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Bozeman, MT

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Wide rivers, big mountains, open plains — the Bozeman area offers everything a fly fishing fanatic could want.

Bozeman is quintessential fly-fishing country. Just minutes away is the Gallatin River canyon where glinting fly lines were etched into Robert Redford's A River Runs Through It. The Madison, Yellowstone and Missouri rivers are just a few of the other nearby streams fed by the region's many high mountain ranges.

Fishing is available year-round for rainbows, browns, cutthroats and more. The spring run-off (typically lasting a couple weeks starting mid- or late-May) makes some of the main rivers less fishable, but because of the number and variety of streams (including tailwaters), there's almost always something fishing well. Come for the "Mothers Day" caddis hatch on the Madison River, or in late summer when trout hammer hopper patterns in bank-side riffles. Some of the most memorable days of the season occur during the early summer salmon fly hatch, when 20-inch-plus trout gorge themselves on the thumb-sized bugs. Smaller, backcountry creeks and alpine lakes also provide excellent dry-fly fishing throughout the summer. The frost in autumn brings a chance to take large spawning browns with streamer patterns.

Most of the region's streams are wadeable, but drift floats open up access to more remote stretches of water and are often the best way to fish the bigger rivers like the Yellowstone. Most guides accommodate both wade and drift fishing. Several lakes and reservoirs offer opportunities to take trout, bass and other species on fly or spin tackle.

Yellowstone National Park is less than 80 miles from Bozeman, and the fishing here is set against an immense landscape. From almost any stream of lake, the mountains are in view under Montana's Big Sky.

Basic Info
Weather
  • 39° 24° Dec-Feb
  • 56° 49° Mar-May
  • 81° 64° Jun-Aug
  • 63° 45° Sep-Nov
Waterways
Madison River, Yellowstone River, Gallatin River, East Gallatin River, Jefferson River, Missouri River
Licenses
Fishing license info here: here

The Catch

Top fish species to target in Bozeman, MT

Arctic Grayling

Small, somewhat elusive, and distinct looking, Grayling can be a welcome suprise when fishing for other species, known for the large sail-like dorsal fin.

Brook Trout

Especially prevelant, sometimes over populated, in high elevation lakes and streams, these fish have one spots and multi-colored fins.

Brown Trout

Large dark spotting pattern makes this fish stand out against the other trouts. They can be tough to catch and strong. Look for fall runs.

Carp

These fish are particularly resilient and thrive in slow moving to standing water. In some cases considered a destructive invasive species.

Cutthroat Trout

These fish look similar to Rainbows but with more spotting and the distinctive red slash near the throat.

Mountain Whitefish

Favoring cold clear water, these small cylindrical fish mostly inhabit mountain lakes and streams.

Northern Pike

Can grow quite huge and are often the fiercest fish in waters inhabited by trout and other smaller species.

Rainbow Trout

Adult fish are distinguished by a broad reddish stripe along the lateral line, from gills to the tail, which is most vivid in breeding males.

Walleye

Olive and gold in color, Walleyes are native to Canada and the Northern US. They have good vision and thus feed most in low visibility water conditions.

More Bozeman Outfitters

Fishing with Lone Peak Outfitters in Bozeman

Lone Peak Outfitters

Bozeman, MT

Lone Peak Outfitters is a full service fly fishing outfitter specialized in guided fishing trips on the world class waters of southwest Montana. Based out of Bozeman and Big Sky, Montana we fish famous rivers such as the Yellowstone, Madison, Missouri, Gallatin, Jefferson as well as many other lesser known streams and private waters. Our team takes pride in sharing our expertise and passion for the area and its waters. Guests come back year after year to fish and spend time with the same guides. Whether you are a regular or are looking at booking your first trip, it is our ultimate goal that a day on the water with us will lead to many more adventures and memories in Montana. Please explore our website and let us know if we can be of assistance in planning your trip to Montana. No area provides more angling opportunity and diversity than southwest Montana. With Yellowstone Park out our backdoor and over 6 world-class rivers within an hours drive from Bozeman; it is an angler’s paradise. We customize your fishing trip to fit your schedule and needs. We fish the rivers that are fishing best when you are here. Whether you are a first timer visiting the area or an experienced group of fisherman looking for new water, our team will ensure a memorable and successful day. Our team of guides is comprised of a highly respected group of anglers and instructors whose passion for the sport and the area is contagious. No guide will work harder to put you on quality fish. Fish with them once and you will likely be reserving the same days for next year.

Fishing with Nelson Spring Creek Ranch in Livingston

Nelson Spring Creek Ranch

Livingston, MT

Nelson’s Spring Creek is a world famous fly fishing destination located in beautiful Paradise Valley, Montana. Located in beautiful Paradise Valley, Nelson Spring Creek Ranch is owned by the Nelson’s, a sixth generation Montana ranching family. Along with the creek, the family also runs a fishing lodge for anglers visiting the area. The lodge is situated in the heart of the ranch, within walking distance of the creek. It offers five, well-appointed guest rooms and a large common area. Located only 50 miles from Yellowstone National Park, and only minutes from the best fishing waters in Montana, the lodge is the perfect home base for anglers planning a trip to the area. Our lodge features one big common area with a fully equipped kitchen, dining room, and a comfortable and spacious great room. Covered porches invite outdoor relaxing. We serve a hearty country breakfast each morning for our guests. Additional lodge amenities include; an outdoor gas grill and fire pit, large back deck, wi-fi high speed Internet, satellite TV, gas fireplace, storage for waders and equipment. We also have a laundry facility on site for the use of our guests. Guest rooms are equipped with kitchenettes, microwaves and refrigerators. Each unit has a separate entry, a private bath, a flat screen TV with satellite hook-up, and wireless internet service. There are also tables with room to set up for fly tying and plenty of storage space to store your gear. Rooms have either two queen size beds, one king, or two extra-long twins. One room will also accommodate a party of three with a queen size sofa sleeper.

Fishing with Fins & Feathers of Bozeman in Bozeman

Fins & Feathers of Bozeman

Bozeman, MT

Our central base of operation is out of our fly shop located just a few miles west of downtown Bozeman. Although we guide Montana fly fishing trips across the state, Bozeman is our home and we consider the surrounding watersheds our backyard. Bozeman fly fishing opportunities are best characterized by drifting or wading on large western rivers like the Gallatin, Yellowstone, Jefferson, as well as the upper and lower Madison,rivers. The area attracts anglers from all over the world in search of wild trout and an amazing Montana fly fishing experience. In addition to the more well known rivers, there are dozens of small streams, spring creeks, and medium-sized rivers that often offer solitude and a more personal experience on the water. The overwhelming abundance of quality, wild trout fly fishing waters near Bozeman makes it possible for us to guide just about every day of the year. Whether you're a seasoned fly fisher or new to the sport, the endless opportunities that can be found near Bozeman have something for everyone. Come see us in Bozeman and learn first hand what makes fly fishing in Montana something every angler needs to experience at least once, but brings many others back year after year. Our guide service caters to anglers of all skill levels and the multitude of fishing options around Bozeman enable us to custom tailor a unique experience for each client. Novice and first time fly fishers can always expect to learn a ton and even catch some fish just about any day of the year, regardless of their skill set. The guides work hard to give everyone some first hand experience that comes with putting everything together to catch a wild trout. We see a lot of excellent anglers too as the area is full of challenging opportunities that will keep even the best anglers on their toes. Our guides are each highly skilled anglers themselves and are always looking to help their clients master the sport. There is always something to learn on the waters around Bozeman as conditions are always changing and new opportunities are found each day. Bozeman is the ideal destination for a western trout fly fishing experience like no other. Hundreds of miles of blue-ribbon, wild-trout waters are easily accessed in every direction from town. The vibrant nightlife and wide array of restaurants make for plenty of choices after a day on the water. Whether technical spring creek fishing, floating down a big river, or just getting away from the crowds is on the list, our home waters have it all. Our guide service was the 2010 Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Outfitter of the year and is the only fly fishing service in Bozeman to have the unique distinction of being endorsed by the oldest fly fishing company in the US. Give us a call at 406-586-2188 or email us , we'd love to hear from you and help you with planning your next Montana fly fishing vacation.

Fishing with Lone Mountain Ranch in Gallatin Gateway

Lone Mountain Ranch

Gallatin Gateway, MT

Lone Mountain Ranch is an historic winter and summer guest ranch located in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, which is one of the last remaining large, nearly intact ecosystems in the northern temperate zone of the Earth. Just 18 miles from the Yellowstone Park border, the ranch offers not only some of the finest year-round blue ribbon fly fishing anywhere in North America, but also guided horseback riding, hiking, Yellowstone tours and an Outdoor Youth Adventures program for kids 4-18 years with whitewater rafting and ziplining just down the road. Our highly experienced guide staff will help you discover the diverse fishing experiences this area has to offer. Float the legendary Madison and Yellowstone rivers in a drift boat, walk/wade the Gallatin River and streams in Yellowstone Park, or horseback ride to pristine high alpine lakes. Fine dining, comfortable log cabins and jaw-dropping classic alpine scenery compliment the array of activities we offer for the whole family. June, July, and August are great months for families and September offers an adults-only experience. While many guests spend their winter days skiing from December through March, the Gallatin is an amazing winter fishery for those days off from skiing. Date Range Summer season: June through mid-October. Winter season: Mid December through late March. What is Provided to Customer As a Ranch guest, the cost of your trip will include the use of waders, wading boots, fly rod, reel, up to 6 flies per trip and any other terminal tackle needed for the day. Region/Terrain Where You Fish Our location in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem and permits allow us to fish very diverse waters from the Yellowstone, which is the longest free flowing undammed waterway in the lower 48 states, to alpine lakes reachable by horseback. Waters include the Blue Ribbon Rivers like the Madison, Gallatin, Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers, the legendary waters of Yellowstone National Park, like the Firehole and Gibbon Rivers, famous lakes, like Hebgen and high apline lakes in the Spanish Peaks where fish rarely see anglers, and private creeks. Your day could include driving a short 10 minutes to the Gallatin River to walk/wade, driving to the Madison or Yellowstone to fish from a boat, taking horseback to a high alpine lake or walk/wading private creeks. Elevation of these waters range from 6,000 to 10,000 ft. Typical Weather by Season June: Great early-season fishing can be found in the many streams of Yellowstone National Park. Hatches of caddis flies, PMD's and salmon flies can be found on the Firehole and Madison Rivers. The creeks of the Lamar Valley are also a great early season option. We will also be fishing dam-released sections of some rives, due to the spring run-off. Depending on the snow pack, the Gallatin can also provide good early season action. Average temperatures: Lows 30's, Highs 60's to 70's Rainfall: 3” Hours of daylight: 18 Water temperatures: 45-50 Degrees July: Dry-fly fishing is in full swing! We have swarms of hatches on all the rivers. Mayflies, caddis flies, stoneflies, yellow sallies and spruce moths are abundant and often entice the fish to feed at the surface. The Madison offers the famous salmon fly hatch and spruce moths have been known to cloud the banks of the Gallatin. Average temperatures: Lows 40's, Highs around 80 Rainfall: 1.5” Hours of daylight: 17 Water temperatures: 50-60 Degrees August: Trout cruise the banks of the rivers looking for grasshoppers, beetles and ants that fall into the water. Rainbows and browns will take these terrestrial patterns with aggression; a surface strike is sure to get anyone excited. Fishing “hoppers” in the Paradise Valley of the Yellowstone or along the banks of the mighty Missouri can make for a memorable experience. Or, stay closer to the Ranch and fish the Gallatin and Madison, which can also be very productive at this time. Average temperatures: Lows 40's, Highs around 80 Rainfall: 1.5” Hours of daylight: 16 Water temperatures: 50-60 Degrees September: The rivers have generally fewer crowds, the wildlife is more abundant, the autumn scenery is stunning and the fishing is great. Terrestrials usually remain consistent, baetis hatches will occur on overcast days and fish will begin to strike at streamers. The Madison in Yellowstone National Park gives an angler a chance for trophy browns that have migrated up river from Hebgen Lake. Average temperatures: Lows 30's, Highs 70's Rainfall: 1.5” Hours of daylight:14 Water temperatures: 45-55 Degrees Winter Season: To the surprise of many, the winter can be a great time to go fly-fishing. Most of the Gallatin and Madison will remain open year round and can provide some amazing nymph fishing opportunities. The fish will eat mainly stonefly, midge and egg patterns during this time of year. Average temperatures: Lows teens, Highs 30's Snowfall: 200” Hours of daylight: 9-12 Water temperatures: 35-45 Degrees

Fishing with Greater Yellowstone Outfitters in Livingston

Greater Yellowstone Outfitters

Livingston, MT

As a full service fly fishing lodge here in Southwestern Montana, our guests will be provided with a once in a lifetime fly fishing experience. This area is famous for world class fly fishing opportunities and high numbers of big, hungry browns, rainbows, brook trout, and the Yellowstone Cutthroat. Guided fly fishing trips from our lodge gives you access to some of the most famous, blue ribbon trout waters in the Country. Whether it be along the banks of the clear, cold mountain waters of the Shields River, in a drift boat on the famous Yellowstone, at one of the three private trout laden spring creeks, or in a raft on the scenic Boulder and Still water rivers, our expert guides will provide years of knowledge, professionalism and guidance. You will return from an excellent day of fishing to our custom built, 7 bedroom, 4 bath majestic lodge with 360 degree views of three beautiful mountain ranges. We will invite you to kick back and relax while our skilled chef prepares a delicious dinner. Enjoy a magnificent Montana sunset from our wrap around deck to top off your evening. Our guides will be responsible for ensuring you have a great trip no matter what Mother Nature throws at you. All fishing gear will be provided along with a gourmet stream side lunch. So even if you have little to no experience all you need to do is show up with a smile and a positive attitude! In addition to a fishing experience, we invite you to take advantage of some of our other services. We can take you on a narrated journey through the world famous Yellowstone National Park or provide expert advice on first-rate hiking trails around the area.

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