The Magnificent Rivers of the Yellowstone area...
For fly fishers, perhaps there is no other area in the whole wide world that offers more in the way of truly great fly fishing for numerous species of trout, beautiful scenery and wildlife. I once started a list of all the different river and lakes within a 50 mile circle surrounding West Yellowstone Montana. It was a "bucket list" of sorts. I easily got to 40 or more before deciding I wouldn't live long enough if the list got longer.
As anyone who knows me can attest, I have made a significant dent in the list. I would have done better if I had not discovered the Henry's Fork so early in my annual travels to fish the Yellowstone area. As I sit here some 44 years after my first trip, I have no regrets for not getting further down the list. What follows is a list of those waters I did get to and perhaps a little information and insight that may be valuable to others.
Bechler River - Looking to get away from the crowds of YNP? The Bechler River is located in the far South-Western portion of Yellowstone Park. There is no access from within YNP. Access is from Ashton, Idaho (Hwy. 47 East to Hwy 582) in a northeasterly direction. The road dead-ends just inside the park boundary, so fishing the Bechler requires a hike. While this region of Yellowstone is known to backpackers and hikers for its abundance of waterfalls and hot springs, it is far off the radar of the average visitor and most fisherman.
The Firehole River - This is one of the truly unique fly fishing rivers in the world. It flows through several large and active thermal basins and you may have to walk around "mud pots" and hot springs as you walk the banks.There is usually a lot of wildlife in this area. there are plentiful numbers of rainbows and browns but most are in the 12-14 inch range but fish up to 18" have been caught. It is an early and late season river due to the thermal activity. It fishes well from the opener on Memorial Day weekend into June. It does not really become fishable again until September when the cold weather starts to show up.
The Gallatin River - is a tributary of the Missouri River, approximately 120 mi long in Wyoming and Montana. It is one of three rivers, along with the Jefferson and Madison, that converge near Three Forks, Montana, to form the Missouri. It originates in the northwest corner of Yellowstone National Park.It flows northwest through Gallatin National Forest, past Big Sky, Montana, and joins the Jefferson and Madison approximately 30 mi. northwest of Bozeman. The Gallatin, through its entire length is not known for large fish but is the home to plentiful rainbows, browns,cutthroat, brook trout and a few grayling. As Western rivers go, it is relatively small.