View Full Version : Firehole memories

David Knapp
11-12-2006, 03:41 PM
The picture Byron has on the banner today (which I'm pretty sure is the Firehole but could be a couple other streams in Yellowstone) got me to thinking back to my Yellowstone trip a couple of summers ago and also thinking about trying to go again this next summer. I was able to cast to rising fish all day and the evening caddis hatches were spectacular. I had shots at some very nice fish but managed to break off all the really good ones. There is something about that river though that keeps me wanting to go back. Mention a river that has buffalo walking the banks, geothermal features pouring in nutrients, and large fish rising to PMDs, BWOs and caddis all day in spring creek type water and I immediately start dreaming of my days on the Firehole. I'm sure others have fished it. Does anyone have any cool stories to share? I can't go in person right now but I can experience it through a good story. Any Yellowstone stories would be nice for that matter...

Byron Begley
11-12-2006, 06:46 PM

That is the Firehole. The photo was submitted by Gary Troutman and you can find it also in the scenic section of the picture board. I fished the firehole some but I always liked the confluence of the Gibbon and the Firehole at Madison Junction. Spent a week in that campground once in Late October/Early November. It got down to 5 degrees every night. What a wonderful place. I just found your website. It's great. I'll look at it some more tomorrow.


David Knapp
11-12-2006, 07:00 PM
Byron, I stayed at the Madison campground also. I was there in June so it was central to most of the waters I could fish at that time of year. I've always heard about the great fishing for fall run fish out of Hebgen lake that go up the Madison and into the lower Firehole and Gibbon rivers. Did you get into any of those big fish when you were there in late fall? It seems I remember a picture in your shop of you with a big fish. I think I remember lots of snow and it was in Yellowstone maybe...?

11-12-2006, 07:24 PM
I took my first trip out west a couple of years ago. We actually stayed in Island Park, ID.

My first fishing outing was to the Ranch section of Henry's Fork, the first late afternoon after we arrived from a very long unexpected bus trip. Needless to say I was shut out. The next day was my first visit into Yellowstone. After visiting a few spots of that wonderful slice of heaven, we decided to stop for a picnic along the Firehole. I slipped away while they ate and fished just below Nez Perce Creek. I fished a small slot and eventually managed to catch a 10" rainbow. My first western trout. It broke the ice and was a great way to start my trip.

By the way... I did end up catching trout on the Ranch and managed a few BIG fish below Box Canyon.

As an aside ... on July 4, I saw my first grizzly bear, caught my first cutthroat on the Lamar, and got caught in a 3 hour buffalo jam. It could be one of the best days of my life so far!

I'm planning on going back next fall.

Later all,

David Knapp
11-12-2006, 08:14 PM
Dude, I drove right past the Henry's Fork while I was out there but didn't fish it. What is the fishing like below the Box Canyon? Any advice on fishing the Ranch section would be appreciated also.

11-12-2006, 10:04 PM
The Firehole may be one of the neatest rivers to fish in the park, at least to me. I took my wife out before we got married, I believe the first week of October,2000. A lot of the park had gotten a pretty good snow that kept us in Gardiner for an extra night. We spent a whole day on different stretches of the Firehole. Fountain Flats, I think is the name of one spot we fished. Windy snow squalls would blow across that area and ran my wife back to the car, but I could see rising fish, mostly small, but it was enough to keep me out there fishing. Buffalo were everywhere and at one location, the elk were active just over a little rise from the river and to hear them bugle while we fished was neat experience. One thing about being in the park that time of year, and especially after a snow, is that you realize just how many hotspots there really are. Snow would not accumulate or stick to the ground in places and you could see the yellowish tint to the areas. My wife has a big phobia about bears and although we never saw any this time, we were walking along the Yellowstone in the Buffalo Ford area. On a high bank across the river I spotted two coyotes running at about half throttle and I told her to look. About the time she spotted them, I let out my best coyote howl and of all things, they stopped in their tracks to stare back at us. I got a big kick out of it, and almost got one big kick from her. She got nervous and wanted to know what in the world I was thinking. Of course, they turned and continued on, doing what coyotes do. I've never had a real big day fishing in the park, but then there is so much there to see that its almost irrelevant.
If anyone has any suggestions on the better stretches to fish on the Firehole, I would love to hear them.


David Knapp
11-12-2006, 10:17 PM
I've never had a real big day fishing in the park, but then there is so much there to see that its almost irrelevant.
If anyone has any suggestions on the better stretches to fish on the Firehole, I would love to hear them.

mstone, I found the best fishing (for me) upstream from Midway Geyser basin (the first mile or two above). I kept going back just above Midway for the evening Caddis hatches. The river would just be boiling with rises and you would swallow bugs if you didn't keep your mouth shut.

If you've never had an epic day in Yellowstone, try one of the backcountry lakes. I had a great afternoon catching grayling on one of them and as far as numbers go, it is still a personal best.

11-12-2006, 10:56 PM
The Firehole is probably the most scenic river I have ever visited. My wife and 2 kids went out to Yellowstone for vacation this past August. I took this picture while sight seeing one day. It is awe inspiring to see what nature can do! The river was to warm to fish while we were there.(2nd week of August) I saw a few small fish rising at times but most of our fishing time was on the Madison outside of the park and on the lower Lamar and Slough creek. I fished the Gibbon and the Madison in late October of 2003 and loved hiking thru the snow to uncrowded rivers full of pre-spawn browns from the Lake. Great Memories 8-)

11-12-2006, 11:15 PM
All this talk of fishing in the west...

I haven't made any formal plans yet, but I'm going to be spending a few weeks out there next summer. A visit to see my sister in Colorado a few months ago is actually what inspired me to pick-up the sport.

I really enjoy hearing about your experiences out there. Keep them coming...

David Knapp
11-12-2006, 11:57 PM
Man, I wish I had family that lived in Colorado. If I was you, I would be heading out there for the whole summer probably, lots of good water in CO. If you head west to fish, go to Yellowstone if at all possible. There is some amazing fishing to be had...

11-13-2006, 01:28 PM
PA, *One of my best memories of fishing Yellowstone was in late Oct. 2003. Two friends and I went out the week before the park closed. It was very cold all week with temps. in the mornings at -4 deg. and a daily high in the 20s. We seemed to be the only fishermen there all week. Most everyone on the flight into Bozeman were going hunting. The fall run Browns were in the Madison and Gibbon rivers. We never really got over to the Firehole because the fishing was so good. Rainbows were plentiful also, with most averaging over 20".
One day on the Madison around 9 mile, I was in the river while a small herd (15-20) of Elk were grazing on the grass sticking through a 10" snowfall. a large bull elk started bugling from the woods across the meadow from me and came running down a hillside into the meadow. He chased the herd down into the river very close to me and stood guard as 3 coyotes came down out of the woods behind him. I thought they were wolves at first and hoped they wouldn't swim towards me. They crossed at a tailout and left on a streamside trail into the woods. I was probably as thankful as the herd was for his being around to watch over them.
Yellowstone is like visiting another world. I look forward to every trip to that place. I also would like to hear others stories of Yellowstone and other western destinations.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *Troutman

Byron Begley
11-13-2006, 07:04 PM
I've fished the Brown Trout run out of Hebgen Lake three times I think. I personally haven't caught a brown much over 20" but some of my buddies have caught some really big ones. Jack Gregory took me there the first time and I've been there with him a couple more. He was fishing downstream from me with another buddy. This guy hooked a 17" Whitefish and a HUGE Brown ate it. They almost beached this big brown. It was as long as your leg. We have caught some large Rainbows that follow the Browns to eat their eggs. I've fished Yellowstone 10 times in the last 30 but that late fall is my favorite except for the extremely cold weather.


David Knapp
11-13-2006, 07:36 PM
I'm loving these stories guys! Keep 'em coming...

Byron's story reminded me of another experience I had. Up until my trip to Yellowstone, I had always heard about having large browns try to eat smaller fish that were hooked. I was fishing the Gibbon up above the falls but still in the canyon. A small brown nailed the stimulator I had cast to a small pocket up at the head of a nice pool and then ran down into the pool. The line suddenly seemed awfully heavy and a good brown (probably 18"-20") rolled on the surface of the pool and my line was going into his mouth :o. I started putting a little more tension on the line, trying to avoid breaking off but wanting to work the good fish in. Suddenly the larger fish "spit" the little guy out and it flew back upstream probably 15 feet landing back in the water at my feet. I landed the fish and it seemed fine... Since then, other browns have tried to eat fish I've had on, but I'll always remember that first time!

12-13-2006, 11:58 PM
I'm skeeming to get out there next summer with my brother in law (my only hope of pulling it off!) My wife's little brother. Went last summer with our families and didn't get to fish as much as I would have liked, didn't fish the park at all! We did fish the Yellowstone below Livingston, threw hoppers all day! Fished the Shields, the whiteys feared me by the end of that outing! My B-I-L took a 19' brown though. Had a ball fishing the Gallatin as well, no monsters 15" was best but all on big golden stones.
I fished the Gibbon the first trip out and really got abused; fishing 5X (like a moron!) with a hopper a 23-24" brown slammed it from under a cut bank and was gone. Later that day one nearly as big drifted up three times to look but would not eat.... maddening!
If next summer happens, it will be the troutbum week for the boys, keep your fingers crossed for me!

01-14-2007, 07:46 PM
i went out west with my family two years ago for a mission trip in montana. after the trip we stayed in yellowstone for an extra 5 days and fished the firehole for 4 of those. it was an amazing trip and it was the first real "hatch" i had experienced. we fished at the confluence of the firehole and nez perce creek. a couple of times the water looked like it was fuzzy there were so many PMD's on the water. but that last day we went to cascade lake and that was truly amazing. the 2.5 mile hike on was gorgeous and the fishing was even better. i caught 30 fish that day 27 cutthroat and 3 arctic grayling. cught them all on a dryfly that i let sink and then stripped it subsurfaced. i cant wait till i go back this summer.