All of us in the Long Outfitting family are passionate about protecting our natural resources, teaching first-timers the sport of fly fishing, and are addicted to enjoying as much time as possible in the outdoors with our clients in the beautiful region of the Rocky Mountains that we call home.
Long Outfitting has been offering fishing expeditions in Montana and Yellowstone National Park since 1997. After logging thousands of guide days on the area waters, our guides have a great understanding of what can make a successful guide day and what does not. Trout just don't jump into the boat and the weather and wind don't always cooperate. However, all of us are on the water to help you catch fish, have a fun and enjoyable time, and offer instruction to improve your techniques.
Since our beginning, we have always strived at not just meeting, but exceeding our client's expectations. Long Outfitting has been the Orvis-Endorsed Guide Service of the Year for 2003, 2004, and 2015. We are the only three-time Orvis-endorsed winner in any of the endorsement categories of this prestigious award. We are grateful for the clients that provided us this opportunity.
Long Outfitting operates guided trips all year long. Since three very famous spring creeks and a couple of tailwater fisheries are nearby, trips during the winter season are an option depending on the weather. The following is an overview of the seasons of our region:
March through mid-May is what we call pre-runoff time. It is a great time to fish in our region if you want to avoid the summer crowds. You will have many rivers to yourself, and if the weather cooperates, you might experience some of the best fishing of the entire year. Spring baetis hatches tend to happen during this time frame if cloud cover blankets the sky. In late April and May, our rivers experience wonderful emergences of March browns, and blanket hatches of the Mother's Day caddis hatch. Our local spring creeks also fish well due to the influx of spawning fish that move into these tributaries of the Yellowstone River to reproduce.
Mid-May through Late June is peak snow melt on most of our freestone streams, but the tail waters, private lakes, and spring creeks are fishing very well. This time frame transitions us from spring time hatches to the beginning of our summer hatches. Mid to late June is a magical time, with the beginning of emergences of salmon flies, green drakes and grey drakes on local rivers, and pale morning duns on the spring creeks. Stillwater fisheries are also starting to have a huge emergence of Callibaetis, which force trout to the surface to gulp down duns.
July is by far the busiest guide month of the year. This is the month that a lot of options become clear and fishable, so where you can fish every day is limitless. Yellowstone National Park waters are taking form with salmonfly and drake hatches, PMD's are popping up on the spring creeks, and a smorgasbord of caddis, stoneflies, and mayflies are emerging on a daily basis on most regional rivers. The days are long, and the wet wading is enjoyable. July is a wonderful time to put on your waders or hiking boots, and explore what fishing destinations Long Outfitting has to offer.
August through Early September really brings us into terrestrial season. Many of the hatches we see in July have disappeared, but the trout are still looking up for food. Ants, beetles, and hoppers are some of our favorite patters during this month. At this time of the year, many clients find success floating the Yellowstone River, or wading in the northeastern part of Yellowstone National Park. On the occasional cloudy or rainy day, you will find fish rising to mayflies, but terrestrials run supreme.
Mid September through October is one of our favorite times of the year. The mornings are crisp, with afternoons potentially warm and sunny. If it is abnormally warm, terrestrial patterns work best, but if the weather turns rainy, fall mayfly hatches emerge with a vengeance. Streamer junkies also get excited about the potential to stick some nice brown trout, but you need to be patient and watch the weather. The worse the weather is, the better the fishing can be. Weather patterns this time of the year are unpredictable, so come prepared for any type of temperatures.
November through February is a tough time of the year to preschedule guided trips. Some of the best options this time of the year can be our local spring creeks, or one of the tail water fisheries like the Madison or Missouri. On the right day, don't be surprised if you can catch a few trout on midge and mayfly adults. Many of our clients take a day off from skiing and call us about fly fishing for a day. We can let you know whether or not it is worth your while. Our guides have had some incredible guide days during the winter season, but you need to be prepared with proper clothing.
The terrain, ecosystems, elevations, and weather conditions can vary greatly within our region of southwestern and south central Montana, as well as northwestern Wyoming. Many of the larger rivers like the Yellowstone and Madison as well the famous spring creeks south of Livingston are located in the valley floors at elevations between 4500 and 5500 feet above sea level. The surrounding mountain ranges funnel most of the moisture away from the valleys throughout the summer season, so the climate is considered to be semi-arid desert. Deciduous shrub and tree growth mainly occurs along the riparian zones surrounding the waterways.
On the other end of the spectrum, many of our wade fishing and hike in trips occur at higher elevations in Montana and Yellowstone National Park. Fishing typically occurs at elevations between 5500 and 8000 feet above sea level. The mountains, as well as the typography of the volcanic plateau in and around the park, tend to funnel precipitation to the region, and have produced lush valleys floors full of lush grasses and wildflowers with meandering meadow streams, as well as dense lodgepole pine forests where snowmelt feeds higher gradient streams and alpine lakes teeming with trout.
The geology surrounding the area the we guide trips in is a wonderland for those interested in volcanism and glaciation. The terrain and river systems have all been shaped during the last 50 million years by the powers of nature, and fishermen are constantly amazed at the views of the surrounding landscapes and the towering mountains of the Absoroka, Gallatin, Madison, Crazy, Bridger, and Tobacco Root mountain ranges.
Montana weather can be very unpredictable to say the least. In the high country, you could see snow 12 months a year. In the river bottoms, we can hit triple digit temperatures, but that rarely occurs. During guide trips, temperatures often fluctuate 20-40 degrees between sunrise and early afternoon. Afternoon thunderstorms in the summer are common. In order to stay comfortable during your trip, please take into consideration what the weather could do, not what you think it will do.
March, April, and May are wonderful months to fish in Montana. The days are getting longer, the grass is starting to turn green, and the mountains are still covered with snow. Mornings are typically brisk, but by the time midday rolls around clothing layers are coming off. This time of the year, Montana receives quite a bit of rain, and a slight chance of snow, with average high temps ranging from the 40s F to the 70s, and lows in the 20s to 50s.
June, July, and August are peak months for the guide trips. Summer is here and the weather is more predictable, with the exception of occasional afternoon thunderstorms. Most freestone streams in the region are coming into shape after over a month of snow runoff, and our wet wading season is kicking into gear with rising water temperatures. Average highs range from the 70s and 80s, with lows in the 40s to 60s.
September and October bring more variability to guessing what the weather will do. Much like spring time weather, the fall can be unpredictable. Don't be surprised if it snows one day and is in the 70s just 24 hours later. This time of the year is one our personal favorites to be on the rivers, with low, clear, and cool water, leaves changing colors in the river bottoms, and snow in the high country dusting the mountain tops. Winter is just around the corner so you need to be prepared with layers of clothing. Fall temperatures can range from the 40s to 70s for highs and lows in the 20s to 40s.
November through February is winter in Montana. When the air temperatures are in the 20s through the 40s and the wind is not howling, the fishing is actually quite good. The spring creeks and tailwater fisheries are great options this time of year. The river valleys don't have consistent snow cover because the mountains suck out most of the moisture, but you still need to be prepared for inclement weather. Average highs are in the 20s to 40s with lows ranging from the 10s to 30s.
Rates start from: $420/day
You can find all pricing information at: www.longoutfitting.com/rates
Full day guide trips include an Orvis Endorsed guide, streamside lunch, non-alcoholic beverages, and terminal tackle. Transportation to and from your fishing location is supplied free of charge.
Half day guide trips include an Orvis-Endorsed guide, snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, and terminal tackle. Transportation to and from your fishing location is supplied free of charge.
What's Not Included
Montana and Yellowstone National Park fishing licenses, Yellowstone National Park entrance fees, equipment rental fees, flies, private water access fees, and guide tips are not included in the guide fees.
Traveling to a fishing destination can be challenging these days. The space in your bags can be at a premium. The following is a list of important fishing equipment that we suggest you bring with you. If you need to rent items like fly rod outfits or waders, they are available upon request.
And if you want to test out a brand new Orvis rod outfit, let us know and we will make sure that your guide has one in their boat. Check out the list and feel free to call us if you have questions. If you are a beginner to the sport of fly fishing, feel free to just show up and your guide will have the equipment you need for your guide day.
An asterisk indicates items that we think are of great importance!
Fly rod outfit that is 8 ft to 10 ft in length, in a 4 to 6 wt.
Floating line to match, and a sink-tip line if you want to strip streamers or lake fish
*Breathable chest waders for spring creek fishing, or fishing during cooler weather
*Wet wading pants and appropriate wet wading footwear for warm summer days
Vest, chest pack, or fanny pack
Powdered and gel fly floatant, non-toxic split shot, nylon or fluorocarbon tippet, nylon leaders, and strike indicators
Sunscreen and insect repellent
Fingerless gloves for colder weather
*Multiple layers of clothing
*Ball cap or brimmed hat
Camera or cell phone for photos
*Montana or Yellowstone National Park fishing license
Flies: bring what you have, and we will try to use them. We use thousands of different fly patterns throughout the year. If you want to bring or tie your own flies, please contact us about specific patterns that will work during your trip
A willingness to learn new techniques and have a great time
If there are items in which you think you need to bring that are not included on the gear recommendation list, do not hesitate to contact us. Where you will be fishing and the season in which your trip will occur will have a lot to do with the personal effects that are appropriate for your trip.
Can I bring my dog? Dogs that are calm and well-behaved are welcome in a drift boat, but it's not suggested. The boats don't have a lot of extra space and can become a safety hazard in heavier water conditions. Dogs are not allowed to be away from a road in Yellowstone Park, so they are not allowed on any guided wade trip to the park.
Can I fish if I have a physical disability? We have had successful outings with many individuals with a disability. Boat fishing is the best way to maximize your fishing experience. Please contact us for options and availability.
Is the internet available? Some places yes, some places no. Verizon has the best coverage in the region. Based on where your trip will occur, we can let you know ahead of time the type of coverage you will have.
Are airport shuttles available? We personally do not offer shuttles to and from the airport, but can head you in the right direction. Many of the hotels in Bozeman offer shuttles. However, to get to Livingston, you will need to contact a taxi or Uber service. You can also rent a vehicle from a local company or dealership.
Can I wear felt wading shoes? Felt is now illegal in Yellowstone National Park, however, in the state of Montana you can still wear your felt soled shoes. Please plan accordingly if you are scheduled to wade fish in the park.
Long Outfitting only specializes in guided fishing trips but we are more than willing to help you with planning other activities to make your vacation a memorable one. Whitewater rafting, horseback riding, hunting trips, downhill and cross-country skiing, wildlife safari trips, and many other activities are available throughout the region.