If you throw a dart at a map of Yellowstone Park and draw a circle in a five mile radius from wherever it landed, you’ll find a few places to wet a line. Extend that radius ten miles and even more places exist. Come-out ten more miles and there is arguably a lifetime of fishable waters. This is big country and it is hard to know when to be in the right place at the right time.
In September, much of the mystery of fishing in Yellowstone Park is gone because all the waters fish well. The Firehole, Gibbon, and Madison on the west-side of the Park will see hatches of Blue Winged Olives and some October Caddis. Hard-core anglers seeking a trophy brown trout can pry the likes of the Barnes Hole and the Cardiac. As the early morning frosts grow in frequency, so do the aggressive attitude of that area’s large brown trout. If snow flies get to these holes quickly.
For anglers seeking Yellowstone Cutthroat, the northeast corner of YNP is a walk-wading anglers dream. Slough Creek, Soda Butte, the Lamar, and the Yellowstone are the more popular creeks and rivers. A few smaller creeks are great fishing as well, but we were sworn to secrecy. Be armed with some Drakes and some size 18 Parachute Adams and most fish will come to hand easily.
Despite the fall having less tourist traffic than high summer, many creeks and rivers still see angling traffic. If you want solitude, consider fishing some of the Park’s lakes. Grebe Lake near Canyon Village is an easy day-trip. The trail is flat and the fishing is often on the surface. It is also one of the best places in the area to catch a grayling on a fly. Trout Lake near the Northeast Entrance is full of fat cutthroat trout that cruise the shorelines, and armed with a good cast and small flies you might entice a few to eat.
Yellowstone National Park is wild country—it is one of the reasons we love to fish there. But if you plan to fish alone, tell someone where you are planning to fish and be armed with bear spray. Bear spray is like a spool of 7X tippet. You carry it, but hope you never have to use it.