Montana and Yellowstone Park Fishing Report

Montana and Yellowstone Park Fishing Report

Welcome to Parks’ Fly Shop’s Montana and Yellowstone Park Fishing Report and Blog. Check out the general fishing report below for an overview of what’s going on in our area. Visit our Blog to check out our fly tying videos, podcasts, fishing tips, detailed posts on weather and water predictions for the upcoming season (generally posted in the winter and spring), trip reports from our guides, and fishing, conservation, and fly shop news.

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 and free Montana and Yellowstone Fly Fishing Info Site for lots of free advice on fishing our region.

The fishing report is below the fish.

black canyon cutthroat


General Yellowstone Park and Montana Fishing Report – Updated November 16, 2020

We’re almost in winter fishing mode now in Yellowstone Country. The Yellowstone National Park season is closed. The 2021 YNP season begins opening Memorial Day Weekend. The Montana general season in the central district where we’re located is open all year, though good fisheries are few and far between during the winter months.

Good choices from now until early April include the YELLOWSTONE RIVER, with the best fishing actually right through Gardiner, the PARADISE VALLEY SPRING CREEKS, the LOWER MADISON RIVER, and further afield the MISSOURI RIVER. Of these, the Missouri is probably best from now until about mid-December, while the spring creeks are best from that point until mid-March when the Yellowstone starts waking up.

Probably the last “fall” fishing will take place during a brief warming trend over the next few days. You may find fish rising to BWO or midges in the long eddy lines at midriver, as well as a few rainbows and post-spawn browns picking off eggs in the deep slots downstream of shallow riffles where the brown trout spawned in late October and the beginning of November. The brown trout spawn is basically over. Streamers fished on slow swings on the walking-speed waist-deep runs in the afternoons may also work.

Once the next cold snap hits, expect the fish to stay in winter mode all the way until at least late February. This means fishing the slow walking-speed waist-deep to neck-deep runs, often the big slow eddy lines right in the middle of the river. Use stonefly nymphs, skinny mayfly nymphs, and midge pupae on the Yellowstone and lower Madison. On the Missouri, fish pink Czech Nymphs and Lightning Bugs (think pink in general until April up there). On the spring creeks, midge pupae are usually the tickets through the winter. There may be limited midge hatches as well, and the fish will be found in somewhat faster water than they are on the rivers.