General Fishing Report

On this page you’ll find our general fishing report covering Parks’ Fly Shop’s entire area of operations. If you’re looking for a general overview of current fly fishing conditions in Yellowstone and fly fishing reports for Montana, you’re in the right place. This report is not updated as frequently and features far less detail than our Trip Reports page, where our guides and staff post detailed accounts of their recent guided fishing trips in Montana and Yellowstone Park, as well as their own fly fishing trips in the area.

If you’ve found this page through a Google search or otherwise aren’t familiar with our fly shop, please visit Parks’ Fly Shop’s Main Site to learn about the guided fishing trips we offer, to learn more about the shop, or to peruse our in-depth Montana and Yellowstone fly fishing trip planner for lots of free advice on fishing our region.


The Short and Sweet Version

Updated July 13

We are now in a standard summer angling pattern: caddis and small stoneflies, as well as various attractor dries, on steeper and faster waters large and small, attractor dry/dropper combos on all brook trout creeks, and match the hatch fishing on the Lamar and its tributaries, with small stoneflies, PMD andGreen Drake mayflies (even those that appear gray are actually Green Drakes), and perhaps the first terrestrial eaters.

With the peak summer fishing comes crowding. Please be courteous to other anglers. Give a minimum of 100 yards between you and the next party on heavily-pressured roadside or near-roadside meadow waters (Soda Butte, Lamar, and Slough) and a quarter-mile on all other waters. When possible, do not fish within sight of other anglers. This is usually the best practice when fishing rough, steep canyon waters (Yellowstone, Lamar Canyon, Gardner) or small brook trout creeks out of sight of the road. Do not walk on high streambanks on the opposite side from other anglers except on the Yellowstone River, to avoid spooking trout within casting range of the other angler, and NEVER EVER fish across from another angler except on unwadeable waters, basically meaning the Yellowstone.


The Long and In-Depth Version

Please click one of the following links to be taken directly to the watershed in question, or simply read on to check out the whole report. The links below some entries will take you to streamflow gauges for the water in question. Generally speaking, recent sudden spikes in flow mean there’s a strong potential recent storms have muddied the water.

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 Fisheries

Yellowstone River Drainage Inside YNP

Yellowstone River Above the Lake and Lake to Falls

Yellowstone Lake Outlet

Updated May 24

Closed until July 15.

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

Updated July 13

Still very high but fishing well, with near-peak Salmonfly and Golden Stonefly emergences underway. Drop a small (#10-12) stonefly nymph or Woolly Bugger off a high-floating dry stonefly. Also look for Yellow Sally and Olive Stoneflies as well as evening caddis.

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

Updated July 13

Generally similar to Grand Canyon save that the lower Black Canyon is now well past peak for Salmonflies and Golden Stoneflies. They will remain near cold tributaries in the upper half of the canyon for at least another ten days, and probably two weeks.

Yellowstone Drainage Small Streams

Updated July 13

All now fishing well, though the steep tributaries like Hellroaring will be very physical to fish through the month. Fish attractor dry/dropper combos.

Yellowstone Lake

Updated June 27

Cutthroats now the main draw. Leeches and Callibaetis.

Other Yellowstone Drainage Lakes and Ponds

Updated July 13

Blacktail fishing well on scuds and Joffee Jewels early and late in the day. Fish them slow. Others seeing midmorning Callibaetis hatches and tough in the afternoons.


Lamar River Drainage

NOTE: Trout are still spawning on all streams in the Lamar drainage. Please do not target concentrations of fish you find in shallow side channels. Let them finish their business in peace. Also avoid wading through shallow, clean gravel in side channels in order to avoid crushing eggs are fry. When limited numbers of fish (1-3 per spot) are found in small, deep holes in side channels, they are fair game.

Lamar River

Lower Lamar

Updated July 13

Fishing well if there is a hatch. Green Drakes and PMDs are the main draws, but Yellow Sallies may also produce, as will larger attractor dries (for a while yet). In the canyon, try stoneflies, large attractors, and streamers as well as looking for Drake or Sally hatches.

Soda Butte Creek

Silver Gate (Park Boundary)

Updated July 13

Crowded. Same hatches as above.

Slough Creek

Updated July 13

Crowded. Same hatches as above.

Trout Lake

Updated July 13

Summer doldrums now. You might try sight-fishing early in the morning using small beadheads and scuds, or go up in the evening hoping for a hatch of the giant traveling sedges (#8-10 caddis).

Small Streams

Updated July 13

All now fishable and a good way of beating the crowds, except lower Pebble which is crowded. As with all Lamar basin streams, Green Drake hatches are what you want to see, but basic attractors like Yellow Stimulators, small Chubbies, and Carnage Attractors will also work. Drop a Prince or similar nymph under these.


Gardner River Drainage

Gardner River Above Osprey Falls (Including Tributary Creeks)

Updated June 13

The mainstem is STILL high. The other streams are fishing well, though near the road might be tough. Attractor dry/dropper combos.

Gardner River, Osprey Falls to Boiling River

Updated June 13

Fishing well but the easy-access areas are seeing their heaviest pressure in history. This is no exaggeration. The popular “Boneyard” or “Incinerator” access is truly fishable by no more than three parties of two anglers per day, but some days are seeing 20-30 anglers at once down there. Nobody will catch squat under such conditions. We do expect the crowds to drop as the Lamar drainage and Yellowstone fall into better and better shape. If you can get away from the crowds, fish smaller (#8) Salmonflies or Gold Chubbies (#10-14) with attractor nymph droppers.

Gardner River, Boiling River to Yellowstone River

Just Below Boiling River

Updated July 13

Will be tough midafternoon everywhere, especially if skies are bright, and the easy accesses have been pounded. The rough sections are still seeing a few fish willing to eat Golden Stones and Salmonflies, but big caddis-style attractors (Trude, Clacka Caddis) with Prince droppers are now working better.

Lakes

Updated July 13

In their summer doldrums.


Madison River Drainage Inside YNP

Madison River in Yellowstone Park

Near West Yellowstone

Updated July 13

Too warm.

Firehole River

At Old Faithful, Lower River

Updated July 13

Way too warm below Old Faithful. Leave it alone until Labor Day.

Gibbon River

At Madison Junction

Updated July 13

Too warm below Norris. Above, fish little attractors.

Grebe & Wolf Lakes

Updated July 13

Will be slow in the afternoons. In the morning, fishing well on soft hackles, leeches, damsel nymphs, and Callibaetis.


Snake River Drainage

Snake River

Updated May 24

Blown with runoff until mid-late July.

Lewis River

Updated May 24

Too high and cold until late June, and there will be snowdrifts between you and the water until about then.

Lewis and Shoshone Lakes

Updated May 24

Impossible to access until around June 5, though the ice is starting to come off. The problem is snow along the shorelines. Trails to Shoshone Lake will be snowcovered until at least June 25 this year.


Gallatin River Drainage Inside YNP

Gallatin River

Updated July 3

Fishing well by all accounts, but this is a heck of a long drive from Gardiner. Talk to the folks in West Yellowstone for details.

Small Streams

Updated July 3

Same as the mainstem.


Montana Fisheries

Yellowstone River Drainage

Yellowstone River, Gardiner to Carbella (Upper Yellowstone)

Yellowstone River Webcam, Corwin Springs Stream Gauge

Updated July 13

Salmonfly and Golden Stonefly hatches are now about done, with only a few stragglers in the first ten miles. Trout are now transitioning to larger attractors (Carnage, Double Wing, Chubby), Yellow Sallies, and tan caddis. Larger peacock-bodied nymphs and assorted caddis pupae are also working. We are honestly in a bit of a lull right now waiting for flows to drop enough for the smaller attractor dries to work consistently.

Yellowstone River, Carbella to Mayor’s Landing (Paradise Valley and the “Town Section”)

Livingston

Updated July 13

Similar to above, but the Salmonflies are completely done. We are a lot more likely to throw streamers, either on a tip or under a bobber, on this water than above, due to the shot at big browns. When flows drop to about 6000cfs the caddis fishing will increase a lot.

Yellowstone River, Mayor’s Landing to Laurel

Springdale, Big Timber

Updated July 3

This section is comparatively higher than the water above and I don’t recommend floating it due to turbulent currents and many snags. We won’t fish this water for 2-3 weeks.

Small Streams

Updated May 13

In runoff. Will run clear by July 1 but will be too high to fish effectively before July 15.


Madison River Drainage

Madison River, Hebgen Lake to Quake Lake

Updated July 3

Probably fishing well but a long way from here.

Madison River, Quake Lake to Ennis Lake

Below Quake Lake, Near Cameron

Updated July 3

Fishing well on Salmonflies and caddis, but beware of hitting another boat on your back cast.

Madison River, Lower

Below Ennis Lake

Updated July 3

Getting too warm except AM. Crayfish and small nymphs.

Hebgen and Quake Lakes

Updated May 13

No recent reports.


Private Lakes

Story Lakes

Updated June 27

The weeds are still down, which is great. Look for cruisers eating Callibaetis in the morning and chironomids or damsels after lunch. Absent a hatch, fish a San Juan and a chironomid or soft hackle under an indicator off the weed beds.

Merrell Lake

Updated June 27

No availability except for Hubbard’s Lodge guests until mid-September.

Burns Lake

Updated May 13

Callibaetis, chironomid, and damsel hatches are all possible (the latter more likely in a few weeks). Absent a hatch, fish flashy beadheads and chironomids under indicators or just let them drift with the wind.


Spring Creeks

Armstrong’s, Nelson’s, Depuy

Updated June 27

Now on high season rates of $120/day. PMD hatches intensifying. So are the odds against getting a reservation. Most creeks are now booked solid through July.


Other Montana Waters

Missouri River, “Land of Giants”

Updated May 13

Fishing excellent. While some fish are still fixated on eggs, sow bugs and mayfly nymphs are turning on quickly and you can probably do some good with San Juan and Wire Worms as well. Walter’s trips here at the beginning of the week were great. One angler and 30 or so fish on Monday and two anglers with about 50 fish on Tuesday. On Tuesday we got into a silver-bright ‘bow almost two feet long, while on Monday we got the first big brown of the season. The average fish was over 18 inches. Plenty of prime dates are still available through June. This is our best bet right now.

Walter is running jet boat trips here weekly through the middle of June. If you’ve never fished this water and want the chance at lots of 18-inch (and bigger!) fish, give us a call.

Missouri River, Holter Dam to Cascade

Updated May 13

Running at 7500+ cubic feet per second, which is huge for this water. Closer to 9500 below the Dearborn, though it will drop this week. The big water means Wire Worms and Firebead Sow Bugs are the top tickets, but fish are also eating caddis pupae and slender but flashy mayfly nymphs. Dry fly and streamer fishing is limited due to the vast amount of feed in the water column that is simply adrift due to the high water. This water is very crowded as it is the only clear river that can be fished from a drift boat in the western half of Montana right now.