Copyright 2015 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Guide to the Fall and Bechler River - Yellowstone
The Fall River, or Falls River, whichever name you prefer, is a beautiful river. Other than its
lower section near its exist from the park, it requires a lot of effort to fish. In fact, few
anglers fish the Fall River because of that. Those that venture into the Southwestern
Corner of the park usually fish the Bechler Meadows. It isn't exactly easy to get to either but
it only requires a reasonable hike. We will break these streams down separately.
This stream starts with the confluence of Phillips, Ferris and Gregg Forks and then flows
through a rugged canyon for about five miles. Most of the fish above Iris and Colonnade
Falls are cutthroat trout. Below the Colonnade Falls, is the beginning of the four mile long
meadow section of the river. Although the average size of the trout is much smaller,
rainbow trout up to twenty inches have be caught in the meadow section.
This section isn't fishable until about the middle of July. The best month to fish it is August.
The Bechler River runs through wide open meadow with small, overhanging willow trees,
deep pools and undercut banks. Most of the fishing done in this section is done by sight. Its
like fishing a large, spring creek. The water is very clear and the trout are spooky.
It is possible to get snow in September and October in this section of the park. Backcountry
campsites are available along the Bechler and may be your best bet to fish this stream. A
word of warning. The misquotes will eat you alive prior to about the first or second week of
August in the Bechler Meadows. It's a swamp until then.
The stream is accessible from highway #47, the Ashton-Flagg Ranch Road (Cave Falls
Road) that is off Highway #20 near Ashton, Idaho. The Fall River Campground lies just
outside the park. The road continues to the Cave Falls where the Falls River can easily be
accessed. About a half-mile upstream on the Cave Falls Trail, the Bechler River flows into
the Fall River.
The Bechler Meadow is best reached from the Bechler Ranger Station. The Bechler
Ranger Station Road will take you there from the Cave Falls Road. The Bechler Meadows
Trail will take you to the river. It is about three and one-half miles to the meadows.
Boundary Creek is the largest tributary of the Bechler River. It is located almost four miles
form the Bechler Ranger Station. The Boundary Creek Trail leads to the stream. Its fish
consist of small rainbows and cutthroats.
Fall (Falls) River:
This river did not have any fish until cutthroat were stocked in the early 1900s. Shortly after
that (a few years) rainbow trout were introduced. These have interbred and produced the
"cutbow" or hybrid trout.
The headwaters of the Fall or Falls River start at Beula Lake. The upper portion of the
River is a mixture of meadows and a canyon sections. The trout is the uppermost section
are mostly cutthroats.. These are nine to fifteen inch fish. Below the section of cascades -
Terrace Falls and Rainbow Falls, there are cutbows, cutthroat and rainbows.
Much larger trout are found in the meadow section of the Falls River. The fish are mostly
rainbows and cutbows. The water in these meadows is slow moving and more difficult to fish
because the fish can get a good look at your fly. Below the meadows, the river flows over a
bed of basalt lava for about six miles. Wading is difficult in this part of the stream because
the rocks are slick. Most of the fish in this section are cutbows.
We have already mentioned the Cave Falls Entrance. From the Cave Falls Trailhead you
can hike up the river for almost a half-mile but to continue, you must ford the Belcher River.
This cannot be safely done if the water is high.
The meadow part of the stream can be reached from Reclamation Road about thirty miles
west of Aston, Idaho. Follow Fish Lake Road just over a mile to Fish Lake. From there it's a
mile to the South Boundary Trail inside the park. Hiking west on the trail will get you to the
river just above Mountain Ash Creek's confluence with the river.
Mountain Ash Creek is a meadow creek for the first mile of so upstream of the Falls River.
The next six miles the stream flows over a lava rock streambed that is steeper than the
meadow section. Cutthroat and cutbows are present. They average about nine to twelve
inches with some larger ones in the meadow sections of the creek. Proposition Creek:
is a small tributary to Mountain Ash Creek.
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Fall River, YNP