9-9-02 - Montana (Technically Wyoming) Part IV
- It's do or die time in Yellowstone!
Rivers Fished: Yellowstone River, Gardner River,
Upper Gibbon River
Fish Caught: 1
Outing Date: 9-9-03
Weather: Clear Sun
Air Temp: 60's?
Water Temp: N/A
Water Level: N/a
Water Color: Clear for the most part, Yellowstone was muddy to the
Fish Species: Rainbow Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Brown Trout
Pattern Fished: Mainly Terrestrials including Chernobyl Hoppers.
Pattern Color: yellows, reds, browns, tans etc..
Fishing Quality: FINALLY a fish!
This is a day I will remember for life. The three
prior outtings on this trip...well...naw..not really that "memorable".
This was the day we decided to head into Yellowstone.
On the drive down we saw the signs for Dan
Bailey's Fly Shop. This was the shop where my first fly reel
was mail-ordered (I still have it too). This was were my first fly
tying kit came from...my first materials. Dan Bailey's was the root
of all fly fishing evil. Their catalog had seduced me into the realization
that I too could fly fish, even as only a 10 year old. Well, after
15 years of fly fishing I figured DB owed me one.
So it goes like this...Dan and I walk in and look
around. I'm impressed by the fish silloettes along the wall of moster
trout. I'm overtaken by the fact that there's surprisingly little
in the way of fly selection (based on baseless expectations). We
get some help...we find out about the licensing in the park and
get our Park licenses.
Before we leave, I pull the salesman aside and
put it to him point blank. "Look, it's my buddies first trip
fly fishing for trout and we've been skunked for our last 3 days.
We've fished the Blackfoot, Belmont Creek, Upper Clark Fork. We've
barely even SEEN any fish. We'd like to catch a fish. We need easy
trout. We need slutty trout. WHERE ARE THE SLUTTY TROUT?!"
With a sly grin the salesman looks at me and says
"Alright, you need to fish the Gardner then. Right inside the
entrance of the Park. You WILL catch trout".
And that's precisely how it went down. On our way
in we passed an angler who landed a large Brown north of the park.
Our first access at the Gardner produced 1 rainbow with about 30
minutes of effort, about a 9" that whacked a Chernobyl Hopper
that I had sunk into the pockets behind the boulders. I mean WHACKED
IT. And the worst part? Just as Dan was taking the pictures the
batteries ran out...so he had to run all the way back up while I
held the fish on my line in the water...bring back batteries, and
get the whole production in order. Not to mention that Dan almost
didn't get the fish in the picture ;) Learned my lesson there too...if
you want GOOD fish pictures take a LOT of pictures of the fish.
Anyway, THANK YOU Dan Bailey's for pointing us to the SLUTTY TROUT!
We continued to work the Gardner at a few more
access points downstream but once again had no luck and never SAW
any fish...but I'm sure they were there.
Next stop the Upper Gibbon River. I'm not sure
why we chose to stop...I think we were just passing it and decided
it was worth a shot. Well I probably wasted 2 hours fishing the
first bend. Laughable really, because there was one trout, I think
a cutthroat, holding in the tail slowly sipping off the surface....no
hatch going on and nothing seen. EVERY cast I'd get a look..within
an inch or two, and then it would turn away. Try to offer that fly
again? Nope, it would only get one look. I rotated through every
dry fly in my box, and each time I was refused.
We did at least take some time to check out the
scenery, the elk, the bison, the waterfalls, the Yellowstone Canyon.
Things like this make a bum fishing trip still enjoyable.
To end our trip we decided to fish the Yellowstone.
PeterM had been out there only a few weeks prior and gave us specific
instructions. We dropped in at two spots, one flat in the middle
of nowhere that seemed to hold nothing, and then just downstream
of Lehardy's Rapids.
I have to say this was insane...it looked like
the Milwaukee River...PEOPLE EVERWHERE. Most were within casting
distance of each other. But then again I know WHY. Fish were rising
EVERYWHERE. On the downside I didn't have any wading equipment and
was out of clothes, so wet wading wasn't even an option. Although
both Dan & I put in a valiant effort, I fear our casts probably
weren't even reaching the fish!!! All the same it was a spectacular
end to our fishing, and watching the sun set over Yellowstone Lake
sealed the deal for this trip being one of the best you could ever
I would return home with a new fire for fly fishing...especially
after spending 4 days and only catching one fish. There was no way
I'd wait another year to go trout fishing, I had to go trout fishing
NEXT WEEKEND, and I had to catch more than one fish. One week's
worth of research lead me to the SW Wisconsin Tribs, Salmon and
Steelhead, and the rest is history recorded in my Rambling Reports.