Streams Outside Yellowstone National Park
.............................Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park

Destinations Outside Yellowstone National Park Series

Yellowstone River From Gardner Through Paradise Valley

The title of this sounds like this is a short section of river. When it comes to the huge
Yellowstone, maybe it is in relative terms. It is actually about 60 miles of great fishing.
By far the best way to fish this section is by drift boat. We have only done that on one
occasion and with excellent results. We have fished the river at several locations along
the river many times over the past ten years. It is not easy to drive through Paradise
Valley without stopping. This is one of the prettiest places on earth. October is one of
the best times to fish the river. The cottonwood trees are beautiful.

Year before last, during early October, Angie and I stopped not far below the point the
Spring Creeks empty into the river. From high above the river at the top of a bank I
spotted a huge brown trout right against the bank directly below me. There was no way
to cast a fly to reach it from that location and really no way to get down to the river
about twenty feet below. I couldn't resit trying and so I proceeded to go upstream about
forty feet or so and crawl down the steep bank (or bluff I should call it) hanging onto
bushes. I got about half way down, a bush pulled out of the bank and slid the rest of
the way right into the Yellowstone River. If I had not have had my waders on, I would
have scratched my legs up for sure. I finally managed to get up and get my breath
back when I decided to try to cast a streamer to the place I saw the fish. Angie was
above me and was begging me to climb back up the bank. I insisted on trying for the
fish and directed her to go downstream to spot it. She did and reported it was still
there. Somehow my fall didn't scare the fish away. Still in pain from the fall, I managed
to cast the streamer right against the bank. Within seconds after it landed, my line shot
out towards the center of the river. I almost forgot to set the hook and that may be the
reason the story ends the way it does. I kept that fish on for a good ten minutes fighting
it and the current and using as tight of a drag as I could without breaking my line. I
finally managed to get it directly below me but still about twice as far as I had cast
downstream. It was out of the faster water and for the first time I begin to think I may
actually catch the fish. The water was to deep along the bank for me to wade and the
bank was to steep and rough for me to go down it towards the fish. Five minutes later,
the hook pulled loose. Angie watched the entire show from the top of the hill. We both
feel certain it was close to thirty inches, certainly over twenty-five but we will never
know for sure.

Copyright 2008 James Marsh
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