Ed Lawrence’s Montana Fly Fishing Trips

Fish some of the healthiest streams in the Lower 48. Rivers are teeming with wild browns, rainbow, and cutthroat trout. To fly fish Montana, you don’t need to be a casting whiz, but you do need to be able to make a decent backcast or roll cast, and place a fly 20-feet away from a 16-foot drift boat. You'll cover 7-10 river miles per day, stopping to wade those pools and runs that look most promising. You can mix and match your trip to suit your taste: fish the Yellowstone today, the Madison tomorrow, the Beaverhead or Big Hole, or the Missouri River after that. They’ve arranged high-quality lodging in each location, so all you need to do is pack your gear and head to Montana. Fishing trips are available from April through late September.

The Yellowstone and Madison River

Fly fishing the Yellowstone

Yellowstone River:  The longest undammed river in the Lower 48. Fish sections of the river along a 95-mile stretch between Yellowstone National Park and Big Timber, where the population ranges between 1,300-2,000 trout per mile. Catch German browns, rainbows, native cutthroat trout and mountain whitefish.
Madison River:  One of Montana's most famous Blue Ribbon tailwaters populated by 2,500 wild trout per mile, fish a 24-mile-long stretch flowing out of Yellowstone National Park downstream to Ennis. There are thousands of rocks and boulders behind which the trout lay in wait. You can also fish a 15-mile-long stretch of the river below Beartrap Canyon near Bozeman. The river slows significantly but is full of rainbows, browns, and an occasional cutthroat. The best fishing occurs during spring and fall when the water is cooler. Streamer fishing can provide solid action for the big guys.

The Missouri River

Flyfishing the Missouri

Missouri River:  The 30-mile-long stretch of the Missouri River between Holter Dam and Cascade may be the best trout habitat in Montana. In the words of Biologist Eric Roberts:  “Downstream near the town of Craig, state fisheries crews estimated the Missouri River held 5,194 rainbow trout that were greater than 10 inches long per mile. That surpasses the long-term average of 3,174 rainbows per mile.” Brown populations are on the rise as well. If you’re interested in catching “Alaska-size rainbows,” add the Gates of the Missouri (also known as the Land of Giants) to your Missouri River fly fishing adventure. This area is the reservoir above the Holter Dam. The average fish netted is 20-22 inches and may weigh more than five pounds. Space is limited, and there’s a $100.00 surcharge for the Coast Guard licensed guide and powerboat to ferry you upstream.

Big Hole River and The Beaverhead

Big Hole River fishing

Big Hole River:  One of the prettiest settings in Montana, and filled with thousands of browns (1,750 per mile) and rainbows (541 per mile). The middle section near Melrose flows through narrow canyons, densely wooded forests, and hayfields. It's not uncommon to see mule deer, moose, and elk all along the river.
Beaverhead River:  If you are especially interested in big browns, the Beaverhead produces more large browns than any other river in Montana. With limited public access, fishing from a drift boat proves best. For the most recent count, biologists determined that browns average over 14” and there were 2,200 per mile. Add 500 rainbows averaging over 17-18”, and you can appreciate the river’s popularity.

Getting Here:

Depending on your package, you'l fly into Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN) in Bozeman, MT, or into Helena Regional Airport in Helena, Montana. You can either rent a car or call your motel for a shuttle. Your fishing guide will hold an orientation at the hotel, the night prior to your first day of fishing. The next morning after breakfast, your guide will meet you at your hotel. You’ll head for the river. The rivers are within an hour’s drive of the accommodations. You’ll be back to your hotel each evening in time for an early dinner.

Montana Lodging

Priced quoted are for mid-range motels such as the Holiday Inn Express. Freshly cooked breakfasts are served at the motel, and healthy streamside lunches are provided by your guide. Dinners are on your own and are not included in the package. There are a wide variety of restaurants within walking distance of your motel.

2019 Rates

Double occupancy lodging and boat
Yellowstone or Madison package
Lodging in Bozeman, MT

4-nights and 3-days guided fishing
$1,228.65 per person
5-nights and 4-days guided fishing
$1,612.50 per person
Missouri package
Lodging in Helena, MT

4-nights and 3-days guided fishing
$1,253.00 per person
5-nights and 4-days guided fishing
$1,643.75 per person
Beaverhead or Big Hole package
Lodging in Dillon, MT

4-nights and 3-days guided fishing
$1,309.50 per person
5-nights and 4-days guided fishing
$1,718.75 per person

Packages include:

 Lodging, hot-cooked breakfasts, streamside lunches, daily ground transfers from lodging to river, and guided fishing—two anglers per boat and guide.

Packages do not include:

Transportation to Montana, equipment, fishing license, gratuities, alcohol, and anything not mentioned under inclusions.

Call 1-800-205-3474 for more Information:

Request Montana Fly Fishing Info Packet  

Montana Fly Fishing:

Drift fishing the Missouri River

Missouri River

Fly fishing for brown trout

Flyfishing for browns

Montana Rainbow fishing

fly fishing Montana

Fly fishing for Montana rainbows

Montana rainbow trout

Guy Schoenborn with Madison River brown.

Madison River brown trout

Andy Chaffey with 23" Madison River brown.

Flyfishing the Madison River