By early July the Yellowstone completes its seasonal reset, as the runoff slows, clear water and dropping flows bring the river into fishable condition once again. This begins a consistent and fruitful stretch of Montana fly fishing until October.
Yellowstone River fishing improves throughout July as river flows drop and clarity improves.
Expect off-color water conditions in early July and high flows that make wading nearly impossible.
Hungry trout are eager to eat a well-presented fly, tight to the bank in these conditions. Floating the Yellowstone River gives the angler the advantage in early July. Many anglers consider July as the best time of year for Yellowstone River fishing.
Caddis patterns work consistently for opportunistic trout anytime during the summer season on the Yellowstone River. Experienced anglers remain alert for localized mayfly, golden stonefly, Salmonfly, and terrestrial insect activity.
Salmonflies, Green Drakes, and Golden Stones are the big bugs on the water when the river first starts to fish once again, following the runoff, in late June and early July. Caddis, PMD, and Yellow Sallies hatch throughout July and become more important as the clears and flows start to stabilize by mid-July.
Grasshopper and nocturnal Golden Stones become more important in late July and into August.
The river will be high and off-color in early July, however, Rainbow and Brown Trout sit behind bankside structure and aggressively feed on passing insects. Flies that are presented tight to the banks during these conditions will find hungry fish more drifts than not. The trick is maintaining a drag-free drift and avoiding the various snags hidden below the surface.
The advanced angler can expect dry fly opportunities while fishing Paradise Valley between Loch Leven and Carbella in early July. Salmonflies and Golden Stone hatches are thick at this time, but precision casting is necessary.
Nymphing and streamer fishing are productive throughout the river, but the flies need to be fished close to the bank. Reach mends give the flies a few seconds to sink and settle in soft water seams. This is an essential fly-fishing technique and fishing the Yellowstone River in high water is a great way to master this skill.
Dry fly fishing is the name of the game by mid-July when the river clears with normal stream flows. Attractor dries imitating Yellow Sallies or Caddis can be fished all day throughout much of the river. Dry/dropper rigs using large stonefly dry imitations and weighted searching nymphs is productive as well.
Anglers fishing a single, large dry through skinny riffles in late July can hook into some of the largest Yellowstone River Brown Trout of the season.
As flows drop in July on the Yellowstone River, many braided channels that normally don't have enough water to hold fish will be fantastic areas to explore. Trout stack up in these temporary areas and can be home to some of the larger Brown and Rainbow trout in the river. Fly fishing with a dry-dropper setup is perfect through drop-offs or along foam line banks, tie on a Pink Chubby Chernobyl with a Kyles Yellow Sally or PMD nymph 4-4.5 ft off the hook bend.
Through over two decades of guiding the Yellowstone River, our experts anticipate daily and seasonal changes in this intricate watershed. Afternoon thundershowers throughout the region can quickly change water conditions over the 120 miles of the river where we operate.
We check water and weather conditions frequently to ensure that our guests are set for success on their Montana fishing trip to the Yellowstone River.
Floating the Yellowstone River offers the best fly-fishing experience throughout July. Our experienced guests enjoy wading productive runs and riffles during a float trip. Novice anglers will quickly improve their fly fishing skills as the river is a diverse, wild trout fishery in which a variety of techniques are effective in July.
Join us for a day on the river or let us custom a unique, multi-day Montana fishing itinerary so that you can experience the diverse fly fishing opportunities of the Yellowstone River.