Of the many superb trout streams in Yellowstone National Park, Soda Butte Creek surely ranks among the finest. Extensive meadows, broken by pockets of forest, line the lower banks of the river as it twists and turns towards its confluence with the Lamar River at the eastern edge of the Lamar Valley.
Access is quite easy since the highway between Tower and the Northeast Entrance closely follows the river for much of its length. In addition, the scenery is spectacular.
The fly-fishing in Soda Butte Creek is excellent. Similar to the Lamar River, Soda Butte Creek runs high and muddy during spring run-off, an event that lasts through late-July in some years.
However, once Soda Butte Creek begins to clear, excellent fly fishing for rainbow and cutthroat trout happens on the lower section of the river, generally defined as downstream from the Pebble Creek campground area. Average rainbow trout size runs around 12 inches, with fish exceeding 16 inches not uncommon.
The techniques of fly fishing Soda Butte Creek is also not very different than from fishing the Lamar River. Terrestrials are the fly of choice beginning in July and lasting until the first freeze. Hopper and cricket imitations, sized 4-10, are excellent choices for summer fishing once Soda Butte Creek clears. Additionally, dry flies such as the Pale Morning Dun and the Green Drake, sized 14-18, also work very well during the summer, as Soda Butte Creek has consistent hatches.
Soda Butte Creek, as a road closely follows it, receives a fair amount of fishing pressure. This is especially true near the confluence with the Lamar River. To avoid the crowds, just locate the part of the creek that is furthest away from the road and start hiking. Excellent fishing awaits those who are willing to walk away from the obvious and easy road access spots.