Location: White City (tad north of Medford) Oar-E-Gone
Re: Montana visitor question
Also pull up the Montana Fish and Game Regs; things is just stuffed with valuable information. Montana is one huge State and just passed the 1 Million mark in population. For lodging pick your spots so you don't kill a lot of time just driving around. And speaking of driving, DON'T let the Petrol Tank go below the 1/2 mark. It can be a hell of a long way to the next Station!!
October is a superb time to fish Montana. Weather may be iffy, but the crowds will be gone for the most part.
I would strongly suggest you spend one week in Bozeman and one week in West Yellowstone.
The Firehole River in the park would be tops on my list. Because the water in the Firehole is warmed by hundreds of geothermal features, you can find hatches in progress right into winter. Standing in the river with a thermal feature on one side and a bison on the other and a feisty brown on your four weight is not to be missed.
The Gibbon River at Elk Park and Gibbon Meadows is worth a day also. Solfatara Creek, which enters the Gibbon at Norris Junction should fish well, and in October you will have it all to yourself.
The only waters that might be crowded will be the Madison just inside the park and the Gibbon from its confluence with the Madison upstream to Gibbon Falls. But there is a reason why these waters will have fishermen in October. Big browns from Hebgen lake move up to spawn in October and these are the places to be to get into really big fish.
Also, West Yellowstone gives you easy access to the upper Gallatin River. The Gallatin from the park boundary upstream in the park fifteen miles or so has easy access, few crowds and good fishing for 10"-14" rainbows, browns, and whitefish. Nymphing will work best in this cold river.
West Yellowstone, like Bozeman has lots of fly shops, and if you buy a few of their flies the will tell you what's on and what's not.
Bozeman will give you access to the lower Gallatin, with the best public access above Gallatin Gateway. Definitely inquire about Nelson's and De Puy's spring creeks and the MZ Ranch. There will be a rod fee, but it won't be outrageous.
If your budget allows, consider staying a night or two at the Gallatin River Lodge just outside Bozeman. It's not cheap, but the food and lodging are world class and guests have access to two private miles of the lower Gallatin with no rod fee.
I couldn't agree with Chris and Dave more on fishing locations. My own preference is to have one home base on a trip, possibly because I spend too much time in hotels. Bozeman likely offers the most amenities of the area and is nicely located: a VRBO may be an interesting cost effective option for the duration of the stay.
phario, welcome in advance to MT. October is a great time to fish here. There are really no crowds and you have the rivers, for the most part, to yourself. If this is just a fishing trip, I assume you are spending a lot of money for the experience. You could fish every day for 6 months straight and never experience all that Montana has to offer.
First, spending several days in Yellowstone National Park is good advice. Realistically you could spend your whole two weeks there and probably not be disappointed.
I would recommend splitting your trip into three separate blocks of 4 to 5 days each. I would then suggest to pick three rivers. My choice would be 3 of the following: Missouri, Madison, Big Horn and Yellowstone (throw the Yellowstone Park Rivers in as a 5th choice). On the first day of each of those 3 different blocks, I would hire a guide. It would cost you anywhere from $400 to $500 (I think 200 to 300 pounds) per day. After enjoying the benefit of the guide on your fist day on any given river, spend a couple of more days yourself on the same river. Montana has the single best stream/river access laws in the world.
I don't think hiring a guide is a necessity; but, if you are spending the money to travel here strictly for fishing, I would hate for you to miss the best we have to offer. Hiring a guide would/should accomplish that for you.
If you would be willing to pay for the post, I would be happy to mail to you several good books on fishing in MT to help you make up your mind. All I ask is that when you come to MT that you bring them with you to return them. If you wish to take me up on my offer, send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to make such arrangements.