Waters We Fish
Fly Fishing Waters in Montana & Wyoming
|Spring Creeks of Paradise Valley|
|Yellowstone National Park|
The Spring Creeks of Paradise Valley
The Paradise Valley Spring Creeks are some of the most famous in Montana and the world. These creeks are fed by an underground spring which keeps them flowing “gin clear” at 50° to 60° year round. Because these creeks are fed by natural springs, they are not affected by the winter melt off. Hatches are often heavy all season long and even into the cooler months. With such clear and slow moving water, a perfect presentation is a challenge and a great experience for any angler, beginner or expert.
If you are new to fly fishing, the spring creeks can be a good place to learn. With such clear water, you can see everything take place right in front of you, such as fish rising to naturals or taking nymphs and scuds off the bottom. This also allows the angler to see very clearly the result of a perfect presentation versus a less than perfect presentation. By having one of our guides with you, you will reduce the learning curve and put yourself onto some beautiful rainbows, browns and cutthroats. Even an expert can learn a trick or two or show certain techniques that can result in a more productive day. If you are fishing with us for a few days, and are new to fly fishing, we would suggest that we save the Spring Creeks for the second or third day so that we may work on the fundamentals on less technical water.
This spring creek is well known around the world and lucky for us it is located here in Livingston. The creek is 3 miles long with a ton of character and variety of water to fish, which include long flat runs, undercut banks, pools, riffles and ledges. The bottom of the Creek consists of a mix of clay and gravel as well as intermittent weed beds. This provides great habitat for fish and aquatic insects, such as mayfly nymphs, midge larva and scuds to name a few. The dry fly fishing is excellent with varying hatches that you can set your watch to most days. The average fish size is 14 – 16 inches, with some over 20.
Rod fee required.
Armstrong’s, located just south of DePuy’s and is at the north end of Paradise Valley and eight miles out of Livingston. This creek is also famous among world anglers. There is just over one mile of water to fish and then it flows into DePuy’s. Rainbows are the prominent fish in this Spring Creek and they love to defy gravity. Browns and cutthroat also call this creek home. Armstrong’s too has a variety of aquatic insects that include caddis pupa, mayfly nymphs and midge larva. The dry fly fishing can be described as sensational and is consistent all season long. When the air temperature hits the 90′s and the hatch is over, try going to a small ant or beetle. The average fish size is 14 – 17 inches with some over 20.
Rod fee required.
This is the smallest of the three Creeks. You know the old saying “size matters?” That is not true in this case. What it lacks in size (0.7 miles) it makes up for in quality. This is for the most part a flat water fishery. A stealthy presentation and 7X is the way to go and your fly choice must match the hatch. I would call Nelson’s Spring Creek the most technical of the three creeks and probably not the best choice for a beginner.
Rod fee required.
Welcome to our office. What can I say about the Yellowstone River that hasn’t already been said. It is one of the best trout fisheries in the world. It winds through one of the most beautiful valleys I have ever seen, and the fishing is second to none. I am proud to say that this is our home water.
The Yellowstone River with it towering mountains and breathtaking valleys offers an incredible variety of fishing opportunities. There are dozens and dozens of tributaries that feed the Yellowstone throughout the entire river system. Many of these tributaries are well known to fishermen world wide, which include the Lamar River, the Boulder River, the Shields River and the Stillwater River.
The Yellowstone has a large and healthy population of rainbows, browns, the famous Yellowstone cutthroat, cutt-bows (hybrid cutthroat rainbow) and the native mountain whitefish. The best way to fish the Yellowstone River is by drift boat. This gives the angler a chance to fish those hard to get to places. This also affords the angler the opportunity to cover a fair amount of water in a single day.
When you choose one of our guides to compliment your day of fishing, be sure to let them know if you have any special interests. If you would like to float a certain piece of water on the Yellowstone or perhaps you enjoy wading part of the day, be sure to tell us. I can promise that our staff will not disappoint you. They are all very knowledgeable, professional and polite.
Gardiner to Yankee Jim Canyon
This stretch of water is one of our favorites. It offers every type of water an angler could ask for. The views are breathtaking, and the water is ideal. If you are inclined to fish this on your own, be careful. The water can be technical to row with several class II rapids and one class III rapids. This stretch holds a healthy number of cutthroat, rainbows and browns. The upper part has lots of great banks, riffles and pocket water. The lower portion has all of the features that are listed above. The biggest difference is that the water is much slower with minimal white water and offers better wading opportunities.
Yankee Jim Canyon
This water is not for the faint of heart. It should be left to those with a lot of time behind the oars. Please do not take this lightly. It is locally known that there are a number of boats and rafts that attempt this canyon every season and fail miserably. There are some people that feel that the fishing here is mediocre at best. I disagree. You won’t catch quantity, but the potential for quality is certainly there. With my time fishing the canyon, I have found streamers to be most productive. I am often asked if I fish clients in the canyon, and my reply is yes, but only if I am related to them or very close friends.
Carbella Bridge to Emigrant Bridge
This is a very nice stretch of water. It too offers a wide variety of fishing opportunities, whether you are drifting or wading. The bank fishing through this stretch is very good. Riffles and pocket water are also present all throughout this stretch. Side channels are abundant and should not be passed by.
Emigrant to Mallard’s Rest
This water offers excellent bank fishing, many riffles, side channels, and a lot of flat water. It does have a good number of large rainbows and browns with intermittent cut throat. Our favorite time of the year to fish this is during the caddis hatch (mid – April to when the river blows out, due to winter run off usually the 10th to 15th of May.) Also the salmon fly hatch which is late June / early July. We think that this is probably the busiest section on the Yellowstone throughout the summer, so we tend to shy away from this water in the busy season.
Mallard’s Rest to Carters Bridge
This is one of our favorite sections to float. The views are the best in Montana. To the east is the Absaroka Mountain Range with mountain peaks over 10,000 feet lining the whole valley. The Gallatin Mountain Range is to the west and is equally impressive. I would call this rainbow water with very healthy browns and cutthroats as well. It is very easy to wade, lots of flat water, riffles and some of the best hopper banks around.
Carters Bridge through Livingston
We would also refer to this water as rainbow water. The habitat is ideal for them for them to thrive and thrive they do. This is the first section of water that is below DePuy’s Spring Creek which provides ideal spawning habitat for rainbows. The numbers speak for themselves with over 3,000 rainbows per mile, however, the brown and cutthroat number are less. On this section of water a drift boat is the way to go so you can access all of the water you find appealing. Throughout this section there is a lot of fast water which makes for awesome fishing for rainbows.
Livingston to Big Timber
All of our guides are very fond of this water and will describe it as follows – very pretty and less crowded than Paradise Valley. Not as many fish, but the average size is bigger, and the water is less crowded. The lower Yellowstone has some of the best hopper fishing in the area due to large agricultural farming on both sides of the river (alfalfa and hay). This stretch also offers lots of flat water, riffles and intermittent log jams along the banks. When Montana gets one of its midsummer hot spells the water does heat up as it comes from above and may cause the fishing to slow down a bit. During these hot spells, we would suggest fishing from sun up to about 11:00 a.m. and then again from 4:00 p.m. until dusk.
TroutScout has been fortunate enough to have access to several privately owned lakes which are all within one hour of Livingston. These lakes hold some of the largest rainbow, browns and brook trout that we have ever seen. This is the best opportunity for a fly fisher to catch truly big trout.
Rod fee required.
The guides at TroutScout absolutely love this free stone creek. It is perfect for a full or half day walk/wade with some really nice cutthroat. Mill Creek is one of the larger tributaries into the Yellowstone River. Wading is easy most of the time. Public access and camping is available.
A trip to Yellowstone National Park is not soon forgotten. The abundant wild life and incredible scenery make for a memorable visit. When you pack for this trip, a camera is a must. Don’t worry if someone in your group does not fish on this adventure, there is plenty for the non-angler to do and see.
Yellowstone TroutScout offers a variety of trips into the Park. Because we are within a one hour drive we can offer single day and overnight trips. If you choose to do an overnight trip we can camp at any number of designated campgrounds or stay in any of the wonderful hotels or cabins. Camping is the most popular with anglers and their families. Your guides will prepare your breakfasts, lunches and dinners as well as set up camp.
Located in the northeast corner, Slough Creek is one of the most popular fishing destinations in the park. But don’t let that scare you, because there is a lot of water to fish especially if you don’t mind walking a mile or two to one of the upper meadows. In this water you will find rainbows, cutthroat and cutt-bows.
The Lamar River flows through the Lamar Valley which is one of the parks most scenic valleys. It is not uncommon to be fishing among several hundred buffalo or catch a glimpse of a wolf walking around. The water is just as good as the views with riffles, under cut banks and boulders which provide great holding water. In this water you will find mostly cutthroat with a few rainbows below.
Soda Butte Creek
This is a truly great small creek. Soda Butte reminds me of the Spring Creeks of the Midwest. It too has wonderful features. Including riffles, lots of under cut banks and structure throughout. When some of the more popular water is a little too crowded, this creek provides a great “plan b.”
This lake is about 40 acres in size and requires a 0.6 mile hike. You can cast from the bank or pack in a float tube. The fish in this lake are big, really big. If I told you how big, you wouldn’t believe me. You will have to see it for yourself. This is one of those places where, depending on the day, the fishing can be very good or very slow. If you would like to have an overnight trip into the Park, this would be a great place to finish up a day.
The Missouri, often referred to as “The Mo”, is one of Montana’s finest. The Mo is three hours from Livingston and is worth every mile of the drive. The water we tend to fish most is about 30 miles east of Helena,(Holter Dam to Dearborn is not your typical tail water fishery and it is truly beautiful.) This stretch of water will produce very large rainbows and browns. 20+ is not uncommon, but 16 – 18 is the norm. The Missouri River hatches are numerous and frequent. The Tricos hatch is truly incredible. This hatch takes place from mid-June to mid-August. During these heavy hatches the fishing can be more technical and the fish more selective. With this in mind, we would suggest longer, lighter leaders and the best presentation possible and the perfect fly to match the hatch.
The Madison River is less than 1 hour from Livingston and allows us a great opportunity to fish one of Montana’s finest. We fish the lower Madison from Bear Trap Canyon to the Missouri Confluence. This trip offers both fishing from a drift boat as well as easy wading. The Madison can be fished affectively with dry flies, nymphs, streamers (crayfish and sculpin) and holds rainbows and browns. The water temperature mid summer is often to hot but is ideal in the spring and fall.