Yellowstone Park Fly Fishing Pack Trip

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by DKL, Apr 25, 2012.

  1. DKL Nude to the board

    Posts: 171
    West Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +23 / 0
    We have contemplated doing something like this for some time and are considering it once again. I'm curious if anyone on the board has done a multi-day horse pack trip in Yellowstone Park for fly fishing. If so, would you mind sharing your thoughts on the trip, such as things you liked and didn't like. Things you wished you had thought of or would do different the next time. Also, if you liked your outfitter/guide and have a recommendation or warning. Lots of time to consider since we would do it at the end of August if we go through with it. Always wanted to do it, and feel like the older I get, the harder it will be to do it physically so I should try and do it sooner rather than later.

  2. scottflycst Active Member

    Posts: 1,711
    Ozark Mtn springwater
    Ratings: +24 / 0
    If you're not use to riding horses on a regular basis, bring some padding for your
    arse. Don't even consider ignoring this caution, "saddle sore" isn't just a phrase.
  3. Vladimir Steblina Retired fishing instead of working

    Posts: 733
    Wenatchee, WA
    Ratings: +239 / 0
    Don't forget the baby powder. Never had saddle sores, but do not under estimate the physical demands of riding. You butt will feel it.

    Find a trip that has a couple layover days as an option. You will probably want them.

    I find a trip out of base camp with day rides more fun than a "trail" trip. However, all my trail trips were work trips while the base camp trips were vacations. So that might have had something to do with it.

    I took the family on a couple of trips with these folks into the Canadian Rockies. Great trips, but really not fishing related. However, the scenery more than made up for the fishing. These folks are a non-profit. Great bunch of folks, mostly from Alberta.

    Pick your horse carefully. Better yet, if they have riding mules get one of those. Horses are so stupid that they will kill themselves and probably you if you are sitting on them. Mules on the other hand, could give a rip about you, but will not endanger themselves!! The ride is also smoother.

    Remember there is a reason why cars became so popular so quickly.
  4. Jim Hagenau Member

    Posts: 45
    Gig Harbor, WA
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    I have day hiked as far as the third meadow on Slough Creek. Wish I had gone in with an outfitter and stayed. Saw this outfitter up there. It is beautiful.

    JesseCFowl likes this.
  5. JesseC Active Member

    Posts: 1,989
    seattle, wa
    Ratings: +765 / 0
    Here's an honest question for those of you who have really explored Yellowstone. Two years ago my wife and I took off on a one month road trip. We spent one of the days trying to get through Yellowstone. The entire road system through the park was a traffic jam. It took us about 3-4 hours just to get through. Meanwhile, the scenery was probably some of the worst that we had seen on our entire journey through the western continent. I was red hot pissed and befuddled as to what the hell people were doing there. It seemed like a giant drive through zoo.

    Now - I know that's a roadside sampling and is sure to be the worst possible way to get an opinion on the park. I also know that the park has the MOST remote areas available in the lower 48. My question is - if you were to do a pack trip out through the slough system, would the crowds really thin out? The second question, is it worthwhile in terms of beauty and fishing? Most of the pictures on the site referenced below look pretty horrible in my opinion. It looks like the forest fire really ravaged that place.

    Just some honest questions. I've long thought of doing a pack trip myself - but have second guessed it ever since passing through and coming to the preliminary realization that 1) it's a f*cking zoo and 2) it's a f*cking burnt zoo.
  6. Alex MacDonald Dr. of Doomology

    Posts: 3,336
    Haus Alpenrosa, Lederhosenland
    Ratings: +895 / 0
    "if you go down to the woods today, you're in for a big surprise"....
  7. riverwalker New Member

    Posts: 10
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +4 / 0
    I was in Yellowstone last summer and thought it gorgeous. Hit a caddis hatch just right from 7-10 p.m. on the Firehole. Traffic, however, is an issue starting late June. I always wonder and hope that a shuttle system like the one in Zion canyon could be instituted as an encouraged option to explore the park.
    JesseCFowl likes this.
  8. J R from The Yellowstone Gang Fish all the Rivers of the West before your to old

    Posts: 95
    Bellevue, WA
    Ratings: +14 / 0
    The group I fish with hit the park at the opening of the Yellowstone one year. We did the exact opposite, we went to Slough Creek the day the Yellowstone opened and instead of the parking area jammed with cars there were only two there. We had the place virtually to ourselves. We only saw two other groups that day and one was a packer taking somebody into the back-country lodge just off the park property. The other was a single fisherman.

    The next day we did the reverse and hit the Yellowstone, had only a few anglers rather that the hordes the day before. Just some food for thought. JR.
  9. Conor Giorgi New Member

    Posts: 29
    Spokane, WA
    Ratings: +5 / 0
    I worked there for a summer/fall and visited off and on over the years. It is a zoo, there's nothing worse than getting stuck behind an RV from Iowa that is gawking at a bison scratching his arse on a burnt stump. Most people who visit only get out of their car to see Ol' Faithful.

    A lot of the park burned too, but a lot of it didn't. The northeast corner dodged the burn and is well forested. My brother and I hiked into slough several times. You may run into a few anglers on the trail, but the country is so big that once you're on the river the only thing you'll see are elk, bugs, and fish. It's phenomenal - the scenery and the fishing.

    My advice, just get off the road. The further into the backcountry you go, the better experience you'll have. If you're looking to hike and not fish, try the Pelican Valley. Once you're in there you'll run into geothermal activity that few people have seen. On our trip we saw 6 grizzly's and over a dozen wolves (and no people). Enjoy.
  10. Richard Olmstead BigDog

    Posts: 2,494
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +791 / 0
    Yellowstone is a great place to visit, fish, and hike or ride horses, but I'm not sure it would rate very high on my list of places to go to pack in for fishing. Most of the best fishing streams are relatively easily accessible via roads or modest day hikes (the exception is the far SE part of the park).

    If your goal is a back country horse-supported fishing trip, rather than a trip to Yellowstone in which you do some fishing, consider the Wind River range (lots of outfitters to choose from in Pinedale), or the Bob Marshall Wilderness area.
    triploidjunkie likes this.
  11. Steve Call Active Member

    Posts: 1,566
    Wetside, WA
    Ratings: +188 / 0
    While I haven't been there in years, I'm told go after Labor Day to avoid the worst of the crowds.
  12. Salmo_g Active Member

    Posts: 7,557
    Your City ,State
    Ratings: +1,688 / 0
    If I were to do a horse packing trip in YNP, I'd visit the SE section that Mr. Olmstead referenced. It's a large area and the hardest to get to and therefore, the least visited. Upper Slough Creek would also be nice, but I would expect some company around there.

    If this trip is on your bucket list DKL, might as well get on with it. The only reason for regret is the saddle sores that some posted about. But you can do some advance riding to get in condition.

  13. DKL Nude to the board

    Posts: 171
    West Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +23 / 0
    Thanks for the replies so far. I think if we go through with this, we'll do a few day rides in advance to see how I handle the saddle over a longer period of time. My wife also said that a mule would be a more comfortable ride, so I'll look out for that too.

    Just to get the thread a little back on track, I'll qualify that we go to Yellowstone every year, most of the time around Labor Day. I have never thought the crowds or roads a problem when going and think the park is wonderful and beautiful, even the parts scarred by the fire. Its been amazing to see the changes. That being said, I have yet to delve off the beaten path much and would like to see more of the park. I'm not necessarily thinking of doing this in hopes of finding the greatest fishing water in the park, rather, I simply have to make fishing a part of all my vacations (I can't possibly be the only one who does that). Since my wife loves to ride and has done pack trips in Montana without me, we thought this may be away to appease both of us. So, I would still love to hear more from anyone that has done such a trip.

  14. SteveA Gnu to the board

    Posts: 280
    Western WA
    Ratings: +33 / 0
    I did a 6 day backpacking trip up the Lamar River and out Pelican Valley last year (mid-August). The scenery was ever changing. Some of it was spectacular and some not so much but it was always wild, fantastic country. Saw a grizzly and 2 wolves and consider myself very fortunate. Days 3-5 we saw a total of 2 people as they passed us on the trail. All the people were on either end of the trail, near the trailheads. Fishing was moderately good but I didn't care. It was the real deal (wilderness). Much of the country I walked through had burned but it actually made for much better views. Do it!

    See the attached pics for a sampling of our trip.
    P1010648_e.jpg P1010668_e.jpg P1010438.JPG
  15. troutpocket Active Member

    Posts: 1,784
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +335 / 0
    Well played, sir. Cast yourself as the belligerent ignoramus trash talking one of the crown jewels of the national park system and wait for those who have put in the effort to learn the good stuff to spill their secrets . . .genius!
    Abomb likes this.
  16. Kelly Michelsen Active Member

    Posts: 163
    Wenatchee, Washington
    Ratings: +39 / 0
    I have been to slough creek , In my humble opinion it doesn't even come close to the South fork of the Flathead and the Bob! Only bad day
    fishing was weather related snow can happen in August. The fishing
    was great and we backpacked in about 3 miles and then day hiked and
    Kelly Michelsen
  17. Nooksack Mac Active Member

    Posts: 1,956
    Bellingham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +115 / 0
    The huge southeast part of Yellowstone Park, known as the Thoroughfare, is famous horse-packing country. There are line cabins and corrals there to handle the traffic, such as it is. (Remember that 99% of Park visitors never get out of sight of a road.) The streams there, including the upper Yellowstone River, are fine fishing streams. (FWIW, that area is the farthest from a railroad you can get in the lower 48.) A few years ago, "Northwest Backroads" did a full 30 minute show about some seasoned citizens horsepacking and fly fishing back there. I've been in as far as Heart Lake, 7 or 8 miles in by trail; fished the lake and climbed Mt. Sheridan. Nobody else seen in three days except the family of young nudists and a timid Shiras bull moose.

    A beautiful and remote part of the Park is the s.w. corner, an easy few hour's trail time up the Bechler River. Slightly outside the Park to the n.w. is the Madison Range, a few hours by moderate trail to open meadows surrounding a galaxy of pristine little lakes, around spectacular but climbable mountains.
    JesseCFowl likes this.
  18. Jim Darden Active Member

    Posts: 903
    Bellingham, Wa.
    Ratings: +222 / 0
    I have to agree with Mac, if you get out of the car and walk 30 minutes, most of the people go away. the SW corner is known for its trail riding and water falls. I really liked the hike south over mineral ridge to the Yellowstone River below the falls. They do horse trips in there now, (I hiked back in the ancient times). Tons of unsophisticated fish and wild life.
  19. Trustfunder Active Member

    Posts: 176
    rock creek
    Ratings: +71 / 0
    If it were me and had to pick one place to fish in YNP it would be slough creek. If I wanted a sight seeing, wildlife viewing place with some fishing, I'd pick a trip into the upper Lamar valley. Either place in the peak of summer your going to bump into a few people.
  20. Abomb Active Member

    Posts: 403
    In the skinny
    Ratings: +30 / 0
    I am sooo glad that most people who travel the park are as lazy and ignorant of what is truly there as you. I have lived on 2 entrances and have fished and seen some shit that will blow your mind, plus it all was just a short hike from the roads.