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Old 08-06-2013, 12:37 PM
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Default Help - Yellowstone Park

Hi everyone. I'm planning a trip from Sept. 8th-14th and staying in Gardiner, MT. I was thinking of focusing mainly on the waters in the NE portion of the Park (Lamar, Slough, Soda Butte, etc.) but am concerned now as I've heard water levels are already low. I am taking a few guys that are total newbies -- so probably not the best conditions for them especially. I guess I'm looking for any advice out there on some streams that would be good to hit during this week where there is a decent shot at success, particularly for someone just getting acquainted with fly fishing. For instance, would the upper Gardner or Pebble Creek be good? Thanks for any insight. Cheers
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Old 08-06-2013, 01:12 PM
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Default Re: Help - Yellowstone Park

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Originally Posted by stuck_in_indy View Post
Hi everyone. I'm planning a trip from Sept. 8th-14th and staying in Gardiner, MT. I was thinking of focusing mainly on the waters in the NE portion of the Park (Lamar, Slough, Soda Butte, etc.) but am concerned now as I've heard water levels are already low. I am taking a few guys that are total newbies -- so probably not the best conditions for them especially. I guess I'm looking for any advice out there on some streams that would be good to hit during this week where there is a decent shot at success, particularly for someone just getting acquainted with fly fishing. For instance, would the upper Gardner or Pebble Creek be good? Thanks for any insight. Cheers
That is God's country. I made a pilgrimage there for years and rarely left the Lamar valley. I'd recommend Pebble Creek campground. It's quiet, pretty, plenty of fire wood if you're willing to walk up the hill across the meadow (you'll know what I'm talking about when you see it). I will say, don't make that trip half in the bag after dark. I was watching the stars and had my headlight off, a couple of scout belts in hand to bundle up wood, and I walked into a herd of elk bedded down. Lord, they busted like a covey of quail, and while I will acknowledge that something like a high pitched shriek might have been uttered, I maintain that it was a manly one and not at all girly.

Seriously though three great places to fish (slough creek not included as it needs no intro). Pebble creek. If you hike up to (I think the third meadow (4 or 5 steepish miles, though with a great views) you will catch all the small cuts you could want. They will hit anything topwater in a pristine setting. I caught a 14 incher there and it was like a whale.
The Lamar itself. Between pebble creek and a research center on the north side, or a bit past it, are some great ox bows off the road. Here I used a droper rig with either an elk hair caddis or adams and a small shiny nymph of your choice. Tons of fish, and very respectable. 12-16 inch cuts were not uncommon, though most were on the smaller end of that.

Soda Butte is nice too, and both it and the Lamar are great for hoppers (I like the parachute ones) in August, September you're on your own.

Then there is trout lake, actually a few lakes a hike up from the parking area. This is great. I've sat on the bank and watched baby otters fight over a two foot Cutt. I've also seen a guy catch a no BS 34 inch rainbow (they encourage you to kill these, but no one does). I've had good success on over cast days with a basic olive wooly bugger. Its a nice hike, a pretty spot and lots of wildlife.

As to Slough Creek, its great. Just ignore the spot in the lower meadow and hike up to the 1st or second meadow. The key is to get there early and bring deet (the black flies can be a pain in July and August, but I have no clue in September, as I had to be back to my teaching job by then). I do know that if you're on the trail to the first meadow by seven am you'll have plenty of room. Its gin clear water and amazing. One year the Cutts forgot they were supposed to be sophisticated and were tearing up any ant or beetle you put close the grass. I was wading wet on an 80 degree day and thinking it could get no better. Wrong! I look upstream and here comes this Miller Hi Boy floating downstream. I deployed my net and snagged it. A perfect summer day, plenty of fish, a beautiful meadow and free beer. Who says there is no God?

If you go, run by Livingston. Hit The Depot for breakfast, classic country on the radio and they make their own corn beef for hash and smoke their own trout for eggs benedict all for about 8 bucks, and the Montana Chop House, again, its like free food, a dry aged ribeye is about twenty bucks and the best burger you've had for ten. Plus there's Russell Chatham's studio, one of the best fly fishing authors and painters ever and Bub Lilly's and Anderson's Yellowstone Angler. Above all, above absolutely all.......DO NOT neglect Wilkonsons ice cream. Their huckleberry, particularly in a shake and their peanut butter is not to be topped. They sell it in the Park, so its available, but it will ruin you for all other ice cream.
Have fun, and watch out for the wildlife!
And no, I'm not at all jealous.


PS oh yeah, newbies. Low water should help. The big hazard with the Lamar is that it silts if there is much rain. Low water should solve that. Try the bends and ox bows with the usual suspects (elk hair caddis, Adams, bead head prince, pheasant tail, stone fly nymphs, hoppers etc.). Its not demanding fishing in terms of requiring a lot of technical casting. Same with Soda Butte. If they can make good short casts there is a lot of good pocket water towards Gardener. And again, Pebble Creek, if they don't mind the hike, it is like a beginners playground. Beautiful wild cutts, just small ones. Personally I would very strongly advise calling Anderson's Yellowstone Angler in Livigston (they fish all the park) and they'll give you the score on what's happening. If its too low you could always blow through to West and hit the Madison out beyond the lake, in which case I'd call Madison River Outfitters. Sorry for getting dreamy eyed thinking of Yellowstone, but lord I love the Lamar Valley.
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Old 08-06-2013, 02:01 PM
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Default Re: Help - Yellowstone Park

First off - fq13, great response! You should be writing short stories... I could just see this can of beer bobbing down the creek as you scramble for your net!

-------------

I'm still somewhat of a YNP rookie having only fished there twice myself, but the best piece of advice I can give is to follow the blogs and fishing reports... and definitely check with the fly shops as they have people coming and going all day with up-to-the-minute fishing reports and water conditions.

NE quadrant is definitely where you want to be for native Cutthroat fishing. The Lamar River was running pretty skinny when I was there 3rd week in July. The conditions on Lamar and Soda Butte are very sensitive to thunderstorm activity in the Abasroka Mountains as well... so it pays to keep an eye on the weather in that area. Here's a link to my report if interested: Yellowstone Nat'l Park - July 25-26

Given your timing... you may want to work a trip to the Madison River into the mix as some submarine-sized brown trout ascend the river every fall from Lake Hebgen to spawn.

Here's a link to a pretty cool blog, and there are links to the local fly shops and reports: Fly Fishing In Yellowstone National Park

Tight lines!
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Old 08-06-2013, 02:32 PM
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Default Re: Help - Yellowstone Park

Another good place for newbies especially children is Obsidian Creek which runs into the Gardiner River near the Indian Creek Campground. There is very little hiking needed to fish these two locations.

These fish will hit almost any dry fly including attractors such as Royal Wulffs and imitative patterns like parachute adams and elk hair caddis.

Click on this Google map and hit the "+" button twice.

http://goo.gl/maps/jZJBo

You can see that Obsidian Creek runs into the Gardiner River, and both the Gardiner and Obsidian Creek are easy to fish.

To fish Obsidian you can park just across the bridge as you enter the Indian Creek Campground Road. To fish the Gardiner, you can park at the end of Sheepeater's Cliff Road.

There is a path along the Gardiner River down from Sheepeater's Cliff. Follow the Google satellite map down and you can see the whitewater cascade and then the meadows below.
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Old 08-07-2013, 07:03 AM
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Default Re: Help - Yellowstone Park

Thanks very much for the help, everyone! I was hoping to get away from the crowds, so the Pebble Creek recommendation sounds particularly interesting. Maybe the first day, we can spend on Obsidian, Panther and upper Gardiner and then head out to Pebble. I see a plan coming together...

In regards to Trout Lake, I've fished that once before and saw huge fish cruising but didn't have any luck. Didn't see anyone else catch a fish either -- but it was late morning/early afternoon. I wonder if dawn (Tricos?) or dusk (Callibaetis?) is the time for that body of water. Any insight?
Thanks again.
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Old 08-07-2013, 07:29 AM
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Default Re: Help - Yellowstone Park

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Originally Posted by stuck_in_indy View Post
Thanks very much for the help, everyone! I was hoping to get away from the crowds, so the Pebble Creek recommendation sounds particularly interesting. Maybe the first day, we can spend on Obsidian, Panther and upper Gardiner and then head out to Pebble. I see a plan coming together...

In regards to Trout Lake, I've fished that once before and saw huge fish cruising but didn't have any luck. Didn't see anyone else catch a fish either -- but it was late morning/early afternoon. I wonder if dawn (Tricos?) or dusk (Callibaetis?) is the time for that body of water. Any insight?
Thanks again.
As a disclaimer, I suck at fishing for trout in still water. I never have figured it out in terms of using nymphs and dries. I just revert to bass fishing mode. I went late in the evenings (not like it matters as it stays light so long) and cast buggers and other streamers around the downed timber and where the creek empties into the lake. The only time I had any luck with dries was when I got onto a hatch (one time), I think they were green drakes, but I don't recall.

As to Pebble creek. Look at a map. There are a few clearings. There's one with a backcountry site with a horizontal pole between two trees. You want the clearing beyond that one to fish.
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Old 08-08-2013, 12:55 PM
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Default Re: Help - Yellowstone Park

Trout Lake has some absolutely gorgeous native fish in it.

Click the image to open in full size.

It also supposedly has big rainbows, but I have only ever caught cutthroat.

If you're lucky enough to hit it on a windless day, I'd fish Turk's Tarantulas and whatever the hopper of the moment is in the local fly shop along the weed beds on the opposite side of the lake from where you come in. Keep the casts low and cast along the shoreline - the cutties will come in to within 3 feet of the bank if they're not disturbed.

However if you've got wind and people walking this would be a really good place to bring a light shooting head setup on a six or seven weight. Bomb zonker-strip type streamers as far out as you can and strip back to the bank. You can do shockingly well this way both there and in Yellowstone Lake itself right as evening falls. But if you stay late, bring a strong light and bear spray. It isn't far back down to the parking lot but it is somewhat isolated.


I'd also second the recommendation to hit Indian Creek Campground's Obsidian Creek side (it flows right by the road) with the newbies. If they can keep low and get a fat dry fly -- anything, even an Adams -- on the water, they'll catch brookies. Main thing is to be somewhat stealthy.

Click the image to open in full size.

This is my cousin being the opposite of stealthy:

Click the image to open in full size.

And if water levels are indeed low, don't be afraid to fish the Yellowstone itself above the falls. That section has some great cutties and will have plenty of water and likely bison on the streamside.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Have fun. This was not a Yellowstone year for me and I envy you extremely.

Zach
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Old 08-08-2013, 01:47 PM
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Default Re: Help - Yellowstone Park

That's a sweet trout. I never caught anything that big there, but one rainy night I was blessed. I fished the timber and it was like every third cast I hooked up on wooly buggers. I just left when I got too cold to keep fishing. My biggest there was about a 20" cut. But I saw a thirty four inch rainbow taken ( I was one of the gaggle of lookie lous) when the guy caught it at the creek mouth (on a zonker). As to wildlife I'd be less scared of the bears and more of the moose. Mt. honors my Fl. CCW so, a .454 will do the job on a bear, but a cow moose? That's some scary stuff. Almost as scary as my singing, but I sing Scottish folk songs loud and proud when I'm walking around up there. I figure that between Bill Ruger and Robbie Burns I'm covered. Scott's wha ha' indeed.

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Old 08-08-2013, 06:22 PM
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Default Re: Help - Yellowstone Park

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That's a sweet trout. I never caught anything that big there, but one rainy night I was blessed. I fished the timber and it was like every third cast I hooked up on wooly buggers. I just left when I got too cold to keep fishing. My biggest there was about a 20" cut. But I saw a thirty four inch rainbow taken ( I was one of the gaggle of lookie lous) when the guy caught it at the creek mouth (on a zonker). As to wildlife I'd be less scared of the bears and more of the moose. Mt. honors my Fl. CCW so, a .454 will do the job on a bear, but a cow moose? That's some scary stuff. Almost as scary as my singing, but I sing Scottish folk songs loud and proud when I'm walking around up there. I figure that between Bill Ruger and Robbie Burns I'm covered. Scott's wha ha' indeed.
I will be in the northeast section of the park around the same time.......I plan on singing '70's disco...........that should do it for the bears........
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Old 08-09-2013, 06:38 AM
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Default Re: Help - Yellowstone Park

Enjoy the Park. I'd love to be back there; spent June fishing the west side.

THAT is a SWEET cutthroat, wow. Fish in Trout Lake always seem to be resting when I visit. They're easy to see, even if not rising, and worth a look.

Slough Creek - my favorite late-summer spot. Say hello to the trout there for me.
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