Fly Fishing
River Trips

Boulder River Overnight Trip

Does not include pre & post-trip lodging, guide & camp staff gratuities, fishing licenses, or alcohol.
Fly Fishing
River Trips

Montana's Boulder River

Snowfields nearing 11,000' in elevation near Independence, Monument, and Sheepherder Peaks give birth to the Boulder River just north of Yellowstone Park in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. As the river plunges to the north, icy tributaries from the Lake Plateau and East and West Boulder Plateaus feed the mainstem. Near the tiny ranching community of McLeod, the West Boulder River converges with the main Boulder. Here we begin our Boulder River Overnight Fly Fishing Trips with riverside camps that unveil soul-stirring views of the snow-bound Absaroka Range to the south and the jagged Crazy Mountains to the north. You may also continue down the Yellowstone River for an extended multi-river camping experience. 

The Boulder River tumbles from its headwaters through a deep, forested canyon in the Custer-Gallatin National Forest, flowing for about 60 miles to its confluence with the Yellowstone River at Big Timber, Montana. As it departs its mountain reaches, the river cascades over Natural Bridge Falls. Here the river disappears in an underground tunnel and ejects from a limestone cliff as a waterfall before flowing underground again for a short distance.  Although the Natural Bridge collapsed in 1988, fossilized seashells can be found in the sedimentary rocks. Below the bridge, the river calmly twists through cottonwoods and hay meadows before picking up the East Boulder. Shortly after, it gains momentum on its tumultuous white-water passage to the Yellowstone.

The river below McLeod is aptly named for its innumerable lichen-covered granite boulders, creating miles of multi-colored pocket-water and deep beryl-hued aquarium holes. This gorgeous mid-sized freestone river is one of our favorites, as Class II and III rapids pierce through verdant alfalfa and hay meadows cultivated by occasional rustic ranches. Cliff and Violet-green Swallows dart about feeding on aquatic insects before returning to their colonies along volcanic sandstone cliffs that rise from the river's edge intermittently. Steep, rocky banks lined with cottonwoods and lush vegetation are home to Cedar Waxwings, warblers, finches, and kingbirds. Silky, chocolate-colored minks romp along the river's shores while Bald Eagles and Osprey peer into the wavering currents. Dry fly enthusiasts and non-anglers will enjoy the exciting raft ride through one of Montana's most scenic and secluded valleys. 
There's something about the sound of rushing water, the sight of multi-colored rocks wavering under clear, swift currents, and the thrill of an acrobatic rainbow engulfing your dry fly!  Rapidly fire casts with your dry fly and dry-dropper combinations to structured banks and bouldered pocket-water as you descend Class II and III white-water rapids.  The excitement heats up as you hook a nice brown in the middle of one of these drops.  Hatches of PMDs, caddis, yellow sallies, golden stones, and Green Drakes lure the trout to feed on the surface.  Exciting visual takes in the clear water will elevate your heart rate.  This fabulous action-packed freestone river is one of our favorite summertime fisheries! 

The river above the East Fork lazily winds through hay meadows fed by cold springs.  The river's calm currents require drag-free drifts with attractor dries, terrestrials, or a well-presented PMD cripple. Riffles lead into deep aqua pools and runs where rainbows, browns, and an occasional cutthroat lurk, averaging 12" to 16" with browns sometimes approaching 20".

From the West Boulder downstream for about 10 miles, the river is defined by lengthy stretches of rock gardens interspersed with white-water plunges and darkly colored holes. Dry fly connoisseurs revel the sight of a brassy rainbow rising to bushy attractors. Plentiful rainbows and browns averaging 10" to 15" with occasional 16" to 18" fish landed. During peak season, experienced swift-water anglers can hook dozens of these wild trout.  

Further downstream, the river's gradient eases ever so slightly, and while pocket-water is copious, boulders aren't quite as prevalent as above. Here, hardy brown and rainbow trout swim under shaded banks of twisted vines and deciduous branches, in swirling currents behind mid-river boulders, in shallow riffles, and deep greeny holes. Jewel-colored browns with vibrant lemon flanks sprinkled with brilliant crimson and deep black spots rise to an evening caddis hatch. These gorgeous, dry fly eating trout average 10" to 15", but as the river braids towards its final approach to the Yellowstone, larger trout are often caught. 

Required Licenses & Fees
Montana Fishing License - https://fwp.mt.gov/buyandapply/fishinglicenses
Not a fisherman? Not a worry! The surrounding natural splendor captivates non-anglers. Sit back, relax, and read a book as you bask in the sun or around the campfire. Photographers will find infinite opportunities shooting stunning scenery, curious wildlife, vibrant wildflowers, and endless subjects illuminated by the morning and evening light. Hike to the top of a riverside bluff to view a panoramic landscape, hunt for arrowheads, or check out ancient teepee rings, remnants of indigenous peoples. Rockhounds can search gravel bars for agates, petrified wood, and intricately patterned rocks of countless colors and shades. Bird watchers relish the riparian habitat replete with Western Meadowlarks, Red-winged Blackbirds, Western Tanagers, Eastern Kingbirds, Cedar Waxwings, warblers, finches, and countless other species. Experienced paddlers can float along in their kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddleboard. You may observe and enjoy more than your fellow fishing companions!
Trip Expectations
We will meet the night before or the morning of your trip to discuss trip logistics and make final preparations. Supplies will be organized and packed onto gear rafts the morning of your trip. Then, while you spend the day fishing and sightseeing, our camp crew rows all gear downstream and assembles camp.  

After a full day of fishing, arrive at camp, settle into your pitched tent, relax and refresh. Our deluxe river camps feature comfortable high-back chairs, spacious tents tall enough to stand up in with two guests per tent, cots, and inflatable mattresses. Extend your day of fishing by wading near camp, or simply enjoy your favorite beverage and delicious appetizers as you unwind around the campfire. Take a dip in the river or enjoy a hot shower in our private shower tent.  Private restroom tents are provided along with a hand-washing station and tarps or a wall tent for shade and shelter from any possible storms.   

Enjoy freshly prepared gourmet meals such as wild king salmon with asparagus and long grain rice or steaks grilled over the fire with baby potatoes and a spring salad mix. After dinner, you'll share stories over cocktails around the fire before retiring to your cozy tent accommodations for the night. You will be amazed by the clarity of the night sky, countless stars, and the brilliance of the Milky Way. 

Wake up in the morning and enjoy a cup of cowboy coffee as you watch the sunrise over the horizon. Then, savor a hearty breakfast of bacon, eggs, and pancakes, a breakfast scramble, or healthy wild smoked sockeye salmon lox on a bagel.  After breakfast, we'll pack camp up, and you begin another full day of fishing, fun, and adventure. As part of the experience, many guests enjoy helping pack up camp in the morning or helping set up if arriving in camp early. Our crew will move camp downstream each day for the entirety of your trip.
Camp Meals & Beverages
We are happy to customize your menu in advance of your trip. Should anyone in your party require gluten-free or vegetarian meals, or if anyone has any food allergies, please let us know well in advance to plan accordingly. Coffee, tea, and non-alcoholic beverages are provided. You are welcome to bring any special beverages, wine, beer, and spirits with you. 
We do not own a liquor or beer and wine license; therefore, we can't legally provide alcohol for our clients. However, you may purchase and bring alcohol on the trip with you. Spirits such as bourbon, whiskey, gin, rum, tequila, and vodka, as well as wine, can be taken on your trip. Glass bottles are okay; however, it's preferable to transfer your wine and spirits into lighter, non-breakable containers. Many guests bring boxed wine or transfer wine and spirits into flasks or plastic liquor pouches. You can also take beer; however, we have limited space on rafts, so please limit your beer quantity, and please only bring aluminum cans, no glass beer bottles. Keep your alcohol separate from your camp duffel so we can pack it securely, especially any glass bottles.

Day Time Lunch, Snacks & Beverages
Each guide boat is equipped with a cooler, lunch, snacks, beverages, and drinking water. Feel free to bring your favorite snacks, beverages, and a water bottle, which can be stored in the boat cooler.  If you have more than a few drinks, please check with your guide about available cooler space, and be prepared to provide a small beverage cooler with ice, if needed. 

Bear Etiquette
Grizzly bears are common in and around Yellowstone. Although grizzlies are rare along the Yellowstone River outside the park, their presence is possible, especially on the upper river closer to Yellowstone. Black bears can be seen along the entirety of the Yellowstone River. The chances of a bear encounter are low; however, it is possible, and bears should be respected.  We take all necessary precautions to minimize bear encounters and to reduce the chances of them entering camp. Each person's actions play an essential role in keeping a bear-safe camp, and we approach this seriously. Guests must keep camp clean by disposing of trash and food items in the fire or provided containers and storing any food, snacks, beverages, and odorous items in provided bear-proof containers at night.  Do not store any of these items, including deodorant and toothpaste, in your tent at night. It is highly recommended that you carry bear spray with you at all times when out of the raft and in camp. We cannot guarantee your safety.
For more information on bear safety and etiquette, visit: 
Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee -  http://igbconline.org/bear-safety/
Cell Service & Internet
Due to the remoteness of most of our Overnight River Trip destinations combined with a mountainous topography, cell reception is spotty at best and, in most cases, not available. Additionally, wireless internet connectivity is not available. Therefore, be sure to notify people of your unavailability and take care of all personal and business tasks beforehand. 
What's Included
  • Guides - 2 Anglers/Guide
  • Personal Instruction
  • Camp Crew & Cooks
  • All Meals, Snacks & Appetizers
  • Non-Alcoholic Beverages
  • All Cooking & Camp Essentials
  • Dinnerware, Pint Glasses, Mugs
  • Camp Chairs
  • Sleeping Tents with Lanterns
  • Sleeping Pads – If Needed
  • Cots 
  • Waterproof Dry Bags for Sleeping Bags & Pads
  • Waterproof Dry Bags for your Camp Gear, Clothing & Personal Items, if needed.
  • Private Restroom and Shower Tents
  • Handwashing Station, Paper Towels, Toilet Paper
  • Sheltered Tarps or Wall Tent for Core Camp
  • Transportation To and From the Trip Destination from Local Accommodations 
  • Shuttle Fees (Excluding personal or rental vehicles)
  • Flies & Terminal Tackle
  • Rods & Reels – If Needed
  • Life Jackets
  • First Aid Kits

Not Included
  • Fishing Licenses
  • Gratuities – Fishing Guides & Camp Staff
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Bear Spray
  • Sleeping Bags
  • Personal Vehicle Shuttle Fees
  • Rental Waders & Boots - If Needed
  • Personal Items – See our Overnight River Trip Gear List
  • Park Entrance Fees – If Applicable
Recommended Airports
Once you have confirmed your trip with us, you'll want to make flight reservations as soon as possible. We recommend that you fly into Bozeman, Montana (BZN), the day before your trip begins.  You may also fly into Billings Logan International Airport (BIL). Schedule flights that arrive in the afternoon, if possible.  
Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (https://bozemanairport.com) is served by Alaska, Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest, and United Airlines, plus a few smaller carriers.  
Billings Logan International Airport (https://www.flybillings.com) is served by Alaska, Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier, and United Airlines, plus a few smaller carriers.  

Ground Transportation
Having your own transportation allows more flexibility before and after your trip. Major car rental companies are available at your arrival airport. Once in Montana, you can purchase alcohol and mixers, bear spray (airlines do not allow bear spray onboard), and any other items you may need for your trip, including your Montana fishing license. You will then drive to your evening accommodations, have dinner and make last-minute preparations. 
Drive times to and from Livingston, Montana
Bozeman - 40 minutes
Billings – 1 hour, 45 minutes
If schedules allow, we may be able to provide transportation for you from Bozeman.

River Shuttles
If you drive and would like your vehicle or rental car to be at the take-out location, it is your responsibility to pay for the shuttle service. Shuttle fees vary depending on locations and distances, and we will assist you with arranging a shuttle.   Alternately, we may be able to make arrangements to leave your vehicle in Livingston or another location, and you will ride with your guides. Shuttle fees for guide and gear vehicles are included. 

On arrival night, we recommend staying in accommodations in Bozeman, Livingston, or another location, depending on where your trip begins.  

Departure Details
On the final day of your trip, we will be off the river in the afternoon. Please make departing airline reservations for the following day. Guests are responsible for booking and paying for accommodations on their outgoing night after getting off the water. If you do not have a rental car, we recommend booking accommodations with airport shuttle services. Rideshares such as Uber and taxis are available for dinner, getting around town, or to the airport, if needed.  
Trip Length2 Days/1 Night3 Days/2 Nights4 Days/3 Nights5 Days/4 Nights
4 or More Guests$1,595/person$2,295/person$2,995/person$3,695/person
2 Guests Only$2,395/person$3,595/person$4,795/person$5,995/person
Rates are based on 2 anglers/boat, double occupancy. 
For additional days, 4 anglers or more add $695/day, 2 anglers add $995/day. 
For odd numbers, 3, 5, 7, etc. - add $300/day/single angler supplement.
Guests are responsible for their first and last night's accommodations and meals.   

Riverside Lodging
At any point during your trip, you may choose to stay at riverside accommodations such as a high-end lodge, vacation rental, bed and breakfast, or luxury cabins. Begin or end your overnight float by staying at these accommodations, or stop at any point during your overnight trip for a hot shower and break from camping. 
*Rates may vary depending on specific accommodations. Riverside lodging prices are in addition to Overnight River Trip rates. Please call or email us for specifics; we will work with you to customize the perfect Overnight River Trip.

Arrival Night Camping on River - add $495/person. 
If arriving early, you may camp on the river on arrival night rather than stay in local accommodations.  You may do some afternoon and evening fishing and may also float a short distance to camp.

Payment Options
Your non-refundable 50% deposit is required to finalize your reservation and is due within 10 days of booking your trip. We will invoice you by email, and upon receiving your invoice, you can choose to pay using the online ACH payment option. This option is a quick and convenient way to pay your trip deposit and finalize your reservation. 

Payment reminders will be emailed for open invoices with remaining balances due, which can be paid using the ACH option. 

Additionally, deposits and final payments can be paid with bank wire transfers, credit cards, or mailing checks payable to Greater Yellowstone Flyfishing Outfitters. A 3.5% convenience fee is assessed for all credit card transactions. Please contact us if you prefer cash or other payment forms. 

Greater Yellowstone Flyfishing Outfitters Payment Options
  • ACH Online Payments – U.S. financial institutions and bank accounts only
  • Personal & Business Checks* - U.S. financial institutions and bank accounts only
  •  Electronic Wire Payments - wiring fees are the responsibility of the client
  • Credit Cards – 3.5% Convenience Fee applied
  • Venmo or PayPal
  • Cash
  • International Payments can be made via wire or with a credit card.
*Client will be billed all associated costs for returned checks.  The client will have 7 days to reimburse Greater Yellowstone Flyfishing Outfitters for returned check costs and provide an alternative form of payment; otherwise, trip reservations will be canceled, and all deposits and payments will be forfeited.  
Guide & Camp Crew Gratuities  
Our guides and camp staff work hard to ensure an enjoyable trip, and we encourage you to tip accordingly. We suggest an appropriate gratuity from $150-$200/day/guide and camp staff. However, an excellent day of fishing, a memorable event, or extra effort on behalf of your crew may deserve more. 
Your guides and crew work relentlessly from sunrise to after dark, especially during adverse conditions. Setting up and taking down camp, cooking, cleaning, and performing necessary tasks are demanding yet essential for a successful and comfortable trip. Our crew performs numerous tasks behind the scenes; successfully executed, you'll never notice, including at least a day before and after each trip. 

Cash gratuities may be given directly to the trip leader at your trip's end and are distributed evenly among the guides and camp staff. Should you wish to give a specific guide or camp staff a bonus gratuity for something special, you may give it to that person directly or to the trip leader with specific instructions. Alternatively, you may present each guide and camp staff gratuities directly rather than pooling them, extending your gratitude upon departure.   

Many variables beyond our control, such as weather, wind, barometric pressure, water temperatures, and fish behavior, influence the fishing and camping experience. While fishing can highlight the trip, it's only a portion of many experiences to enjoy and appreciate on an Overnight River Trip. Please align your expectations with the conditions and your abilities. No expectations, no disappointments!

Please let us know if you have any suggestions, comments, or concerns regarding your trip. 
Overnight River Trips Terms & Conditions
When booking a trip with Greater Yellowstone Flyfishing Outfitters, you enter a professional relationship and agreement. Please read these terms and conditions carefully, as all terms are binding once a trip is booked. Receipt of deposit or final payment confirms that the client(s) has read and accepted the deposit, cancellation, refund, and responsibility clauses.  

Deposits & Final Payment
A 50% non-refundable deposit is required and due within ten (10) days of booking to confirm all reservations.
The final balance is due 60 days before a scheduled trip starts. All deposits and payments are non-refundable. 

All trip cancellations must be made in writing to Greater Yellowstone Flyfishing Outfitters as soon as possible. Upon cancellation, payments will be forfeited, and no refund will be issued.
Trip deposits and payments may be transferred to another guest for the originally booked dates if the customer provides a suitable replacement. 

Refunds or credits towards a future trip may be made if we rebook the originally booked dates with another party. Credits for future trips must be used within one year of the originally booked date. Credits unused after one year will be forfeited.  

No refunds or credits are issued due to medical, family, or business emergencies, inclement weather, or other unexpected events.

Cancellations by your guide(s), mutual guide/client decision, unsafe weather or water conditions, or state or federal closures may be refunded in full or credit applied towards a future trip. 

In no event will Greater Yellowstone Flyfishing Outfitters issue refunds or credits or be responsible for any cancellation of services due to inclement weather, events of force majeure, acts of God, airline delays or issues, flight cancellations, missed connections or transfers, or any other reason beyond or our control. In case of canceled flights, airline delays or issues, missed connections or transfers, Greater Yellowstone Flyfishing Outfitters is not responsible for alternative travel arrangements, including flights, transfers, other transportation, hotels, meals, and any other expenses incurred.

Rescheduling a trip is the same as canceling and is subject to the same cancellation policies. 

Weather & Water Conditions
Refunds or credits are not issued for fishing time lost due to inclement weather. Our trips go out in all safe weather and water conditions. Adverse weather, smoky atmospheric conditions, varying water levels, or undesirable fishing conditions are unacceptable reasons to cancel or receive a refund or credit. Besides, some of the best fishing occurs during inclement conditions. Weather in the Rockies is variable; watch the forecast in advance for the area you plan on fishing and pack accordingly. Read our Gear Lists for recommendations on appropriate clothing and gear.   

An alternative to the originally scheduled trip may be available in extreme or unsafe weather events (heavy rains, dangerous cold/snow, high winds), unfishable or unsafe river conditions, state or federal closures, or other uncontrollable circumstances. It is impossible to predict these conditions, which are beyond our control. We will do our best to work with you on a suitable alternative. We strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance for these reasons.
Hoot Owl Restrictions 
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, and Yellowstone National Park occasionally impose Hoot Owl Restrictions. These restrictions may apply when a combination of low water levels, warm water temperatures, and other factors occur for a pre-determined amount of time during summer heat. Once this threshold is met, Hoot Owl Restrictions prohibit fishing from 2 pm to midnight. Restrictions remain in place until water conditions and other variables meet acceptable requirements. Hoot Owl Restrictions may occur when drought or low water years combine with extreme summer heat. Hoot Owl Restrictions may occur from late July to early September.  

We do not cancel trips or offer refunds or credit due to Hoot Owl Restrictions. Clients may meet their guide early morning to maximize their time on the water. Clients who choose not to meet earlier can expect a shorter day. You may also choose to snack, eat lunch at 2 pm, or skip lunch to maximize your available fishing hours. After 2 pm, you may kick back, relax, enjoy the scenery, and may stop to cool off with a refreshing swim. Alternatives may also be available to fish other waters without Hoot Owl Restrictions.   

Even without Hoot Owl Restrictions, we may suggest a self-imposed restriction when waters reach critically high afternoon temperatures. Perhaps not fishing after 3 pm is the best responsible decision for the fishery's health. Besides, being off the water earlier on hot summer days is often preferable.   

Any client ill with COVID-19 may not participate in a guided trip with GYFO. Clients recently ill or exposed to COVID-19 (10 days or less) must meet all current CDC guidelines and test negative before participating in any trip with GYFO. COVID-19 illness, exposure, or restrictions are unacceptable reasons to cancel or receive a refund or credit. 
Should your guide(s) become ill or exposed to COVID-19 (within 10 days of the start of your trip), they must meet all current CDC requirements and must test negative before guiding any GYFO trip. If your guide(s) does not meet these requirements, we will do our best to find a healthy, alternative guide for your trip. If an alternative guide is not available, GYFO will issue a full refund or credit to be used within one year of the originally scheduled trip. Credits unused after one year of the originally scheduled trip will be forfeited.   

Many of our guides are fully vaccinated. Should you require or prefer a fully vaccinated guide, please be sure to make your request upon booking your trip. Failure to request a vaccinated guide when booking a trip or giving sufficient notice requesting one is unacceptable to cancel a trip or receive a refund or credit.
GYFO guides follow current COVID-19 requirements issued by the CDC, federal, state, and local authorities. GYFO guides and clients may take precautions such as social distancing, mask-wearing, washing hands, and using hand sanitizer.

Other Contingencies
Greater Yellowstone Flyfishing Outfitters and its guides reserve the right to change itineraries due to unfavorable conditions or other necessary reasons.
We make no exceptions to our refund and cancellation policies due to our reliance on advanced bookings and operation in good faith. Much time is invested in planning and preparing for your trip, securing permits, guides, and accommodations, and addressing other logistics well in advance. Guides and accommodations have been reserved far in advance and must be paid.
Trip Insurance
We realize these trips are expensive, and much is at stake financially. For this reason, we highly recommend that you purchase trip insurance in advance. Unforeseen circumstances may arise, and travel insurance is very reasonable. We recommend Global Rescue or Travel Guard Travel Insurance to protect your financial investment, which may cover trip cancellations for any reason. For more information or to purchase travel insurance, please visit Global Rescue or Travel Guard.

To receive complete coverage options and benefits, purchase travel insurance within 15 days of paying your deposit.
Medical Evacuation Insurance
We recommend Global Rescue’s worldwide medical evacuation and extraction services for illness, injuries, natural disasters, COVID-19, and other reasons. Due to the remote nature of many of our trips, potential challenges in receiving immediate professional medical help, and limited cell coverage, we highly recommend purchasing medical evacuation insurance along with your trip insurance. For more information or to purchase Medical Evacuation Insurance, please visit Global Rescue.

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