Emerald Lake is a small, 28-acre beautiful lake lying along the edge of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area. The lake is at the end of the forest service road that follows West Rosebud Creek. West Rosebud Creek flows through the lake.
Emerald Lake receives low to moderate fishing pressure, with the heaviest use falling on summer weekends. Additionally, popular trailheads into the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area begin right at the lake. As a result, anglers in search of solitude will be disappointed due to the large amounts of people who manage to find their way to this otherwise isolated lake.
That all said, Emerald Lake can provide for non-stop fishing courtesy of the extensive fish stocking program. Each year, Emerald Lake is heavily stocked with small rainbows that, nearly starving in this clear, shallow, low nutrient lake, will take just about anything. Mornings and evenings are the best time to fly fish Emerald Lake due to the lower winds.
Other fish species found in Emerald Lake are brown trout, brook trout, grayling and mountain whitefish.
Emerald Lake is a small lake and is quite shallow. Since the lake also lies right next to the road, it is an ideal lake for floating with a float tube, pontoon boat, canoe or inflatable kayak. There is no boat ramp, so leave the big motor powered boats at home.
Camping is not a problem at Emerald Lake. A campground exists at Emerald Lake and numerous unofficial campsites exist both along the road as well as around the lake itself. Access to the lake is easy—just drive up the forest service road along West Rosebud Creek. The road can be quite bumpy and dusty at times, so be prepared for a rather long ride.