Eastern Idaho, Yellowstone’s Gateway

People from all over the world come to fish in the rivers and streams of  Eastern Idaho. Some consider the rivers in this area to be the “Epicenter of top-notch trout fishing.”  As much as people are drawn to Eastern Idaho for the fantastic fishing, people are also drawn here to visit Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone National Park provides opportunities for everyone from the solo fishermen to the family looking forward to seeing Old Faithful for the first time. 

If you are coming to enjoy the “top-notch trout fishing” in Eastern Idaho consider bringing your family or a friend and taking a day or two to enjoy the wonders that Yellowstone National Park has to offer. 

Most of the great fishing waters in Easter Idaho are only an hour or so away from the West Entrance to Yellowstone where you would start your Yellowstone adventure. Spending a day here allows you to see many of Yellowstone’s famous sites such as Old Faithful, Hayden Valley, The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, and the Lower Falls. Spending two days in Yellowstone allows you time to experience more of the park from horseback riding to wildlife watching, and it may even allow a little time to throw a line in the Madison River. Fly Fishermen close to Yellowstone

Early morning is the best way to start, whether fishing or visiting Yellowstone. Not only does this get you in before most visitors, but it’s also the best time to spot animals while they are still active during the cool mornings.  

Wildlife watching is the best way to start any day in Yellowstone. Spending your time in or around places like Lamar Valley and Hayden Valley will give you the best opportunities to see bears and wolves, the top two animals on most people’s lists when they visit. Just like you wouldn’t want to leave your fly box at home when going fishing, it’s wise to bring a pair of binoculars with you when you go looking for wildlife. As you travel through Yellowstone, it may come as a surprise that one animal you really won’t have to look for is the bison, also known as the American buffalo. You can find them almost anywhere you visit. Other animals to keep a lookout for include elk, coyotes, pronghorn, eagles, swans, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats to name a few. 

As the day starts to warm up, you will also start to notice a bit more traffic as all the people that slept in are now out looking for the wildlife you have already seen. This is a good time to start seeing some of Yellowstone’s scenic highlights. Trying to decide what to stop for and what not to stop for can be a little overwhelming, as Yellowstone is the same size as the state of Connecticut at 3,472 square miles. Try to stop as much as you can, but the three must-sees are Old Faithful, the Grand Prismatic, and the Lower Falls in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. 

Old Faithful is one of the top scenic sights to see in Yellowstone. There are not many places in the world where you can watch a geyser erupt 140 feet into the air. One of the coolest things about it is that it erupts every 90 minutes (give or take 10 minutes). That means that every 90 minutes almost 8,000 gallons of water flow into an underground reservoir, that water heats up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, pressure builds up, and then that water shoots 140 feet into the air. And that is just one geyser. If you take a minute to walk around the Old Faithful area you may catch an eruption of one of the other 4 predictable geysers in the area or one of the other 150 geysers found within a mile of Old Faithful. And while you are wandering this area looking for geysers make sure to enjoy the many hot springs that are located in the area. If you happen to cross a bridge over the Firehole take a look to see if any fish are rising. 

Grand Prismatic YellowstoneThe Grand Prismatic is the largest hot spring in the country at 370 feet across and gets its name from the bright-colored organisms that call the spring home. There are a couple of ways to see the Grand Prismatic, but with a spring that big the best way to see it is from above. Parking at the Fairy Falls Trailhead will allow you to access the overlook by the way of a short hike of about a mile and a half round trip. If you want a little longer hike go out as far as Fairy Falls and back completing the 6-mile round trip hike. 

The Lower Falls and Grand Canyon of Yellowstone are one of the highlights of Yellowstone but can often be overshadowed by the geyser and hot springs. The Lower Falls is a 300-foot waterfall flowing into a canyon that is 20 miles long, 1,200 feet deep, and 4,000 feet across. The canyon walls are an old lava flow that has been cut away over the years. Thus, it has been exposed to the elements causing a rust effect and highlighting the canyon walls with yellow, red, and orange rocks. 

Knowing how big Yellowstone is and how much there is to do can make Yellowstone seem a little daunting. Hiring a guide for the day is an easy way of taking the guessing out of your visit.  Having a local guide that can drive you through Yellowstone for the first time will help you know where to look for wildlife, when to arrive at Old Faithful, and help facilitate a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

Any way you choose to visit Yellowstone will be a memorable experience for you and/or your family and will give you a nice break from a day spent on the water. And remember: By no account are the rivers in Yellowstone excluded from the great fishing waters in the area.  Well-known waters such as the Southfork, Madison, and Soda Butte Creek all reside in or originate from Yellowstone National Park. 

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