Yellowstone trip planning


resident lurker
Does anyone have any experiences or recommendations for taking kids fly fishing in the park? I'm taking my 12-year old daughter sometime this summer (dates aren't set in stone yet, just has to fall during the summer school break), and I'm dedicating one day specifically to give her the best fly fishing experience she's ever had.

I've heard some people have had good experiences with kids fishing Obsidian creek, it sounds like a nice meadow stream not too far from a campground with small but easy fish. I think something like that would be perfect - does anyone have any other suggestions? We don't mind a bit of a hike, but we don't mind other people fishing nearby either.

I'm also open to suggestions about the best time to make the trip. I was thinking toward the end of July to avoid runoff, and hopper season I think would make for some fun fishing, although I realize some of the rivers will be off-limits because of high temperatures. Would August be a better bet?

Thanks all.

"I'm not a lurker, I'm just a slacker!"
If you go in June or July the evening caddis catch on the Madison can be done without even getting in the water. Lots of fish right off the road. Nothing huge but lots of them. Also I just love the Gallatin which has a great little salmon fly hatch and again has some easy access right off the highway.
obsidian, cougar creek and one other (forget the name) right next to obsidian fit your need. I would recommend picking up Craig Matthews book on fly fishing yellowstone. He details most water in the park and lists multiple rivers for family fishing with plenty of 7-11 inch brookies/cutties. Another option is the Gardnier right below Mammoth. Mammoth would be a great place to stay with the family


resident lurker
Sounds great guys, thanks. I know with all the great fishing in the park it'll be hard to go wrong. I'm going to take one day to fish the big-name waters but one day is going to be specifically for easy water and easy fish. I'll keep doing my homework but I think I'm on the right track.
the gibbon meadow is great, as long as it is not crowded with moose and bison. Soda butte is also a great option if it is late enough into the summer. The upper gallatan and fan creek also have great road access and willing fish.

Jay Allyn

The Poor-Student Fly Fisher
Skate Creek is a great stream in the NE corner of the park...Also if you fish the madison outside the park below Earthquake Lake there are some extreamly big brown and rainbows that sit right against the shore.
This is a fun little spot on the Firehole. Park at the picnic area and fish the meadow or take a nice walk up the trail to get away from people. It's one of those picture perfect spots where your daughter can catch fish fairly easily. Evening is fun with some Elk Hair or Goddard Caddis, Para Adams, maybe an attractor dry (Royal Wulff), and some small droppers such as Soft Hackle Bead Head Hares Ear/Pheasant Tail. Be aware of Bison, Moose and hot springs along the river. I got trapped once by a herd of Bison out there, not cool.



resident lurker
wow, a map even? that's awesome! thanks again guys. is it too early to be getting all giddy? i've been wanting to make this trip for years, i just can't believe it's taken so long to get to it.
I second the Craig Mathews book as a great planning tool. Be aware that the Firehole, Madison, and lower Gibbon can be closed when water temps rise. The last time I was there was in the latter part of July and all those rivers inside the park were closed.
We live 40 minutes from Old Faithful and timing is everything when fishing the park. Different rivers fish better at different times. For instance the Firehole gets too warm at the end of July. Hopper fishing is dependent upon how much rain occurs in the spring and during the early summer. Too much rain and hopper fishing is bad. We fish all the rivers but choose which ones are best based upon the time of the year. I like early July best. Crowds are not bad and you can catch the Salmon fly hatch on the Madison. The Firehole is still fishing good and so is Henry's Fork.

Have fun and explore.
I second the upper Gallatin in the NW corner of the Park. Access is good, it is small enough that kid won't be overwhelmed, and there is usually lots of fish. Some of the tribs also are supposed to be good. People often don't think about it when planning a YNP trip, because it is sort of out of the main portion of the park.
There is one little thing about the Gallatin that you should know. I guess as with any place in the park just beware in the willowed areas to make plenty of noise and keep a eye out for those Moose they can show up at a time that you don't expect them !

Mike Danahy

@#)$%# river otters!
My first experience fly fishing was on the madison. Had an absolute blast nymphing at the end of june. Lots of bow's, and two huge browns. And we actually had to worry about the elk more than anything else. They were particularly aggressive that year, chargin people left and right.

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