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The Waters of the Yellowstone Area...

The Yellowstone area, aside from being known for Yellowstone National Park, is considered by many to be the best fly fishing region in the US and perhaps the world. What separates this area from virtually all other the others great fly fishing destination is the sheer number of truly great rivers, streams and other waters in a relatively small geographical area. Aside from the numerous waters within Yellowstone National Park (YNP), you can also add numerous places in Eastern Idaho and almost the entire southern third of Montana. In all, there must be several hundred different rivers, streams and lakes/reservoirs that are available for the fly fisherman and virtually all of them contain trout.. many with three or four species. 

In my early years of fishing the area, a friend and I once decided that we would stop and take ten minutes to fish every little stream we crossed in a two or three day period. The only requirement was that it be a stream wider than two feet so we could at least cast our fly (#16 elk hair caddis) and hit the water. In those 2-3 days, we stopped at least twenty times and one of us caught or raised a trout in all but one of those streams.

What follows is a list of the more well known and popular waters in the Yellowstone region. They are in alphabetical order. There is an image and a brief description and a link to more detailed information should you be interested. In the detail there is more information and numerous links to related articles/videos. There are several pages so use the pagination bar at the bottom to move from page to page

The Rivers

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. 

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