The Ultimate Fly Fishing Pack Trip
Sunrise Pack Station specializes in horseback backcountry fishing trips throughout Yellowstone National Park. They offer a unique vacation experience. Whether you are an educationally-oriented family, a fisherman looking for a remote trout fishing experience, or if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of ordinary life while enjoying the wilderness of Yellowstone, Sunrise Pack Station can accommodate you. They provide professionally guided and accredited horseback trips inside the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park. Their gentle horses and mules will carry both you and your belongings to comfortable camps surrounded by the pristine scenery of Yellowstone National Park. Well-trained wranglers will prepare delicious meals, see to your comfort, and create a cozy camp atmosphere. Sunrise Pack Station is an authorized concessioner of the National Park Service.
+ Listen to this WAYPOINTS Podcast: SHANE MCCLAFFLIN – Fishing and Horsepacking the Wilds of Yellowstone
Sunrise Pack Station operates a low-impact, tent-based camp, due to National Park Service regulations and a “Leave No Trace” backcountry ethics. They provide warm zero-degree rated sleeping bags and a full-length pillow atop a ThermaRest sleeping pad for your sleeping comfort. Cots are available upon request. You will be housed in the Johnson Outdoors company’s latest design for four-man backpacking tents. The tent is called the Timberline SQ Outfitter 4, holding two people and gear with plenty of room. There is a sun shower for guests situated in a private area, away from streams to prevent soap from contaminating the waters of our favorite national park. At every camp, there is also a latrine where guests may refresh themselves and use sanitary wipes in a secluded area.
Because they camp in bear country, Sunrise Pack Station uses a variety of safe practices to keep bear interactions limited to viewing these amazing animals from a safe, respectful distance. They place the sleeping area 100 yards away from the cooking area, as recommended by experts. All food and scented materials stay in the cooking area, where they are hung from a “bear pole” high in the air to keep scents and bear attractants out of the animals’ reach and to keep bears away from the guests. Bears do not like large horse herds or groups of humans, so bear problems are rare. The hanging of the food and the clean kept camp help avoid drawing in any bear passing by.
Food and Beverages
Each day meals are prepared in the covered “kitchen” area of the camp and eaten as a group either at the large table or around the campfire. The menu will likely include tasty appetizers, steaks, salmon, an assortment of vegetables, and scrumptious desserts. Dinner is cooked in the core camp area, where the bear pole is and the food is kept tables and chairs are set up, table cloths and dishes are set, the camp cook prepares his meals in a clean outdoor kitchen and he has been trained in foodservice and cleanliness. Once meals have been prepared and consumed the guides wash the dishes and discard leftover food in a separate garbage sack to help avoid bear problems.
Non-Angling Activities and Options
Wildlife viewing in the Park is unbelievable. Elk, deer, moose, bear, wolf, coyote, birds, and eagles all call Yellowstone National Park home. Hiking around camp, short day rides, and relaxing are all available for non-anglers. The staff at Sunrise Pack Station is extremely knowledgeable about the Park’s history, ecosystem, and the surrounding area; they can entertain anyone!
Internet / Communications
There is no internet access while in camp and cell phone service is spotty while in the park. Be sure to check with your service provider prior to your trip regarding specific coverage in the area.
How To Get There
Anglers will want to fly into Bozeman, Montana (BZN), Billings, Montana (BIL), Jackson, Wyoming (JAC), or Idaho Falls, Idaho (IDA), depending on which trip you are participating in.
Arrival and Departure Details / Times
Once the itinerary for the trip is planned, Yellow Dog will arrange for a meeting place and time with Sunrise Pack Station staff. All trailheads are within the boundaries of the Park.
Yellowstone National Park fishing licenses are available at all area fly shops and sporting goods stores, as well as at the Park entrance gates. You will need to present a valid driver’s license (or other ID) in order to purchase your fishing license.
Yellow Dog works directly with and recommends Kanna Travel. They can assist with airline tickets, hotels, transfers, and all travel logistics for every destination that we offer. Contact them at 855-739-3139 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on airfare ticketing, travel services, and trip insurance.
The crew at Sunrise Pack Station offers many different angling options throughout the backcountry of Yellowstone National Park. Most of the fishing takes place on small backcountry creeks and streams. Wading and fishing from the banks is the normal practice, along with the use of lighter trout rods – four weight and five weight – in packable, four-piece configurations. Most of the fish you will catch in the backcountry of Yellowstone are native cutthroat trout – colorful and feisty and almost always willing to take a dry fly.
Slough Creek (4 days)
Another hot spot in Yellowstone National Park’s fishing adventure is Slough Creek. Big fish, slow water, and spectacular scenery make this one of the most sought after places to fish. You ride in and set up one camp and then concentrate on fishing. By this time of year, the grasshoppers have come out and the fish feed on them heavily, so the fly fishing is sight fishing with great big flies! Some of the best hatches come off in the evening so, once you’re done eating dinner, feel free to go back down and fish till dark.
Fan Creek (3 days)
This three-day family-oriented trip will take you up to Fan Creek. This backcountry playground is a place for hikes, playing in the creek, playing with the horses, or maybe trying to catch an early trout in Fan Creek. Your nights will be spent around the campfire enjoying stories or listening to the howl of wolves. The Fan Creek region has one of the few almost all black wolf packs in Yellowstone National Park.
Cache Creek (5 days)
On your first day you’ll ride 6 miles to the Lower Cache Creek site, where you’ll set up our home away from home for the next 2 nights. You’ll begin fishing as soon as you arrive in camp, as it lies right on the creek side. You’ll spend day two fishing up and down Cache Creek exploring the pockets and pools which hold nice vibrant cutthroat trout. Anyone who is not up for fishing can ride up Cache Creek for some photography as you climb alongside “The Thunderer” for some great alpine shots or the occasional buffalo, wolf, or bear meandering up and down the trail. Your nights will be filled with tales around the campfire, good food, and relaxation. On your last day, you’ll fish around camp while the guides pack things up and then head back toward home.
Lamar “Over the Top” (6 days)
This trip is a progressive trip (start and finish at different trailheads) that goes deeper into the Lamar than most outfitters go. This fishing trip by horseback explores the Pelican Valley and the Lamar River Valley. The Lamar River Valley within Yellowstone National Park is the most commonplace for watching wolves, bears, and American bison interact. From where the Lamar River leaves the Upper Lamar Canyon and flows to join the Yellowstone, visitors can see spectacular wildlife interactions on a daily basis from the safety of their cars. However, for the more adventurous, riding up the Upper Lamar will result in seeing the wildlife in a more intimate setting as bison stroll down the trail 100 yards from the campsite, bears forage on the hillsides, and wolves dog trot along in search of prey. This trip is an adventure fisherman’s paradise with scenery as wild as the animals. Big deep pools abundant with healthy size cutthroat trout are scattered throughout the river. Actively feeding fish and nice hatches characterize this fishing trip.
Upper Lamar River (5 days)
One of Yellowstone National Park’s premier fishing spots, the Lamar River Valley, provides deep pools and large active fish. You will ride up the canyon, out of reach of the majority of the visitors to Yellowstone National Park, for some pristine fishing waters. Besides fishing, be sure to bring your camera. Wolves, bears, buffalo, and elk are all known to frequent these areas. While you’re here, you’ll discuss the Nez Perce Indians who traveled right through this area as they fled from the army in Yellowstone National Park in 1877.
Bechler River (5 days)
Come to Yellowstone National Park’s Cascade Corner and photograph the magnificent waterfalls. This time of year is spectacular in the park. Late summer provides the warm days and cool nights for an amazing time in Yellowstone’s Cascade Corner. You’ll ride to numerous waterfalls and overlooks to see spectacular scenery. Bring your camera to capture the people, horses, wildlife, and scenery. In the off time, relax in the warm waters of this area to rest your bones and rejuvenate your soul.
Boats and Equipment
Camps are accessed via horseback, usually with the support of several mules on a mule train. Sunrise Pack Station provides all camping gear, including tents, sleeping bags, pillows, inflatable ground pads, sleeping bag liners, and pillowcases. They also provide large duffel bags for you to pack your clothing and other gear in for the mules to carry. You will want to bring all of your own clothing, a headlamp, personal items, and your fishing equipment. Sunrise Pack Station and Yellow Dog will send you a packing list so you will not forget anything. Most people bring their own fishing gear, but rental rods are available upon request. Waders are optional, although recommended for the early season.
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.
2022 Trip Dates
July 6 – 9 = Slough Creek (full)
July 14 – 16 = Fan Creek (full)
July 19 – 23 = Cache Creek (full)
July 26 – 31 = Lamar “Over the Top” (full)
August 3 – 6 = Slough Creek (full)
August 9 – 13 = Upper Lamar River (full)
August 30 – September 3 = Bechler River (3 spots)
September 6 – 9 = Slough Creek (3 spots)
Slough Creek = $2,700.00 per person
Fan Creek = $2,025.00 per person
Cache Creek = $3,375.00 per person
Lamar “Over the Top” = $4,050.00 per person
Upper Lamar River = $3,375.00 per person
Bechler River = $3,375.00 per person
Alternative trips/dates can sometimes be scheduled with enough advanced notice and based on the outfitter’s availability. Trips typically require a minimum of 3 guests in order for the trip to be a-go.
– Fully outfitted / guided horseback pack-in & pack-out
– Use of horses, mules, and all tack
– All meals (including arrival and departure day sack lunches)
– Therm-a-Rest sleeping pads
– Zero degrees rated sleeping bags
– Large canvas duffel for personal items
What’s Not Included:
– Transportation to and from the trailhead
– Sleeping cots (can be provided at an additional cost)
– Rod/reel (can be provided at an additional cost)
– Bear spray (can be provided at an additional cost)
– Flies or terminal tackle (BYO)
– Yellowstone National Park fishing license
– Yellowstone National Park entrance fee
– Alcoholic beverages (BYO)
– Gratuities for outfitting crew
– Gluten-free menu ($100 extra per person)
– Vegetarian menu ($150 extra per person)
– Vegan menu ($200 extra per person)
Sunrise Pack Station (Yellowstone National Park)
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 if due 90 days prior to arrival. All trip cancellations must be received in writing, sent to Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures, LLC. Please note that all deposits and trip payments are non-refundable no refunds will be issued unless the trip is re-sold by either the outfitter or by Yellow Dog. If trip dates are re-sold, then a full refund minus a $100.00 per person Yellow Dog cancellation fee will be issued. 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. Sunrise Pack Station reserves the right to cancel the trip due to forest fire, or if the minimum number of guests needed (four total per group) is not reached. Receipt of deposit and/or final payment is acknowledgment that registrant has read and accepts the deposit, cancellation, refund and responsibility clauses for these 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.
Yellow Dog Client Reviews
“I had never been on a pack trip or fished Western US. So I wasn’t sure what to expect on my trip. The trip was well beyond my expectations. Shane is a first-class guide! His knowledge of the area and it’s history comes through during the after dinner talks by the camp fire. He also makes an inexperienced horseback rider like myself, feel confident to handle your horse for the entirety of the trip. I would recommend Shane for anyone interested in doing a pack trip in Yellowstone.”- Katrina S.
“For a pack trip it was great. Outfitter and crew were top notch. Beautiful area and great fishing. Very memorable trip.” – Worth H.
“Booking this trip was one of the best decisions we have every made as far as family vacations go. As with any destination trip, weather can be a factor in the fishing and this trip was no different. Don’t get me wrong, the cutts were there, they attacked flies voraciously and they were certainly beautiful! However, this trip is much more about location, experience and camaraderie than it is fishing. Every member of my family took something away from being deep inside Yellowstone I didn’t foresee and that had a great deal to do with Shane, Becky and Tyson from Sunrise Pack Station. My wife was the one I worried about most and I’m pretty sure she had more fun then any of us. We’ll be back and we will certainly book additional nights.” – Brad B.
“Shane and his staff were very knowledgeable and helpful. They were very pleasant, and I would highly recommend them.” – Robert C.
“Great place to fish, great guide, wonderful first time fly fishing experience.” – Stephen V.
WAYPOINTS Podcast: Fishing the Backcountry of Yellowstone
Shane McClafflin is the owner and lead guide for Sunrise Pack Station – a wilderness outfitting business that specializes in backcountry horseback and fishing trips in the wilds of Yellowstone National Park. Shane has been a backcountry guide for more than 30 years and first began guiding in the mountains when he was 18 years old. For the past 25 years, he’s spent his summers sharing the wonders of Yellowstone’s backcountry with anglers and visitors from around the world. Almost everyone has heard of Yellowstone National Park, and many outdoor-lovers have visited the Park – taking in the popular and iconic geysers, waterfalls, and canyon views. Very few people get to see the “real” Yellowstone, however, as they rarely leave the pavement and parking lots. The wilds of the Park can only be experienced and appreciated once you leave the crowded attraction areas behind, and this is especially true for anglers seeking productive trout waters. The well-known Park rivers such as the Firehole, Madison, and Upper Yellowstone offer great fishing, but they also see a lot of pressure, which is why the remote backcountry areas are well worth the effort for those willing to put in the time and the work.