The North American Fly Fishing Forum


Go Back   The North American Fly Fishing Forum > Fly Fishing in the United States > Rocky Mountain Range

Rocky Mountain Range Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. Post fishing reports, ask for information, discuss this area...

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 03-21-2011, 08:52 AM
New Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2
freeme is on a distinguished road
Default Advice request for trip to Montana

Im new to this forum and Im hoping for some advice on a trip to Montana Im planning. I hope Im not asking too many questions any help would really be appreciated though! I know how busy everyone is and youve probably seen an email like this more times than youd care to remember

My wife and I are heading out west in our motor home this summer. I've been planning this trip on and off for a couple of years now and Ive decided that Im not going to let work get in the way this year (we live in Virginia so its a haul). Ive spent a good bit of time reading a couple of books I bought as well as reading through this forum. We plan to spend about two weeks of our trip fishing in Montana. When I was looking at rivers to fish, I gave priority to wading access, chances to fish dries sometimes and proximity to Yellowstone (I have to try to keep the wife happy). Wed also like to be able to camp in our motor home close to where the fishing is if possible. Here are the rivers I choose:

Rock Creek Bit out of the way but it sure seems worth the trouble. Motorhome ok on the gravel road? Are there really good places to camp for free just off the road?
Big Hole Is wading a good option here?
Gallatin Seems like it has good wading options
Big Horn Might try to get a guide/float trip.
Madison Fished it once on a trip across country and it seems like a cant miss. Need to decide where.
Yellowstone Also need to decide where

So assuming these choices are ok, my biggest question is when I should fish these rivers? Big, well known hatches arent super important to me but variety is always fun. I was thinking mid June would be a good time to start. Is that too late? Im trying to time the trip so that the weather is decent in Yellowstone. I can either hit the fishing first or Yellowstone first. Im thinking Id probably also drop at least two of the rivers off my list if the fishing is good on one or two of the other rivers. I'm thinking the only three that are really musts for me are rock creek, madison and yellowstone.

Thanks, Gregg
Reply With Quote
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 03-21-2011, 10:13 AM
Biggie's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Bozeman Montana
Posts: 171
Biggie has much to be proud ofBiggie has much to be proud ofBiggie has much to be proud ofBiggie has much to be proud ofBiggie has much to be proud ofBiggie has much to be proud ofBiggie has much to be proud ofBiggie has much to be proud of
Default Re: Advice request for trip to Montana

Gregg,
Good choice of rivers, but keep all options open and don't get your heart set on just the list you mentioned. Conditions change and who knows when you may pull into a gas station or be sitting at a bar having a drink when someone may give you a suggestion of another water shed to fish.

Your dates are the main concern right now since we have very good snowpacks through out Montana. Mid June will be tough for a wading angler on many of the waters throughout the state. If mother nature throws a normal spring our way with average moisture and not any really hot weather I don't think you will want to be here anytime before the 4th of July at the earliest. If your dates are set for mid June than you will want to concentrate your efforts on many of the smaller tributary streams as well as the waters in the Western corner of Yellowstone, ie the Firehole, Gibbon and Madison. The Upper reaches of the Gallatin will also be an option but all of them will still be pretty high in Mid June. The Madison does come from a dam so you could have some water to fish depending on if Cabin and Beaver Creek are dumping dirty water into the river.

Good luck with your trip and if you can move the trip back into July you will have more options.
__________________
www.biggiesbugs.wordpress.com
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 03-21-2011, 10:17 AM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Bozeman, MT and Sheridan, WY but now Houston, Texas
Posts: 359
MTskibum has a spectacular aura aboutMTskibum has a spectacular aura about
Default Re: Advice request for trip to Montana

Most likely the rivers are going to be in runoff in mid june.

Here is the flow rates for rock creek.

USGS Surface Water data for USA: USGS Surface-Water Daily Statistics

It looks like the yearly average flow is around 500, but during the month of june it is flowing at two or four times the rate. Also, look how long the spring runoff on Rock Creek lasts. The runoff starts in middle of may, and it is still running high into July.



The madison river(below Hebgen) for comparison

USGS Surface Water data for USA: USGS Surface-Water Daily Statistics

The runoff on the madison is much shorter, last year it did not start until june 6, and was practically over by june 22.



If rock creek is a must fish for you, then maybe plan the trip for early July.
Reply With Quote
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 03-21-2011, 10:45 AM
dean_mt's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Western Montana
Posts: 2,935
dean_mt has a brilliant futuredean_mt has a brilliant futuredean_mt has a brilliant futuredean_mt has a brilliant futuredean_mt has a brilliant futuredean_mt has a brilliant futuredean_mt has a brilliant futuredean_mt has a brilliant futuredean_mt has a brilliant futuredean_mt has a brilliant futuredean_mt has a brilliant future
Default Re: Advice request for trip to Montana

Hi Gregg. Welcome to the forum, as you've learned there are a lot great fisherman to gleen advice from here.

I'm in Missoula and will stay clear of the Bozeman/Yellowstone area since there are quite a few people here from that area that know a lot more than I do.

There are many places to camp along the 40+ miles of public access along the Creek, but you will be limited to the campgrounds, and possilby to the distance you can go by the size of your motorhome. The Rock Creek Road is paved for the first 10 miles (beginning at I90), but even in that stretch there are some narrow parts and tight turns. The closest campgound, or first one you reach is Norton, I think it might still be on paved portion of the road (or very near). As you can see in the FS link, they do not reccommend any sort of large vehicle on the road. That doesn't mean that people do not do it, of course. Depending on the scale of your rig you could make it to Norton. The big RV type coaches really have no business on that road anywhere, though, for the the safety of everyone involved. You have to understand that it is a really busy place in the summer, quite a few stretches of single lane road with turns. I've had more than one sketchy encounter on that road - creeping around a high hair-pin turn to meet another rig head on - then having to back down a very steep grade to get to a pull out...ugh...And the road itself becomes a brutal washboard.

I'm not trying to discourage you, but you have to know. And like I said, it all depends on the size of you motorhome. If you can get into the first campground at Norton, the number of miles of river to fish is only limited by how far you care to walk. It is such a beautiful place that any spouse would be content just sitting and reading or walking up the road.

Final thought: mid-June will be hella-crazy-busy with peak Salmonfly hatch - fishermen come from everywhere. Plus it is the only time of the year that people can float fish the Creek. And depending on our spring weather but odds are very good that the creek will still be very high mid-June which makes very difficult/dangerous wading. I would reccommend waiting till the first of July for a safe bet. When Rock Creek is running high, you won't be doing much wading.

Gallatin offer tons of wading, good access and easy camping. Big Hole is a great wading river.

You are sure to find plenty of places that offer ease of access (for motorhome camping, to rivers, to fishing), garaunteed. Don't limit yourself you a strict itinerary and you will have a blast.

Good luck and keep in touch. Feel free to use the PM function if you have more questions specific to Rock Creek or the Missoula area.
Reply With Quote
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 03-21-2011, 11:33 AM
New Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2
freeme is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Advice request for trip to Montana

Thanks for the quick replies!!

biggie and mtskibum -
I've done a little more reading and I didn't realize there are spring, post run off and then summer seasons (at least that's what I think :-) So if I have things right, I'd want to target the post run off period which depending on way too many factors, might start sometime early July. I think I can be a little flexible when I show up for fishing and I'll keep watching for reports on conditions.

dean mt - wow - thanks for all the info about rock creek. We have a relatively small motorhome (35') but after reading the link you posted, I won't take in on the gravel section. The link I'd read earlier - The Rock Creek Road Backcountry Drive in Southwest Montana : Information, Photos and Maps said that trailers were ok so that's where I got the silly idea that my MH would work. I have a dual sport 350 bike on the back I can take to where I'd fish.

Thanks again for all the info. I think I have a much better idea of what to plan for.
Reply With Quote
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 03-21-2011, 03:04 PM
dean_mt's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Western Montana
Posts: 2,935
dean_mt has a brilliant futuredean_mt has a brilliant futuredean_mt has a brilliant futuredean_mt has a brilliant futuredean_mt has a brilliant futuredean_mt has a brilliant futuredean_mt has a brilliant futuredean_mt has a brilliant futuredean_mt has a brilliant futuredean_mt has a brilliant futuredean_mt has a brilliant future
Default Re: Advice request for trip to Montana

Quote:
Originally Posted by freeme View Post
I have a dual sport 350 bike on the back I can take to where I'd fish.
That is the ultimate way! You are set. And I hope I didn't over-dramatize the situation, it's not extreme, but I'd hate to see a huge RV coming at my down that road. It is the upper part of the road/valley that gets hairy, you'll be fine on the lower end. During float season guides and yayhoos alike barrel up down the road with trailers...but local guides are a different breed!
Reply With Quote
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 03-24-2011, 02:36 PM
fishalong's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Bozeman Montana
Posts: 64
fishalong is a glorious beacon of lightfishalong is a glorious beacon of lightfishalong is a glorious beacon of lightfishalong is a glorious beacon of lightfishalong is a glorious beacon of light
Default Re: Advice request for trip to Montana

Adding to what Dean said

I don't know about 'free' camping up rock creek (i've been hassled in some random spots way up the canyon). I def. would not take an RV up the dirt road, but there are a few camping spots on the way up before you hit the gravel that I see massive RV's all the time... Rock creek flows all the way to the Clark Fork so access is not going to be a problem.

Madison - Get ready for a **** show. Best time to hit this river is when it is raining or overcast skies and cooler out. The further you go up the less people until you hit quake lake.

Yellowstone - Another crazy popular river in tourist season, lower or higher from Livingston to get away from the crowds. Might be worth paying for the Depuy's spring creek (awesome setup)

Wading is an option at every river in Montana... Remember to de-barb your hooks, and help keep the rivers clean by picking up one piece of someone else's trash...
Reply With Quote
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 04-03-2011, 06:23 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 224
al_a has a spectacular aura aboutal_a has a spectacular aura aboutal_a has a spectacular aura about
Default Re: Advice request for trip to Montana

I've been fishing the Livingston area in Montana for fifteen years, and now live there part time (I'm there right now). Lots and lots of snow up in the park this year...I was up in the park a couple weeks ago and in some places the road to Cooke City was like driving in a bobsled run, with snow piled up five feet deep or more on the sides. So the Yellowstone and other rivers coming out of the Absarokas and the other mountain ranges around there could be in run-off well into July, depending upon how hot it gets and how fast it gets hot.

So to have all your options open, you should probably plan to be in the area in mid-July. But you can easily get into good fishing on the Madison earlier. The salmon fly hatch can be amazing, but the hatch often is going strong on one part of the Madison while in other sections it isn't happening. The stretches that are getting the hatch are like a zoo, but I've actually found much better, and much lonelier, fishing in the stretches that where the flies aren't hatching.

But if I was planning a long Western trip where I wanted plenty of wading options open, I'd go during the month of September. Usually great weather, the aspens are turning sometime during the month, the streams are all low and clear, and the hopper fishing is still happening on warm days. Just a thought.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Colorado to Montana Road Trip Advice Needed arkharv Rocky Mountain Range 3 06-27-2010 10:08 PM
Late Sept trip to Montana: advice please laminarman Rocky Mountain Range 7 04-09-2010 10:30 AM
Montana Trip Advice gjcordray Rocky Mountain Range 30 04-09-2010 10:09 AM
Wyoming Trip Advice?! Bmumme Coldwater Fly Fishing 16 05-14-2008 04:37 AM
Beginner Trip Advice for Montana Tampaskis Coldwater Fly Fishing 25 04-09-2008 06:33 PM













All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:43 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
2005-2014 The North American Fly Fishing Forum. All rights reserved.