Big Sky, MT in June--Advice?

keekster4504

Active Member
It's looking like I'm going to be in the Yellowstone area for a week in mid-June (13-19). Unfortunately, the purpose of the trip is not for fishing, but I'll probably be able to sneak away for a day or two. My husband and I are driving over from Seattle to stay with his entire extended family for his mom and stepdad's anniversary (yay... :eek:). We'll be staying in the Big Sky area. There is so much fishing in that region that I don't really know where to start. The Madison, Gallatin, Firehole, Yellowstone...they're all bouncing around my head but it's a little daunting to go about settling on one option.

In an ideal world, we'd be able to dink around the creeks in and around Big Sky here and there, and then do one or two days of dedicated fishing.

I'd take any advice/thoughts/tips on fishing near Big Sky/NW Yellowstone, but I have a few questions:

1) From what I've read, runoff on the Gallatin renders it mostly unfishable until late June. Is that also the case for the Forks, closer to Big Sky? Will any of the rivers in the area be wadeable in mid-June??

2) It seems like the end of our trip will coincide with the very beginning of the salmonfly hatch on the Madison (~June 20-July 4, from what I've read). I'm curious about people's thoughts on that... we could potentially book a guided trip for the 19th or 20th on our way back to Seattle. Seems like a lot of the activity is based around Ennis. Suggestions for guides? Or maybe I'm being naive and guides and lodging are already booked out for this "event"...

3) There's a good chance that there will be interest in fishing lessons from some family members. Suggestions for good spots to take brand new anglers?

4) More generally--if you could fish anywhere in the NW Yellowstone region for a day, where would it be? Where should we focus our efforts? I'd prefer to fish smaller rivers (pocket water is my happy place, and my husband is still working on his distance casting :rolleyes:), but I'm open to any and all suggestions. We'll have a car, so we could drive a couple hours.

Feel free to send me a DM if you'd prefer. Thanks in advance--I love my husband's mom and brother, but the rest of the family is a bit more of an acquired taste so to speak, and I'm definitely going to need some concrete fishing plans to stay positive about this trip!
 
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Swimmy

Practice your craft.
WFF Supporter
Pm sent.

Good luck
L8VPdFIT_o.gif
 

jasmillo

WFF Supporter
Tough time a year due to run-off but there are some options inside and outside the park in that area. I’m sure swimmy covered them in his PM. If you are in the park and looking for small water, look to the two rivers that merge with the Madison before it follows the road to the western entrance. They are both generally fishable and fishing well that time of year. You’ll be as happy as a Hylobatidae in hot spring.

Ok, that’s enough hints ;).
 

gt

Active Member
stayed up there a year ago, quite an area to say the least. the Gallatin is a wonderful river to fish.. head up to the park boundary for Yellowstone cutthroat, beautiful, work your way down river for rainbow and then big browns. plenty of access points so easy to get to the river.
 

Rob Allen

Active Member
Beautiful area, book days on de puys. Of maybe check out hebgen lake.

Rivers most likely will be blown.

If it's clear enough and it's a warm spring MAYBE some stonefly nymph fishing on the Madison, but might be a week or 10 days early.

Long drive but the Big Hole should have salmon flies then.
 

gt

Active Member
the fish tend to hug the banks so don't let what looks like blown waters keep you from fishing. i have had success on the Gallatin when i was the only one fishing. the edges, don't forget that...

the world famous spring creeks are S of Livingston, a long drive from Big Sky. and you won't be able to fish Nelson's unless you stay there and hire one of their guides. a friend who has been fishing there for over 40 years just threw up his hands and wrote the place off. Armstrongs will still let you fish, with a day reservation, on your own. can be very tough water as every fish there has a name and has been hooked so many times it is not funny.
 

bk paige

Wishin I was on the Sauk
Tough time a year due to run-off but there are some options inside and outside the park in that area. I’m sure swimmy covered them in his PM. If you are in the park and looking for small water, look to the two rivers that merge with the Madison before it follows the road to the western entrance. They are both generally fishable and fishing well that time of year. You’ll be as happy as a Hylobatidae in hot spring.

Ok, that’s enough hints ;).


I dropped into one of those and have never been attacked by mosquitoes so severely in my life.This was after spraying down with 100% Deet, I think they liked it! The wife and kids didnt even make down the hill before bailing back to the burb, I lasted a few seconds longer :eek:
 

MT_Flyfisher

Active Member
Two more options: One is the lower Madison below Ennis Lake and the Beartrap Canyon. It’s a bit of a drive from Big Sky, but then again practically everything in MT is a bit of a drive. There is a lot of roadside access there to do it yourself, or you can hire a guide. Another option is the Firehole in the park. It should be fishing well in mid-June. If you plan to enter the Park at all from the West entrance, I‘d recommend trying to go in early in the morning lest you get delayed by the lines of tourists that can back up the traffic there, often all the way to Madison Junction - early as in no later than 7 am.

John
 

802flyfish

Active Member
It's looking like I'm going to be in the Yellowstone area for a week in mid-June (13-19). Unfortunately, the purpose of the trip is not for fishing, but I'll probably be able to sneak away for a day or two. My husband and I are driving over from Seattle to stay with his entire extended family for his mom and stepdad's anniversary (yay... :eek:). We'll be staying in the Big Sky area. There is so much fishing in that region that I don't really know where to start. The Madison, Gallatin, Firehole, Yellowstone...they're all bouncing around my head but it's a little daunting to go about settling on one option.

In an ideal world, we'd be able to dink around the creeks in and around Big Sky here and there, and then do one or two days of dedicated fishing.

I'd take any advice/thoughts/tips on fishing near Big Sky/NW Yellowstone, but I have a few questions:

1) From what I've read, runoff on the Gallatin renders it mostly unfishable until late June. Is that also the case for the Forks, closer to Big Sky? Will any of the rivers in the area be wadeable in mid-June??

2) It seems like the end of our trip will coincide with the very beginning of the salmonfly hatch on the Madison (~June 20-July 4, from what I've read). I'm curious about people's thoughts on that... we could potentially book a guided trip for the 19th or 20th on our way back to Seattle. Seems like a lot of the activity is based around Ennis. Suggestions for guides? Or maybe I'm being naive and guides and lodging are already booked out for this "event"...

3) There's a good chance that there will be interest in fishing lessons from some family members. Suggestions for good spots to take brand new anglers?

4) More generally--if you could fish anywhere in the NW Yellowstone region for a day, where would it be? Where should we focus our efforts? I'd prefer to fish smaller rivers (pocket water is my happy place, and my husband is still working on his distance casting :rolleyes:), but I'm open to any and all suggestions. We'll have a car, so we could drive a couple hours.

Feel free to send me a DM if you'd prefer. Thanks in advance--I love my husband's mom and brother, but the rest of the family is a bit more of an acquired taste so to speak, and I'm definitely going to need some concrete fishing plans to stay positive about this trip!


I live in Big Sky.

Run off (Late May - Late June)
"The Gallatin drains a lot of real estate, much of which is covered by deep snow pack throughout the winter. The river is best left for whitewater enthusiasts at this time. If you have the itch and are watching the gauges, an adventurous angler can successfully pull fish with large heavy stonefly nymphs and San Juan Worms fished tight to boulders and side eddies after the river crests and begins to subside. You'll have better success if you wait for the water clarity to exceed 16"."


Run off (Late May-Mid June)
"The timing of run off on the Madison changes from year to year depending on the snow pack. Typically run off on the Upper Madison begins around late May and extends until mid to late June. On extreme high water years run off can extend into early July. Run off on the Madison is generally shorter than surrounding rivers and it clears earlier than the Gallatin or Yellowstone. The Lower Madison is more resistant to run off and on most years provides good fishing even during June. The Upper Madison actually fishes very well during the middle of run off upstream of the West Fork near Lyons Bridge. Hebgen Dam releases clear water year round and the two small tributaries (Beaver Creek and Cabin Creek) between Hebgen and Quake Lakes only put enough sediment in the Madison to turn it an “army green” color."


The Gallatin is hovering around 300 CFS right now, June 13th of last year was about 2,600 CFS. The Salmon fly hatch can be great, just don't expect to be the only people on the river. Depending on what kind of year we have, you might catch the very beginning of it.

As mentioned previously, Fire Hole or the lower Madison could be a good alternative.



Montana
 

keekster4504

Active Member
Thanks for your input, everyone! That definitely gives me something to work with. I’ll keep an eye on the gauges as the date approaches.
 

Nooksack Mac

Active Member
In the Park, the Firehole and the Gibbon, among my favorite rivers anywhere, are in their annual prime about that time of year, and any competent West Yellowstone guide knows them both blindfolded. The drive between the Park and Seattle can easily go right by Silver Creek, the greatest spring creek under the Stars & Stripes, and it should be in good early summer shape then.
 

majpreal

WFF Supporter
Pm sent.

Good luck
L8VPdFIT_o.gif
Keekster, Take Swimmy's advice. He gave me some solid tips when my wife and I spent a week exploring Yellowstone last fall. I have him to thank for leading me to this one...
fish.png
 
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Salmo_g

WFF Supporter
Keekster,

Not sure what Swimmy included in his PM, but the solution is now right in front of you. In a situation like you're facing, I simply asked myself, "What would Jim Travers do?" We know that Swimmy is a local and has his finger on the pulse of what place is fishing well each day of the season. So I just park outside Swimmy's house early every morning and follow him, confident that I'll end up on water that is fishing well that day. Hasn't failed yet!
 

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