We just finished a great vacation. We started it off by visiting Yellowstone Park. This has been a favorite vacation spot for the last 50 years. I have seen a lot of changes in that time in the habitat and especially in the fishing. There are a few spots along the river where fishing is allowed today as a catch and release sport compared to years ago when most of the rivers were open to fishing with a limit of two (2) fish per day. Fishing bridge was a favorite of the tourists to fish in Yellowstone Park. People would line both sides of the bridge casting their lines into the river below that was full of fish. Today, I was not able to see any fish in the water below the bridge even though fishing is prohibited.
The Yellowstone River is fed from Yellowstone Lake, another favorite fishing spot for trolling in the park. For years, we would fish the lake in our boat, usually at the far south end. It was common to catch 5 or 6 rainbow trout an hour in the 1 to 5 lb. range. again the limit was 2 fish per day, thus, it became a catch and release fishing trip. A few years ago whirling disease affected a large number of the fish in the lake. Its popularity has decreased a lot since then. I did not take my boat on this trip so I didn’t fish the lake. I did notice a couple boats fishing it.
I did try a couple places along the rivers. Most of the fishermen were fly fishing without a lot of luck and I was no exception. I finally gave up and filed a barb off one of my lures and cast it into the river without any luck. In a last desperation moment, I decided to try casting upstream along the shore. I was able to entice a couple of fish to leave their hiding place under the side of the bank and take the bait. both were quite small but with the river current helping them it made it a challenge to bring them in. I also lost another couple fish because of the missing barb it was easier for them to spit out the lure. It is a far different situation Fishing in Yellowstone Park today.
When I was younger, we liked to fish the Lewis Lake at the park. We would load our gear and supplies in a 12 foot aluminum boat and pull it up the river to the lake. It was a journey of strenuous effort by three men to do so which is why I can not do it today, Age has caught up to me. After setting up camp we would troll the lake with the aluminum boat and a 4 H.P. trolling motor. The lake was teeming with lake trout as few made the effort to get to the lake. It was almost like fishing in a fish hatchery there were so many fish. We would regularly catch fish up to 10 pounds. Again the limit was 2 fish per person so we could only keep those we ate in camp plus two to take home. This was truly fishing in Yellowstone Park at its best. We hardly ever saw another fisherman in the few days we spent there. It was a beautiful setting to camp around a lake surrounded by tall pine trees and pristine air. There was always a threat of bears in the area so we were very careful not to do anything to attract them and we were never bothered by them. Those were the days that make Yellowstone Park a wonderful memory for me.
There are many lakes and rivers that can be accessed by hiking. I have not experienced them personally but have reports from friends that have enjoyed that experience. Yellowstone is a very large place that offers lots of adventures and good fishing. There are lots of regulations so be sure to check out the area that you plan to fish. It is a great place to visit and experience nature at its best or for a great family vacation. There are things to enjoy for all ages, Enjoy the wildlife but stay safe.
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