Each year, it is estimated that of Yellowstone National Park’s four million visitors, 50,000 visitors dedicate time to fishing. A popular activity among visitors to the park for over 100 years, fly fishing and casting a line into the many lakes and rivers of Wyoming are alluring due to plentiful fish and awe-inspiring nature.
Not sure where to fish near the East Entrance of Yellowstone National Park? Start with our top four favorite fishing spots!
1. North Fork of the Shoshone River (Fishing the East Entrance of Yellowstone National Park)
Often revered as a fisherman’s dream, the Shoshone River is widely accepted as one of the ten best freestone waters in the United States for fly fishing. Providing great fishing throughout most of its length, the North Fork of the Shoshone River begins in the Absaroka Wilderness in Yellowstone National Park and flows for approximately fifteen miles. Visitors to the North Fork of the Shoshone typically access the river via foot or horseback. Lower and middle parts of the North Fork are accessible from Highways 14, 16, and 20, including the highway leading to the East Entrance of Yellowstone National Park.
Sportsmen fishing the east entrance of Yellowstone National Park along the Shoshone River can expect an abundance of trout, including Yellowstone Cutts, Rainbow, Brown, Brookies, and Cuttbows, all ranging in sizes from 8’’ inches to 12’’ inches, though 18’’ trout are not uncommon. Plan on fishing the Northfork of the Shoshone during late spring, summer, and early fall.
2. Beartooth Lake on the Beartooth Plateau
Beartooth Lake is a pristine lake located along the famous Beartooth Highway (U.S. Highway 212). The lake offers plentiful fishing, an easily accessible shoreline for casting a line, and a great opportunity for boating. Like most of the lakes in and around Yellowstone National Park, Beartooth Lake is populated largely by Brook Trout, though Wyoming Fish & Game stocks the lake yearly with Rainbow Trout and Cutthroat Trout. Fishermen can also expect to encounter Arctic Graylings.
A popular fishing spot near the East Entrance of Yellowstone National Park, Beartooth lake’s easily accessible location promotes heavy use. Due to its altitude of 8,900’ Beartooth Lake is subject to severe weather year-round. However, it is easily accessible July through September.
To access Beartooth Lake from Cody, take State Highway 120 for approximately 16 miles to Highway 296. A right turn on Highway 212, followed for eight miles leads visitors to the lake.
3. Lily Lake
Often referred to as the gem of Clarks Fork Ranger District, not far from Cody, Wyoming, Lily Lake offers sportsmen a scenic view and an abundance of fish. Stock-full of Rainbow Trout and Arctic Graylings, the lake is an inviting space for fishermen seeking quiet solitude in nature. Currently, motorboats are not allowed on the lake, nevertheless, it’s common to see visitors fishing via canoe or tube. Due to the high elevation of Lily Lake, it receives a lot of snow resulting in an ice covering through June. Fishing Lily Lake is recommended from early summer, through early fall.
Accessing Lily Lake is simple (as are most other lakes on the Beartooth Pass All-American Road). Head out of Cody, on Highway 120, staying left for Highway 296. Upon reaching Highway 212, make a right and drive five miles to Lily Lake Road.
4. Clarks Fork Yellowstone
241 miles of excellent fishing, the Clarks Fork of Yellowstone River begins along the northwest borders of Montana and Wyoming. The slow-moving waterway is frequented by visitors and locals alike, seeking out premium fishing, wading, and float trips. Fishermen visiting the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River can expect to find plenty of Rainbow and Brown Trout, Rainbow-Cutthroat Hybrids, Grayling, Mountain Whitefish, and both Yellowstone and Snake River Cutthroat. Clarks Fork may be fished year-round, however, it delivers the best fishing during the summer months.
Due to the span of the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River, access and fishing areas remain diverse, some containing rapidly flowing waters making wading difficult. To access the fishing areas of Clarks Fork, drive north from Cody on State Highway 120, which will deliver you to State Highway 296 that ends in Clarks Fork Canyon.