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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone -

I'm new to this site and love what I see so far. I'm organizing a huge backpacking/fly fishing trip for July and wanted to see if anyone had some input for me.

I'm starting in Denver, then heading to Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, (possibly eastern Washington and Oregon), and then coming back to Colorado through Utah. The whole purpose of this trip is to backpack and flyfish. I'm planing on 3-4 weeks for the whole thing, but I'm not going to be on any schedule.

I'm just wondering if anyone has any suggestions on places to stop along the way. This is a once in a lifetime trip, so I want to make it amazing.

Thanks for your help.
 

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Google Montana (and other states) visitor fishing" or somesuch and get their booklets that describe the different regions for fishing. Great and clear maps, etc.
 

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The obvious one is Yellow Stone, and I would try to squeeze Yosemite in there too. Hells Canyon in Idaho. And another good one would be Glacier National Park in Montana.

But you are covering alot of land so it might be good to slow down and focus on 1 or 2 parks and just have a ball.
 

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I'd stick to Wyoming and Montana if I were you. You''ll waist too much time driving if you hit all those other states. Besides emptying your wallet with all the non-resident licenses, conservation stamps and such.
I did a similar trip years ago before I fly fished and couldn't believe all the problems getting licenses in the middle of nowhere. They always had one but it was the $50 weekly or the $100 10 day and not the $15 one day I was looking to purchase.
One more thing to take into consideration is late runoff in early July!

Good luck!............I'm green with envy ;D


You could spend 3 weeks in Montana alone! :)
 

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You could spend 3 weeks in all those states and if you are back packing, find little to no people the entire time. Since you are going in peak vacation time you will probably run into a few people on this trip though.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the input so far. I'm thinking about spending a fair amount of time in Yellowstone, because I could just get a Yellowstone fishing liscence instead of messing with a bunch of others. If it will be super crowded, I won't enjoy it, but I'm thinking it shouldn't be too bad once I get into the back country. Does anyone have any info they want to share about fly-fishing Yellowstone? Also, if you know of any other places in these states that would get me away from the crowds, that would be great. Thanks for your help
 

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I flyfish yellowstone every year well i have for the past 10 years. If I was to pick one river to get away have great fishing with no crowds to speak of. The Lamar depending when you go the Lamar can be an awesome dry fly river. The only real issue with teh Lamar is if it rains it clouds up quick. I have never hiked back to slough creek but I'm told that also can be worth the hike. I have hiked up the Lamar a couple miles and have found that the fishing is just as good if you make the 1/2 mile hike to the river from the road. Feel free to PM me I can tell you what flies to have I also have fished the yellowstone in the park for years so i think I have that down as well. August = Grey drake a must fish just once in your life......



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First off like others said all this depends on run off. I have made a similar trip in the past not as long of a trip but I have done some fishing. Also some of these places I havn't been to I have just read up about them. I am not sure of hatch statistics during that time on some of these rivers but if I were to go it would be like this.

Starting in denver I would head up to WY and fish the mile and the reef. I think this part is self explanitory.

Then up to eastern Montana to fish the bighorn. I have never been but I hear GOOD things.

Then follow the madison fishing all the way through Livingston, Bozeman, and to Hebgen lake. I think this part fishes great despite every one thinking whirling disease destroyed it. Never fished Hebgen but again good things.

Then take a night and enjoy the "night life" in west yellowstone. HA HA!

Head into the park. There is more to fish here then any where. Just do a little reading on the park to figure out where to go. Here are some of my favorites.

Madison-The barnes pools 1, 2, or 3. Or follow the speedometer.

The yellowstone- 7 mile hole shhhh don't tell.

Lewis- Running out of lewis lake. Kind of a hike but fish above the falls. One of my favorite places to fish ever! If you have a boat or you really want to hike the inlet to Lewis lake from shoshone below the falls is suppose to be great.

Slough creek- below the campground is good but hike up to the meadows and wow!

From the park head in to Idaho and fish the Henry's Fork. If the lower sections are elbow to elbow head in the the canyon. There are some dirt roads heading in to in before last chance. Carefull the most expensive flies I have ever purchased came from here.

Drive to Jackson Hole. Fish the snake out of Jackson lake. Also the Gros Ventre above the campground. ( I get my french creeks confused it's either that one or nez perce) Also fishing near hoback junction is good.

Drive to Utah. Fish the Green. Never been before but come on it's the green!

Enter Colorado. Fish the pan. Green drakes baby. Drive south fish Ucompadre(spelling?) Drive east fish gunnison and taylor. East more and fish dream stream. Head back into denver.

This is just what I thought of off the top of my head. Remember run off can and will change all this. There are a lot of good books out there. Do alittle research and you will have a blast.
 

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There have been some good suggestions so far. Do you have a float tube or pontoon? There are some great stillwaters that should not be overlooked.

I will chime in with my 2 cents:

Yellowstone- Beautiful, go if you have never been. Fishing can really be hit or miss in my opinion. Be prepared to fight crowds whereevr you go, even in the back country. Work on securing your permits now. Remember no lead is allowed in the Park, you must have tungsten, bismuth or bidegradable weight if nymphing. If you fish Yellowstone Lake kill all the Mackinaw you catch.

There is neat program called "Flyfishing for Science" run by Dr. Tim Bywater. Basically they take a group of flyfishermen on a backcounty trip to scientifically sample the Yellowstone fisheries by hook and line. There is work involved, but mucho angling time as well. If I rememeber right, the trips are about 4-5 days. For more info or to see if they have all their volunteer slots filled for this season contact Bill Voight or Tim Bywater at: [email protected]
[email protected] 1-307-242-2441

I would not consider a backpacking trip in WYO complete without hitting the Wind Rivers and the opportunity to catch true trophy Golden Trout. While you are in the area why not try for the WYO CuttSlam:
http://gf.state.wy.us/services/customers/cuttslam/index.asp

Instead of fisghting the crowds on the Green in Utah, it is an aquarium with hook ragged fish. I would fish the upper Green above Fontenelle Reservoir. The fish are just as big, not quite as numerous but a better experience in my book.

Idaho- Run off should be above average this year, thus the Salmonfly's should come off a bit later on the Snake below Palisades. 4th of July is the rule of thumb around Conant, but It would not suprise me to see it a week or two later this year, particulalrly in the Irwin area. This is big water, and can easily be floated in a pontoon. Nothing like throwing 3" long dryflies for always hungry cutthroats. Have plenty of 12-14 yellow stimulators to match the Yellow Sallies, PMD's should also be hot. Fish the riffles and braided areas and pound the banks with the salmonfly's.

The Henry's Fork is famous water. I like the area just below Island Park dam best. HF rainbows are the strongest fishting trout I have ever caught. Henry's Lake is worth the trip, it can be one of the most productive lakes in the west.

Everything I have listed above is within 100 miles as the crow flies from each other. A lifetime is not enough time to fish what I have listed. I have not even talked about Utah, Montana, or Oregon...
 

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Just a quick note on Yellowstone NP. There are many, many small creeks that are loaded with small fish. If you are willing to walk just a little bit, you can have some great fishing and not see another person. Give Tower, Grizzly, Lava, and Blacktail Deer creeks a try. Any small attractor dry fly will hammer the fish.
 
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A couple more tidbits on Yellowstone for you RH. Flyfishcolorado was right on about the Lamar and it's muddy tendencies, but there's one other thing about the Lamar in July that you should know- Beware the flies, they'll eat you alive or at least drive you nuts, you'll pray for mosquitos-so be prepared (headnet, machine-gun, etc).
Slough Creek is one of the most awesome places a man could ever fish. I've fished it below the campground (tough stuff), in the 1st meadow (amazing stuff) and in the 2nd meadow (the stuff of legends), but not yet made it to the 3rd meadow. It's a relatively easy hike.
Three things to keep in mind about Slough Creek- Big Cutts, big flies, and big bears.
The Wind Rivers, as Clackaram suggested, are certainly worthy of your time. Arguably one of the best backpacking destinations in the US.
As always, the farther you walk, the less people you'll see. Yellowstone is primarily a driving park, with few people making it more than a mile from the trailhead. The Wind Rivers get a lot of pressure but you can spend a week there and feel almost alone.
Yellowstone requires backcountry permits, the Wind Rivers do not.
Good Luck! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Wow! Thanks to everyone for the advice - this will definitely be useful. A lot of you have discussed run off. I have been under the impression that run off subsides as the summer passes. I spent last summer working on a ranch in Buena Vista and spent a lot of time fishing the Arkansas and some smaller creeks. At first, run off was a problem, and the water didn't reach good levels until July - but by then it was fine. This is a major reason that I am planning my trip for late July. I feel that water levels should be good at this time. Am I wrong? Any additional info on run off or anything else about this trip would be appreciated.
 

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Depending on the snowpack in the areas you will be fishing, runoff should be over by late July. In my 40 years of fishing, I can only recall one year in which water ran high until August.
 
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When I was a kid, we'd go up every year for 3 weeks to fish the Yellowstone area. Here are some of the favorite spots...

Idaho - Henry's Fork of the Snake. Tough fishing but an experience. Stop at A-Bar's at Last Chance for a beer and a burger when your done (or in between thunder storms). Up the road you've got Pond's Lodge and Mac's Inn as well as Coffee Pot and the Buffalo Loop campground area - great fishing (especially the brookies). Keep going and you'll hit Island Park, Henry's and Hebgen Lake and eventually the Town of West Yellowstone. West of that you've got the Madison. Haven't been in a while but Quake Lake is worth a try. There's a great campground a friend used to guide out of at Slide Inn. Hit the pocket water adjacent to the campground. Down the road is West Fork - great in the evenings and during the Caddis Hatch. Grizzly Bar for beer and burgers as well.

Going back south and west towards Oregon to through Craters of the Moon - make sure you keep your tank topped off - for a long ways there's nothing but rocks and wind. It can be a looong drive. A friend used to fish Silver Creek and swore by it. Dad and I did that one trip and never returned because we couldn't find the ideal spot to fish it.

Have fun - I'm jealous!
 

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To help out a little, here is the Montana wildlife web page
fwp.mt.gov/default.html

There is also a place in Livingston Mt. I believe is called Yellowstone outfitters. My brother in law owns a machine shop across the street from them and he says they are the best in the state.Montana has been in a droubt for the past 7 years, the snow pack has been better this year but by July the run off should really be no problem.I'm going up to Billings in a couple weeks for the Montana outdoor recreation expo. so if I can get any info, I can let you know when we get back.
Hope this info helps , have fun!!!
 
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I will be in montana in late june, so if ya make it up that far I will meet up with ya. Fished alot in the Bitterroot valley, know a few spots.
If you make it to Idaho and Eastern wash, make sure you slap a few lines in Silver Creek, and great little place in Eastern Wash is called rocky ford. Great little spring creek with some hogs in it. Soap lake exit on I 90 headed west. Stop and ask at a gas stations, they eill know.
 

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royalhumpy said:
Thanks for the input so far.  I'm thinking about spending a fair amount of time in Yellowstone, because I could just get a Yellowstone fishing liscence instead of messing with a bunch of others.  If it will be super crowded, I won't enjoy it, but I'm thinking it shouldn't be too bad once I get into the back country.  Does anyone have any info they want to share about fly-fishing Yellowstone?  Also, if you know of any other places in these states that would get me away from the crowds, that would be great.  Thanks for your help
Check out this site:
http://www.yellowstoneflyfishing.com/
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I've had my route planned out for a while now, but I thought I would just let everyone know. Please give me any thoughts that you have on it.

1) Teton Wilderness - fishing the Yellowstone and smaller creeks (6 days)
2) Yellowstone - fishing Slough, Gallatin, Lamar, Gardner, Madison (6-7 days)
3) Beaver River near Dillon, MT (1-2 days)
4) Frank Church Wilderness in ID - fishing Big Creek, The Salmon, and small creeks (5 days)
5) High Uinta Wilderness in UT - Green River, Uinta River (3 days)
 
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Sounds like a blast. Slough Creek may be tough fishing. Haven't been in a while but last time we were there we saw a ton of fish and resorted all the way to using 0X tippet material and still couldn't get them to hit. That was the first week of July though. Soda Butte is close - may be an alternative. The campground at Slough Creek is nice.

This time of year, you might also try the Firehole. Water should still be cool enough for trout. Take some yellow and red 16 or 18 Humpys and some Elk Hair Caddis with you!
 

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Wow! Sounds like a great summer! I agree, with previous posts, Yellowstone Park has amazing fishing if you hike away from the crowds. Be sure to hit Kelly Creek in East- central Idaho (Lochsa - Clearwater River area) if you can. There's some amazing cutthroat fishing up there. It's beautiful country too.

D
 
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