Introduction to Our Montana & Yellowstone Park Fly Fishing Trips
Yellowstone Country Fly Fishing is a Montana fly fishing guide service based in Livingston, MT, right in the heart of Montana trout country. We offer a wide range of guided Montana fly fishing trips for experts and beginners alike. Our Montana fly fishing guides offer trips year-round whenever weather and water conditions allow, though of course the core season is from late March through October.
The core of our business is drift boat and raft float fishing trips on the Yellowstone, Stillwater, Boulder, Lower Madison, and several other Montana rivers. We also run drift boat trips on a range of private ranch lakes for anglers who are willing to pay access fees in return for uncrowded water.
For those who would rather walk, wade, and hike, either to fish smaller water or to get off the beaten path away from the crowds, we offer Montana walk & wade fishing trips on a variety of rivers and streams as well as hike & wade Yellowstone Park fishing trips.
Almost all our Yellowstone Park fly fishing trips involve hiking into the backcountry – there’s no crowded roadside fishing when you book with Yellowstone Country Fly Fishing. Instead we’ll hike and see remote canyons, waterfalls, and sometimes entire fisheries average Montana fishing guides don’t know anything about. Private water wade trips are also available on the Paradise Valley spring creeks just down the road from Livingston.
We do not offer any prepackaged multi-day Montana fly fishing trips. Why not? Because we custom-plan all our trips, whether they’re a half-day in duration or involve fishing several rivers over several days. If you’re looking to plan out a multi-day trip, we’d love to help you put together a package that perfectly matches your party’s skills, goals, and interests.
On the remainder of this page, we go over the principles we follow on our Montana fly fishing trips, our rates, and some general policies. You can also use the links in the gray menu to jump to detailed pages about all the different types of Montana fly fishing trips we run, to read our F.A.Q. and details on our policies, and to learn what you should plan to bring.
Our “Guiding” Principles
Regardless of trip type, duration, or location, Yellowstone Country Fly Fishing strives to follow the principles below on all of our Yellowstone and Montana fly fishing trips in order to best serve our customers and protect the waters and landscapes in which we guide:
- Personalize All Trips: We’ll never take a client fishing without a thorough phone consultation beforehand about their skill level, their interests, the weather and water conditions, and other factors that’ll determine where we fish and what we’ll use. In this regard, all of our guided trips are custom trips.
- Find the “Nooks and Crannies:” What do we mean? We try to fish slightly different waters or oddball stretches of popular waters, use slightly different tactics, fish slightly different flies, and sometimes target different fish than most of our competitors. This area gets fished hard. Really hard. Changing things up usually makes for a better experience for our guests.
- Focus on Education: The fish might bite and they might not, but we can always make our clients better anglers, no matter if they’re total rookies or experts. Our guides will constantly work on helping you improve your fishing, whether through big changes or tiny tweaks and tips.
- Never Forget Where We’re Fishing: Montana and Yellowstone Park are beautiful places full of scenic, geologic, and animal and plant wonders. While the focus is generally on the fishing, the overall experience of fishing this area is a big part of making memories for most of our clients. Well point out the petrified wood, show you neat scenery, and be more than willing to stop so you can photograph that buffalo or bear.
- Fish Ethically: By this, we mean two things. 1.) We always guide with a conservation-oriented mindset: all hooks are barbless, all fish are released except where must-kill regs are in place, we follow “leave no trace” guidelines, and we do my best to avoid fishing over heavily-stressed or actively spawning wild trout. 2.) We behave ethically towards other anglers and guides. Namely, we don’t crowd them. On Yellowstone Park trips in particular, this generally means we work harder hiking into our fisheries than most outfitters, but we don’t see many (or sometimes any) other anglers once we get there.
2022 Guided Trip Rates
The following rates are in effect as of November 24, 2021.
Included in the following rates are: the guide service, water and soft drinks on all trips, a picnic-style lunch on full-day trips, all necessary flies and fishing tackle if you don’t bring your own, and transportation to and from a prearranged meeting point.
NOT included are: gratuities for your guide (average full-day gratuity is $80 to $150), YNP and/or Montana fishing licenses (if required), private water access fees (if applicable), YNP access fees (if applicable), and wading gear. Note that wading gear is not generally necessary on June-September float trips.
The rates above are “per guide” and refer to the total number of people who go on the trip, whether all are fishing or not (in other words, a non-angling passenger in the boat counts as a client). More than three clients on float trips or more than two clients on full-day wade trips require booking additional guides.
Wade trip rates are identical for Montana walk & wade trips and Yellowstone Park hike & wade trips. Private water trip rates cover both private lake trips and private spring creek trips.
Seasonal discounts are available on some trips. Please visit the web page for the specific trip that interests you to learn about any available discounts.
Walk-Float Combo Trips include half a day fishing on foot in Yellowstone Park or Montana on water where float trips are not suitable or banned and half a day floating the Yellowstone, Boulder, or Stillwater River. Float trips in which we get out to fish on foot from time are billed at normal float trip rates.
Double Half-Day Floats involve floating two different half-day sections (roughly 5-6 miles each) of the Yellowstone River on the same day, rather than one eight to twelve mile section as on a normal full-day float.
On both combos and double half-days, the increased rates are due to the slightly longer duration of these trips compared to normal full-days and our increased shuttle and/or commercial use fees.
Notes on Three-Client Trips
In general we suggest adding a second guide for trips involving three people, if funds permit.
Float trip destinations on three-client trips are extremely limited since the extra weight of a third person rules out whitewater or any other stretches of river where abrupt maneuvers may be required. Only two people may fish at a time due to the danger of tangles with three people fishing at once in close proximity.
Three-person wading trips are limited to half-days only, both in Yellowstone Park and Montana. Destinations are limited to areas where clients do not need to spread out very much. We suggest these trips primarily for beginner to low-intermediate anglers. On “beginner brookie” half-day family Yellowstone Park wade trips ONLY, one guide can handle up to five people. Add $100 per additional client (maximum five clients per guide) on these trips.
Deposit & Cancellation Policies
Deposit Policy: A 50% deposit is required via credit card to confirm your booking. We generally cap deposits at $1500 even on very large bookings.
Cancellation Policy: Deposits are fully refundable up to one month prior to the first date of the trip minus a 3% fee to cover our credit card processing. Between one month and one week prior to the trip, deposits will be refunded if we are able to rebook the guide(s) assigned to the trip and forfeited if not. 80% of forfeited deposits go to the guide(s) to make up for lost work. Trips canceled within 7 days of the first date of the booking require full payment if we are unable to rebook the guide. We strongly suggest purchasing trip insurance.
Weather and Water Condition-Related Changes: We fish rain, snow, wind, and shine. Trips may not be canceled due to unpleasant weather conditions. Clients are expected to come prepared for forecast weather conditions in terms of clothing, raingear, and wading gear if necessary. If the client(s) and guide(s) agree mutually that conditions are dangerous or unfishable, we will attempt to reschedule or modify the trip. If this is not possible, we’ll issue a full refund. Note that we do not guarantee we’ll be able to fish a specific body of water or use specific fishing techniques. Provided that fisheries suitable for the trip type you have booked (float, MT walk-wade, YNP hike-wade, power boat, or private water) are available, we expect the trip to run. We may also offer alternative options (with no guide service fee increases), for example substituting a power boat trip for a float trip if power boat waters are clear but float rivers are not.
What if YCFF Cancels? If we have to cancel a trip due to dangerous or unfishable weather or water conditions, vehicle or boat breakdowns, guide illness or injury, or state or federal closures (usually related to drought or fire), we will issue a full refund if we are unable to reschedule, as well as offer profuse apologies.
We reserve the right to modify the above policies on a case-by-case basis solely at our discretion. We’re not hardcases, here, but we make 80% of our yearly income in five months and need to protect ourselves.
Licensing and Insurance Fine Print
Walter Wiese is Montana outfitter #22001, Madison River SRP holder #297, USCG Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels (Inland) serial #000505249, and holds a permit to operate from the BLM Carbella fishing access. He is Yellowstone National Park CUA permit holder 19-426SSF. Both he and all guides we use hold general liability and commercial auto insurance and have CPR and/or First Aid certifications required for the jurisdiction in which we are operating. The vast majority of our trips operate under Walter’s licensing and insurance.
A small number of trips utilizing Custer-Gallatin National Forest access points (less than 5% of the trips we run) operate in conjunction with Parks’ Fly Shop, utilizing the national forest commercial use permits held by their outfitter, Richard Parks. A portion of guided trip fees for trips that use these accesses will go to this shop.