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PostPosted: September 17th, 2016, 6:37 pm 
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Joined: July 21st, 2011, 9:30 pm
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I was talking to my wife about how I wanted to save up some cash here and there to take a MT trip in 2 or 3 years. I was quite surprised when she said that she would like to go and we could do a couples trip. Blew my mind, she's not an outdoors person at all... but she's want to do some site seeing. After a quick discussion about how we could do it we decided I would go with some friends strictly fishing and scout out some attractions that we could do together. So now I'm kinda planning 2 MT trips!

So, I have no real clue how to plan a trip of this magnitude, the biggest trip I have ever planned is 6 days in Rangeley... I am loosely planning on Bozeman as a base with stops in Craig and Livingston.... or something like that. I want to fish the Missouri, Madison, and Yellowstone, at least. I also don't want to spend a full day driving across the state.

So.... start the flood of information, I need to sift through it all and figure out what I want.


Peter

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PostPosted: September 17th, 2016, 7:18 pm 
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Location: Vassalboro, Maine
Flying or driving?
Alone or with friends?
In the Park or out?
Length of stay decides options of places.
Camping or renting?
Time of year-month and week
August should be out, but September is to wish for...
One should allow for 3 days in any area....which allows for weather and river conditions to moderate/change.
Craig/livingston and the Yellowstone is a tall order....and at least some consideration to boat rental may be needed(on the Mo and on the Yellowstone)

Planning is half the fun.

Enjoy!!!!

Hutch

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PostPosted: September 18th, 2016, 8:40 am 
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Joined: February 22nd, 2009, 1:36 pm
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Location: Sebago Lake and Moosehead Lake Regions
Peter010786 wrote:
she's not an outdoors person at all... but she's want to do some site seeing. After a quick discussion about how we could do it we decided I would go with some friends strictly fishing and scout out some attractions that we could do together. So now I'm kinda planning 2 MT trips!

So.... start the flood of information, I need to sift through it all and figure out what I want.

Peter


Peter;

A few thoughts that will help ensure that you have future opportunities like this...

I have visited the YNP region four times over the past 10 years (2007, 2010, 2013, & 2016). All trips were with my wife and in some instances others. I have been the only person with "Fish on the Brain" on these trips. As such, "Balance" has been a critical element to my success. By success, I mean, we just got back last week and we are already starting to scope out our next trip in three to four years which will include Glacier NP and Northeast YNP in our itinerary. I can spend hours feeding you information about my approach, lessons learned, etc. Hutch and others can tell you similar and differing ideas... I really comes down to what do you and your spouse want to do while you are there. Next car ride get her to do a brain dump of what interests she has while in the Montana/YNP (Yellowstone National Park) regions... Then prioritize or set some assumptions (such as budget, region, top priorities for the trip, etc.)... Seriously, unless you have a month of vacation to devote while you are out there, you will not be able to do everything you want to do...

With regard to YNP:

* Does she want to view certain animals in the wild? Bison, Elk, Coyote, Moose & Prong Horn should be easy to find. Black Bear, Grizzly, Wolf, Big Horn Sheep will required some additional time and effort, but can be accomplished.

* Does she want to spend time at Mammoth Hot Springs? If so, anticipate half a day between travel and walking the boardwalks.

* Does she want to visit Old Faithful and walk the boardwalk to get an opportunity to view other geysers? If so, expect AT LEAST a half day to a full day, possibly more.

* Does she want to check out Norris Basin?

* Does she want to check out West Thumb off from Yellowstone Lake?

* Does she want to go into the Canyon and get the various views of the falls? A person could spend anywhere from half to two full days hiking to the various viewing spots in the canyon.

* Does she want to travel down towards Jackson and check out the views of the Tetons?

As far as fishing goes, my next trip will likely be an early to mid Sept trip and focus on the following rivers in this priority: 1) Slough Creek, 2) Yellowstone River (in the park, too far to travel between the Park and Livingston to get tot he big fish), 3) Lamar River. If I could get out there in late July, I would like to get over tot he Madison (outside the Park)....

Let me know if you would like to connect, I can share many photos from past visits as well as lessons learned.

It is too bad we can't have a TU meeting or something like that where we have a panel that presents on YNP and surrounding and each person provides a 10-15 minute overview.

Have an awesome day..

- ZG -


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PostPosted: September 18th, 2016, 9:29 am 
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Quite a tall order but since one trip is strictly fishing and the other sight seeing maybe a bit easier. However the sight seeing issue raises a few questions. Is this a down town nic-nak trip or an outdoors trip? Bozeman is a great walking around, shopping place but far from most rivers you mentioned. Craig on the Missouri, for example, is at least 3 hours away so clearly not a day trip. The Madison from Bozeman is also a hike and not really a day trip. YNP on the other hand is all about the outdoors and nature. It is also within easy reach of West Yellowstone for shopping.

For a first time fishing trip I'd suggest fewer far flung destinations and more time on one or two rivers. Spending a day here and a day there means driving miles and less actual fishing. If Craig on the Missouri is your primary target make that a week long trip and do it in Mid July. If the spring creeks are a target then you can do the Yellowstone the same week. The Madison is a world away but can be combined with the YNP rivers and perhaps even a day on the Henry's Fork.

Well...I didn't help much.

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PostPosted: September 18th, 2016, 12:47 pm 
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Location: Manchester, ME
I'd add that there are two ways to accomplish the "balance" that ZG talks about. One is to have days devoted solely to fishing where your wife finds something else to do, and the other is to plan around being in places where there can be some fishing and something the non-fishing partner wants to do.

Dee Dee and I take the latter approach, but it's made much easier because what she wants is to be in places with wildlife and scenery to take photos and sketch and paint. If she wanted shopping or fine dining, it would be a lot more difficult, at least in the park. We did more sightseeing on our trip than I would have on a fishing trip, but I got in some fishing every day without burning her out--except one day where I should have quit earlier and she was more freaked out by the bison trotting by than I realized.

I didn't see Bozeman, West Yellowstone or Jackson, all of which are said to be more cosmopolitan, but Cook City and Gardiner are both pretty basic in terms of services and shopping, and Billings to us was just an airport and a quick stop at a grocery store and a fly shop. (Major plug for East Rosebud Fly and Tackle in Billings, by the way. Maybe the best fly shop I've been in for the last 5 years. Super friendly and a great selection of tying materials, plus all the tackle you might want.)

If you want lower cost without camping, look into Air BnB or one of the other services where people rent their houses or condos. We found lots of options around $125-150 per night, with pretty good discounts for a full week, about as cheap as we could find a motel room, and we saved a lot of money by being able to cook for ourselves for most meals. The Air BnB route gets even more reasonable on a per-person basis for bigger groups who have the option of larger houses. And shop around for rental cars. I got a Toyota Rav4 for the week for less than $100 (before insurance or gas) through Priceline.

If it were me and I were doing this as a camping trip, I would either plan to backpack into the backcountry or plan a trip on National Forest lands outside the park. The "front-country" campgrounds in Yellowstone that we saw were very much geared towards motor homes. The exception was the rustic drive-in campground at Pebble Creek, which would be a great place to be. (We didn't see the similar campground at the end of the Slough Creek road.) But I think those rustic sites can't be reserved, which makes planning tough. The National Forest Service campsites are mostly pretty private and scenic, but they also don't have services like flush toilets and showers that you may want. (Neither do Pebble Creek and Slough Creek.)


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PostPosted: September 18th, 2016, 6:28 pm 
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Joined: March 17th, 2005, 1:00 am
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ZG, I don't want to hijack Peter's post, but I think your idea is a good one and I'd bet the Sebago Chapter would fit in such an evening if you'd organize it...


Jeff

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PostPosted: September 18th, 2016, 8:04 pm 
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Joined: July 21st, 2011, 9:30 pm
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Location: Brunswick
Great info already, thanks. To get to a few points...

First trip is with a few friends, 6 people max I think. Second trip with the wife will come 2 to 3 years after the first... I think.
Defiantly flying and probably around a week, with my job its tough to get a long stretch of in the summer months.
trying to figure out if it would be easier/cheaper to rent an RV or stay in a house. Jeff, I'm amazed a rental car is that cheap, I was expecting 2x to 3x times that much.

I plan to go to the YNP when I am with my wife, which allows more things for us to do together. She would not enjoy watching me fish, even for 5 minuets. She doesn't like to really shop, or hike, she is more or an attractions type of person. She mentioned she wants to go to a dude ranch, or similar place and do some sight seeing and wildlife viewing, although mostly from the car. My fishing then will be mostly mornings and evenings with a full day or a couple half days fit in if possible.

It probably does make more sense to localize the trip to one specific area, now I`ll have to narrow that down.... maybe.

Peter

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Lee Wulff


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PostPosted: September 19th, 2016, 1:07 pm 
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Location: Manchester, ME
Peter:

If you go with an RV, some advice I got from some RVers we met might help. They said they would NOT recommend Yellowstone as a first-time destination for an RV, due to narrow roads and the traffic/wildlife issues. They said other parks were much easier to drive in. An RV or even a larger SUV will make it a lot harder to pull off the road safely for wildlife watching or fishing. Many "parking" spots are narrow and only hold a car or two.

We did meet two very nice retired ladies who were travelling with a small trailer they pulled from Florida behind a Subaru. It had two beds and an outside but covered place to cook. They'd been all over the west this summer and we found them in a primo campsite at Pebble Creek. They could drop off the trailer in their campsite and have the smaller car to bomb around in. But I doubt you could rent such a rig.

Also, I highly recommend this book as a general resource. All the information I took from it was right on target:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/p/fishing-yellowstone-national-park-richard-parks/1100433165/2674480048326?st=PLA&sid=BNB_DRS_Marketplace+Shopping+Books_00000000&2sid=Google_&sourceId=PLGoP2246&k_clickid=3x2246

There are plenty of other resources, but that covers the park very well. You are welcome to borrow my dog eared and beat up copy.


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PostPosted: September 19th, 2016, 2:51 pm 
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Ranch option can get pricey, really quickly, but a good time to be had by all is probably just about guaranteed. Does your wife ride horses? If yes, and you can find the cash, then a week at a dude ranch with quality fishing on site would be really awesome. I'd love to do a trip like that with the family some time, but it takes some cash ($200/day per person and up). Does your wife like to float or otherwise spend time on the river?

Long ago, before kids entered into the equation, we did a lot of combo trips. My solution on these was to stay (usually camp) directly adjacent to excellent fishing and fish mornings and evenings.

Honestly, for the combined trip that you're talking about, I might recommend Colorado over Montana or Wyoming. There are a lot more "attractions" geared toward regular tourists in Colorado, strung across the western half of the state. It's just a lot more developed. When we go to Wyoming or Montana, the river is the attraction and there's basically nothing else around except maybe a few hiking trails and some interesting wildlife and we might drive over a mountain pass or two.


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PostPosted: September 19th, 2016, 4:09 pm 
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Peter, I made exactly the type of trip you refer to in 2005 with my wife. We based ourselves in West Yellowstone and it worked out really well, except the part where I didn't catch much of anything. We went down to $3 bridge and drove into a couple of spectacularly beautiful ponds in a "wildlife viewing area" and had the good fortune to observe a gizzly feeding on our way back out. Be sure to bring a pair of binoculars. We also took a couple of days to make the loop down into Grand Teton NP and Jackson Hole, coming back over Teton Pass. There are shops in JH with Beverly Hills type prices, if you get a kick out of that sort of thing. We spent one night in JH and drove our rental vehicle way up a canyon road in the National Elk Refuge and watched the sun set over the Tetons; that was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. We didn't spot any elk in the refuge, but there were so many in Yellowstone we had more than our fill.

Oh yeah, my guide book claimed the Madison wasn't worth fishing where it crosses under the road outside of West Yellowstone, but I lost a couple of flies at dusk to fish that suggested otherwise.

I forgot to mention - one of the attractions we took advantage of was a tram ride to the top of Jackson Hole ski area (Rendezvouz Mountain). We did not take advantage of the guys offering tandem hang glider flights off the top for $150 - the return tram ride was included in the ticket price.


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PostPosted: September 20th, 2016, 3:31 pm 
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I was going to ask a question about fishing MT as well, so hopefully Peter won't mind if I add to his thread. For those that have been, what are your thoughts on timing? I'm considering a Mid-Late September trip. Thought if I skipped the summer it may be a little less crowded. Fishing good again by then (August heat has died down?)?


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PostPosted: September 20th, 2016, 3:49 pm 
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CTM...I wish I could answer this from personal experience...but I CAN answer this from my brother's POV (though he may add). As he (Parker) is out there right now, and we all can curse his name- he has called me to grind his good fortune into my psyche, which gives me info.

This time of year, crowds will be much lower. In fact, he has CROWED that he had Raynolds bridge to HIMSELF for all of one day last year. Typically, I see 30+ people minimum on a typical July day in the same spot. He does mention that snow is common, that weather in general gets worse very very fast at this time of year. The bookings for rooms are at off season rates, and his rental car offers him upgrades at minimum prices to get to luxury SUVs.

Given a choice, I'd go the last 2 weeks of September, and the first week of October. Knowing that weather could snow me in, this is a risk... on the other hand, July early faces runoff issues, and late July leads to heat closures (as we saw this year). Parker has seen superior dry fly fishing for years at this time of year...but he also has pounded the run up fish using streamer tactics from Maine with streamers that also are familiar. He (again, we curse his name!) tells of watching some fishers fish Barns hole with typical western flies...and being shut out....when they left, he stripped a common streamer from GLS and ripped 6 huge fish in water they had just fished. As he expounds this story, he often mentions they were sitting at the pic-nic table and watched the entire massacre.

Go. At any time is better than not going. I'd just be going NOW if I were able.

Hutch

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PostPosted: September 20th, 2016, 3:55 pm 
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Rory-

That area above the bridge that you spoke of is a fine place to teach fishing skills to a newbie, as the whitefish are there in simply huge numbers. And hidden in all those whites, are some damn fine browns...I fish that water, and see NOBODY...so, let's keep it secret! (Try an ANT)

Hutch

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PostPosted: September 20th, 2016, 4:44 pm 
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Hutch - that feedback is greatly appreciated. I have been to MT once before a few years ago (Missoula area, stayed on Rock Creek specifically), we did some research and hoped we would be past runoff when we went in early July. We were wrong. Fished hard, still had a great time, caught my first cutthroat, etc. and would do it again for sure even given the wading challenges. Was hoping for the type of feedback you provided, so that solidifies it for me. Am looking at staying in or near Craig, and fishing the Missouri. Have some work to do to get the plan to come together...you helped push that along.



Chris


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PostPosted: September 20th, 2016, 5:05 pm 
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CTM, don't mind at all, that was going to be one of my questions anyway. Hutch, you know have me thinking mid to late Sept. I was thinking end of July early August, but I don't mind fishing in the snow and I dislike fishing with 30 other people...

Pushaw, I'm doubtful we would stay at a dude ranch for a week... possibly a day or two. My wife currently does not ride horses, but used to so she is down for anything to do with them. I suspect the trip with my wife will change 1,000 times before it happens but now I'm thinking it would be fun for us to rent an RV and road trip around the area. As you mentioned MT is a massive rural state, but we could easily cruise around and stay in campgrounds near rivers so I could get my fix morning and evening. Even jumping around into Idaho and Wyoming would be awesome. I drive truck for a living so maneuvering a large vehicle around is no issue at all for me. Still a TON to think about but you guys are great at providing insite and information.

Peter


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