The Yellowstone River, which spans Yellowstone Park from north to south, is internationally renowned for its trout fishing. Canyons, towering waterfalls, lush forests, and grassy meadows are the backdrop to a unique fly fishing experience. Anglers from around the world make the trip to Yellowstone Park to seek out the wild Yellowstone Cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout that are native to the Yellowstone River.
Fly fishers who visit the river will have the opportunity to explore fishing the different habitats that the river has to offer. Runs, riffles, pools, rapids, and undercut banks make a pleasant home for the trout, and in conjunction with low fishing pressure, this makes for plentiful waters. The remote location of the Yellowstone River also contributes to excellent trout population numbers, though there are stark differences in numbers based on the river’s geography. Most fly fishers prefer to fish downstream of the Yellowstone Lake, as it is easier to access. This thirteen mile stretch of land is set beside a serene mix of meadows, forests, and grassy plains. In this section of the river anglers often opt to, ‘match the hatch,’ meaning they try to emulate what the fish are feeding on naturally with their lures. Aiming for a drag free float, and using shorter casts, has a tendency to work in the angler’s favor, as this area of river can be more challenging to fish, especially later in the season, due to it’s popularity.
The Yellowstone River above the lake is left relatively untouched, and pristine in comparison. This portion of the river starts high in the mountains of the Teton Wilderness Area, and moves into the remote Thorofare region. Anglers must backpack into this remote region as it’s 30-40 miles from the nearest road. The Yellowstone cutthroat trout, which are the major draw for fishing in this region, average approximately 16 inches long, and can be found downstream to the upper falls of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.
Note that fishing regulations vary based on geography, and can change at anytime during the season. It is recommended that fishers review them before heading out. Rivers are sometimes closed to fishing due to high water temperatures. Regulations can be found here: https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/fishing.htm