Fly Fishing Pack Trips

Slough Creek & Hellroaring Creek Fly Fishing Pack Trips

Fly Fishing Guides
Yellowstone National Park &
Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness

Northern Yellowstone and the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness contain a mosaic of open country, lofty plateaus, snow-capped peaks, lush meadows, rugged canyons, miles of pristine trout streams, and high mountain lakes. 

During a pack trip into these areas, you may fish the world-famous meadows of Slough Creek, a plunge pool below a waterfall on Buffalo Creek, or the pocket-water canyons and meadows of Hellroaring Creek. On a shorter trip, you may elect to fish one of these superb mountain streams, while on our longer 7 to 14-day adventures, you'll fish and explore all three creeks, alpine lakes, and the spectacular surrounding countryside.

You'll ride horseback through remote country rarely traveled and seen by most visitors. Miles of trails wind through subalpine meadows decorated with colorful wildflowers, travel over high mountain passes and verdant plateaus, and along gurgling mountain brooks with breathtaking alpine views of Cutoff Mountain, Hummingbird Peak, and Mount Wallace. 

Bull elk in velvet can be seen grazing among native grasses mixed with firs and spruces, bighorn sheep leap nimbly along sheer cliff walls, a red fox pounces on a vulnerable meadow vole, and grizzly bears scavenge for berries and grubs on exposed mountain slopes.

If you seek secluded trout streams with excellent dry fly fishing, are searching for an epic family trip, or are a non-angler looking for relaxing solitude in pristine wilderness, you'll love this trip. You will camp under starlit skies amid solitude like you've never experienced before. Enjoy hearty meals prepared in cast iron cookware over an open fire, and you will make memories that will last a lifetime! 
Slough Creek Fishing 
Slough Creek begins in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness north of Yellowstone Park, rising from Horseshoe and Pinnacle Mountains near Columbine Pass. Flowing south through Frenchy's Meadow in the Custer-Gallatin National Forest, the creek drops over a waterfall and then drifts past the Silvertip Ranch before entering Yellowstone Park. Outside of the Park, you'll find excellent dry fly action for native Yellowstone cutthroats in the 14" to 18" class.

As it enters Yellowstone Park, it flows several miles through Third Meadow with Cutoff Mountain towering above. Due to its remoteness, this section of Slough Creek receives less pressure than the meadows further downstream. On our pack trips, we primarily fish Third Meadow from our nearby backcountry camps. Third Meadow has miles of crystal clear water flowing over amber, brown, and golden olive pebbles with riffles gently gliding into long slow runs bordered by cutoff banks. 

You can walk the meadow's grassy banks spotting Yellowstone cutthroats cruising backwater sloughs, treading shallow riffles slurping PMDs, cruising glassy flats sipping spinners, or holding tight along cut banks and grassy tussocks. These trout, averaging 14" to 18", are vividly colored with ruby red operculums and orange to crimson slashes lining their lower jaws, giving the species their name. Dark black spots speckle their golden olive backs and flanks, which transition to bright yellow bellies. 

Sight-fishing in this gin-clear water to native cutthroats is the name of the game on Slough Creek. Hatches of golden stones, yellow sallies, caddis, PMDs, green and gray drakes offer great match-the-hatch dry fly fishing in July. As the summer progresses and the water lowers, the gullible cutthroats become increasingly difficult to catch, and light tippets down to 6x increase your success. On the rare occasion when dry fly fishing is tough, you can toss leeches to the far bank and strip them back with good results or sight fish with a small nymph hung below a dry fly. Sparse hatches occur in August, but these dry fly loving trout are always looking towards the surface for hoppers, crickets, beetles, and ants. By September, baetis begin to hatch, and anglers should always have cinnamon and black flying ants on hand in the event of one of these hatches, as the fish will eat nothing else. 

Slough Creek provides classic match-the-hatch dry fly opportunities and sight-fishing bliss on one of the West's most famous fisheries. So put it on your wish list and experience this remarkable fishery along with other nearby creeks on a wilderness fly fishing pack trip. 

Buffalo Creek Fishing
Buffalo Creek begins near Boulder Pass in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness west of Slough Creek. It rapidly descends off high mountain slopes gaining volume from tributaries before wandering through a couple of extensive meadows north of Yellowstone Park. These meadows host a healthy population of rainbows, cutbows, and cutthroats in the 10" to 16" range with an occasional larger fish landed, especially in nearby Hidden Lake.   Attractor dries, hoppers and beetles are all you'll need most days, but a selection of caddis, Parachute Adams, and Purple Haze dries come in handy. 

The creek picks up steam as it enters the Park and drops over several waterfalls with deep plunge pools full of wild trout. The Park section is defined primarily by fast pocket-water, shallow riffles, and an occasional deep pool before a rapid final descent to its confluence with Slough Creek. A mix of rainbows, cutthroats, and cutbows in the 10" to 14" class gobble dry flies at will. If you enjoy small, secluded trout streams with outstanding dry fly fishing, Buffalo Creek should be on your list.

 
 
 
Note: A cooperative effort by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, the U.S. Forest Service, and National Park Service to remove non-native rainbows and cutbows from the Buffalo Creek drainage is scheduled for 2022 and will occur for up to three years until all fish have been removed by piscicide. After successfully eliminating all trout, catchable Yellowstone cutthroat trout and fingerlings will be reintroduced into the creek and Hidden Lake. The agencies' goal is to restore and preserve native Yellowstone cutthroat trout in the drainage, eliminating the source of rainbow trout migrating into Slough Creek and the Lamar River, which threaten to supplant, hybridize and otherwise dilute the native species' genetics. Estimates suggest it will take about five years for the fishery to recover fully. During this time, we will lay over a day when riding between Slough and Hellroaring Creeks on extended pack trips and will avoid Buffalo Creek as a primary destination. 

Hellroaring Creek Fishing
Hellroaring Creek is the westernmost of the three creeks, also beginning in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness southwest of the Boulder River headwaters. Numerous creeks feed the main branch of Hellroaring Creek, pouring off the Buffalo Plateau, Hummingbird Peak, and Mount Wallace. Meadows in the wilderness north of the Park provide exceptional sight-fishing with dry flies for native Yellowstone cutthroat from 10" to 16", with some larger. PMDs, caddis, drakes, and yellow sallies provide excellent match-the-hatch dry fly fishing, although most of the time, these fish aren't too selective and are happy to suck in your PMX, Chubby Chernobyl, Stimulator, or Royal Wulff. 

Further downstream, the creek enters Yellowstone Park and accelerates towards its confluence with the Yellowstone River in the Black Canyon. This stretch is primarily fast pocket-water with large boulders and deep pools. Finally, the creek flows through a short, granite canyon with deep, hot-tub-like pools that hold Yellowstone cutthroats, cutbows, and an occasional rainbow, averaging 10" to 14" with 15" to 18" fish showing up at times. So, toss on your favorite attractor or hopper and prepare for a fast-paced day of superb dry fly fishing!
 
Required Licenses & Fees
Yellowstone Park Fishing Permit

Yellowstone Park Fishing Regulations

Yellowstone Park Entrance Permit
You will need a Yellowstone Park Entrance permit if you ride through or enter the Park for any reason. 

Montana Fishing License 
Depending on your itinerary, you may need a Yellowstone Park fishing permit and a Montana Fishing license for your trip.



     
                                                                                                 
There are many elements to be appreciated other than fishing on these memorable wilderness pack trips.  

Take a ride to a breezy ridge where you can glass for grizzly bears strolling adjacent hillsides. Enjoy your lunch on a day hike and nap under the shady limbs of an Englemann spruce. Climb a nearby peak with 360-degree views of snow-capped summits, deep glacial valleys, corniced cirques, and virgin wilderness as far as the eye can see. Ascending, you may come upon bighorn sheep in mountain pastures or observe bull elk with harems in distance sub-alpine basins. While fishing and exploring, it's not uncommon to stumble upon elk sheds among tall streamside grasses, and you may discover bleached skulls and carcasses of elk, bison, bighorn sheep, and other critters. 

Photographers will find infinite opportunities shooting stunning scenery, curious wildlife, vibrant wildflowers, and endless subjects illuminated by the morning and evening light. Rockhounds can search gravel bars for agates, petrified wood, and intricately patterned rocks of countless colors and shades. Bird watchers may spend hours viewing mountain songbirds or Northern Harriers swoosh above meadows and Killdeer prance along graveled shorelines. Or, relax amid verdant meadows adorned with bushels of wildflowers.  

You may observe and enjoy more than your fellow fishing companions!
Reserving Your Pack Trip 
Yellowstone Park has a limited number of backcountry campsites. These backcountry sites require advanced reservations, so be sure to contact us well in advance. The first and best opportunity to reserve backcountry campsites in the Park is mid-January. Trips outside of the Park do not require campsite reservations, but we highly recommend booking your trip many months in advance. We require a 50% deposit to finalize your reservations. Please read our Terms and Conditions for full policy details. 

Trip Expectations
We will meet the night before or the morning of your trip to discuss trip logistics and make final preparations. Supplies will be organized and packed onto mules the morning of your trip at the trailhead. You will then saddle up, hit the trail, and enjoy riding through wild country and impressive scenery.   

Arriving in camp, we’ll pitch tents, settle in, and you may enjoy your favorite beverage and delicious appetizers as you unwind around the campfire as dinner is prepared. You may even enjoy some fishing near camp, depending on the length of your ride, timing, and your energy. 

Wake up in the morning and enjoy a cup of cowboy coffee as you watch the sunrise over the ridges. Then, savor a hearty breakfast of bacon, eggs, and pancakes, a breakfast scramble, or biscuits and gravy. After breakfast each day, you’ll prepare your day pack, fishing from camp or hiking several miles to your fishing destination. Alternately, you may take a day ride to your fishing destination. You can fish to your heart’s content, observe wildlife, identify wildflowers, take photos, and enjoy all the wilderness splendor has to offer. 

Upon returning to camp, you may take a nap, read a book, scan the surrounding country with your binoculars, clean up with a refreshing dip in a nearby creek, or simply relax around the fire. 

Enjoy savory meals prepared in classic cast iron cookware and grilled over the campfire, such as ribeye steaks with roasted potatoes or chicken and rice with salads. After dinner, around the crackling fire, as you sip rye whiskey, dodging the swirling smoke, you’ll share jokes, recall the day’s events, and dream of exciting adventures in the days ahead. 

The pure mountain air magnifies the night sky, its countless stars, and the glowing Milky Way that stretches from horizon to horizon. Nights in the backcountry are a star-gazers delight, and numerous constellations are visible. Lying in your tent in the cool mountain air, a Great Horned Owl may lull you to sleep. If you’re lucky, you may hear the majestic chorus of bugling elk or the deep, eerie drone of a lone wolf howling in the distant darkness. 

On longer, progressive trips, you’ll stay in layover camps for one to three days allowing you to enjoy the fishing and explore the area. We’ll then pack up camp, ride through new country and relocate to another campsite where you can experience fresh scenery and fishing opportunities. We may move camp several times depending on the trip itinerary and duration. If possible, we’ll start the trip at one trailhead, taking a circuitous route out another trailhead on a continuously evolving backcountry adventure.  
Sleeping Arrangements
Our deluxe backcountry camps feature spacious tents tall enough to stand up in with two guests per tent. You should provide your sleeping bag and a lightweight foam or inflatable sleeping pad. Cots, inflatable mattresses, and pillows are available upon request. Please notify us in advance if you need any of these items. A headlamp and small solar or battery-operated lantern are recommended. 

Camp Comforts
Our backcountry camps feature high-backed chairs for lounging in camp, private restroom tents, and, in some cases, private hot shower tents. In some camps, tarps or wall tents are provided for shade and shelter from possible storms. 
 
Camp Meals & Beverages
Camps are fully outfitted with all dinnerware essentials, including plates, bowls, flatware, and mugs for your favorite beverages. Additionally, all cookware is provided with a dedicated cook who will prepare all meals for your group. You’re welcome to bring your favorite camp mug, tumbler, or snacks. 

Depending on your trip, we will do our best to customize your menu; however, some outfitters prefer their menu for various reasons. Should anyone in your party require gluten-free meals or have food allergies, please let us know in advance to plan accordingly. Coffee, tea, and non-alcoholic beverages are provided. You are welcome to bring any special beverages, wine, beer, and spirits with you. 

Alcohol
We do not own a liquor or beer and wine license; therefore, we can’t legally provide alcohol for our guests. However, you may purchase and bring alcohol on the trip with you. Spirits such as bourbon, whiskey, gin, rum, tequila, and vodka, as well as wine, can be taken. Glass bottles are okay; however, it’s preferable to transfer your wine and spirits into lighter, non-breakable containers. Many guests bring boxed wine or transfer wine and spirits into flasks or plastic liquor pouches. Beer is not recommended and only allowed in limited quantities as it is difficult to pack due to weight and volume. Consider packing spirits and wine instead, which provide more bang for your buck. Please consult with us in advance if you wish to take a few beers, and please only pack aluminum cans. Keep your alcohol separate from your camp duffel so we can pack it securely, especially any glass bottles. No ice is available in the backcountry, so plan accordingly. 

Day Time Lunch, Snacks & Beverages
Lunches and snacks are provided each day. You should pack one or two 26 to 36-ounce water bottles for water and beverages during your trip. Two bottles are preferred, one for water and another for a hydrating beverage. Powdered drinks such as Tang and lemonade are available, but you can also bring powdered energy drinks such as Gatorade or Crystal Light. Camp drinking water is filtered using professional-grade water filters from mountain streams. During the day, when away from camp, you can refill bottles using water filters provided by guides. Although the water appears very clear and pure, we do not recommend drinking unfiltered water as you risk water-borne illnesses such as giardia. 

Bear Etiquette
Grizzly and black bears are common in and around Yellowstone. Although the chances of a bear encounter are low, it is possible, and bears should be respected. We take all necessary precautions to minimize bear encounters and reduce the chances of them entering camp. Each person’s actions play an essential role in keeping a bear-safe camp, and we approach this seriously. Guests must keep camp clean by disposing of trash and food items in the fire or provided containers and storing any food, snacks, beverages, and odorous items in provided bear-proof containers at night. Do not store any of these items, including deodorant and toothpaste, in your tent at night. It is highly recommended that you carry bear spray at all times. Traveling and fishing in bear country has inherent risks, and we cannot guarantee your safety.
 
For more information on bear safety and etiquette, visit: 
Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee -  http://igbconline.org/bear-safety/
 
Cell Service & Internet
Cell phone reception is unavailable in most locations due to the remoteness and mountainous topography. Additionally, wireless internet connectivity is not available. Therefore, be sure to notify people of your unavailability and take care of all personal and business tasks beforehand. We carry satellite communicators for emergencies. 
What’s Included
  • Riding & Pack Animals
  • All Tack, Riding Saddles, Pack Saddles, Panniers & Packing Gear
  • Backcountry and Fishing Guides – 2 to 3 Anglers/Guide
  • Personal Instruction
  • Wranglers, Camp Crew & Cooks
  • All Meals, Snacks & Appetizers
  • Non-Alcoholic Beverages
  • All Cooking & Camp Essentials
  • Dinnerware & Drinkware
  • Water Filters
  • Camp Chairs
  • Sleeping Tents
  • Sleeping Pads upon request
  • Cots upon request
  • Private Restroom Tents
  • Shower Tent in some camps
  • Handwashing Station, Paper Towels, Toilet Paper
  • Sheltered Tarps or Wall Tent for Core Camp
  • Transportation To and From the Trip Destination from Local Accommodations 
  • Flies & Terminal Tackle
  • Rods & Reels – If Needed
  • First Aid Kits

Not Included
  • Fishing Licenses
  • Gratuities – Fishing Guides, Wranglers, Camp Staff
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Bear Spray
  • Sleeping Bags
  • Shuttle Fees *
  • Resupply Fees**
  • Rental Waders & Boots - If Needed
  • Personal Items – See our Pack Trip Gear List
  • Park Entrance Fees

* On trips that end at a different trailhead than where the trip begins, additional shuttle fees may be charged for moving all vehicles and stock trailers due to additional fuel costs, mileage, and paying shuttle drivers. 

** Resupply fees may apply on trips longer than a week to offset additional fuel, mileage, and wrangler fees. Additional wranglers may have to pack food and other supplies in many miles. If you’re lucky, your resupply may include a cooler packed with beer on ice!
Recommended Airports
Once you have confirmed your trip with us, you'll want to make flight reservations as soon as possible. Please consult with us for airport recommendations based on your trip itinerary. We recommend flying into Bozeman, Montana (BZN) before your trip begins. You may also fly into Billings, Montana (BIL). 

Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport 
(https://bozemanairport.com
Served by Alaska, Allegiant, American, Delta, Southwest, United Airlines, and a few smaller carriers. 
 
Billings Airport
(https://www.flybillings.com
Served by Alaska, Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier, and United Airlines, and a few smaller carriers.  

Ground Transportation
Having your own transportation allows more flexibility before and after your trip. Major car rental companies are available at your arrival airport. Rideshares, shuttles, taxis, and other transportation services are also available. Once in Montana, you can purchase alcohol, mixers, bear spray (airlines do not allow bear spray onboard), and any other items you may need for your trip, including your fishing licenses. Guides may pick you up at your accommodations and drive you to and from the trailheads. You may also drive a rental vehicle or arrange for a shuttle or other transportation services. 

Drive times to and from Trailheads
Bozeman – 1 hour to 2 hours, 30 minutes 
Billings – 2 hours, 30 minutes to 3 hours, 30 minutes
*Drive times vary depending on the beginning and ending trailhead locations.

Vehicle Shuttles
If your trip ends at a different trailhead than where it starts, it will be necessary to shuttle vehicles from one trailhead to the other. If you drive and want your vehicle or rental car to be at the ending trailhead, you must pay for the shuttle service. Shuttle fees vary, and we will assist you with arranging a shuttle. Alternately, we may arrange to leave your vehicle in Livingston or another location, and you may ride with your guides. Shuttle fees for guide and outfitter vehicles are included. 

Accommodations
Before your trip, we recommend staying at accommodations in gateway communities. Accommodations in the Park must be made well in advance.

Departure Details
On the final day of your trip, we will arrive at the trailhead in the late afternoon. Please make departing airline reservations for the following day. Guests are responsible for booking and paying for accommodations on their outgoing night after returning from the backcountry. If you do not have a rental car, we recommend booking accommodations with airport shuttle services. If needed, rideshares such as Uber and taxis are available for dinner, getting around town, or to the airport.  
Number of Guests4 Days5 Days7 Days10 Days14 Days
4 or More Guests$2,995/person$3,695/person$5,095/person$6,995/person$9,750/person
2 Guests Only$4,495/person$5,595/person$7,795/person$11,000/person$15,500/person
  • Rates based on 2 anglers/guide, double occupancy.
  • For additional days not listed, add $695/person/day.  
  • For odd numbers, 3, 5, 7, etc. - add an additional $300/day/single angler supplement.
  • Guests are responsible for their first and last night's accommodations and meals.
  • Additional sales tax and fees may apply on Wyoming and Yellowstone Park trips.
  • Shuttle fees for your vehicle are your responsibility for trips ending at a different trailhead.
  • Resupply fees may be charged for trips longer than one week. 

Payment Options
Your non-refundable 50% deposit is required to finalize your reservation and is due within 10 days of booking your trip. We will invoice you by email, and upon receiving your invoice, you can choose to pay using the online ACH payment option. This option is a quick and convenient way to pay your trip deposit and finalize your reservation. 

Payment reminders will be sent by email for open invoices with remaining balances due, which can be paid using the ACH option. 

Deposits and final payments can be paid with bank wire transfers, credit cards, or mailing checks payable to Greater Yellowstone Flyfishing Outfitters. A 3.5 % convenience fee is assessed for all credit card transactions. Please contact us if you prefer cash or other payment forms. 

Greater Yellowstone Flyfishing Outfitters Payment Options
  • ACH Online Payments – U.S. financial institutions and bank accounts only
  • Personal & Business Checks* - U.S. financial institutions and bank accounts only
  • Electronic Wire Payments - wiring fees are the responsibility of the client
  • Credit Cards – 3.5% Convenience Fee applied
  • Cash
  • International Payments can be made via wire or with a credit card.
*Client will be billed all associated costs for returned checks. The client will have 7 days to reimburse Greater Yellowstone Flyfishing Outfitters for returned check costs and provide an alternative form of payment; otherwise, trip reservations will be cancelled, and all deposits and payments will be forfeited.  
Our guides, wranglers, and camp staff work very hard to ensure an enjoyable trip, and we encourage you to tip accordingly. As a guideline, gratuities range from $100-$200/day/guidewrangler, and camp staff, although an excellent day of fishing, a memorable event, or extra effort on behalf of your crew may deserve more. Please consider that your crew works tirelessly on these trips, especially during adverse weather.
Cash gratuities can be given directly to the trip leader at the end of your trip and are distributed evenly among the guides, wranglers, and camp staff. Should you wish to give a specific guide, wrangler, or camp staff a bonus gratuity for something special, you can give it to that person directly or to the trip leader with specific instructions. Alternately, you may present each guide, wrangler, and camp staff gratuities directly, rather than pooling them, extending your gratitude upon departure.   

Pack Trips require a great deal of planning, logistics, and hard work. Your guides and crew work relentlessly from sunrise to after dark. Setting up and taking down camp, saddling and packing animals, monitoring stock, cooking, cleaning, and performing necessary tasks is demanding yet essential for a successful and comfortable trip. Our crew performs numerous tasks behind the scenes; successfully executed, you’ll never notice, including at least a day before and after each trip. 

Many variables beyond our control, such as weather, wind, barometric pressure, water temperatures, and fish behavior, influence the fishing, riding, and camping experience. While fishing can highlight the trip, it’s only a portion of many experiences to enjoy and appreciate on a Wilderness Fly Fishing Pack Trip. Please align your expectations with the conditions and your abilities. No expectations, no disappointments!

If you have any comments or concerns about your trip, please let us know. 
Trip Insurance
We realize these trips are expensive, and much is at stake financially. For this reason, we highly recommend that you purchase trip insurance in advance. Unforeseen circumstances arise, and travel insurance is very reasonable should you have to cancel your trip for any reason. We recommend Travel Guard Travel Insurance and Global Rescue Insurance to protect your financial investment, which may cover trip cancellations for any reason. For more information or to purchase Trip Insurance, please visit https://mvp.travelguard.com/ or http://www.globalrescue.com.
To receive complete coverage options and benefits, be sure to purchase travel insurance within 15 days of paying your deposit.

Medical Evacuation Insurance
We recommend Global Rescue’s worldwide medical evacuation and extraction services if you become ill or injured during your trip or due to natural disaster, COVID-19, and other reasons. Due to the remote nature of Wilderness Fly Fishing Pack Trips, potential challenges receiving immediate professional medical help, and limited cell coverage, we highly recommend purchasing medical evacuation insurance along with your trip insurance. We carry satellite communicators on our Wilderness Pack Trips.
For more information or to purchase Medical Evacuation Insurance, please visit http://www.globalrescue.com.

The Sphinx, Madison Range

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