The Lamar River is one of the most popular rivers in Yellowstone National Park not only for it tremendous wildlife viewing opportunities but because it boasts some of the best Cutthroat trout fishing the park has to offer. This special river is a tributary to the Yellowstone River, is about 40 miles long and can only being found in the park. Rising in the Absaroka Range in the eastern edge of the park, the Lamar is feed by the Soda Butte and Slough Creeks.
This amazing fishery has it all for the active fly fisherman. You can fish the valley where the river runs through the meadow, making it ideal for dry flies for match the hatch type fishing or you can fish the pocket water in the boulder laden cascades perfect for terrestrials and large streamers. Wherever you choose to fish the Lamar attention to water clarity, structure and time of day can make a real difference in your day.
Water clarity in the Lamar is a very important predictor on your success. The Lamar is one of the few rivers that really suffers after a good rain. This river can become muddy or silts up, making it hard for the fish to find your flies. Keep a keen eye on the weather reports and check the color/clarity of the river before you plan a trip out. You want this water to be clear and aqua green in color. This is very important if you plan on fishing the cascade sections of the river where the water is turbulent to being with. Any extra color or dirt to the system and the fish will have little to no opportunity to find your fly.
Aside from the open meadow sections of the Lamar where you can plan on fishing hatches, structure plays a critical role in being able to identify and target staging trout. You are not going to find much in the way of wood or drowned snags in the Lamar but you should key in on rocks. The Lamar is full of large boulders that create feeding opportunities for large trout in their wakes. These eddies behind the rocks can be fished with either a dry fly (high floating terrestrial) or streamer for the most success. Make sure as you attempt to fish these sections that you play close attention to how the current is affecting your line so that your fly can remain in the strike zone as long as possible.
Time of Day
Time of the day is another very important factor when planning on fishing the Lamar River. More than other rivers, the Lamar really plays into the temperature of day and what's hatching. If you plan on fishing early mornings when it is cooler, then lean toward using streamers and fishing deep. Fish will be lethargic and it might take several casts to get them to bite down. If you plan on fishing in the afternoon when the temperature and wind pick up, try fishing on the surface with dries or hoppers. The fish on the Lamar will readily rise to dries in the afternoon, but be a bit careful during high sun as your shadow you on the water can easily spook fish.
The Lamar River is certainly one of the most majestic and productive fisheries in Yellowstone National Park. Take the time to fish the different sections on this body of water and you certainly will not be disappointed.