Angie Marsh fishing Gardner River YNP
James Marsh fishing Gardner River YNP
Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Fly Fishing the Gardner River -
Yellowstone National Park
This Gardner River begins at about 10,000 feet in the
Northwest Corner of the park as a tiny stream that is
joined by several others near the Grand Loop Road.
This small meadow section of the stream has small
brook trout and an occasional rainbow. Below the Grand
Loop Road down to Ospray Falls, the streams is
moderately flowing water easy to fish until it begins to
near the falls and become turbulent.

This is one of the best trout streams in the park, yet
anglers tend to drive right by it on their way to other far
away destinations. That can be a big mistake.

Below the Ospray Falls, the river is strictly pocket water
with large boulders. You must hike upstream or via the
Lava Trail to access this sections. The fish increase
slightly in size. Just below the high bridge on the
Mammoth-Tower Road, Lava Creek adds more water to
the flow. From there down to just below the Mammoth
Housing Area upstream a mile or so above the 45th
Parallel Bridge, access is only available by hiking a short

The entire section below the 45th Parallel Bridge
downstream to near Gardiner is easily accessible from
the North Entrance Road. The water is still heavy pocket
water with large boulders, deep fast runs and short
riffles. This section contains the largest fish.

The Gardner River really turns on after the runoff when
the large Salmonflies and Golden Stoneflies start to
migrate to the banks to hatch. For the next couple of
months, the river provides some very good dry fly
action. Even then, the water is rarely crowded with

The Yellowstone season is a relatively short one, but
when conditions are right it is a great place to be.

The first part of the season in early June will find the
Gardner River too cold or in runoff.

Summer is the best time for fly fishing the Gardner River
due to the hatches of aquatic insects.

Autumn is certainly a very good time because large
brown trout move out of the Yellowstone River into the
Gardner River to spawn.

Fly Fishing Guide to the Gardner River
The upper, middle and lower sections of the Gardner
River fish completely different.
(Click Here To Continue)
Type of Stream

Rainbow Trout
Rocky Mountain Whitefish
(Wild Trout)


Southwestern Montana, YNP

Nearest Towns
Gardiner, Montana

Last of May - October


Park License
Yellowstone National Park License

National Weather Service Link

Fly Fishing Guide

Hatches and Flies

Fly Fishing Gear

Stream Flow Data Near Mammoth:
Real Time USGS Data
Gardner River, YNP
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Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.

2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.

3. Email us (
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.

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U. S. Orders over $100 are shipped via
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