|....................... .................... ...Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park
Summary of the 2014 Fly Fishing Season for
Yellowstone National Park
During the 2014 season, we had the most activity in terms of website hits, and the
most email and telephone calls we have had since the beginning of this website. It
was a good year for fly-fishing Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding
waters. The snowpack was good and water levels were as good as they have been
in a long time.
Customers from all over the world purchased Perfect Flies, and fly fishing gear and
equipment from us this past season for their Yellowstone trip. In fact, we are
already getting a head start by preparing for next year's season. It is never to early
to plan your next Yellowstone fishing adventure.
Following, are some notes we made about the various streams within the park this
past season. Before you begin reading about them, let me explain that none of the
streams below turned out to be disappointing this past season. We had good
reports from them all, but they all have their peat times depending on the weather
and stream conditions.
The Firehole River lived up to its reputation as being consistent. It started out as
being the top stream destination when the season first opened, and ended up as
one of the top destinations when the season was near its end. It may seem to some
to be the strangest trout stream in the World, but in reality, the Firehole is an
aquatic insect factory that offers anglers a variety of challenges that always make
things interesting. It can seem easy at times and frustrating at other times, but the
bottom line is one usually discovers any problems they are having catching trout,
are due their own faults, not the river. I'll bet a nickel to a doughnut, it will again be
THE place to be on opening day of the 2015 season.
The Gibbon River is different from one end to the other. It has a very diverse
selection of different water types ranging from smooth, slick, slower currents, to fast
pocket water. It flows through a wide range of elevations and because of this, at
just about any day of the season, you can catch trout somewhere on the river. It is
largely overlooked and less favored than some other streams nearby. I think that
makes it even more appealing.
The Madison River starts out as one of the prime destinations in the park at the
beginning of the season and almost always ends up being the top destination in
the park. The reason is large, migrating fish from Hebgen Lake and the fact that it
can get a little on the warm side during the hottest part of the season. I'll put it this
way. I would hate to see anyone fish Yellowstone Country and not fish the Madison
River. By that, I don't necessarily mean fish it in the park. It is a fact that at any time
during the season, you can catch trout (large ones and plenty of them) somewhere
on the Madison River. I know this is about the park, but just keep in mind,
overlooking the Madison River would be overlooking one of, if not the top trout
stream in the United States.
The Gallatin River always starts out slow. The reason is it is one of the coldest
streams in the park. Its water comes from some very high elevations. When it water
temperature gets to the high forties and low fifties, one would be hard pressed to
fish anywhere in the park and catch more numbers of trout. We have had hundred
fish days on the Gallatin. We have caught as many as five fish on consecutive cast
on the Gallatin. Granted, none of them were world records, but they will make your
arm sore and they are not brook trout. They are mostly cutbows. I have been guilty
of calling the Gallatin River "the picture perfect small trout stream". This past year
had its normal peak times and crowds of anglers. When a trout stream gets
crowded, you know for certain plenty of trout are being caught.
The Gardner River is one of the most overlooked streams in the park. The reason
is its close proximity to the North Entrance. That may seem strange, but it seems
anglers enter the park at the North Entrance and drive right by a few miles of good
water to reach far away destinations. It provides a bad example of "the grass is
always greener" on the other side of the hill. It has miles of water right along the
highway, which by the way few people stop to fish, and miles of water you have to
hike to in order to fish. It upper headwaters doesn't resemble the lower river with
any stretch of one's imagination. There, you will find high numbers of small
rainbows and brook trout. It got good ratings this past year when the Salmonflies
and Golden stoneflies were hatching but that's about the only time it gets much
Yellowstone River (Canyon Section):
To fish this part of the great Yellowstone River, you not only have to be in good
shape, you can't have a lazy drop of anything in you. The Seven-mile hole is the
quick and easy way to get there. There isn't an easy way out. I'll put it this way. I
didn't hear a bad report last year form the canyon. Let me just say that it must have
lived up to its reputation as a tough, but adventurous place to fish. Catching a lot of
nice size cutthroat is usually not a problem at all. It's the effort it takes to do it.
Yellowstone River (Black Canyon):
Almost like the Yellowstone Canyon above, the Black Canyon isn't exactly easy to
fish either, but it isn't a killer type of day trip. The road isn't close to it but in one
place, and that's not the best location to fish it by any means. It is highly
underrated but let me also admit, it has a lot of competition from much easier to fish
locations. We had several customers fish it this past season and we didn't get a
single complaint. The Black Canyon will not only put you on fish that haven't been
cast at, it will provide a backcountry adventure that many anglers expect from
Yellowstone National Park, without having to make an extended multi-day,
backpacking or horseback trip.
Yellowstone River Above Yellowstone Lake:
This is another area of the park we only recommend for those wanting a
backcountry experience that involves much more than catching fish. It is one of the
most remote sections of the park. We did have some customers that fished the
upper river and its many small tributaries this past year, and none complained. I'm
not sure it that is because we were not the ones recommending the adventure. In
all cases, it was their decision to fish the upper Yellowstone. It isn't that we are
against it by any means. It's because it requires either a good amount of
backpacking and backcountry skills or an outfitter - that is, to be on the safe side.
Below the Lake to the Yellowstone Falls.
At one time, at the right time of the season, this section of the Yellowstone River
was a top destination. Catching very large, Yellowstone cutthroat trout wasn't a
problem. This section of the river is easy to access and a beautiful place to fish.
Now-a-days, it has its problems. The numbers of Yellowstone cutthroat above the
falls have been seriously reduced by the non-native Lake trout in Yellowstone
Lake. We keep hearing reports that the fishing has improved, and although we
are well aware the park and other organizations are making efforts to reduce the
numbers of Lake trout, we don't believe it has improved at all. It is true, a
knowledgeable angler can still catch a few, decent size cutts from the river above
the falls to the lake, but we wouldn't recommend it as a good destination to anyone.
We had some customers report catching some trout there this past year, but we
didn't send them there.
When the Lamar is in its prime and reasonably clear, there's no better place in the
park to catch large numbers of good size cutthroat trout. It offers a few miles of
easy to fish and access water, and many more miles of backcountry water that is
hardly touched. We had many, very good reports from customers fishing the
Larmar last summer and early fall, and we had some that headed there that
complained of off-color water. They didn't check on the conditions prior to making
the drive. It can rain thirty miles away from the lower river when the skies are locally
clear, and muddy up the water unexpectedly. The easy too access stretches can
also become crowded, but keep in mind that's for a good reason. All things
considered, it lived up to its reputation last year - a hit or miss hot spot that's hot
when it is hot, and not when it's not.
Soda Butte Creek:
Oh, what a beautiful river. The Soda Butte usually gets beat to death in its lower
meadow sections (for good reasons) in July and August, and this past year was no
exception. We had some great reports as usual. We were even able to get a point
across and make some customers very happy. We recommended the middle and
upper part of the creek, and anglers caught more trout than they could count. No,
there wasn't any record cutthroat caught in the upper part, just mega numbers of
Slough Creek is two creeks in one - the lower Slough Creek and the upper three
meadows. We have a new combination backpack that I named the Sough Creek Fly
Fishing Vest and Backpack. We sold out of what we had in stock within the first two
weeks but quickly had a lot more of them made. The reason I named it after Slough
Creek is that you have to at least make a day long trip to fish the lower two
meadows. You won't be headed back to your vehicle or campsite in the
campground for lunch, even if you fish the first or lower meadow. Sough Creek is
the perfect picture of Yellowstone National Park fishing and pictures of the creek
have probably been in more fly fishing magazines than any stream in the World.
We only recommend it to people wanting to do some hiking and/or backcountry
camping as well as fishing. It is what many consider the fly fishing trip of a lifetime.
The Lewis River is another of Yellowstone's very diverse rivers. We didn't
recommend it to anyone, other than a few that were staying in Jackson and wanted
to fish the park, and even then, only when the timing was right. The lower section at
the bridge where the south entrance road passes over it has a lot of big trout but
they are big because they are easily spooked and difficult to fool. Their
environment is slow, flowing, slick, clear water. That slow water gets fast and falls
over the Lewis River falls into a deep canyon that has plenty of trout, but only for
those willing to work hard to reach its waters. Now, that written, just above the
above referenced bridge, you will find plenty of faster pocket water with plenty of
trout. You will need to do a little hiking to reach its best sections. The only time we
recommended fishing the Lewis was the right time to fish the Lewis River Channel.
We sent a few customers there and they came out smiling. It is all to do with the
timing and it is usually only a short time span that the channel if full of willing trout.
The Snake River inside the park is one of the largest stream in the park that is
rarely fished. The only part that is easily accessed is smooth and slick, slow
flowing water that's not easily fished. The other many miles of water provides a
diverse range of water types but requires long hikes and/or backcountry camping
to reach. We don't recommend it unless someone wants specifically to experience it
and then, unless the customers are highly experienced at similar backcountry
camping. We usually recommend hiring an outfitter. We had one group of guys that
we set up with some flies and gear that fished it last year. They caught plenty of
trout but we must say, no more than they could have caught at many other places.
The Bechler River is one of the last rivers to warm up in the Summer. One reason it
lacks in popularity is its remoteness, or distance visitors have to travel to reach the
stream compared to many others in the area. Another, is its competition with other
good trout streams in the area. It is close to rivers like the Henry's Fork of the
Snake River, for example. We usually recommend the Bechler meadows area
during late August and early September to those interested in a remote area that
has some good size trout that is not often fished. Two different groups that are
customers made the trip this past season, and both groups caught some nice trout
and seemed well satisfied.
The Fall River, like its sister Bechler of the Cascade Corner of the park, is an
another under-fished river. Both are accessed from the same area. The Fall is one
of the largest rivers in the park that isn't frequently fished. The reasons are the
same I mentioned above for the Bechler. There are sections of this river than
probably never has a fly tossed in it. Although it has a good population of trout, we
only recommend it to those wanting an adventure in the Cascade Corner.
The Middle River is one of those streams that is driven right by, by thousands of
anglers entering the East Entrance of the park. The stream runs right along the
highway but is not usually visible unless one is looking for it. We often recommend
it to those anglers staying outside the Park's East Entrance. Several of our
customers fished it this past year and all of them reported catching lots of brook
and smaller, size cutthroat trout.
The Many Small Streams of Yellowstone Park:
There are almost too many of these to name. While we didn't recommend any of
these streams as the one and only destination to any of our customers, we almost
always recommended some of them to most all of our customers. i'll be short and to
the point. These are some of the ones we have reports on from customers that we
noted in our stream data base this past season.
Blacktail Deer Creek:
We commonly recommend this small creek to anyone driving from the park's North
Entrance to the northeast corner of the park, or visa-versa from the Tower area to
the East entrance. It is a place you can quickly catch several nice size brook trout,
but long and remote enough that you could spend a full day on it if your wanted to.
We don't send anyone out of the way to fish Tower Creek, but if they want to catch
some small trout and are staying nearby or passing through the general area, we
often mention it to customers.
This is another small stream we only mention to customers passing through or
staying near the area of the creek. It has yet to let anyone down, but its fish are
mostly all small brook trout.
We sent a customer there this past year in late September but it didn't turn out as
planned. He wanted a secluded stream, but not one he had to do much hiking to
reach. It was the time of the year trout move out a lake upstream to spawn but the
timing was probably off.
We recommended this one to a group backpacking into the Bechler River area.
They reported catching a large number of smaller size trout. It isn't easy to reach
and is only worth the time to fish if you are in the general area.
This is another little stream we often mention to those passing between the Tower
area and the park headquarters near the North entrance. It always produces a
good number of easy to catch brook trout for those that want to land a few trout in
a short time.
We didn't recommend this one to anyone because the National Park Chiefs killed
all the fish and screwed it up with a stupid plan they failed to justify. I won't get into
There are many, many other small streams we mention to customers when they are
staying nearby or passing through the general area. I could list twenty or thirty
more but most of them are similar in that they offer a lot of small, easy to catch
trout. There are many in remote sections of the park that unless one was making a
backpacking or horseback trip in the general area, would be way to much trouble to
reach. It isn't that they are not great little streams well worth fishing. It is just that
there are so many easy to reach small streams that are not over fished, it would be
pointless. There are some that we have reason to believe are never fished by
Let us help you plan your 2015 Yellowstone Country fly fishing adventure. Just give
us a call anytime at 800 594 - 4726, or drop us an email at
email@example.com, and we will help you anyway we can. We can set
you up with everything you need and recommend the best times and places for you
to stay and streams and lakes you can fish based on your experience and