Copyright 2015 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Guide to the Lamar River - Yellowstone National Park
There's approximately five miles of water that flows through open hills before heading into a
canyon just above the Lamar River's confluence with the Yellowstone River. The Northeast
Entrance Road crosses the Lamar River just above this section of the river. Just below the
bridge, Slough Creek adds its water to the Lamar River. The section downstream of there
consist mostly of rough, pocket water. It has huge boulders that create large pools and pockets.
You must hike to reach any of the lower five mile section of the river. It's fished very little simply
because of the large amount of Lamar River water that is easily accessed in the meadow
sections along the road. You can reach this lower section from the VIP pullout area at the
intersection of Slough Creek Road and the Northeast Entrance Road which is located about six
miles east of Tower Junction. There's an old roadbed that is now a trail that runs along part of
the Lamar River in that area. About two and one-half miles east of Tower Junction on the
Northeast Entrance Road you will find the Lamar Bushwack Trail that will take you down to the
river. You must deviate on an unofficial trail for about a mile before reaching the river. There's
another shorter access that is located just across the Yellowstone River Bridge about a mile
east of Tower Junction. This trial will take you down to the confluence of the Yellowstone and
the Lamar Rivers. Its a short half-mile hike.
There's another canyon section of the Lamar River that runs along the Northeast Entrance
Road. The canyon ends just above the bridge over the Lamar. It's best accessed from the
upper end of the canyon. This is a very steep and rugged section with fast flowing pocket
water with huge boulders. There are lots of large pockets and deep pools. Even though the
water looks great, it doesn't seem to hold as large of cutthroats as the meadow sections do.
From the head of the canyon upstream for a few miles, you can reach the Lamar River from
several pull off parking areas along the Northeast Entrance Road. It's usually only about one to
three hundred yards from the road and mostly all within sight of the road. This is the heavily
fished section of the river and the section that generally holds the larger trout.
Above the confluence of the Soda Butte Creek, the Northeast Entrance Road leaves the river
and heads up Soda Butte Creek. The next thirty miles of the Lamar River upstream from that
point must be reached by foot or horseback. Except for the first couple of miles upstream, it is
fished very little.
Cache Creek is another major tributary stream of the Lamar River that adds its water about
three miles above Soda Butte Creek. It too has plenty of cutthroat trout but they only average
about eight to twelve inches. It can be accessed from the Lamar River Trailhead on the North
East Entrance Road. You must travel up Soda Butte Creek on the Northeast Entrance Road a
short ways to the trailhead, then it is about a three mile hike to Cache Creek.
The best way to see and fish the uppermost areas of the Lamar River is to take one of the
horseback, multi-day trips into the area. The fishing will be fast and furious but the trout will
actually be smaller than those in the lower section of the river. It is a truly, huge, wild, remote
section of Yellowstone National Park visited by only a few people. Most of the trout in the upper
river never see a fly. There is far more bears, elk, bison and wolves there than humans.
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Lamar River, YNP