Summer Time Fishing in Montana 

Here in Montana summer time is fishing time. As spring runoff runs its course the rivers in Southwest Montana start to clear up and slow down. This means that the fishing heats up as rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout begin to gorge on insects both above and below the water. 

With the summer sun calling our name and dreams of twenty inch trout on the dry fly, Joe and I took to the river to try out Explore’s new Smithfly rafts on our local water. 



We started off our two day excusion with plans of heading to the Yellowstone River for an evening float after work. Putting in at Loch Leven Public fishing acess, we loaded up the SmithFly with rods, reels, snacks and a cooler full of cold ones. 

The 10 miles float put us at our take out at Pine Creek Public Fishing Acess just as darkness set in throughout Paradise Valley. 

A chunky brown trout (pictured above), a few small rainbows and a couple native whitefish to net set us up for a beautiful eveing on the river. 

The Smithfly handeld great on the bigger water of the Yellowstone. Super stable, easy to fish from, and small enough to row around all night without getting tired or worn out. Both Joe and I agree, the Smithfly is the ultimate raft for fishing. 

The following morning we set off at 6AM for the Upper Madison River. As the sun rose in the Gallatin Valley we devoroued breakfast burritios and tried our best to clear our foggy minds after a late night on the Yellowstone the previous evening. 

As we launched our Smithfly boat at Lyons Bridge on the Madison a crew of guides came our way to ask us about the raft. Small, stable, easy to cast from and easy to manuever, we gave them our raving reviews before setting off for the day. 

Tough fishing made for slow action, but not for a lack of effort. As the weather heated up the fish hunkered down and only ate a few small nymph patterns. The fish of the day was a healthy rainbow that Joe was able to land in the net.

With the agilty of the small Smithfly, it was easy to pull over along the bank and cast from shore to a few honey holes along the way. 

We reached our take out at McAtee Bridge around 6pm. Once off the water and packed up we grilled brats and rehashed all the fish we lost. I’ve always said, you know a true fisherman when he dosn’t tell you about the big fish he caught, but rather about the big fish he lost. 

It was a gorgous day on the river, and in Montana, that’s what summer is all about. 


Will Collins