Montana Fishing Trip Planning

Planning a Livingston Montana Fishing Trip That'll Match Your Goals, Desires, and Skills — And Limit the Nasty Surprises

Plan your Yellowstone or Montana fishing trip here! Along with the Fisheries Pages, this section of the site will be the meat and potatoes for most anglers planning Livingston Montana fishing trips, especially those who are looking to fish solo rather than or in addition to going on guided trips with us.

Use the info here and on the Fisheries Pages to decide if Livingston is right for you, to learn about when and where to fish depending on the time of year, about area seasons and regulations, about tackle and generic flies you should have on a trip here, and about insect hatches and other trout food common to almost all fisheries in the area.

There’s a lot of overlap between this section of the site and the Waters Pages, so I suggest you use the pages below to begin planning, then get more specific details on flies and fisheries in the Waters section.

Montana fishing regulations booklet cover

Fishing Regulations & Open Seasons

Public water fisheries near Livingston are subject to both Montana and Yellowstone Park fishing regulations and seasons.

Private spring creeks are exclusively barbless fly fishing only and catch and release, but are otherwise subject to state regulations. Private lakes are generally subject only to landowner regulations (basically flies or spin lures, catch and release angling).

This page gives you the basics, plus links to official sources.

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RO drift boat covered by snow in mid-April

The Angler's Year

Livingston-area fishing changes a lot over the course of the year. This page includes info on what the fishing is like at specific periods: which fisheries are productive when, when the best big fish vs numbers of fish fishing takes place, how the crowds are at various times, etc. Warning: there are charts!

FYI, the photo was shot in mid-April. The fishing can be great then, but you have to come prepared to shift gears in case the weather keeps the boats covered…

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Box full of many fly reels

Tackle for the Livingston Area

The right tackle is paramount for a successful fishing trip in the Livingston area, and anywhere else for that matter. Use this page to find out what you should pack in terms of rods, reels, lines, clothing, wading gear, etc. Basically everything except flies is covered on this page.

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box full of colorful grasshopper fishing flies

Top Flies for the Area

While assorted insect hatches can be critical for success, most of the time you can catch at least some fish in this area on just a few standards and standbys.

This page includes suggestions on the flies you should always carry in the area, regardless of where you’ll be fishing.

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Callibaetis mayfly in silhouette

Area Trout Prey: Bugs and Fish and Eggs, Oh My

Sometimes it pays to get specific. This page includes general hatch charts for the region, as well as descriptions of other food items and when they work well.

This page gives an overview of the region’s hatches. Use the Our Fisheries pages for detailed info on which hatches are important on specific fisheries, and keep an eye on our fishing report for up-to-the-minute (really up to the week, in-season) details.

(The bug is a Callibaetis mayfly, THE important mayfly on area lakes and ponds.)

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winter fishing in yellowstone park involves plenty of snow and ice

Winter Fishing in Yellowstone Country

Regulations changes in Yellowstone Park due to take effect November 1, 2024 will drastically improve winter angling opportunities in the region. Portions of Yellowstone Park will be open to fishing for the first time in many decades. This is a big enough change it deserves a special page. Learn about the winter opportunities on this page. Also keep an eye on our guide service; we’ll be offering great winter rates in Yellowstone Park!

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