Waters We Fish

The Yellowstone Valley is home to some of the best fishing anywhere in the world. From our headquarters in Livingston, Montana, you will have easy access to a variety of streams and creeks. Some of the more popular include the Yellowstone River, Gallatin River, Lower Madison River, Boulder River, Spring Creeks and just a short drive to Yellowstone National Park. Dan Bailey's has everything you need to enjoy a day of fishing. From information about all of the local rivers and the quality of fishing to guided trips we can provide you with all you need.  

Below we have listed first options that are within comfortable reach of the immediate Livingston and Paradise Valley area. The info provided here is a static overview of these fisheries, click this link for current fishing reports .  Following the Livingston area listings we provide an overview of options that are within 3 hours of Livingston (this is under development).

Yellowstone River

Flowing northward out of Yellowstone National Park through Paradise Valley to Livingston Montana the world famous Yellowstone River is the main focus of our fishing day in and day out all year long.  A free flowing river (the longest in the lower 48 states) the Yellowstone combines blue-ribbon fishing, truly spectacular scenery, abundant wildlife opportunities and a plethora of bug life providing for exceptional fishing that simply makes it tough to beat time spent exploring the Yellowstone River. Boasting large numbers of browns, rainbows and Yellowstone Cutthroat trout the Yellowstone River has provided many an angler with a true trout of a lifetime. Whether you are here to experience highlight events like river blanketing caddis hatches, the emergence of giant salmon flies, the multitude of mayfly species present, summer invasions of hoppers or the adrenaline rush of fall streamer fishing the Yellowstone brings all the components of experiencing a big western river together. While the ‘Stone does provide great opportunities for wade fishing at lower flows it is fished best from a boat and is the focus of our guided float trips. There is plenty of public access to be had in Paradise Valley upstream from Livingston as well more access below Livingston down to Columbus. When planning your trip to fish the Yellowstone be sure to consider spring-runoff which typically can affect the river from the middle of May generally peaking in early July. There is no closed season on the Yellowstone at this time and while not as often thought of as a winter fishery it can be a very consistent producer all winter long with plenty of water miles remaining free of ice.


Madison River (Lower)

Approximately 50 miles west of Livingston a little beyond Bozeman the Madison River is in reach to fish while visiting the Livingston area. Another of Montana’s world famous fisheries, the Madison, also provides plenty of public access, comfortable wade or float fishing, no shortage of bugs and is available to fish all year for very quality browns and rainbow trout.  As a tailwater river, we will utilize the lower Madison for our float trips on occasion when the Yellowstone is out of form or by request. The lower reaches of the Madison are susceptible to warming during the summer so it does function as a shoulder season fishery but can provide amazing action when the fishing is on at any time of year.  


Gallatin River

Located roughly 30 miles west of Livingston the Gallatin is a great option for wade fishing and a fun fishery. You can fish the Gallatin along highway 191 from the Yellowstone National Park boundary (inside the park with a park permit) through Gallatin canyon to its confluence with the Missouri River in the Three Forks region. The Gallatin provides consistent action for wild browns and rainbows on both nymphing and dry fly tactics and sees great hatches of caddis, stoneflies and pmd’s. While not a regular part of our guiding program we do have guides we can pair you up with that work the river regularly when your lodging leans in that direction or you don't mind making the drive over.


Boulder River

Thirty miles east of Livingston the Boulder River is an opportunity to fish water a little less traveled while not giving up quality fishing. A freestone stream tumbling down out of the Beartooth-Absaroka Wilderness the Boulder River provides a very good option for a day trip away from Livingston to fish to rainbows, browns and cutthroat trout. Traveling south from I-90 upstream into the picturesque Boulder valley there are a few state access sites to fish the lower reaches of the main Boulder near Big Timber and on upstream to McLeod. The middle reaches of the Boulder do not afford much public fishing access however exploring the West fork of the Boulder, specifically the West Boulder meadows stretch in the national forest is well worth the effort. As you continue upstream high into the national forest service area you will find plenty of access, several great picnic and camping areas to enjoy a day trip or overnight stay on the Boulder River. The dirt road into this region while being a bit rough does not present standard vehicles with anything impassable.


Spring Creeks

 The well-known spring creeks; Armstrong’s, Nelsons and DePuy  are located just south of Livingston MT approximately 6-8 miles in Paradise Valley and are an excellent way to challenge your skills regardless of your experience level.  Unaffected by runoff, these aquifer fed creeks run cool and constant all year providing consistent and often heavy hatches to test yourself with while enjoying a very pastoral experience sight fishing at close range to savvy wild trout. While fishing these creeks does incorporate a rod fee, each of these properties are well worth it to experience wading amongst very high numbers of very quality wild trout.