Montana Fly Fishing
Fly Fishing the Boulder River

Boulder River

The Boulder River

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Boulder River
Photo Use Guidelines

The Boulder River begins in the Absaroka-Beartooth Mountains, and flows due north towards its confluence with the Yellowstone River in the town of Big Timber. The Boulder River provides decent fishing, a stunning, changing scenic backdrop and exciting floating. In short, it is a great place to come on a Montana fly fishing trip.

From where the Boulder River begins, at the confluence of South Fork Boulder River and Basin Creek, the river runs through a narrow and small valley, flanked on all sides by the towering Absaroka Mountains and the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area. For the first thirty miles, the Boulder River predominantly runs through public land, with a few scattered parcels of private land lying about. Access is excellent - just pull off the side of the road and go.

This upper section of the Boulder River has very fast current, lots of whitewater of Class III and Class IV, excellent pools and solitude for the angler willing to walk away from areas where the road nears the river. While it is rather time consuming and a slow drive to access this section, the upper Boulder River is well worth the trip.

Boulder River
Photo Use Guidelines

Thirty miles downstream from its origin, the Boulder River flows through Natural Bridge Monument, a unique waterfall that is well worth taking the time to see. As the Boulder River flows through the monument, the river disappears entirely in a large mass or rocks, re-appearing one hundred feet later in two distinct waterfalls that cascade down more than one hundred feet. The sight of water flowing out of the rocks, not just over it, is a unique site, and well worth the price of the short walk required to see it.

Below Natural Bridge, the Boulder River passes primarily through private land as it leaves the Absaroka Mountains behind and begins to flow through the high plains. The valley just outside of the mountains has extensive agricultural operations. Fields of hay go right up to the rivers edge.

The current of the Boulder River also slows. The country becomes much more open, offering excellent views of the surrounding mountains.

After flowing for more than thirty miles below Natural Bridge, the Boulder River reaches the confluence with the Yellowstone River near the town of Big Timber, MT.

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