Nestled in the northeastern corner of the park near Cooke County, Montana, Soda Butte Creek runs about 13 miles to the Lamar River.
The dormant geyser cone overlooking the lower meadow of the creek's run gives it its name, and at an altitude of 8,000 feet, it runs cold year round.
Fly fishing Soda Butte Creek in Yellowstone National Park with Sweetwater Fly Shop
It's not exactly a secret that Soda Butte Creek is a favorite spot for catching Yellowstone Cutthroat, so fishing pressure on the creek can be relatively heavy at times.
Click the map icons to get directions to fishing spots, boat ramps and real-time USGS stream flow data
It's easy to start by the headwaters near the park boundary thanks to the proximity of the Northeast Entrance Road. From the park boundary to where the Soda Butte Creek meets Pebble Creek, the meadow is a great place to land some cutthroats and rainbows all season long, but be aware that fishing pressure is high in August and September.
A little common courtesy goes a long way during the high-pressure fishing months of July and August, so be considerate of other anglers by not spooking the schools of trout.
Due to the high altitude, Soda Butte Creek doesn't clear up until the first couple weeks of July, and the local trout won't be that active until the day warms up a bit. Leave early and get set up in a likely looking spot for a while before you start casting.
The fishing season ends when the park closes the first Sunday in November, but most high country fishing like Soda Butte Creek shuts down around the end of September.
Be prepared to deal with crowds and be considerate of other anglers as you approach your chosen section of Soda Butte Creek.
A standard 9-foot rod with 4 or 5- weight line and reel to match are perfect for Soda Butte Creek, as is a standard 9-foot leader. Waders are useful near the headwaters and in the tailwater, so make sure you come prepared. Stick to rubber-soled waders, as felt soles are banned in most waters in the park.
As for fly patterns, here are some recommendation by section:
Boundary to Pebble Creek
- July: PMDs and Green Drakes
- August: Caddis, Yellow Sally, PMX or Stimulator #12, #14
- September: BWOs, Tan Drakes
Pebble Creek to Lamar Junction
- July-August: PMX, Stimulator, Chernobyl Ant, Terrestrials, PMDs, Green Drakes,
- September: BWOs, Tan Drakes
There are a number of area fly shops that provide a Soda Butte Creek fly fishing report. A few to check out are listed below.
Best bet to fish Soda Butte Creek is to fly into Bozeman and drive down to the Northeast Entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Once you're there, you can follow the main road to get to whatever section of Soda Butte Creek strikes your fancy.
The best stays in the area are likely to be in Bozeman, though there are plenty of places to camp, park an RV, or rent cabins/rooms in and around Yellowstone National Park.
Check out local listings for vacation rentals and ranch stays, too. You can save money by staying in someone's locally rented room or cabin rather than a motel or hotel.
Feature Image by William S Keller
Looking for more places to fish? Visit our DIY Guide to the Best Fly Fishing in Yellowstone National Park.
Ken is an avid fisherman of 40+ years who loves to explore and find new places to fish. He created DIY Fly Fishing to help you do the same.
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