Getting to the Yellowstone is going to be a bouncy, ill-ridden ride but it will be worth every minute of each bone-jarring bump. From Duchesne, head North on Highway 87 for about 15 miles. While on that road, if you need a bite to eat stop at Pinn Willies, a nice mom and pops place that you will want to stop at for dinner as well. Just up the hill from Falcon's Ledge will be a left hand turn onto 21000 West. If you need any last items there is a small store in Mountain Home. Follow 21000 West until you get to 7500 North, at 7500 North you will have to make a left or right, make a right turn which will put you on 20780 West. Soon after the right turn will be a curve in the road that heads North, take the curve instead of driving into someone's driveway. You'll stay on 20780 for about 10 miles during which you'll enter the Uinta and Ouray Indian Reservation, you will turn right and cross a single lane bridge, and about a quarter mile passed their will make a left onto Yellowstone Road. Follow Yellowstone Road through the rest of the Indian Reservation until you get onto the Ashley National Forest. The road continues until the confluence of Swift Creek with Yellowstone Creek, at which point there is a campground and coral for horse and other livestock.
The Yellowstone travels through both Tribal land and through public lands administered through the Forest Service. There are places to fish the Yellowstone on Tribal lands, but if you are not a member of the tribe you cannot fish or really do anything except drive along roadways. Getting a Tribal Permit is possible, the store in Mountain Home is one such place to purchase them. Once you get onto the Forest, though, access to the river is completely free. There are four campgrounds along the river which have various fees attached to staying in them. All of the campgrounds have pit toilets are numerous camping sites. Also, a person is able to camp in non-designated campgrounds for free. You will know when youâ€™re on the Forest compared to the reservation due to the improvement in the road once you cross onto the Forest.
Nothing bigger than a 3 wt rod should be used on the Yellowstone. It's a small, â€œsouth slopeâ€ stream that can't be more than 20 feet across on average. We use our 7'6" on this river and have never needed anything bigger, in fact, bigger would just get in the way. There are most definitely monsters hiding out in some of the pools, don't doubt that, but the average fish is somewhere in the 6-10" range. Don't let their diminutive size be a turn off though, they are fun and greedy. The Yellowstone offers a Wild Trout Grand Slam: Brook, Brown, Cutthroat, and Rainbow, it's difficult but not impossible. It will be the Browns that keep you from getting the title. These fish hole up in pocket water as well as a fair number in the larger pools.
As has been mentioned, these fish can be forgiving. The first time that this river was fished, we found a hole that seemed promising, the two of us had on an X-Caddis and an Elk Hair Caddis, within minutes we had landed three fish, two Brookies and a Cuttie. There was not an active hatch happening, even though there were caddis and mayflies in the air. However, later in the day, the same fish repetitively looked at our flies and refused to take. These fish can be as finicky as they are forgiving, be prepared for both. Carry a standard arrangement of Caddis, Mayfly, and Stonefly imitations and you'll have the basics covered.
If you want to get away and back to nature, the Yellowstone is a great place for that. The Yellowstone offers exactly what every fly-fisherman needs, an escape from the world around them, a place to reconnect to our most primal nature, to reconnect to our birthright. As always, Good Luck and Guid Luck!!