Wanted to tap the fount of forum knowledge in advance of my week long fly fishing expedition to Yellowstone. Am setting up for a mid July trip and am looking to glean advice as to any lessons learned from others, must bring supplies, how many/what type setups to bring, etc.
If anyone cares to share, It would be great to hear thoughts on any must visit beats or possibly even a recommendation for a guide based on previous experience...
As a relatively new East Coast fly fisherman (4 years throwing bugs), any and all suggestions are appreciated!
Flying into what airport? What park entrance are you going through? If you only fish in the park, that's the only license you need.. depending on your route, there will be different fishing opportunities.. you'll need the state licenses for those.
Just keep in mind the Park gets > 900K visitors in July. It will be the most crowded mid July. Easy enough to find water, just allow extra time since your first couple of picks will probably have people in them. And keep it in mind for the tourists that will stop in the middle of the road and get out of their cars to look at their first elk or bison, etc
I think in general, rivers you've heard about will be busy: Lamar, Firehole, Soda Butte. You can still have water to yourself if you walk.
I used to make this trip a couple times per year, from Vermont. Fly into Bozeman, rent car, stay overnite at Best Western near airport (has a good bar). Next day, fish my way down the Gallatin, to the Park. Stay in least expensive motel in W. Yellowstone. Make daily forays into the parks' rivers.
last day, fish my way back up the Gallatin to overnite at same best western, take 6am-ish flight out the next morning.
That was a pretty good system, for me, anyway. All of the posts above have good info...I bought all Craig Mathews books well in advance of the trip, plus googled the hell out of "fishing Yellowstone" or similar.
I really liked it in September WAY better than July, from a crowd standpoint.
Dave gave you a great jumping off point. All of his suggestions are great. I will add to it that you should DEFINATELY buy bear spray if you decide to hike anywhere outside of vision of cars, no maybe about it. While chances are miniscule you will need to use it, it's $50 that is a great insurance for your trip. I'm sure if you could ask the people who were attacked last year if they wished they had bear spray, they would say yes. Unfortunately, the man died. This type of hindsight 20/20 is not the type you want.
Also, if you can move it back a couple of weeks to late July/early August, that's the start of hopper season and arguably the best time of the year to visit Montana/Wyoming. Some will argue the salmonfly hatch, but, if that's number 1, then the hopper "hatch" is a close second. Make sure you take at least a 5 wt but a 6 can be helpful sometimes if it is windy or you're throwing bigger flies.
My favorite area to fish was the Lamar Valley on Soda Butte and the Lamar River. Easy area to wade, alot of wildlife to see and VERY eager cutthroat trout. Only problem is that it can get blown out for a couple days if there's a hard rain, which is pretty common in the park. Alot of the water is pretty big and can be a little difficult to wade in certain spots. That's why I loved the valley so much. Very little unwadeable water. The only problem is you're not really away from the crowds. In honesty, I only fished a half dozen streams while I was there because I wanted to concentrate on one area rather than spend my time traveling all over the park.
Get that book that was recommended by Dave. It's a great guide and is worth 10x it's price.
I will add to it that you should DEFINATELY buy bear spray if you decide to hike anywhere outside of vision of cars, no maybe about it. While chances are miniscule you will need to use it, it's $50 that is a great insurance for your trip. I'm sure if you could ask the people who were attacked last year if they wished they had bear spray, they would say yes. Unfortunately, the man died. This type of hindsight 20/20 is not the type you want.
Yes, last year there were 2 fatalities in the park last year and a couple of other 'incidents'.. one group did have and used bear spray a few days before one of the fatalities in the same area.. they were fine.
I think both were > 1 mile from the road.
Normal things.. be aware of your surroundings. Probably need to watch out more for the Elk and Bison that will literally walk right up to you when you're fishing.
Also, bring binoculars you can carry with you too.. the wildlife can be stunning.
What's the best fishing spots close to Grant Village? How about fishing the lake, any pointers?
I've only been there once, and I did not fish the lake despite the advice of both a park ranger and another fisherman that I ran into. They both recommended streamer casting close to shore; they said I could hook-up with CutThroat that way.
Otherwise, all advice here is the same that I got and I had a successful trip. Find Craig Matthews book before you go, show up at the Blue Ribbon Fly Shop and ask for some current advice the day you go out. He got me pointed to some waters that were exactly what I was looking for and sold me the flies that caught the fish. My only regret is that I didn't get to any of the backwoods streams.