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 June 16, 2019

Runoff is in full swing across the northern part of Yellowstone Park and in Montana outside the park, but it is beginning to recede on the westside rivers in YNP, particularly the Gibbon which seems to have reached maximum runoff and begun to recede a few days before we expected it to. Otherwise, the Firehole, private lakes, and lower Madison are top picks right now.

Detailed Water-by-Water Yellowstone Park and Montana Fishing Report

Yellowstone Park Fisheries

Upper Yellowstone River Fishing Report – Updated May 23

Closed until July 15.

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River Fishing Report – Updated June 7

Blown with runoff until late June.

Black Canyon of the Yellowstone River Fishing Report – Updated May 29

In spring runoff and unfishably muddy.

Gardner River Fishing Report – Updated May 29

Below Osprey Falls now rising fast and now likely to be muddy and blown out through about June 25. Above Osprey Falls likely to be semi-clear in places (especially tributaries), but very high and ice water temperature and therefore a bad choice before about July 4.

Lamar River Fishing Report – Updated May 29

In spring runoff and unfishably muddy.

Slough Creek Fishing Report – Updated May 29

In spring runoff and unfishably muddy.

Soda Butte Creek Fishing Report – Updated May 29

In spring runoff and unfishably muddy.

Firehole River Fishing Report – Updated June 16

Really crowded but fishing well. Tan (Hydropsyche) caddis, White Miller (Nectopsyche aka blond) caddis, and PMD are all drawing rising fish. On hot/bright days, dry fly fishing is best in the mornings and evenings. When it’s cooler and rainy, especially above Midway Geyser Basin, hatches may still take place at midday and in early afternoon. If no hatch, swing soft hackles or nymph the geyser rock ledge/dropoff areas. Several years in a row of decent streamflows have been kind to the Firehole. The average fish size is probably 10 inches or better, which is a good 2″ larger than it had been through much of my 19-year guiding career.

Gibbon River Fishing Report – Updated June 16

Getting more crowded. The best fishing will be in the canyon, especially if you can get across and fish the back side. A mix of caddis-style (Trude) attractors, smallish stonefly-type dries suggestive of Golden Stones, and attractor nymphs like the MT Prince are drawing action. Another few days will see the midstream pockets drop into shape and that is when the Gibbon Canyon really gets good.

Madison River in YNP Fishing Report – Updated June 7

Generally similar to, less consistent than, and offering somewhat larger trout than the Firehole. Greater emphasis here on nymphs and streamers if there’s no hatch.

Gallatin River in YNP Fishing Report – Updated May 29

In spring runoff and unfishably muddy.

Other Waters in YNP Fishing Report – Updated June 16

Small lakes that hold fish (not all do) are now good bets, though remember Blacktail is closed until early July. Fish small soft hackles or peacock-bodied midge pupae under indicators with a leech if there’s no hatch, strip the midges a foot or two underwater if there are a few fish rising, or hang the soft hackle under a Parachute Adams or similar if a lot of fish are coming up.

Montana Fisheries

Yellowstone River Fishing Report – Updated May 29

Blown out with spring runoff and unfishable. Will not clear again prior to July 1. Salmonflies July 4-10, roughly.

Paradise Valley Spring Creek Fishing Report – Updated June 16

PMD hatches are starting but still fragmentary. Best tactics will be to nymph the runs with PMD imitations while waiting to see what kind of hatch will develop.

Yellowstone Valley Private Lakes Fishing Report – Updated June 16

We have three guide-days on private lakes so far this week. That ought to tell you something…

Best tactics are to sight-fish with the same flies noted above for the small lakes in YNP, but Callibaetis nymphs, San Juan Worms, leeches, and even Callibaetis and damselfly dries may also produce. The best days will be calm or have just a gentle breeze.

Note that Dome Mountain’s upper lake just reopened after about 10 years closed, and it is producing some substantial browns.

Boulder River Fishing Report – Updated May 29

Rising like a missile and probably getting dirty too. Probably out of play until June 25 or so, alas.

Upper Madison River Fishing Report – Updated June 16

Running high and hard below the West Fork, and not clear. Nymphing will be best. Somewhat less turbid but more crowded above the West Fork. Give this one about 10 days or two weeks.

Lower Madison River Fishing Report – Updated June 7

Running high, but not too dirty. Nymphing with PMD nymphs, caddis pupae, and crayfish is the best tactic, but PMD and caddis hatches can bring fish to the surface. The fishing will be best before midafternoon if it is hot and bright, fine all day if there’s some gray skies in the PM.

We will be running float trips here through the spring runoff season, for those who’d rather float a river than one of the Paradise Valley lakes. Interested anglers will need to drive about 50 minutes to meet their guide in Livingston, then another hour or so with the guide to the river.