Not everyone wants a lodge experience. Some people enjoy the backcountry experience that fly fishing often provides. Some of Yellow Dog’s favorite destinations in the Rockies and Pacific Northwest are off the beaten path and offer guests the unique experience of overnighting on the water, and sometimes even require the use of horses to access remote backcountry streams, rivers, and lakes.
Check out some of our favorite overnight float and pack trip options that are great for all members of the family.
1. Sunrise Pack Station – A special trip for families, couples, and adventurous anglers. If you want to enjoy all the treasures of fishing in Yellowstone, then this is the perfect option. Sunrise Pack Station has been operating in the Yellowstone backcountry for well over a decade. And the owner has spent more than 20 years learning the art of packing under the tutelage of other outfitters that have operated in Yellowstone as well.
Sunrise Pack station provides everything needed to enjoy a trip fishing and camping in Yellowstone’s wilderness. If you don’t have a warm sleeping bag or tent, don’t worry as they provide pretty much everything you’ll need to enjoy your trip. Indulge in camp-cooked meals for breakfast and dinner, and bag lunches when you’re on the river. You’ll find yourself gazing at the stars and listening to mountain man stories around the fire – and planning your following day fishing in the pristine Yellowstone waters.
Sunrise Pack Station hosts trips to Slough Creek, Lamar River, Cache Creek, Bechler River, and the Northwest Corner of Yellowstone. All locations offer some of the best fishing in the Park, with anglers wading for Yellowstone’s native and vibrantly colored cutthroat trout.
+ Listen to this WAYPOINTS Podcast: SHANE MCCLAFFLIN – Fishing and Horsepacking the Wilds of Yellowstone
2. Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness – The Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness is some of the most spectacular protected backcountry in the world. Perfect for everyone, Absaroka Beartooth Outfitters hosts guests on a horse ride into this remote wilderness, offering access to pristine mountain streams and high-country lakes.
Absaroka Beartooth Outfitters operates a five-day trip pack trip into Hellroaring Creek, located outside the Northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park. Trip itineraries typically involve one day to pack in, three days of fishing, and then a day ride out.
During the trip, guests are treated to wall tents that provide shelter from the somewhat unpredictable mountain weather in addition to hearty camp-cooked meals. You’ll find yourself drifting off to sleep dreaming of cutthroat trout taking your dry flies.
Since it’s such a remote location, angling pressure is extremely minimal. Anglers will find themselves fishing to native cutthroat, eager to take dry flies.
3. Smith River Float Trip – The Smith River is one of Montana’s gems. Every year everyone at Yellow Dog looks forward to the chance at floating the spectacular river, which winds its way through a gorgeous scenic canyon. With limited access to the river, angling pressure is minimal due to its federally protected status, and guests will have the rivers mostly to themselves.
The 60-mile river is a phenomenal brown trout fishery and offers some rainbows, cutthroats, and even some brooks trout. After fishing all day, guests will arrive at camp, where spacious two-person tents are waiting.
Enjoy a cold drink or your choice of wine with meals served around the campfire. Relax and enjoy your time in one of the last beautiful places on earth.
4. Glacier Anglers – A float trip on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River in the Great Bear Wilderness in Glacier country is a fantastic experience for anglers of all skill levels. Glacier Anglers has been guiding anglers and rafters down the river since the mid-70s and is considered Montana’s longest-running river outfitter. Not only will you experience truly inspiring scenery, but you’ll be able to target native Westslope cutthroat trout and rainbow trout utilizing dry flies. These fish run a little smaller than average Montana trout, but some of the eats on top are spectacular.
5. Rogue River Float Trip – Anglers can fish their way through the 42 miles of Oregon’s Wild and Scenic stretch of the Rogue River. Situated in Oregon’s coastal mountains, the river takes fly anglers through the astoundingly beautiful wilderness while enjoying the comforts of three different remote “lodges” along the way.
The main fishing objective on the Rogue is the juvenile steelhead in the half-pound range. In addition to steelhead, occasional Chinook and Coho salmon are also found in the river.
This is a great trip for every angler’s skill level, including families, couples, and single anglers. There’s no better place to explore the Oregon wilderness than from a drift boat on the Rogue River!
6. Deschutes Angler – Deschutes Angler is one of the few guiding operations that, literally, does it all. Whether you want to fish for a day or take a multi-day camping and float trip, Deschutes can design any trip to fit your needs.
Float trips are usually three to five days long and cover up to 50 miles of rivers. Steelhead and wild rainbows called “redsides” are the target species. These wild rainbows are a rare occurrence in the U.S. – they weren’t introduced by man but are truly an indigenous species. You’ll be surprised at how hard they fight, and it’s not unusual to hit your backing fighting a 16-incher.
After long days of fishing, your guide will set up a camp that’s complete with wall tents and hearty meals. Guests will fall asleep in comfortable cots and warm sleeping bags and will be well-rested for the next day of fishing the most productive high-desert river in the Northwest.
7. Middle Fork of the Salmon – This float trip should definitely be on every angler’s bucket list. The Middle Fork of the Salmon cuts its way through roughly 100 miles of Frank Church Wilderness. This is one of the most isolated and rugged destinations in the lower-48 states. While floating the river, you’ll be surrounded by the majestic Sawtooth Mountains and will be amazed at the sheer beauty of the Idaho wilderness.
West slope cutthroats will be the target species on the trip. The unpressured fish are notorious for slamming dry flies with violent takes off the surface. The trout average between 8 to 12 inches, and the occasional 14+ inch trout is occasionally caught.
Once off the river anglers are treated to a luxurious camp setting. A team of guides will row a good distance before the guest boats and have camp fully assembled with comfortable tents and cots and dinner cooking on the fire. Dinner is typically cooked in a Dutch oven and can even consist of gourmet treats like ahi tuna, salmon, steaks, lamb chops, and lasagna. This is a trip where no shortcuts are made on meals. Guests can even find hot springs along the way if a “river” shower is needed.
This trip is extremely popular, and due to the limited availability, they fill up quickly. Be sure to book your trip earlier rather than later.
For guests looking for a fly fishing trip a little more off the grid and an escape into the wilderness, be sure to contact us for more details.