Copyright 2013 James Marsh
Fly Fishing the Gardner River -
Yellowstone National Park
This Gardner River begins at about 10,000 feet in the
Northwest Corner of the park as a tiny stream that is
joined by several others near the Grand Loop Road.
This small meadow section of the stream has small
brook trout and an occasional rainbow. Below the Grand
Loop Road down to Ospray Falls, the streams is
moderately flowing water easy to fish until it begins to
near the falls and become turbulent.
Below the Ospray Falls, the river is strictly pocket water
with large boulders. You must hike upstream or via the
Lava Trail to access this sections. The fish increase
slightly in size. Just below the high bridge on the
Mammoth-Tower Road, Lava Creek adds more water to
the flow. From there down to just below the Mammoth
Housing Area upstream a mile or so above the 45th
Parallel Bridge, access is only available by hiking a short
The entire section below the 45th Parallel Bridge
downstream to near Gardiner is easily accessible from
the North Entrance Road. The water is still heavy pocket
water with large boulders, deep fast runs and short
riffles. This section contains the largest fish.
The Gardner River really turns on after the runoff when
the large Salmonflies and Golden Stoneflies start to
migrate to the banks to hatch. For the next couple of
months, the river provides some very good dry fly
action. Even then, the water is rarely crowded with
The Yellowstone season is a relatively short one, but
when conditions are right it is a great place to be.
The first part of the season in early June will find the
Gardner River too cold or in runoff.
Summer is the best time for fly fishing the Gardner River
due to the hatches of aquatic insects.
Autumn is certainly a very good time because large
brown trout move out of the Yellowstone River into the
Gardner River to spawn.
Fly Fishing Guide to the Gardner River
The upper, middle and lower sections of the Gardner
River fish completely different. (Click Here To Continue)
Gardner River, YNP
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