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Mammoth Hot springs to Tower-Roosevelt - Yellowstone National Park

This section of road is open year-round. Along the drive you will have access to multiple pull-offs with beautiful scenic overlooks, 5 major trailheads, good fishing on the Gardner River and Lava Creek, a 6-mile off-road high plateau adventure, a few geological features, pass over two major bridges crossing the Yellowstone and Gardner rivers, and have a good chance of seeing black bear that roam this area. The old rustic Roosevelt Lodge at Tower-Roosevelt Junction and its amenities are an enjoyable stop for anyone.

Fly Fishing the Gardner River: Where the Gardner River passes under the Gardner Canyon Bridge on the Mammoth-Tower Road, it enters the Gardner Canyon. This is the lower section of the river which flows approximately 5 miles before merging with the Yellowstone River. Rainbow, brown, cutthroat, and brook trout and some whitefish inhabit this section of the river. Their average size is between 8 to 14 inches in length, with migrating brown trout in the fall coming up from the Yellowstone River reaching up to 20+ inches in length.


Upstream from this location is the middle section of the river, from the Gardner Canyon Bridge to Osprey Waterfall. The fish are mostly rainbow trout reaching up to 12-14 inches in length with a combination of brook and rainbow further down the river. Fish with attractor patterns, caddis, various other dry flies.

Flies to Use by Hatch During the Early, Summer, and Fall Periods of Fishing the Gardner River:

Early/June: Usually running too high to fish

July/August: Golden stonefly and salmon fly, caddis, various dry flies. Ants, hoppers, and beetles late summer into fall

Sept/Oct: Blue-winged olive, attractor patterns


Fly Fishing Lava Creek: Mostly fishable below Undine Falls, this creek is best accessed from pull-offs at both ends of the Gardner Canyon Bridge and walking down into the canyon. It is here that Lava Creek confluences with the Gardner River. Below Undine Falls the fish are mostly cutthroats, browns, rainbows, and brook trout, averaging smaller in size than those on the Gardner River. Only brook trout are found above the falls. This is a good fishing stream and worth the hike down the canyon.


Fly Fishing Blacktail Deer Creek: Blacktail Deer Creek is a fast-moving stream in a beautiful setting. This stream is best fished upstream from the point where it crosses under the Grand Loop Road as the section below the road can be quite rough. The farther you hike upstream the easier it is to fish, with most fish around the 5 to7 inch length and some up to 10 inches.


Fly Fishing Yellowstone River (Black Canyon): To fish the Yellowstone River on this section of the park you will need to do some hiking to get to the river, but offers some remote fishing for native cutthroat, browns, and rainbows. See Blacktail Deer Creek Trailhead as an option for accessing this part of the river. It is not until around the first week of July that fishing this stretch of the Yellowstone becomes practical due to high water levels. Soon after this time the Salmonfly and Golden Stonefly hatches begin and may last three weeks and possibly to the end of the month with cooler weather.


Flies to Use by Hatch During the Early, Summer, and Fall Periods of Fishing the Yellowstone River:

Early/June: Usually not fishable due to high water levels

July/August: Salmonfly, golden stone fly, caddis, attractor patterns, hoppers, blue winged olive

Sept/Oct: Attractor patterns, hoppers, blue winged olive

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