Article RV trip end May 2018 and flyfish information

Dear flyfish friends,

Coming over "the Pond" at the end may/begin June with my wife I will make an RV trip.
Visting following rivers, Yellowstone ,Gallatin,Madison,Missouri,Big Horn.
Also regarding, the low weight of fly luggage, and to prepair a C6.ful RV. trip for my wife and for me a flyfish trip .
Altough common internetinformation, I am looking for more practical RV. and flyfish information for that time in the year.

Can you please help me with these practical questions;
1. Global information of waterlevel of rivers at that time? Maybe melting ice/snow water?
2. Wich best rivers to visit for flyfishing, at that period of the year ?
3. What kind of fish can I expect? Only trout?
4. Wich # flyrods will cover my trip and rivers, f.e. #5,#6,#7 switch, or maybe light 5/6. 13ft. spey-rod?
5.# Flylines, floating, leaders, sinktips?
6. Wich common leader,tips, and flies at that time?
7. Wich safe RV. parks with WiFi?

Thank you for reading, for reasons will you please answer me by p.m.?

Kind regards,



Well-Known Member

I think I can answer some of your questions in this thread instead of by PM.

Is your time frame fixed and not flexible? I ask because you mention rivers you want to fish, and all except possibly the Big Horn are in spring runoff from snow melt. That time period is generally better spent fishing lakes and some rivers below dams - called tailwaters - where the spring runoff is held back. Most rivers will become more fishable around the end of June and into July.

If you have a 5 and 6 wt fly rod, you're good to go most anywhere in the western US for trout fishing. And yes, the fishing is mostly for trout.



Active Member
Salmo is right, that is both early and cold..and not only will the rivers be cold with fewer comparative hatches and more sluggish trout, many of the roads through the national parks you would normally visit on such a trip will either still be closed or only partially open depending on snow fall during the later winter/early spring months..if you could somehow reschedule for a month later, it would open up both many more fishing opportunities and tourist style sight wife and I, who live on the west coast, have done that trip twice, and intend to do it again this year..truly some of the finest land in the country..
Dear mr. Salmo_g, & Surfnfish,

Unhappy, this time our time is fixed! Even our fligths and RV are already booked in time. Next time we will plan this trip about one month later. Thank you for your time and advices!

Striker -

It is possible that you could have some fishing in either the Big Horn or the Missouri River at that time of the year, depending on the water levels, particularly if you have access to a boat or use a guide. There can be excellent lake fishing then, however, as an alternative.

Snowpacks in that area are a bit above average for this time of the year though, which (although a lot can happen between now and then) generally means higher than average water flows in the rivers come spring, hence it will be later in the season until they become clear and low enough for good fishing. That might be early July.

Personally, I would suggest that you contact some of the fly shops in the areas you plan to visit and ask them for advise. For example, that would be fly shops in Ft. Smith, MT for the Big Horn or Craig, MT for the Missouri.

You didn’t say what kind of RV you have rented, but keep in mind that the distances between locations are significant in the areas you’ve mentioned, and you often don’t stay right next to a river with your RV, so you’ll find your travel time (and costs for your RV rental) can get to be very high before you know it.

With that said, I would probably stay at the Cottonwood Camps campground for the Big Horn in FT Smith, MT, and the Lincoln Road Campground in Helena, MT for fishing the Missouri. The Lincoln Road RV Park is the nicest one closest to the Missouri River that I know of (there are some closer but with less amenities), but it is 35 miles or more away.

There are a multitude of reports on snowpack and river levels, updated daily, that I could give you, or you can find them yourself by doing an internet search, but unless you know how to relate these reports to local fishing conditions, they might not be particularly useful at this time. (Again, I would refer you to local fly shops for fishing reports and forecasted conditions). They can also give you recommendations on flies.

With all of that said, if any of the rivers you mentioned are fishable at the end of May/beginning of June, I would probably place my bets on the Missouri, and I would recommend getting a guide with a boat. The fishing then can be fantastic (it can be even better in mid-May) but you’d want a boat to access the best fishing places, and to know how and where to fish there at that time of the year. A guide will cost you about $600/day more or less.

Alternatively, you might wish to spend most of your time this year just traveling around the areas of the rivers you mentioned, rather than fishing, and getting more of a feel of these areas firsthand for yourself.

The best RV parks to stay at for the Yellowstone, Gallatin and Madison Rivers are Yellowstone’s Edge RV Park (18 miles south of Livingston, MT, and right on the river) and Grizzly RV Park in West Yellowstone, MT. It is not too early to make reservations now, as places will be fully booked soon.

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