Parks' Fly Shop: Guide to the Lamar River Drainage, Fishing Lamar River, Fishing Soda Butte Creek, Fishing Slough Creek

Introduction to the Lamar River Drainage

The Lamar River drainage includes three primary streams: the Lamar, Soda Butte Creek, and Slough Creek. All are world-famous, and provide some of the most consistent fishing in the Yellowstone region from the time they clear (late June to mid-July, depending on the year) until early October, save when thunderstorms muddy them for a day or two. The average fish in all three streams are chunky cutthroats ranging from 12-20 inches, the meadow character of the rivers makes them easy to access, wade, and read, and the dry fly fishing, both match-the-hatch fishing and terrestrial fishing, is excellent all season. For these reasons and the great beauty of the Lamar drainage, it isn's surprising that the Lamar drainage is now the most heavily-fished group of streams in Yellowstone Park in July, August, and September.

The trout in the Lamar drainage are pounded hard by very experienced anglers all summer long, so none of the streams in it are suitable for beginners, especially beginners without a guide. By late summer even experts can have trouble at times. Trout in Soda Butte Creek's Junction Meadow and in the Lower and First Meadow on Slough Creek are routinely caught ten or more times a year, so they have learned to be very persnickety about what they eat, even as they constantly have their eyes on the surface for the first PMD, Green Drake, hopper, or beetle to pass overhead. They'll inspect many flies, but reject them at the last moment unless proportions, coloration, silhouette, and drift are correct. If a fly is drifting correctly and it resembles the food item the trout wants, the trout will eat, usually with agonizing slowness.

In addition to excellent fishing, the Lamar drainage offers the best wildlife viewing in the park. In addition to elk, antelope, and bison, the Lamar drainage is home to the largest concentration of wolf packs in the Lower 48 and heavy populations of black and grizzly bears. We see a bear while driving out to fish about half the time, and occasionally even run into one on the stream. Early morning and late evening are the best times to see wolves. If you'd like to arrange a wildlife watching tour, we can put you in touch with businesses that do this.

One important factor in much of the Lamar drainage is crowding. Anglers pack like sardines into the Junction Meadow of Soda Butte, portions of the Lamar, and areas of the First and Second Meadows of Slough Creek. Please be aware of proper angling etiquette for these situations. Unless invited, it is not proper to join another angler or group of anglers in the pool they are fishing. If unsure, give at least 100 yards between your group and the next. Also, avoid walking on high banks as much as possible. Trails frequently line these banks, but they are trampled by people who don't know any better. High, undercut banks are where trout reside, while anglers fishing to them stand on the flatter, shallower bank to avoid spooking the trout by their shadow and silhouette. There are easy fords at every bend on these streams, so it's easy to cross from shallow bank to shallow bank.

A large number of our custom flies were designed for the Lamar River drainage, and as the closest full-service shop to this area, we spend a lot of time on this water. Increasingly, this time is spent on lesser-known portions of these rivers and a couple of the smaller streams, where crowds aren't as bad -we even find solitude on Slough Creek. If you'd like to check out some of these places, we'd love to show them to you.

Please note that there are many small streams in the Lamar drainage that can make for fun fishing. The information on the Small Streams page will help you prepare for these streams. Otherwise, click the tabs below the Trip Planning link box to learn about the rivers in the Lamar drainage.

Lamar River

Introduction

The Lamar River has the most moods of any of the streams in its system. In its headwaters it tumbles headlong as a pocket water canyon stream, in its six-mile meadow it flows placidly through S-bends and beneath undercut grassy banks as a classic riffle-and-pool river where buffalo stand watching passing anglers, and at last it dives into a rugged canyon choked with boulders larger than cars and punctuated by whitewater plunges and the luscious green plunge pools below each one. Each section has its own charm, and all are home to plentiful cutthroat and cutthroat-rainbow hybrid trout, with a handful of pure rainbows thrown in for good measure.

Portions of the Lamar can be quite crowded, especially around midday when most mayfly hatches occur. Please take the note on stream etiquette in the introduction above to heart.

Description and Access

As noted above, the Lamar is a river of contrasts save in one respect: runoff lasts a long time and is severe, and the chocolate stew of runoff is echoed after every thunderstorm. A popular local saying is that an elk can pee in the wrong spot on the upper Lamar and turn the rest of the river muddy for days. This saying is more accurate than you'd expect.

Above Soda Butte Creek, you have to hit the trail. The Lamar River Trail parallels the river all the way from a mile above the Lamar-Soda Butte confluence to the river's headwaters. In many places the trail is a half-mile or so from the river on a high bench, but it is not difficult to cut down to the river using game tracks. The river is generally flatter here than in the lower canyon, and the canyon is not as deep. The river generally flows in either a riffle-pool character or as pocket water, with the latter becoming more common the higher you go. The upper Lamar and its tributaries make good sense for backcountry anglers, as the trail is mellow and there are numerous backcountry campsites.

By far the Lamar's most famous section is the meadow stretch between the mouth of Soda Butte Creek and the head of its lower canyon. This section flows through a bowl-shaped valley green with waist-high grass and sagebrush, with the ridges on either side topped by pines, aspens, and, into late summer, snow. Trapper Osborne Russell called this meadow "Paradise Valley" in his journal from the 1830s, and most people and most of Yellowstone's animals agree. There's a bison herd year-round, as well as pronghorn, mule deer, black and grizzly bears, and several wolf packs. In the winter the area is prime habitat for elk that come down from higher country in search of food. The river in this stretch is placid, flowing in long riffles and pools, and most banks are undercut. Nowhere is the road more than a mile from the river in this stretch, and fishing pressure is heavy, especially immediately below Soda Butte Creek and immediately above the canyon, where the road is only a few yards from the river. Access is a no-brainer. A blind man could get to the river from the road without trouble, provided he didn't walk into a buffalo on the way.

The river is generally visible from the road in its lower canyon, anywhere from right next to it to a half-mile or so away. Access is difficult in places, however, because the canyon is no joke. The upper portion is especially strenuous to reach. It is in a tight gorge and the river drops one foot in five, and an angler must leap to and from and crawl across and among the enormous boulders that choke the streambed.

Angling

Fish Species Abundance
Yellowstone Cutthroat Abundant throughout.
Cutthroat-Rainbow Hybrids Common below Soda Butte Creek, uncommon above.
Rainbow Common below Slough Creek, uncommon between Slough and Soda Butte, rare above Soda Butte.
Please note: brown trout are absent from the Lamar drainage. Copper/gold/brown-colored fish are in fact cutthroats.

The entire Lamar offers dry fly fishing at its finest. Its trout are large, often rising, and just picky enough to make things interesting. Because its trout are smart (especially in the meadow section), the Lamar is a poor place to take beginners fishing unless they're accompanied by a guide. Even then, there are many better options. Trout on the Lamar range from 8-25 inches, with most in the lower canyon averaging 8-18 inches, those in the meadow averaging 10-20 inches, and those in the headwaters averaging 8-16 inches.

The Lamar is never clear enough to fish with dry flies until at least the beginning of July. Once in a blue moon it is nymphable around the 25th of June, but even this is highly unusual. More typically, the river drops into good shape around the 10th of July. Most of the time the best fishing is found from the middle of July until the beginning of September, and again on late September afternoons when the Hecubas and BWO hatch. An exception is the lower canyon, where the Salmonfly emergence around the 10-20th of July is the start and the peak of the angling year. If it has rained recently, call us to find out if the river is muddy or not. Other fly shops do it all the time.

After the river drops into shape, it is almost never necessary to fish nymphs by themselves. Under a hopper, yes, but not dredging. Except in the canyon, your first concern should be looking for a hatch. Green and Gray Drakes, the fall Hecuba Drakes, Epeorus, Flavs, Pale Morning Duns, Blue-winged Olives, and caddis are common. In the fall the fish can really get on #18 black midges. In the canyon and above Soda Butte there are plenty of Yellow Sallies. In the meadow, no hatch means it's time to fish a hopper. If a fish refuses a hopper, try a beetle or ant, or even a #6 coal-black Mormon cricket. Above Soda Butte and in the canyon the same hatches may draw fish up, but attractor dries like Trudes also work. Fishing a large Parachute Adams as an attractor also makes sense, because the trout in the Lamar learn to keep their eyes open for Green Drakes. Fish in the meadows are usually smart enough to realize the Drakes are gone for the day when an hour or two pass without a real one going by, but in the canyon and especially above Soda Butte they are more optimistic. Don't neglect streamers, especially in the lower canyon. Buggers and white Marabou Muddlers are our favorites. Once in a great while a two-foot trout will eat your streamer, or more commonly just flash at it before disappearing forever.

As often as possible when dry fly fishing, target a spotted fish or a rise, rather than casting blind. Blind-casting works better here than on the upper Yellowstone or Slough Creek, both of which are slower and glassier than the Lamar, but if you merely cover water you'd be amazed at how many fish you're missing. Take your time and keep your eyes open.

Another note about the Lamar: its fish are known as flaky, for good reason. One day you might be fishing a banner Green Drake hatch over dozens of large rising trout, while the next day the same hatch in the same spot will see only ten-inchers rising, and not many of them. Lamar trout sometimes migrate randomly, so when confronted by a situation like this, get moving. Odds are the next pool will hold all of yesterday's fish.

Quality of Fishing By Period: X=high, x=moderate, x?= variable, blank=poor or closed
May 6/1 6/15 7/1 7/15 8/1 8/15 9/1 9/15 10/1 10/15 Nov.
      x? X X X X x? x? x?  

Lamar River Hatch Charts and Fly Pattern Recommendations
  Timeframe: X=major importance, x=minor importance, blank=unimportant
Insects May 6/1 6/15 7/1 7/15 8/1 8/15 9/1 9/15 10/1 10/15 Nov.
Pale Morning Dun       x X X x          
Fall BWO (Gray Baetis)             x X X x x  
Western Green Drake       x X x   x x      
Hecuba               X X      
Flav         x x x x x      
Gray Drake       x x x x x        
Epeorus         x x x          
Heptagenia           x x x        
Caddis, Various         X X x x        
Golden Stonefly       x x x            
Salmonfly       x x              
Yellow Sally Stone       x x x            
Midges             x x X X X X
Terrestrials         X X X X X x    
Other Trout Foods May 6/1 6/15 7/1 7/15 8/1 8/15 9/1 9/15 10/1 10/15 Nov.
Attractor Dries         x x x x        
Attractor Nymphs       X x x x x X X X X
Streamers         x x X X X X X X

Lamar River Top Flies

Soda Fountain Parachute, #10-16
Flashback Pheasant Tail, #16-20
Letort Hopper, natural and green, #8-14
Lamar River Chernobyl, #8-12
Copper John, #14-18
BWO Sparkle Dun, #18-20
PMD Sparkle Dun, #16-18
Partridge Caddis, #14-18
Black PFS Beetle, #18
Black Biot Midge, #20



Soda Butte Creek

Introduction

Soda Butte Creek is the Lamar's cute little sister. It is about the same size as the Lamar where they meet, but its valley is smaller, the pools are shorter, its two canyons not as unapproachable, and its fish less flaky. In its most popular sections, it's never farther than 500 yards from the road. Instead of the bowl-shaped valley of the Lamar, Soda Butte's is vee-shaped, with sheer peaks of two branches of the Absaroka Mountains jutting up without foothills to the east and west. Despite the grandiose surroundings, the creek itself generally has a gentle demeanor. Except for a short, extremely narrow gorge and a short section of steep pocket water, Soda Butte flows in a series of short riffles and short pools, with a few yards of pocket water thrown in here and there for good measure. It heads northeast of Cooke City, outside the Park, and its headwaters are damaged by mine wastes from a series of defunct gold mines. This is a danger that does not appear to an angler fishing the creek inside the Park, but it is a concern. The vehicles of area residents often sport bumper stickers urging someone, anyone who will stand up and take responsibility, to CLEAN UP SODA BUTTE CREEK! I agree with this sentiment, as the danger of acidic mine waste damaging the absolutely world-class water of much of the Yellowstone river system inside Yellowstone National Park is a very real one.

Runoff does not last quite as long here as it does on the Lamar, but this is offset by Soda Butte's even worse reaction to storms. Because it is a short drainage, a thunderstorm at its headwaters will turn the entire creek muddy within half a day. On the plus side, it clears quickly from such storms, usually within a day as opposed to three or four for the Lamar.

Soda Butte is usually quite crowded, especially around midday when most mayfly hatches occur. Please give other anglers plenty of space, and expect them to do the same.

Description and Access

As noted above, Soda Butte generally lacks the extremes of its sister stream, the Lamar. Good fishing begins about where it enters Yellowstone Park. From here to Ice Box Canyon, it is a fairly steep riffle-pool stream with numerous undercut bends amid dense stands of fir and spruce trees, with occasional pocket meadows. Numerous small springs and seeps line this stretch, probably fueled by groundwater from the immense amounts of snow the region receives (25-35 feet a year on average), and by melt off the surrounding mountains, which the snow never quite leaves. Numerous snags choke the stream, piling into huge logjams at every bend. The stream is typically about 20 feet wide, ice-cold, and easily waded after mid-July.

At Icebox Canyon the stream changes character utterly, but only for a mile or two. This gorge is so narrow and deep that ice lines its walls all summer in some years. You cannot see the bottom from the road, even though the road is less that 15 feet from the edge of the canyon wall in some places. There is a pair of small waterfalls in the canyon, but I've never seen them because travel within the canyon is almost impossible save at the bottom, above the confluence with tiny Amphitheatre Creek.

Immediately below Amphitheatre Creek, Soda Butte enters the aptly named Round Prairie, the first of the two meadow stretches that receive the vast majority of Soda Butte's angling pressure and are home to most of its large trout. Halfway down Round Prairie Soda Butte picks up Pebble Creek, which significantly enlarges and warms it. At the bottom of the meadow, near Trout Lake, there is a short stretch of steep pocket water where Soda Butte cuts through a small hill, but it soon emerges into the Junction Meadow This is the flattest, most open section of the creek. The creek meanders four miles through Junction Meadow to the Lamar, changing its channel with almost every spring runoff. This section of the creek is world famous. The bottom half, in particular, can be jam-packed with anglers to the extent that it's not possible to find a place to fish without getting much too close to others.

Access to Soda Butte is easy. Just choose one of the many pullouts and wander over to the creek, which is nowhere more than half a mile from the road and usually less than 300 yards from it, though it is often screened by trees. At times there might be buffalo in the way, or, up in the trees, black bears or moose. Only the short Ice Box Canyon is a real obstacle to fishing, but this canyon is also primarily a nursery area home to 4-10" fish, so the lack of access here is no problem.

Angling

Fish Species Abundance
Yellowstone Cutthroat Abundant throughout.
Cutthroat-Rainbow Hybrids Common in Junction Meadow, rare elsewhere.
Rainbow Uncommon in Junction Meadow, rare to absent elsewhere.
Brook Rare in headwaters, absent elsewhere. Kill every one you catch.
Please note: brown trout are absent from the Lamar drainage. Copper/gold/brown-colored fish are in fact cutthroats.

Soda Butte Creek fishes much like the Lamar, save that its headwater section is close to a road and its pools and riffles are not as long. Insect hatches are generally the same as those on the Lamar save that there are no appreciable Salmonfly or Golden Stone populations in Soda Butte. The hatches may be slightly more consistent on Soda Butte, as well. Fish can be as "flaky" as those in the Lamar, but seldom are, at least in the most-popular section of the creek, the Lower Meadow. In addition to the grasshoppers, ants, beetles, and bees you should have in your box on the Lamar, it's critical to have a few Spruce Moth imitations in your box on Soda Butte, especially if you're fishing above the Junction Meadow. Some years, so many of these terrestrial insects get in Soda Butte that the fish become selective to them, as they would to a mayfly spinner fall.

The fish in Soda Butte vary markedly in size. In the crowded Junction Meadow, an average fish is between twelve and eighteen inches long, with a few fish to 22-inches. In Ice Box Canyon and the pocket water stretch between Round Prairie and the Junction Meadow you'd be hard pressed to find a ten-incher. Round Prairie fish average ten to sixteen inches, with a few to twenty. Above Ice Box there is a wide range of fish sizes, but most fish run between eight and eleven inches, with the largest fish you're likely to see on an average day around fourteen and a handful to eighteen.

One factor to note about Soda Butte is that the rapid elevation loss and change in climate from its headwaters (7700 feet in an alpine forest) to its mouth (6200 feet in an open meadow) dramatically impact insect emergence dates and times. While Western Green Drakes usually hatch in July in the Lower Meadow around 10:00AM-2:00PM, up in the trees above Ice Box Canyon they're more likely on August afternoons. Different portions of the creek likewise fish differently at different times of the year. The upper creek is usually at its best in August, while the Junction Meadow is usually best in July and the middle of September.


Quality of Fishing By Period: X=high, x=moderate, x?= variable, blank=poor or closed
May 6/1 6/15 7/1 7/15 8/1 8/15 9/1 9/15 10/1 10/15 Nov.
      x? X X X X x? x? x?  

Soda Butte Creek Hatch Charts and Fly Pattern Recommendations
  Timeframe: X=major importance, x=minor importance, blank=unimportant
Insects May 6/1 6/15 7/1 7/15 8/1 8/15 9/1 9/15 10/1 10/15 Nov.
Pale Morning Dun       X X X X x        
Fall BWO (Gray Baetis)             x X X x x  
Western Green Drake       x X X X x x      
Epeorus           x x x        
Heptagenia             x x x      
Hecuba               x x x    
Caddis, Various       x X X x x        
Yellow Sally Stone       x X x            
Terrestrials, Spruce Moth         x X X x        
Terrestrials, Other       x X X X X X x    
Other Trout Foods May 6/1 6/15 7/1 7/15 8/1 8/15 9/1 9/15 10/1 10/15 Nov.
Attractor Dries       x X X X X X x x  
Attractor Nymphs X X X X x x x x X X X X
Streamers         x x x x x x x  

Soda Butte Creek Top Flies

Soda Fountain Parachute, #10-16
Flashback Pheasant Tail, #16-20
Letort Hopper, natural and green, #8-14
Lamar River Chernobyl, #8-12
Copper John, #14-18
BWO Sparkle Dun, #18-20
PMD Sparkle Dun, #16-18
Partridge Caddis, #14-18
Black PFS Beetle, #18
Black Biot Midge, #20

Slough Creek

Introduction

Many anglers do not pronounce Slough Creek's name right. It's proper name, pronounced "sloo" is apt, considering the river's resemblance in its lower reaches to the backwaters of many major rivers. The most popular mispronunciation, "slow," is likewise apt. The meadows on Slough Creek are long, and the river in them is slow, and makes for spooky fish. Except for a canyon stretch upstream of the Slough Creek Campground, all of the popular water on Slough is divided into meadows, There are five altogether, Frenchie's at the creek's headwaters, the Third, Second, and First, from the Park boundary to the head of the canyon (six, four, and two and a half miles from the Slough Creek trailhead, respectively), all separated by short stretches of trees and steeper sections of creek, and last the Lower Meadow, the bottom of which is known to some as the VIP Pool, which ends at the quarter-mile canyon stretch where Slough dumps into the Lamar. These meadows feature excellent hatches of a variety of mayflies and even better terrestrial fishing. Slough is probably the most famous of the three streams in the Lamar drainage, and for good reason: its fish are very large and very wary.

The dirty water phase of runoff is over sooner here than on Soda Butte or the Lamar, and frequently the Upper Meadows will be clear when the Lower Meadow is not, because the Buffalo Fork, a tributary which enters near the Slough Creek Campground, usually carries a higher sediment load, both in the spring and after storms. Runoff is usually more a matter of high, cold water than filthy muddy water. As such, the creek may be fishable on opening day, especially if the winter was dry and the spring cold. This is rare. Usually it's late June before Slough is truly fishable at all, and the end of the month or the 4th of July before it's good. Slough also responds better after rain than Soda Butte or the Lamar, making it the best bet in the Lamar drainage after a rain, though of course it is quite crowded at these times.

The First Meadow, the campground area, and portions of the Lower Meadow of Slough are frequently quite crowded. Because it's a popular backcountry camping destination and many outfitters run horseback overnight trips on it, even the Second and Third Meadows of Slough frequently have anglers in the obvious places. Please give others plenty of room, and if there's a hundred cars at the trailhead when you arrive in the morning, go fish somewhere else.

Description and Access

Except for the campground stretch, canyon between the campground and First Meadow, and the upper chunk of the Lower Meadow, fishing Slough Creek requires a hike. The walk down to the lower portion of the VIP Pools is not long, but getting to the First Meadow requires a hike of a bit over two miles, the first mile of which is up and over the top of a ridge. After this it's a relatively flat hike all the way to the top of the Third Meadow, eleven miles from the trailhead. This is an exceptionally beautiful hike. The trail is frequently used by grizzlies and wolves as well as people, so look out. The Slough Creek Campground Road offers access to the Lower Meadow, while the campground itself is the jumping off point for the water near it and the canyon. The trailhead for the upper water is a couple hundred yards before you reach the campground.

The Upper Meadows of Slough are all about the same in terms of topography and flow. The major differences are that there are less people in the Second Meadow and sometimes less in the Third than either of the others, though that depends on how many horseback outfitters have brought parties in for the week. Consequently, fish in the First Meadow are warier than those in the Second and Third. The Third Meadow is the longest, the Second next, and the First the shortest. All three meadows feature long pools with short riffles at their heads. The bottom is mostly sand and fine gravel, and the creek is often exceptionally clear, which is both a blessing a curse for the angler.

The Lower Meadow resembles a larger version of Soda Butte at its head, with riffles dumping into pools every fifty yards or so, but downstream a bit farther the stream becomes almost still and glassy smooth. The bottom of the entire meadow tends more towards silt and sand than the Upper Meadows. The fast water where the creek tilts over and dumps into the Lamar and the section near the campground are pocket water. Near the campground and up into the canyon -which is a fairly nasty little gorge- there are a lot of deadfall trees.

"Creek" is something of a misnomer. Slough is much larger than any other stream called a creek in the region, larger than the Gibbon River in fact, and is impossible to cross early in the season. By the beginning of August at the latest its possible, but you still have to look for shallow spots. The pocket water sections are particularly tricky.

Angling

Fish Species Abundance
Yellowstone Cutthroat Abundant throughout.
Cutthroat-Rainbow Hybrids Abundant below campground, uncommon to rare above.
Rainbow Common in and below campground area, uncommon to rare above. Please note that the park suggests killing rainbows caught from the First Meadow upstream. These are recent arrivals and are damaging cutthroat genetics.
Please note: brown trout are absent from the Lamar drainage. Copper/gold/brown-colored fish are in fact cutthroats.

Slough Creek is probably the most famous of the three Lamar drainage streams, and there are several reasons why. In the meadows, the fish are larger on average than the others in the system (though the fish in the Lamar top out larger), the setting of the stream is beautiful, and the fishing is good. But only if you're an advanced angler. The meadows of Slough get fished very hard by very good anglers year in and year out and have been getting fished hard since the 1960s. This fact coupled with the complicated insect life and slow, braiding currents of these long meadows breeds selective trout.

In general, the Upper Meadows fish about the same as each other, with the prime differences being that presentations and flies need to be a bit more precise in the First Meadow, since these trout see more flies. In all three meadows, an average fish will run from twelve to eighteen inches, with fish to 22 inches possible though unlikely. Terrestrials are the bread and butter here, with ants and beetles outperforming hoppers after late July, after the trout have grown wise to the hundreds of fake grasshoppers they see each week. There are also good Gray and Green Drake emergences and spinner falls, along with PMDs and BWOs, in season. If the fish aren't looking up, sight-nymphing with a long leader, no indicator, and a small nymph like a Pheasant Tail or, in slower water, a scud, is the answer. That or dynamite.

The Lower Meadow can fish well with the same flies, but the key differences are in the species makeup and the sophistication of the trout. There are as many rainbows and hybrids here as cutthroat, and trout of all three types are super wary. The reason the lower portion of this meadow is known as the VIP Pools is because only VIPs are able to catch fish there. Long, extremely fine leaders are the rule everywhere on Slough, but in the Lower Meadow you might as well not string up your rod after the first of August if you're fishing with less that a twelve- to fifteen-foot leader tapered to at most 5X, preferably with a fluorocarbon tippet. The fish in the Lower Meadow tend to be either small or large, with six-inch rainbows competing with twenty-inch hybrids. The largest fish you might find here probably goes six or eight pounds, but good luck catching it. More realistic hopes can be pinned on 22-inchers, but it takes an expert to fool these, or even the sixteen-inchers, for that matter.

The short gorge between the First and Second Meadow, the campground stretch and canyon, and the short pitch where Slough tilts into the Lamar are the only places on Slough where a novice angler has a reasonable shot. Attractor dries and terrestrials with nymph droppers work in this water, and in early July there are brief, relatively unknown Salmonfly and Golden Stone hatches. In the campground stretch a large fish might surprise you during the stonefly emergences, but otherwise a twelve-incher is about the largest fish you can expect in any of these areas.


Quality of Fishing By Period: X=high, x=moderate, x?= variable, blank=poor or closed
May 6/1 6/15 7/1 7/15 8/1 8/15 9/1 9/15 10/1 10/15 Nov.
x?   x? x? X X X X x? x? x?  

Slough Creek Hatch Charts and Fly Pattern Recommendations
  Timeframe: X=major importance, x=minor importance, blank=unimportant
Insects May 6/1 6/15 7/1 7/15 8/1 8/15 9/1 9/15 10/1 10/15 Nov.
Pale Morning Dun       x x x x          
Fall BWO (Gray Baetis)             x X X x x  
Western Green Drake       X X x            
Gray Drake       X X x            
Brown Drake       x x              
Epeorus         x x x          
Heptagenia             x x        
Hecuba               x x x    
Caddis, Various       x X X x          
Yellow Sally Stone       x x x            
Midges             x x x x    
Large Stoneflies       x x              
Terrestrials, Hoppers       X X X x x x      
Terrestrials, Flying Ants           x x x        
Terrestrials, Other       x X X X X X x    
Other Trout Foods May 6/1 6/15 7/1 7/15 8/1 8/15 9/1 9/15 10/1 10/15 Nov.
Streamers       X X x x x x x x  

Slough Creek Top Flies
Black PFS Beetle, #18
Black Fur Ant (std. or flying), #14-22
Letort Hopper, Green, #10-14
Jewell's Spinners, #12-14
Flashback Pheasant Tail, #18-22
Biot Midge, #20
Rusty Spinner, #10-20
BWO Sparkle Dun, #18-22
PMD Sparkle Dun, #16-20
Soda Fountain Parachute, #10-16

phone 406 848 7314, address 202 Second Street South PO Box 196 Gardiner, MT 59030 E-mail Walter Wiese E-mail Richard Parks link to PFS Youtube Channel link to PFS Facebook

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