Grand Teton National Park's Snake River

rafter Snake River at Deadman's Bar

Rafters at Deadman's Bar on the Snake River

The source of the mighty Snake River is in Yellowstone National Park, from there it flows past Flagg Ranch south through the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, and into postcard perfect Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park. Below Jackson Lake Dam, the Snake River meanders through Grand Teton National Park. Above the river to the west, the Grand Teton mountains rise suddenly, with no foothills to soften their dramatic rise to the sky. These are mountains the way we always expect mountains to look, The snowcapped, Grand Tetons are America's quintessential mountain range, rearing up with sawtooth like exaggeration crowned by the 13,770-foot Grand Teton.

The abundant wildlife and lush landscape of the upper Snake River Valley, which is Jackson Hole, leaves a lasting impression in the mind of any visitor to Grand Teton National Park. Approximately 50 miles of the 1056-mile long Snake River winds though Grand Teton National Park. Areas around Snake River are a great place to spot wildlife, such as Moose, Bison, Elk, Beavers, Otters, Bald Eagles, and Ospreys, and there is hardly a better way to experience Grand Teton Park than floating or standing knee deep in one of it's treasures.

canoers Snake River Grand Teton National Park Jackson Hole
Canoers on Snake River, Grand Teton Mountains, Grand Teton National Park

The Snake River is a complex river to float. The beauty and lack of whitewater often lulls boaters into complacency. A tangle of channels and logjams present difficulties and dangers and accidents occur often so use caution whenever you float.

Information on flow rates and additional caution areas are posted at river landings, visitor centers, the Rockefeller Parkway Ranger Station and the Buffalo Fork Ranger Station. Reports are updated whenever significant changes in river conditions occur. Even boaters that frequently float the Snake should check conditions before every trip, as the river can change overnight. River flow varies greatly throughout the summer as it is managed for irrigation. Submerged boulders can cause standing waves up to 3 feet high.

The Flagg Ranch to Lizard Creek Snake River section is braided channel makes route-finding a challenge. After the Snake River winds through the Rockefeller Parkway for 6 miles, it flows into Jackson Lake.

fly fishing Snake River under Mt. Moran in Grand Teton National Park
Fly fisherman fishing Snake River below Mt. Moran

Jackson Lake Dam to Pacific Creek section provides scenic views, calm water and the few obstructions. This is a beautiful stretch of river well suited for touring kayaks, canoes, rafts and drift boats and is popular with all of the above. The Snake River meanders out of Jackson Lake, framed by the towering Grand Tetons. Many postcard photos have been taken of this section and the moose you will probably see there. Oxbow Bend, just south of Jackson Lake Dam, presents exciting wildlife watching opportunities.

Pacific Creek to Deadman's Bar section of the Snake is more difficult than the Pacific Creek section; this stretch of river has more drop which increases the current. Braided channels make route finding challenging and requires more skill. This is an incredibly scenic stretch of the Snake River with numerous opportunities to see wildlife and view or photograph the Cathadreal Group view of the Tetons.

Deadman's Bar to Moose Landing is the most difficult section of the Snake River in the park, most river accidents occur on this section The here the Snake drops more steeply, with faster flows than in other sections south of Pacific Creek, giving boaters very little time to maneuver. Complex braiding obscures the main channel. Strong current can sweep boaters into side channels blocked by logjams. This is my favorite section of the upper Snake River to fish.

Fishing the Snake River

fishing deadman's Bar on the Snake River in Jackson Hole Wyoming
Fly fishing on Snake River, Grand Teton Mountains

The Snake River is home to a unique subspecies of cutthroat trout known as the Fine-spotted Snake River Cutthroat Trout. This outstanding game fish is indigenous to the Snake River drainage and relies totally on natural reproduction. Having a wild trout fishery with indigenous trout is not something we take for granted and we highly encourage catch and release fishing to protect this valuable resource.

One of the Fine-spotted Snake River Cutthroat most endearing qualities is its fondness for feeding on top sipping mayflies flies or attacking stoneflies, drakes and hoppers. Large dry flies like size 8 Turck Tarantulas, Royal Wulffs, Club Sandwiches, and hoppers are all popular and good choices. Size 6 and even 4 stone fly patterns sometimes are also effective.

The Snake River is a large and swift river and can be dangerous. While wade fishing is certainly possible, and done all the time, the preferred method for fly-fishing is with a driftboat or raft. Canoes, rafts, and driftboats provide access to much more of the river than would otherwise be possible on foot but if you are in a canoe make sure you know what you are doing.

The key to fishing the banks of this river while floating is getting your fly as tight to the bank as possible and allowing it to drift just inches form the bank in most spots unless there is no current there. When fishing from a gravel bar it’s possible to hook and land a several fish in a row. These spots often provide good mayfly action. Whenever you see an obstruction like a root system of a fallen tree in the river drift your fly close to it as those are good fish lies and often provide large fish.

Trout season on the Snake River opens on April 1 and extends through October 31. Runoff typically starts around early to mid-May and can last well into July and even August in high snowpack years. That allows about a month and a half of fishing prior to spring runoff. Early season fishing can be very good, but is not as consistent and productive as the fishing after spring runoff. Streamers are good choice this time of year. September is considered the best month for fishing the Snake but often times the good fishing will begin in August and last till the season ends in October.

Flyfishing Grand Teton National Park on the Snake River
Fly fishing on Snake River, Grand Teton Mountains

You will find sporadic hatches of stoneflies from April through September, midges all year round. Summer brings hatches of evening caddis and mayflies usually around midday.

Once the river begins to clear in late July or early August, dry fly season begins in earnest. Wulffs, Stimulators, Humpys, Trudes, Royal Coachmans, Power Ants, Jay-Dave's Hopper and Turck Tarantulas are standard fare. Good streamers to use are JJ Specials, Woolly Buggers, Muddlers, Zonkers, Double Bunnies and Kiwi Muddlers. For nymphs, Hare's Ear, Pheasant Tails, Anderson's Golden Stone's, Halfbacks, Yuk Bugs, and Prince's Nymphs.

 

Insects

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Snake River fly Patterns

Mayflies
                         
Blue Winged Olive (BWO)     •  •
          •
  • Dry Flies: BWO's, Parachute BWO's, Parachute Adams,
Nymphs & Emergers:
Pheasant Tails, Hares Ears, BWO Emergers. Beadhead Nymphs
Pale Morning Dun             •   •
  •       Dry Flies:: PMD's, Parachute PMD's, Light Cahill. Pink Cahil, Pink Sparkle Dun, Parachute Adams,  Adams,
Nymphs & Emergers: Pheasant Tails, Hares Ears, PMD Emergers, Qwiggly Cripple. Beadhead Nymphs
Caddis
                         
Caddis             •
  •   •       Dry Flies: Elk Hair Caddis, X Caddis, Stimulators,
Nymphs & Emergers
: Peeking Caddis, Buckskin Caddis, Beadhead Nymphs
  Stone Flies                          
Yellow Sallies             •    •   •       Dry Flies: Yellow Stimulators, Henry's Fork Yellow Sallies, Yellow Elk Hair Caddis.  Nymphs & Emergers: Prince Nymphs, Beadhead Nymphs
Golden Stoneflies             •
          Dry Flies: Yellow Stimulators, Irresistible Stimulators. Chernobyl Ants, Royal Coachmans, Madam X's, 
Nymphs & Emergers
Prince Nymphs, Stonefly Nymphs, Halfback Nymphs,
Salmonflies             •   •           Dry Flies: Sofa Pillows, Orange Stimulators. 
Nymphs & Emergers:
Black Rubberlegs, Stonefly Rubberlegs, Bitch Creek Nymph.
Terrestrials
                         
Ants           •  •  •   •  •   •     Black Fur Ant, CDC Ant, Foam Ant, Flying Ant
Grasshoppers               •   •   •   •     Dave's Hopper, ParaHopper, Foam Hopper, Madam X's, 
Beetles & Crickets             •   •   •   •   •     Deer Hair Beetle, Foam Beetle, Dave's Cricket, Henry's Fork Cricket
Others
                         
Midges     •   •   •   •   •
  •   •   •   •   • Dry Flies: Griffith's Gnat, Double Midge, Fuzzballs. 
Nymphs & Emergers: Brassie, Midge Emerger,  Disco Midge, Serendipity, Tungsten Beadhead Larva

Insects

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Snake River Patterns

 

Regional Scenic Float Trips

Mad River Scenic Float Trips • (Jackson Hole) A pleasant tour enabling you to relax and enjoy the scenery of Jackson Hole while our informative guides point out landmarks & wildlife.  We offer morning and afternoon trips down the southern section of the Snake River.  Also available is our popular combination scenic trip and whitewater adventure for an amazing day on the river. 

Teton Expeditions • (Jackson Hole) For over 35 years Teton Expeditions has shared our knowledge of the river with the visitors of Jackson Hole. Our commitment to quality and customer satisfaction is unsurpassed. Please join us for an adventure that you will remember for a lifetime.

Geyser Whitewater/Scenic Floats • (Bozeman/Big Sky) This river tour is great for those who want to sit back and enjoy the scenery. Float past beautiful Lone Mountain as the Gallatin River meanders through the upper canyon. This trip is available until late July most seasons!

Madi-Stone Outfitters • (Paradise Valley) Scenic Float Trips can be an excellent way for travelers to experience our amazing and diverse scenery. Paradise Valley, for example contains a truly spectacular stretch of the Yellowstone River, providing floaters an experience on one of the countries great freestone, free flowing rivers while looking at the peaks of the Absaroka mountain range 5000 feet above! With hundreds of miles of floatable water nearby, surely we can find something to fit your itinerary.

Wyoming River Trips • (Cody Wyoming) Wyoming River Trips was founded in 1978 with Rick and Ron Blanchard personally escorting trips; a practice that is still carried on today. Our Company has been featured on ESPN and Outdoor Life television network; along with national publications such as Travel and Leisure, Better Homes and Gardens, and Mature Outlook Magazines. Wyoming River Trips is the only continually owned and operated company in the historic Cody Area running the Shoshone river. The Shoshone river is the main eastern drainage of Yellowstone National Park. It reads like a flowing history book with almost as many scenic vistas as the colorful people and cultures who explored it. This river was used as a trade route during the fur-trading era for the mountain men and Native Americans who entered the "Yellow Rock" country in pursuit of its abundance of wildlife. This pursuit of adventure continues today.

Greater Yellowstone Region Fishing Outfitters
Fly-fisherman Fall Creek Falls, Swan Valley Idaho

Reel Deal Anglers • (Jackson Hole Wyoming) Reel Deal Anglers is Jackson Hole’s Premier fishing guide service, don’t wait in a fly-fishing shop (we provide all the flies), we pick you up and take you right to the river. We guide on the Snake River, Green River, Henry’s Fork River, South Fork River, Madison River, New Fork River, Salt River, Gros Ventre River and the Teton River as well as numerous backcountry streams, popular spring creeks, and exclusive private water opportunities, so we can put you on the hottest water available at any given time. Our guides are superb and are experts onthe water they specialize in. With Reel Deal Anglers, you’ll float and wade fish on beautiful rivers, encounter surprised wildlife, catch native trout while entertaining chance encounters with elk, moose, bison osprey and bald eagles fishing the same waters as you.

East Slope Outdoors • (Big Sky Montana) East Slope Outdoors provides three types of guided trips, all based out of Big Sky, Montana, your Blue Ribbon River fly fishing headquarters. Whether you want to introduce yourself to the sport, hone your skills with fly fishing professional, or simply enjoy a great day on the river, you're sure to appreciate the company of our friendly expert guides.

Jackson Hole Outdoors • (Jackson Hole Wyoming) Don Wackerman offers anglers the fishing adventure of a lifetime with half-day and full-day float trips on one of North America's top trout streams, the legendary Snake River in the shadow of the breathtaking Grand Teton mountain range.

Henrys Fork Anglers • (Island Park Idaho) Henry's Fork Anglers is located on the banks of the Henry's Fork of the Snake River in Last Chance, Idaho. The Henry's Fork is one of the most famous and diverse fly fishing rivers in the world, with plenty to offer the advanced fly fisher as well as the beginner. Its prolific aquatic insect hatches draw fly fishers from around the globe to test their skills against highly selective rainbow trout.

Angler's West Flyfishing Outfitters • (Paradise Valley Montana) Big Sky Flies and Guides Outfitting Co. has merged with Angler's West Flyfishing Outfitters! We continue to offer the same fantastic guide service you've come to know and trust, and the finest selection of flyfishing equipment and quality outdoor apparrel at our Emigrant flyshop location. We are the premier Paradise Valley flyfishing outfitter. Come visit us and do so often!

The River’s Edge • ( Bozeman Montana) Bozeman Montana’s premier fly fishing outfitter and fly shop. With the Gallatin, Madison, Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers a short drive away and a store that carries only the finest in fly fishing products including Simms, Winston, Sage, Ross and Galvan, we’re confident we will provide the very best Montana trout fishing experience. Come see for yourself...

Madison River Outfitters • (West Yellowstone MT) Native cutthroats rising for hoppers along a grassy cut bank on the Yellowstone… Big brown trout slashing at emerging caddis in a broad riffle on Montana’s Madison… Wild rainbows sipping tiny blue winged olives in a setting of incomparable beauty on the Firehole… This is just a sample of the action that takes place somewhere in our ‘backyard’ each day of the season! Madison River Outfitters, featuring an impressive selection of quality fly fishing tackle, custom flies, rugged outdoor clothing and hiking and backpacking equipment, is one of the finest fly shops in the Rocky Mountain West. We offer guide service in Montana and Yellowstone National Park and our friendly guides are committed to providing you with a great fly fishing experience on the world class fisheries surrounding West Yellowstone.

Actress Heather Thomas fly-fising on the Snake River in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

T.K. Guide Service • (Star Valley Wyoming) T.K. Guide Service has been a resident of the Snake River area for 15 years and has guided anglers of all abilities for over 40 years. Tom Kelly now exclusively floats the Salt River in Wyoming's spectacular Star Valley. If you are looking for a quality guided fly fishing float trip on the Salt river in Wyoming, we will tailor your trip for your abilities and experience. The Salt River is a fly or spin fisherman's dream. My experience and love of the Salt river will ensure a fantastic day catching wild brown, cutthroat, and rainbow trout. Let me make this a float trip to remember and insure that you have the best possible fishing experience.

Tim Wade's North Fork Anglers • (Cody Wyoming) Tim Wade's North Fork Anglers is the premier Greater Yellowstone Fly Fishing Headquarters! Seen on ESPN, TNN Outdoor and other outdoors fly fishing programs, this fly shop is always a must stop destination for all anglers wanting the latest information on hatches, conditions, and the right equipment before they head out to explore the waters of the region. Tim Wade, owner and outfitter, has been guiding and instructing anglers in the Cody Wyoming / Yellowstone region for more than 20 years. During those years he has taught or written about fly fishing, fly tying, fly casting and entomology, sharing his knowledge of water and fish behavior with thousands of during that time. He still lovesto see one of his guests on a guided trip get hooked up with a wily brown, or untangle knots when needed, because it is all part of the job as guide or outfitter. "This is a job that is a privilege for me," Tim says. "My office is not bad either.

Two Rivers Emporium • (Pinedale Wyoming) Two Rivers Emporium offers some of the finest rainbow and brown trout fishing in the state of Wyoming. Our guides are extremely efficient and up to date on hatches and which flies and lures are working. We are here to help you in any way to make your fishing vacation more memorable. If there is any thing we can do, please contact us at our E-Mail address, or call our toll free number.

Wind River Canyon Whitewater & Fly Fishing • (Thermopolis, Wyoming) Experience an exclusive fly fishing adventure in the Wind River Canyon, or on the Upper Big Wind River near Crowheart, Wyoming. There are no crowds as Wind River Canyon Whitewater & Fly Fishing is the only licensed outfitter on the entire river! The Wind River Canyon is trophy style water with many of the catches well over 20 inches. The predominate species in Wind River Canyon are Brown and Rainbow with Cutthroat also being present. Guided fishing trips are also available on the Big Horn River north of the Wind River Canyon, which flows into Thermopolis, Wyoming.

A Few Thoughts On Fishing

Fly-fishing Tower Creek below Tower Falls in Yellowstone

"But when I am alone in the half light of the canyon all existence seems to fade to a being with my soul, and memories. And the sounds of the Big Black Foot River, and a four count rhythm, and the hope that a fish will rise. Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters."

Sound-bite from a River Runs Through it.

The Yellowstone Teton Region fly-fishing is blessed with a plethora of blue ribbon trout waters that host prolific hatches of Mayflies, Caddis Flies and Stone Flies. Dozens of rivers and hundreds of lakes and streams, all world-class fisheries that attract anglers from around the world. The Henry’s Fork, the Snake, the Madison, and the Yellowstone Rivers have been elevated to legendary status by the movies made about them and the books and articles that have been written about them.

If you believe what you read, fly-fishing requires the touch of a surgeon and the spirit of a Zen master. Well, it might help but it certainly isn’t required around here. Forget about what you’ve heard about fly-fishing in the past, if you really want to fly-fish all you need are the right tools, proper technique, and a positive attitude. With these essential elements, you can begin to enjoy the sport of fly-fishing in no time.

Some time spent with a guide can enhance your skills exponentially in a very short time, as they are all trained to be teachers. A day discovering the best techniques for fly-fishing with a guide on one of our regional rivers or legendary spring creeks gives you the foundation for many years of productive fly-fishing enjoyment of the future. Many regional guides have spent a lifetime fly-fishing the rivers and streams of Yellowstone Teton Region. Their instruction of the best flies, how to read the water, presentation, and all aspects of fishing the Yellowstone region can greatly enhance your fly-fishing experience.

For those of you who already know how to fly-fish, or do not want to hire a fly-fishing guide, all you need is a map, the proper seasonal fly selection, and some current fly-fishing advice, all which can be found for the price of a handful of flies at a local fly shop.

Most rental shops of the Yellowstone Teton region have drift boats rafts and float tubes for rent for those of you that wish to escape the confines of the bank of your river, lake, or stream, because as we all know, the big one is in the eddy on the far side of the river.

Cody and Scott Hunter fly-fishing the Gardiner River in Yellowstone National Park

Spin-cast fishing is popular around the area also and is a very productive way to wet a line. Although spin fishing doesn’t require the finesse and learning curve of fly-fishing, a guided trip with a guide that knows spin-fishing can really improve our catch rate. Remember to keep in mind to de-barb your hooks to improve your catches chance of survival upon release. We also encourage lure fisherman to cut their treble hooks down to a single hook.

The Snake River Drainage is home to a unique subspecies of cutthroat trout known as the Fine-spotted Snake River Cutthroat Trout. This outstanding game fish is indigenous to the Snake River drainage and relies totally on natural reproduction. Having a wild trout fishery with indigenous trout is not something we take for granted and we highly encourage catch and release fishing to protect this valuable resource.

The Yellowstone Cutthroat, as the name implies, are native to the Yellowstone River drainage of southwest and south-central Montana and northwest Wyoming. In general, The relation of Yellowstone cutthroat trout to Snake River fine-spotted cutthroat trout is problematic. Early genetic analyses could not distinguish these subspecies, but recent attempts have been more successful.

Whether you are fishing for one of the Fine-spotted Snake River Cutthroat our Yellowstone Cutthroat you will find their most endearing qualities is their fondness for feeding on top sipping mayflies flies or attacking stoneflies, drakes, and hoppers. Large dry flies like size eight Turck Tarantulas, Royal Wulffs, Club Sandwiches, and hoppers are all popular and good choices. Size six and even four stone fly patterns sometimes are also effective.

Rainbow and Brown Trout can be found throughout the area as well a few sub-species of cutthroat trout, and some of our lakes are home to Kokanee Salmon.

Fly-fisherman fishing the dead calm water of Green River Lake in the Wind River Mountains. Squaretop mountain is casting a reflection

Many of our lakes are gifted with giant Lake Trout, but you usually need to be an expert or lucky to get one in the 20 to 50 pound category. Most are taken by trolling with spoons or minnow-like plugs attached to wire-line rigs or downriggers. They can also be taken by bottom fishing with whole or cut fish. In summer they often move to depths of 50 to 100 feet, but in spring and fall you can find them at depths of 20 feet or less. When ice fishing you can catch Lake Trout in hardly any water at all.

Many of our lakes are put and take fisheries and are planted by the Idaho, Montana or Wyoming Game and Fish, but most of our rivers and streams are wild trout fisheries and do not receive planted fish.

Our wild trout fisheries, due to the law of survival of the fittest, produce a hardier, smarter game fish, and is a resource worthy of protection. Catch and release although not mandatory on many waters is often the practice. Many of the fish of the region are caught and released 40 times per year and if everyone kept their fish there wouldn’t be any here except inferior hatchery fish.

I used to keep my big ones because they were such trophies, and I used to keep some to eat until I realized that I can buy a trout for two dollars in the store and that fish in the river provides has a much greater value than two dollars as a recreational resource.

Events
Chuck Yeager & Guide Mike Lawson - One Fly Fishing Contest
Chuck Yeager & Guide Mike Lawson - One Fly Fishing Contest

Jackson Hole One Fly Fishing Contest • Each year in September, flyfisherman from around the world gather in Jackson Hole Wyoming to participate in one of fly fishing's most unique events. It is a weekend filled with fun, challenges, adventures and of course, the famous Snake River Cutthroat trout.

Give the Cutt-slam a try. • If you want to see some breathtaking country, do a little camping and accomplish something that only around 300 people have done, you might want to give Wyoming’s Cutt-Slam program a try.  This year marks the 10th anniversary of the program that recognizes anglers for catching Wyoming’s four subspecies of cutthroats in their native range. Back in the mid-90s, Wyoming fisheries coordinator, the late Ron Remmick, had an idea to try to bring more public awareness to Wyoming’s cutthroat trout and the management efforts benefitting these fish.  The Cutt-Slam was hatched and a program was developed to recognize anglers for making the effort to catch the Snake River, Bonneville, Colorado River and Yellowstone cutthroat subspecies. 

Stories
 
Daryl L. Hunter trying his luck on the Wind River south of Dubois Wyoming. The Wind River carves a beautiful path through the badlans of Dubois.

Fly-Fish-Hooky On The Henry’s Fork • By Reyn Bowman
Growing up, my Dad wasn’t into fishing so in the years before heavy chores began I hid my old hand-me-down fly-fishing rod near the low-lying Ora Bridge between our ranch and where I went to school in the town of Ashton, Idaho. .....................The tiny bridge crosses the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River in the shallow tailwaters, just below the century-old Ashton Power Dam and Reservoir as that North Fork winds its way from the mountains down to a rendezvous on plain 50 miles south and a bit west with the South Fork flowing out of Wyoming.............................I’ve learned as an adult that the the Henry’s Fork including the half mile of riffles and runs just above the Ora Bridge down through the deeper, spring-fed portion a couple of miles downriver to the Vernon Bridge (and even a bit further to the Chester Bridge) reportedly yields some of the best for trout fly-fishing in the world. There is even a lodge now a short distance from there.......................To me it was just convenient...................rest of story

Jackson Hole's Flat Creek • By Scott Sanchez
All of us have waters that have made a special connection to us. Wyoming's Flat Creek is one of mine. Part of the attraction is nostalgic, since this is where I learned the intricacies of spring creek fishing. This stream was my schoolroom for spotting subtle rises, sneaking up on the fish, picking a good imitation, and then presenting a drag-free drift. Flat Creek is also special because its scenic location a few miles north of Jackson, Wyoming, on the National Elk Refuge.........more

Fly-fishers go crazy saving flies • By D Dave Strege
One fly-fisher stripped his clothes off and swam naked into the river to retrieve his fly that got snagged. Another stood on the shoulders of the guide and used pruning shears to cut down the branch where his fly was lodged. A lucky one hooked a big fish that snapped his line, losing fish and fly, only to wait five minutes before the fly somehow dislodged from the trout's mouth and popped to the surface. He netted it — the fly, that is. What would lead a fly-fisher to go to such extremes to save a fly caught in a tree limb or a log in the riverh.................More

Jack Lee of Swan Valley floats and fishes his way through section two of the South Fork of the Snake River.

Henry's Heaven  • By Jack Ballard
Lake or river -- take your pick. The world-renowned Henry's Fork country of eastern Idaho boasts some of the finest trout fishing in the nation. Who's Henry? That's the question that kept buzzing through my head the first time I motored through a mesmerizing mountain valley just southwest of Yellowstone National Park. The name seems to be ubiquitous in eastern Idaho, with landmarks such as Henry's Lake and the Henry's Fork of the Snake River...............................more

Fishing Henry's Fork of Island Park • By Ben Arellano
Fly Fishing the rivers and lakes around Island Park is an experience that an angler seldom forgets. The spring fed tributaries, creates an ideal situation for enjoyable and unparalleled fly fishing. Not only will you experience the exceptional fly fishing of this area, but you are surrounded with the beauty of the Targhee National Forest, the wildlife and history of people and the life they lived. ...........................more

Fishing The Famous South Fork of the Snake RiverBy Ben Arellano
It is between the Henry's Fork confluence and Palisades Dam that the South Fork is known as one of the finest dry fly rivers in North America. All of the Fish in the South Fork are wild and fish between eight and sixteen inches must be released because they are the prime breeders. The South Fork typically becomes fishable for the fly fisher sometime between the first week of July and the middle of July, depending on the spring run off. This year (2001)  the run off was for a very short period, thus fly fishing was productive in the middle of June. 

Al the former CEO of Woolrich and his wife Dotty trying their luck on the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park

Yellowstone National Park and surrounding waters offer world-class fly-fishing- a fly-fisher's nirvana • By Dave Strege
WEST YELLOWSTONE, MONT. – A bartender in town gave a hint as to the essence of West Yellowstone on the fishing landscape." There's as many fly shops here as bars, and we're a hard-drinking town," quipped Thor from behind the bar at The Gusher. West Yellowstone is a town of fewer than 1,000 residents yet features six fly-fishing shops, evidence supporting the claim this is the mecca of fly-fishing. Each year, more than 50,000 anglers drop a line in 220 lakes and 1,000 streams that make up 2,650 miles of running water - and that's just in Yellowstone National Park.........more

Follow the bugs to a good day of fishing for trout • by Chester Allen
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK — The noon sun blasted down and through the gin-clear water of the small meadow stream.Long strands of water weeds twisted like big, green snakes in the gentle current, and you could see every pebble and rock on the bottom. Not one trout was in sight. But they were there —..........................more

Fishing Yellowstone • By Daniel D. Lamoreux
With a bit of research and boot leather, you can escape the crowds that invade Yellowstone National Park each summer and catch trout that rarely ever see humans.....................................Roughly 3 million people visit Yellowstone National Park each year. While that number may seem staggering, the reality is that its piscatorial treasures are often underestimated and usually overlooked...................................Fewer than three of every 100 people who enter the park buy a fishing permit, and not all of those bother to go fishing. And more than 97 percent of the caught fish are released to fight another day......................................more

Fly fishing Backcountry Yellowstone • By Mark D. Williams
Don't let Yellowstone National Park's 3 million visitors spoil your idea of high-elevation trout fishing. There's a virtual fishing paradise just a short hike away from all those crowds..............................You would think that with over 2.2 million acres and 1,000 miles of rivers, there wouldn't be any crowded water. But most anglers fish near access points, road crossings, parking lots, campgrounds, bridges, anywhere a river parallels road.........................more

Fisheries Conservation Organizations
 
Sadee Wheeldon showing off a ten pound cutthroat trout

Jackson Hole One Fly Capital Foundation • The Jackson Hole One Fly Capital Foundation (One Fly) and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) established a new partnership in 2003 to leverage both organizations’ funding and interest in cold water fisheries conservation, particularly in the tributaries and mainstem Snake and Yellowstone Basins. The One Fly and NFWF have a long history in fisheries conservation throughout the greater Snake River and Yellowstone region.

Trout Unlimited • Trout Unlimited’s mission is to conserve, protect and restore North America’s trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds. Trout Unlimited accomplishes this mission on local, state and national levels with an extensive and dedicated volunteer network. TU’s national office, based just outside of Washington, D.C., and its regional offices employ professionals who testify before Congress, publish a quarterly magazine, intervene in federal legal proceedings, and work with the organization’s 125,000 volunteers in 500 chapters nationwide to keep them active and involved in conservation issues.

Federation of Fly Fishers •The Federation of Fly Fishers, an international service organization dedicated to the betterment of the sport of fly fishing through Conservation and Education. The FFF and its Councils are the only organized advocate for fly fishers on the national and regional level. By joining you will have the opportunity to contribute, with your membership and your voice, to fishery conservation and restoration for all fish in all waters.

The Blue Water Task Force • The Blue Water Task Force is a lcally-led nonprofit (501c3) watershed group, headquarteredalong the famous Gallatin River in Big Sky, Montana. The Task Force is governed by aboard of community members representing a wide variety of stakeholders, including homeowners, recreational business owners, developers, and local water resource managers.

Greater Yellowstone Region Whitewater Rafting

A happy boat full of Whitewater Rafters

Despite “Deliverance,” the 1972 Academy-award nominated film based on the novel of the same name by James Dickey, carved out a permanent dark corner in the American psyche with its unsettling combination of backwoods menace and masterly banjo playing, Whitewater rafting has become a hugely popular sport, and it should come as no surprise to anyone who has felt the addiction that the whitewater rapids hold that there are more people discovering the thrill of whitewater rafting every year. Dickey’s metaphorical river of concealed evil that no one seems ever to have forgotten: all these years later, you can’t go rafting down a wild river without someone in the group humming a few bars of “Dueling Banjos.” And the cultural resonance shows no sign of fading: T-shirts imprinted with the slogan “Paddle faster, I hear banjo music are a popular souvenir around here. Deliverance has become part of the fun!

All around the perimeter of Yellowstone there is whitewater action. The Gallatin, Yellowstone, Snake, Wind, Still Water, and the Shoshone Rivers all have commercial whitewater trips available. Many more of Yellowstone’s waters provide whitewater action for the private rafter, canoer, or kayaker. There are many whitewater outfitters in the towns of Jackson, West Yellowstone, Red Lodge, Gardiner, Big Sky Riverton, and Cody if you choose to leave the rowing to the experts (a wise decision).

Many of us have reached an age where we think we are too old for such frivolity fraught with perceived dangers. I must remind you that it is adventure that keeps us feeling young. Most river outfitters provide wetsuits mitigating the cold-water argument.

Yellowstone region rivers can provide big whitewater thrills.

For those of you that are do it yourselfers do your homework, know how to read water and cinch tight all live preservers on your passengers, the regions class three whitewater is reasonably safe for the cautious if you are going too tackle class four or five water, wear helmets and know what you are doing.

Many of the regions whitewater enthusiasts combine their whitewater adventure with a fishing adventure as well. The rivers of the Greater Yellowstone Region has superb trout fishing, and the whitewater sections are one of the better sections because many boat fishermen are scarred to float them and the access from the banks is poor for those without a boat.

White water rafting can be a dangerous sport, especially if basic safety precautions are not observed. Both commercial and private trips have seen their share of injuries and fatalities, though private travel has typically been associated with greater risk. Legislated safety measures exist for rafting operators. These range from certification of outfitters, rafts, and raft leaders, to more stringent regulations about equipment and procedures.

Whitewater rafting has become safer over the years. Expertise in the sport has increased, and equipment has become more specialized and increased in quality, hence, the difficulty rating of most river runs has changed.

Whitewate Rafting Wreck capsize
Yellowstone region rivers can provide big whitewater thrills but it can also provide danger for the unprepared or reckless.

Risks in white water rafting stem from both environmental dangers and from improper behavior. Certain features on rivers are inherently unsafe and have remained consistently so despite the passage of time. These would include "keeper holes (hydraulics)," "strainers" (e.g. fallen trees), dams (especially low-head dams, which tend to produce river-wide keeper hydraulics), undercut rocks, and waterfalls. Rafting with experienced guides is the safest way to avoid such features. Even in safe areas, however, moving water can always present risks, such as when swimmers attempt to stand up on a rocky riverbed in strong current, risking foot entrapment. Irresponsible behavior related to rafting while intoxicated has also contributed to many accidents. The flat-water sections of our rivers have killed many more people than the whitewater sections because people often don’t take proper precautions of flat-water sections as they underestimate their dangers.

The risk level of a rafting trip with experienced guides using proper precautions is very low at normal river flows but increase during peak runoff. Thousands of people safely enjoy raft trips every year in the Yellowstone Region.

Rafting contributes to the economy of many regions which in turn may contribute to the protection of rivers from hydroelectric power generation, diversion for irrigation, and other development. Additionally, white water rafting trips can promote environmentalism. By experiencing firsthand the beauty of a river, individuals who would otherwise be indifferent to environmental issues may gain a strong desire to protect and preserve that area because of their positive outdoor experience.

Another thing to consider is no summer trip to the Yellowstone Region is complete without either a Whitewater trip or a scenic float through this glorious crown of the Rocky Mountains.

Yellowstone Region Whitewater Rafting Companies
 
Whitewaters getting wet on the Gallatin River in Big Sky Montana

Mad River Boat Trips • (Jackson Hole)  Mad River Boat Trips is a river outfitter in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Offering whitewater trips and scenic floats daily during the summer since 1977, Mad River  is your ticket to exploring the wild and scenic Snake River. The Mad River guides are well versed in the area's flora, fauna and geology. They'll also teach you about the rich history of the region and you'll understand why Jackson Hole is the "Last of the Old West". The boats may have changed over the years, but the passion for adventure remains the same.  Come join us for a day on the river. We look forward to seeing you here.

Jackson Hole Whitewater • (Jackson Hole) Voted The #1rafting company in Jackson Hole by our local newspaper the "Jackson Hole Guide." That says it all. We have been in business for 35 years and were the first company to have permits on the Snake River. We are a small company by choice. We have had the chance to expand but feel that "small is better"! Visit our website to find out why...

Wyoming River Trips • (Cody Wyoming) Wyoming River Trips was founded in 1978 with Rick and Ron Blanchard personally escorting trips; a practice that is still carried on today. Our Company has been featured on ESPN and Outdoor Life television network; along with national publications such as Travel and Leisure, Better Homes and Gardens, and Mature Outlook Magazines. Wyoming River Trips is the only continually owned and operated company in the historic Cody Area running the Shoshone river. The Shoshone river is the main eastern drainage of Yellowstone National Park. It reads like a flowing history book with almost as many scenic vistas as the colorful people and cultures who explored it. This river was used as a trade route during the fur-trading era for the mountain men and Native Americans who entered the "Yellow Rock" country in pursuit of its abundance of wildlife. This pursuit of adventure continues today.

Flying Pig Adventure Company • (Gardiner Montana) Ride the river with us! If you're looking for raft trip with exciting whitewater, breathtaking scenery, and safe and knowledgeable guides - our raft trips are for you. The longest free-flowing river in the lower 48 states, the Yellowstone River, offers fun and exciting white water rafting for all ages and experience levels. Slam through the waves of the Gardiner Town Stretch while helping to navigate your raft through the notorious rapids; Man Eater, Pickets Wave, Creighton's Hole, and Sleeping Giant in your white water rafting adventure near Yellowstone National Park.

Gallatin River Rafting • (Big Sky Montana) We offer canoe, kayak and rafting trips on rivers, creeks, streams and lakes near Gallatin River. You can experience rafting trips ranging from a brief two hour tour to a wilderness adventure lasting several days. Our guides are fully licenced and are carefully chosen on the basis of their skill and experience, their ability to make sound decisions and their ability to communicate and identify with our clients. We're experts in organizing family and group-travel! If you have any questions that are not addressed on this website, please call one of our friendly and knowledgeable whitewater rafting agents today!

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