All summer long, Americas's most famous National Park attracts visitors from across the nation and even the world. Many of these people are flyfisherman drawn to the famous waters of the park and the trout they hold. Rivers such as the Madison, Firehole, Soda Butte creek, or the Yellowstone itself. Earlier this summer, in mid-July, I was out fishing in the park on some of the lesser known rivers due to excessive runoff this year. After fishing the smaller creeks and streams around home this year, it was great to get out to the large, rapid rivers in big sky country.
As we drove through the park, we saw a variety of wildlife, including grizzly and black bears, wolves, elk, and bison. The first river I set foot in was the Gardner, a turbulent body of water that flows to its confluence with the Yellowstone in a hurry. Rivers like this offer a lot of pocket water; or small "pockets" of slack or slower water behind boulders or logs. Using stonefly imitations trailed by smaller beadhead nymphs, we caught small to medium sized cutthroats and rainbows, putting up acrobatic fights in fast water. This is a great river for anyone who wants to fish with great scenery, as it winds through a spectacular canyon. And with good dry fly action and quality numbers of fish, you can't go wrong fishing here.
We spent a lot of time fishing Slough Creek, a slower, more technical river with bigger fish. Here, bison roamed a little to close for comfort. But the fishing was good, especially when clouds would roll over causing green and grey drake hatches to start coming off. Pods of cutthroats and rainbows would rise to the surface to slurp up these large flies. Fishing with large dry flies in one of the reasons so many flyfisherman go out west every year, as there is nothing like watching a hook-jaw cutthroat come up to take your fly. When these hatches came off and a good drift was had, the action was fast and furious. Nice rainbows and cutthroats were brought to hand and released back into the water.
The fishing in the park is no secret though. Fortunately when I was there, it was a little early in the season so the rivers were not crowded, but they usually are this time of year. To beat these crowds, try getting up early before everyone enters the park, or hike up to more unpressured waters. When your out west traveling and fishing, go up to the park for a day or two, and you'll find great fishing and scenery.