Slough Creek is one of the more popular places for people visiting Jackson Hole who are interested in fly fishing a backcountry spring creek. A little over 16 miles of this stream runs through Yellowstone Park and most of it is in meadows, of which there are three. These can be accessed by a trail, which starts about ten miles above the fork in the road near the Tower-Roosevelt area. The trail leads up the creek and eventually into meadows. It is very well marked and most of the hike is fairly flat and easy. It takes only about 45 minutes to get to the first meadow and it is a popular place to fly fish for a day.
Often day fly fishers will wish to stay at the campground located at the lower part of the river. Be aware that even though this is a perfect place to stay, this campground is small and fills early
The second meadow is a little over 2 hours hike and more often fished as an overnight affair (advanced reservations are needed for the campsites). Because the third meadow is at least a ten mile hike, it is generally a two or three day venture.
Since Slough Creek is nestled in a meadow, there is a lot of insect life. Both terrestrials and mayflies flourish here and account for most of the food that supports the large population of cutthroats. There are a few major mayfly hatches that occur on Slough Creek.
Pale Morning Duns occur in great numbers on the average summer day. They hatch best during the mid morning and evening, which is another reason why spending the night is a good idea. A PMD Parawulff will usually work fine for this, but it is suggested to also have some emergers.
On the cloudy, rainy days of summer, Blue Wing Olives, or Baetis, come off in substantial numbers. These mayflies usually hatch during the afternoon and sometimes in the late morning. Often a Parachute Adams will work well but it may also be a good idea to have some emergers.
In the latter part of the summer tricos are usually very abundant. This hatch takes place in the morning hours and sometimes in the evening.
Typical of many waters in the park, Slough also has a good population of caddis, which are Rhyacophila and Brachycentrus. Soft hackles will usually work well for these; both yellow and green ones are popular.
The best fishing on Slough will depend on the snowpack for the season. On an average year, it will fish best from mid July through September.
Besides the mayflies that hatch on Slough Creek and other spring creeks in the park, there are an extremely large number of terrestrials. Due to the meadow setting of Slough Creek, grasshoppers are very numerous, as are ants and beetles. A good hopper pattern is often the key to success and you should have a variety of them. Top that off with a Parachute Ant and a good beetle pattern and you should have good luck on Slough. A good number of Mormon Crickets will have the fish looking up for floating patterns that are big and black.
Slough Creek trout can be tough, especially in the lower meadow that sees more pressure so practice spring creek tactics and keep low. A little persistence and care pays off and you will experience one of the better fly fishing experiences found today.