Trip report: Wyoming, Idaho & Montana
Beautiful country, lots of wildlife in Yellowstone (elk, moose, bison),
so-so "catching" (fun fishing!), picked up lots of new ideas (like
fishing two dries at a time) and fly patterns. A great trip! I'm sorry
I'm back at work today.
Day one (9/12):
My dad & I got to the airport for what should have been a
straightforward flight from Raleigh to Dallas to Jackson...well, three
broken airplanes later, we ended up driving to Jackson from Idaho Falls
to Jackson (over Teton Pass in the fog & rain), arriving at 1:30AM
instead of 1:00PM :-(
Day two (9/13):
Bought licenses and flies and set out fish Flat Creek in the elk refuge
in Jackson. Boy, what a lesson in humility! Hooked one...
Decided that this was tough and went looking for other water; went up
the Gros Vente river toward the slide looking for the "pocket water"
that was supposed to be there. Well, there may have been pocket water,
but it's damn hard to get to. After my dad did a header on a rock, we
called it a day and went to calm our nerves with various libations :-)
Day three (9/14):
Remember the rain? Well, we were supposed to start with a 1/2 day
afternoon float on the Snake, but it was green, like glacial
runoff...Instead, we drove to the Warren Bridge on US191 on the Green
River...Beautiful area, good access from the BLM roads along the west
bank of the river. Found a nice access and fished for several hours.
Caught a bunch of fish, all fairly small (6" to 7"), with a couple of
10" fish. Saw one nice fish refuse my fly. Stopped at a country store
on the way back to Jackson for pork & beans with vienna sausages...it
doesn't get any better that that!
Back to Flat Creek for some late evening fishing...hung two, but didn't
Day four (9/15):
The Snake is still green...With our guide, we headed to the Salt River
south of Jackson along the Idaho/Wyoming line. The Salt is like a
spring creek in this section; meandering bends, riffles and *deep*
holes. A nice day! Too pretty, actually, and there weren't as many
bugs as we'd have liked, but we had modest success in the morning and
then things picked up after lunch...caught many cutthroats and browns
from 10" to 12"; my dad caught a nice 16" cutt on a "super ant", I
finally caught a 16" fish on a muddler toward the end of the day. There
is some really fishy looking water there, and I'd have liked to have
hung a big one, but...
Day five (9/16):
Left Jackson at 5:15AM (after getting in at 10:30PM the prior evening -
construction delays in the Snake canyon south of Jackson) headed for
Last Chance, Idaho. Arrived at Henry's Fork Anglers about 7:30AM...We
were planning on a wading trip this day, and drove down to a stretch of
the Henry's Fork near St. Anthony, Idaho. Not exactly wild country (we
parked at the graveyard in St. Anthony to get to the stream), but I did
see two moose walking across the river there. Started with lead-head
marabou jigs; hooked one modest 10" fish, missed a really great strike.
Switched to dries; worked hard but only caught a couple of 10" fish
along the willows by lunch. My dad hung a big fish right where I got
the monster strike -- it finally broke off after he put too much heat on
the fish, but not before they saw the fish, a brown of 20+ inches.
After a lunch break, things turned around for me. Switched to nymphs
(used a great caddis pupae with little mylar wings) and really started
to catch fish...most were 10"-12", but nice, pretty browns...caught one
14" rainbow...then moved up near a *large* pool below a series of
rapids. Caught a dozen or more 10"-12" browns without moving my
feet...slid up a few feet more to cast into the deeper water and caught
a fat 16" brown. A couple of minutes later, another 16" brown. Then,
an 18" rainbow that danced all over the top of the water and made my
reel sing...then a 16" rainbow. I
stopped fishing, with that happy feeling that you have when you've
caught just the right number of fish and you know it's time to quit.
Drove to West Yellowstone for the night...
Day six (9/17):
Met our guide at Blue Ribbon Flies and headed out for a float on the
Madison. Got to the put in at the "Pallisades" and the wind was really
whipping...not a good omen (with me right handed and my dad left handed,
fishing to the left of the boat was "interesting"). Got out on the
river, and felt like we were fishing in the fast lane as the wind and
the fast river really moved us downstream. It was slow, but we caught
some 10"-12" fish...then, I hung a nice one on a bitch creek nymph in a
deep hole by some rocks...landed a 17" rainbow, fat, like a football!
My dad hung a big whitefish, but I think that he missed the fish of the
day. We were floating past (rapidly :-) ) a big hole behind some rocks
in mid stream...his nymph seemed to hang up, and the guide and I said
"it's hung on a rock...pull it out". Well, then, the "rock" moved...by
that time, unfortunately, when the guide & I hollered "it's a fish!",
he'd snapped the tippet.
Wow, the scenery along that stretch of the Madison is great! I missed
many fish by looking at where we were going instead of what I was
doing. Hey, that was OK. It was a great day of fishing, even if the
catching was slow...
Day seven (9/18):
On our own, we went into Yellowstone...the wind was really whipping up,
but I wanted to try the Firehole just to say I'd fished it...the wind
was blowing 20-25mph across the meadows, and casting was "interesting"
:-). One little rainbow sacrificed himself so that I could say I caught
one on the Firehole. Soon, we decided that we'd be tourists and drove
around taking in the sights. Late in the evening, the wind was still
blowing, so the promised evening hatch & fishing looked grim, so we went
over the the Gibbon. Didn't catch anything, but I had one great strike
on a hopper...somehow, I either tied a bad knot or the fish's teeth hit
the tippet, but it broke right at the knot...I'd have loved to have seen
Day eight (9/19):
Time to go home...the planes worked, and we got to Raleigh on time...
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