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Yellowstone Lake Fishing Access

Yellowstone Lake Fishing Access Hot

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Yellowstone Lake Fishing Access


Location type:
Bridge Bay

Location Information

Access Type:
  • Bank Access
  • Boat Ramp
  • Kayak/Canoe Access
Water Type:
Launch Fees:
Cart Needed:

Yellowstone Lake Fishing Access

There are only three lakes within Yellowstone National Park suitable for kayak fishing that don’t require a long pack-in, pack-out situation.  Yellowstone, Lewis and Shoshone Lakes are all accessible from the park’s highway system.  Yellowstone Lake is the most accessible and largest of the three lakes. The lake is 7,732 feet (2,357m) above sea level and covers 136 square miles (350km2) with 110 miles (180km) of shoreline. While the average depth of the lake is 139ft (42m), its greatest depth is at least 390ft (120m). Yellowstone Lake is the largest freshwater lake above 7,000ft (2,100m) in North America.  The lake is famous for its world class Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout fishery and because of illegal introductions in the late 1980’s, the lake provides good fishing for lake trout as well.  There are only two official boat ramps on the lake at Bridge Bay Marina and West Thumb Marina however, any boat that can be carried to a beach, can be launched anywhere on the lake.  There is good beach access between West Thumb, Lake Village and Sedge Bay, especially at picnic areas.  Xanterra, the park’s major concessionaire offers a canoe/kayak shuttle service to remote backcountry campsites on Yellowstone Lake. Numerous outfitters offer kayak services on Yellowstone Lake. All boats used in Yellowstone water must have a boating permit and be inspected.  Complete boating regulations can be found at:





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West Thumb and Carrington Island

I’ve been dropping my kayak into Yellowstone Lake in West Thumb near Carrington Island for many years during to opening weeks of the Yellowstone season. There are several pullouts along the Grand Loop Road just north of the West Thumb Geyser Basin that provide easy access to rocky beaches on the Lake. The shoals around Carrington Island provide shallow habitat for both Cutthroat and Lake Trout early in the Yellowstone season that are easily targeted with flies and sink tips. The shallower water in the spring warms quickly and attracts a lot of fish. Although cutthroats can be caught from shore, the kayak angler can reach deeper weed lines that hold good fish. Cutthroats in the lake average 16-18” and fish well with clousers and bunny leeches. Lake trout, when you find them can go as large as 24” and respond well to clousers. Boating in Yellowstone requires a permit and inspection which can only be obtained at the West Thumb Ranger Station. A bit tedious for the first day trip, but for a vacationing anglers, not an issue. Weather on Yellowstone Lake is a big issue and winds can come up very suddenly that make for treacherous going. Fishing in the early morning or late evening is not only the more productive time but the safest.

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