This week’s subject is our Montana Road Trip – Lamar River and Slough Creek, the last stop on our Montana fly fishing road trip.

Confluence of Lamar & Soda Butte | www.johnkreft.com

If you recall from last week’s post, our previous fishing was on the Stillwater River. We decided to drive over the scenic Beartooth pass into Cooke City/Silver Gate area and into the Northeast corner of Yellowstone Park.

Beartooth Pass | www.johnkreft.com

Yes, that’s the road we drove on getting up the pass. Very spectacular views on our drive. We began at Red Lodge, MT with an elevation of 5,568 feet and drove through the Absaroka and Beartooth Mountains to it’s highest point in Wyoming – 10,947 feet.

Why is it called Beartooth Pass? Well, take a look at the picture.

Bear Tooth | www.johnkreft.com

See the “bear tooth”?

We were headed home and only planned to be in the Lamar valley a couple of days. For some reason, this big, wide open valley speaks to me in a calm voice. In spite of the crowds (and the bison), I can find my fly fishing zen here.

Bison in Lamar Valley | www.johnkreft.com

We started fishing on Slough Creek this year.

Slough Creek | www.johnkreft.com

All the rivers in Montana had less water in them and Slough Creek was no exception.

Slough Creek Tree | www.johnkreft.com
Slough Creek Scenery | www.johnkreft.com

In spite of the low flows, we were able to locate some nice Yellowstone Cutthroats in the slow, still pools. Yes, we saw them, but I’m sure they saw us first.

The fish were rising on both seams in this short run.

Fishing in Slough Creek | www.johnkreft.com

And another small channel. Fish began rising. It took a little while to determine they were rising to Callibaetis spinners. I did manage to hook a big fish on a small Sparkle Dun and got it just to the net before it was able to get off.

Slough Creek Run | www.johnkreft.com

Here is one that didn’t get away.

Slough Creek Cutthtoat | www.johnkreft.com

And another picture.

Slough Creek Yellowstone Cutthroat | www.johnkreft.com

Most fly fishers fish the Lamar, Soda Butte, and Slough Creek in the middle of the day. Us? We tried to fish early, take a break, then fish in the evening.

Here we are at Roosevelt Lodge on the front porch, relaxing with our fishing friend Eric Steele.

Roosevelt Lodge Porch | www.johnkreft.com

Speaking of Eric, he was kind enough to invite us to stay with him at his rustic Wolf Crossing cabin.

Wolf Crossing Cabin | www.johnkreft.com

We have found great fishing from 5 pm to dark on many occasions.

There are a couple of fishing holes we always try to fish and since the time was limited on this trip, we decided to concentrate on them.

This is a favorite spot of ours in the Lamar canyon. It is a bit of a hike down to the river.

Lamar Canyon | www.johnkreft.com

Look closely. It’s really there! Remember, all the water from Soda Butte Creek and the Lamar River flow through this canyon.

And a shot from river level.

Lamar Boulders | www.johnkreft.com

These are some slow, deep pools that hold a few nice fish.

Lamar River Yellowstone Cutthroat in Boulders | www.johnkreft.com

In the evening, you would find us fishing here…

Lamar River Above Canyon | www.johnkreft.com

(Photo courtesy of Eric Steele)

This spot has been real good to us over the years and it didn’t disappoint this year. It holds a lot of nice fish, but the ones we caught this year weren’t real big, but still as beautiful. The number of fish we caught made up for the size.

Lamar Cutthroat | www.johnkreft.com

It seems like whenever we fish this spot, we have an extra fishing friend show up.

Lamar River Beaver Swimming | www.johnkreft.com

This beaver must have a 7:15 pm dinner reservation because he swims by to check us out, then waddles up the bank, gets a small willow branch and heads back to the water to enjoy his dinner!

Lamar River Beaver | www.johnkreft.com

He must be 4 feet long when swimming! A friend joined him this year as well. Not something you see everyday.

Did I mention it’s a relaxing place to fish?

Multi-tasking on the Lamar River | www.johnkreft.com

(Photo courtesy of Eric Steele)

Turns out I can multi-task…fly fish AND drink a Moose Drool!

Here is a list of flies that worked for us on the Lamar:

Purple Haze

Purple Haze | www.johnkreft.com


Beetle Betty/Beetle Bailey

Beetle Bailey | www.johnkreft.com
Beetle Bailey

Other flies included a spinner pattern I’ve been working on, a no-name foam ant pattern and a Callibaetis soft hackle

Flies that worked on Slough Creek:

RiverKeeper Soft Hackle Cripple in yellow (#14)

RiverKeeper Soft Hackle Cripple - PMD | www.johnkreft.com


 Sparkle Dun tan #20 (the picture is the PMD version)

Sparkle Dun PMD | www.johnkreft.com


  Harrop’s CDC Ant

Harrop's CDC Ant - Cinnamon | www.johnkreft.com

And a Callibaetis spinner pattern I’m working on.

e had a terrific trip and I can’t wait until the next time we head to Big Sky country!

Lamar Valley Bison | www.johnkreft.com

Be sure to read more about our Montana Road Trip in previous posts:

Enjoy…go fish!

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4 Comments

  1. Great waters! Slough creek 3rd meadow one of my favorite spots on earth. First taught my boys to fly fish there. Down side it made my wife quit fishing, too many tangles .
    Thank for memory lane trip max

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