Montana Trip Planning

jaredoconnor

WFF Supporter
I have been to YNP twice and have stayed at 4 different places. 320 Guest Ranch was my favorite place, by far. It's right on Gallatin River, it's good value and it has a great restaurant. Don't let your partner talk you into "glamping" at "Yellowstone Under Canvas"; it is complete dog shit. Below are the most memorable attractions.
  1. Yellowstone Bear World: This is a long drive away from the park, but it is my favorite attraction; you can bottle feed baby bears and they have a caged area that you can drive your car through. The ethics of this place are pretty shady, but bottle feeding baby bears is super lit.
  2. Lamar Valley: If you want to see wildlife, allocate an entire day for driving around here.
  3. Grand Prismatic Spring: This is really spectacular. All the other springs are kind of lame, in comparison. I could happy skip all the others.
  4. Old Faithful & Lodge: Seeing the geyser go off is mandatory. All the other geysers in the park are weak and probably not worth bothering with. The lodge is really cool too; it's like some real life Harry Potter shit.
  5. Zip Lining & Rafting Galatin River: Not much to say about this, other than it was a lot of fun.
  6. Boiling River Hot Springs: It's a spring that is hot and you can go into it. It is not so hot that you need to be concerned about dying, so that is pretty good.
I have only fished Gallatin River and Madison River, so I don't have much experience to share. I've done two full day trips with Jake, from Madison River Outfitters. He's a great dude and I highly recommend him. Spending a day with a guide, at the beginning of every trip, is a very good idea; most decent guides will make sure you have enough info, to fly solo for the remainder of your trip.

Good luck! Enjoy your trip! I could visit YNP once a year, for the rest of my life, and never get bored of it. It is an amazing place.
 
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Swimmy

Practice your craft.
WFF Supporter
  1. Yellowstone Bear World: This is a long drive away from the park, but it is my favorite attraction; you can bottle feed baby bears and they have a caged area that you can drive your car through. The ethics of this place are pretty shady, but bottle feeding baby bears is super lit.

This made me
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MT_Flyfisher

Active Member
Instead of the Yellowstone Bear World, if you’re interested in seeing bears you could go to the Casey Anderson’s Montana Grizzly Encounter, that is located midway between Bozeman and Livingston right beside interstate 90.
 

Reel fun

New Member
Thanks for all the help guys. With no music festivals or beer festivals happening any time in the near future we decided why not get out of here and go fishing. I think we would like to go to Yellowstone to see what it is all about. fishing is the mission so if that means spending most of our time out of the park and away from everyone I am ok wit that as well.

Thanks again for all the great tips.
Some very good info from Mike Cline. I've lived near Yellowstone since the early 70's and have seen visitation steadily increase there. It's now unbearable in the summer months, and even September and early October are busier than you would suspect.
 

Canuck from Kansas

WFF Supporter
Yup, I visited YNP the week after Labor Day in 2019. We had booked a couple of sites in the park months prior (the Madison was a tepid bowl of soup with bathers in all the good holes, so I didn't waste my time) and then we got up at about 2AM one morning to get a first come site up in the north east of the Park (well worth the effort though - caught some beautiful Yellowstone cuties). I would recommend late September to early October, I think after that the weather can get a little dicey (snow?) and aren't some camp sites closed October 1?

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Cheers
 

Whitewater

Active Member
Yellowstone visitation is about 4 million a year, most in the summer, a bit more than usual w/ Covid and people wanting to be outdoors away from home.

Grand Teton NP is about 4.8 million a year, ditto, most in summer. September is a good month to visit, though become more crowded as others posted. Best bet is to hike away from the roads into some lesser known streams and carry bear spray.

Bring warm layers. Much of that country is between 6000 and 7000 ft elevation, passes go to 8800 ft. It can snow any month even along the lower elevations.

Final thought, there's some lakes around there worth checking out.
 
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Camo Clad Warrior

Active Member
Thanks again for all the help on this one. I am ready for winter to go away. I think my wife and I may break this into a couple trips, as there seems to be a lot to do and a lot to see.
 

PV_Premier

Active Member
Yellowstone visitation is about 4 million a year, most in the summer, a bit more than usual w/ Covid and people wanting to be outdoors away from home.

Grand Teton NP is about 4.8 million a year, ditto, most in summer. September is a good month to visit, though become more crowded as others posted. Best bet is to hike away from the roads into some lesser known streams and carry bear spray.

Bring warm layers. Much of that country is between 6000 and 7000 ft elevation, passes go to 8800 ft. It can snow any month even along the lower elevations.

Final thought, there's some lakes around there worth checking out.

we own property in Victor. This year it was pretty busy in town until Oct 10th or so. Which coincidentally was the first day we got a good snowstorm. The fishing stayed good until Thanksgiving.
 

landlocked

Active Member
Best bet is to hike away from the roads into some lesser known streams and carry bear spray.

Bring warm layers. Much of that country is between 6000 and 7000 ft elevation, passes go to 8800 ft. It can snow any month even along the lower elevations.
I could just refer you to my ex mother in law for a fishing/hiking partner. Ain’t a critter on Gods green earth that would have the cahones to get within 100 yards of her without a 15/16 cup full of the jitters even if they were starving and rabid. Flip side is that you couldn’t layer up enough to unfreeze the hell that comes with her.

sorry, that was no help whatsoever. Just go to the Oasis and fish around there. You’ll be golden...
 

Grits Hardway

New Member
Thanks for all the info guys! I truly appreciate it.
I used to live up near the SW corner of YNP. We call it the "Cascade Corner". Not many people go into YNP from the SW end through Tetonia and Felt and up towards Ashford. Trailering a DB in the middle of summer down through paradise valley is going to require a lot of patience. That stretch of pavement is usually gridlocked at all hours and days of the week during summer (like LA at rush hour almost every day). Sittin' in that traffic is a waste of good fishin' time. West Yellowstone has some lodging, and those folks are very proud of that fact, as is reflected in their prices. Kelly Galloup used to have a shop on the North end of town. He always had good bugs. Some real unique ones as I recall.

As others have said the Madison fishes well if it's not too warm. For DB's, Hebgon Lk can set your hair on fire with monster gulpers but they see a bit of pressure. The Ruby and Jeff fish well. Taking a DB down the South Fork Snake starting near the Palisades Dam (if you happen to be on the SW end- you drive through Driggs towards Jackson Hole and turn S. at Victor, and head down along Pine Creek to hit the S. Fork). If you stop at World Anglers Fly Shop just behind the grocery store, those boys know how to fish the Snake and what bugs will work. That Grocery store has a damn fine selection of everything to eat and drink, including some good craft and small batch beers.

That river looks sedate but you should be very wary of widow makers (sweepers just under the water line). Lost a good friend and damn good guide who knew that river well and it still killed him (RIP Rob Merrill- we all miss the hell out of you). But it's got some real nice fish in it. On foot up by Driggs you can fish Fox Ck very near where it washes into the Teton (might be some ticks, snakes, and I've been stalked by a large boar in there. Boar as in Grizzly. Not pig). Teton R. in the Canyon is worth fishin' if you can gain access (ask the potato farmers for access. They're not always amiable, but they'll usually let you go in the short way if you promise not to disturb their eqpt. and pick up any trash you see). Bears in there too, but not so bad that you should get bearanoid. Take some spray. Watch for snakes. Use a heavy dropper under a smaller dry (such as a EHC). The dropper should be heavy enough to sink the dry. When that submerged dry washes down and around those boulders and hydraulics it'll shake that dropper like an epileptic tossin' a salad. That'll get you into some real big trout. If you see a shiny garbage can lid flash out in front of you where your rig just floated through, that's your signal to set and set hard. You might want lots of backing.

If you keep driving East of Victor and go up, over the Teton pass you'll drive past Teton Village (good beer, but expensive) and you can tool around Jackson. It's alright, and it's not really a "hole" like people would have you believe- unless they're talking about a "hole" lot of money for real estate and goods. Then I guess it makes sense then. Jack Dennis used to have a little shop in town that is definitely worth walking into, and spending some time in. Having a beer in the Silver Dollar Saloon doesn't suck either. I haven't talked to Jack since his wife got sick, so I don't know if he still owns it, or if he sold out. Drive East of that and you can fish the Gros Ventre (pronounced Grow Vont). A little further East even, and you can turn North up to Moose Lake. Definitely worth fishin'.

If you head up towards Ashford and fish The N. Fk Henry's Fk., drive up to the old Bear Ck Ski run and walk in there. It's a part of the Henry's Fk that very few people ever see, and has some nice, big fish. The Warm, Wind, and Bitch Ck are on the way too (none of those will be big enough for your DB). Drive down the other side of the pass there if you want to fish the Firehole.

A good place to fish with your DB will be at the old Damn site West of Tetonia (the Earthen one that washed away). There are Browns in there longer than your leg. A 30' sink tip in there wouldn't hurt.

Up on the top side of the park it's worth fishing hoppers on the Madison Braids right under Quake Lk. You might get around to fishing the Beaverhead while your up there. Pretty good fishin' if you can get access.

There's probably some air BnB's of VRBO's up around Ennis. That gets a little too close to Paradise Valley for my tastes, but Ennis is a damn fine place to have a beer.

If you take I-90 over your DB will do real well on the Clark Fk R.. Not the Clark Fk of the Yellowstone, just the Clark Fk. Go talk to Old Joe Cantrell at the OK Cafe and buy a few flies from his shop. Joe doesn't talk alot, but when it comes to hunting elk and fly fishing the rivers around Mineral County he's worth listening to. He doesn't just sell flies to thin his inventory either. If he sells you a fly it's because it's the one that'll bring up trout.

Rock Ck is further East and turn down on HWY 1 at Hall before Red Lodge DO NOT SPEED THROUGH HALL!! It is that little Podunk town's sole source of revenue and they get vigorously attached to those dollars when they can get them. Nuff said about Hall.

You can go up to Phillipsburg and mine for rubies down town. Your wife will like that. The foods good there and there's also a ghost town above it that's worth picking around in. If you drive up to the headwaters of Rock Ck at Skalkaho Pass there's some amazingly large Brown trout up there in real skinny water. If you approach the ck by crawling on your belly you MIGHT have a chance. I've found no other way to catch them there. Mission Ck is just West of Phillipsburg. The farmers are pretty good about letting folks fish their pastures, especially if you pick up trash and don't stretch their wire. Not many gates to walk through there.

Well that's more than I usually say about those areas. Apologies for being so textative.

Grits.
 

jasmillo

WFF Supporter
Instead of the Yellowstone Bear World, if you’re interested in seeing bears you could go to the Casey Anderson’s Montana Grizzly Encounter, that is located midway between Bozeman and Livingston right beside interstate 90.

Or you could just take the time to find them in and around the park. My last week long trip to YNP, we found 40+ individual bears and photographed most, including ~20 grizzlies.

Don't give those tourists traps your $$. It’s better spent elsewhere.

As far as good fishing; lots to choose from. Good info has been given already here. Enjoy, beautiful part of the world.
 

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