"The great charm of fly-fishing is that we are always learning."
A Yellowstone River float trip is our most popular guide trip. The Yellowstone is an amazing cutthroat trout fishery, but for many anglers, it can be frustrating and intimidating. We can help shorten the learning curve involved with dialing in one of the most famous trout fisheries in the United States, by drifting the river in a Mckenzie style boat and spending time in locations that hold more trout.
With well over 100 miles of water to float, you can experience different types of water and multiple trout species throughout its length. The Upper Yellowstone reaches outside of Yellowstone National Park and consistently has great dry fly stretches for cutthroats. As the Yellowstone winds through Paradise Valley, the fishery has healthy populations of rainbow, brown, and cutthroat trout. As you head downstream of Livingston, populations of trout decrease, but on the right day, the size of the fish can make up for the lack of numbers.
During spring and fall seasons when water levels are lower, Long Outfitting also offers wade trips on the Yellowstone. If you prefer to wade fish, don't hesitate to contact us about whether or not the river will be wadeable during your pre-trip planning.
Both wade fishing and drift fishing can be a productive way of catching trout on the Madison River. By far, one of the most famous fisheries in the state, the river is known for holding healthy populations of both rainbow and brown trout.
Most fishermen divide the Madison into two separate sections. The Upper section, which is known as the "50 mile riffle" has lots of gradient, boulders, riffles and runs throughout its length. Gorgeous scenery, abundant wildlife, and feisty trout, make a trip on the Madison worth every penny.
The Lower stretches of the Madison start below Bear Trap Canyon. After the river leaves Ennis Dam, it starts to take on a more spring creek look before meeting with the Jefferson and Gallatin Rivers to form the Missouri. Shallow water and weed growth, make the lower stretches of the Madison very productive trout water, but we only guide it in the spring, very early summer, and fall due to water temperatures.
Photo by Josh Michaelis
The Gallatin River is a classic mid-sized freestone stream. After its origin in Yellowstone National Park, it flows north towards Bozeman and ends up forming part of the Missouri outside of Three Forks, Montana. The higher up the drainage you fish, rainbows tend to dominate the habitat, but as you drop down lower towards Bozeman and beyond, the river holds some very solid populations of brown trout.
For the most part, the Gallatin is a wade fishery, but at certain levels, the lower river can be a great option for a float trip. If you do decide to wade fish, make sure that you are a strong wader. The rocks are slippery, and the runs are deep and fast. The scenery around the Gallatin is spectacular, the reason the river was chosen for much of the filming of A River Runs Through It.
If you like to fishing tailwaters, the Missouri River below Holter Dam should be on your bucket list. With over 7,000 trout per mile, most guide days on the "Mo" will treat clients to dozens of hook ups. On the other hand, the Missouri can be very technical fly fishing. Wary trout, prolific hatches, and tricky currents make for catching trout on dry flies a humbling, but rewarding endeavor. It is headhunting at its finest. Selecting and rigging the proper flies, and knowing where many of the large pods of trout reside, are all reasons why a great guide and instructor should be part of your next trip to the Missouri.
Missouri River guides are usually only available for a minimum of 2 days. Travel time to and from Livingston or Bozeman, does not permit single day trips on the Missouri, unless circumstances allow. Lodging can be difficult around the Missouri River, so please plan in advance to make sure appropriate housing can be reserved.
East Gallatin River
This small meadow stream winds through the center of Gallatin Valley, before dumping into the main branch of the Gallatin. Throughout its length, the East Gallatin is a fish factory. There are lots of spring creeks that drain into it, and the insect life is very prolific, which allows for the rainbow and brown trout to grow to healthy numbers and sizes, with occasional fish caught pushing 24 inches. Large hatches of mayflies can bring up large pods of rising fish on cloudy days, and if heads aren't up feeding, the nymphing can be very productive.
Access can be difficult, so it is important that you get within the high water mark legally and stay within that mark while fishing for the day.
35 miles east of Livingston, you will find one of the most beautiful freestone streams around. From its source in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, to its confluence with the Yellowstone near the town of Big Timber, the Boulder provides anglers with opportunities to catch rainbow and brown trout in the 10-18 inch range. The water clarity on the Boulder is almost surreal due to how clean the water is. But lucky for anglers, the trout tend to be more aggressive than picky.
Much like its sister stream to the west, the Gallatin, the Boulder requires anglers to be strong waders. The Boulder gets its name for a reason. Fast deep runs, and skinny boulder strewn flats are tricky and slippery to negotiate. Most of the trips that Long Outfitting does on the Boulder are wade trips, but when water levels are higher, raft trips can be an option.