FISHING AND BOATING

XStream Angler Instream Flow / Muddy Creek (Sunlight Basin)

Muddy Creek (Sunlight Basin)

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Length: 3.10 miles
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X-Stream Angler Article: Download XStream Angler Article

*Angling regulations may have changed since X-Stream Angler Articles were written. Please check current Fishing Regulations for current fishing limits.

About the segment - Muddy Creek is a tributary of the Clarks Fork river in northwest Wyoming near Yellowstone National Park.  The creek is off the beaten path as you must travel up the Chief Joseph highway to access it.  Anglers will be rewarded with spectacular scenery and abundant wildlife, but be sure to pack along bear spray. 
 

Rationale - A study and associated recommendations for this instream flow water right were completed in 2014 and designed to identify and protect base flow habitat for Yellowstone cutthroat trout.  Muddy Creek contains a core conservation population of this species.  Yellowstone cutthroat trout was historically widespread in the Clarks Fork drainage, but only a few conservation populations remain and this water right will help ensure the persistence of this species in Wyoming.  Although this is a sensitive species, the threats are largely associated with habitat alteration (such as reduced stream flows) and hybridization with non-native species, not from angling.
 

Fishery - Muddy Creek is managed for Yellowstone cutthroat trout.  This is a smaller creek than some of the others in the drainage, but still large enough to hold some nice-sized trout.  This creek does have a dense forest along the creek in many areas so fishing can be difficult in places, but there are also some meadows with deep pools that can reward anglers patient enough to cast to the wary trout in those spots. 
 

How to get there - Travel on state highway 120 North out of Cody and head west on highway 296 (Chief Joseph Highway) toward sunlight basin.  Continue on 296 until you reach the Beartooth highway (US Route 212) and turn right and travel about three miles to where the road comes closest to Muddy Creek.  The study site was in this stretch of the stream, but the segment extends from the wilderness boundary down to a natural waterfall that serves as the downstream extent of the Yellowstone cutthroat trout population. 
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