Yellowstone Options June 23rd-July 2nd


Native Trout Hunter
I am going to be heading over to Yellowstone on June 23rd through the July 2nd and was wondering if anyone knows from experience what some of the river conditions might be that time of the year. From the research that I have done, it looks like the Western part of the park is my best bet. Some of the waters that I would like to fish include the Garnder, Soda Butte Creek, in the northern part of the park and the Gallatin /Fan Creek in the Northwestern part of the park but am not sure if they will be blown out. I am also planning on hitting th e Gros Ventre in Wyoming. Any info would be appreciated, I have fish the park several times but always later in the summer.


spent spinner
The Gallatin/Fan Creek drainage is a slow starter in most years. The water stays pretty cold well into July. However, I have fished the Salmonfly hatch on the upper Gallatin around July 4th before - that hatch can vary quite a bit from year-to-year. I haven't fished the NE corner (Soda Butte, Lamar, etc.) in June, but I understand that can be a little early there as well.

Keep in mind, they are approaching record precipitation for the month of June in the West Yellowstone area, and its only the 14th. This means streams could be more "normal" (higher) this season than in recent years. I would call Blue Ribbon Flies in West for up-to-date reports - IMHO there is no better fly shop anywhere.

You might keep the Henry's Fork open as an option. Its had a tough couple of years, but there are few places as beautiful to fish as Harriman Ranch, especially in early summer. The fish aren't half bad either. If it's fishing well you can have great evening caddis fishing in late June. If you're lucky you can catch the Green Drake and/or Brown Drake hatch as well.
In the NE corner, slough creek will clear earlier than soda but I have fished soda butte as early as the 7/4 weekend (think mormon crickets). With the precip lately you could assume the Lamar is out.
I don't think Harriman Ranch on the henry's fork is open till 7/15 right? You could fish the canyon upstream from there and it has some nice hatches of caddis about this time.
Floating the Madison is prime time, you could walk in also. "Between the lakes" on the madison will work also and is somewhat scenic if you drive to the end of the dirt road and walk in.
Yellowstone is out till 7/15. firehole would typically be too warm but maybe not this year.
Obviously driven the 10.5 hours there a few too many times .... I would recommend watching the weather and calling Blue Ribbon in W Yellow before you head out. If the weather is cooperating I would drive in via Livingston and hit the NE corner, see what happens, with the bail out option of driving down the park to the Madison/firehole/Gibbon area.
Outside of the park is often more productive but you won't see the wildlife. The Madison is pretty consistent in pumping out nice fish. You could break up the drive (if you aren't flying) with a stop at Rock Creek.
I have done the first night stop at the Holiday Inn Express in Missoula, hit the buffet then the creek, fish it till 4p'ish then head to YNP. Fish the park and surrounding water, if it is a bust, swing by the Ruby and Beaverhead on the way home then head back to I90 and bullet home. Don't be surprised if a double nymph rig on the beaverhead produces the most/largest fish.
Feel free to PM me for further play by play

cheers and enjoy it for me, travis

btw: $40 covers up to 10 over on highways in MT. Have the cash on hand and you prepay when you are pulled over.
Salmonflies will be out sometime during that period on the Yellowstone and Gardner. They have been fishing well on nymphs lately, tight to the banks (still lots of water).

The Firehole will be slowing down, especially towards the end of that period. The Gibbon should be okay.

Soda Butte is going to be too high and dirty. Slough is fishing now with streamers and should have some dry fly action by the beginning of July. Look for the Green Drakes during the day and Brown Drakes right at dusk. Terrestrials are more a deal a couple weeks later.

The Gallatin drainage is a good 2-2.5 hours from the rest of the spots you mentioned.

PM me with any questions.

Walter Wiese
Head Guide
Parks' Fly Shop (
Gardiner, MT
I just drove through Island Park, ID and West Yellowstone in the past couple of days. It was snowing..... No kidding. 2" on the ground in the Gallitan area.

The Box Canyon on the Henry's Fork and the MT portion of the Madison were nymphing really well, but those were about the only stream shows around. Everything else was blown out. Oh, the Firehole was supposedly doing OK, but I didn't venture in to the park to look at it. Heard rumors of some dry fly action down by Ashton, ID, about 20 miles from Island Park (50-60 miles from West Yellowstone).

I'd bring a float tube and fish the Madison Arm of Lake Hebgen with chironimids. Don't have to worry about this getting blown out and if you are experienced using chironimids in WA state, you'll be amazed at this fishery. Ignore the gulpers if they are out and fish under a strike indicator. It rivals Dry Falls (especially this year!) or any other E WA lake on their better days.


Active Member
I was leaving for the Beaverhead tomorrow, until I found out that they are only putting 100 CFS out of Clark Canyon. It's a trickling muddy ditch. Going to have to try some of these other suggestions instead.