SW Montana Fishing Report with Gallatin River Guides - Bayou City Angler

SW Montana Fishing Report with Gallatin River Guides

July 01, 2024

SW Montana Fishing Report with Gallatin River Guides

What’s Happening in Montana July 2024:

For the most up-to-date fishing reports on all of these rivers, head to montanaflyfishing.com or check Gallatin River Guides out on all major social media platforms!


Gallatin River:

In late June, the Salmonfly Hatch begins its journey upriver from Bozeman to the Yellowstone National Park boundary. This legendary hatch is Montana’s largest aquatic insect emergence, causing trout to go crazy for oversized dry flies. While this hatch can be one of the most entertaining to fish and it's strange to see such large insects flying around, it comes to an end in the first week of July. The rest of the month is filled with epic mornings and evenings of caddis, pale morning duns, and smaller stonefly hatches. With runoff recently ended, the Gallatin will become very clear and return to its normal water levels this month. Our spring was filled with late-season snowstorms, so we are happy to report that the river is looking to be in fine condition for the summer ahead!


Madison River:

Similar to the Gallatin, the Salmonfly Hatch is underway, providing numerous dry fly-fishing opportunities. While the Salmonfly often takes the spotlight during early July, there is a buffet of bug options to choose from, ranging from ants to many types of caddis and smaller species of stoneflies like the yellow sally, which are also hatching right now. In the coming weeks, dry fly fishing will continue to be a great option for visiting anglers, and nymphing remains a reliable backup for finding fish in the famous waters of the Madison River. We love fishing dry droppers in July, and for the remainder of the summer, to get the best of both worlds while out fishing. Using a large Chubby Chernobyl-style pattern that covers the bases for different species of stonefly or terrestrial insects like grasshoppers, paired with a mayfly or caddis-style nymph, is always a great rig to use. As we start to experience the heat of the summer and our water temperatures rise, sections of the Madison River, like the Lower Madison (downstream of Ennis), begin to have restrictions to help protect our trout populations. These restrictions, known as Hoot Owl Regulations, prohibit fishing from 2 PM until midnight once the water temperature hits 72 degrees. The Hoot Owl fishing restriction goes into effect every year starting July 15th on the Lower Madison.


Yellowstone River:

July is the month to fish the Yellowstone River near Livingston, Montana. For much of June, the water is too high and too muddy for it to be an option for anglers. However, come July, it is prime for fishing! We love to kick the month off by throwing big streamers when the water still has a little color, hoping to find that trophy freestone river brown trout. The river will quickly clear up this month and become host to some of the most engaging dry fly fishing and nymphing water in the entire state. As the largest freestone river in the Lower 48, it offers many options and, most importantly, many large trout. We see some fantastic caddis and mayfly hatches on this river, and there is very dependable stonefly action well into the fall.


Yellowstone National Park:

Arguably, nothing ranks higher on an angler's bucket list than catching a trout in the Grandfather of National Parks. The historic waters within Yellowstone National Park are rich with wildlife, scenic views, and beautiful fish. Catching a Yellowstone cutthroat on a dry fly in any of the park’s rivers is a truly unforgettable experience. Fishing on the Firehole, Gibbon, and Madison Rivers are some of the more noteworthy locations, though many rivers hold fish and those are just a few options. The bug activity in the park tends to be a few weeks ahead of the rest of the state due to the geothermal activity that causes many of the rivers to run warm early in the year. Terrestrial fishing, meaning ants, grasshoppers, and beetles, can be some of the best ways to target trout with dry flies in July as most of the big hatches have already occurred. There is still good mayfly and caddis activity throughout the summer, but it is much more limited than on some of the major rivers outside the park. New this year in the park, the season for fishing on the Madison and Gardner Rivers has been extended and will remain open year-round starting November 1, 2024. Other fishing areas within the park will remain open to fishing only during the season from the Saturday of Memorial Day through October 31.


    Gallatin River Guides

    Follow us on Instagram @gallatinriverguides