The Yellowstone 500 - Family Fly Fishing/Road Trip

July 15, 2017

This was a heck of an adventure. Many of you followed along on our Instagram and Facebook Pages and got the play by play of the foibles and fables that we encountered on our journey to Jellystone for the first time.  Hopefully the fun and experiences we had on our adventure will motivate a few of you families to gear up, plan a trip, and take to the road for a fly fishing road trip! 

I had never been to that portion of Montana and like the great, Clark Griswold, I had very high expectations for our family adventure. It was going to be perfect, merry, and damn it we will have fun.  While not everything always goes perfectly its always an adventure!  My wife and I had so much fun we recorded a long Podcast about all the happenings on our road trip.  Download the Podbean App for your smart phone and follow The MEND Fly Fishing Podcast.  Below you can see a few photos and I am editing a bunch of cool little video clips from the trip! 



Useful Family Gear From the Yellowstone 500 Road Trip


The Redington Butterstick 7' 3 Weight Rod was so much fun! All the kids love casting this rod and its so easy to fish. 

On the way home we replaced the axle system on my boat trailer in the dirt!  Everyone helped out. 


I also want to give a shout out to the guys at Clackacraft. They are such great people and I was able to drive to their dealership in Idaho Falls and purchase a brand new axle they had not yet installed on a trailer.  I really appreciated them hooking me up, and it saved my guide trips this week because it was going to be 10 days for Les Schwab to fix it! 


My girls arm wrestling over who pays the tab.  Mom slammed her.  Teenagers need a little reality check sometimes haha!

Kelly and I fished with no kiddos on the Madison one morning.  Fishing date?


After our morning "fishing date" we met the kids for a riverside breakfast. While our Pancakes were being poured.  By a dump truck I assume, we caught a few fish in front of the cafe' on the Madison River.


My 10 year stalked on this feeding Brown Trout solo on the Gibbon River.  He spotted it feeding, snuck up, and made a great shot with a dry fly.

One of the many great adventures we had were all the river crossings!  My kids trudged all over the place and learned a lot about moving around in the river and how to be safe. 

I taught the boys how to float down the river if they ever fall in.  The Firehole River was warm so it made this both fun and easy.  They had a ton of fun learning to "butt bounce". 

On the last day my old pal Brian Wilson, my 10 year old son, and I got to wade fish a bunch on the Madison and had a great time navigating that fast water. There is no freedom like that of wade fishing on our wonderful public lands.   I changed patterns A LOT but finally found the hot ticket!  #18 Black Psycho Mayfly Nymph

We wrapped up the week by going and hitting all the fly shops in West Yellowstone. Arrick's Fly Shop's T-shirts "It's Not the Fly.. .You Suck!" was the highlight. We laughed for hours. Don't get your feelings hurt if their stickers show up on your guides' boats haha!


  1. Great photo journal Joe. Makes me excited to do something similar when my kids are a little older. Thanks for sharing!
  2. Thanks JD, trips are rarely perfect but there are always some great memories. Like giant pancakes.
  3. Joe... Thanks for sharing your family vacation. This is something your kids will remember forever!! Rick in Spokane

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