Yellowstone National Park Fishing

  • Fishing The Yellowstone 2016

Yellowstone National Park has beautiful rivers that have a tremendous amount of variety, offering a fly fisherman a wide array of choices in where and how to fish. The roads often roughly parallel many of the best fishing rivers in Yellowstone, access is relatively easy (although short hikes will often be essential).

Yellowstone National Park is managed to protect natural resources and outstanding scenery, and to provide for visitor use. Fishing has been a major visitor activity for well over a century. Because of this history, fishing continues to be allowed and can complement, and in some cases even enhance, the park’s primary purpose to preserve natural environments and native species. There are over a thousand miles of streams and a hundred lakes in Yellowstone National Park; nowhere in the world are so many public rivers and streams found in such a condensed area. There are seven varieties of game fish live in Yellowstone: cutthroat, rainbow, brown, brook, and lake trout, along with grayling and mountain whitefish. Only cutthroats, grayling, and mountain whitefish are native to the Park.

The fishing season at Yellowstone National Park runs from the last Saturday of May through and including the first Sunday of November. From the season opener in late May through the end of June, the first river to clear from snowmelt is the Firehole; it’s often the only game in the Park on the opener. The Firehole usually offers great dry-fly fishing during afternoon with mayfly hatches and continues to do so until the end of June. By the second week of June, the Gibbon and Madison Rivers drop and clear, the ice comes off Yellowstone Lake, and the fishing season is under way for other waters. The last rivers to clear in the spring are the Yellowstone and Lamar in mid July. Usually by mid July, all waters become fishable in the Park, including the small streams. Hatches are at their peak in July, and this is a favorite time for dry-fly fishers.

The Firehole and Madison Rivers are two exceptions, however, because a combination of thermal water and summer heat raises their water temperatures into the 80s. Fishing is slow on these two rivers until water temperatures drop in early September. July and August are our fair-weather months, with the most consistent hatches and favorable stream conditions. As the aquatic insect emergences diminish, terrestrials play an ever more important role in the trout diet. Imitations of grasshoppers, ants, crickets, and beetles are a mainstay in the angler’s arsenal until the end of the season.

The 19 miles of the Madison in the park, although easily accessible, is not suited for fly fishing beginners and offers technical dry fly and nymph fishing for rainbow and brown trout averaging from fourteen to eighteen inches with the occasional 20 inch + Trout. Most of the river inside the park resembles a large spring creek and has been called the world’s largest chalk stream. During the late season, September and October, only a few hatches remain. The big Green Drakes materialize on the Lamar River and Slough Creek, along with tiny Blue-Winged Olives and midges. The Firehole and Madison Rivers become fishable again and produce excellent hatches of BWOs and midges. October is the best month to come if you want to catch the large migrating fish in the Madison and Lewis Rivers. As spawning time approaches and the weather becomes more winter like, these big trout become aggressive and territorial, attacking baitfish imitations and other large streamer flies.This is the time of year Wild Trout Outfitters start’s to fish the upper Madison (above Hebgen Lake) in Yellowstone National Park for some of the biggest and best fishing of the year! Our Guides know this water like their own back yard and know where the fish are. If you love to fly fish and you have some time, you need to come out and experience ROCKTOBER on the Madison, Gibbon and Firehole Rivers in Yellowstone Park.

Wade/Walk Trips
Full Day1 Angler2 Anglers3 Anglers
Yellowstone National Park Fishing Trips$500/ Full day$550/ Full day / $275 Each$675/ Full day / $225 Each

“Thank you for all the great trips you and your guides have done for me and all of my guests this spring and summer. We will definitely be back next year with the whole crew.”

Howard Schutte2012

“Another blockbuster trip with Wild Trout Outfitters! J.D. has set me, my family and friends up with one or two trips a year for the last five years and we just did a fall trip and knocked ‘em out again!

This time we got J.D. out of the shop to guide a couple of days and did a combination Missouri and Madison river three day trip. J.D., Charlie, Dave and Ray must be “trout whisperers” as we caught fish in all kinds of weather.Wind, rain,cold or snow, it didn’t matter, we all caught fish. We all caught some of the biggest rainbows ever !! J.D. you and your guides consistently put us on fish year after year and we love it and always have a great time!

Whether you are a beginner, an expert, or anywhere in between, I highly recommend Wild Trout Outfitters!”

Walter Duke2011