Firehole River Overview
Our namesake is quite possibly one of the most unique fly fishing rivers in the world. Named by early trappers for the steam that makes it appear to be smoking as though it’s on fire, the Firehole River lies within the western section of YNP, and drains over 70% of the Park’s geothermal features. The abundance of warm, nutrient filled water entering the Firehole adds to its unique nature. Imagine casting dry flies to free rising Rainbows and Browns while elk and buffalo graze behind you, geysers are erupting upstream of you, and hot -pots dot the shoreline downstream of you. The Firehole is an incredible fly fishing experience that quickly wins the spiritual heart of many anglers.
The Firehole is a small stream in its upper reaches, which winds through short meadows, geyser basins, and forested corridors. Biscuit Basin is one of the coldest stretches of the Firehole and is noted for its larger, but much pickier fish. Deeply undercut banks and tricky current require both stealth and accuracy from the visiting angler.
Muleshoe Bend to Fountain Flats
Quite possibly the most famous section of the Firehole, it is here that Flood Geyser erupts across the river, Excelsior Geyser adds over 4000 gallons of water a minute, and herds of buffalo are always grazing on the banks. Numerous smaller geyser basins, Hot Pot Spring, and mud pots are scattered throughout this stretch, providing some of the most unique stream-side scenery to be found anywhere. The slower meadow type character of the water and the extensive weed-beds lead to massive hatches and thousands of rising fish. This is some of the best dry fly water in the entire region.
Now the Firehole tumbles over the lip of the ancient volcanic caldera to slide through a rugged canyon framed by two distinct and separate lava flows. Hard to reach, this section is fast and rugged, yet can provide some fantastic fishing for the angler willing to scramble around cliffs and boulders.
Salmonflies: June 1st - June 15th
Yellow Sallies: June 10th - July 10th
Pale Morning Duns: May 25th - July 1st
Flav. Mayflies: June 5th - June 20th
Brachycentrus Caddis: May 25th - June 15th
Brachycentrus Caddis: September 1st - September 20th
Hydropsyche Caddis: June 5th - July 10th
Terrestrials: June 1st - September 30th
Oecetis Caddis: June 5th - July 10th
Oecetis Caddis: August 20th - September 30th
Damsels & Dragons: June 20th - August 30th
Baetis Mayflies: May 25th - June 10th
Baetis Mayflies: September 1st - September 30th
The Rainbows and Browns that inhabit the Firehole River average only around 10” inches but larger specimens can be found. What the fish lack in size they more than make up for with spirit and spunk, vaulting from the water in aerial displays. The intense hatches can overlap and provide hours upon hours of match the hatch dry fly fishing.