Yellowstone?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Kent Lufkin, Jun 28, 2004.

  1. Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    Posts: 7,136
    Not sure
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    At long last, we leave for Yellowstone on Saturday July 10th. I've never been there and am thrilled - not only to see Old Faithful and camp for a week, but for the chance to fish true 'Holy Water'. We'll be with several other families, one of whom has been fishing there for over 20 years. We'll be camping at Madison Forks and thus fishing the Madison, Gibbon, Firehole (if water temps permit), Lamar, and Slough Creek and possibly the West Thumb area of Yellowstone Lake if we rent a boat.

    As usual, I plan on bringing waaay too much stuff: 4 and 5 wt rods, floating lines, long leaders, small dries and nymphs, and big terrestrials including foam patterns like Chernobyl Ants and Club Sandwiches.

    But so that I don't leave something important behind, I'd sure appreciate some pointers from those who've been there before. Thanks in advance for your suggestions.
  2. ceviche Active Member

    Posts: 2,312
    Shoreline, Washington, U.S.A.
    Ratings: +42 / 0
    Libations and votive candles for the Holy Water Fish Gods. Libations poured into yourself and lit candles for the fish gods. I had to rephrase that in case you might have started pouring good scotch into the water. :p What you might have done with the candles I hesitate to consider. :eek
  3. Dipsnort New Member

    Posts: 351
    Auburn, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    The best advice I can give is to stop and do a little business at a local fly shop and find out the what's and where's.

    I fished the Yellowstone one time and was astounded at the number and size of cutthroat I could see in the water. I wish I could tell you exactly where I was, but all I can remember is that in was in the neighborhood of Bullafo Ford (downstream of there if I remember correctly) in a valley frequented by bison herds. I only managed two fish that day, but considering the fact that I was a MAJOR fly fishing rookie in those days (now I'm only somewhat of a rookie) and one of those fish was 19", I brought back memories to last a lifetime. :)

    Someday I hope to spend some time fishing that area WITHOUT the company of family members who mostly don't care about fishing and certainly don't want to "waste" time doing it there. :rofl

    Have a great time - hope you're successful. Please report when you return! :)
  4. boxcar Scott Willison

    Posts: 268
    Bellingham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    It has been too many years since my last trip, but I was there around this last time and remember a few things. A lot of the rivers, including the Yellowstone, were still pretty high and off color from run off, the Madison in the park, the Gibbon, and Firehole were in pretty good shape. I fished the Firehole around Biscuit Basin nearly every morning for 2 weeks and the PMD's would come off like clockwork around 10:30 and last until noon. Strangely, the Madison in the park seemed to be relatively devoid of trout, but repleat with big whitefish. Lastly, if you get a chance, fish the Gibbon up to the base of Gibbon Falls. The falls pool looks is as tantalizing as they come and you'll likely find a few big browns in there by casting upstream into the pool and retrieving them back downstream. I got a couple in the 18-20" range doing just that with Woolly Buggers or Kiwi Muddlers. Have fun...oh, how I miss that place.

    P.S. Don't forget the bug repellent. I went up to Grebe Lake one day without repellent and damn near bled/itched to death. It was 80 degrees out, I hiked 4 miles in neoprenes to keep them off of me and still had mosquitos layered 3 deep on every square inch of exposed skin. I am horribly disfigured from the experience to this day (at least emotionally) :)

    Scott
  5. Hormel Member

    Posts: 64
    Seattle, Wa, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Fortuna,
    That's great. No pointers, but I will be there at Madison Forks for 5 days July 5-9th. I will funk up the campground for you. This is a family trip also, wife, son (4) and daughter (7) in tow. Sounds like you have someone on the trip familiar with the area. I have done very little research but plan to hit the local shops for info and "the" fly, so I am just bringing it all and going to have fun exploring. I am hoping to find some spots to get my kids into some cutthroats, something easy hitting to keep their interest.

    Before we are going into Yellowstone we are spending 5 days in Montana. My wife wanted to spend the 4th of July in a small town and suggested that we stay in a cabin in Ennis. I shut my open mouth and mumbled that I thought I might be able to fish there as well. LOL

    Have a good time
  6. Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    Posts: 7,136
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    Hormel,

    I just sent you an email.
  7. Jay Allyn The Poor-Student Fly Fisher

    Posts: 852
    Bellingham/Puyallup, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Take a day trip down to the Tetons. They are even more beautiflu than Yellowstone. Look on the park map you get, there is a dirt road through the middle of the park along the river. If you have a high clearence car (4-weel drive suggested) then drive this road. We saw on other car on it, which was a ranger. From there there are lots of trails and other spots down to the Snake. Lots of elk and moose here too. This are is normally fished by boats but very few shore bound anglers. Good luck and have fun in the second most beautiful area in the lower 48 (after the PNW of course!).
  8. John Forsyth New Member

    Posts: 18
    Davis, CA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I spent a week in the Park last summer. Yellowstone Lake is pretty much a bust for cutthroat due to the Lake Trout. Probably not worth fishing. Fished Slough Ck and it was OK. I'd try the Lamar. There are dozens of small streams to explore. Have fun and make noise for the bears. John
  9. wrench Member

    Posts: 408
    Libby, Mt, US.
    Ratings: +13 / 0
    Beg borrow or steal a spotting scope. Lamar valley great spot for spotting critters.Slough creek worth the walk. Don't believe the hype about how selective they are there. I use 3x most all the time. It takes much longer to drive anywhere in the park than you would plan. Trout lake in ne corner a fun place short walk, big fish. Filing a full report upon return manditory.
  10. Wally New Member

    Posts: 33
    Lynnwood, Washington.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Well Fortuna I don't have anything new to tell you. I would like to remind you that I am extremely jealous! I had a blast last year and wish I were going again this year. You better take some nice Pic's:thumb

    Wally
  11. Tightline Brian Perry

    Posts: 739
    Seattle, Wa, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Fortuna,
    Last year I had luck on the Firehole with size 18 soft hackles trailing larger dry. Also, I was there exactly one month earlier than you'll be there, and Stones.. like size 2 nymphs were good along the banks, especially on the Madison. The Gibbon didn't give me any love, fished it for about 2 hours. From what I hear the Firehole may be a bit warmer this year than years past already, and run off won't be an issue at all.... I would come up with alternate plans just in case the water is too warm. I will be out there from the 3-8th, then onto Ketchum and Bend. Maybe I'll bump into some WFF'ers.. look for a guy in a new Maroon Subaru outback, and a blond tagging along, photographing. Probably find me in the NE section of the park, on some smaller tribs and streams.
    Good luck and be safe!

    ~B
    :thumb
  12. Denny Active Member

    Posts: 4,043
    Seattle, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +45 / 0
    Kent, a couple of years ago I fished Yellowstone Lake for a couple of early afternoons, from shore, from the West Thumb boat launch beach. Callibaetis were coming off, and the fish were munching any duns (or emergers) that were sitting on the surface. The fishing was very good, and we had it almost to ourselves.

    My favorite method (the one that worked): chuck a good length line out there put a mend in the line to account for the breeze, and let the line and the fly drift. Just watch for the swirl at the end of the line, lift, and cutthroat on! When they swirled on it, they had taken it pretty convincingly, and usually hooked themselves.

    The fish seemed to be cruising the depths about 50-70' out from shore (obviously where it is useful to be able to cast long with control, Old Man would have had a tough time with this one, but I digress . . . grin). A couple of people were out in float tubes, and had picked up a couple on black buggers. I usually arrived at that point in the emergence where I had to fish dry; I'm sure earlier in the day the fish would have chowed on callibaetis/mayfly nymphs. It was my 15 y.o. nephew's first time fly fishing, and he got in to a few. That kid could really fling a line for being a raw beginner.

    There was a section of the Yellowstone River I fished that absolutely got pounded; I counted 24 people standing in the water/run one time. It was hit and miss, but when it was hitting, it was good and it seemed to be a caddis gig (Iris Caddis, Lafontaine's emergent sparkle pupa, X-caddis). I was there in mid-July, and the river cutties had some colorful spawning coloring going on. There was a big difference in spawning coloration between the lake and the river fish.

    You should get a chance to fish those Chernobyls. My family and I stopped for a picnic at a park along the lower section of the Yellowstone. My nephew came running up to inquire about several bugs he just caught (they were salmonflies and golden stones). I returned to the area the next day, and there were a number of salmonflies dapping on the water. If I found a fish rising, I could get it to bite my Chernobyl (the tan/orange combo). Healthy 17" cutties, average. This was in the lower river, near and above the falls area. There were like NO people fishing where I was; SCORE!

    I know you do your homework, so I'm sure you have wired by now. I'll be looking for a post. Too bad you can't spend some time to fish the upper Madison (outside of the Park, below Hebgen). Cool fishing, and you never know what might be biting your bug; it could be a 9" rainbow, it could be a 24" brown. I was sooooo happy to see those young rainbows in there.

    Have a great time, and I know we all look forward to one of your typical well-crafted and scintallating reports.

    Richard

    P.S. With the temptation of all that great fishing, don't forget to spend time with the family!:thumb
  13. DLoop Creating memories one cast at a time

    Posts: 226
    Washington.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I love Yellowstone. I'm very, very jealous. Have a great time. It won't be hard.
  14. Dan Soltau New Member

    Posts: 1,272
    Bozeland, MT - Raleigh, NC
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    I am very jealous of you as I haveent gone to yellowstone yet. But I would like to ask a favor for you. As most of you know the firehole has the strongest population on new zealand mudsnails in the US. I am not telling you not to fish it, but please wash your gear. They have wiped out over 60% of the insect population in the firehole. I have a group who just got back, and all they could say was gibbon. Are you driving? If you are stop at a few shops along the way and you will be good to go. Good luck.:) :thumb
  15. creekx spent spinner

    Posts: 361
    Rancho Deluxe
    Ratings: +15 / 0
    As a regular, I can offer a few tidbits...

    Yellowstone River:
    As you probably know, the popular stretch of the YR (from the lake down to Sulphur Cauldron does not open until July 15th. It will be a ZOO on the opener. This year the river is flowing far below normal (2600 cfs vs. a mean of 4600 cfs.) You can use this to your advantage and cross to islands and other places most anglers don't touch. Be carefull though, as this river moves steadily - you'll feel the gravel moving under your feet. I recommend the estuary (outlet) area in the evening. The casual tourist anglers will be eating dinner, so it won't be as crowded. There is easy access from the road, and it can absorb a lot of anglers.

    Hatches will probably be caddis, gray drakes and rythrogena, with a few salmonflies in that area. Best advise - LOOK AT THE WATER. There may be caddis emerging like crazy in the evening, but the fish will usually prefer a mayfly spinner (#12 gray drake or #14 rusty spinner.)

    Madison/Firehole:
    They've had good rain and snow recently, so the river temps have stayed relatively cool. On a good (cool) year the Firehole can fish good through July. If you want a good time on some fun (although smallish) fish, take your lightest rod to the Firehole mid-morning for the PMD hatch with emergers, sparkle duns, etc. Swinging caddis emergers in the evening can be a kick as well. Keep in mind, this is all dependent on things staying cool.

    Slough/Lamar:
    Its a little early yet, the Lamar is not really fishable but Slough is clearing up. Not sure if its time for the Chernobyls, etc. just yet. However, a lot can change in two weeks.

    Madison River:
    This is a must. Hit the river in the Raynolds Pass to West Fork area for the evening caddis. Be prepared to stay late. This is the best pocket-water caddis fishing on the planet. 'nuff said.

    Best advice I can offer:
    Go see my friends at Blue Ribbon Flies. You won't need to visit another Fly Shop.
  16. Reel Smoker New Member

    Posts: 32
    .
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Hoping to make a trip too the area around mid-August, Is this a good time for hatches? When is the best fishing if you don't mind the crowds?
  17. Denny Active Member

    Posts: 4,043
    Seattle, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +45 / 0
    Reel Smoker, if you're going to the Park, buy one of the Flyfisher's Guide to Wyoming books. Great info on hatches and maps.

    If you're going to fish MT, and not the Park, buy the Flyfisher's Guide to Montana. Another great book, and a fun read.

    I have these books for WA, ID, MT, WY, and FL, and in my opinion they are indispensable for the travelling fisherman. You'll get more than $30 from them.:thumb
  18. Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    Thanks for the tip Richard. I hadn't though of those. I've got Matthews' and Molinaro's 'Flyfishing the Yellowstone Hatches' but it seems waaaay too technical (with lots of strong suggestions that the only way to catch fish there is with 15 foot 7X leaders and size 24 precisely-matched patterns.)

    The companion DVDs on fishing the park and tying the fly patterns are better but IMHO not worth spending $30 or so each on. Some of the better shops will let good customers borrow the DVDs or VHS tapes.
  19. Denny Active Member

    Posts: 4,043
    Seattle, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +45 / 0
    You're welcome!

    While DVD's are cool, it's probably a lot easier to pack and refer to a book or two while you're on your trip.

    Those "Flyfisher's Guides To . . . " are incredible. You'll be happy your bought 'em. The maps and general info (hatches, seasons, etc.) will probably stay pretty current for a long, long time, too, so the books shouldn't really ever become too obsolete.
  20. Nooksack Mac Active Member

    Posts: 1,945
    Bellingham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +109 / 0
    The mosquitoes around Grebe Lake are as thick and relentless as boxcar said. So why should you want to hike into the lake? Well, the trail is just three miles, and dead-level, and even my silver-haired mother handled it easily. But the main reason: GRAYLING. Yes, this is one of the few places in the lower 48 where you can catch grayling. And I did, fly-casting from shore. (And there was a moose on the far shore, and abundant waterfowl, if you care about that sort of thing.)

    I wouldn't go to Yellowstone Park (or anywhere else) without a 6- or 7-weight outfit. The Madison, Yellowstone, Henrys Fork, and other area streams are big, and deep in places.