Destinations: West Coast / Yellowstone Area / Other Areas of Importance

Yellowstone River - the Yellowstone River is the longest free-flowing river in the lower 48 states at 692 miles in length and is the primary tributary of the Missouri River. Many think that Yellowstone Lake is the headwaters of the Yellowstone River. In reality, the headwaters are actually at the confluence of the North and South Forks of the Yellowstone in the very most southern area of YNP. 

The Yellowstone River is thought to be the native home of the famous Yellowstone Cutthroat. In the early 1990's, Lake Trout were discovered in Yellowstone Lake. The Lake Trout had evidently been illegally introduced from fish taken from Lewis and Shoshone Lakes where they had been introduced by authorities in 1890. In the ensuing years, it has been estimated that up to 90% of the Cutthroat population in the lake has been decimated by the lake trout. See the article below (Return of the Yellowstone Cutthroat) for mare information on this very serious problem. Since 1994, gill nets have removed almost 3 million lake trout from Yellowstone Lake and in recent years, there appears to be a real resurgence for the Cutthroat. Many fly fishers and others that track fish populations see more and larger cutthroat caught and there is a healthy population of young fish so the future is much improved.

Fishing the Yellowstone River in Yellowstone National Park - by Big Sky

Yellowstone River - by Montana Angler

Yellowstone River - by Wikipedia

Return of the Yellowstone cutthroat trout - by WyoFile

DIY Guide to Fly Fishing the Yellowstone River in Montana - by DIY Fly Fishing

Yellowstone River - by Montana Trout Wranglers

Yellowstone River

image credit: Montana Angler

Yellowstone Cutthroat

image credit: Montana Angler

Lamar RiverThe Lamar River is located in the Northeastern portion of Yellowstone National Park. It is located in a beautiful valley that is almost beyond description and
comprehension. It is known as a Cutthroat fishery but there are also good rainbows. Although it is some 40 miles in length, all but the last 8-10 miles are difficult to access. The Lamar is a tributary of the Yellowstone River.

Fly Fishing The Lamar River in Yellowstone National Park - by Perfect Fly

Fly Fishing The Lamar River - by Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park

DIY Guide to Fly Fishing Lamar River in Yellowstone National Park - by DIY Fly Fishing

Lamar River - by Big Sky

Lamar River

image credit: Montana Angler

Slough Creek - I have made 10-12 trips to Slough Creek over the years and have never had a bad day of fishing there. Slough Creek is divided into four primary sections, the lower meadow and the second, third and fourth meadow. The road access is to the lower meadow and the three upper meadows can be reached via the Slough Creek Trailhead. The second meadow is the only one of the 3 upper meadows that is practical to fish without having to camp but is a bit of a hike from the trailhead. Due to time constraints, I have only been to the second meadow twice and it was worth the hike. Aside from the plentiful and large Cutthroats, this area is one of the best wildlife areas in the whole Park. I saw my first Grizzly bear here, got charged by a buffalo and have caught numerous Cutthroats over 20". There is no wonder that Slough Creek has had so many articles written about it over the years. In my opinion, it is almost exclusively a dry fly stream. Between meadows there are faster stretches where a nymph might work but the meadows are, for the most part slow moving and perfect for a dry fly. Terrestrials, especially a #16 black beetle have been my most successful flies.

Fly Fishing Slough Creek - by Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park

Slough Creek - by Montana Angler

Yellowstone Slough Creek Fly Fishing 2014 - video by Dina Dexheimer

Slough Creek Adventure 2016 - by John112010

Slough Creek

image credit: Montana Angler

The Lewis River - Although very beautiful, the Lewis River is, out of the way for most fly fishers. Unless you are traveling to Jackson and the Teton area, it may not be worth your time. I have fished both the Lewis River and, in the fall, the stretch between Shoshone Lake and Lewis Lake called "the channel". The Channel is best accessed by boat via Lewis Lake and in the fall many large browns migrate up the channel from Lewis Lake to spawn.

Lewis River - by Montana Angler

Fly Fishing The Lewis River - by Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park

Lewis River

image credit: Montana Angler

Other Worthwhile Yellowstone Waters:

Gardner River

Soda Butte Creek

Grebe Lake

The Bechler River

I put these here for the fly fisher that may want a little more solitude than can be found at most of the other more famous Yellowstone locations. They are off the beaten path and offer decent fishing.