In the midst of runoff season domestically in the United States, Montana’s freestone rivers have been hit hard with chocolate-colored water and an exponential increase in flows from this spring’s rain and snowfall. While flows have increased overnight, many Fly Shops locally in Bozeman have shared photos and videos capturing this increase.

While Montana was desperate for moisture this winter, this spring’s weather brought their snowpack above 100% of their yearly average. This flow increase has culminated in flooding and the closing of many roads and bridges around the greater Bozeman area. Please be careful and stay away from the flooding of these rivers.


Austin Schuerg from the Bozeman FlyWorks shares: “What looked to be a dreadful snowpack water year through the early months of 2022, it quickly flipped with heavy water content and consistent spring rain resulting in above-average snowpacks statewide. This snowpack and rain, coupled with large variances in daily temperatures, has resulted in a fast and aggressive runoff surpassing historical records on multiple rivers throughout Montana. The resulting floods appear to be causing severe damage to several rivers, fishing access sites, and infrastructure of roads, bridges, and buildings. As the expected runoff will likely continue through early July, we recommend reaching out to local Montana Fly Shops in the areas you will be fishing for up-to-date river conditions and access options. The National Parks Service just announced that they had closed all accessible traffic into the park, so the general public stays safe. The Gallatin River was at 7,000 Cubic Feet Per Second (CFS) and currently is over 8,000 CFS today. The Yellowstone reached an all-time high today, and if you go fishing, stay far away from the Bozeman Freestone Rivers.”


Sam Rogers from Angler’s West Fly Fishing Outfitters shares: “Last evening, the Yellowstone River and other surrounding rivers doubled in volume, and even tripled today by intense rainfall in Yellowstone National Park. The result is what the USGS claims to be a 500-year flood. Flows broke 50,000 CFS on the Yellowstone River this morning for the first time in recorded history. Tom Miner Basin bridge was ripped from the towers around 9 am this morning, and many homes, ranches, and properties were flooded by upwards of 5 feet of water. Businesses are closing, and roads in and out of the Paradise Valley are quickly closing too. Several other rivers in the state, The Gallatin, Stillwater, and Rock Creek in the Beartooth Range, are experiencing this extreme flooding. We are under a flood advisory for several more days to come.” 

Tom Miner Bridge washed away on the Yellowstone River this Morning. Photo captured by Sam Rogers.

While runoff can be hazardous for any recreational river user, many fly shops and outfitters promote safety as their number one priority. If you have any questions, please call:

Fins and Feathers Fly Shop (406) 586-2188

Bozeman FlyWorks (406) 219-8692

Anglers West Fly Fishing Outfitters (406) 333-4401



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