Every time we’re in Montana we try to schedule time to head down to Yellowstone National Park. If it’s summer, it’s usually to fish the streams in the Northeast part of the park. One of our favs is Soda Butte Creek which is named after an unusual geologic formation.
Soda Butte Creek sits in the Lamar Valley which is home to bison, bears, badgers, wolves and more. Every time we are there we end up in a bison jam. This year, there were herds and herds of them. They’d even started to pair up for the rutting season. We’d never seen so many bison “couples” as we did this year. Love was in the air!
Unfortunately, all the bison meant we had to pick and choose where to fish to avoid these gigantic creatures. Lucky for us, our “honey hole” was bison free. We had two great days of fishing on Soda Butte and caught several of the native cutthroat trout that inhabit its waters. These are strong, wild, beautiful fish. We had to put our dry fly ants right next to the bank to entice them to rise. When they did, the fight was on.
It’s always interesting fishing here, because, as much as you are watching your dry fly as it drifts against a cut bank, you have to be aware of your surroundings. If you are quiet and focused, you’ll never hear a herd of bison meander up the valley and cut off your path back to your car, or perhaps, a grizzly bear that is coming to the water for a drink. Luckily, we fished away from bison herds but I did have a badger that, well, kept badgering me. It followed me along a favorite stretch of the creek and kept me looking up regularly to see where it had moved next. Needless to say, while it was roaming the bank with me, I caught no fish.
We were lucky again to snare a “rustic” cabin at Roosevelt Lodge in the northeast corner of the park. This allowed us to be on the water fishing early and late in the day which are usually the best times for fishing. Rustic is code for no bathroom in the room, one full size bed, one desk/chair and fortunately, a wood burning stove for heating the cabin. It was in the 30’s both nights we were there, which meant that we “wadered up” in the morning for warmth. After lunch it was back to “wet wading” which we far prefer.
We celebrated our 44th wedding anniversary with dinner at Roosevelt Lodge. They even made a small cake for us… white cake with huckleberry ice cream filling…. YUM! We highly recommend if you are ever in Yellowstone to come to the northeast corner of the park; it is far less crowded, has great fishing and the best wildlife viewing in our opinion.
We’re off to fish the Gallatin River, another of the TU Top 100, next. Ramble on!