Everything You Need To Know About Boulder River Fly Fishing

The Boulder River is a great river for fly fishing and floating expeditions in south-central Montana. It flows north from the Absaroka Mountains towards the Yellowstone River at Big Timber, Montana. Whether you’re looking for a new adventure or just are ready to mix it up from the typically crowded Yellowstone River, here is everything you need to know about Boulder River Fly Fishing.

Quick Tips to the Best Boulder River Fly Fishing

When it comes to fly fishing, you will be hard pressed to find too many places that are more beautiful than the Boulder River. Here we go over some tips for Boulder River Fly Fishing so that you can get some of the best fishing of your life.

Tip Number 1:

The first thing to note about the Boulder River is that it is not typically considered a float-fishing river. It is too rough for drift boats and there are no boat ramps so only some of the best guides are able to fish the Boulder River.

Tip Number 2:

The Boulder River flows down three canyons of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness and is nearly a 50 mile stretch where it enters the Yellowstone River. It is called Boulder River because the entire river is studded with both large and small boulders.

Tip Number 3:

Though it might be somewhat of a personal preference, the general consensus that the best time of year to for Boulder River fly fishing is between mid June and mid August.

Tip Number 4:

The calmer months of the Boulder River range from mid-July through August, and anglers can expect to see various hatches to occur, including PMD’s, golden stones, caddis, and terrestrials.

Tip Number 5:

There are two halves of the Boulder River – the upper and the lower, and they offer two very different conditions. Divided almost perfect by the Natural Bridge State Monument, the upper section is generally narrow with fast and extensive rapids that is very rarely floated on but is great for the whitewater enthusiast. The lower half is still lively, but doesn’t have any major rapids, and typically provides excellent fly fishing.

Tip Number 6:

There is a 6 mile stretch between Natural Bridge and Two-Mile Bridge that is full of rainbow and brown trout and is perfect for wading.

Tip Number 7:

Though the lower half of the river is excellent for fishing, it is almost completely on private property, so make sure you double check where you’re going with the experts before heading out.

Tip Number 8:

Wherever you decide to fish on the Boulder River, the pocket water, fast chutes, broken riffles, and short runs are your ideal spots for excellent fly fishing. The fish are not picky, so don’t worry too much about picking the perfect nymph pattern.

Tip Number 9:

If you want prime Boulder River Fly Fishing, river knowledge is a must. Bring a guide if you are not sure the best times or places to fish. The river has a very short floatable season due to the turbulent high water that comes with the melting snow or the really low water caused by irrigation dewatering.

Get To It!

Now that you know all that there is to know about Boulder River Fly Fishing, you can get to it! The Boulder River has more than just great fishing. It is great for camping, has the best scenery for walks and bike rides, and is not so crowded so you get more privacy and more bites! Plus it is surrounded by many streams that are also full of biting trout.

Have questions? Be sure to check out our Boulder River Report to stay updated on what is happening on the river and then stop by the shop. We’d love to give you our feedback.

By Stillwater Anglers General Fly Fishing Articles