24 June, 2023 - Yellowstone River and Livingston Area Fly Fishing Report

Happy official summer! While we consider Memorial Day the “start” of the summer season, now the solstice is in the rear view and we are game on for all our favorite summer activities. We’ve been having a cool and wet June, but more “summery” weather is in the forecast. July and all its festivities is right around the corner. 

Runoff is still very much in play on our freestone rivers here in Montana, but don’t let that get you down. Here’s what’s happening around the Livingston area: 

Yellowstone River 

Still muddy. However… Flows are coming down and have been steadily on the drop for a while. If you look at it just right, you can almost see a hint of green in the river. Visibility is still unfishable, but it likely won’t be long. Stay tuned. 

Madison River 

Salmonflies are on everyone’s mind on the Madison River these days. We’re hearing some scattered reports here and there, but this cool weather isn’t great for the hatch. Meanwhile though, the fishing has been really good. 

Now would be a great time to fish a big stonefly nymph right on the bank. As the Salmonfly hatch approaches the bugs will be moving to the edges and staging up. Don’t miss the opportunity. Dead drifted streamers, mayfly nymphs and even some caddis pupa have been taking fish as well. Dry fly action has been scattered, with subsurface providing the best action. If you’re into streamers, this is a great time of year to be throwing them. 

The Lower Madison has been more consistent for dry fly action lately. PMDs and yellow sallies are out and about, and keep an eye out for some larger drakes in the afternoons/evenings. If you aren’t seeing risers, small stoneflies, crayfish, and PMD hatchbacks should be on the menu. Streamers have been getting into some much bigger fish lately as well. 

As temps warm up, expect to see more recreational floater traffic on the Lower. 

Gallatin River 

The Gallatin has dropped to a fishable condition, but flows are still elevated and visibility is that famous Gallatin Green color. Expect things to dirty up again with larger storms that move through, but above Taylor’s Fork should still be clear. 

Fish the big stuff on the soft edges. Stonefly patterns, big attractor nymphs, dead drifted streamers and the like. You might see some PMDs here and there, but everyone is waiting on the salmonflies. The Gallatin can get overlooked in terms of the salmonfly hatch but it can be a lot of fun and very productive. Stay tuned on that. 


Lake fishing can be awesome this time of year. We’ve got a ton of options from private ponds to reservoirs and even lower elevation mountain lakes. Get the boat out, go walk the shore, whatever works for you. It’s Callibaetis time, so bring a few options. The basic patterns like a Parachute Adams can be deadly this time of year. Leeches, brassies, copper johns, hare’s ears… slow strip those just under the surface and have fun. A lot of people can overlook lakes but until they start getting weedy and hot in the summer heat they are great producers. 

Yellowstone National Park 

Like last week, the NE corner of the Park is still off, primarily due to the recents rains we’ve been experiencing. We’re not going to complain about moisture, but if we can catch a break from the rains, the Lamar, Slough, and Soda Butte will start fishing. The western side of the park is fishing well with most of the action on the Madison, Gibbon and Firehole. Baetis and caddis are showing up well, with some scattered PMDs. Be on the lookout for salmonflies in the Firehole Canyon and on the Madison in the coming weeks…

Livingston and the Shop 

The next two weeks are some of the most packed of the entire year in Livingston! We’ve got art walks, farmer’s markets, live music, great food, and of course the famous 4th of July parade and rodeo coming up. This is a great time of year to be in Montana. 

The shop is now on our summer hours, opening at 8am. We’re full of the best gear from your favorite brands and ready to supply you with the right equipment and knowledge. Tight lines this week!