Stillwater Anglers Stillwater River Fly Fishing

Everything You Need To Know About Stillwater River Fly Fishing

The Stillwater River, the river for which our shop is named, is easily one of the best fly fishing rivers in Montana. We personally love most everything about Stillwater River fly fishing, and we wanted to share a few tips and facts about the river so that your next time out on the water is the best trip yet!

We’ll try to share everything you need to know about the Stillwater and maybe a few tips on how to make the most of fishing it throughout the year.

Stillwater River Fly Fishing Tips You Need To Know

Obviously, we love the Stillwater River, not only because it’s one of the closest rivers to us, but because it has exquisite fishing and is made up of nothing but beautiful scenery. Here are a few things you should know about our favorite Montana river, and a few tips to help you fish it better.

Tip #1

The Stillwater is inappropriately named. While there are all types of water and features throughout the river, and many might be expecting a still and peaceful river, it is made up largely of swift whitewater and rapid flows.

Tip #2

The fishing is good from springtime all the way through the fall. Pre run-off spring fishing can make for some of the best dry fly fishing. During the fall, larger fish can be had as the Brown Trout are entering spawning season.

Tip #3

The Stillwater is not as heavily fished as many of the “name” rivers in Montana, which usually means a healthy population of rainbow and brown trout. Stillwater River fly fishing is a great option if you’re trying to avoid the rush of fisherman on the Yellowstone, Bighorn or Madison during the busy seasons.

Tip #4

The Stillwater River is a tributary of the Yellowstone River, starting in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness near the Wyoming state line and Yellowstone National Park.

Tip #5

Because of all of the rapids, it can be a great spot for those into adventure whitewater rafting. There are calmer stretches though, as well as numerous wading opportunities.

Tip #6

A relatively small hidden gem, there is only 70 miles of opportunities for Stillwater River fly fishing. The first 20-mile or so stretch flows in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area and is a pretty wild area accessible only by hiking or horseback.

Tip #7

Nearly the entire Stillwater River is exceptionally rocky. We recommend a good pair of wading boots if you’re ready for a Stillwater fly fishing expedition. Couple the rocks with the fast flowing river, there are lots of opportunities to slip, so be careful!

Tip #8

Below the small community of Nye, the river tends to slow down a little, though it is still very fast flowing and shouldn’t be floated unless you’re very experienced with rapids.

Tip #9

If you’re looking to target large brown trout, streamers and large nymphs are ideal, while a standard dry fly and hoppers are great for rainbows in the warmer months. It’s been known to have some of the most productive dry fly fishing in Montana.


We can certainly attest to the fact that we think Stillwater River fly fishing is addictive and fun. Especially because it is lightly fished, and we almost always have action, it’s hard to not make the Stillwater your go-to place for floating, wading, and great fly fishing.

If you’re ready for the most about Stillwater River fly fishing trip, book a guided trip with us! Other anglers might pass over this river, but we think that the fishing is good and the scenery is better, and we’d love to have you join us!

Have you ever been to the Stillwater? What tip can you pass along to others?