Fly Fishing Guide Service on the Wild and Scenic Yellowstone River, Armstrong, Depuy, and Nelson Spring Creeks
powered by Lodge-ical
Experience fly fishing America's longest undammed river in the lower 48 United States with Paradise Valley Fly Fishers. The Yellowstone River is truly one of our country's finest and most scenic “Blue Ribbon” trout streams.
Or, if you are up to a challenge, fly fish one of Livingston Montana's world famous and private spring creeks (Armstrong Spring Creek, Depuy Spring Creek, Nelson Spring Creek).
The original (north) entrance to the Roosevelt Arch at Yellowstone National Park is only 52 miles south of Livingston, Montana in a town called Gardiner, MT. The Yellowstone River, Soda Butte Creek, the Lamar River, Slough Creek, the Firehole River, the Gibbon, the Madison. Over 800 miles of trout fishing is available in Yellowstone National Park not including the many lakes that are full of fish!
Waters we fish include the Yellowstone River from the McConnell fishing access* near Gardiner, MT north through Paradise Valley and to Livingston, Montana and sometimes east of it (yes, most of our rivers flow NORTH!).
* Special Permits on Gallatin National Forest are through Jim Klyap of Dome Mountain Ranch MT Outfitter number 7843
Armstrong's, Depuy's, and Nelson's Spring Creeks. Reservations are usually a must on these private creeks during prime time as they limit the number of fisherman per day (called "rods"). Contact information for them is listed under the Resources tab as we require you to book your own rods and deposits. Rod Rates are listed under the Guide Rate section.
We guide and fish on the area spring creeks throughout the year, and depending on when winter comes and how harsh it is, the Yellowstone river when conditions permit. The spring creeks lower their rod fees during off-peak months and if you don't mind the cold (the creeks themselves are a constant 55 degrees or so year 'round temperature) you may want to enjoy what our area offers during then too.
Note: Rates do not include spring creek rod fees or fishing license fees, flies (well, sort of), or gratuities. We do not accept credit cards so cash or a check is required. A 50% deposit in advance of the trip is required to reserve a guide trip unless otherwise agreed upon. The deposit is refundable if the date can be rebooked 30 days prior to the guided trip. The remaining balance is due at the end of the day. If the weather cancels the trip, then you will receive your deposit back in full or it can be applied to a future trip.
You will not get a bland turkey sandwich on wheat for lunch unless requested :-). Half-day trips do not include lunch but only beverages and granola bars and chips, etc..
Full day Boat (float + wade)
Two Fly Fishermen
|One Fly Fisherman||$375|
Half day Boat (float + wade)
Two Fly Fishermen
|One Fly Fisherman||$325|
Two Fly Fishermen
|One Fly Fisherman||$375|
All three area spring creeks offer the same rates for each "rod" (fisherman) per day throughout the year.
Each spring creek varies in size and the number of rods allowed on their creek each day. For instance, Depuy's is about 3 miles long and offers 15 rods per day (calendar availability is here). Armstrong's allows 12 rods but the size of the creek is about half of Depuy's. Nelson's is across the river and will only take 6 fisherman per day on it's 1/4 mile or so.
Do I need a fishing license?
Ages 1-11 does not require a license IF accompanied by and adult who holds a valid Montana fishing license, Ages 12-14 need a Conservation License Only.
Ages 15-61 Non-Residents: Conservation license ($10) + $15 for two consecutive days. $43.50 for 10 consecutive days, $60 for the full season.
Ages 62 and older only require a Conservation license ($10).
Residents 15-61: Conservation license ($8) + Fishing ($5 for two consecutive days; $18 for the full season). Ages 62+ require only a conservation license ($8).
Fishing regulations may be found here: http://fwp.mt.gov/fishing/regulations/default.html
And you can get it here on-line before your trip :
Yellowstone National Park 2012 regulations:
From the YNP Website:
This year the season opens on Saturday, May 27, and runs through Sunday, November 5. Fishing permits are available at all ranger stations, visitor centers, and Yellowstone General Stores. Permits for those 16 and older are $15 for 3 days, $20 for 7 days, and $35 for an annual permit. Younger anglers must fish with an adult who holds a valid permit or obtain a free fishing permit. The fees generated from fishing permits stay in the park and go toward fisheries protection and management. Additional information is available on the Yellowstone National Park web site at http://www.nps.gov/yell/planvisit/todo/fishing/index.htm.
What about lunch and beverages?
Lunch, nonalcoholic beverages, and snacks are provided. Each guide is responsible for their own lunches so the contents will vary - but not if we are meeting together for lunch. The lunches will be the same for everyone in that case.
I am not going to brag about our lunches, but you will most likely not get a bland turkey sandwich on wheat (unless that is what you want). I think you will be pleasantly surprised. For sure there will be a few cokes, diet cokes, and lots of water. If you have any requests for lunches or beverages, we will try to honor them. If you can not eat particular foods, or do not like something, please let us know.
We will row our boats in for lunch on the banks of the Yellowstone and set up a table, tablecloth, and chairs or head to a picnic table at a spring creek.
(Half day trips only include beverages and snacks.)
What else are you responsible for?
Well, our insurance agent requires our clients to sign a disclaimer that is now required in just about every outdoor industry.
Waders (you may rent them at Dan Bailey's in Livingston if need be or at Angler's West in Emigrant), rod fees on the spring creeks, alcoholic beverages if you'd like, fishing licenses, terminal tackle (flies and leaders, although our guides may supply a few now and then). Tips for the guides. You don't always need waders if you don't mind getting the bottom of your shoes wet when getting in and out of the boat for boarding and lunch. It will cut down on the amount of water we can get out of the boat and fish though.
Need a rod or reel? We usually carry a couple extra in case of breakage and can also supply you with a nice rod or reel.
May I bring my spinning rod?
NOT IN PAUL'S BOAT! :-)
May we keep a fish?
We are a catch and release fly fishing service.
How many people are allowed in a boat on a float trip?
Two plus the rower (at least in my boat) makes three.
What flies should we bring?
That depends on when you come as we do have some mega hatches on the Yellowstone such as stoneflies and caddis flies. We like to fish dry flies when we can but also nymphs, wet flies, soft hackles (and streamers if you can cast a good distance).
General dry fly patterns to bring for the Yellowstone:
Stimulators, Elk Hair Caddis, Royal Wulffs, terrestrials (including hoppers if coming after mid-July), foam anything, CDC caddis, Purple Haze, Parachute Hare's Ear etc....
General nymph patterns for the Yellowstone:
Bead head anything, Prince Nymphs, Zug Bugs, Hare's Ears, Soft Hackles, Stoneflies, Pheasant Tails, Lightening bugs, Copper Johns, ....
For the Spring Creeks, both Yellowstone Angler (just south of Livingston) and Spring Creek Specialists (upper Depuy Spring Creek <= That is where I would go if I were you!) have an excellant assortment of spring creek flies.
Where and when do we meet?
We will meet you at the put in (or spring creek) or at Paul's house (which is about 20 miles south of Livingston in Paradise Valley. Two miles or so north of Emigrant and is very easy to find). We can meet you in town if you desire. Just let us know your preference.
We usually get started at a fishing access or a spring creek around 8AM. If you would rather do an afternoon to evening trip, that can usually be accommodated.
Do we need a reservation and send a deposit?
Reservations: Yes, due to high demand of good guides in our area. But, last minute requests may be accommodated (we will do our best).
A 50% deposit in advance of the trip is required to reserve a guide trip unless otherwised agreed upon. The deposit is refundable if the date can be rebooked 30 days prior to the guided trip. The remaining balance is due at the end of the day. If the weather cancels the trip, then you will receive your deposit back in full or it can be applied to a future trip.
Is it windy there?
Supply your own "Is the Pope Catholic?" type of response to that question! ;-) Believe it or not: Not always! Sometimes the wind can help the fisherman, but rarely the rower!
It's the West. Wind is something you might have to deal with here, or anywhere out west.
What about the weather?
Bring a rain jacket and rain pants or waders. If it rains, we keep on fishing. If it pours or hails, or lightening, we'll pull the boat over if we are on the river, or head to our vehicles or a warming hut if on Depuy Spring Creek.
Note: The Yellowstone River is rarely but susceptible to muddying up after a rain storm, especially if it happens to one of it's tributaries in Yellowstone National Park (the Gardner (why isn't it spelled the same as the town in flows into? Hmmm....), Lamar, Soda Butte,...). If we can find some clear water, we'll try that but the mud moves faster than our boats do therefore we may have to cancel the float trip (up to you).
What should we bring?
Waders, boots, rain jacket, sunscreen. Depending on when you are coming, perhaps some long underwear (you may want bottoms any way for wading - especially the spring creeks as the water temperature is always in the 50s). Rods and reels (we carry extra ones, so you could use those). And especially polarized sunglasses (used to protect your eyes in more ways than one).
Where do we fly into?
The Bozeman airport (BZN) is a lot closer than Billings. Actually, the airport is in Belgrade (one town to the west of Bozeman). To get to Livingston, you would head east on Interstate 90 (west for Billings) and take either one of the first two exits (the main one is exit 333 - Yellowstone National Park). Note: There is again some bridge work being done on I90 between Bozeman and Livingston. Some people choose to fly into Salt Lake City.
Where do we stay?
There are many hotels in Livingston, and plenty of B&Bs in the valley. See the resources tab for a partial listing.
Some information on the Yellowstone River can
be found here:
USGS Real-Time water data for Montana rivers:
(Unless it has recently changed, you want to select 0619250 "Yellowstone River near Livingston, MT" and/or 06191500 "Yellowstone River near Corwin Springs, MT" listed under "Yellowstone River Basin")
Nelson Spring Creek:
The Murray Hotel (a classic cowboy place!)
There are also hotels/motels like the Super 8, Best Western, Comfort Inn, and a few more
In Emigrant/Pray (about 25 miles south of Livingston)
Paradise Gateway B&B
Pete and Carol Reed
Yellowstone Country B&B
Chico Hot Springs Resort and Day Spa
There are also many vacation rentals, including a couple right by us (contact us for more information). If you need information on where to stay just outside of Yellowstone National Park in Gardiner, MT let us know.
Are you arriving in an RV? Here are some links to RV Parks:
Yellowstone Edge RV Park
3502 U.S. Highway 89 South
Livingston, MT 59047 (they are actually close to Emigrant in Paradise Valley, located on the Yellowstone River)
Also in Paradise Valley, across and on the Yellowstone River in the Pine Creek Area
There are two RV Parks in Gardiner, MT (the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park)
Rocky Mountain Campground 406-848-7251
Yellowstone RV Park and Campground 406-848-7496
We guide in the south western portion of Montana, near Yellowstone National Park, known as "Paradise Valley". About 30 miles southeast of Bozeman.
Maps (thanks to Google Maps):
Where the heck is Montana?? Canada to the north, Idaho and Washington State to the west, the Dakotas to the east, and Wyoming, Utah and Colorado to the south:
Montana Fishing Regulations:
Get your Montana fishing license on-line here:
Current Montana Snowpack
Yellowstone National Park fishing information:
Find everything you need including rental waders
and fishing licenses at
Livingston's own Dan Bailey Fly Shop
(since 1938!) :
Buzz Basini's Spring Creek Specialist Fly Shop at
Depuy's Spring Creek (best little fly shop on the planet!). If you are going to fish a spring creek, then this is the place to get your flies and supplies. No other shop has a fly selection specifically for spring creeks like Buzz duzz!:
The Gourmet Cellar
Located at the depot center in Livingston, across from Dan Bailey's Fly Shop on Park Street, Debbie Endres offers the area's best wine, cheese, and assorted pantry items (yes, that includes Bozeman!). Please patronize the Gourmet Cellar when you are in need of wine, cheese, crackers, pasta, etc...
GOT DUCK FAT?? :-)
Paul and Kristin Williamson
I purchased my first fly rod with my first ever paycheck at the age of 16 in 1974) and have been passionate about fly fishing since then.
Since 1994, I have been guiding fly fisherman on the Yellowstone River, area Spring Creeks, Yellowstone National Park and other local waters. This was a year after my wife and I honeymooned at local Fly Fishing lodge. It didn't take long for the owner to talk us into permanently relocating to Montana from Connecticut. My wife, Kristin, ran the lodge for two years while I guided and tied flies for it. We also applied our technical skills and developed a reservation and management software system for them which we continue to market very successfully as "Lodge-ical" : The Complete and Customized Software Solution for lodges, hunting preserves, guest ranches and outfitters.
We reside year round in Emigrant, Montana.
More information about us may be found at www.williamsonenterprises.com