View Full Version : Yellowstone Trip

01-31-2006, 09:58 AM
I will be travelling with a small group of friends to Yellowstone this year in late July/early August. It will be a week long trip. Most of the time will be spent fly fishing, but we plan to take a day to do some sight seeing as none of us has ever been there. I'm very excited about the trip. Yellowstone has always been the ultimate fly fishing destination in my mind. We are well read on the streams, regulations, bears, lake trout, whirling disease, etc (I own the books by Mathews/Molinero, Richard Parks, and Ken Retallic). We plan to hit several of the famous streams and lakes more or less to get a feel for things so we'll be better prepared for future trips. We'll be camping roadside most of the trip. Any body have any general advice for our trip (flies that are must haves, streams to definitely hit/avoid, things to look out for, etc.)? Or does anyone an interesting story to tell about Yellowstone? Any reminiscing? Thanks a lot for any advice or stories,


David Knapp
01-31-2006, 10:21 AM

You are in for the trip of your life. I went to Yellowstone this last summer for the second time, first time fishing though. It is incredible to say the least. I was there early enough that the Firehole was not too warm yet so I fished it a lot and had a blast. One thing I would recommend based on my trip is that you try some of the small backcountry lakes if you have the time. The fish probably won't be as large, but getting away from the crowds is well worth it and the fishing can be great. Depending on which lakes you try, you can find Cutts and Grayling. Also, the fish on the small lakes aren't picky. I spent three or four hours fishing a small lake and started with a parachute Adams. After catching 5 or 6 fish in about 20 minutes, the fly was mangled so I tied on a GRHE and fished it the rest of the day with equal success. If you have a float tube, that will definately help if you are fishing any of the lakes. Some of the small streams are fun also if you get tired of the crowds.


01-31-2006, 11:01 AM
Thanks for the advice. We definitely plan to hit a couple of small streams or lakes. The vast majority of our fishing experience has been on small Smokies streams. I figure after a couple of days of getting whipped on the larger streams, we'll all be ready to catch some brookies in relative seclusion for awhile. Speaking of backcountry lakes, I would love to take a two week lake fishing trip through the Beartooths or Wind Rivers at some point in my life. So much water and so little time...


Chip Maner
02-02-2006, 09:48 PM
I was fortunate enough to live in WY for several years, and though I have traveled quite a bit, no place I've seen is as awe-inspiring as Yellowstone. Previous posts are good advice in my opinion, especially about the backcountry. Yellowstone gets awfully crowded, and like the Smokies, putting in some hike time may take up fishing time, but it makes the overall experience better. I always found it relatively easy to match the hatch in Yellowstone, no top secret special flies required, and I advise taking a few streamers, too!

If you get outside the park, I'd fish the Henry's Fork just to say you have, but I personally prefer the Madison as you get near Ennis, Montana. It can be tricky water, though, so be careful.

Back inside the park, let me say be careful again. I thought I was pretty seasoned growing up in the Smokies, hunting and fishing my whole life. But the altitude in the Rockies will make you 75% of the man you think you are, and you can't whip a bear at 100% anyway. It's surprisingly easy to get turned around, because you have to look at things differently than you do here in our hills. In my opinion, though, that's what makes for such a great experience... testing yourself. You'll love Yellowstone, and the fact that this post ended up being three times longer than I'd intended reminds me that I must be missing that country...

Elk riverrat
02-23-2006, 12:48 AM
Been to Yellowstone quite a few times, can't get enough of it, you are in for a great trip. Don't know if I will make it this year or not. I'd suggest Trout Lake, you will see Rainbows the size of Navy Subs. I've fishing the 2nd Meadow of Slough Creek twice and will do it again if and when I go back, never had any problem with crowds up there, enough water to last many life times.

Grasshoppers and PMD's will net you many fish that time of the year.

I live just up the road from you, any more questions just ask, I live on the Elk.

02-23-2006, 09:50 AM
Thanks for the advice. We had planned to hit Slough Creek, but I was worried about how crowded it would be. Sounds like we'll at least be able to find a spot to wet a line. Trout Lake was one of the lakes I thought of fishing if for no other reason than we plan to spend a lot of time in that corner of the park. I've heard the fishing can be tough in the lake later in the season, but I would definitely like to get a look at one of those monster rainbows. Who knows, maybe I could fool one.

I have a practical question that maybe someone could help me with. We plan to camp roadside for most of the trip, but we will probably get a hotel for a night or two to freshen up. Anyone have an idea on how tough it would be to find a room in the Cooke City area in August without a reservation? I currently plan to reserve a room, but it would be nice to not be tied to a hotel on a specific night. Thanks for all the help,


David Knapp
02-23-2006, 11:12 AM

I'm not sure about the hotel room, but I do know that they are generally pricey out there, especially during peak season. However, something to think about is if you are just wanting showers, some of the campgounds in the park have showers that you can use. There may be a fee per shower of around $3.00. If you are wanting to camp in the park, be sure to get reservations. Lots cheaper than getting a room and you can't beat the setting.


Elk riverrat
02-23-2006, 11:32 AM
Plateau Angler is correct, I always end up staying most of my time in the Lamar Valley, but the last two trips I got camping reservations in Madison (central location), see lots of animals in the ealy morning drives. Old Faithful Inn and Roosevelt Lodge is where I shower, plus Roosevelt food is great and affordable. I'd say to drive out the East entrance to Cody and back to the NE entrance (Silver Gate) on the Chief Joesph Hwy. and over the Beartooth Hwy to Red Lodge, will be worth your time.

What I do is get camping reservations and use them if I have to, but if Slough has a slot get it (I never been that fortunate) or Pebble Creek, have one person to stay in your new campground and go and cancel other, only cost you a night cost.

02-24-2006, 09:48 AM
Thanks for the advice. I had seen in some literature that you could use the showers at some of the lodges and campgrounds. We'll probably take full advantage of that. Good advice about reserving a camp spot as a backup if Slough or Pebble aren't available. We were hoping to stay at one of those. We had also considered staying in one of the FS campsites just outside the park if nothing inside the park was available. Thanks a lot,


02-28-2006, 04:34 PM
Went to Yellowstone the 1st week of June in 2005. It is AWESOME. I fished the Firehole River and a few other small streams of the park. It will be crowded in July/Aug, so if you like being by yourself I recommend trying some of the secluded streams that require a short hike. Be prepared, the difference it altitude is killer on the hike. thinner air will take your breath fairly quickly. I used West Yellowstone, MT as my home for the week.
It is a wonderful experience. It is not uncommon to be fishing and have a herd of 50-100 Buffalo cross the river 20-30 yards from you, espically when fishing the Firehole. Wildlife is everywhere just respect nature and you'll enjoy it.
Caught some nice fish too, if you like to fish the smokies just wait!!!
The fishing is different, but it is great to fish the "big water".

03-21-2006, 11:11 AM
I will be out there the last week in July this year (13th year in a row :)). A trip to the area would not be complete without an evening of fishing around $3 bridge on the Madison. On most days Epeorus spinners are the ticket in the early evening (5-7pm), followed by amazing caddis hatches until well after dark (9:30-10pm). There will be a lot of people but you just can find one slick and fish for rising trout for several hours (14-20" bows and rainbows). It's pretty amazing. Email me if you want other ideas. I like to stay at the Slide Inn because it is cheap (they also have a campground) and centrally located (30 seconds from the Madison, 30 minutes from Island park and West Yellowstone).

04-19-2006, 11:07 PM
Well Hawgdaddy, It seems like you have looked at a lot of streams. Just some things to consider.
1 Take a BIG canister of bear spray
2 Wear bear bells, I have for 13 years and have never encountered a bear onthe trail
3 Take some good binoculars and spotting scope because there is a wolf pack near Slought Creek that is worth watching.
4 Trout lake is best fished from a belly boat.
5 It is always windy so take a good long rod to fight the wind
6 the Slough Crek campground area has misquitos that can carry you away from your family. Take plenty of bug repellant
7 If you go during a new moon you will find out what they really mean with the name "Milkey Way" a full moon blots out the stars.
Since I have been there 13 years in a row I can attest that it is worth the trip

I will be there the last two weeks in July and am staying at Roosevelt


04-20-2006, 12:24 AM
I'LL DOUBLE DITTO EVERYTHING TOM W SAID!! Expect to pay big bucks for gas but It'll be worth it. I hope the price of gas is decent July and Aug of 07.

A couple suggestions from my experiences:
TAKE IT EASY, enjoy the Wolves, look for the groups with spotting scopes in the Lamarr Valley. The spotting scope folks are really very glad to share. You might get to see that Grizzly at the correct distance.(:>) Moose and Buffalo can be bad a#$ characters also respect them.

Buy your bear bells at a tack shop before you go. You'll want several and they charge $5or + for ONE BELL *out there.

This area WILL wear you out faster than you realize even if you don't get into the higher Beartooths. Play with a camera. Take an afternoon and sit around and tie flies, take a short nap. Check out all the fly shops in West Yellowstone. You'll enjoy it more. My first several times out there I tried fishing 24/7. And was exhausted for days.
Drink plenty of water then DRINK MORE. Take an Ibupropen in the morning and at noon. *
Bass Pro sells a camp hot shower that we use for about $100. VERY WELL worth it cost!!!!!!!! You'll use it nightly- the dust is awlful
Buy a bug suit if you venture near a lake or into the Beartooth. Mosquitos can be worse than you imagine
Carry a rain ponch warm clothes at all times. If you hear thunder, plan on it with LARGE HAIL hitting you. the greater Yellowstone is the only place I've been where the storms are worse than the FLA. Keys. I've saw the temp drop 20-30 degrees with hail three inches deep on the roads last Aug. & years ago, I got caught in a 4-5 inch snow storm on August 1st.

If you need a national forest campground: Hunter Peak few mosquitos but very polular, Crazy Creek and Fox Creek are good camp sites in the National Forest. Lake Creek is one heck of a mosquito hole. If you go to a NF campsite, get there in the AM usually fill up about 3 pm.

Check the road situation around Cooke City as they were doing major road construction- 45 minute delays and had closed Fox Creek Campground last August. Also they were doing major construction near (or in ??) the park last summer access to some parts of the park was hard or a lot longer.

Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone has lots of small fish. Crandall Creek on the Chief Joesph Hwy will TOP ANY AND ALL FISHING you might find in the park if the level is good. I can put you onto all the 10-12 inch Brookies you want on a high mountain lake 1/2 hour from Cooke City if you wish. Email me before Friday night (I've GOT TO GO TO THE KEYS ;))if you want info on some OUTSIDE OF PARK HIGH QUALITY LOW COMPETITION *as a back up. Apologies to all I might offend but I DON'T FISH THE PARK any more than 1 afternoon out of 2-3 weeks camping out there. TOO CROWDED.

EAT ANY AND ALL BROOKIES YOU LEGALLY CATCH!!! Wyo allows a very large number of under 8inches plus your legal limit over 8. THEY TASTE GREAT FOR BREAKFAST!! This isn't the Smokies, they want them removed.

FOLLOW BEAR PROTOCOLS CLOSELY!!!! Carry the bear spray. When you come across bear dropping with the berries still moist as I have, you'll be glad you have it. READ THE INSTRUCTIONS !! I' VE read too much erroneous stuff on and other bulletin boards about it.

Leave your 4wt or less home- use a wt forward.
The PMD duns have a touch of green on their bodies.

I'm envious- summer of 07 is to far away
Tight lines
Randy Sale

05-21-2006, 07:36 PM
I would suggest you hit the Souh Fork of the Snake for Cuts. Rent a boat and row the canyon, or get a guide. I would also fish Indian Creek at Cameron, MT, and spend an evening in the Blue Moon Saloon afterwards. If you want an unexpected and little fished treasure try the Falls River, a tributary of the Henrys Fork. Great fishing for 14-18 inch fish on dry flies.

07-14-2006, 11:46 PM
First, I say be careful camping roadside. I'm pretty sure you can't do that inside Ystone itself, and it would scare me ****less to have wolves or bison sniffing around at 3 a.m.

Western rivers are very different from anything here in TN. I say get a guide for one day on each water. You don't have to, but if you don't, you may go home wondering why everyone raves so much about them. The biggest difference to me is that you throw these freakin huge, gaudy flies MOST of the time, in some of the rivers. And the others, like Henry's Fork, have huge, huge trout that are very well educated in many sections. I say forget Henry's Fork unless you have a guide.

If you are wanting to hit the big names, then be sure to hit the Madison, Yellowstone below the park, Yellowstone in the park, Henry's Fork, and Gallatin as it goes thru the park. The Firehole is really neat if the water isn't too hot yet. You'll have to go by fly shops and get status reports on all the rivers. The Lamar can produce large numbers of huge trout if the water is right, but most often it is too high and muddy. You really should get a guide and raft the Madison, Box Canyon of Henry's, and the lower Ystone. Don't forget to hit a few of the smaller waters in the park as well; you've already got the guide books for that. Trout Lake was mentioned above, and all I can say is that I have seen a trout the size of a coyote in there. I think they are very hard to catch. It would be more worth the quick walk in to Trout Lake, walk round it fast while looking for trout, and if nothing seems to be hitting on top, call it a good hike and go elsewhere. If there is a log still near the feeder creek, walk up on it slowly, as that is where I saw the huge one 2 years ago.

There is so much good water within 100 miles of Yellowstone. I have only fished a small part of it. My first trip there 10 years ago was the only time I visited somewhere and imediately considered dumping everything else in the rest of my life just to live there making minimum wage or something. I think it must be the most special place in America.

Some above have mentioned Slough Creek. It is great, and it can be a long hike to get away from people. I say if you see a stretch of it from the road that doesn't have people on it, just go fish that spot. Same thing for Lamar if it is in good shape. Gosh, forgot about Soda Butte, which can be great and probably crowded too when it is. I should say now that a Westerner's concept of "crowded" is much stronger than what it is here in the East. In some places, people will get p****d if you get within 200 yards of them. Others, like downstream of Fishing Bridge (a place you HAVE to see), you may be fishing on top of each other. Just don't let it bother you if you get yelled at.

Oh, and make sure you stay well versed on the regs. Many waters are off limits for one reason or another.

Bear spray and bells are good. I've seen several bears, but no grizzly yet. This guy was on the way back from Slough Creek:

Drink plenty of water, but be sure to carry some junk food. Dehydration is a problem, but hyponetremia (too little salt in the blood, most often caused by drinking too much water and sweating too much) can be a bigger problem now that most people know about dehydration. I disagree a bit with Kytroutbum's advice about drinking so much water, especially in conjunction with taking so much Ibuprofen. Just drink plenty of water, and carry some salty snacks like crackers or candy bars or gatorade or gorp, or my favorite, chedder cheese with crackers and pepperoni. Dehydration is more common, but hyponatremia is much more dangerous. I read that the rangers in the Grand Canyon now consider hyponatremia to be as big a problem as dehydration. Here is little more info on this:


Take your time. Yellowstone roads really get gummed up during the day. If everyone else is blocking the road looking at Elk, you may as well do it too.

Mosquitoes will devastate you in some areas. I counted 20 on my uncle's back, which was the only part on him not covered in deet, in one of Slough's meadows.

Have fun! You'll have no choice but to.

07-21-2006, 10:47 AM
P.A. is right. You really do need to fish some backcountry lakes. a GREAT place to go for cuthroats and arctic graylingis cascade lake, its a little bit of a hike but the fishing is worth it. we caught over 20 and the hike is beautiful, we saw a wolf, mother and baby moose, and bison. the firehole is going to be to warm to fish but if youve already madee plans to fish there, where nez perce creek runs into the firehole would be good, that water is COLD and fish will pile up right there when the water gets to warm.

08-22-2006, 09:10 AM
It's been awhile since I've posted on the board. *Thieves broke into my apartment and stole my computer and quite a few other things (thankfully none of my fly fishing gear). *Makes it difficult to keep up with the various forums I like to visit and maintain my own website when I don't even have a computer.

Any way, we got back from our Yellowstone trip a couple of weeks ago and I thought I'd give a report. *Seven of us went out there. *We combined fishing with sight seeing. *I didn't get to fish as much as I would have liked, but I still had a great time and can't wait to get back. *Much of my time was spent teaching some others in the group how to cast and such. *I enjoyed the teaching but must admit that it was killing me a few times, the itch to fish very nearly overcoming all rational thought. *It was worth it when several in the group caught their first trout.

We started on the Upper Gibbon and caught lots of little brook trout. *Next day we hit the Yellowstone River near Buffalo Ford. *I saw one rising fish all day. *I did manage to draw a strike from him, but missed on the hookset. *This fish looked enormous! *Couldn't draw another strike. *The populations are really down in the river. *It was a little depressing, but the scenery couldn't help but lift your spirits. *The next day we hit the Lower Meadows of Slough Creek where I caught my first cutt throat after a struggle to figure out what the fish wanted. *It was a fat 17 inch fish that hit a large beetle pattern. *That evening we hit the Lamar and caught several in the 16-17" range. *I had a real "hawg" break my tippet after a long fight here. *To be honest I was surprised at how easily those Lamar fish rose to our flies. *Pretty naive compared to a 9" rainbow on the Little River...or maybe they just love my beetle pattern. *Fishing was so good on the Lamar that we ended the fishing portion of our trip there the next day, catching and missing several more fish.

We also managed to hit Yellowstone Lake and the Blacktail Deer Ponds (the wind was incredible at the ponds, making casting almost a joke) for a few minutes each with no luck. *We stayed at Canyon Campground, and it was surprisingly nice considering how many people use it. *The showers there were excellent after a few days without bathing. *The sights on this road trip were great. *We hit Badlands, Wall Drug, Mount Rushmore, Little Bighorn Battlefield, lots of Yellowstone attractions, Grand Teton, and a whole lot of prairie (I understand prairie madness now). *This was a real suicide run of a road trip. *We covered about 4300 miles in 9 days. *It was great fun, but I'd like to spend more time in the park fishing next year. *The scenery, fishing, weather, and experience were beyond what I had imagined. *There's so much more I could write, but this post is already running long. *Thanks for all the great advice. *I wish we could have experienced all the waters mentioned. *I really hate being back at work,


08-22-2006, 08:47 PM
Hey Hawg,
Sounds like you had a great trip. Man you sure did burn up the miles though. I don't envy you on that at all. As for the fishing, I've had the same experience with eager cutthroats on the Lamar. It makes me think back to my trip to Yellowstone in '05. Isn't the Yellowstone area simply incredible.

My biggest problem was just deciding on the days fishing destination. Just not enough time to fish it all... I guess thats the definition of a "good problem."

Thanks for helping me remember my trip!