View Full Version : Yellowstone - base camp

02-17-2007, 12:17 AM
My son and I are planning a trip to Wyoming/ Montana/ Idaho this summer. I planned on flying in and out of Bozeman, renting an RV and trying to fish as many of the waters between Bozeman and Jackson, Wyoming that we can in 7 days. Can anyone recommend a good campground that could be used as a good base camp? I was thinking about hitting the Gallatin the first day and then heading down to YNP for the balance. I wanted to fish the Firehole, Madison, Yellowstone, Slough Creek, and Henry's Fork. It looks like the Madison campground inside the park is pretty central, but wondered if traffic wise it would make more sense to stay outside the park in different stops every day. I want to make the most of the week and get him on as much great water as I can.



David Knapp
02-17-2007, 11:19 AM
I've been doing quite a bit of research lately myself about the camping opportunities out there. I can say from experience that Madison is a very nice campground. You are close to a lot of good water in Yellowstone there and not far from West Yellowstone. For some other good options, check out the camping opportunities (see HERE) (http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/gallatin/?page=recreation/sites/campgrounds) in the Gallatin National Forest. There are even some campgrounds that don't charge fees...

02-17-2007, 01:59 PM
Hey Plateau,

Definitely some great alternatives there, thanks. I've debated just driving and fishing and then worry about where we stay, versus having a scheduled reservation (YNP) and I haven't figured it out yet. We are going 7/28-8/4, which I know will be a crowded week, so I'm trying to lock something down soon, but having a camper will at least give us more options. We've never been before, so I want to make sure it's memorable.....in a good way.
Any thoughts would be appreciated.


David Knapp
02-17-2007, 03:27 PM
Justfishing, if you haven't, check out the thread on Slough Creek. (http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7735)
As mentioned in that thread, some of the parks waters might be a bit warm for good fishing at that time of the year depending on the weather. I have enjoyed fishing out west a few times and I have found that it is more enjoyable to narrow your focus to a specific area and trying to enjoy it to the fullest. For example, if you aren't too concerned about bears/moose, take a good day trip into the backcountry somewhere to get away from the crowds. As is the case in the Smokies, a bit of hiking will get you away from the majority of the crowds in all but a few cases. Unless large fish is an important goal, some of the smaller streams can provide some of the best memories. If you haven't got one, I would recommend picking up one of the guide books on the area. I have the Craig Matthews book on Fishing in Yellowstone and while it may not be perfectly accurate about all park waters (hard to do), it does give you a good starting point to begin exploring.

02-17-2007, 04:01 PM

Thanks for the info. I will definitely check out the guide book. We are definitely more into the experience, solitude and numbers of fish, versus size. We've done the White and Alaska, so size doesn't hold a candle to stalking those little rainbows and brooks in the Smokies. The Madison campground definitely looked interesting, being able to hit Slough Creek as well as the Firehole. If the water is too low there we can always go some bigger water. The thread is great too, thanks. Looks like some bigger flies are the ticket. Terrestrials? Will a 5wt handle most of what we will be getting into? Floating or sinking line?

Thanks for the help,


02-19-2007, 10:47 PM
If you are planning to just stay in one place the whole time, consider skipping the RV and just staying at Yellowstone Lake Lodge Cabins for about $100 a night if I remember right. They are centrally located and minimal (cheap). But that area is so scenic... and has a good cafeteria, and also a very nice dining area, near them. However, keep in mind the distances are large out there. If you really want to be close to the fishing, I would stay on the move and get the RV as close to each fishing hole as you can.

A 5-wt will suffice if that is all you have. But it can be much easier to fish big water like the Madison in the wind with a 7-wt.

Good luck

02-20-2007, 09:47 AM
To reinforce what snaildarter said, I used a 4 wt during most of our trip to Yellowstone last year. I did fine with it, but there were a few occasions, when the wind really got up, when I wanted something beefier like a 6 or 7 wt. The 5 wt would probably be your best all-around bet though, just like almost anywhere else, depending on the style of fishing you like to do. Enjoy your trip,


02-20-2007, 03:08 PM
Just to confirm what the other guys indicated. The area is hugh and can be overwhelming on your first trip. The last time I was out there I found myself using a 6wt. a lot due to the wind. It all depends on the weather. It will be a memorable experience that is for sure. The scenery is awesome.

Elk riverrat
02-21-2007, 02:08 PM
Madison Junction is hard to beat