15 August, 2022 - Yellowstone River and Livingston Area Fly Fishing Report

Happy Monday, everyone. Hope you all had a great weekend. We’re kicking this new week off with a fishing report to help you get through the work week and back on the river. Late summer fishing is still happening, and as August creeps along we’re already looking ahead to fall conditions - which could be here in the next 4-6 weeks or so! 

Yellowstone River 

We’ve had some storms in the area off and on over the past week, and one of those bigger storms pushed some mud from higher up in Yellowstone National Park in the river. The mud was working its way downstream through Paradise Valley yesterday, which meant some people were able to get out ahead of it. We aren’t sure how long the mud will last, but a good gauge is the Montana Whitewater Gardiner webcam.

Keep in mind that the water takes a good long while to make its way from Gardiner to Livingston and beyond, so once we get clear water up high it will still take a minute to reach the valley and below town. 

Other than the mud, not a whole lot has changed on the river from our last report. Hoppers and other terrestrials are what’s working on top, with nocturnal stones early and you might find some caddis around later in the day. Those throwing streamers are finding some success early in the day and when it’s cloudy. 

Generally, the earlier you can get out the better. Fishing from dawn to 10:30-11am has been best, or later in the evening when the blasting sun is at least at its afternoon angle. Water temps have been flirting with or going over 70 for the past week, and without a break in the heat we can expect them to stay warm. Hoppers are going to be best in the afternoons. 

Remember, the Yellowstone River from Mayor’s Landing to Sheep Mountain remains closed to all recreational use. Mallard’s Rest is also closed, which means a lot of the old standby floats from years past are getting switched up. Keep an eye on our social media for any new updates on the Yellowstone between fishing reports. Or call, stop in, email… We’re around! 

Oh, one last note - we’ve had some people coming in recently asking about the Shields. That poor river has had a hell of a couple years and this is no exception. Leave it alone. Please. There are so many other options in the area there is just no reason to be on the Shields at all right now. 

Madison River 

Repeating what we said about the Yellowstone, not a lot has changed on the Madison over the past week. The Lower Madison is still overrun with tubers, floaters and party barges. Combine that with the fact that there’s a Hoot Owl Restriction from Ennis Lake to the confluence and you’re better off going somewhere else. 

The Upper Madison has a Hoot Owl Restriction from 8 Mile boat ramp to the lake, no fishing from 2pm to midnight. Going up river will get you into some good fishing! Terrestrials, dead drifted streamers, attractors and attractor nymphs… Fish the good water well and you’ll find fish. If you want to beat the crowds, go early or go later. Launching a boat around noon and floating til evening can provide some solitude. 

The Madison is a great late summer fishery, but it’s an even better fall fishery. Not too much longer now… 

Gallatin River 

Broken record here, but our fishing advice from last week’s report still rings true on the Gallatin River. Stay in the canyon or higher, less people above Big Sky, fishing the Park way up high can be really fun this time of year. Expect to share the river with other recreationalists. If you want to just fish attractors and terrestrials all day, you can definitely get away with it here. 

Fish early to beat the crowds and enjoy the coolest water temps. 

Boulder River and Eastward 

The Boulder River has been fishing pretty well this past week, and it gets better and better the higher up you go. Drive further and walk a bit longer than everyone else and you can have lots of water to yourself. Terrestrials and attractors - name of the game across the state this time of year. 

There is a lot of water in this state east of Livingston. If you feel up to exploring, be sure to check FWP’s Restrictions and Closures page for any updates on your target body of water. Bring a thermometer if you can, or use your best judgment for water temps. Fish early to beat the heat, and when the water gets too warm call it a day. The trout will thank you. 

Small Water 

Beat the heat, breathe the (reasonably) smoke-free air, and explore this wondrous place we call home by fishing the small water. Find a map, trace a blue line, plan a route and have at it. A light rod and a puck of dry flies is all you need. The fish aren’t big, but it’s some of the most enjoyable fishing you’ll have all season. Trust us. 

Livingston and the Store 

Mid-August is the dog days of summer for sure. We’re seeing a slight reduction in overall tourist traffic and this is the time of year when we see less families and kids as school starts across the country. We’re beginning to look toward fall, and it’s pretty wild that September is just a couple weeks away. We should be getting some fall apparel and gear in here soon, stay tuned for that! 

We’re still running guide trips and some of the best fishing of the entire year is still ahead. Fall fishing on the Yellowstone River and the Livingston area is pretty incredible. Plan ahead and book your days early if you’re thinking about it. 

As always, our friendly and knowledgeable staff is here to help with any question and get you set up with the gear, flies, and info you need to succeed during your time in Montana. Stop by the shop at 209 W Park St, or give us a call at 406.222.1673. 

See you on the river this week!