Flyfishing and Bicycle Touring in Montana and Yellowstone Country
The real destination is along the way, not at the end. Fish-Bike-Camp is for fishermen and women looking for a different way to enjoy their sport. Fishing, biking and camping go together nicely as fishing is often best in the morning and evening, while the cycling can be done midday, and camping activities hold it all together. Like peanut butter and jelly …. and bread! This website covers F-B-C activities in southwest Montana, around Bozeman and Yellowstone country, but the same strategies can be used anywhere there are roads and rivers.
You can bike and camp during much of the year, but for fishing you need to be more selective, especially regarding river conditions. In the west, deep winter snow starts melting in earnest in late spring (mid-May to mid-June in Montana), although that varies depending on location, snowpack levels, and when warm temperatures arrive. In other areas where runoff is not an issue, you still need to plan around river conditions. High and muddy conditions will put a damper on the fun. You may also want to plan your trip around particular insect hatches, such as salmonflies, certain mayflies, or hoppers.
Next is finding a good combination of rivers to fish, roads to ride, and campsites to park it. Decent sized rivers (where big fish swim) are usually followed by good roads. Look for a selection of campgrounds along the way.
On longer trips, it is hard to plan around foul weather, but for shorter trips, be flexible and ready to go when the weather is agreeable. Nothing wrong with a little light rain especially while you’re fishing, but a real bummer is high wind … unless you’re lucky and it is at your back.
Flyshops and sporting goods stores are great resources for local fishing reports. Flyshop clerks perk right up when they hear you are not the typical tourist, that you are bicycle touring and need some advice on fishing destinations and fly selection.
State websites have information on cycling routes, traffic density, etc. A listing can be found on Transcendental Transcontinental. This website also is a great resource for bicycle touring, in general. Biking, camping, planning, gear, and safety.
Here is a little panorama at the start of a F-B-C trip along the Madison River in SW Montana.