The Yellowstone River originates in Yellowstone National Park and flows 600 miles through Montana, offering world-class trout fishing and wild western beauty between Gardiner and Columbus.
As it winds through breathtaking mountain landscapes with cottonwood-lined banks, anglers can experience untouched riffles, runs, and pools filled with native Yellowstone Cutthroat, Rainbow, and Brown Trout.
Yellowstone River fishing is a diverse experience, from the whitewater of Yankee Jim Canyon to the peaceful glides near Livingston to the broad riffles near Big Timber.
This quintessential Montana fly fishing river is open year-round with angling opportunities for both float and wade anglers.
“Great experience with Fins and Feathers. Our guides worked non-stop to get us on fish from dawn until dusk. Despite our lack of technique and experience, we netted fish of all varieties: cut-throats, hybrid cut-throat rainbow, rainbows, browns, even some native whitefish..."
- Bill S
The Yellowstone River emerges from Yellowstone National Park, a pristine expanse where Yellowstone Cutthroat trout thrive in the crystal-clear waters.
Surrounded by the rugged Gallatin and Absaroka Mountain ranges, the river here is a blend of whitewater and long glides. Pocket water along the edges of fast-moving water and skinny riffles are a dry fly angler's paradise between Gardiner and Joe Brown FAS.
Floating the Yellowstone River allows the experienced angler to cover water that is rarely fished by skilled fly fishers. Back eddies, complex seams, and long riffles are often overlooked by floating anglers and hold good numbers of trout.
Yankee Jim Canyon is a narrow gorge through which the Yellowstone River runs through until the Carbella Fishing Access Site. The first two miles feature whitewater with short, serious rapids best suited for floating through with skilled oarsmen in rafts.
Quick, accurate casting along bankside seams with attractor dries in this fast-paced and wild setting is an experience that the advanced angler will long remember.
Steep, scree-lined banks present challenging approaches best reserved for the adventurous and fit angler.
The river mellows out after the two miles with large boulder fields and back eddies holding a variety of Montana fish including Yellowstone Cutthroat, Rainbow, and Brown Trout.
Few places epitomize fly fishing in Montana like the iconic Paradise Valley stretches of the Yellowstone River. Long glides and deep runs hold abundant numbers of wild Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout Brown Trout, and Rainbow Trout between the mouth of Yankee Jim Canyon and Livingston, Montana
The dramatic peaks of the Absaroka Mountains line the eastern edge of Paradise Valley, creating an angling backdrop like no other. The river is large with deceptive power, numerous side channels, and back eddies creating unique opportunities for the floating angler.
Any time after July 4 is primetime for fly fishing Paradise Valley, for anglers of all skill levels. Long drifts with hopper/dropper rigs on the Yellowstone River in late July is an experience any angler will relish.
Where the Yellowstone River passes through Paradise Valley near Livingston, a blue-ribbon trout fishery awaits between Carter’s Bridge and the US HWY 89 Bridge.
Seasonally, this section produces some of the largest browns on the entire river. This diverse section rewards the float and wade trip anglers with access to secluded gravel bars and riffles away from popular access points.
As the Yellowstone winds through town, its moods shift with the seasons. Careful reading of the water is required to pinpoint where trout are holding in constantly evolving current flows and structure. A bend bursting with rising fish in early summer may lay vacant by fall.
The lower Yellowstone River, meanders from Livingston to Columbus, unveiling long riffles and deep runs. Classic hopper fishing water during the summer months and among our Bozeman fly fishing guide's top choices for fall streamer fishing.
Here, the Yellowstone River flows with a serene beauty through the Montana prairie with the Absaroka and Beartooth mountain ranges to the south. This is true Big Sky fishing country.
Floating the Yellowstone River on these lower stretches offers the most authentic Montana fly fishing experience on the river. Expect robust populations of Rainbow Trout and trophy Brown Trout are an everyday possibility.
In April, the Yellowstone River awakens from winter's grasp, presenting opportunities for challenging and rewarding fly fishing. Blue-winged olives and the start of the Mother's Day Caddis hatch...Read More
The Yellowstone River fishing is at its best for the first few days of May. Fly fishing Paradise Valley during the Mother's Day Caddis hatch is an exceptional angling experience when the timing is just right...Read More
The runoff kicks off in early May and lasts through late June, most years. Salmonflies hatch in Paradise Valley during late June, creating epic Yellowstone River fishing with dry flies as the water clears...Read More
Yellowstone River fishing in July is a blend of challenge and reward. Slow-rising Rainbow Trout sip PMD and Yellow Sally adults in Paradise Valley. The lower Yellowstone River fishing starts to improve...Read More
Hoppers and nocturnal Golden Stones bring hungry Trout into the shallow riffles from their mid-river, summer lies. Floating the Yellowstone River during the early hours is ideal in August...Read More
As autumn descends, the Yellowstone River fishing is characterized by nymphing complex seams or dry fly fishing to subtle risers during an afternoon BWO hatch. Streamer season arrives with...Read More
Fins and Feathers Guide Service brings over two decades of expertise to your Yellowstone River fly fishing trip. Whether you seek the challenge of streamer fly fishing the lower stretches or simply wish to enjoy the classic beauty of floating in Paradise Valley, our guided trips cater to both novice and seasoned anglers.
Explore the Yellowstone River year-round with Fins and Feathers Guide Service. Our Montana fishing reports provide crucial insights into stream conditions, hatch activity, and top fly recommendations. From the gentle glides of Paradise Valley to the remote stretches near Big Timber, stay informed for a successful day on the river.
Read the Yellowstone fishing report for the latest updates on this iconic Montana fly fishing destination.