Re: Road Trip to Montana in August
The Big Hole is a rather big river with lots of deep holes best fished from a boat. For wade fishing it's hard to beat Rock Creek which is right next to Missoula.
The Madison is fairly easy to wade, as it is almost uniformly knee to thigh deep. My favorite areas are the braided channels below Ennis and above and below three dollar bridge. Three dollar bridge is the bridge to Cliff and Wade lakes. Both these areas do not allow float fishing.
The Madison in the park, the Gibbon, and the Firehole, as nice as they look, will not fish well in August as the many geothermal features on these streams heat the water too high. The Gardiner, Lamar, Soda Creek and Slough Creek will be prime in August.
Since you can afford two guided days, I would suggest you fish streams best fished by boat on your guide days. That would be the Big Hole and Beaverhead, or the Yellowstone through Paradise Valley. The Beaverhead is not that big of a river, but the willow choked banks make wading almost impossible.
Have fun, and come back here and let us know on this thread how it went.