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Trout Lake Trailhead - Yellowstone National Park

This relatively steep but short, less than half-mile hike rewards those who make the effort with a view of a 12-acre crystal-clear high-country lake set in a beautiful alpine meadow and backdropped by dense Douglas fir forest and the majestic rock face of Mount Hornaday. This lake and its lush surroundings, fed by a tiny inlet stream provide for an abundance of wildlife, and a strong population of native cutthroat trout as well as rainbow trout, ranging from 12-22 inches and 20-28 inches, respectively.


A great time to visit this lake is early summer, June and early July when the cutthroat are spawning in the tiny inlet. This high concentration of spawning fish in a small stream provides predators with the perfect setting for a tasty meal. You have a good chance of seeing otters applying their fish catching skills in dramatic fashion and the aerial attacks of osprey as they dive on unsuspecting trout from above.


Fishing Trout Lake: Fishing here begins during the regular fishing season in the park, and sight fishing is the preferred method. Most fishing is done form the banks, but some anglers pack in their float tubes to fish the deeper parts of the lake. Trout Lake is rich in food, so the fish can be picky in their feeding habits, including the preference for the abundant subsurface aquatic life. Small size scuds, midges, hares' ears, pheasant tails, copper johns, damselfly nymphs, prince nymphs, and wooly buggers are recommended. These flies are best delivered with a sinking line or small split shot.

Important: To protect spawning trout, the inlet stream and the cove area at the inlet are closed to fishing. These areas are clearly marked with signs.

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