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Thread: Yellowstone Lake Thorofare

  1. #1

    Default Yellowstone Lake Thorofare

    I am headed out on a paddling/backpacking trip in the south arm, southeast arm, and Yellowstone mouth the last week in august first week in September. We already have our permits for several campsites along the way. I am interested in the status of cutts in the area. I read that 2008-2011 were fairly bad years and it sounds like 2012 was a little better. It is hard to find a lot of information due to the travel distance required for access. Any information on flies, fish population, and experience with wildlife in the area would be greatly appreciated.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Pinedale, WY
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Yellowstone Lake Thorofare


    Welcome to the forum!
    The issue with the cutthroats on the tribs of the Yellowstone Lake is that someone dumped lake trout there several years ago and they have taken over the lake and severely impacted the cutthroat population. The park service has been on the war path to reduce the numbers of lake trout for several years now and I have heard that their efforts are starting to show in that the cutthroat are starting to rebound. How that relates to the fishing possiblities in the tribs I have no idea. Hopefully, someone who went out there last year will have first hand experience. Best of luck, sounds like a really nice trip you have planned.


  3. #3

    Default Re: Yellowstone Lake Thorofare

    Hey Kristie
    pack & go to the small lakes and their surroundings (streams - fish moved from place to place) the deeper and farther the better fishing!
    All possible types of standard dry flies (I like "dry" caddisflies) wooly buggers, on one lake tried stoneflies nymph and quite successfully...
    We had two weeks at the park last September, only heard about bears, that they were feeding on the carcass of bison, wolves also... do not go near the bisons, you do not know what they have in mind)
    For entire park catch and release (carefully) on cutthroat trout, mountain whitefish, greyling... for other trouts depends on area!!!
    good luck
    Last edited by argail; 07-09-2013 at 09:51 PM.
    "Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have at work on it, and man can only mar it." Theodore Roosevelt
    "Live with your eyes open, you might notice something and you will have the opportunity to share it with the world." Argail

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  5. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    somewhere on a blue line, N.C.

    Default Re: Yellowstone Lake Thorofare

    ckswim..........I surely hope you post a report on your trip.......this is an area that alot of us read about, but never really get to experience........I wish you the best of luck in this "special area" of the park!!!

    Here I walk slowly, deliberately, taking it one step, one trout, one sunset at a time. -Harry Middleton

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  7. #5

    Default Re: Yellowstone Lake Thorofare

    Best to check with the local fly shops and park officials if your heart is set on fishing the Thorofare Region. As Larry mentioned, the exploding Lake Trout population in Yellowstone Lake have devastated the lake's native Cutthroat population (along with all of the wildlife down the chain that relied on their spawning runs for food).

    Matthews YNP fly fishing book tells of a Thorofare Region that sounds like the greatest Cutthroat Trout fishing experience one could find in North America, but that book was published around 2000. Schweber's book on the same subject (published about 10 years later) makes it sound like a dead zone... almost no trout, and gone as well are the animals that relied on them. It happened that fast (sadly).

    The good news is that the Park has aggressively taken action to eliminate as many Lakers as possible over the last couple of years and numbers for Cutthroat showed a slight rebound in 2012.
    Last edited by stenacron; 07-09-2013 at 11:13 PM.

    "We fish for pleasure; I for mine, you for yours." -James Leisenring

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  9. #6

    Default Re: Yellowstone Lake Thorofare

    Rich Osthoff's book Fly Fishing the Rocky Mountain Backcountry has a great little chapter about the Thorofare. He also describes the lake-run cutthroat spawn in the Thorofare to be absolute paradise and how to fish it. But the book was written in 1998 and doesn't account for the huge drops in the spawning surge up into the area. But he does talk about a great strain of resident cutts in the Thorofare and Bridger Lake.

    As for wildlife, this area is core grizzly country. The "Thorofare" area is not in YNP and you do not need a permit to camp. It's just regular National Forest Designated Wilderness, and is about 6-7 miles south of Yellowstone Lake right at the park boundary. I've been meaning to hike into the Thorofare for some years now. But after I found out about the Yellowstone Lake problems, I've kind of given up on it until the lake cutts rebound a little better.
    Last edited by countr21; 07-13-2013 at 04:03 AM. Reason: fix error

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  11. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Silicon Babylon, CA

    Default Re: Yellowstone Lake Thorofare

    Check in with Blue Ribbon Flies, owned by Craig Matthews, in West Yellowstone. They are in the know.

  12. #8

    Default Re: Yellowstone Lake Thorofare

    Thanks for all the tips. We are in the last stages of planning and preparation. Leaving in 10 days and it's all I can think about! I will post report and pictures once we return.

    Thanks for all the replies!!

  13. #9

    Default Re: Yellowstone Lake Thorofare

    Quote Originally Posted by ckswim View Post

    Thanks for all the tips. We are in the last stages of planning and preparation. Leaving in 10 days and it's all I can think about! I will post report and pictures once we return.

    Thanks for all the replies!!
    Good luck. Don't forget your bear spray (seriously).

    "We fish for pleasure; I for mine, you for yours." -James Leisenring

  14. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    South Florida

    Default Re: Yellowstone Lake Thorofare

    Might want to think about a spinning rod and appropriate lures for Lake Trout. The NPS really does want them gone and they're great eating. You'd be serving your country, and getting a nice meal Now how to fish for these things I have no clue, but I'm sure someone here can tell you.

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