Hello July! Happy July 4th weekend everyone. Let’s hope this month is a little less hectic and newsworthy than last. First - let’s talk about that. The area is still picking itself back up from the impact of the flooding, but by and large we are back in business! You can read more about it on our Flooding Update blog here.
The Yellowstone River
On to the good stuff - fishing. The Yellowstone River is still out of shape, which is not at all abnormal for this time of year. Our runoff normally doesn’t clear up until at least the first week of July, with heavy snow years like this past one lasting longer. Once the river clears it will be game on. When will that be? Could be as early as late next week. TBD though, don’t quote us on that.
One thing that does impact the fishing on the Yellowstone besides the flows is the fact that most of the boat ramps in our area remain closed. Some of the walk wade accesses are open, but you won’t be putting a boat in the water for a while. At these flows, you shouldn’t be putting a boat in the water anyway. You can get the latest closure information on FWPs website here.
As we have said before, the Yellowstone is going to be an entirely new river once it clears up. Channels will have changed, there will be new obstructions around, old obstructions will have cleared out, and it will take a while to relearn favorite floats. We do urge caution as people start getting back out on the water.
HOWEVER - while this may sound like a negative, this is all part of the natural cycle of a river. This kind of refresh is very necessary and will lead to the Yellowstone River being healthier and better than it was before. It’s going to be an awesome summer here in Montana.
Other Local Waters
The Boulder, while still a bit above average flow, is starting to fish and should come into prime in the next week. The Gallatin is getting close too, but isn’t quite there yet. And all our smaller mountain freestones, while clear, are rushing lots of water volume. They’ll fish better as soon as flows decrease. There’s good fishing to be had right now on the Upper or Lower Madison or the Missouri. The Madison has been fishing really well and the Lower is a great option for a quick after work float on these long days. You might some find caddis in the afternoons but crayfish and nymph patterns will produce much better. The streamer bite has been pretty decent on cloudy days as well.
This time of year on the Upper Madison brings one thing to mind: Salmonflies. This hatch draws anglers from all over the world, all hoping for that one life changing day of dry fly fishing that will define their fishing careers for as long as they can hold a fly rod. Word on the street is that the big bugs are starting to show up…
The Missouri has been quite good this year. Right now the PMD fishing during the day and the caddis fishing at night is worth the drive. Be ready to fish long, small leaders and make the technical casts. The river is getting a lot of pressure, since it’s been the only clear water in the state for a while. Be patient and soak in the place - the Missouri is something special.
There are plenty of options right now for fishing and it’s only going to get better and better. We are expecting an awesome summer of fishing on the Yellowstone River, and it’s about to get really good. There are a host of great activities, events, restaurants and breweries in our local area for families and non-fishing people in your group. Don’t miss out on Montana this summer!
Our shop is open 8am-6pm every day except Sunday (9-3pm) and we’ve got everything you need to enjoy and appreciate Montana, including the most up to date information. We’ve got expert guides available this summer to get you out on the water, but prime dates are booking fast. Come check it out! See you this summer.