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

04/13/09


Planning Your Fly Fishing Trip to Yellowstone - Part 10

Summary of the Fishing Season

The fishing season in Yellowstone National Park opens the Saturday of
Memorial Day weekend in May and extends through and includes the first
Sunday in November. That is a relatively short season of just over four months.
During that time, some of the streams are open only for a portion of that four
months. The upper portion of the Yellowstone River, below Yellowstone Lake,
doesn't open until July 15th. In addition, some of the streams are not clear of
melting snow during that short period of time. Runoff will be underway on some
streams during the first part of the season. Some of streams may become
difficult to fish by mid-September due to the weather, so not all streams are
fishable for the entire four months.

You always hear the qualification "provided the weather is good" wherever you
intend to fish for trout, but in Yellowstone National Park, that is very much a
reality. Most all of the park lies 6,000 feet or more above sea level. Much of it is
one to two thousand feet higher than that. At these elevations, the weather is
constantly changing and changing very fast compared to what you are probably
used to at lower elevations. Where you fish on any given day is highly subject to
the weather. The most stable months are probably July and August.  This is
important to visiting anglers for two basic reasons. For one thing, it means you
need to be prepared with clothing for just about any weather, especially if you
are planning on being there anytime other than July or August. The second
thing thats important about it is that if you plan on coming before July or after
August, you should allow some extra time in case the weather does turn bad.
For example, if you are only going to be in Yellowstone for five days, then I
suggest you consider coming during July or August. Otherwise, you should plan
on being there for a longer period of time. You would be subject to losing a few
days of fishing time.

Now that I have stated those facts, I should also remind you that some of the
best fishing can occur early, especially in the Madison drainage area of the
Firehole and Gibbon Rivers. Probably, the best fishing of the entire season
occurs during the month of October but it is always highly subject to the
weather. Foul weather isn't always bad for fishing. It can be good for fishing.

If you want to make sure you get to catch some of the native fish in the park, the
Cutthroat Trout, then I suggest you wait until at least the end of the first week of
July or even better, come after the second week of July. The Lamar Valley
provides your best opportunities and it doesn't clear up until around the first of
July. Again, the upper Yellowstone River above the falls and below the lake
doesn't open until July 15th.

Sounds like I'm saying that July is the best time to come, doesn't it? Well, it
probably is except for one thing. Everyone seems to know that and that is the
time the streams may become crowded in certain areas. So don't fail to consider
that.

Copyright 2009 James Marsh
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