Eye of the Guide


Tom Travis - Apr 21, 2014

Sysadmin Note
Part 26 can be found here

Yellowstone National Park Sunset


When I was a kid there was always an Open Day of the fishing season and a Closing Day of the fishing season. The first day of the season was full of mystery and promise of the season that was just beginning and trying out new patterns and maybe even a new rod or line that was obtained over the long winter.

Closing Day was filled with both happiness for being on the water and sadness that to it was to be the final day and a long winter of no fishing stretched before me. Normally on the last day I fished until dark and I could no longer see to properly fish.

As grew up and moved away from the streams of my youth things began to change and I answered the call of my country, entered the military and for a few years the chances to fly fishing were few and far between. After the military I finally ended up in Montana where I have lived fly fishing and guiding other fly anglers.

However, when I first arrived in Montana I asked when the fishing season began and was told that the major rivers and spring creek were open all year long. Yes there was an official opening and closing day on the smaller tributaries but even some of them were open for fishing for whitefish and you had to release the trout, which I did anyways. I took full advantage of the year round fishing and soon had to divide my time being fishing, fly tying and writing during the winter months. I know it is a tough life, but I was more than willing to follow this course.

But still I missed the tradition of opening and closing day. Then I learned that the fishing season in Yellowstone National Park had an opening day and closing day and for over thirty years I seldom missed fishing in the Park on either day.

I know it sounds silly but the anticipation of opening day in the Park normally means a late night in the fly tying room as I know the sleep will not easily come to me. For those of you who get excited on the day before a fishing trip will understand and for the rest of you there is no way for me to explain the eager excitement that flows through me.

Many of those Opening Day adventures took place on the Firehole River, this is a river that pulls me back year after year and there is something very special about the famous stream that has deeply drawn me to its waters year after year. There has been a year now and then when I strayed to other water but I admit that the Firehole River is my top choice for opening day in the Park. The Park Fishing Season Opens on the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend and in the earlier years it closed on October 31st a few years ago the closing day was changed to the first Sunday in November. On some years it gives us an extra week of fishing in the Park however I will admit that some of those closing days have been a testament to the willingness and fortitude of the angler to endure rough weather to enjoy that final day on the water in Yellowstone Park.

For opening day in the Park I normally choose the Firehole and I have spent many of the closing days on this outstanding stream. However I have also fished the fine Baetis Hatch found on Soda Butte Creek or the Lamar River and I have fished the final day of the season on the Lewis River Channel or in a float tube along the shores of Yellowstone Lake.

The final day in the Park still brings certain sadness with the knowledge that I will not be able to fish these waters until spring and the wonderful memories of the years I have been blessed with the opportunity to fish these waters with good friends and the wonderful adventures we have shared. So there is something good to be said about traditions and I hope I will be able to continue the tradition of opening and closing day in Yellowstone Park for many more years.

Fires and floods may change the landscape but the true essence of fly fishing the waters of Yellowstone Park never changes and the water contained within its boundaries should be on the Bucket List of every fly angler who enjoys the sport.

Now the season is closed and the trout are resting and the anglers are eagerly anticipating the coming of Opening Day!

Enjoy & Good Fishin'

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