Fly Fishing The Backcountry of the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness
Located in a remote and isolated setting north of Yellowstone National Park, Absaroka Beartooth Outfitters – which operates in July and August – offers isolated wilderness fishing from well-established and comfortable backcountry camps. The camps are accessed by riding deep through some of the most beautiful and remote terrains in the northern Rockies. Once at the camps, you can fish Boulder Creek or Hellroaring Creek, high elevation lakes, and a few other small streams for native cutthroat trout. Almost all of the fish in this area are caught using dry flies, making this the ideal destination for those who love to catch fish on the surface using light rods and attractor flies. Camp accommodations consist of authentic wall tents. And each night you will enjoy a roaring campfire, hearty camp meals prepared by the camp cook, telling stories and jokes, and playing a few rounds of horseshoes. This is the perfect trip for anyone wanting to experience the real Montana backcountry.
Trips are based out of Absaroka Beartooth Outfitters’ camps located in Independence and Bull Moose Meadow. The first camp sits high on Boulder Creek in Independence. And the second camp sits on Hellroaring Creek on the edge of Bull Moose Meadow where three different forks of Hellroaring Creek come together. These are truly some of the most beautiful trout settings that you will ever lay your eyes on. Camp accommodations consist of cozy and roomy carpeted wall tents with padded cots. The camps also feature a hot shower, which is much appreciated after a day on the trail or a day’s fishing at a high altitude. Each night you will enjoy a roaring campfire and eat in a central dining tent with delicious food prepared by the camp cook.
Food and Beverages
You will eat in a central dining tent with delicious food prepared by the camp cook. Expect hearty “camp fare” with plenty of thick steaks, chops, chicken, etc.
Non-Angling Activities and Options
While the backcountry offers numerous angling opportunities, non-anglers will no doubt enjoy the trip just as much. Wildlife is abundant in the area with elk, deer, wolves, bears, eagles, and coyotes all calling this wilderness area home. Sightings of grizzly and black bears in the backcountry are a potential. Hiking, eating great food, reading, and relaxing are all important elements of this trip. The Absaroka Beartooth Outfitter wranglers are well acquainted with the area where you will be riding, fishing, hiking, and exploring. Safety is their number one priority.
Internet / Communications
There is no internet available at the camp. Cell phone coverage is very spotty at best once in the backcountry.
How To Get There
Anglers traveling from out of state will want to fly to either Bozeman, Montana (BZN), or Billings, Montana (BIL). They will then need to rent a car to drive to Big Timber, Montana.
Arrival and Departure Details / Times
Big Timber is located on Interstate 90 directly between Bozeman and Billings. Anglers will need to fly in no later than the day before their trip officially begins, and should fly out no earlier than the day after the trip ends.
Montana fishing licenses are available at all area fly shops and sporting goods stores, or online by visiting the following website: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. You will need to present a valid driver’s license in order to purchase your fishing license.
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Each day of fishing is spent walking and wading either above or below camp on Boulder Creek and Hellroaring Creek. Every emerald-green pool or undercut bank contains smaller-sized cutthroats that will not hesitate to come up and eat dry flies. The streams, lakes, and rivers Absaroka Beartooth Outfitters target are among the most prolific and beautiful in all of Montana. The fishing locations are extremely remote and pristine, with healthy populations of native cutthroat trout. The fish do not get much angling pressure over the course of a year and are usually very cooperative, eating dry flies regularly.
Generally, basic attractor fly patterns are all that you will need. During the late summer weeks, hopper fishing can be fantastic. The high country is absolutely loaded with aggressive and willing cutthroat. One of the most effective techniques on the stream and in the lakes is to use a dry fly with a bead head nymph dropper. The weather during the summer months is usually very comfortable. Average daytime temperatures range from 60 to 80 degrees. On clear nights the temperatures can range from 20 to 40 degrees, so we suggest that you come prepared for the changing temperatures.
General Trip Itinerary
Leave Big Timber and caravan to the Box Canyon Trailhead (2-hour drive). Ride on horseback about 2 hours to the Independence camp. Arrive by mid-afternoon and get settled into camp, fish a little on Boulder Creek, followed by an evening campfire evening, and dinner.
After breakfast, pack up and ride 4.5 hours to Hellroaring Creek. Arrive by mid-afternoon and get settled into camp, fish a little on Hellroaring Creek, followed by an evening campfire evening, and dinner.
Day 3, 4, 5
Activities include – Fishing Hellroaring Creek, ride/fish a high elevation lake, etc
After breakfast, pack up and ride back about 6 hours out to the Box Canyon Trailhead. Caravan back to Big Timber. Arrive late afternoon. Free to depart.
Boats and Equipment Required
Absaroka Beartooth’s backcountry camps are accessed by horseback, and all horses, wrangling assistance, and guiding are included in each package. The horses and mules used by ABO are well suited to the mountain terrain. They have clocked in many hours in the mountains and are as dependable as horses and mules can be. Previous riding experience is helpful but not required.
Rates and Terms
Remember that Yellow Dog’s services are completely free! When you book a trip with Yellow Dog, you never pay more than when you book directly with the outfitter.
$3,500.00 per person
Small discount for groups of 4 or more.
2023 Trip Dates
July 17 – 22 (8 spots)
July 24 – 29 (full)
July 31 – August 5 (full)
August 7 – 12 (8 spots)
August 14 – 19 (8 spots)
- Five (5) nights of camping
- Six (6) days of fishing, riding, hiking, etc
- Use of horses, mules, saddles, tack, etc
- Tents, cots, sleep pads, etc
- All meals and non-alcoholic beverages
- Lunches during the ride in and ride out
What’s Not Included:
- Lodging on frontend and backend of trip
- Transportation to / from the trailhead (best to rent a car)
- Airfare (fly into Bozeman or Billings)
- Fishing license(s)
- Sleeping bag or pillow (BYO)
- Fishing equipment, flies, or tackle (BYO)
- Alcoholic beverages (BYO)
- Gratuities for outfitting crew
Absaroka Beartooth Outfitters (Big Timber, Montana)
TERMS AND CONDITIONS – CANCELLATIONS
A non-refundable deposit of 50% per person is due within 10 days of booking for all trip packages and reservations, and final payment is due 90 days prior to arrival. All trip cancellations must be received in writing, sent to Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures, LLC. For all Absaroka Beartooth Outfitters fishing packages, both deposits and final payments are non-refundable. If a cancelled package is resold by either the lodge/operator or by Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures, then a full refund will be sent minus a $100.00 per person Yellow Dog cancellation fee. In the case of cancellation by the client, both deposit and final payment may be transferred to another guest or angler for those same (original) dates if facilitated and arranged by the client. Receipt of deposit and/or final payment is acknowledgment that registrant has read and accepts the deposit, cancellation, refund and responsibility clauses for these Absaroka Beartooth Outfitters packages. Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures strongly recommends that anglers and guests purchase travel insurance for this trip.
Payment Terms For All Yellow Dog Trip Bookings
In order to lock in your trip reservation, we ask that you please remit payment within 10 days of receipt of invoice. For your convenience, Yellow Dog accepts on-line payments via a direct and secure ACH platform – a quick and easy way to complete your trip reservation. Note that all Yellow Dog invoices include a live link that takes you directly to the Yellow Dog ACH platform for fast and easy payment. For open and existing invoices with a remaining balance, payment reminders also include this easy link to the ACH page.
Other customary forms of payment that are accepted are checks or wire transfers. If you would like to pay in a different way or have any questions about alternate payment methods, please contact Yellow Dog at (888) 777-5060 or (406) 585-8667. We are available Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Beginning September 1st, 2020, Yellow Dog will apply a 3% convenience fee for all credit card transactions.
Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures Standard Forms For Payment
- ACH online payments (for US banking institutions only).
- Traditional checks (sent via mail)
- Electronic wire payments (client is responsible for any wiring fees)
*Please contact us if you prefer or require a different payment option. Convenience fees may apply for other payment methods.
**Please be aware that the ACH platform is only available for US financial institutions and bank accounts. International payments can be made via wire or with a credit card.