Ok it's road trip time and we plan to pass through Yellowstone. If I were to look for a guide for a quick wading trip who would you contact? I don't want to leave my wife sitting in a hotel room too awfully long.
I'd go with one of the guides at Blue Ribbon Flies... but you'd better make arrangements PDQ. The summer is the make or break it time for the shops in West Yellowstone and they normally book up fairly quickly.
I would recommend no guide, park along Soda Butte Creek and walk up and downstream with your wife, the both of you tossing small hoppers. When passion takes your fancy, find a bison-chip free sandbar and make sweet mountain love to that woman of yours. And then head up stream to the pass and eat at the Trout Cafe, tell 'em Boot sent you...
Visited Yellowstone for the first time two years ago in July. I fished briefly as it was a family trip. I didn't need a guide while fishing the Gibbon. Amazing time. The other rivers and streams looked inviting and trough as hell!
Like Gene said, Blue Ribbon is a great shop; can't go wrong with them. If you're up in the north end, consider Parks Flyshop in Gardiner; Richard and Wally run a very nice shop and those guys know that end of the park very well (it'll cut your ride to the water down, too). With the warm weather here now, the west side streams, Firehole, Gibbon and Madison (in the Park) will probably be shutting down pretty soon; looks like the bulk of runoff is done, so the north side should be shaping up earlier this year. Don't expect to have the place to yourself but if you're willing to walk a bit you can find plenty of water; keep the bear spray on your hip, make some noise and catch some fish.
If you can afford a guide and don't have the years it took for the gang, me and Virginia to figure it out... go with a guide. July will be packed with anglers. Before the fire, no problem. After the fire, the place became very, very popular. That's why we switched to going in September... and now it's still much more crowded than the "ol' days".
I could tell you which rivers produced the best for us and where to stand and what to use but in July, someone else will be standing there. You're much better off with a guide and with a boat in July.
Before the fire, The Mud Volcano area on The Yellowstone River was hardly fished by flyfishers. Many times, Virginia and I would have the stretch to ourselves for the entire day. Now, they built a new parking lot and there's a well worn trail to the river.
And at Buffalo Ford, you'd see maybe four or five other guys. No one would be on The Lamar.
Because of the world coverage of the fire by the press, anglers discovered YNP. John, Rocky and I were there when the fire first started and was nothing more than smoke in the distance. When we got home, a few days later and much of the park was on fire.
I still love the place and not just for the flyfishing. The scenery and the animal life was always part of why our summer vacations were spent in and around YNP. The price of gas is what killed our annual trip.
No boats/watercraft allowed on the rivers in the Park (except the channel between Lewis and Shoshone Lakes). Agree that it's crazy crowded, a lot more so than even 10-12 years ago. Used to love fishing hoppers on Soda Butte but it's way, way too pressured now; I only drive up there to camp at Pebble Creek and take in the scenery.
Scott, that's true. Guess I was thinking of The Madison. I don't know that you'd need a guide for the rivers in the park... but it will be crowded unless you want to trek a goodly distance from the popular spots.
I've fished the NE Corner of Yellowstone extensively without a guide and its not particularly hard, especially when your going. It's more or less a terrestrial show. If you pass through Livingston, hit up George Andersons Yellowstone Angler and they will set you straight. They also have guides available if you'd like.
I'd avoid Soda Butte in any stretch that's near the road. It's very popular and you can find the same cutthroat in other spots without fighting a bunch of polo shirt clad tourists snapping away with there DSLR's.