Monday, August 6, 2018

Yellowstone Part 3

The amount of fishable water in Yellowstone is overwhelming. The places I wanted to make sure I fished were the Yellowstone River and the Lamar River. I was able to fish them both but I was unprepared for their conditions. From what I had read the rivers would be lower in July because most of the snow had melted. What I didn't realize is the amount of water that would still be there. I should have figured when I saw Yellowstone Falls.

It was running pretty good but I still didn't realize how fast the water was moving until I hiked to the bottom of the canyon. The river was probably the fastest and deepest river I've ever faced. It was a little scary. The footing on the sides of the river is smooth cobblestone like rocks and one slip could send you into the river and down the canyon. I'd like to make excuses like it was the time of day, location, or water conditions but the true answer is I was just unprepared. I didn't have any weight to speak of and most of my flies could not get to the proper depth to be effective. Before the hike down I cared so much about the placement of my bear spray that I didn't make sure I put back my tippet. I improvised and used streamers with big coneheads. They did the trick and got fish to move.

There were several follows slashes and even one fish coming almost to my feet but I couldn't hook any. I would only get one chance at the fish and then never see them again. It was fun to just see these big fish follow the fly. 
Fishing in the canyon is surreal. It's so beautiful and just walking 100yds up stream I found a hot spring that wasn't marked at all and leaking hot water into the river. It really shows you how wild and unpredictable this park can be. 

The Southwest part of the park is mostly geysers and hot springs. It definitely isn't a you've seen one geyser you've seen them all type of affair. All of them have something that makes them different and interesting. Places like the Grand Prismatic near the Firehole River look fake and seem like something you'd find at a theme park. 

Once you walk around this place you can truly feel that it is alive. This part of the park hits your senses with the rumbling of springs and geysers, smells of sulfur, feel of hot steam, and the visuals are striking.

I've seen tons of pictures of the Grand Prismatic hot spring but you have to see it in person to appreciate it. Even with the people falling over themselves to take pictures, ignoring the signs about touching the water, and just making stupid comments it's still a sight to behold. 

What I found interesting is in all the places where there was geothermal activity you'd see foot prints from bison. I learned from a ranger that the steam that comes from the hot springs is like a repellent for biting flies. This is why you'll see bison laying next to certain hot springs and geysers.

You can see some in the distance here laying next to the mud volcano area. You'll also see footprints where the bison have just trotted right threw a hot spring. I'm not sure if this is out of ignorance or they have a higher tolerance for pain.

The water in the hot springs is so clear you can make out every feature beneath the surface.

The colors around the springs usually indicate some bacteria living there. What's interesting is some of the bacteria are so fragile they can only live a certain distance from the hot spring. Any closer or further away and they will not survive. 

The landscape changes so much with these geysers and springs that the walkway traversing them needs to be moved from time to time. The ranger doing the tour at the Mud Volcano told us the path there had to be moved twice in the last 5 years. 

The steam in some areas was incredible. I felt like I was walking on another planet at times.

Can you imagine being the first people to stumble onto this place? I also wondered how much native americans and early settlers used these springs to keep warm in the winter months. Then there's the thought of how many people were hurt thinking hot springs were cool clear pools.

The most famous geyser is Old Faithful but it's actually not the tallest geyser in the park. The reason Old Faithful is so popular is because of its consistency. It goes off every 90min and the park has constructed a huge viewing area in front of it. 

This area is more like a village than an attraction. There's a Inn, lodge, and visitor's center. All are worth checking out. We ate at the Inn and the food was pretty good. I expected Disneyland prices but they weren't crazy. The visitor center is very cool and has huge windows facing Old Faithful. I'm not sure why you'd watch Old Faithful indoors. It's a lot better to see it outside.

If you can swing it come back and see Old Faithful at night. It's a different experience. Less people and sometimes photographers are there taking pictures and their flash lights up the geyser giving it a different perspective. 


  1. I usually visit Yellowstone and Island Park once or twice a year. It is indeed one of the most beautiful places where fish live! Glad you had a good trip.

    1. Thanks Emily, we're already trying to figure out how to get back there.

  2. Kevin
    We were there in the late spring and the crowds were huge, especially at Old Faithful. Funny we heard one guy next to us say, "I can't beleive I drove over a 1000 miles to watch hot water spew out of the ground. Enjoyed looking at some areas we didn't get to visit while there. Thanks for sharing

    1. Thanks Bill, Old Faithful is cool but I think some people over hype it. There are other geysers and geothermal features that are just as cool in my opinion.

  3. Your photos of the geothermal action and beauty are better than the ones I could get last month. Nice job. Enjoyed your tour through this fascinating section of the park.

  4. Now we're talking! The geysers were the highlight of my trip to Yellowstone, so different than anything I've ever seen before. The variety was amazing. Nice giving the fishing a go as well. I'm sure seeing those flashes was exhilarating.