Bozeman-Area Fly Fishing

fly fishing, fishing around Bozeman, Yellowstone river

Bozeman-Area Fly Fishing

Kumlien, Kris
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Fishing spots near town

Chances are you’ve noticed the copious streams, rivers, and lakes on a map of the Bozeman area. Next time you finish your work early, get out and get better versed in all the great fly fishing around the Bozone. Here's the 411 on the 406

Creeks—Close by and Fun to Fish
Wondering if there's a fish in the stream you just drove by? The rule around here is, if there’s water in it, there’s fish in it. And yes, those fish will likely devour a bugger or prince nymph. We recommend Squaw Creek. A tributary of the Gallatin, this is a short 30 minutes from town and has countless riffles and pools each with rainbow, cutthroat, and sometimes brown trout waiting to snatch a properly presented dry fly. Be sure and check the regulations, as some streams are closed to fishing from November 30 to the third Saturday in May.

Rivers—the Reason Montana is Famous
If it’s big fish you want, you’re in the right place. Madison, Gallatin, and Yellowstone are the three big names you hear about from fishermen all over the world. For those with access to a driftboat—and it isn’t hard to find one in Bozeman—there are enough access points on the Yellowstone to keep you flunking classes for the next seven years. If you’re on foot, fear not; the ‘Stone has plenty of places to wade-fish too. Pine Creek is a perfect access, as well as various pullouts along East River Road above Emigrant. All in all, the Yellowstone is a moody river but has some big rewards… we’re talking the 25”+ variety here.

Lakes – the Last-Kept Secret of Montana
One thing that Montana isn’t famous for, mostly because the rivers are so good, is the lake fishing. Ask the wily old veterans, though, and you’ll hear tales of fish big enough to swallow a 14” rainbow whole. (The state-record brown trout came out of Wade Lake in 1966, weighing in at just over 29 pounds.) For some close-to-town hiking and fishing, check out Lava Lake. Head into Gallatin Canyon on Highway 191; the trailhead is on the right, just past House Rock. Three miles later and you’re there, with great views and plenty of fish to keep you occupied.

Bottom line is if you’re going to spend some time around the Bozone, you might as well spend some of it, or most of it, fishing the rivers, lakes, and creeks. Or, spend the rest of your life regretting that you lived in trout heaven and never wet a line.

Kris Kumlien manages Montana Troutfitters on W. Main in Bozeman, troutfitters.com.

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