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Yellowstone River - Montana and Wyoming Fishing

The approximately two hundred mile stretch of the Yellowstone River from the Montana state line, all the way to Billings, is full of trout. There may be a longer stretch of first class trout water in this country, but I don't know where it is.


This is not just a good trout stream, it is possibly the best in the lower 48. No doubt about it. Foot long rainbows are just about as numerous as sunfish in the average farm pond, and twenty inch brown trout lurk in every half-way fishy pool. Most of the fishing pressure (and  most of the public access) is in the section from Yellowstone National Park downstream to Livingston, but the the trout fishing is really just as good for about one hundred miles downstream from this point. Where trout numbers begin to decline outside of Billings, huge smallmouth, pike, and carp quickly take their place.


The river's upper section near the park boundary is particularly renowned for fly fishing, with clear waters and abundant trout. As the river flows through Paradise Valley and past Livingston, it maintains excellent fishing conditions, supported by numerous access points and fishing guides.

Further downstream, the river broadens and deepens, making it suitable for both wade and boat fishing. This stretch also supports populations of smallmouth bass, catfish, and other warm-water species, adding variety to the angling experience. Overall, the Yellowstone River offers a mix of scenic beauty and fishing quality, making it a prime destination for anglers of all skill levels.

Yellowstone River Fishing - Yellowstone River

Yellowstone Falls on the Yellowstone River
Photo Credit: Scott Catron

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