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Rock Creek Message Board => Trip Reports from Elsewhere => Topic started by: fshrsmn on June 30, 2015, 02:32:29 PM

Title: First Trip to Yellowstone
Post by: fshrsmn on June 30, 2015, 02:32:29 PM
We are heading out to Yellowstone the last week of August and the first week of September. We are staying a week at Yellowstone and a few days on the way back at RCL. We are towing the trailer and already have camp reservations in Grant Village for 6 nights.

We have never been and would like to know if anyone out here knows much about the park (nice day hikes, fishing requirements and what to use, and the "must see" points of interest). We plan on bringing some ultralight spinning rigs and I will also bring my 4 piece 9 ft 5W flyrod. Any ideas on flies?

We also invested last year in a few thousand dollars of camera gear. We have both been learning buy still are pretty much beginners. What are some really great picture points to see? Are there any day excursion tours we can get into? And...most of all...animal viewing points of interest.

Any information is welcome.   Thanks
Title: Re: First Trip to Yellowstone
Post by: RockNCreekGirl on June 30, 2015, 07:42:48 PM
 Yellowstone is awesome and good thing you are there for a week! You are staying on the south end of the park so you will need to strategically plan your visit.  Never fished there, but here are your things to see/ photo opportunities. One day you should visit Old Faithful (do the loop hike), upper and lower geysers then head thru Madison to West Yellowstone.  This is the route that has a lot of Buffalo and West Yellowstone is a cool little town. Second day head North to Mammoth Hot Springs and Roosevelt Lodge and drive the loop, this are usually a lot of grizzlies in this area. The hot springs cause these colorful pools that are unique and the Lodge area is historic. Third day head to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone near Canyon Village. This is the one area we actually saw wolves.  If you have time, a side trip south to Grand Teton National Park would be nice or a trip to Cody, Wy. If you want to see the wildlife...just look for cars pulled off to the side of the road and people standing around...that is a good sign they are looking at wildlife such as bears or wolves...just be smart and keep your distance. I would highly recommend getting a can of bear spray if you plan to hike or fish as the area is very populated with bears...might want a can anyway since you are camping. Have fun!
Title: Re: First Trip to Yellowstone
Post by: wshawkins on July 01, 2015, 06:44:28 AM
Of all of the National Parks I took my family to, Yellowstone National Park was perhaps the most memorable for my gang.  So much to see and do there, 6 days fly by.  First off, Yellowstone is a BIG PARK and there’s quite a bit of driving to get around the park.  It’s awesome as RockNCreekGirl said!

First off, go to the NP website at: look under "Things to Do" there is a good section on day hikes, fishing, wildlife viewing, Ranger- led activities, guided tours, etc.  Also visit the visitor center near Grant Village when you’re up there as it will have a list of all ranger-led hikes with difficulty levels described.

I would purchase a book on Yellowstone day hikes before you go.  There are many Yellowstone day hiking books to choose from but one I recommend is "A Ranger's Guide to Yellowstone Day Hikes" by Roger Anderson and Carol Shively Anderson.  Excellent selection of hikes to choose from and a good read too.

A couple hikes that I liked were the Fairy Falls and Mystic Falls ones - not too long, and very gorgeous scenery.
Fishing can be good at a few of the lakes and at the many streams there.  Best fishing requires some hiking, not much but enough to get away from the crowds.  There are some serious large Cutts out there!  Really is a fly fisherman’s dream fishing the many fertile streams.

Some must see points is “Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone” (Breath taking views), “Lumar Valley” (wildlife aplenty), “Lower Yellowstone River Falls” (600 foot drop falls!), the many Geyers (“Old Faithful”, “Upper Geyer Basin”, “Midway Geyer Basin”, etc.).  Just too much to list.

And play it safe, carry a can of bear spray with you on your hikes.  Have a great time!
Title: Re: First Trip to Yellowstone
Post by: fshrsmn on July 01, 2015, 07:21:40 AM
Thank You for the information. RockNCreekGirl- thanks for the day planning information. I can see on the map where this leads and the wildlife is the best part! We were looking into visiting Teton while we are there too. Wshawkins- I was looking at ordering the "Ranger's Guide to Yellowstone Hikes" a couple days ago on Amazon and wondered how good it I'll order it for sure. What size tippet would you recommend for the Cuts?

Thank you both for suggesting Bear Spray. Can't ever be too safe! We WILL be taking loads of pictures so once we are back look for the photo invasion here (if I can get it right...last time it was a struggle).

Title: Re: First Trip to Yellowstone
Post by: beldingi on July 01, 2015, 07:56:37 AM
This should be a great trip. I went about a decade ago in September. Good time of year with the crowds smaller, the aspens changing color, the elks rutting, the bears with cubs, etc. Hopefully Salim will chime in about the best places to see wolves in Lamar valley. That's one thing we didn't do, and I regret. But I will second the comments on seeing wildlife the road - abundant and amazing. Just keep your distance! They move fast and not all folks keep a safe distance. And I also second going to Grand Teton. We saw more moose there.

Have a great trip!
Title: Re: First Trip to Yellowstone
Post by: Little Hardrock on July 01, 2015, 08:30:07 AM
this just came thru on my email:)  perfect timing!

salim will be chiming in..  he is working out of state ..but will catch up with us here :)
Title: Re: First Trip to Yellowstone
Post by: playingmenace on July 01, 2015, 08:37:12 AM
Hey Bill,

Be prepared to be astonished, your expectations will be exceeded.

When I was there, my kids were pre teens, and they are all in their 30's now. So the info I have is dated to say the least. Be advised that they do have strict fishing regs thru out the Park, and they vary from area to area, at least they did. Such as "No fishing zones", "Fly fishing only", "C/R Only" and only at certain times of the year. So another booklet you'll want to look for will be regarding fishing regs.

We spent a week there before heading up to northern Montana. A week really wasn't long enough as 'hawk mentioned, the place is huge and one can spend hours commuting to the next destination. I think Hayden Valley was the highlight for me with all the wildlife to view there, bring binoculars. Moose and bison may appear docile, but can be extremely aggressive so figure what a safe distance is, then double it. I was most impressed with just how large the moose were. It's crazy how large their racks are, yet they can maneuver through a heavily wooded forest. I also came across a badger on a short day hike, we gave that little guy plenty of room as they tend to be a little pissy too.

That trip was my first experience fly fishing and wading a serious river. Hilarious to think back on what a goof ball I must have looked like. Regardless, I caught/released 2 Cutts well over 24" and I'd guess were close to 5 lbs. each. Man what a ride that was for my first fly fishing experience. FWIW, I used a #6 wt fly rod. A cool side note on that wading session, 2 monster elk came down to drink about 35 yards away from where I was fishing. They could care less I was there.

Anxious for your report when you get back. Like I said, it will exceed your expectations.
Title: Re: First Trip to Yellowstone
Post by: SN on July 01, 2015, 09:07:28 AM

so for animal viewing that are not on the typical tourist menu.

need to be at dawn in Lamar valley
look for a few cars with a 2m radio antena on the roof - Primarily a CR-V Blue in Color with MT plates.
Rick drives that car and is the Technician biologist that is tracking and monitoring the wolves in the park.
once you have seen the car, look on the hill sides for the team.  Rick is in uniform but the team is not and they have radios.
they will be able to tell you where the wolves are.  Lately they have had some bears on the wolf kills.
you can also track the movements of wolves and some grizs via FB  "legend of Lamar Valley"  they track them well and post pictures of the wolves.
Also you can scout the team the night before.

there is also Hayden valley
lots of Grizs and a wolf pack there too.

all that is on the other side of the park for you.

There are day hikes in Lamar valley that are close to hitting post.
that is the big parking lot with bathroom east of the Yellowstone Institute.
be sure you have bear spray (one for every two people minimum).
the hike takes you in along the Lamar river and you can fish it along the way.  Barbless catch and release for the cutthroat.  All other you must keep - please review the regulations as those were last years.
I like to fish Soda butte creek and I fish it every year two or three days.
in August you would want to fish it before 1PM and after 5PM to get more hook-ups.
best place to fish Soda butte creek is between the Lamar river confluence and pebble creek (the campground).
look at the map before you go.
east of hitching post and before Soda Butte itself, there is a bridge for your day hike and for fishing.
It is best to cross the bridge and fish from the south side.
take PMD, Yellow sally, EH grey and black.  hoppers and beetles will do well in August. Not sure about the nymphs sorry.

Now that you are on the river, be aware of your surroundings.
making noise will spook the fish but keep the animal aware of your presence.
along Soda butte creek there will be small "islands" of freestone.  fish where the water goes into the main channel from the back channels.
also fish along the edge of the opposite side of where you are.  deep medium fast pool is the key.

if you see a bear well don't sh@t your pants that makes it worse (just kidding).
they will leave you alone and rangers will be there within 10 minutes to pull you out if you have not left.
if a buffalo is coming at you, stay on the freestone and go in a 90 degree path away from the animal.
buffalo do not want to wade on the freestone and attack you on the freestone island.  Its bad for them, they split a hoof and they become dinner for wolves and bears.
do not follow at Path in the dirt if they come at you.  that is their path.

please call me or email me if you need more info
also if you get into car or camper trouble in the park reach out to me.

sorry I can give more but that is it for now.

Title: Re: First Trip to Yellowstone
Post by: Topwater Terry on July 01, 2015, 11:54:28 AM
I fished yellowstone last summer with Salim for a couple of days,  it is basically the holy grail of flyfishing.  We got cutthroats up to 20 inches in Soda Butte Creek.  Go back on the trips to elsewhere section,  I posted a report last year on our trip.  Most visitor centers can supply you with pointers  on where to fish,  what the regulations are,  ect.  Most of the park is barbless lures only,  some is flyfishing only.  Leave the bait at home.  As far as scenery and animals,  it is hard to find a place with that variety of animals,  with that kind of scenery-high desert,  alpine,  geysers.  It is an awesome place! 
Title: Re: First Trip to Yellowstone
Post by: fshrsmn on July 02, 2015, 06:25:25 AM
  WOW! Thanks everyone for the information. I am going to continually look over this to pick out the itinerary for the trip. It does look like a week is not going to be enough. We may have to extend the stay a little.

Salim- That is A LOT of information that I can use. It covered about everything. I can see where since it is a huge park someone will need to plan in order to get the best out of the trip. Even with that I believe there will probably be other trips in the future to see other parts. I am a little leery of the grizzlies and the moose since I have heard stories, so our distance will be well back from them.

Title: Re: First Trip to Yellowstone
Post by: Topwater Terry on July 02, 2015, 08:18:44 AM
Watch out for lightning too,  as that is way more dangerous than other words,  you're going to be fine.  There have been 7 fatal grizzly attacks in about 130 years,  and that's with 2 million people visiting every year.  Also,  only about 200 moose in the park.  Be vigilant,  don't walk around with a frying pan of bacon,  you'll be fine! 
Title: Re: First Trip to Yellowstone
Post by: fshrsmn on July 02, 2015, 11:47:22 AM
   "Be vigilant,  don't walk around with a frying pan of bacon,  you'll be fine!"
 Hahahaha....NO BACON????????? That's one of the biggest reasons to camp.
I get the meaning. I know that bears can cause damage, but deer/elk/moose can account for more injuries a year in many places. It's all a part of enjoying nature...while not ending up on a dinner table of one of its residents.