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 May 12, 2019

Yellowstone Park remains closed to fishing til May 25.

The spring runoff on the Yellowstone has begun. This will limit opportunities near Gardiner and Livingston to Dailey Lake and private waters. The closest river that will remain good to go through the spring melt is the Madison River from Hebgen to Quake Lake, Quake Lake to Ennis Lake, and below Ennis Dam. Further afield, check on the Missouri or Bighorn, or visit the various warm water lakes and ponds in central and eastern Montana.

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

Please note that waters indicated by three asterisks (***) are outside the PFS operations area, but are within the operations area of my (Walter’s)other business, Yellowstone Country Fly Fishing.

Yellowstone Park Fisheries


Montana Fisheries

Yellowstone River Fishing Report – Updated May 12

With warm weather the past couple days, the Yellowstone has now spiked into the spring runoff and will quickly get too muddy to even think about fishing. It’s unlikely to clear again prior to July 1, and a safer bet is between the 5th and 10th.

Paradise Valley Spring Creek Fishing Report – Updated April 27

Now on spring rates of $80/day. The upcoming week looks ideal for BWO activity. Absent a hatch, fish BWO nymphs, midge pupae, slender San Juan Worms, and eggs. Take care to fish only deep slots that are dark in color, rather than shallow pale or clean gravel. The latter are spawning areas. Avoid them.

Yellowstone Valley Private Lakes Fishing Report – Updated May 12

Fishing well on leeches and chironomids, with Callibaetis coming soon. Since the main lakes are still cold, don’t hesitate to walk the banks looking for trout in the shallow water. All of our guided trips in the next few weeks are scheduled for these lakes.

Shields River Fishing Report*** – Updated April 27


Boulder River Fishing Report – Updated May 14

Muddy now, but lasted a couple days longer than the Yellowstone. We have a window of colder weather in the forecast beginning around the 20th. There is a very good chance this will drop the Boulder back into shape for a few days around the 25th. If so, we will be floating it. Note: We now offer guided floats on the Boulder. It’s about as far from Gardiner as the lower Madison, but fishes much more like the Yellowstone.

Gallatin River Fishing Report*** – Updated May 12

Was clear enough all the way to Four Corners yesterday, but with warm temps this week it will probably get muddy from at least the Taylor Fork (not far below YNP boundary) all the way down. From the YNP boundary to the Taylor Fork might stay possible.

Upper Madison River Fishing Report*** – Updated May 12

Fishing well top to bottom, but running hard.

From Hebgen to Quake, fish pink scuds, midges, and eggs, and look for BWO. Beware of redds! From Quake to the West Fork, some BWO, March Brown, and midge activity is possible. Caddis will pop soon. Otherwise fish stonefly and bright attractor nymphs like Lil Spankers or green caddis pupae and Czech nymphs. Beware of redds here, too. Otherwise from Quake to Ennis Lake, fish San Juan Worms, Lil Spankers, Pheasant Tails, Girdle Bugs, and caddis pupae. Look for caddis in the evenings.

Lower Madison River Fishing Report – Updated May 12

Below Ennis Lake, intense Mother’s Day caddis activity is underway. Also look for March Browns and BWO. Otherwise nymph with a combination of a mayfly-type attractor, caddis pupa, Zirdle, crayfish, or Girdle Bug. Expect heavy crowds as this is where the action will be this week.

Jefferson River Fishing Report*** – Updated May 12

Muddy until late June.

Musselshell River Fishing Report*** – Updated April 27

Muddy and unlikely to clear before about June 20.

Missouri River Fishing Report*** – Updated May 12

Missouri River flows from Hauser Dam just dropped to about 9000cfs. It is tough to fish on foot at flows this level. No boat? Stick to the Madison.

Below Hauser (Land of Giants) should be very good, with a mix of spawned out and ragged fish (boo) and early spawners starting to fatten up and get healthy again. Run three BB split shot 8-10 feet from your indicator. Assorted pink stuff is working well, but with flows now high, expect more natural sowbugs, scuds, and BWO nymphs to kick in as well, since the drift is going to be full of all sorts of food. Dry fly action is off the table until late June.

Below Holter is fishing well on nymphs. Stick to the deep seams. A wire worm with a BWO nymph or large sowbug or scud will be your bread and butter rig until flows drop below at most 6000cfs, but some BWO and March Brown activity is bringing up fish.