Montana and Yellowstone Park Fishing Report

Montana and Yellowstone Park Fishing Report

Valid Nov 1 through Thanksgiving.

Note on Spawning Brown Trout:

Brown trout are spawning in many area streams and rivers now. It is unethical to target actively-spawning trout since we rely on them to make the next generation. Avoid wading through or fishing areas of gravel and cobble rock between 1 and 4 feet deep, especially where you see “clean” patches where the algae and silt have been swept away. Expect to be yelled at if you target active spawners… There are plenty of fish in the deep, boulder-bottomed runs and pools.


Yellowstone River (in Montana): Fishing has been fair to poor. Water temps between 40 and 44 degrees are the main culprit. The higher, the better. Swing streamers or nymph deep slots looking for a few good browns. The best chance at a BWO or midge hatch will occur on warmer, calm afternoons on the east side of the river where the sunshine lasts longest. Avoid long stretches of shallow water. The best areas will be walking-speed, large-scale runs and seams. Wintering holes, basically. Nymphing will produce primarily whitefish for a few weeks except in the deep bouldery areas. Girdle Bugs and egg imitations are good choices in those areas.

On the plus side, right through Gardiner is actually the best stretch of the Yellowstone during the winter, since the Gardner River has a hot spring on it and numerous other hot springs enter the river between Yellowstone Lake and Gardiner. Right in Gardiner can be the only ice-free stretch in January. The colder it gets, the better the town section fishes compared to other sections. Look off the bridge. What you see is what you get as far as footing… Public access is available at the mouth of the Gardner River, under the highway bridge, or just past the Gardner School at the YNP boundary.

Other MT Waters: The Paradise Valley spring creeks get some fall-run browns and will turn out BWO and midge hatches when skies get gray. The Missouri River can fish very well on streamers and BWO in the fall.

Yellowstone National Park Waters: CLOSED FOR THE SEASON! The Yellowstone Park fishing season closed at sunset on October 31. The season reopens the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend. Look for a new Park report right before the opener when we know likely snow/weather/water conditions.