General Fishing Report

Here’s my “just the facts ma’am” report on what’s working where. If you’d rather see accounts of my guided trips and my own fishing trips, or are interested in other news, check out the Trip Reports & Blog. The Photo Gallery should be pretty self-explanatory.

Did you stumble upon this page by accident and aren’t familiar with Yellowstone Country Fly Fishing? I’m a fly fishing outfitter and guide based in Gardiner, Montana. I offer trips in Yellowstone Park and on the Yellowstone, Missouri, and Madison Rivers in Montana, plus a few smaller fisheries. Head on over to my home page to learn more about my business and I.

Otherwise, here’s the general fishing report…


Fishing Report Updated February 19, 2017

The Short and Sweet Version

It’s still winter, but recent warm weather has melted most low-elevation snow and warmed water temperatures in the Yellowstone River dramatically. It’s a good choice most afternoons whenever it’s clear. Fish midge pupae, small BWO nymphs, medium-sized stonefly nymphs, and egg patterns in winter (big, slow) holes, particularly those near tributary streams. The best water will be 4-8 feet deep with a modest but perceptible current.


Waters in Montana

Yellowstone River – Gardiner to Point of Rocks

The best section of the Yellowstone, particularly right through Gardiner and near tributary mouths in the sun. Use tactics noted above.

Yellowstone River – Paradise Valley

See above. There is some ice still present in lower PV, so be careful.

Yellowstone River – Livingston and Beyond

See above. Watch for ice jams in town.

Missouri River – “Land of the Giants”

Much less crowded than it will be in a month and INFINITELY less crowded than it will be in two months. Fish are starting to run already, but most are still in prespawn mode. Fish pink mayfly nymphs, pink scuds, pink eggs, pink pink pink. Also midge pupae (WD-40) and Rainbow Czechs, all in sizes 12 through 18.

Madison River – Lower

Midge pupae, San Juan Worms, and slender mayfly nymphs are the most likely suspects.

Paradise Valley Spring Creeks

Great bets now. While very occasional BWO or midge hatches might bring risers, nymphing the deeper slots with midge pupae and slender San Juan Worms and possibly eggs will work better.

Private Ranch Lakes

Still frozen and likely to stay that way until mid-April.

Small Streams

Too cold.


Waters in Yellowstone Park

Yellowstone Park is closed to fishing until sunrise on May 27!

Note: Small streams and lakes will be discussed in the entries for the larger rivers into which they drain.

Yellowstone River – Lake to Falls

Yellowstone River – Grand and Black Canyons

Lamar River, Soda Butte Creek, and Slough Creek

Madison River – Madison Junction to Baker’s Hole

Firehole River

Gibbon River

Gardner River

Other Park Waters