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 for fishing tips, detailed posts on weather and water predictions for the upcoming season (generally posted in the winter and spring), trip reports, fly tying videos, 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 November 16, 2020

We’re almost in winter fishing mode now in Yellowstone Country. The Yellowstone National Park season is closed. The 2021 YNP season begins opening Memorial Day Weekend. The Montana general season in the central district where we’re located is open all year, though good fisheries are few and far between during the winter months.

Good choices from now until early April include the YELLOWSTONE RIVER, with the best fishing actually right through Gardiner, the PARADISE VALLEY SPRING CREEKS, the LOWER MADISON RIVER, and further afield the MISSOURI RIVER. Of these, the Missouri is probably best from now until about mid-December, while the spring creeks are best from that point until mid-March when the Yellowstone starts waking up.

Probably the last “fall” fishing will take place during a brief warming trend over the next few days. You may find fish rising to BWO or midges in the long eddy lines at midriver, as well as a few rainbows and post-spawn browns picking off eggs in the deep slots downstream of shallow riffles where the brown trout spawned in late October and the beginning of November. The brown trout spawn is basically over. Streamers fished on slow swings on the walking-speed waist-deep runs in the afternoons may also work.

Once the next cold snap hits, expect the fish to stay in winter mode all the way until at least late February. This means fishing the slow walking-speed waist-deep to neck-deep runs, often the big slow eddy lines right in the middle of the river. Use stonefly nymphs, skinny mayfly nymphs, and midge pupae on the Yellowstone and lower Madison. On the Missouri, fish pink Czech Nymphs and Lightning Bugs (think pink in general until April up there). On the spring creeks, midge pupae are usually the tickets through the winter. There may be limited midge hatches as well, and the fish will be found in somewhat faster water than they are on the rivers.