Yellowstone & Montana Fishing Report

Yellowstone & Montana Fishing Report

Welcome to Yellowstone Country Fly Fishing’s Livingston Montana Fishing Report and Blog. Check out the general fishing report below for an overview of what’s going on in my area. Visit the 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, and fishing and conservation news.

If you’ve found this page through a Google search or otherwise aren’t familiar with my business, please visit Yellowstone Country Fly Fishing’s Main Site to learn about the guided fishing trips I offer or to peruse our in-depth and free Montana and Yellowstone Fly Fishing Info Site for lots of free advice on fishing Montana and Yellowstone Park.

The fishing report is below the fish.

bright hen brown trout
Yes, this big summer hen was REALLY that nickel-bright.

General Yellowstone Park and Montana Fishing Report – Updated April 27, 2019

Yellowstone Park remains closed to fishing til May 25.

Spring fishing is in full swing on all area waters. Some are a bit dirty due to early runoff (Jefferson, Shields, Musselshell), but they may clear this week. The Yellowstone is good to go on streamers. The Madison is the most consistent nearby river, and is fishing well using all sorts of tactics provided you find the fish. Look for the soft water. The cool spell currently underway is supposed to break by May 2, so I expect intense Mother’s Day Caddis activity immediately thereafter.

Detailed Water-by-Water Yellowstone Park and Montana Fishing Report – All Updated April 27, 2019

Yellowstone Park Fisheries


Montana Fisheries

Yellowstone River Fishing Report

Muddy below the mouth of Fleishman Creek in Livingston, really muddy below the confluence with the Shields near the Hwy 89 Bridge east of Livingston. Above, fish streamers. A slow twitch retrieve is best, or swing in the big eddies. With cool/wet weather underway, look for fish rising to BWO provided there’s at least 2 feet of visibility and the river is green-blue in color. It’s fishable subsurface with a foot of viz and green/brown water.

Paradise Valley Spring Creek Fishing Report

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

No recent reports, but provided access is possible on the muddy ranch roads, all should now be fishing well on large San Juan Worms and leeches, and perhaps on chironomid pupae. Hatches should start after a couple weeks of sustained warm temps.

Shields River Fishing Report


Gallatin River Fishing Report

Nymphing the area below Big Sky will be best. If it’s dirty, try the short section between the YNP boundary and the confluence with the Taylor Fork, which tends to carry the most mud.

Upper Madison River Fishing Report

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 and midge activity is possible. Otherwise fish stonefly and BWO nymphs. Beware of redds here, too. Otherwise from Quake to Ennis Lake, fish San Juan Worms, BWO nymphs, stonefly nymphs, and “junk flies” like Zirdle Bugs right on the bottom on the slower seams.

Lower Madison River Fishing Report

Below Ennis Lake, good BWO hatches are popping on cloudy days. Look for risers in side channels and slow eddies along the banks. Otherwise, fish BWO nymphs, crayfish, and large San Juans under indicators or drag streamers in the holes. Having a boat is helpful here, but don’t hesitate to stop when you find good patches of slow water. Some mud below Cherry Creek is limiting surface activity. You’ll probably need to stick to nymphs from there down.

Jefferson River Fishing Report

May clear up enough this week to fish well on streamers, but may not. Right now it’s really too dirty.

Musselshell River Fishing Report

Muddy and unlikely to clear before about June 20.

Missouri River Fishing Report

Missouri River flows from Hauser Dam down are now over 11,000cfs. It is effectively impossible to fish on foot at flows this level. No boat? Stick to the Madison.

Below Hauser (Land of Giants) was good from boats last week. 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.

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.