Yellowstone's Small Streams

Not a Soul in Sight

Did you know that nobody in the world fishes the small streams of Yellowstone National Park? We saw nary a soul on the banks of clear brooks that flow through verdant valleys or race through canyons.

We fished Nez Perce Creek on a sunny day, angled next to backcountry hot springs, walked entirely too close to a grazing bison, hooked and released entirely too many trout. Even if they were only 10 to 14 inches long, no one else we talked to back at camp or at the stores was catching trout on the big rivers.

We drove past serious anglers wading the dangerous high waters of the major rivers. We left those swift waters behind for isolation and steady dry-fly fishing (and catching) on twisting meadow pools and runs of Obsidian Creek and upper Gibbon River.

We braved rain and wind and mosquitoes to fish for lunkers, and I mean big lunkers, on the marshy 20-foot-wide, 3-foot-deep Duck Creek. Never heard of it? Maybe only Yellowstone River itself holds larger fish of all the rivers in the park.

Fishing with Lady Luck

We had great luck tackling the small streams of the park, and despite our best efforts to screw up the fishing trip, Lady Luck was on our side.

How about fishing for four hours on Obsidian Creek, where we parked the Suburban on a small turnout, all kinds of cars and RVs passing by, only to come back and find that we had left the tailgate wide open.

We saw this error from a quarter mile away, and since we had thousands of dollars of equipment in the truck, and more importantly all of our food for the two weeks, that was the longest walk we ever made. We were astonished to find everything right where we had left it.

And we were able to con the teenagers into thinking it was their fault too.

So despite the heavy runoff and persistent bad weather, we caught lots of fish. We got to see streams and forests few folks ever see in the park. It was fun to sit back and watch the boys fish, to witness how much better they had become since we had first put a fly rod in their hand.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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