Gibbon River Overview

The Gibbon River is often overshadowed by its sister river the Firehole, but before joining her to create the Madison, the Gibbon covers many miles of trout-rich water. This small stream flows out of the center of the Park, passing through a couple of fine backcountry lakes, numerous meadows, a beautiful waterfall, and rugged canyon. The Gibbon, in most places, is rimmed with Lodge pole Pines and small grassy, orchid filled meadows. Many of the older Lodge poles lie strewn across the Gibbon in various directions, making it somewhat challenging to reach all the good looking trout water. The Gibbon is worth the angler’s time and attention, providing not only solitude, but a quintessential Yellowstone Park experience.



Grebe Lake, Cascade and Wolf Lake

Short hikes of two and three miles will put you on the banks of these fine backcountry lakes. A nice attraction of Grebe is the healthy population of chunky Rainbows and spunky Grayling. Check the outlet of the Gibbon for Grayling chasing damsels.


Elk Park and Gibbon Meadows

A series of small meadows are interspersed along with these named meadows to provide the angler many opportunities to explore undercut banks, and long runs for the resident Browns, Brookies, Rainbows, and Grayling that jockey for the best feeding lies. Although few in number, there are some trophy Brown trout that call this section of the Gibbon home.

The Canyon and Falls

As the Gibbon River leaves Gibbon meadows it races to its meeting with the Firehole through a narrow and beautiful canyon. The road to Norris Geyser Basin follows the Gibbon along this stretch, giving the angler ample chance to sample the different runs and pockets that dominate it. Below Gibbon Falls there can be a few surprises, as Browns and Rainbows that migrate upstream from Hebgen in the fall are stilling lies under the bramble of logs, or at the bottom of the deep corner pocket.


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Yellow Sallies: July 1st - July 31st

Goldenstone: June 15th - July 10th

Brown Drakes: June 20th - July 5th

Hydropsyche Caddis: June 1th - July 31st

Terrestrials: July 20th - September 15th

Pale Morning Duns: June 1st - July 15th

Baetis Mayflies: September 1st - September 30th

Special Notes

The Gibbon River does not have either an abundance or variety of aquatic insects, but there always seems to be just enough bug activity to keep the trout happy. This is great water to quickly search with a Royal Wulff or large stimulator. Some of the deeper runs are begging for a prince nymph or a slowly stripped woolly bugger. The Gibbon offers a beautiful setting with little other angling pressure, and the bonus of the possibility of catching a Grayling!