• PARTNER: PROTECT YOUR WATERS
  • Go To: THE FLIES OF YELLOWSTONE
  • Go To: YELLOWSTONE FISHING WEATHER
  • Go To: YELLOWSTONE FLY FISHING MAPS
  • Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Visit: Montana Cowgirl
  • Friday, April 03, 2009

    Hitch In Your Get-A-Long

    YELLOWSTONE ROAD WORK
    Plan Very Carefully
    Plan Very, Very, Carefully

    Plan Very, Very, Very, . . .
    this will crimp your style
    .. There is going to be a beautiful new road complete with bridge in Yellowstone National Park. It will be smooth, wide, and absolutely glorious. Construction has been going on for about three years now. How sweet it is.
    .. Just one problem: it's going to restrict travel. And then -- horror of horrors, it's going to eliminate travel through the Gibbon River Canyon after August 16, 2009!
    .. AGAIN: if you are in West Yellowstone on August 17, 2009, (and for the remainder of the season,) you will need to take the long way around to get to the upper Gibbon River, the Yellowstone River, Slough Creek, Soda Butte Creek, the Lamar River, and other choice Fall fishing destinations in the north and eastern part of the park. This is an important bit of information. For all visitors, not just fishers.
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    .. So, you fished Nez Perce Creek yesterday: it was just better than O.K. and you decide to fish second meadow on Slough Creek today. You now have a choice of two travel plans if you are in West Yellowstone:
    ---> Travel Plan #1] Get up way too early, eat stale donuts and drink cold coffee as you head to Old Faithful. Enjoy the peak-season crowds and gawker blocks. Arrive at Old Faithful in time for a decent breakfast, (but opt out,) and continue on to scenic Craig Pass (don't stop to admire the view of the Tetons.) Cross the Continental Divide twice, and don't stop to wonder at Isa Lake. Continue on past West Thumb and through the tunnel of trees on the shore of Yellowstone Lake. Bypass the Lake Hotel and the Upper and Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River. Carefully negotiate the traffic jams along the Dunraven Pass road and try not to slow down for bear sightings. Arrive at Roosevelt in time for lunch, (but opt out for more cold coffee and donut crumbs,) and head down the road toward the promised land. Go very slowly and avoid the visitors watching Rosie and her cubs. Please don't go too fast past the photographers and their 800mm lenses taking pictures of the wolves, (vibration will ruin their images.) Finally, turn left on the dusty road and try to find a place to park. Rig up and begin the trek toward Second Meadow. As the sun sinks below the yardarm over your shoulder be sure to ask those fishers coming out how the fishing was. Just missed a great hatch? Well, you can probably get back to West Yellowstone in time for a late dinner.
    ---> Travel Plan #2] Get up way too early, eat stale donuts and drink cold coffee as you head north to the construction zone in the Gallatin River Canyon. Smile knowingly at the fishers landing fish in choice spots during a classic spinner fall. Turn off the car lights and enjoy the early morning light at beautiful 4-Corners. Decide if you want to brave the morning rush hour and road construction in Bozeman or go north through Belgrade and intersect scenic Interstate 90. Follow the Interstate, (along with all the other commuters,) to Livingston, Montana - or thereabouts, watch for the Yellowstone Park sign.) Travel south through The Paradise Valley and be smug as you pass all the fishing opportunities. Arrive at Pray, Montana and enjoy the beautiful valley view -- but don't stop for pizza or fishing or Chico Hot Springs. Travel along the Yellowstone River and avoid looking at the wader-laden and boat-filled water as you head toward Gardiner. Take a two block detour and wave at the good folks at Parks' Fly Shop, (stopping would be better.) Dodge the pedestrians and zoom toward the Roosevelt Arch. Follow the winding road to Mammoth and be sure to take the right road. Cross the big bridge and enjoy the scenery as you head toward the intersection at Roosevelt. Rosie might be on this side of the mountain, (she had 3 cubs last year - her name is traditional and has been worn by many bears.) Don't stop for ribs & Roosevelt Beans, as good as they are, (it's past lunch time anyway -- and there's still some acid, disguised as coffee, in the other thermos.) Then, please don't go too fast past the photographers and their 800mm lenses taking pictures of the wolves, (vibration will ruin their images.) Finally, turn left on the dusty road and try to find a place to park. Rig up and begin the trek toward Second Meadow. As the sun sinks below the yardarm over your shoulder be sure to ask those fishers coming out how the fishing was. Just missed a great hatch? Well, you can probably get back to West Yellowstone in time for a late dinner -- OR, spend the night at Chico Hot Springs and drive back in the morning, OR sleep in the car, get a ticket and fish here tomorrow.
    .. It's exhausting to think about it.
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    .. What's it all mean? There are several implications and consequences for the fly fisher. Take heed! Fishing pressure is going to be rearranged and not as predictable as in recent years. Lodging is a prime concern. Fishing destinations must be carefully considered.
    .. After August 17, 2009 there will be two, (yes Martha, TWO,) Yellowstone National Parks -- as far as fishers are concerned. Fish the West Side or fish the East and North Side. These are your choices. There will be no travel between Norris and Madison Junction.
    .. You will not be able to easily fish both the Madison River & the Lamar River from the same bedroom. It will be a herculean effort to fish the Firehole River & Soda Butte Creek if you stay in either West Yellowstone or Gardiner.
    .. As silly as it seems, the Lake Hotel and cabins may be the best solution for those that want to fish on both sides of Yellowstone National Park this Fall.
    .. DO THIS NOW! Call your favorite fly shop. Ask them about the situation. Get your lodging squared away early, nay DO IT NOW TOO ! As far as fisher folks are concerned, your favorite home away from home may be booked. Things will be different and seeing the park will be confusing at best. Fishing will be worse unless you plan and make some hard decisions.
    .. For an exceedingly excellent perspective from the northern part of the park visit the decision and road work page at PARKS' FLY SHOP Road Work Page.
    .. Yellowstone National Park has a page about all the closures and delays for the coming summer season: VISIT IT HERE. We're glad that they have let us know this early, it will make a difference. We can hear the whining now.