If you find yourself knee-deep in a lazy stretch of a world-class river, casting a fly-rod against the most sublimely beautiful country you’ve ever laid eyes on, you’re in Montana’s Yellowstone Country. After all, the Madison, Gallatin and Yellowstone rivers run through here, right through Paradise, in fact. Paradise Valley, that is. With 61 state fishing access sites, nine blue-ribbon trout streams and limitless spring creeks and lakes, there are almost 1,000 miles of shoreline to fish, and the rainbow, cutthroat, brown and brook trout are in abundance.
Catch us on the Yellowstone—the longest free-flowing river in the lower 48—the first week of May (give or take) for the much anticipated Mother’s Day Caddis hatch or fish the Firehole River on opening day in Yellowstone National Park…it’s tradition.
Montana fishing reports show the best fly fishing typically runs from late June through October, but conditions are often good in March and April, before spring runoff, and enthusiasts can find good fly fishing year-round in Yellowstone Country.
Consult local fly shops for specific recommendations and the most up-to-date Yellowstone Country fishing reports and license fees and be prepared for rapid changes in the weather. Montana law allows public access in the rivers, but you must obtain permission before you enter or cross private land.
Boats and trailers are required to be clean and clear of invasive species and may be inspected.
See the resources below for further information.
Just north of West Yellowstone, is one of the best fishing spots around, and during the winter months, is usually sporting a solid foot of ice. Stretching over 15 miles long, ice fishing season here lasts from December to as late as May, and you’ll find plenty of brown and rainbow trout biting.
Just about 12 miles south of Bozeman, is home to cutthroat, arctic grayling and brook trout. Ice typically begins to form in late November with adequate thickness by the beginning of January, depending on temperatures.
About 25 miles north of Red Lodge, is a hot spot to pull in some good walleye and rainbow trout, and hardcore folks can be found here after dark, ice fishing under Montana’s starry night sky. As with all fishing in Montana, a valid fishing license is required to ide fish. Montana fishing regulations can be found by contacting Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Region 3 in Bozeman at 406.577.7900 or at by visiting fwp.mt.gov/fishing/regulations.