Yellowstone National Park
The Yellowstone River

Hayden Valley in Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone River

Yellowstone River in Hayden ValleyThe Yellowstone River in Yellowstone National Park is, quite simply, gorgeous. It flows through absolutely incredible and diverse countryside - with deep canyons, grassy meadows and thick forests all found along the river. The Yellowstone River has also superb fly fishing and draws anglers from all over the world to fly fish for Yellowstone cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, brook trout and brown trout.

The Yellowstone River is known internationally as one of the premier trout waters in the world, and in Yellowstone Park, any visiting angler will learn why. The Yellowstone has prolific insect hatches, incredible terrestrial populations and wild, native fish. The Yellowstone has every sort of habitat a fish and fly fisherman could want, from pools, runs, riffles, rapids and undercut banks. Additionally, anyone fly fishing the Yellowstone River will not be fly fishing for hatchery born fish in this river - as all the fish are truly native and wild to the park.

The prime draw on the Yellowstone River is the Yellowstone cutthroat trout. These fish average around 16 inches and will be found from the rivers origin in the remote Southeast corner of the park downstream to the Upper Falls of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Below the falls in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, the Yellowstone River holds excellent numbers of large rainbow, brook and brown trout, although an odd cutthroat trout can occasionally be found.

The Yellowstone River begins in a very remote setting, high in the mountains of a seldom-visited area of the Bridger-Teton Wilderness Area. It flows into the park and makes its way through the remote Thorofare region. Access to any part of the Yellowstone above Yellowstone Lake, either in the park or in the wilderness area, requires extensive or packing to reach, as the river lies along way from the nearest roads.

Yellowstone River in the Grand Canyon of the YellowstoneNeedless to say, fishing pressure on the Yellowstone River above Yellowstone Lake is low to pretty much non-existent in most places. The river has just such difficult and time consuming access that virtually all anglers prefer to fish downstream from Yellowstone Lake, where access is significantly easier. That all said, for a dedicated angler who has the time to explore this remote and wild region, a fishing trip on the Yellowstone above Yellowstone Lake will allow for a fishing trip in solitude among pristine and beautiful scenery. Since fishing pressure is so much lower, the fish also tend to be somewhat easier to catch, although the migratory nature of the Yellowstone cutthroat trout can make for some hit or miss fishing.

Downstream from Yellowstone Lake, between the lake and the Upper Falls of the Yellowstone River, is the primary spot most people head to when fly fishing the river in Yellowstone National Park. This stretch of the Yellowstone River runs for thirteen miles and has very simple access as the Lake-Canyon Road closely follows the river. Ample spots exist for parking in the form of countless turnouts and several picnic areas.

In this thirteen-mile section of the Yellowstone River, the river flows through an incredible mix of countryside. Just below Yellowstone Lake, the Yellowstone River flows through a mix of forests and meadows, and has one rapids section. Just a bit further downstream, it flows right by Sulphur Caldron, always hard to miss due to the strong sulphur smell that hangs in air. Below Sulphur Caldron, the Yellowstone emerges into the stunning Hayden Valley - a massive, grassy valley that is an excellent place to bump into a buffalo while fishing. In the Hayden Valley, the Yellowstone twists and turns in broad arcs across a grassy plain, making for both an incredible view and unique fishing experience.

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