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Fly Fishing in the Yellowstone River

5 Fly Fishing Places In Montana That Every Enthusiast Must Visit (2023)

From lakes to rivers and reservoirs, the water bodies in Montana are highly productive. Most anglers in the west have Montana either on their bucket list, or it is already their favourite fishing spot. Especially when it comes to fly fishing, the Big Sky country opens up several splendid opportunities. While locals prefer fishing in the Yellowstone River, visitors’ marks Madison River as their favourite. Wanderers can explore the state water bodies on their own, though who wants guidance, the Commercial outfitters are always happy to share knowledge and provide guided fishing tours to them.

Montana’s Fly-fishing season stays lively during spring, summer, and fall seasons, or considering the river flow. To the surprise, some of the fly-fishing spots in the state also invite anglers during the freezing cold winters. Though every river and lake in the Big Sky State has something or the other to offer, we here have the list of the Best Fly-fishing places in Montana. We believe that our list will make your choice process easier and less confusing. So, let’s get started.

5 Fly Fishing Places In Montana That Every Enthusiast Must Visit

1. Fly Fishing in the Yellowstone River

The Yellowstone River has such a high fishing potential that one cannot cover it all even after visiting here several times. It is the longest undammed river in the contiguous United States. The river is popular for its prime fly-fishing conditions, even above its scenic beauty and extensiveness. Yellowstone River teems with a huge trout fish population, especially the brown, cutthroat and rainbow trout. The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone offers more productive fishing options, along with hiking opportunities as well. Despite its popularity, fly-fishing here has a lot of restrictions. No tubing and fading are allowed, and fishing here is all about walk-and-wade. Though despite that, it still is one of the favourite fly-fishing spots amongst Montana locals.

2. Fly Fishing in the Madison River

The Madison River is another classic fly-fishing spot, also known as the classic dry fly water. The river begins in the Yellowstone National Park and goes all the way nearly 100 miles before it finally meets Gallatin River and Jefferson River. The waters of Madison River hold the richness of wild brown and rainbow trout and the availability of cutthroat and brook trout species. The most popular section for fly fishing is the 50-mile riffle that caters to both float fishing and wade fishing. However, first-time anglers who are unfamiliar with this riffle and its unique characteristics might find fishing slightly difficult here. But despite that, several thousands of anglers visit Madison River every year.

3. Fly Fishing in the Gallatin River

The Gallatin River originates from Yellowstone National Park, flows through Gallatin Valley and canyon and eventually joins different other rivers. On different lengths of the river, anglers can access it for fly fishing. The 25 miles within the Yellowstone allows fishing with a permit though no floating is allowed. And outside Yellowstone, Gallatin River goes past Big Sky and through Gallatin Canyon for 40 miles. Though it does not allow for float fishing, this stretch of river offers excellent wade fishing opportunities. Gallatin River is great for beginners; especially the opportunities are excellent during summers from June through August. On this lovely flowing water, one can catch a good number of trout.

4. Fly Fishing in the Hyalite Reservoir

If you are into fishing just for the sake of fun, then try fly fishing at the Hyalite Reservoir. This 206-acre reservoir is just 19 miles south of Bozeman and is full of cutthroat trout and arctic grayling. Though fishing at Hyalite Reservoir is all about catch-and-release, no matter how big or how much you caught, you cannot take fishes back from here. The best time to visit here for fishing is during the late summer months. It is when the water temperature is fine, as before that, due to mountain runoff becoming pretty cold. On the shores of the lake, the Hood Creek and Chisholm Campgrounds also makes for picnicking and overnight camping.

5. Fly Fishing in the Rock Creek

Rock Creek flow through the Lolo National Forest and is nearly 30 minutes from Missoula. It is basically a classic trout stream boasting the highest trout concentrations in the area. There isn’t a better water body for anglers who are into wade fishing in entire Montana. Wade anglers enjoy the relatively narrow width of the creek. It is easy to reach the prime fishing spots at different sections except for areas with rapids, deep pools or periods of high water. Even though Rock Creek is a prime fishing spot, the water here is still not overrun by anglers. For finding great spots on the rivers, anglers can reach the gravel Rock Creek Road parallel to the water.

Additional Fly-fishing options in Montana

  • Sun River
  • Smith River
  • Duck Lake
  • Nelson Reservoir
  • Ashley Lake
  • Bitterroot River

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