Montana Advice Needed

BullerRiver1

Active Member
It's been many years since I've fished in Montana. Last time was during a week horseback/float trip in the Bob. I'm 72 now; on that trip I spent time swimming naked in the Flathead on acid. As you might imagine I'm a little long in the tooth for those shenanigans, and more's the pity. Lot's of small cutts - fun, but not exactly exciting fishing.
In any case, I'm planning a trip this Summer with my two adult sons, both fly fishermen. I'm thinking about a few day float trip, but mostly thinking about wading rivers large or small. I'm not looking for hotspotting, but advice on general region to target would be very much appreciated!
 

Mike.Cline

Bozeman, Montana
Where ever you are heading, it will be best to book float trips ASAP, especially if coming mid-summer. It‘s probably going to be pretty busy in July and August. Where in Montana are you planning to visit?
 

BullerRiver1

Active Member
Where ever you are heading, it will be best to book float trips ASAP, especially if coming mid-summer. It‘s probably going to be pretty busy in July and August. Where in Montana are you planning to visit?
Where to go is what I'm asking about . . .
 

Mike.Cline

Bozeman, Montana
Big state east to west ~600 miles. North to south ~300 miles. All manner of trout—bows, browns, cutts, lakers, brookies and walleyes, pike, smallmouth. What do you want to target? Big fish, numbers, variety? Each region has its own pluses and minuses. Having some idea about what you expect would be helpful.
 

BullerRiver1

Active Member
Big state east to west ~600 miles. North to south ~300 miles. All manner of trout—bows, browns, cutts, lakers, brookies and walleyes, pike, smallmouth. What do you want to target? Big fish, numbers, variety? Each region has its own pluses and minuses. Having some idea about what you expect would be helpful.
If I had my druthers I'd target big bows and browns. I much prefer quality over quantity, and not afraid of tough, technical fishing.
 

Dustin Bise

reformed hot-spotter
If I had my druthers I'd target big bows and browns. I much prefer quality over quantity, and not afraid of tough, technical fishing.
you might enjoy the Kootenai. lots of small streams nearby and an awesome technical float fishery. a bit tough on your own but a good guide for the boat days will get you fish. at least look into it, generally a bit less crowded then some other big rivers.
 

Jesseg122

Active Member
I lived in livingston for a few years and it's right on the yellowstone. You could easily float it down to big timber for an all day trip or start in big timber and end in reed point. The stretch of the yellowstone between livingston and billings has good fishing. Or fish the stretch between pray and livingston. You could even stay at the Chico hotsprings resort and you won't regret it. Lots of fun fishing in that part of the river
 

Jesseg122

Active Member
Honestly I'd do the area by prey. Little bit less people and it's close the the hotsprings resort. Don't forget to visit the famous Dan Baileys outdoor co while in livingston
 

Mike.Cline

Bozeman, Montana
If I had my druthers I'd target big bows and browns. I much prefer quality over quantity, and not afraid of tough, technical fishing.
IMHO, the best bet for a chance at big browns or bows is in SW Montana is in any one of the Missouri Headwater rivers—Big Hole, Madison, Beaverhead, Jefferson or Lower Gallatin—and the Yellowstone from Gardiner to Columbus. And if you want technical fishing you have the three spring creeks just south of Livingston—DuPuys, Armstrong and Nelsons. Lots of great outfitters around to help—Gardiner (Parks Fly Shop or Yellowstone Country Fly Fishing), Twin Bridges (Stonefly Outfitters), Columbus (Stillwater Anglers)

Again, wherever you choose, book early this year.
 

MikeCourtney

Active member
It's been many years since I've fished in Montana. Last time was during a week horseback/float trip in the Bob. I'm 72 now; on that trip I spent time swimming naked in the Flathead on acid. As you might imagine I'm a little long in the tooth for those shenanigans, and more's the pity. Lot's of small cutts - fun, but not exactly exciting fishing.
In any case, I'm planning a trip this Summer with my two adult sons, both fly fishermen. I'm thinking about a few day float trip, but mostly thinking about wading rivers large or small. I'm not looking for hotspotting, but advice on general region to target would be very much appreciated!
My wife and I spent two weeks fishing in Montana last October, one week around Missoula, another week at Craig. You mentioned floating and wading, here's a little intel from that trip about rivers small and large.

Missoula: we got a VRBO in town and used as our base. We floated the Bitterroot with many angler friendly gravel bars. We also floated the Blackfoot. Wading opportunities? Someone on the forum may want to weigh in on wading the Blackfoot. Both floats were great and were with Eric Ederer @ renegadeflyfishing.com
We waded Rock Creek & Fish Creek and caught fish on each. Both are close to Missoula and the fly shops were happy to supply intel on Rock Creek, the Clark Fork, and other rivers nearby.

Craig: we floated two days on the Missouri and found wading opportunities around Craig. I'd recommend contacting Headhunters in Craig or Wolf Creek Anglers, a few miles from Craig.

PM me if you'd like any more info.
Mike.
 

Longs for Cutts

Active Member
You're going to have a hard time finding guides and lodging in July or early August already. I have been booked out some days since November (multiple guides, not just me) and July is 2/3 booked out. I am most definitely not an outlier in that regard. You want to make the call on where to go and be flexible in terms of guided days (if any) and lodging quality/expense.

Incidentally, unless you're doing a wilderness float, all sleeping on the riverbank gets you is a sore back. All major rivers have launches every five to ten miles apart, so every stretch sees day-floaters. You'll eat better and get more rest if you sleep in a hotel or established campground.

I am the owner of Yellowstone Country Fly Fishing mentioned above.
 

Dustin Bise

reformed hot-spotter
You're going to have a hard time finding guides and lodging in July or early August already. I have been booked out some days since November (multiple guides, not just me) and July is 2/3 booked out. I am most definitely not an outlier in that regard. You want to make the call on where to go and be flexible in terms of guided days (if any) and lodging quality/expense.

Incidentally, unless you're doing a wilderness float, all sleeping on the riverbank gets you is a sore back. All major rivers have launches every five to ten miles apart, so every stretch sees day-floaters. You'll eat better and get more rest if you sleep in a hotel or established campground.

I am the owner of Yellowstone Country Fly Fishing mentioned above.
lol you need a better sleeping pad or a better jester boat. ive never ate or slept better then when living on the river bank. maybe its just me
 

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