Yellowstone Park This Spring?

I'm looking for one or two guys to accompany me on a flyfishing trip to Yellowstone Park this spring - On a date yet to be determined.

I'm thinking of one day's drive to get there, N days fishing, 1 day to return. My ideal trip would be to leave on a Monday. Fish Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Drive home Friday.

We'd share driving duty and expenses (gas, lodging, food).

If interested, drop me an email at We can work out the details out-of-band.



worldanglr and myself are in the early planning stages of a Yellowstone trip, but for sometime in late July. I'm not sure if you know the area well or have fished there in the Spring before. My understanding is that while spring fishing can be excellent, water conditions can be really unpredictable. General Park waters do not open until Memorial day...I was there in mid June last summer, and runoff was bad, it was extrememly windy, and fishing wasn't that great. On my way back East in Mid to Late August, the rivers were in excellent shape and there were great hatches, fishing was outstanding in both rivers and lakes. Also, there are several waters in the Park that do not even open until July 15. I'm not sure how early you were planning on going, and you may have already known all of just seems like a long drive to have the rivers cold and blown out. But hiking, landscapes, and wildlife will make an awesome trip anyways....

Thanks for the info - I have NO experience with the Park beyond what I've read.

My expectation is consistent with what you've said. Essentially, the Firehole is about the only river/stream fishing available in the spring. However, I was hoping to supplement fishing the Firehole with fishing in Yellowstone Lake. The cutts begin to spawn in June and I'm told the mouths of the little feeder creeks can be really productive.

Nevetheless, July looks like a more promising time.


I recommend getting a copy of Fly Fishing the Yellowstone in the Park
by Bob Jacklin and Gary LaFontaine ,$12.95. It lists flies and also has
a hatch chartfor July-Aug-Sep . You can also get good info
and updated reports from:
Jacklin's Fly Shop
Madison River Fishing Co.

The fishing can be exceptional, be prepared to deal with crowds of tourists
and traffic jams. Good Luck.

'The wind wouldn't blow so hard in Wyoming if they'd a
planted trees instead of sheepherders.' - Chas. L. Eutsler
This reminds me of a fine spring some 20 years ago when I and my young bride decided to take a trip "out west". I was teaching at Purdue and she was pursuing a BFA there. As soon as school let out, we took off in the old green Volvo. Camped at the Grand Canyon, drove through Colorado, checked out Rocky Mountain National Park and ended up in Yellowstone in the campground at Norris. I had a fiberglass fly rod in those days and an old spring and prawl reel - a setup that I caught a lot of panfish on in TVA lakes. When we arrived at Norris, it was a bit chilly, but we were not daunted. We had light jackets and sleeping bags that zipped together and well, you know, we were young. As we set up camp, an old fellow walked by with a fly rod in his hand on his way to his camp. I said "hi" and he stopped to chat for a while. I told him I wanted to fly fish and he gave me a handful of flies. He said "these are good." As he left I asked him if we had come at a good time for the trout. He said, "well, you came at a good time and a bad time. It's good because trout are rising on the Firehole, it's bad because it's going to snow tonight and you don't look like you're set up for that." He was right on both counts. To make a long story short, I LDR'd some large fish on the Firehole with nothing in sight but a moose while my wife was snug in the motel in West Yellowstone. We bought some warm clothes and went back into the park after the spring storm passed, camping near Yellowstone Lake. The weather cleared and we had a blast catching cuts on spinning rods chucking spoons. It was almost a fish every other cast for both of us. On the way back to the campsite one evening, I saw a couple of guys with their long fly rods booming out casts in the lake and stripping their lines in like crazy. It had never occured to me to fish for trout in a lake with a fly. Enjoy the adventure.

Steve Buckner

Mother Nature's Son
While on your way you should stop and fish the Henry's Fork of the Snake. The upper section around Last Chance opens Memorial day weekend. This river is spring fed and so won't be affected by run-off. Salmon flies are out in force during that opening weekend. You've probably heard of Harriman Ranch (and maybe you've already fished it) but that is hard to beat as it the Box Canyon. It's on the way to West Yellowstone and it is truly Blue Ribbon.

If you're going there before Memorial day, the Henry's fork below the confluence of the Warm River/Henry's fork to the Ashton dam is open, as is the section from the Vernon Bridge to Chester. I was there last week and had some stellar fishing for Rainbows and Rainbow/Cutt hybrids.

I've fished the famous Mother's day "Caddis fly hatch" on the Madison on Mother's day. It is something to see and be apart of.

The other thing to remember about fishing Yellowstone is that 99.9999 percent of the people won't leave the pavement so even if it appears to be packed just walk 100 yards and you probably wont see a soul.

Trout fishing can be fun but I've also had a good time pursuing Grayling. They can be found off of the beaten path and are usually very aggresive toward the fly. Although they don't get very big, they are somewhat of a novelty and pretty to look at. (Remember not to take any bacon sandwhiches as the bears are most active and aggressive after waking up in the spring)



Purveyor of fine hackle, wine & cigars!
Wish I could go, but this year I probably won't make it out to Montana.

I was in Yellowstone last year during the week right after Memorial day and had a great time fishing the Firehole, Madison (in the park) and some of the other creeks in the area. I hit some great evening hatches on the Nez Pierce and had plenty of places to fish. I would have spent some time fishing the Madison out of the park if I would have had more time. If you've never been there also plan on some sight seeing during the middle of the day and fish hard in the mornings and evenings.
There are some very cool areas, particularily the mud pots and some of the smaller geysers. I did go to Old Faithful, just to say I had been there, but would pass it up the next time I go.

I was very lucky though and had three days of sunny weather with daytime temps in the high seventies. I could easily see spending a week camping there and having plenty of water to fish and by going early you will not have the crowds that come later in the season. I would recommend camping, if you want to camp, in the campground near the West Yellowstone entrance. I can't remember the name of the campground, but I can look through some of my material from my trip if you need specifics. (Email me if you want too for more info.)

Have fun!!
I grew up flyfishing in SE Idaho, and spent two summers of my youth in Yellowstone based in Old Faithful (over 20 years ago). It sure has changed. I don't know where you are going, or what will be open, but I would recommend doing a little walking for some stellar fishing. What the heck, you are talking about driving a whole day to get there, do some research and walk an hour to get the sweet water.

Any fool can fish the sections of the firehole near the road. Look for the feeder creeks that come in away from the road and get in on some real action. Hit shoshone lake at the outlet or lewis at the inlet. Stop at the railroad ranch on your way by and put in some time there also. Rob.


Active Member
Keep an eye on the weather this month for Montana. If it stays cold and the run-off doesn't start too soon on the Yellowstone, it would be well worth the drive to fish the mothers day caddis hatch as mentioned earlier.

Either the Yellowstone or the Madison. I love the Yellowstone in April as I lived near the river ten years ago. Nymph fishing early in the month and dry flies as it approaches May. If it stays cold toward mothers day it is an amazing experience.

I'm hoping to be able to go this year if it looks good.

"Spring" in the Yellowstone country can be a nebulous concept. Remember that it's over 6000 feet high.
I just did a weather check for West Yellowstone. Today's high and low are 60 and 28 Fnt., Tuesday's forecast is 39 and 28. Get the point? By contrast, today's forecast for Missoula, MT is 67 and 40 Fnt. Missoula is at or near the junction of the Clark's Fork, Bitterroot and Blackfoot Rivers and Rock Creek, and it's about 150 miles closer.
However, early-season stream fishing in the Rockies can be more complicated. During runoff, the rivers appear to be more dirt than water.
I's suggest bookmarking a weather report site, one or more area fly shops that give updated angling reports. :professor