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Hello fly fisherman,

I am heading out to Montana in mid August to do some fly fishing. I have one day planned to float the Madison river with a guide out of Ennis, MT. We are also going to be staying on the Yellowstone river for a few days. I am curious if getting a guide to float the Yellowstone will be worth it? Or if I am better off fishing one of the Spring creeks (Depuy) in that area? If anyone has fished this area and has any advice please reply or send me a private message.

Thanks for reading and as always, tight lines!
 

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Depending on your budget, I would say go with a guide as much as possible. On strange water for the first time a guide will help you in all aspects of the trip, from which flies to where to place that fly for the best results. A component guide will greatly enhance your enjoyment of the trip and be money well spent.
There are walking/wading guide trips available for most of the streams in the area also, which might be an option to look into.
 

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Getting a guide is the way to go. So many rivers, especially the Madison, have bowling ball size rocks and it's a pain to walk in those rivers. The wife and I want to make one more trip out there before we're too old.
 

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I have floated the Yellowstone with a guide 3 or 4 times and never been disappointed. The Yellowstone is a big river with lots going on. In each float, the guide had dry, dry/dropper, and indy nymph rods rigged, and knew which sections of the river were most appropriate for each.
 

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Hello fly fisherman,

I am heading out to Montana in mid August to do some fly fishing. I have one day planned to float the Madison river with a guide out of Ennis, MT. We are also going to be staying on the Yellowstone river for a few days. I am curious if getting a guide to float the Yellowstone will be worth it? Or if I am better off fishing one of the Spring creeks (Depuy) in that area? If anyone has fished this area and has any advice please reply or send me a private message.

Thanks for reading and as always, tight lines!
If you plan to fish Depuy or any of the other spring creeks you probably already have your slot booked, but if not, you should do so ASAP. July looks booked already. In case you've never been there, it's extremely technical with the most educated fish in the world (seriously). They have seen it all from the best of the best, so bring your A game and humble expectations. Amazing learning opportunity though. Guide wise - if you do hire one, make sure you discuss how you would like to fish and make sure the guide is cool with that. Many, many times out west you will find young hot-shot guides that are only interested in tying huge indicators with 2 fly rigs and then rowing the boat to control the bobber drift so there is really no fishing at all. You just flop it out there and the guide controls the drift and tells you when to set. Pretty dang boring to me, but for some folks it's great. But if you're focused on fishing to rising fish, or at least don't want to pay someone to take you bobber fishing from a boat, make sure you discuss your desired tactics with any guide out there before you hire them. I personally love the challenge of DIY fishing out there. It's very humbling, but when it pays off there is nothing like it. Lastly, while the park is amazing scenary, if you're truly out there for fishing during the summer, I'd stay away from Yellowstone all together. WAY too crowded compared to equally great fisheries with a fraction of the pressure in nearby Idaho, WY and MT. And UT too for that matter. For pure trout, west is the best IMO.
 

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It's true, Montana fishing is incredible. I have been guide in Montana for the last 8 years. There are so many options. It really depends on what you want to get out of it.

Tailwaters, alpine lakes, free stone, spring creeks, small freestone, and on and on. I live in Missoula and guide on the Bitterroot, West fork of the Bitterroot, Clark Fork, Rock Creek, Missouri river, and tons of small freestones. I fish many of the other rivers of Montana and can give advice and tips.

I will mention one thing...… I have fished the Madison pretty hard the last few years and I will say I believe it to be way over rated in comparison to most.

Happy to answer any questions.
Wildcat
 

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I will mention one thing...… I have fished the Madison pretty hard the last few years and I will say I believe it to be way over rated in comparison to most.
I have fished Montana a few times, but never fished the Madison. My experience includes the Big Hole, Gallatin, Yellowstone, Rock Creek, a few creeks I never knew the names of among others, but I never got around to the Madison. I was planning to remedy that when I'm out there this September. Your comment, together with those of a few guides I know who aren't great Madison fans, is making me wonder if I shouldn't rework my itinerary. Montana fishing has, for Sharon and I, ALWAYS lived up to the hype, that's why we keep going back! We're staying in the Big Sky area, so the Madison is convenient, however, if all we're gonna do is fight crowds and have marginal fishing, we'll book a float elsewhere. I'd appreciate your thoughts...
 

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I fished the lower Madison last October actually caught my first west slope cut throat on that float. That was cool. But I actually liked the Yellowstone and gallatin better. Hard to pass up the opportunity to fish any of those rivers out there. If for nothing more then the scenery alone.


Sent from my iPhone using Michigan Sportsman
 

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I have fished Montana a few times, but never fished the Madison. My experience includes the Big Hole, Gallatin, Yellowstone, Rock Creek, a few creeks I never knew the names of among others, but I never got around to the Madison. I was planning to remedy that when I'm out there this September. Your comment, together with those of a few guides I know who aren't great Madison fans, is making me wonder if I shouldn't rework my itinerary. Montana fishing has, for Sharon and I, ALWAYS lived up to the hype, that's why we keep going back! We're staying in the Big Sky area, so the Madison is convenient, however, if all we're gonna do is fight crowds and have marginal fishing, we'll book a float elsewhere. I'd appreciate your thoughts...
I don't want to discourage you when it comes to exploring. I'm glad that I've checked the Madison off my list. But it's probably the busiest river in the State even in the offseason. They are in the process of trying to make new rules to limit the amount of traffic on the Madison.

The best fishing I've had there has been in the offseason and with the worst possible weather. It kept most people at home.

Personally I'm done with that river. It doesn't give me the experience I want.

I would highly recommend the Missoula area as you can float 3 different rivers just a short distance from town. Freestone dry fly fishing at it's best. Big dries! The Bitterroot, Clark Fork, and fabled Blackfoot river in my opinion gives more of a "Montana experience". Less boats, better views, and great fishing.

The Missouri river should be on every fly fishers bucket list. It has the strongest fighting fish in the state followed by the Clark Fork. Beaverhead is pretty dang fun too.

I like to fish them all but I really like the freestones and tossing big dries!
 

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Thanks WW! Since I'm already booked for this year's trip, Missoula will have to wait until next time around. I too love freestones. Plan on pounding the Gallatin as well as some tribs, one of which runs through the backyard of our rental. Not big fish but plenty fun on a 4wt. Madison around 3 dollar, Gibbon maybe if it ain't too warm in early September. Definitely float the Yellowstone where we have always done well, guess we'll break down and float the Madison so we can say we did.

But September's a long way out, lotta great MI fly water to slosh through first!
 
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