Montana Trip Planning

Camo Clad Warrior

Active Member
Thanks for all the tips guys. Due to all of your recommendations we have changed out travel plans a bit and are going to skip Yellowstone all together. Understanding Big Sky country is indeed BIG and the focus of our trip being fishing we decided to home base in Missoula. Probably the KOA.

Then take day trips from there. We will plan another trip in the future (most likely) next year where Yellowstone is the focus.

I also believe we have found a dog sitter while we are gone. The dog will get to go run on our in-laws farm and we will be "dogless" which will provide some more freedoms.

We understand fishing will be hard in August and that is OK. We don't need to catch all the fish, but a few quality fish would make the trip worth while.

We will do some exploring of the Rock Creek area, as well as all the other popular rivers and areas within a hour or two from Missoula. I also want to get over and float down the Mighty Mo at least once to say I did it.

other than that we are planning on buying flies and any other gear from local fly shops and picking their brains about the hot spots. We are trying to keep no itinerary, and have been telling people we are going to go where the wind blows us and the fish are biting.

@Grits Hardway Thanks for the tip on the ruby mine. The wife has already scouted that place and put it on our list of places SHE wants to visit lol.

Thanks again guys.


Geriatric Skagit Swinger
WFF Supporter
I used to live up near the SW corner of YNP. We call it the "Cascade Corner". Not many people go into YNP from the SW end through Tetonia and Felt and up towards Ashford. Trailering a DB in the middle of summer down through paradise valley is going to require a lot of patience. That stretch of pavement is usually gridlocked at all hours and days of the week during summer (like LA at rush hour almost every day). Sittin' in that traffic is a waste of good fishin' time. West Yellowstone has some lodging, and those folks are very proud of that fact, as is reflected in their prices. Kelly Galloup used to have a shop on the North end of town. He always had good bugs. Some real unique ones as I recall.

As others have said the Madison fishes well if it's not too warm. For DB's, Hebgon Lk can set your hair on fire with monster gulpers but they see a bit of pressure. The Ruby and Jeff fish well. Taking a DB down the South Fork Snake starting near the Palisades Dam (if you happen to be on the SW end- you drive through Driggs towards Jackson Hole and turn S. at Victor, and head down along Pine Creek to hit the S. Fork). If you stop at World Anglers Fly Shop just behind the grocery store, those boys know how to fish the Snake and what bugs will work. That Grocery store has a damn fine selection of everything to eat and drink, including some good craft and small batch beers.

That river looks sedate but you should be very wary of widow makers (sweepers just under the water line). Lost a good friend and damn good guide who knew that river well and it still killed him (RIP Rob Merrill- we all miss the hell out of you). But it's got some real nice fish in it. On foot up by Driggs you can fish Fox Ck very near where it washes into the Teton (might be some ticks, snakes, and I've been stalked by a large boar in there. Boar as in Grizzly. Not pig). Teton R. in the Canyon is worth fishin' if you can gain access (ask the potato farmers for access. They're not always amiable, but they'll usually let you go in the short way if you promise not to disturb their eqpt. and pick up any trash you see). Bears in there too, but not so bad that you should get bearanoid. Take some spray. Watch for snakes. Use a heavy dropper under a smaller dry (such as a EHC). The dropper should be heavy enough to sink the dry. When that submerged dry washes down and around those boulders and hydraulics it'll shake that dropper like an epileptic tossin' a salad. That'll get you into some real big trout. If you see a shiny garbage can lid flash out in front of you where your rig just floated through, that's your signal to set and set hard. You might want lots of backing.

If you keep driving East of Victor and go up, over the Teton pass you'll drive past Teton Village (good beer, but expensive) and you can tool around Jackson. It's alright, and it's not really a "hole" like people would have you believe- unless they're talking about a "hole" lot of money for real estate and goods. Then I guess it makes sense then. Jack Dennis used to have a little shop in town that is definitely worth walking into, and spending some time in. Having a beer in the Silver Dollar Saloon doesn't suck either. I haven't talked to Jack since his wife got sick, so I don't know if he still owns it, or if he sold out. Drive East of that and you can fish the Gros Ventre (pronounced Grow Vont). A little further East even, and you can turn North up to Moose Lake. Definitely worth fishin'.

If you head up towards Ashford and fish The N. Fk Henry's Fk., drive up to the old Bear Ck Ski run and walk in there. It's a part of the Henry's Fk that very few people ever see, and has some nice, big fish. The Warm, Wind, and Bitch Ck are on the way too (none of those will be big enough for your DB). Drive down the other side of the pass there if you want to fish the Firehole.

A good place to fish with your DB will be at the old Damn site West of Tetonia (the Earthen one that washed away). There are Browns in there longer than your leg. A 30' sink tip in there wouldn't hurt.

Up on the top side of the park it's worth fishing hoppers on the Madison Braids right under Quake Lk. You might get around to fishing the Beaverhead while your up there. Pretty good fishin' if you can get access.

There's probably some air BnB's of VRBO's up around Ennis. That gets a little too close to Paradise Valley for my tastes, but Ennis is a damn fine place to have a beer.

If you take I-90 over your DB will do real well on the Clark Fk R.. Not the Clark Fk of the Yellowstone, just the Clark Fk. Go talk to Old Joe Cantrell at the OK Cafe and buy a few flies from his shop. Joe doesn't talk alot, but when it comes to hunting elk and fly fishing the rivers around Mineral County he's worth listening to. He doesn't just sell flies to thin his inventory either. If he sells you a fly it's because it's the one that'll bring up trout.

Rock Ck is further East and turn down on HWY 1 at Hall before Red Lodge DO NOT SPEED THROUGH HALL!! It is that little Podunk town's sole source of revenue and they get vigorously attached to those dollars when they can get them. Nuff said about Hall.

You can go up to Phillipsburg and mine for rubies down town. Your wife will like that. The foods good there and there's also a ghost town above it that's worth picking around in. If you drive up to the headwaters of Rock Ck at Skalkaho Pass there's some amazingly large Brown trout up there in real skinny water. If you approach the ck by crawling on your belly you MIGHT have a chance. I've found no other way to catch them there. Mission Ck is just West of Phillipsburg. The farmers are pretty good about letting folks fish their pastures, especially if you pick up trash and don't stretch their wire. Not many gates to walk through there.

Well that's more than I usually say about those areas. Apologies for being so textative.

One helluva tip!
we own property in Victor. This year it was pretty busy in town until Oct 10th or so. Which coincidentally was the first day we got a good snowstorm. The fishing stayed good until Thanksgiving.
I lived in Victor from 1975 to 1982. Rented a little cabin with a couple of other guys right in town on 2.5 acres for $75/month. We offered the owner $10K for the place, but he wanted $12.5K. We thought that was too much. It ain't Jackson Hole, fer cryin' out loud. I get through there every few years. How things have changed...

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