.......................  ....................  ...Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park
05/06/13

Yellowstone Park Trip Planning - Opening Day (May
25th) to July 1st.

We have a month by month, stream by stream trip planning guide on this page of the site but it is
always good and sometimes even necessary to give a current update on the stream and weather
conditions outlook. Many things depend on the long-term weather patterns leading up to the particular
time frame you want to plan around. It is roughly three more weeks before the season opens for most
areas inside the park and things are always subject to change depending on the weather. That
written, it is also necessary for most people to plan a trip to Yellowstone National Park at least a
couple of weeks in advance. The park isn't exactly close to much of anything in terms of highly
populated areas of the country. It's a long trip for 99.9 percent of the population of the U. S.

This year, we will make an effort to keep as current as possible with any significant changes that occur
from the normal weather and stream conditions you can expect.  In Yellowstone country, "normal" isn't
exactly a good word to use. Few things are normal in Yellowstone National Park  but we will do our
best to keep you as far ahead as possible of any major changes in the weather and stream conditions
that should affect your planning.  

Much depends on the snow pack in the mountains that affect the watershed drainage. Fishing
opportunities can vary greatly with the water levels and for the most part, water levels in Yellowstone
National Park are a result of melting snow. Of course, rainfall amounts also affect the streams levels
but more so on a temporary basis that a long range basis. In good  water years, the snow pack will
keep plenty of water in the streams during the hottest part of the Summer.

This
chart probably provides more information than you need but it will give you a good idea of the
amount of snow in the drainages within and nearby the park. For example, as of May 1, the upper
Yellowstone River basin shows 93 percent of the normal snowpack. The Madison basin shows 100%
or the normal snow pack amount for the drainage. The Gallatin River is also showing 100%. What this
means is at the current time, the snowpack and resultant water outlook (stream flows) for the park is
looking very good.

Starting in the Northern section of the park, you can expect the streams near the Gardiner area to be
very limited until at least the middle of June. The Yellowstone River will be blown out. It is normally
near the last part of June at the earliest before the Gardner River provides much opportunity.

Most of the lakes in the park will still be frozen on opening day. The ice usually melts about the middle
of June.

Forget the entire Northeast section of the park during this time interval.

The south end of the park has some opportunities downstream of Lewis Lake and in the Lewis
Channel during late June.

Streams near the East Entrance (coming in from Cody) to the park are normally too cold for good
fishing until at least near the end of June.

Forget the Gallatin until at least the middle of June and it maybe later than that.

During the early part of the season starting on opening day, the best opportunity for fly fishing is
almost always the Firehole River. By the middle of the month of June, and sometimes a week or two
earlier, the Madison River and lower Gibbon River will provide some good fishing opportunities.

From the middle of June until the first of July, the upper Gibbon River and upper Firehole River above
Old Faithful are usually at their best. The lower Firehole River, entire Madison and lower Gibbon will
usually begin to get too warm near the last week of June.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh