Our Rivers

Jefferson River Fishing Gallery

The Jefferson River is a beautiful and unique angling spot for fly fishing in Montana that starts at the confluence of the Ruby, Big Hole, and Beaverhead Rivers and ends where it meets the Madison and Gallatin. It runs for about 80 miles from Twin Bridges to Three Forks, surrounded by rugged and unspoiled landscapes.

The quality of the Jefferson River fly fishing experience varies yearly depending on winter snowpack and spring moisture. Although the river faces heavy irrigation pressure during the summer, it remains a classic Montana fly fishing destination, offering both solitude and big fish opportunities.

Fins and Feathers has been outfitting fly fishing trips in Montana for over two decades. Jefferson River fishing trips are a favorite choice for our Bozeman fly fishing guides when water conditions are ideal during the early and late portions of our season.

Jefferson River Fly Fishing Trips Photo Gallery

Flyfishing Montana on the Jefferson River

  • Explore the Jefferson River from its headwaters to Cardwell, Montana. The river is formed by the confluence of three rivers near Twin Bridges. The upper sections offer Rainbow and Brown Trout while Brown Trout dominate the valley stretches near Whitehall. Expect fewer fish in the lower Jefferson River Valley, but larger, average sizes of wild trout due to less angling pressure.
  • The Canyon stretch offers a stunning Montana fishing experience with beautiful scenery, and even during peak times, you can still find some solitude here. Experienced trout anglers appreciate the intangible benefits of Jefferson River fly fishing despite the lower number of fish compared to other Montana rivers near Bozeman.
  • The Missouri River confluence stretch is a great section for experienced anglers. Best explored by floating, it offers solitude and diverse holding water. This unique Montana fly fishing destination is near Bozeman and is surrounded by wildlife-filled stands of Cottonwood Trees.

Planning A Jefferson River Fly Fishing Trip

  • Fishing Season: Conditions on the Jefferson fluctuate wildly throughout the year as the river drains a huge portion of Southwest Montana. Heavy irrigation demands make for subpar conditions during the height of summer in July and August. The best fishing on the Jefferson River is during the pre-runoff weeks in April, post-runoff weeks in June, and then during the fall in September and October.
  • Access: Several public access points along the Jefferson River are well suited for wade access and boat launches. Multiple Jefferson River fishing access sites are administered by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks along the corridor.

Tips For Jefferson River Fishing Success

  • Target the Jefferson River in late April or mid-June for the best early-season fishing.
  • Streamer fly fishing with sink-tip fly lines and lightly weighted, articulated flies with contrasting colors such as Yellow and Tan or Olive and White produce a few trophy Brown Trout every year.
  • Nymph fishing with Crayfish patterns is very effective in the late summer and early fall, be sure to twitch your flies regularly versus focusing on maintaining a dead-drift.

Jefferson River fly fishing trips are among the fly fishing in Montana highlights for our Bozeman fly fishing guides every year. Floating through spectacular scenery with uncrowded conditions and the opportunity to find a few, large Montana trout is a fly fishing "must do" for experienced fly anglers.

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