.............................Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park


Planning Your Fly Fishing Trip to Yellowstone - Part 5

July, Continued

To make sure yesterday's article didn't leave you confused about where to fish
in July, I will try to make it simple with this summary. Keep in mind that the dates
are all based on a typical year and that typical years are rare in Yellowstone.
How is that for a disclaimer? Seriously, snow packs for the year and current
weather conditions can vary things greatly but this is what you can normally

The month of June finds everyone focusing on the Madison drainage or the
Gibbon River, Firehole River and Madison River. The surrounding mountains
are not as high as they are in other drainage areas of the Yellowstone National
Park. By the first of July, the other areas of the park come into full swing. The
attention switches to the Southwest, Southeastern and Northeaster sections of
the park. The cold water of the Gallatin River also gets warm enough to turn on
the trout.

The Cascade Corner (Southwest corner) of the park and its Falls and Belcher
Rivers become fishable. The Southeastern part of the park and its Snake River
and headwater areas of the Yellowstone River becomes warm enough to fish if
you want to go far into the back country. July 15th starts the Yellowstone River
season from the Lake to the Canyon and the crowds of anglers go there for the
first few days after its opening. The Northeastern corner of the park or the
Lamar Drainage including Slough and Soda Butte Creeks comes alive around
the first week of July. The lower section of the Yellowstone River, including the
Black Canyon clears up and becomes fishable. The fishing in its main tributary,
the Gardner River, will be as good as it gets. July is the most popular month for
fly fishing in the park. It is also the most crowded time of the year for park
visitors as well as anglers.

The weather gets hot most July days. Temperatures in the lower elevations from
6,000 to 7,000 feet can reach into the nineties. Even so, most mornings in July
start out (even in the lower elevations) in the high thirties. I remember one July
in West Yellowstone when I thought the thermometer was stuck on 39 degrees
every morning. From 39 to 92 is quite a swing in temperatures and that is
common. Be prepared to shed some clothes. Also, be prepared to fish in some
strong winds that usually come about late every afternoon. It can be in the
thirties and sleeting in the higher elevations one minute and an hour later, be in
the eighties. Anywhere you go in Yellowstone National Park you are going to be
at a high elevation or above about 6500 feet. The weather does not stay
constant or stable at those elevations.

Another thing you can prepare for is bugs. Not just the ones that hatch in the
streams but also the ones that hatch on the ground in the grass. The biting flies
can be bad in some areas of the park, especially the meadow areas.  

Copyright 2009 James Marsh
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