Misty mornings, roaring caldrons, whimsical blurping paint pots, animals so close you can count whiskers, sparkling
rivers and streams, rainbow colored hot pools, enough waterfalls to last a lifetime - all part of the wonderment of
Yellowstone. Scenery looking like a combination of Disney and Steven King . . . with fish!
A Little History: John Colter, a member of the Lewis and Clark expedition, is credited with being the first white man in the Yellowstone area. His tales of what he saw in the early 1800's gave the name "Colter's Hell" to the region.
Bannock indians were the last of the tribal people to live in the area. Named "Sheep Eaters" by other tribes, the Bannock's thought many of the natural attractions were spirits.
A large number of native people lived in the park prior to the Bannocks. Carbon dated Obsidian, used for spear and arrowheads, from Obsidian Mountain in the park has been dated to 1200. Pieces of the Yellowstone Obsidian were carried by native traders as far as Ohio.
Jim Bridger, famous western explorer who found a way through the Rocky Mountains which still carries his name, Bridger Pass and Bridger Trail also explored the area in the 1830's.
Reports of the natural attractions in the region were not accepted by most people. But interest was arroused, and the Washburn Expedition of 1870 verified the tall tales were reality.
Members of the expedition were so enthralled by the sights they decided to start a campaign to preserve the area when they returned to Washington D.C. They urged congress to make the region a nation's park.
Congress established Yellowstone Park in 1872 as "a national park and a pleasuring ground."
The Fishing: Longtime friend and fly angler, (and owner of our favorite fly shop in West Yellowstone Montana,) Bob Jacklin provides us with recommendations and suggestions for this Spring Season in Yellowstone country.
Spring Season: Late May to June 20th
Each year in late May, on the Saturday before Memorial Day, the general fishing season opens in Yellowstone National Park. The Firehole river, named for its many geysers and hot springs, is one of the best early season streams in which to entice that acrobatic rainbow or cagey bronw. The temperature of the water plays an important part in the hatching of aquatic insects. The Firehole's general temperature is warm, but not constant, for it may vary greatly from one section to another. Hatches are usually of short duration, but they are frequent. Small dry flies like our Pale Morning Parachute, our Thorax and Compara Dun, sizes 16 and 18, are a great match for this early season hatch of Pale Morning Duns. Another early season fly that is a staple on this river is the Blue Wing Olive, sizes 16 and 18. One of the best all around flies for early season fishing is our little bead headed Olive Wooly Bugger, sizes 8 and 10.
By Bob Jacklin
Also in late May and early June many of our alpine lakes around "yellowstoneland" will start to break up. "Ice Out" is a prime time for the fly fisherman. Trout will feed on or near the surface and often. Remember, June is still spring in the high country, many of the lakes may still be frozen and the trails snowbound. Check with us here at the shop for all the current information on all the waters in the area.
Another great fishery in full swing in early June is the Henry's Fork of the Snake River. With flows controlled by Island Park Dam, the river below is one of the greatest tailwater fisheries in the world. It is known for its great mix of water types, prolific hatches of aquatic insects, and some of the best dry fly fishing in the world for wild rainbow trout.Our guide service is one of only two in the West Yellowstone area licensed to operate in Idaho and the Targhee National Forest. The Box Canyon section of Henry's Fork is an early season delight with hatches of giant salmon flies, (happening this week,) and caddis, and lots of smaller stoneflies and mayflies. Our guides float this section of river every day where the rules are Catch and Release on all fish and barbless hooks
What a thrill to hook and land one of these giant rainbows on a dry fly or a nymph. The best flies are the Jacklin Salmon Fry Dry, sizes 4 and 6, as well as the Jacklin Golden Stone Dry, sizes 6 and 8, and Bob's new Salmon Fly Nymph and Mark's Box Canyon rubber Legs, sizes 4 and 6.
After the river flows through the Box Canyon,
the water changes into a giant meadow stream and flows past Last Chance,
Idaho, through Harriman State Park, and on to Riverside Campground where
it changes again into canyon water. Our guides conduct walk-wade and
float trips on this ten-mile section of fantastic dry fly fishing below Box Canyon.
Around the middle of June, the fishing in Yellowstone
Lake opens for the season. Fishing along the shoreine with a small nymph or
Wooly Bugger will produce the Yellowstone Black Spotted Cutthroat Trout,
which are Native to the Yellowstone drainage only. The average size of these
trout will range from 14 to 18 inches. When fishing in Yellowstone Park,
remember to stop by the shop to purchase your Park fishing permit and to
obtain a copy of the current Park fishing regulations.
~ Bob Jacklin