22 June, 2024 - Yellowstone River and Livingston Area Fly Fishing Report

Happy official summer everyone! With the solstice yesterday, it’s officially go time. Rivers are on the drop around the state, we’ve got some hot weather coming up, and we keep hearing some good reports of PMDs and drakes to keep everyone occupied while waiting for the salmonflies. Early summer is a great time to be here. 

Yellowstone River 

Things are clearing up quick on the Yellowstone River. Walking the banks in town today, there is a noticeable green tint to the water instead of chocolate milk brown. Flows have dropped to just below 10,000 cfs as of the afternoon of the 21st. Is it fishable? We think it’s on the margin and getting better by the hour. We’ll be giving it a go in the coming days.

22 june fishing report yellowstone river in livingston

If you do want to get out this weekend or over the next few days, something big, dark, and noticeable would be the ticket. Think heavy stonefly nymph rigs or streamers. Once things clear up there is going to be some awesome dry fly fishing, and the big bugs (salmonflies) are right around the corner… 

Please exercise extreme caution on the river in these conditions. It’s still quite high and it’s hard to see obstructions and obstacles regardless if you’re floating or wading at this point. No fish is worth dying for, be smart out there. 

Madison River 

Early summer on the Madison River is pretty darn awesome. For the Upper Madison, salmonflies are on everyone’s minds but it’s still a tich too early. It’s definitely time to be fishing big rubberlegs and stonefly patterns on the banks though. Water is still high and a bit murky, so be sure to add enough weight to get down. 

While we wait on the big bugs, don’t overlook the PMD hatch. It can be absolutely incredible up here, and is well worth the effort. They hatch around midday, and fishing a PMD nymph or crackback before then can be deadly. Put an emerger behind a PMD sparkle dun and be ready for the action. 

The Lower Madison is fishing really, really well right now. The summer recreational floater traffic is starting to pick up, especially on weekends. Be ready to deal with lots of that from Warm Springs to Black’s Ford. Look for PMDs, yellow sallies, drakes, caddis, the works. If you’re after dry fly fishing, this is the place to be. 

The streamer bite on the Lower is still pretty decent, and there are always a few surprisingly big fish that come out of this river this time of year. Get it while the getting’s good - all indications are that this year is going to be a short one on the Lower Madison until the fall. 

22 june fishing report salmonfly upper madison

Gallatin River 

The Gallatin River is still flowing high and dirty, and needs a bit more time before fishing. If you’re really itching to get out in the Gallatin Canyon, spending some time on the tributaries can be a ton of fun. Just be sure to not go alone, make a bunch of noise, and have your bear spray in a place you can easily reach it. 

Yellowstone National Park 

Early summer is a great time to fish Yellowstone National Park. The western side rivers of the Firehole, Gibbon and Madison haven’t overheated yet, and all have some stellar hatches right now. Look for a few scattered BWOs still on the Firehole, drakes should be showing up any day now, and PMDs are out as well. 

On the eastern side of the park, things are coming into shape. The Lamar River and Yellowstone River are still running high and dirty, but they’re both coming into fishable shape at any time now. The gray drakes of Slough Creek are coming into focus soon and there are PMDs everywhere. As the salmonflies move up the Yellowstone, catching the hatch in the park can be super fun. 

There is a lot to pay attention to, and at this point any body of water in the Park will be a good choice. Have more specific questions? Let us know! 

Livingston and the Shop 

This is an exciting time of year to be in Livingston! There is so much going on, and so much more to come. This is the 100th anniversary of the rodeo, and we are expecting quite a turnout. There’s art festivals, brew fests, live music, art walks, parades, and much more coming up. Don’t miss out! 

We are moving to our summer hours of opening at 8am next Monday, June 24th and will be ready to outfit your Montana adventure. From bike rentals to guided fishing trips, we are your one-stop shop for everything hike, bike, and fish this summer in SW Montana. 

Tight lines this week!