Power Boat Trips

Chase big trout on area reservoirs from April through June and big carp in late summer—if you've got a wild streak

Montana power boat fishing trips allow Yellowstone Country Fly Fishing’s guides and guests to access area lakes that are either inaccessible to or unsuited to fishing from oar-powered boats or from shore. These lakes offer excellent trout fishing in May and June when the spring runoff makes most rivers unfishable, without the crowds found on the few rivers that are fishable.

Most trout in area reservoirs are stocked rainbows, but some hold wild rainbows and browns. Whether wild or stocked, these trout can get large. The one at the top of this page is the largest Walter has ever caught from Dailey Lake, but anglers we know (never those we’ve guided, alas) have gotten fish approaching ten pounds.

In addition, power boat trips offer oddball options to fish dry flies for carp in late summer, when hot weather might make the trout pout but the “golden bonefish” happy. Some lakes also offer shots at walleye, perch, kokanee salmon, and even tiger muskies. Warmwater fish like bass and bluegill are also available (great for kids), though the small lakes that hold these species are best fished from a drift boat or from shore.

Angler and guide with large power boat rainbow

Big fish are possible on power boat trips.

Montana Power Boat Fishing Trips: Where and When?

We offer power boat trips on about ten reservoirs within 90 minutes of Livingston. We’re also exploring some new multi-day destinations further away, including areas that offer excellent bass and pike fishing as well as trout.

Power boat trips are available from late March or early April through Thanksgiving, but are most important in May and June when lakes are at their best but most area rivers are too muddy.

The specific lake we fish depends a bit on the weather, a bit on client interests, and a bit on the season. Dailey Lake is great in April, while Ennis Lake is best in late June and early July, for example. Carp fishing is best in late summer. We get them on hoppers!

large carp

Don’t knock it until you try it! Late summer carp are big, spooky, and eat dry flies.

Montana Power Boat Fishing Trips: The Fishing

Most fishing on Montana power boat fishing trips is subsurface. On area lakes, we typically use leeches, mayfly nymphs, and chironomids. Dry fly fishing is possible but never guaranteed. The best dry fly fishing opportunities occur on most reservoirs in early June. Ennis Lake produces on dries into July. At other times, any dry fly fishing will be a pleasant shock.

We may anchor up to fish good weed lines or drop-offs or fish on a wind-drift if gentle winds are pushing us along areas of good structure. Usually we’ll combine the wind-drift with fishing using a trolling motor, since it’s uncommon for the wind to push us exactly where and how we want.

When sight-fishing for cruising trout or esoteric species like carp, we may use the trolling motor exclusively, or even oars, to creep up on our quarry.

Some wade-fishing is possible, though this is uncommon since areas inaccessible to bank anglers are usually deep weed beds, heavily-wooded, or are otherwise more-suited to fishing from the boat.

angler and guide with power boat rainbow trout

Power Boat Trip Rates and Policies

In general, we suggest power boat trips for solo anglers only due to the small size of our boats, though we can accommodate two anglers if you don’t mind tight quarters. Angler combined weight must remain under 450lbs to comply with Coast Guard regulations, no exceptions.

We offer our shoulder-season rates throughout the season on power boat trips due to the potential for afternoon winds cutting the day short. We generally suggest this trip duration, though these “3/4-day” trips are not available on some lakes due to travel time.

  • Full-Day Power Boat Trips: $625 for one angler, $675 for two.
  • 3/4-Day Power Boat Trips: $550 for one angler, $600 two. Not available on Ennis, Willow Creek, Canyon Ferry, or Toston Reservoirs.
  • Half-Day Power Boat Trips: $500 for one angler, $550 for two. Available on Dailey Lake only.
  • Standard terms apply.

Even small Montana reservoirs can become unsafe due to high winds. We reserve the right to cancel or cut short power boat trips if unsafe winds or lightning are forecast. We don’t want to turn into statistics. Cancellations will receive full refunds, while trips cut short may have prorated discounts depending on how much time on the water is lost.

One way of dodging the wind is to get on the water early, so 3/4-day trips meeting at 5:00AM aren’t uncommon.

power boat guided trip quality chart

How About Power Boat River Fishing?

Power boats are some combination of illegal, unethical, or just unsafe to operate (due to rocks and rapids) on most rivers in our area of operations. No fishing guides we know use power boats on any rivers within 90 minutes of Livingston, and we aren’t going to, either.

In the past we have run power boat trips on the Hauser Tailwater stretch of the Missouri River near Helena (aka “Land of Giants”), about 2.5 hours from Livingston. We may do so again in the future. If so, we’ll update this page.