How To Find Riverside Solitude

April is a great month to get out on Montana’s rivers. After a long winter, the first hints of spring get everyone outdoors. Some of the popular fishing access points and trailheads around Bozeman are busier on a nice day in April than at any other point in the year. Cabin fever bites hard and we want to get out!

Virus or not, it’s always nice to get out away from people on these crowded days. Here’s a few ways to find solitude on Bozeman’s rivers and streams.


Instead of just driving aimlessly about, trying to find a quiet place to fish, make a plan. Sure, gas is cheap right now, but it helps to know where you are going. If you’re meeting up with anyone (and staying 6+ feet away) a plan helps coordinate with them. It also makes moving to the next spot very quick and easy.


Simple. If you pull up to a spot and there’s 15 cars there and a crowd of people milling around and folks fishing up and down the river everywhere you look, keep moving. If it’s a spot you know that has good access out of sight, you can chance walking down there to see but if the parking lot is crowded odds are good the river is pretty crowded too. Move on to the next planned spot and see how busy that is.


Even if there aren’t many people where you end up stopping to fish, walk a ways. Don’t even rig your rod up in the parking lot. Put your boots on and commit to going at least 10-15 minutes up or downstream. It’s shocking how few people are actually willing to walk and cover ground from the parking lot of access. Walking can get you the solitude you need, will show you new fishing spots, and can lead to fish that are way less pressured.

Photo: Shane Rickert


There are a ton of great resources online and on social media for places to fish (and hike). Bozeman has several very active Facebook groups for these topics with updated reports, photos, and a ton of information. Take a quick glance and you’ll see lots of posts asking for recommendations on where to go. Want to avoid a crowd? Don’t go to these places. Right now it’s important to keep your distance, and while online resources for specific spots are great most of the time, right now they tend to clump people up.


While a large portion of the workforce is working from home or unemployed at this time, the weekends are still the busiest time of the week for outdoor recreation. If you want to avoid crowds go early in the week. If you can sneak out for a quick lap of your favorite local run or to check for rising fish on your lunch break, go for it. Or just mark yourself “busy” on Zoom and take a half day.

Finding solitude isn’t that hard, even in busy places like Bozeman. There is enough river for everyone, and we can all find our quiet stretch of water. Give people the space you’d want them to give you.

Our physical operations are shut down at the moment, but once we’re back up and running, a raft rental is a great way to find solitude on the river. If you’re local, take advantage of our local’s special on vehicle and raft rentals!


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