Yellowstone's Lewis Lake

Lewis Lake, Yellowstone National Park
Lewis Lake

Lewis Lake is located north of the South Entrance of Yellowstone National Park and offers boating, canoeing, sea kayaking, hiking and fishing. Lewis Lake is the third largest lake in Yellowstone and is the jump off point for canoe trips to Shoshone Lake, a backcountry lake. Lewis Lake is a great day trip canoe or sea kayak destination small enough to circumnavigate in a day yet large enough to take the full day. Lewis Lake is 7,779 feet above sea level and is 108 feet deep. There's roadside access, as well as a boat-launching ramp an important element since best fishing results often result from a boat.

A popular fishery, Lewis Lake offers plenty of action, with ice-off occurring around Memorial Day. This is also the only lake in Yellowstone where you can catch brook trout, browns, cutthroats, and lake trout all on a dry fly. Mostly brown trout are found in Lewis Lake with a few lake and brook trout. You can access the lake right from the road, and a boat launch is available. Most of the angling pressure is from spin fishers, but fly-fishers make the lake a regular stop as well. Best results are often found when fishing from a boat the entrance to the lake's outlet is also a good place to land big trout and fishing from a float tube, or a boat is more reliable than wade fishing the outlet. The best times to fish Lewis Lake are at ice-out in mid-June, warm summer evenings, and late October, when the spawning brown trout become aggressive.

Lewis Channel
Lewis Channel

While you are there, you may want to visit the Lewis Channel a 4-mile river channel, which connects Lewis and Shoshone Lakes; it's 3 miles to the point where the channel enters Lewis Lake, then another 4 miles to where the channel leaves Shoshone Lake, a total of 7 miles. Rather than hike the distance, many anglers prefer to take a motorboat across Lewis Lake to the channel and then hike to their favorite fishing spots. Fishing is slow in the Lewis Channel during the summer; an exception comes in mid-June, when there's some lake-trout fishing where the channel enters Lewis Lake.

The hottest action of the year is fishing the Lewis Channel in October. Brown trout and lake trout migrate into the channel and provide spectacular streamer fishing for truly large fish.

Regulations: Because of the increasing number of anglers in the park, more restrictive regulations have been adopted in Yellowstone. These restrictions include: season opening/closing dates, restrictive use of bait, catch-and-release only areas, and number/size limits according to species. A few places are closed to the public to protect threatened and endangered species, sensitive nesting birds, and to provide scenic viewing areas for visitors seeking undisturbed wildlife.

Lewis Lake campground is located at the south end of Lewis Lake, about 10 miles north of Yellowstone's south entrance. Opens in mid-June. It has a small boat ramp. Fishing permits are available at the south entrance or at the campground office.


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