The Yellowstone - Gardiner to Carbella
Map Size 17" x 48"
On the northern boundary of Yellowstone, the Confluence (L), is the first launch, ostensibly, outside of the Park. Once upon a time we "used-to-could" drive down to the river to get a boat in (if we were feeling adventurous), however since the Park Service closed it to vehicles it has really become just a limited wade access. Although filled with fish, the river from here on down to McConnell is boney, fast and really best left only to the most seasoned floater or guide. The launch at McConnell (R) is the first real (albeit primitive) put-in for fisherman. Large erratics and cobble dominate the water from here to Mile 7.3 and make for perfect cutthroat habitat & dryfly fishing. Really a quasi extension of Yellowstone Park, the shores of this stretch of river are home to damn near every species of bird, predator and ungulate that the lower 48 has to offer. If you are having trouble fishing wait a minute and chances are that a Bald Eagle, Osprey or even an Otter will give you a quick lesson at how it is done. If hunting is your on your mind, keep an eye out for the Chief Joseph wolf pack who might just be ripping up an elk under the Devil's Slide. Don't take your mind off the river for to long though because the water in here is fast and powerful in spots and it can have you for lunch in a hurry if you are not careful. Brogan's Landing (R) is another primitive and sandy launch dropping into flat, deep water. After a deep bouldery pinch at about Mile 7.5 the water flattens into a cobble bed with some of the best dryfly & nymphing water on the entire river. Corwin (L) serves as a casual put-in right on this premium water, and the only actual "ramp" on the Up High stretch. From here down the angler is treated to several miles of rocky and willowy banks that provide cover for large (and small) cutts, browns & 'bows. Somewhere, shortly after Mulherin Creek the river gets flat and deep. Cedar, Slip 'n Slide and Joe Brown creeks offer the intermittent thermoclines and nutrient sources which tend to concentrate fish on this stretch. The cobbles return at about Mile 13 offering some final shots at fast water fish before the Joe Brown (R) launch, the last take out before the famous Yankee Jim Canyon rapids. Regardless of where you float, wade or just relax on the Yellowstone you are sure to get a taste of what is some of the best water in Montana. Please respect this river- and I don’t just mean in “cherish the majesty and magic of nature” or "take only pictures, leave only footprints” sort of way (which you should be doing no matter where you recreate) but in way where you are really thinking about what you are doing when you are floating, wading, or playing beside it... respect it and it will treat you right, but if you get cocky or if you let your guard down, the Yellowstone has a special, sometimes fatal way of reminding you who is really in charge.