Fly Fishing The Upper Yellowstone River and Misc. Yellowstone Lake Tributaries:
|.............................................Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park
View across the lake as seen
from the East Entrance Road.
The Yellowstone River is one of, if not the premiere freestone stream in the United States. It's the main blood vessel of
Yellowstone Park. It's the largest non-damed river in the United States. This is about the headwaters or the uppermost section
of the great river.
The headwaters of the Yellowstone River actually begins in the Absaroka Mountain Range outside the Yellowstone National
Park and flows into the park. There's about twenty-five miles of the river in the park before it reaches Yellowstone Lake. Several
tributary streams add to its flow along the way.
The trout in the headwaters are mostly small, averaging between five and ten inches. The very uppermost section is very It
gradually decreases its steep declination and about twenty miles above Yellowstone Lake, the river flows through a large
valley. From that point on it has only a gradual decline all the way to the lake. In this area, the Yellowstone River is mostly a
winding stream that meanders back and forth though meadows with lots of willow trees along its banks. There are plenty of
deadfalls in the Throughfare area. The river can move around from year to year from the effects of the runoff.
The lower portion of the river above the lake holds some large trout, up to twenty inches and better. It's usually about the
middle to the end of July before runoff subsides enough to fish this portion of the stream. You should also be aware of the
mosquitoes in the low, marsh land type terrain of the Throughfare section.
The Yellowstone River has several tributaries. Many of them are small and are not really worthy of mentioning.
Thoroughfare Creek, its largest tributary. In this area the river flows through open meadows and willow scrub brush country.
The trout are small cutthroat usually less than eight inches long. During the spawn, larger cutthroat move up into the stream.
Thoroughfare Creek is over sixteen miles from the nearest road. It's very remote country.
Atlantic Creek is another tributary where cutthroats as large as sixteen to eighteen inches enter the stream from Yellowstone
Lake during the spawn. Columbine Creek is another small tributary of Yellowstone Lake along with Beaverdam Creek,
Chipmunk Creek, Grouse, Thumb and Amica Creeks, all of which are small but may have some trout move in during the
spawn.I doubt any of them would be worth the trip considering the many other locations available.
The best advantage of fishing this area is the fact you are very unlikely to see many anglers, if any. Probably more grizzly bears
are present than humans in the very remote area. You can be over twenty-five miles from the nearest road. Fishing this area of
the park is more of a hiking and camping adventure than a fly fishing trip. The best way to fish it is to take a multi-day trip using
one of the licensed horseback outfitters.
Copyright James Marsh 2012
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