Yellowstone River Guided Fly Fishing Trips
The Yellowstone River is the longest free-flowing river in the lower 48 states, hosting world-class trout fishing for rainbows, browns, cutthroats, and cutbows. The river runs right through Livingston, and guests enjoy float trips drifting the Yellowstone, usually within 45 minutes of town.
From Yellowstone Park to Paradise Valley, the river is characterized by surging rapids and pocket-water interspersed with broad riffles, deep runs, and long flats. The upper river is home to an abundant population of native Yellowstone cutthroats, rainbows, cutbows, and browns, averaging 12” to 16” with trout over 20” a possibility on any given cast.
Paradise Valley contains countless sweeping bends, riffled corners, grassy banks, long, glossy runs, and deep pools. Cutthroats are numerous in the upper half of the valley and coexist with rainbows, browns, and cutbows averaging 12” to 18”. Larger trout of all species are landed over 20”, but the real bruisers are the lunker browns you’ll find waiting for a large hopper or sculpin.
Downstream of Livingston, the river increasingly braids around shifting rocky substrate and pours over shelf-rock drops. Rip-rapped points, broken sandstone cliffs, foam back-eddies, multi-seamed riffles, cottonwood root-balls, and hopper-filled hay fields provide bountiful trout habitat and food sources. Cutthroats and cutbows are found in fewer numbers on the lower river, while rainbow trout are prolific, and big browns thrive. Trout average 12” to 18”, but larger specimens, mainly browns, often exceed 20”.
In the spring, hatches of baetis, March Browns, and Mother’s Day caddis create superb dry fly opportunities. As the river recedes from runoff in late June to early July, world-renowned salmonflies and golden stones drop from riverside willows, and trout gorge themselves on these hearty bugs. In July, large sedges, various caddis, green drakes, PMDs, and yellow sallies bring trout to the surface. As these hatches wane, the fish switch to a diet of hoppers, other terrestrials, and nocturnal stoneflies from August to mid-September. Upon fall’s arrival, baetis are the primary hatch, while attractors with droppers continue to work wonders.
Attractors fished throughout the season are popular choices, especially with droppers. Nymph fishing is consistent most of the year, and streamers pounded along shoreline structures trigger hulking browns.
Boulder River Guided Fly Fishing Trips
The Boulder River drains north from the Absaroka Range and associated plateaus into the Yellowstone River near Big Timber, Montana. This fabulous action-packed freestone river, 30 to 45 minutes east of Livingston, is a summertime favorite among guides and clients!
The river is aptly named for its innumerable lichen-covered granite boulders, creating miles of multi-colored pocket-water on its tumultuous white-water descent to the Yellowstone. Dry fly enthusiasts and non-anglers enjoy the exciting raft ride through one of Montana’s most scenic and secluded valleys.
During peak season, experienced anglers can hook dozens of plentiful rainbows and browns, averaging 10” to 15” with some larger. Wild trout swim under shaded banks of twisted vines and deciduous branches, in swirling currents behind mid-river boulders, in shallow riffles, and emerald holes. Hatches of PMDs, caddis, yellow sallies, golden stones, and Green Drakes lure the trout to feed on the surface.
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! You rapidly fire casts with dries 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, battling it as you descend one of these drops before your guide eddies out and nets the buttery brown. After a moment of admiration, the fish slides out of your hands back into the river; high-fives and smiles ensue.
Stillwater River Guided Fly Fishing Trips
The Stillwater River is anything but “still,” descending rapidly, through prairied foothills and soaring cliffs tumbling through rock gardens and Class II and III whitewater.
The Stillwater is a guide favorite and a dry fly fisher’s delight. In the spring, baetis mayflies, March Browns, and Mother’s Day caddis bring wild trout feeding upon the surface. Hatches of PMD’s, various caddis, yellow sallies, golden stoneflies, and Green Drakes provide ample dry fly opportunities from late June through July. Nocturnal stoneflies, grasshoppers, and other terrestrials such as ants and beetles continually source dry fly opportunities during August and September.
You will make countless casts for miles through varied water from bankside seams to mid-river pockets and deep pools. You can expect to have excellent action for the river’s plentiful rainbows and browns, with an occasional Yellowstone cutthroat and cutbow tossed into the species mix. These hard fighting and vividly colored wild trout average 10” to 15” with occasional 16” to 18” specimens landed. Intermediate and experienced anglers can expect to hook dozens of these fish daily during prime summer months. Beginning anglers will be challenged with the river’s fast pace but can expect to catch many fish and learn swift pocket-water fishing techniques.
The thrilling whitewater ride combined with solitude, wildlife, mountain vistas, and superb dry fly fishing for feisty wild trout makes this action-packed freestone river one of our favorites!
Guided Spring Creek Fly Fishing
Located just a few minutes outside of Livingston are three famous spring creeks – Armstrong’s, DePuy’s, and Nelson’s. The crystal-clear waters of these creeks arise from artesian springs deep within the earth on private land in Paradise Valley, providing stable flows and water temperatures year-round. Situated beneath the towering Absaroka Range, these small streams with their micro currents, lucent waters, and wary trout draw anglers worldwide. Test your patience and dry fly skills by matching one of the creek’s many hatches, or let your guide teach you delicate, shallow water nymphing techniques. Spring is one of the best times to fish these creeks, and early summer generates good hatches of PMDs for thrilling, sight-cast dry fly fishing. Rainbows and browns from 12” to 18” are the predominant species, with colorful cutthroats and cutbows periodically caught. After fishing these famed spring creeks, you’ll know why it’s called Paradise Valley. Rod fees apply.
Other Fishing Destinations
For detailed information about fishing Yellowstone Park - Visit our Yellowstone Territories page
For detailed information about fishing the Gallatin, Jefferson, Madison, and Ruby Rivers - Visit our Southwest Montana Territories Page
Required Licenses & Fees
Montana Fishing License
Yellowstone Park Fishing Permit
*Depending on your itinerary, you may also need a Yellowstone Park fishing permit for your trip.
Livingston and Paradise Valley are vibrant communities full of non-angling activities. Many activities and entertainment are available for the whole family and non-fishing partners; some are also excellent after fishing. Guests will often plan several extra days to enjoy other activities and explore the area in combination with their fishing trip.
Non-anglers often enjoy riding along in the back of the boat, taking in the action, scenery, photographing, reading a book, and relaxing. While you’re fishing, non-angling partners and family can take scenic day hikes to a waterfall or explore hundreds of miles of trails. Outdoor companies offer guided tours, horseback trail rides, whitewater rafting, and scenic floats. Spend a day or several days exploring Yellowstone Park’s natural wonders. Enjoy a spa day, schedule a massage, or soak in one of the area's many hot springs such as Chico Hot Springs, the Boiling River, Yellowstone Hot Springs, or White Sulphur Springs.
Livingston has a strong art community with plenty of galleries, museums, shops, and the Livingston Farmers’ Market. Check out the Livingston Roundup Rodeo, Big Timber Weekly Pro Rodeo, and other local rodeos. Live music is played at the Murray Bar, Chico, and local bars. Other venues like the Music Ranch, Old Saloon, and Pine Creek Lodge host concerts. Music festivals such as the annual Red Ants Pants in White Sulphur Springs occur in late July. Bozeman, only 25 miles west of Livingston, is ripe with nightlife, restaurants, shops, galleries, the Museum of the Rockies, Music on Main, and the annual Sweet Pea Festival.
Weddings, Bachelor & Bachelorette Parties
Big Sky, Bozeman, the Gallatin Valley, Livingston, and Paradise Valley are teeming with wedding venues.
Celebrate with guided Montana Fly Fishing Trips, Montana Fly Fishing Vacations, and Montana Overnight Fly Fishing River Trips for your guests or as exciting bachelor and bachelorette parties!
Are you planning a family reunion? Let us assist you with accommodations, meals, and arrange guided Montana Fly Fishing Trips or a Montana Overnight Fly Fishing River Trip for the whole family.
Business & Corporate Meetings
Are you looking for an attractive location for business meetings? Many accommodations are available with meeting facilities and media for large groups and events. We can help arrange your group’s accommodations, meals, transportation, and plan corporate and business fly fishing retreats.
Montana Fly Fishing Trips are a popular way to entertain important clients and excellent employee and sales rewards.
Medical & Health Care Fly Fishing Retreats
Host continuing education and training events for business, medical, and health care parties, combined with Montana Fly Fishing Vacations.
Team Building & Leadership Fly Fishing Retreats
We partner with a professional facilitator for on-the-water outdoor leadership and team-building events. Why hold these indoors? You can bond with your team on the river on Montana Overnight Fly Fishing River Trips, or Montana Fly Fishing Vacations.
Clubs, Non-Profits & Hosted Trips
Are you a member of a club, a non-profit organization, a women’s group? Let us put together a Montana Fly Fishing Vacation for your group! Involved in a fly shop or fly fishing business? Host a Montana Fly Fishing Trip.
Reserving Your Fly Fishing Vacation
We recommend booking your Montana fly fishing vacation well in advance to ensure the best guides and accommodations. Guides and accommodations may be hard to reserve on short notice. A 50% deposit is required to finalize your Montana fly fishing vacation reservations. Please read the Terms and Conditions for complete details.
Arrival & Ground Transportation
Upon your arrival, your guide will pick you up, or ground transfers will take you to your accommodations. You may also choose to rent a vehicle. Having independent transportation allows more flexibility and freedom during your trip.
We recommend arriving the day before your fishing begins. Upon arrival, you may purchase any last-minute provisions and settle into your accommodations. Relax, explore the town and local area, enjoy your favorite beverages and appetizers at a local saloon, and dine at one of the many excellent restaurants.
Each day, after coffee and a delicious breakfast, you will make final preparations and drive to your fishing destination, where you will enjoy an exciting day of fishing and adventure. Most fishing locations are within an hour of your lodging, though some can be a bit further. Expect to spend six to eight hours on the water fishing, taking in the scenery, watching wildlife and songbirds, photographing, trading jokes, and having a great time. Savory lunches with non-alcoholic beverages are served on the water daily; feel free to bring any alcoholic beverages of your choice.
After a full day of fishing and adventure, return to your comfortable accommodations, perhaps stopping at a favorite watering hole on the way back. Back at your accommodations, clean up with a refreshing shower, relax and enjoy apres fishing.
Then head out for some local “culture,” sample regional craft beers at a taproom, or spirits at a local distillery. For dinner, sink your teeth into a juicy ribeye steak, grab an elk burger, a healthy salad on the lighter side, or sushi and sake. Wrap the night up with a nightcap and live music before settling in for a rejuvenating night’s rest.
Rinse and repeat daily as you see fit.
You may choose to stay at all-inclusive lodges or other accommodations with onsite meals, or you may elect to sample the many local cafes and restaurants. For fly fishing vacations in Bozeman and Livingston, you may prefer Fishing & Lodging only packages; meals and alcoholic beverages are not included. Foodservice and beverage gratuities are included in all-inclusive package rates.
Lunch, Snacks & Beverages
Shore lunches, snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages are provided each day.
Alcoholic beverages are included with meals in all-inclusive packages. Expensive wines and alcoholic purchases exceeding $100 per day will be billed to the client. All alcoholic beverages apart from meals are the responsibility of clients.
Since we do not have the proper licenses, we cannot provide alcoholic beverages for you on the water or at other times during the trip, except when purchased from licensed establishments such as restaurants and bars. You may purchase alcohol to bring with you on the water.
Cell Service & Internet
Many towns and locations in Montana and Wyoming have good cell phone reception. Other locations have spotty reception or no reception at all. Cell service is often spotty while driving due to the mountainous terrain, rolling hills, draws, and river bottoms.
Wireless internet connectivity is available in most locations and accommodations. Some accommodations do not have cell service or internet connectivity. Be sure to notify people of your potential unavailability and take care of all personal and business tasks beforehand.
Please let us know your lodging preferences for your customized Montana Fly Fishing Vacation. Depending on the location of your trip and availability, we may book the following accommodations for you.
- All-Inclusive Lodges or other accommodations with onsite meals
- Private Vacation Rentals
- Cabins and Cottages
- Bed & Breakfasts
- Secluded Guest Ranches
- Historic Hotels
*Rates may increase for upgraded premium lodging facilities and services.
Once you have confirmed your trip with us, you’ll want to make flight reservations as soon as possible.
We recommend flying into Bozeman, Montana (BZN). You may also fly into Billings, Montana (BIL).
Charters and private jets may arrive and depart from Livingston’s Mission Field.
Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport
Served by Alaska, Allegiant, American, Delta, Southwest, United Airlines, and smaller carriers.
Billings-Logan International Airport
Served by Alaska, Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier, United Airlines, and smaller carriers.
We may arrange private ground transfers between the airport and your accommodations in Bozeman or Livingston. You may also choose to rent a vehicle for greater flexibility and freedom during your trip. We will work with you to finalize transportation details at the time of booking.
Major car rental companies are available at your arrival airport. Rideshares, shuttles, taxis, and other transportation services are also available.
Drive Times to and from Livingston, Montana
Bozeman - 40 minutes
Billings - 1 hour, 45 minutes
Please book departing airline reservations for the day after your trip ends. Ground transfers are available to the airport if you do not have a rental vehicle. Rideshares, shuttles, taxis, and other transportation services are also available.
Fly Fishing Vacation Rates
Fly Fishing Vacation Rates
3 Nights/2 Days4 Nights/3 Days5 Nights/4 Days6 Nights/5 Days7 Nights/6 Days
Fishing & Lodging Only Fly Fishing Vacation Rates
3 Nights/2 Days4 Nights/3 Days 5 Nights/4 Days6 Nights/5 Days7 Nights/6 Days
- Rates based on 2 anglers/guide, double occupancy
- Contact us for Single Angler Supplement Rates
- Rates may increase for upgraded premium lodging facilities and services
- Additional fees may be charged for private chefs and caterers
- Fishing & Lodging Only Rates Do Not Include Transportation, Meals or Alcoholic Beverages
A 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 sent by email for open invoices with remaining balances due, which can be paid using the ACH option.
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
· 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 cancelled, and all deposits and payments will be forfeited.
- Transportation & Airport Pick Up and Drop Off*
- All Meals, Snacks, Appetizers & Associated Gratuities**
- Alcoholic Beverages with Meals**
- Lunch, Snacks & Non-Alcoholic Beverages on the River**
- Fishing Guides – 2 Anglers/Guide
- Flies & Terminal Tackle
- Rods & Reels – If Needed
- River Shuttles
- Airline Flights
- Rental Car (Optional)
- Additional lodging and meals beyond your scheduled trip
- Upgraded Premium Lodging
- Private Chefs
- Fishing Licenses
- Gratuities for Fishing Guides, Private Ground Transfers
- Rental Waders & Boots - If Needed
- Personal Expenses & Incidentals
- Personal Items – See Gear List PDFs Below
- Park Entrance Fees
*We may arrange private ground transfers between the airport and your accommodations in Bozeman or Livingston. You may also choose to rent a vehicle for greater flexibility and freedom during your trip. Transportation not included in Fishing & Lodging Only rates. We will work with you to finalize transportation details at the time of booking.
**All meals, snacks, appetizers, alcoholic beverages with meals, and associated gratuities are included in all-inclusive packages. Meals, appetizers, and alcoholic beverages are not included in Fishing & Lodging Only packages. Alcoholic beverages are not included on the river, but you may bring your own.
Our guides very hard to ensure an enjoyable trip, and we encourage you to tip accordingly. We suggest an appropriate gratuity from $100-$200/day/guide, although an excellent day of fishing, a memorable event, or extra effort on the guide's behalf may deserve more. Please consider that our guides work harder when fishing is slow or during adverse weather. Cash gratuities should be given directly to your guide daily or upon finishing multi-day trips.
Many variables beyond our control, such as weather, wind, barometric pressure, water temperatures, and fish behavior, influence the day's fishing. While fishing is a highlight of your trip, there are numerous ways to enjoy your fly fishing vacation. Please align your expectations with the conditions and your abilities. No expectations, no disappointments!
Clients frequently invite guides for drinks or dinner after fishing. Socializing is a great way to celebrate the day's events, plan the next day, and connect. While guides always appreciate the client's generosity, buying drinks and dinner are not considered part of or in lieu of gratuities. Socializing extends a guide's long and physically demanding day. Time is required before and after each day's trip for preparing, organizing, and cleaning.
If you have any comments or concerns about your trip, please let us know.
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 arise, and travel insurance is very reasonable should you have to cancel your trip for any reason. We recommend Travel Guard Travel Insurance and Global Rescue Insurance to protect your financial investment, which may cover trip cancellations for any reason. For more information or to purchase Trip Insurance, please visit Travel Guard or Global Rescue.
To receive complete coverage options and benefits, be sure to purchase travel insurance within 15 days of paying your deposit.
Medical Evacuation Insurance
We recommend Global Rescue’s worldwide medical evacuation and extraction services if you become ill or injured during your trip or due to natural disaster, COVID-19, and other reasons. Due to the remote nature of many of our trips, potential challenges 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.