Yellowstone River Motel: Walter Wiese's father stays here. This is the closest motel lodging option to our shop and offers good foot access to the Yellowstone and Gardner Rivers.
Absaroka Lodge and Big Rock Inn: Both the Absaroka (pronounced Ab-sore-ohka, as far as we can tell) and the Big Rock Inn are owned by one of our regular clients, a Gardiner local.
Many other lodging options are available, ranging from motels to rental cabins to campgrounds. Please check the Gardiner Chamber of Commerce website for all of them. We do suggest you choose an option that's locally owned if possible. We also encourage our guests to AVOID vacation rentals (VRBO and AirBNB), since such establishments have gutted the local housing market and made it very difficult for our staff to find affordable housing. Most lodging in Gardiner fills up quickly, so don't put off your reservations.
Montana Area and Waterbody Closures: These closures mostly occur during late summer due to high water temperatures or wildfires. Closures seldom impact the Yellowstone River or its tributaries, but are common on lower-elevation rivers further north and west, particularly those lacking deep-draw dams to cool the water.
Local Private Fisheries
Note that many local private fisheries (especially ranch lakes) lack websites and must be booked through a fly shop or outfitter.
Montana Streamflow Gauges: of particular note are the Upper Missouri and Upper Yellowstone drainages. E-mail us if you need to know how to read these tables. Generally speaking, sudden spikes mean dirty water. On the Yellowstone, flows over about 10,000cfs in May, June, or early July mean the spring runoff is underway and the river is and will be unfishable for a while. On the Missouri at Hauser or Holter Dam, flows over about 6,000cfs make fishing on foot nearly impossible, though you can always fish from a boat.
Montana Snowpack Information: Use this map (and the next) to keep track of winter snowpack, which is the primary driver of our water year. Higher-than-average snowpack generally means higher, colder streamflows in the core summer season (good), but can make for a long spring runoff on waters impacted by the spring melt (bad). Lower-than-average numbers mean an early start to the summer season (good) but low, challenging water levels and potentially warm water temperatures in mid-late summer (bad). Our drainage basins are the Upper Yellowstone, Gallatin, Madison, and Missouri Mainstem basins.
Wyoming Snowpack Information: River basins in Wyoming that impact our summer water (by flowing north into Montana) are the Yellowstone and Madison-Gallatin basins in the far northwest corner of the state.
General Fly Fishing Links
Yellowstone Country Fly Fishing: This is Walter's Livingston-based outfitting business. Use his services directly for the Yellowstone east of Livingston, Madison, Boulder, Stillwater, and Missouri if you are staying in Livingston, Bozeman, or another point a long way from Parks' Fly Shop.
Murray's Fly Shop: we have no idea how many customers Harry Murray has sent us over the years. Visit his shop on the Shenandoah.
Streamside Orvis: ergo for Streamside Orvis in Traverse City. They are the only place besides our store where you can get our custom Magic Sauce Fly Floatant.
Curtis-Wright Outfitters: The boys from Curtis-Wright in Asheville, NC bring us out a large group that fishes with us every year. Check them out if you're looking to fish western NC or eastern TN.
Fly Tying/Fishing Resources
Fly Anglers Online: Fly fishing forum. Walter posts as "Longs for Cutts." Lots of good fly recipes get posted here.
Trout Nut: lots of great info on aquatic insect entomology.
Youtube is probably the single best resource available nowadays for fly tying help (besides personalized instruction and practice). Many locals post videos, including Walter, Doug, and others associated at least tangentially with our shop.
Richard Parks is Montana Outfitter #327 and Yellowstone Park CUA holder #13-037. Parks' Fly Shop operates under his licensure in Yellowstone National Park, the Yellowstone River Drainage upstream of Livingston, and the Custer-Gallatin National Forest. Walter J. Wiese is Montana Outfitter #22001 and Madison River SRP holder #297. The shop operates under his licensure in the Yellowstone Drainage downstream of Livingston and in the entire Missouri River Drainage.
All text copyright Walter J. Wiese. Photos copyright Walter J. Wiese or the photographer. If you would like to use any of the content on this site for noncommercial purposes, you are welcome to do so provided you include this copyright notice and our contact information. Please do not use the information here for commercial purposes without written permission.
Website, text, and graphics by Walter J. Wiese. Photos generally by Walter J. Wiese or his clients.