-Bugger #6, Bow River Bugger #6, Little Chocolate Bugger #10, Card’s Cicada #10, Pink GFA #10-12, Tan Fat Albert #10, Purple Haze Cripple #16-18, Hi-Viz Gray Baetis #18, Tan Sparkle Dun #12, Guide Chute Hare's Ear #12-14.

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

Updated September 21

The Black Canyon will generally mirror the Grand Canyon, though it's prone to getting muddy after rains and has been fishing better earlier in the day as long as it has been warm. It will also stay consistent longer into the fall as water temps start to drop. Avoid nymphs below Knowles Falls unless you want to catch whitefish on every third cast. TOP FLIES: Bead Hare & Copper #12-14, BH Flashback Pheasant Tail #16-18, Olive Woolly Bugger, #6, PT-Bugger #6, Bow River Bugger #6, Little Chocolate Bugger #10, Card’s Cicada #10, Pink GFA #10-12, Tan Fat Albert #10, Purple Haze Cripple #16-18, Hi-Viz Gray Baetis #18, Tan Sparkle Dun #12, Guide Chute Hare's Ear #12-14.

Yellowstone Drainage Small Streams

Updated September 21

Getting awfully late to bother with these creeks. For now, small hoppers and attractor dries will work. The next cold snap will end it for these waters until next year.

Yellowstone Drainage Lakes and Ponds

Updated September 21

Blacktail has been fishing okay on big streamers for the hour after dawn. Otherwise, we haven't been on these lakes in months.

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Lamar River Drainage

Lamar River

Lower Lamar

Updated September 21

Still holding on, though also still extraordinarily crowded. The next cold snap will do it for the Lamar for the year. For now, nymph the heads of pools with midge larvae and slender mayfly nymphs or look for midge risers in the tailouts early in the morning. Hatches of Green Drakes, Flavs, Tan Drakes, and Gray Baetis will tend to run midday to late afternoon, earlier on warmer brighter days and later on cloudy days. The fish will still eat small, odd hoppers at midday. TOP FLIES: Soda Fountain Parachute #10-16, Foam Gray Drake #14, Tan Sparkle Dun #12, Purple Haze Cripple #16-18, Extended Body Para BWO #18-20, Flashback Pheasant Tail #16-18, Purple Jujubaetis #18, Lightning Bug #18, assorted midge larvae #18-22, Jewell Midge #18-20, Tan Bob Hopper, Black Bob Hopper, Pink Bob Hopper, Bicolor Ant (parachute and standard).

Soda Butte Creek

Silver Gate (Park Boundary)

Updated September 21

Essentially identical to the Lamar, though maybe a bit more dependable.

Slough Creek

Updated September 21

Very similar to the Lamar, but not dependable and challenging. You should not fish Slough anymore this year if you want numbers. Instead, head-hunt individual fish. Sight-nymphing will be your best bet if there's no hatch.

Trout Lake

Updated September 21

You'll see 'em. You won't catch 'em. Try back next June.


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Gardner River Drainage

Gardner River Above Osprey Falls

Updated September 21

Still fishing okay if you can find the fish. They head waaaayyyy upriver this time of year. Attractor dry/dropper combos are all you need. The next cold snap and it's over.

Gardner River, Osprey Falls to Boiling River

Updated September 21

Fishing well on medium-sized hoppers and crickets with beadhead droppers. There's a chance of BWO on cloudy afternoons. The dry fly fishing will fall apart except during hatch periods with the next cold snap. 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 September 21

Generally similar to the section upstream, though the BWO bite won't kick in hard until AFTER the next cold snap.

Small Streams

Updated September 21

Except for Lava Creek, the small streams are some combo of done for the year or inaccessible due to road work. Best to fish elsewhere the rest of the year.

Lakes

Updated September 21

If you wanted to make the hike, Fawn should turn out some picture postcard brookies right now.

 

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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 September 21

Fishing very well by all accounts, but the drive is prohibitive from Gardiner until the road reopens at the end of the month. Nymph, swing large soft hackles, or strip streamers in the famous runs near West Yellowstone, or head hunt risers further upstream. BWO are the most likely hatch, but you might find fish eating small hoppers until daytime highs stop cracking 60 degrees.

Firehole River

At Old Faithful, Lower River

Updated September 21

Fishing well, but again this water is a long way from here with the road closed. Soft hackles swung in the riffles are the most consistent technique, but you may find fish rising to White Miller caddis or BWO (the latter only on cold days). You can also nymph the water below the falls for run-up browns.

Gibbon River

At Madison Junction

Updated September 21

Below Gibbon Falls, nymph or swing soft hackles or streamers for run-up fish. You may also see some fish rising to BWO. To be honest, we don't think much of the water above the falls this time of year, even if it's perfectly fishable.

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 September 21

You can start thinking about looking for runner browns here. Cover lots of water in the meadows with streamers. Don't neglect the pool below Lewis Falls... In the channel, fish streamers in the bottom mile. The upper end won't get any number of browns for close to a month.

Lewis and Shoshone Lakes

Updated September 21

The browns aren't really on the move yet, but the lakers are staging along the shelves, prepping to spawn. Streamers, friend, streamers.


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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 September 21

Fishing very well. Most days, a small pink hopper trailing a Purple Haze Cripple has been our top rig, but you can get some bigger fish now on a rubberleg nymph with a tiny BWO nymph dropper, if you're okay with wading through whitefish. Even on dries you'll get a lot of whities. BWO dries and also Tan Drakes are drawing some action too. Cloudy days bring heavier hatches and good streamer fishing.. TOP FLIES: Pink Bob Hoppers #14, Purple Haze Cripple #16-18, Para Adams #16-18, Hi-Viz Gray Baetis #18, Tan Sparkle Dun #12.

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

Livingston

Updated September 21

Similar to above, though we're a lot more likely to cover a lot of water with streamers in the morning, then switch to dries around lunchtime.

Yellowstone River, Shields River Confluence to Clark Fork Confluence

Springdale, Big Timber

Updated September 21

Same as Emigrant-Livingston section.

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 September 21

Still seeing some Callibaetis hatches and the weeds are still high. We're doing best (when no hatch) on BLM nymphs and chironomid pupae. The first cold snap should turn on the streamer fishing.

Merrell Lake

Updated September 21

Same as Story.

Burns Lake

Updated September 21

Same as Story.


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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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