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

It feels like summer out here! The warmer weather has hit us and looks like it’s here to stay. Summer is here, Livingston! For us anglers, this season means wet wading, fish eating big dry flies, and long days on the water. 

Before, we get into the details - remember that June is runoff. As our snowpack melts off, our streams and rivers swell with muddy water. Depending on the waterway, this typically starts in May and begins to seriously clear up by the first week of July. Note that each year is different and it’s impossible to say for sure when our freestones will be clear again..  

Remember to be VERY respectful of the power of these raging rivers. It might look fun right now but for all but highly experienced whitewater rafters/kayakers, runoff is dangerous. There was an incident on the Yellowstone River this week that very nearly ended in tragedy, and is a good reminder to be extremely careful. Believe us, it’s worth waiting a couple more weeks before getting your boat out.

9 june fly fishing report yellowstone river

Yellowstone River 

The Yellowstone River is in full runoff mode, having reached flows over 20,000cfs for the last few days. With warmer weather and still a decent amount of snow up high, we can expect flows to remain elevated for a few weeks yet. Stay tuned. 

Madison River 

The Upper Madison River is running high as well. Due to its tailwater nature it doesn’t completely blow out with mud like the Yellowstone, but below the West Fork things will dirty up a bit. Flows are elevated this time of year, so exercise caution while wading and keep in mind that several low clearance bridges that aren’t a problem later in the summer might be impassible now. Just be careful and be smart. 

As far as fishing goes, streamers can be deadly in these elevated flows. Pound the banks and keep trying different colors, sizes, and profiles until you find one that works. Sparkle Minnows are a good starting point. The Salmonfly hatch is still weeks out, but it’s never a bad time to fish a rubberlegs or other stonefly nymph pattern. Look for PMDs and some scattered caddis as well. 

The Lower Madison is a great choice during runoff, but it will be pretty busy this time of year. The same advice as above goes here - streamers, PMDs, caddis, and stonefly nymphs. If you’re floating from Warm Springs to Black’s Ford you can expect a pretty good flock of tubes and recreational floaters. As the weather heats up and we get into the peak of summer expect a lot of that. 

Gallatin River 

The Gallatin is high and dirty. It needs a few more weeks. Some of the tributaries are fishing well, but be VERY bear aware when you’re out on those. Right after runoff ends is one of the best times of year to fish the Gallatin, so keep an eye on it! 

Yellowstone National Park

Fishing season is on in Yellowstone National Park, and now is a great time to get after it. Remember you do need a separate license to fish in the Park, which can be bought online here

Runoff is heavily affecting the waters in the Northeast Corner, which are pretty much all running high and dirty. Their prime time is still a few weeks out, but once it clears it is awesome. The main focus of fishing in Yellowstone right now is the West side waters of the Firehole, Gibbon and Madison Rivers. 

The Firehole River is famous this time of year for swinging soft hackles, an incredible approach that can be absolutely deadly. Cast an unweighted pair of soft hackles down and across, letting your line go tight as you lift your rod at the end of the swing. This imitates emerging insects rising from the depths and the fish key in on the movement. 

Over the next bit, look for BWOs, white miller caddis, and PMDs on the west side rivers. You might find some midges as well. If you want to fish dries all day and not chase a bobber, you certainly have the chance to. 


Runoff is a great time of year to focus on our local lakes. While these often get overlooked by fly fishermen in the summer months, stillwaters can be a riot. With water temps still nice and cool in the spring, fish are cruising shorelines, eating hatching insects and gorging on leeches. A slow strip with a leech pattern trailing something like a pheasant tail or zebra midge cast from the shoreline can be a lot of fun. 

Dailey Lake can be a fun spot to hit in the early season, though be aware it might be windy. Hyalite Reservoir is a popular spot, and for good reason. Even the larger bodies of water like Canyon Ferry can provide fly anglers some action this time of year. 

It’s still a bit early to be thinking of high mountain lakes, but it’s never too early to plan! 

Paradise Valley Spring Creeks 

The local spring creeks are a solid bet during runoff, as they remain clear all year long. The fish are getting picky, and the hatches are picking up. We’re right on the cusp of the PMD hatch here on the spring creeks, which for many is considered to be the best of the year. Available rods can be challenging to book, as these are the prime dates of the season. 

Livingston and the Store 

We’re in full on summer mode here in Livingston. School’s out, the Farmer’s Market has started back up, and we are readying for the flurry of activity around the Rodeo and Fourth of July. There is a lot to do and see here in Livingston in the summer! 

Our shop is open 9am-6pm Monday through Saturday, and 9-3 on Sunday. Our helpful staff is always available to answer any questions you might have on fishing, hiking, biking, trip planning, where the best place to get lunch in town is, and many more questions you might have. Come by and see us! 

Tight lines this week.