Early August in Montana

Cajunflyfishers

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My wife and I just started fly fishing and are looking at a 10 day trip (Early August) flying into Bozeman. Mostly wade fishing without a guide. Maybe a float with guide on one of the rivers. Rivers with best access to wade fishing? Gallatin, Madison, Yellowstone, Lamar Valley area? What is a good central hub to hit those rivers? Crowds? Good guide service for float and wade?
 

100954

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The Gallatin, Madison and Lamar Valley all have good wade fishing access. The Yellowstone, while it can be waded in places, is not really regarded as a “wade” fishery outside the park. It can be waded inside the park, in most places involving a decent hike. The rivers you mentioned will be crowed in August. The road to access much of the wade fishing on the Gallatin, Hwy.191, can be downright dangerous, especially if you are not familiar with it. Don’t let people make you drive faster than you comfortable driving. Bozeman is a hub to the Gallatin. Ennis or West Yellowstone are closest the Madison. Cooke City is closest to the North East corner of the park if you are not camping. There are many very good guide services, depending on where you want to float.
 

iv_wjb

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Welcome to the forum! Sounds like you’ve got a great trip ahead of you. I envy your wife joining you. Enjoy the time together!

While I’ve not a ton of experience in various locales of Montana, I wouldn’t hesitate to offer Ennis as a “hub” for your stay. Ennis is pretty centrally located to several of the places on your list and home to 3 excellent fly shops. I have dealt with the folks at Madison River Fishing Company and TroutStalkers, and I would have no qualms about recommending them as a place to start for advice on guiding around the area. Further up the Madison, Galloup’s can help you with advice on guiding / lodging.

If you want to get up to West Yellowstone, Blue Ribbon Flies would be my suggestion for an initial point of contact for the area.

If you need a more-complete picture of fishing in Montana (and all the nuances), check-out this website:

Montana Fly Fishing Information at Big Sky Fishing.Com

Further to that, Montana Angler might be a good resource for you to investigate guides / locations further afield:

Montana Fly Fishing Trips | World Class Lodges & Expert Guides

I have found them to be very helpful.

Good luck and have a fantastic trip!!
 

iv_wjb

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Thanks for the info. Researching seems that every guide service is the best and every river is good.
Well, yeah - that’s sales... And, while I’d usually be sceptical of those claims you’ll find that in Montana, they’re pretty accurate. It’s hard to have a bad day there.

Enjoy the planning and adventure ahead!
 

myt1

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Yes, planning is half the fun

I think water temperature, particularly on the Madison, can be a factor in August.
 
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mandotrout

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...The road to access much of the wade fishing on the Gallatin, Hwy.191, can be downright dangerous, especially if you are not familiar with it. Don’t let people make you drive faster than you comfortable driving...
Absolutely. Don't drive faster than you are comfortable. There are many pullouts. Use them to let that string of cars following you go around. That's what they are there for. Doing this will make the Gallatin canyon a lot safer place to drive.

OP: Ten days in Montana in early August will be a great vacation from what I assume is the Louisiana heat. All of the places you mentioned can be great that time of year. Since it is fishing, they could also be really hot and off, but not as a rule. Snowpack is looking okay this year, as long as we continue to get some snow in the mountains, so water levels should be good. Have fun.
 

ReetsAdeets

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Bozeman is a great spot to have access to several rivers within a 15 - 90ish minute drive. The Gallatin is the closest (15 - 60min drive from Bozeman depending on where you go) and is a great river to wade fish - it's my favorite. Anywhere from Belgrade upriver will have good water that holds fish, but the canyon below Big Sky has a lot of turnouts so you can quickly move from spot to spot. As mentioned, beware of close cars though. There's also lots accessible areas on the Gallatin where you can get away from cars if you want. In the valley between Belgrade and the start of the canyon there's some access but also quite a bit of private property to be careful you don't trespass. It's all pretty well marked though. I would say just drive South on the highway towards Big Sky from Bozeman and stop when you see an irresistible spot (you'll be able to see the river most of the way) - you might not get far your first day.

The Lower Madison (about 30 - 40 min from Bozeman) is shallow and great to wade, but can get warm in the late summer, sometimes so much that the local authorities institute a "Hoot Owl Closure" that prohibits fishing from 2pm to midnight to protect the fish. This doesn't always happen, but can be put into effect with no advance warning so be sure to check the local fishing reports each day before heading there for the latest info. The Lower can also have a lot of weeds in the river sometimes during the summer, making the fishing unproductive and not fun. There can also be a ton of inner-tube floaters on the main stretch from Blacks Ford to Warm Spring's Access Sites during the summer if the weather's good (the beer hatch) which can spoil the fishing some. I would go up Bear Trap Canyon as opposed to down river of Blacks Ford to avoid them at that time of year. Depending on the specific conditions though, it can be a great river to fish. Just check the local reports to see what's going on.

I don't get out to the Upper Madison much as it's significantly further than other options that I personally like more (an hour or two drive from Bozeman), but it's not that far and is a good river to wade, though not nearly as mellow as the Lower. The fishing can be great up there though and it's really pretty, so check the local reports to see if it's worth the trip.

I haven't fished in Yellowstone Park as it's a pretty far drive (though definitely doable in a long day), but there's some incredible water up there and it's gorgeous, so I would recommend checking out some rivers there. The Lamar Valley has quite a few good options. Heads up though - barbs, lead, and felt soles are not allowed in the park and you need a separate National Park fishing license besides your MT state one (it's not very expensive though).

The Yellowstone (outside of Yellowstone Park in Paradise Valley, 30 to 90 min. from Bozeman) should be in lower flows in late summer and wadable in spots but it is still a big river that's best fished from a drift boat. If you opt for a guided float trip, this would be a great river to do it on. I've worked with Angler's West fly shop in Emigrant a lot and they do a great job guiding people on the Yellowstone. If you want to try wading it, drive South on highway 89 from Livingston and check out the fishing access sites you can see along the way - most have some wadeable areas. Carter's Bridge, Mallard's Rest, and near where Depuy's lets into the Yellowstone might work. There's also other places much further south on the way to the park that could work. Again, it's a big river where people die every year, so be careful. Awesome river though.
 
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mandotrout

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The Lower Madison (about 30 - 40 min from Bozeman) is shallow and great to wade, but can get warm in the late summer, sometimes so much that the local authorities institute a "Hoot Owl Closure" that prohibits fishing from 2pm to midnight to protect the fish. This doesn't always happen, but can be put into effect with no advance warning so be sure to check the local fishing reports each day before heading there for the latest info.
Starting this year Hoot Owl Closures are permanent on most of the lower Madison (below Warm Springs access) from July 15 through August 15. At the risk of sounding like an obnoxious local, there is a significant rattlesnake population in Bear Trap Canyon that can make the hike in interesting, so be alert.
 
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randyflycaster

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At least in Western Montana we are supposed to get snow today and tomorrow, so that hopefully will mean better fishing in August. Out by Missoula, in August the rivers usually are cool enough to fish up until 12 noon or a little later.

Randy
 

randyflycaster

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At least in Western Montana we are supposed to get snow today and tomorrow, so that hopefully will mean better fishing in August. Out by Missoula, in August the rivers usually are cool enough to fish up until 12 noon or a little later.

Randy
 

del gue

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Get with Blue Ribbon Flies in W Yellowstone for both info and guided trips.
 

100954

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My wife and I just started fly fishing and are looking at a 10 day trip (Early August) flying into Bozeman. Mostly wade fishing without a guide. Maybe a float with guide on one of the rivers. Rivers with best access to wade fishing? Gallatin, Madison, Yellowstone, Lamar Valley area? What is a good central hub to hit those rivers? Crowds? Good guide service for float and wade?
I wouldn’t count on the Montana governor’s travel restriction being lifted by then.
 

silver creek

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My wife and I just started fly fishing and are looking at a 10 day trip (Early August) flying into Bozeman. Mostly wade fishing without a guide. Maybe a float with guide on one of the rivers. Rivers with best access to wade fishing? Gallatin, Madison, Yellowstone, Lamar Valley area? What is a good central hub to hit those rivers? Crowds? Good guide service for float and wade?
Learn to search the site using google. Place the search terms in front of ":www.theflyfishingforum.com" For example if you search Google for "Fishing the Gallatin in August site:www.theflyfishingforum.com" you get this search:

Fishing the Gallatin River in August site:[url]www.theflyfishingforum.com - Google Search[/url]

If you search Google for "Fishing the Yellowstone park area in August site:www.theflyfishingforum.com" you get this search:

Fishing the Yellowstone park area in August site:[url]www.theflyfishingforum.com - Google Search[/url]

If you search Google for "Fishing the Madison River in August site:www.theflyfishingforum.com" you get this search:

Fishing the Madison River in August site:[url]www.theflyfishingforum.com - Google Search[/url]

In addition, you may not know that the Gallatin flows through Yellowstone National Park. You need a park fishing license but I don't think you need a Wyoming or Montana license. It is a smaller very wadeable river in YNP. Bring Hopper patterns :^))

Gallatin River - Yellowstone National Park ~ Yellowstone Up Close and Personal



 

LePetomane

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One thing to keep in mind regarding the Gallatin River is as you travel south from Big Sky, you will enter Yellowstone National Park. You need a park permit to fish this area. There is a lot of good water there. There are a lot of big animals as well.
 
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