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We left Tucson's 100 degree temps and four days later we arrived at beautiful Hebgen Lake and a storm system that will last for over a week. Ugh!

Hebgen Lake is a 20 minute drive north of the city of West Yellowstone. It is on Hwy 287 that leads to Ennis. We will be here for two weeks, exploring the area and fishing the Madison.

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Left: Snug in our campsite on the shore of Hebgen Lake watching it snow
Right: Campground section of the Yellowstone Holiday resort

Hebgen Lake


Hebgen Lake is about 15 minutes northwest of West Yellowstone. It is about 15 miles long and 2.5 miles at its widest. The Madison river flows into it as it exits the Yellowstone NP, along with several other streams and creeks, such as the Grayling, Duck and Cougar, to list some of the larger ones. It has an earthen dam at the west end where the Madison exits and continues its westward flow.

Hebgen is one of the best fishing lakes in Montana. It has a healthy population of browns, cutthroats and rainbows. Boating, fishing and camping are available at the lake.

Downstream, the Madison flows into Earthquake Lake, which was formed in 1959 when an earthquake caused a landslide that blocked the flow of the river. There is some good fly fishing on the river between the lakes.

We have been in this area before and to see more click here

Hebgen Lake morning Hebgen Lake west end

Left: Hebgen Lake morning at our campsite
Right: Hebgen Lake west end near the dam

West Yellowstone


West Yellowstone is a small town outside the west entrance of Yellowstone NP. It has a population of around 1500 and is mostly a tourist town supporting visitors to the park all year round. It is also a support center for the fly fishing available in the area, both in the park and on the other lakes and rivers in the area.

There are ample places to stay and eat and there is even a play house where Broadway style entertainment is provided several times a week.

title Bud Lilly's Trout Shop

Left: The Play Mill provides Broadway style entertainment
Right: Bud Lilly's Trout Shop, home of the famous fly fishing guide

Fly fishing the Firehole river


There are many rivers and streams in the park that provide beautiful environments to enjoy the art of fly fishing. The picture to the right is on the Firehole river between the Madison Junction and the area where all the fumeroles are located. The trout in this river are not big but they will readily take dry flies.

The picture below is of a typical meadow with the Gibbon river flowing through it. This river flows down from the north and meets the Madison near the Madison campground as does the Firehole, in the same general area. The Madison then flows down to empty into Hebgen Lake just north of West Yellowstone.

All in all, this is a great area to spend some time if you enjoy fly fishing, either still or moving water.

Gibbon river

The Gibbon river flowing through a meadow just before joining the Madison.

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