Gardiner River Overview
Tucked away in the Northwest corner of Yellowstone National park, the Gardiner River is a fast-paced mountain stream that rarely gets wider than 60-feet across. Much of the infamous “northern range elk herd” and its 30,000 members use the Gardiner River corridor as a year-round home. The Gardiner will be a familiar stream to any angler who has cast a fly on their favorite small stream back home. The pool, riffle, run makeup of the Gardiner is classic trout water, and a fish lies everywhere an angler would expect them to be.
Tucked away from any roads, this section of the Gardiner is loaded with feisty Brook Trout that come quickly to the fly. Stunning high mountain meadow scenery frames the course laid out by the Gardiner in this stretch. Like many of the smaller streams in Yellowstone, the angler will find solitude fishing the waters of the Gardiner, with only the wildlife and clean mountain air as their companions.
The Gardiner now spills forth from its secretive backcountry haunts and follows the highway from Mammoth to Gardner. Still maintaining its mountainous character of riffles and runs, the Gardiner now begins to cut through a high-desert like environment. Western Bitterroot and Bighorn Sheep line the sandy cliffs along the Gardiner, keeping watch over the angler busily casting dry flies to any likely trout hiding spot.
Salmonflies: June 15th - July 5th
Goldenstone: June 15th - July 10th
Yellow Sallies: July 1ast - July 31st
Green Drakes: July 1st - July 15th
Asst. Caddis: July 1st - July 31st
Pale Morning Duns: June 25th - August 5th
Terrestrials: July 1st - September 30th
Baetis Mayflies: September 1st - September 30th
One of the special aspects of the Gardiner River is the ability to catch six species of fish in one day: Rainbows, Cutthroat, Brookies, Browns, Hybrids, and Whitefish. The Gardiner average size of fish is only around 10” but many fish can push into the 16” range, especially the Browns; particularly in the fall.