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

04/22/09


Fly Fishing the Yellowstone River - Part 2
Below Yellowstone Lake

The best fishing in this section of the river, as well as downstream to the to the
falls, is from the time the season opens on July 15 until about the middle of
August. Two things happen that affects the trout. The water drops quite a bit
and becomes quite shallow and most of the cutthroats move back into the lake.
There are some fish that remain there. I don't know if they reside there year-
round or if they are just slow getting back to the lake. This doesn't mean you
cannot catch trout there after the middle of August because you certainly can. It
just means the large numbers of trout are not present like they are when the
season first opens.

Another big factor in this is the number of cutthroats moving into the river to
spawn has been reduced considerable because of the lake trout in Yellowstone
Lake. They have hurt the population in a bad way. I am told that the park has
been able to keep the lake trout population at about the same level for the last
few years but I don't think they have reduced it or at least not much if any.
Consequently, there are not near the numbers of trout that move into the
Yellowstone River or up the feeder creeks and the upper Yellowstone River like
there have been in the past. The Lake Trout are not native to Yellowstone Lake
and ideally, they should be depleted but that has proven just about impossible -
at least to the point the cutthroat could survive. A nuclear bomb may work but
that would be about the only way to get rid of them.  By the way, if you happen
to catch a lake trout, the rules require you to kill the fish.

Let me get back to the fishing at the point the river is called the Nez Perce Ford
area. It is a short section of the river where the water is somewhat shallower and
can be waded to some extent. I still call it Buffalo Ford, a name that was used
before it became Nez Perce Ford. There is a large parking and picnic area there.

If you want to see a lot of trout anglers in one place, then just show up at Nez
Perce Ford on opening day of the season there, or July 15th. You will see a
crowd. Most likely, you will see several cutthroats caught. You want see what
you would have seen caught there a few years ago, but you will probably see
some action. I would think it is the most congested area of angers in existence in
and around Yellowstone National Park. It is a sight to see. Several fish are
usually still on their redds on opening day. The area has the ideal spawning
water for the cutthroats. There are several islands that helps break the river up
and keep it somewhat shallow. I have seen several anglers cross the river here
and fish the opposite side. I have never tried it but I am sure I could (if my life
depended on it. (Ha, Ha)
Copyright 2009 James Marsh
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