Boulder River Fishing Trips Rundown

Boulder River Fishing Trips Rundown

We run both float and wade Boulder River fishing trips. Here’s a brief introduction.

Float Fishing the Boulder River

Rather than reinventing the wheel, I’ll point you towards this writeup I just did for Parks’ Fly Shop (for whom I also guide) about float-fishing the Boulder. Everything I wrote there applies if you book Boulder River fishing trips through my business, too.

Here’s some eye candy from a June “runoff window” float from the 2019 season that isn’t part of that writeup. Read on past the pics for info on walk-wade Boulder River fishing trips.

float angler hooked up to a trout on the boulder river

angler with boulder river brown troutWade Fishing the Boulder River

After it gets too low to float in late July, both the Boulder River and its main forks the East and West Boulder offer excellent opportunities for small-stream guided fishing trips through August. Unlike most small waters in the area, both the mainstem and the forks feature a fair amount of state land in their lower reaches. While some locals wade fish these waters, most travelers blow on by to wade fish Yellowstone Park, the Gallatin, or the Madison. This is a mistake. The Boulder and forks are a lot of fun in mid-late summer and offer great hopper fishing.

These are not big fish fisheries. While we see a very occasional 20-inch trout when wade-fishing the Boulder, most fish on the mainstem will run 10-16 inches and most fish on the forks will run 8-14. The focus is instead on solitude and numbers of fishing. We usually see a bunch on these waters, and they’re usually fat and healthy.

All accesses on the Boulder and its Forks on state land are large enough for 1-2 anglers for about a half-day guided trip. For this reason, we’ll almost never wade-fish one area. Instead, we’ll fish the mainstem in the morning, then either higher on the mainstem or one one of the forks after lunch, when the smaller, shadier water in these areas offer better fishing. Most areas on the Boulder and forks are fast-flowing and have slick bottoms, making them unsuited to beginner anglers as well as those with poor mobility, though some sections of the mainstem are good choices for beginners.

Hopper-dropper fishing is the bread and butter technique when wade-fishing the Boulder. By the time the river’s too low to float, medium and small hoppers like my Bob Hopper are best, trailed with a small Prince or slender beadhead mayfly nymph. Occasional hatches also occur, with Tan Caddis, PMD, and later in August the first BWO the most likely suspects. Hatches are most likely on the upper mainstem, while hopper fishing is good everywhere.

Enough chit-chat. Here are some pictures. Interested in booking a wade trip? Give me a call or shoot me an e-mail.

east boulder river brown trout
East Boulder brown trout. See the foam patch behind him? That’s where he was holding.
image of east boulder river
East Boulder River

boulder river brown trout

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