Copyright 2015 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Guide to Slough Creek - Yellowstone National Park
Normally Slough Creek can be fished before Soda Butte Creek or the Lamar River. Runoff
affects the upper three meadows far less than the other streams in the Northeast Corner of the
park. Buffalo Fork does affect the stream downstream from the campground during runoff. It
can be high, stained or off color. Normally, the upper meadows can be fished as early as the
middle of June but sometimes it is closer to the first of July. It depends on the snowpack and
If you include Frenche's Meadow near the headwaters of Slough Creek located outside of the
park, there are actually five sections of water. The three uppermost meadows in the park can
be accessed from the Slough Creek Campground via the Slough Creek Trail. The first meadow
is two and a half miles upstream; the second meadow is about four miles from the trailhead and
the third meadow about six miles. There's a total of about eleven miles from the park boundary
to the trailhead.
Although most anglers hike in to the upper meadows, local outfitters provide horse back trips
into Slough Creek. Although the first meadow is only about two and a half miles, about a mile of
this is up a rather steep decline. The stream flows through a timbered section with mostly fast
water down to the Campground. It can be hiked into and fished during a single day.
The second meadow takes a lot more effort to get too. If you are young and in good health you
may want to try it. It is usually less crowded than the first meadow but that depends on the
number of anglers traveling there by horse.
The third meadow requires more hiking than most people want to undertake for a day of
fishing. You would be doing more hiking than fishing, for sure. There isn't a great deal of
difference in the three meadows. The number of anglers fishing would be about the only real
The Slough Creek Campground is located about two and a half miles up Slough Creek Road
from the Northeast Entrance Road. The turn is about six miles from Tower Junction. Buffalo
Fork, a tributary stream, joins with Slough near the campground. Its a tough stream to fish due
to the ruggedness of the terrain it flows through. The fish are mostly rainbow trout that average
about 8 to 12 inches.
There's about three miles of water between the Lamar confluence and the canyon at near the
campground. There is also a canyon section where Slough enters the Lamar. Except for the
upper and lower canyon sections, Slough Creek runs through large meadows. The upper part
of the lower meadow section has riffles that lead into large pools but below that, it is mostly
smooth, slick water. The area where the stream enters the Lamar River and the section near
the campground is fast moving pocket water. There are lots of rainbows and cutbows (hybrids)
in the lower meadow section.
The smooth, slick water is much more difficult to fish but it does contain the largest trout. There
are some huge trout in the lower section with plenty going over twenty inches. However,
because of the almost still water, they are not that easy to catch. You can get plenty of action
in the fast water at the point the creek converges with the Lamar and in the upper part of the
lower section near the campground. The fish will average much smaller.
Slough Creek, YNP
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