Yellowstone Lake sets in the southern portion of Yellowstone National Park and serves as the headwaters of the Yellowstone River. Our guiding on the river begins nearly 70 miles below this point after the river leaves Yellowstone National Park. We fish around 150 miles of river on the Yellowstone, which are generally described in three sections. Paradise Valley begins at the mouth of Yankee Jim Canyon (15 miles N. of Yellowstone Park) and extends south about 40 miles to the town of Livingston. The Town section is generally considered to start at Carter's Bridge and end at the HWY 89 Bridge a few miles east of Livingston. The Lower section is considered to be everything below the HWY 89 Bridge and offers good fishing as far east as Columbus and Laurel, Mt. The entire river offers panoramic views of impressive mountain ranges in all directions as well as plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities.
Highlights of the Yellowstone include the Mother's Day Caddis Hatch, post-runoff nymph and streamer fishing, and the Grasshoppers of July and August. The Paradise Valley stretch is very scenic and offers the opportunity to catch large numbers of trout in the 12-16 inch range with the occasional 20” plus fish not being uncommon.Anglers wishing to combine wading with the float will usually go for the Town section of the river as this stretch has scores of side-channels which receive very little fishing pressure for most of the year.
The river takes a turn to the east just downstream from Livingston and heads out towards the prairies as it makes it’s way to its confluence with the Missouri River near North Dakota. The river continues to fish well another 50 miles or so to the town of Columbus. These stretched of the Yellowstone have gained in popularity over the last several years but still offer some of the best fishing in the region with very few crowds.
The Yellowstone is a year-round fishery offering opportunities at native Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout, Rainbows, Browns, and the occasional Brook Trout. May and June are generally the toughest months on the river, as run-off will typically last 4-6 weeks. As with other area rivers, April and October generally offer good fishing and uncrowded conditions.