Photo Essay: Dry-Fly Heaven in Yellowstone National Park


Written by: Phil Monahan

This wild Yellowstone Park brown trout fell for a foam hopper pattern.
Photo by Tom Evenson

Tom Evenson and I spent Tuesday night at Hubbard’s Yellowstone Lodge, which was pretty cool for me: it was the first time I’d stayed there since I was a guide at Hubbard’s in 1994. As you can see from the photo below, the view from the lodge is nothing short of spectacular, looking northward up Paradise Valley along the meandering Yellowstone River.


The view from Hubbard’s Yellowstone Lodge is spectacular, looking up Paradise Valley.
Photo by Phil Monahan

In the morning, we hooked up with head guide Eben Schaefer (with whom I worked back in the day) for a trip into Yellowstone National Park. After we parked the truck, we walked down a steep ravine wall and crossed the river on a cool suspension bridge. When we got to Eben’s favorite starting spot, he handed me a Bullethead Golden Stonefly, a dry-fly pattern that I used all day.


Eben Schaefer and I on the short, but steep hike down to the water.
Photo by Tom Evenson

This was classic pocketwater, and we all started picking up fish immediately, as we leapfrogged each other upstream. The fish were right where you expected them to be: in buckets behind rocks, along fastwater seams, and at the downstream ends of plunge pools. It was surprising how many rainbows we hooked in quite fast water.


Where the river broke up into braids, we each took a channel, all of which held fish.
Photo by Tom Evenson

Where the river braided, we each took a channel and met up at the top of the braids, where we compared notes. Tom had switched to a foam hopper and Eben a Stimulator, but they’d continued to have as good luck as I was enjoying with my golden stonefly. It was about as perfect a fly-fishing morning as one could ask for, and we topped it off with lunch atop a ridge overlooking the water we’d just fished.


Just one of the many trout that fell for the Bullethead Golden Stone dry fly.
Photo by Phil Monahan

Eben discovered this sunning bullsnake when he almost stepped on it.
Photo by Phil Monahan

We didn’t catch any monsters, but the fish were firm and healthy.
Photo by Tom Evenson

Eben’s hat shows the wear and tear of years of guiding, as well as few secrets to his favorite patterns.
Photo by Tom Evenson

This rainbow smacked Tom’s hopper as I watched from across the stream.
Photo by Phil Monahan

The colors on some of the trout were stunning.
Photo by Tom Evenson

What better way to end a great morning of dry-fly fishing?
Photo by Tom Evenson

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