Day 18 came and the sun rose as usual, but there was something different…
SNOW! That’s right it snowed!
It didn’t snow on our Porch but on the mountains towering over our temporary Montana home.
Jeff C and I were scheduled to do a float trip, but the thought of the down pour I had witnessed last time out left me with some lingering cold chills.
So I prepared a little better and layered up.
Packed a couple of hand warmers, and got the heavy duty rain coat out.
Once we got to the river the sun was out, but the air was still brisk. We strung up our rods, tied on our bugs, and did some stretches ( well maybe not the stretching) and off we went. We were floating a lower section of the Yellowstone.
It ran from Carbello to 26 mile.
Jeff had some action early on but things were definitely not gangbusters.
Right before lunch things started to pick up.
Several fish were caught but nothing compared to the 19″ Brown Jeff coaxed to the surface with a Purple Haze Cripple.
Would you like to learn how to tie the Purple Haze Cripple? Go to Parks’ Fly Shop website at http://www.parksflyshop.com/ and check out their tying videos.
The day only got hotter and hotter with numbers spiraling out of control…
Jeff somehow talked Wally into handing over the oars, and then began to put the guide on fish.
tyle=”text-align: center;”>We had a blast!
I think everyone in the boat had a great time.
While we were floating, Brett took the chance to explore the Gardner for the first time…
…and worked his way over to a small brookie stream.
We found numerous fish willing to eat at both places.
Brett brought in numerous fish fish today as well.
Tune in tomorrow for our last day of fishing in Yellowstone National Park! Click here for more Day 18 photos.
Day 3 arrives and brings the first 2 of our guests, Spiros and Aaron. After a quick meet and greet we decide to head out on our separate ways. Jeff, Spiros, and Aaron had fishing on the brain and set out to hit a couple different bodies of water. My dad (LaBaron), my son (Bayden), and I set off to do a little sight seeing.
We decided to head out to see some of the more exotic sights in Yellowstone.
Old Faithful was number one on the list. During the trip we stopped by to see several of the other geysers, hot springs, and mud pots. While at Old Faithful we made an appearance on the Old Faithful web cam for the family back home.
While we were out taking in the sites, the other guys were out piercing lips. (photo below of Spiros navigating the Gardiner)
They stared on the Gardiner and after educating several fish, they decided to move over to Lava Creek to try their hands at some brookies.
They were greeted by large groups of picnickers but the fish did not seem to mind.
Here’s a picture of Aaron on Lava Creek
After getting their fill on smaller to medium fish and filling their bellies, they decided it was time for a little Soda Butte action and a chance at some larger Yellowstone Cutthroats.
Spiros is fishing the Butte below.
The fish were eagerly awaiting their arrival. Fish were feeding regularly and several were brought to hand.
nt-size: medium;”>A couple were in the 18″- 20″ range. All in all it was a great day on the water. After finishing our sight seeing, the other two Garris’ decided they wanted to relax around the hotel. I on the other hand, needed to get a line wet. So down to Yankee Jim Canyon I went.
That is a section of the Yellowstone that lies outside of the Park. It consists of steep rock on both side of the river with a ton of water flowing down in between. The Yellowstone can be overwhelming, but the side channels are the key.
Several fish were brought to hand and several more were LDR’d (Long Distance Release).
Whitefish, Rainbows, Cutbows, and Cutthroats were all ready to play. Most of the fish were were more than excited to play with my size 8 Yellow Stimi, but a few also fell prey to the all mighty Purple Prince.
After a quick fishing fix it was time to head back to Gardiner for some dinner and then a good nights rest. Tomorrow involves a trip to Bozeman to stock up, and then the rest of our guests arrive. I am sure we will sneak some fishing in as well. Check us out tomorrow for some more from Yellowstone country!
Finally the time has come to set out on another one of our adventures to Yellowstone National Park. The much anticipated trip of the year has finally graced us with her presence. Our initial group consisted of Jeff Curtis, myself (Josh Garris). We were accompanied by my father, LaBaron and my son Bayden. Which made the trip all the more special to me. We will be met by our first group on the 17th of August, and our second group will come out on the 24th.
We flew out of Asheville early Saturday morning having very few hurdles, and arrived in beautiful Bozeman Montana. We were immediately greeted by a terminal full of rod cases and their proud owners. It looked as if they were making a mass exodus because they heard the NC mountain boys were headed their way. In reality their time in paradise had run up,and they were just clearing the way for the next group of lucky anglers. We gathered our bags and picked up our car and hit the road towards Gardiner MT. We finally got on the road around 1:30pm Montana time and were blessed with a high of 66 degrees. It felt glorious!! After a short ride we reached our hotel for the next three days the Absaroka Lodge. It sits on the bank of the Yellowstone, and after dropping off our bags and checking out our porch, we witnessed about 20-30 mayflies (not sure exact species) drying their newly exposed wings.
There were a couple of caddis as well. The thing that got us really excited was that strange ringing in our
ears. Anyone who has been to Montana during hopper season knows that sound all to well.
We decided to head up to Parks’ Fly Shop to pick up the packages we sent, and were pleased to find it all safe and sound. We scooped them up, talked to our friends in the shop for a bit, and decided to head into Yellowstone to see what wildlife was roaming around.
Well it didn’t take long before we saw our first antelope then we were welcomed by some of Jeff’s favorites the bighorn Sheep. We even got a little photo shoot in with the babies.
After that up the road we headed to what we thought would be our next encounter, the Mammoth Hot Springs Elk herd. We were unlucky, not a one was seen. As we continued our drive through the the Northern part of the park we saw a couple of Bufffalo and a large heard of antelope. With our bellies growling we decided to head back to town to get some grub, but were delayed by a Yellowstone traffic jam. After moving up the line a bit we saw the instigator. A fairly large Black Bear wandering through a field.
We pushed on and were seen off by Bighorn Sheep. We refueled and decided to call it an early evening because tomorrow is when the real fun begins. ~ Joshua Garris
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Here we are on day 2. Waking up around 6:45 we were greeted by low clouds and low temps. 41 degrees to be exact. Highs for today were predicted to be in the mid 70’s. We had decided to jaunt to the northern part of the park to start off the fishing by chasing some of the native Cutthroat that call Yellowstone home. We gathered gear still some what confused about not seeing any Elk up in Mammoth the night before, only to be greeted by a fairly large female right outside our hotel door.
She posed for a few pics and went on her merry way and so did we. We stopped by the Two-Bit Saloon for breakfast (no really breakfast). After a nice breakfast, into the park we headed and Pebble Creek was destination one.
l people all the time that one of my favorite things about Yellowstone is the fact that it is always changing. This is my 7th straight year, and I have never ceased to be amazed.
We were told the high water spring had really moved some of the rivers around, and boy did it ever! Pebble Creek was a new river. Five of my favorite holes were gone…not shallow…gone! Channels had been moved, and new trees were in the water. One thing that had not changed was the gin clear appearance of the water. We started fishing around 10am but did not start to see good action until around 11:30 or 12. Then it picked up nicely. We got into several cutties.
Most were on the smaller side but a few nice ones were brought to net.
We were privileged enough to have a handy net man to help subdue the fish.
At around 1pm our bellies had convinced us it was time for lunch. We took a quick ride over to Roosevelt Lodge to fill our need, but we were greeted with a thirty minute wait…
…so, gift shop turkey sandwich it was!
After lunch we headed up the road towards the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone to try a new section of water. We hiked down a fairly steep cliff to end up at the very swift Yellowstone. We fished hard for several hours to no avail.
One was hooked by Jeff, and he might have a few more but all I received was a couple of quick denials. We decided to call it a day and we headed back towards town to grab a quick bite and to call it an evening.
Throughout the day we were able to witness several animals.
Coyotes, Antelope (2 photos above this one), Osprey, Magpies, Elk, and even had a near traffic jam with one LARGE Bison. Tomorrow will include more fishing and some sight seeing as well. Stay tuned!
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Day 11 of fishing has come to an end, and what a great climax for our guests. We decided to have somewhat of a later start given that it had been a long four days (10 for Nate and I) and our bodies were starting to feel it.
Although we were feeling a little sore, the fact of the matter was, this was our guests last day to fish in the park. It was time to get cracking!
We had originally planned to hike into Grebe Lake, but the daunting 3 mile hike was not encouraging us, so we chose otherwise.
With it being the last day we wanted everybody to have a good time and catch fish. We decided to head over to Soda Butte for the morning session and then split up after lunch.
We started fishing just below the Soda Butte Rock and worked our way upstream and back. The fishing started a little slow but soon heated up. Hopper’s and Caddis were the ticket for the day (go figure).
Several very nice fish were landed…many more were missed.
The last time we had been on this water it was off color and that made it tough to get strikes. With something to prove, Jeff and Spencer got into some nice fish on the lower side of our section.
Charlie landed a 12″ fish and lost one considerably bigger. Dick worked his way upstream with no avail.
Dick changed flies and the fish were soon cartwheeling after his Yellow Foam Hopper trailed by the legendary Peacock Caddis.
The first two fish he landed were Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout. The first one was at least 16″, the second was a very thick 14″er.
Dick later revealed that these were his largest wild fish to date. He worked them like a pro!
At about 3:00 we decided to break for lunch and some ‘make your own salads’.
While relaxing in the shade and watching the rain coming in from the west, we were visited by about 12 Long Horn Beetles.
After recharging our batteries we decided to split up.
Jeff and Spencer went back to Soda Butte and the rest of us headed towards Lava Creek.
We decided to take a slight detour on the Grand Loop to take in some of the sights.
We passed by the Yellowstone River and went into the Hayden Valley…
We saw numerous Buffalo, Mule Deer, the Sulphur Cauldron, and several Mud Pots. The rain played tag with us for the rest of the afternoon, so we decided to head back to the cabin.
Jeff and Spencer arrived before us, confirming what we had suspected would happen…a hatch on the Soda Butte. The fish were making the river boil and several really nice fish were landed because of it.
We left the river around six to start the daunting task of packing.
Dick was nice enough to hold true on his responsibility for the beer fish, and provided a Trout Slayer Ale to all involved. We used the tasty libation to wash down pizza as we reflected on the five wonder days of fishing we had just been a part of. Because Yellowstone is truly one of the most beautiful places in the world, I am sure we will each carry fond memories and images for years to come…I know I will.
Another gorgeous day here in Paradise! After a big plate of french toast and ham, we set off towards the Upper Gardiner.
Home of thousands of painted up Brookies. We were planning to walk in a bit to a meadow section and try to educate some fish.
The fish were very eager for class and popped dry flies with abandonment.
If we were to slow on our hook sets we had to quickly recast before hooking the tall grass behind us.
This, in turn, caused multiple hits on consecutive casts. Brookies are notorious for striking flies extremely quickly.
Timing has to be just right or else they will flip right off our barbless hooks.
The fish in this stretch are not known for their size but the numbers that can be landed. That being said, numerous fish in the 8-10″ range felt our hook, a few were even landed.
Catching was constant all morning, heavy at times. Charlie got into a run of fish and began to pull them in like a vacuum. One after another, they fell to the Magic Nymph!
Dick was steadily getting strikes and landed a total of 8 out of 2 runs.
Spencer had to join up with us a little late because of the need to visit the Mammoth Clinic. On the float trip the previous day he had jammed his pinky finger on his non-casting hand. After being reassured it was not broken he was on the creek with us and sticking fish.
The day was warm and being in the open field was starting to wear on our energy levels, so we decided to hit the Sheepeater Cliff picnic area.
We were greeted by some very large, well-fed chipmunks. They almost ran up Charlie’s leg.
After lunch we headed down the hill to the Lower Gardiner for a chance at some larger fish and possibly the Slam.
We jumped into a previous spot we had fished hoping it would be as generous.
It was not gang-busters like we had hoped, but many solid fish were landed. Mainly Rainbows, but several Browns and a Brookie were caught.
To add to the excitement Nate saw another Bull snake, this one being about 4′ long.
Other than that, it was a very comfortable evening where the hatch just never took off, but a great evening of fishing none the less.
Walking out we spotted an enormous Mormon Cricket laying eggs in the trail.
We decided to head back toward the cabin around 7:30. The sun was just beginning to dip behind the mountains when we pulled out of the parking area.
On the scenic drive home we were lucky enough to see the one animal Jeff wanted to see, The Big Horn Sheep.
Although, after pointing those out, he requested that I bring them in closer for a better picture. Unfortunately, I was unable to oblige. On the last leg of the trip we were treated to one of Montana’s beautiful sunsets.
Just in case you were wondering, Dick was unable to pass off his beer fish net. Not because he didn’t try, others just had butter fingers…hee hee hee. Tomorrow we will be hitting our favorites from the week and enjoying our last day together as a group.
On Day 9 of our Yellowstone trip the group was going to split up a bit.
Jeff and Spencer had decided to book a float trip with Richard Parks of Park’s Fly Shop.
They were going to float the Yellowstone, and Dick, Charlie, Nate and I were going to hit some smaller streams with the hopes of high numbers in the catch category.
With everybody having tired bodies, we thought an easier day would be in order. Jeff and Spencer could ride in style and we other would fish rivers with close access. They had a great day being guided by possibly the premier expert on fishing the Park and its surrounding area.
They floated the Yellowstone starting close to Gardner and took out just before getting to Yankee Jim Canyon. The boated at least 40 fish the largest being around 16″. Cutthroat, Cut bows, and Whitefish were caught off of dries. Yes, Whitefish off dries. The said it was a beautiful day on a beautiful river. And they had they luck of seeing an Osprey during the trip.
While those guys were out being carted around, we were going to Lava Creek to begin with and Tower Creek in the afternoon. Our day started out with everyone getting strikes on their first or second cast.
Dick was lucky enough to land the first fish on his first cast. The day never let up either. 4-5 strikes came out of every hole, with several being landed.
The fish were absolutely gorgeous with their spawning colors coming on. Every fish practically was glowing with greens, blues, reds, and oranges.
The fish were eager and forgiving. Many fish struck numerous times even allowing for less than perfect drifts.
When hooked they were willing to dance with all their might.
After fishing Lava for several hours, and landing too many fish to count, all being Brookies, we decided to hit the road to find a little shade to eat lunch in.
We found this place at the rustic Roosevelt’s Lodge. The two picnic tables in front of the gift shop were exactly what we were looking for.
We had a quick lunch and enjoyed the shade, and then off we went to head towards Tower Creek.
The drive to Tower took the guys through an unseen part of the park. We were fortunate enough to drive past the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and see the numerous unusual rock formations along the road. Once arriving at the Creek, and after a quick visit to the gift shop (I am not telling what was bought), we were back to fishing.
The fish in this river consist of Rainbows and Brookies, with Rainbows being the dominant species.
Tower Creek has a little bit more gradient than most are used to fishing but, many, many fish call it home. Catching started shortly after arriving and was fairly consistent throughout our time on this stretch.
Dries and nymphs were on the agenda with the caddis family being the big winners.
Around 5pm we headed back toward the house to put the feet up and enjoy some Ribeyes, roasted corn, and roasted potatoes.
After returning home Dick was awarding the much celebrated Big Fish Net after landing the smallest Trout this trip to date (aka Beer Fish).
When receiving his award he was wearing an “Older Than Dirt” T-shirt. All I can say is I hope I can get around like this man when I get to wear that shirt.
Every day is a pleasure with these guys and I truly appreciate all the knowledge they are sharing, especially Dick’s stories!
All in all this was a great day and it has us eagerly awaiting tomorrow when we head up to the scene of our recent 200 fish day. Brookies are in order in the morning and a chance for everything else in the afternoon. Let’s see who gets the Yellowstone Grand Slam!!
Slough Creek was the destination for Day 8. It involved a fairly difficult 1.5 mile hike in. Over half of that was uphill.
We started out with a big breakfast of pancakes, sausage, and biscuits and gravy. As soon as we were done, off we went.
The hike in was tough but, the views were breath taking when we arrived. Jeff, being the avid hiker, decided to push for the second meadow.
Within the first 20 minutes Spencer was hooked up with a nice 18″ Cutthroat.
The fish on the creek were rising constantly, but only to exactly what they wanted.
Early in the day it was size 12 beetles. In the afternoon it switched over a bit to size 8 crickets.
Many fish were caught. Many, many, many more were missed or broke off.
Charlie hooked an absolutely beautiful Cutthroat of about 17″.
When released he decided to pose for a few extra underwater shots.
Dick laid into a nice fish that found its way off the hook before it reached the net.
We stayed and fished until 5pm and started our journey out.
On the trail we met up with Jeff who had a spectacular day in the second meadow fishing strictly dry flies.
We conversed about the phenomenal day of fishing we had, and about all the big fish that got away.
When the trek was said and done everyone was a little sore, but with an easier day on the docket for tomorrow and a huge dinner of Burgers and Brats, soreness was soon forgotten. Needless to say everyone slept well.
Day 7 started out with a nice big breakfast of eggs, biscuits, and bacon. We then headed out the door on a mission to hit the Northeast of the park.
Our exact destinations were Pebble Creek first and then over to Soda Butte. On the way in we passed the Lamar, and it was chocolate milk. We had received hard rains two nights ago and heavy sediment was put into the river.
This made us a little nervous, being that Soda Butte feeds into the Lamar, and Pebble into Soda Butte. However as soon as we actually saw Soda Butte we knew it was fishable. Dirty, but fishable, and we knew Pebble would be in good shape.
When we arrived at the parking area, we were greeted by two other groups of fisherman. Normally this too would be a little unnerving, but not on this creek.
We fish this creek every year and it has yet to disappoint us, even if fishing right behind someone. Which as is turns out we did today.
The river consists of Yellowstone Cutthroats, Rainbows, and Cut bows. Every fish in that creek seems to love dry flies. With in moments of arriving Dick was working his magic.
He hooked up and LDR’d (Long Distance Released) a nice fish and moments later he was hooked up again, and this fish met the net. Walking down stream I notice Charlie hooked up with a fish out of one of our favorite small holes.
Fishing stayed super consistent North of the bridge, while Jeff and Spencer tamed a few fish on the South side but said it was no where as steady.
They too moved up closer to the campground and got into a few more fish before lunch.
Dick and Charlie continued to work up stream coaxing up numerous fish along the way.
Dick found his honey hole and began to teach the fish a thing or two. Eight landed out of one hole.
Charlie found his special little spot and began to do work. Several landed within minutes.
Watch for the video (Coming Soon to a theatre VERY near you…on UTube). Spencer and Nate went up to one of the most scenic holes on the creek and got into fish. Notice all the brightly colored rocks in the river. At about 1pm we decided to break for lunch and plan our attack on Soda Butte.
While eating lunch we were visited by several very inquisitive residents, and Nate’s hat was under full inspection by a longhorn beetle.
After a quick bite, off we went. When we got our boots wet again in Soda Butte we noticed the river was not chocolate milk, but very stained.
Normally, in alot of rivers, this gives you more chance to approach and less chance of the 3rd degree on your fly. That however was not the case today.
The fish seemed to be rising to inspect flies like Davidson River fish.
They would come up look and go back.
If you were lucky enough to get a strike you better be on the money because you would not get a second chance. Everyone fished hard during our evening session, and a few fish were brought to hand.
Spencer and Jeff landed some nice fish with Spencer tagging a beautiful Yellowstone Cutthroat.
After a beautiful day, in a beautiful place we decided to head back to the cabin for some grilled pork tenderloin and relaxation. Rest is needed because tomorrow is the attack on Slough Creek. 1st meadow here we come!
Day 6 in Yellowstone was scheduled to be an errand day. We had to go to the grocery store in Bozeman, Montana to buy all our supplies for the upcoming week. What that means to us, the two trout bums, is no more PB&J’s and Pizza and on to some real food. If we can find time to eat. We had to buy enough supplies to feed 6 men for a week. When checking out we were asked if we had two cars. Although this little side trip was about an hour and half to and from, it allowed us to drive through the Paradise Valley again.
The views were stunning. Clouds clinging to the tops of the mountains, Elk feeding on the sides of the roads.
It was absolutely gorgeous! After the quick jaunt through Montana we headed back to our Lodge to find a stunningly beautiful rustic, yet, modern log cabin.
Shortly after arriving we were greeted by two of the four from our group. We got every ones stuff unloaded and helped another lady load hers. Don’t even ask. It involves a bed and a very heavy wooden desk.
Just then we received a call from the other two in our party saying they would be arriving shortly. Like I said previously this was suppose to be a errand day, but with everyone arriving by 4pm that meant only one thing. That is right. Time to fish! We made a quick trip to Parks Fly Shop so every body could get legal (license), and off we went.
We headed to the closest water which is the lower Gardiner. A short 1/4 mile hike (sorry Dick, Spencer, and Charlie) and we were watching fish rise. Time to make some casts.
Shortly after unhooking his fly Spencer laid into a nice 12″ feisty cutbow that gave up a couple of cartwheels before he was brought to net.
Dick then climbed into his selected run and began casting.
After working over some water he got into a 10″ Rainbow in a faster current, and landed them like a real pro. Charlie, was intently working a riffle when, bam, the fight was on.
Several more fish were caught through out the evening and many more were missed.
Some flies got the full inspection from the more educated fish in the river, but were found unworthy.
All in all, for about 2 hrs worth of fishing and about 13 fish landed, it was a great first evening for our friends in Yellowstone!
Tommorrow is Pebble Creek and a trip to Soda Butte. Watch out cutties here we come!!! If you would like to travel to and Fly Fish in Yellowstone National Park, contact the boys at Curtis Wright Outfitters…you’ll be glad you did!
So the expedition today, yes expedition, started with a trip all the way across the North of the Park to check out some promising new meadow water. We had read about the upper meadows of Pebble Creek and thought the idea of seldom cast at Cutthroats up to 16″, was very inviting.
There was one catch. The hike in was about 2.2 miles and in the process you gain 1000′ in altitude and then drop 250′. To most this would be a deal breaker. But not us, we were up for the challenge, we thought. The hike began uphill immediately, and did not let up. The views along the trail were amazing and the trail itself was some what treacherous.
We kept pressing on with numerous re- encouragement sessions (air gasping breaks). The trail never seemed to let up until finally we saw light over the ridge. As soon as we topped out the descent began. Although the downhill was much appreciated, we could not help but think about the trip back out. The trail eventually opened up into a beautiful wildflower filled meadow.
align: center;”>The wildflowers are normally done blooming by this time of year, at least at normal altitudes. Shortly after stepping into the meadow we could hear water running, which really got our heart beating. Finally we had reached our destination, but no.
The stream was just a trickle and although enough water to hold trout definitely not enough to hold our sought after 16″ cutthroats. So, we started hiking some more. Probably another mile to where we could see another couple of streams join the flow. Now there was enough water BUT, two fisherman were fishing it. So off we went hiking some more.
Finally, after getting away from the other fisherman we got our feet wet. We worked into some nice runs and Nate got into a beautiful feisty cutthroat of about 14″.
And after their dance the fish decided to hang around for an under water photo op.
We worked up several more runs and caught some more nice fish. Possibly one more of that size.
Then the fishing went cold!
We had an idea why but no proof until we heard voices. We were fishing immediately behind someone. At the same time as this realization a clap of thunder boomed and we knew it was time to make that death march. We complained the whole way out while trying to move as fast as we can. Being in the middle of a meadow during a thunder storm with a 8.5′ graphite rod is not the best idea. We eventually were on the home stretch to the car, still complaining mind you, when we came across a couple of other hikers. They were at a large clearing on the trail with vast views we momentarily stopped to chat. The woman leading their charge on the summit was a meager 79 years old. After our time with this couple, we shut up. All in all, Upper Pebble Creek was a beautiful place and I am glad I took pictures because we will not be making that expedition again.
When we got to the car it was only 4pm. Perfect, enough time to grab some PB&J’s and hit some more water. Our legs were throbbing and feet were tired, so minimal walking was the only prerequisite. We decide to give old Soda Butte another chance and try a couple of stretches on it.
The first stretch was somewhat productive for Nate with him landing a couple. It however was not not what we were looking for. So down river we went.
We jumped in one of our favorite stretches of the river even though there were some 30-40mph winds blowing. One that had been generous to us in the past, both in numbers of fish and in size.
And it did not take long for the old girl to show us some love. Fish were cartwheeling over caddis dries and hoppers (Surprise).
Beetles were on the menu as well. JG’s bean was the only nymph producing though nymphs were not used for long. We caught fish with regularity and every fish gave us all we wanted.
They all had full bellies, but were still feeding. Nate and I both landed several very nice fish into the 20’s.
Moments before total darkness I cast my fly into one of our good friend’s most frustrating hole last summer.
Seconds after the fly touched the water it sounded like a toilet bowl flushing and I set the hook and it was on.
After about 5 minutes the battle had ended and I had in my hands a FAT Cut-bow (hybrid of Cutthroats and Rainbows) of at least 5lbs.
We posed for a couple of snap shots and then we sent that magnificent fish to go get bigger. Enjoy the floppy fish shot, they are some of my favorites. After a long hard day and getting into several very nice fish, I have to say I love my job! May everyone’s dry fly ride high!
So Day 3 started out with a beautiful drive into Yellowstone through the North Entrance. We were greeted by the views of the Mammoth Hot Springs within the first three minutes. It was another beautiful day starting out with temps in the low 60’s.
We had decided to head to the Upper Gardiner for a little brookie action. But little did we know what we were in for. The adventure started with a short 1.5 mile hike into a gorgeous meadow with views of the bordering mountains. As seen in the picture above, we couldn’t ask for a better day! The sky was the most unusual blue. It was a color that words and even pictures wouldn’t do justice.
We were greeted to the meadow by a meandering buffalo more than 1/4 mile away, and a river improvement to help allow the fish to move up stream during spawning times.
When we came upon the stream we knew we had stumbled onto a little piece of heaven. Like I said previously, we were looking for a little brookie action and we had no idea how much action we were in for.
With the first cast, the ballet began. We proceeded to get strikes on at least the next 80 casts. After fishing the very first run we estimated our tally of at least 60 fish. Yes 60 and missing at least 30-40 more strikes.
Yeah, I know, we need more practice (can you tell my wife?). We pulled ourselves away from that first run with fish still striking. We caught most off Caddis dry flies, but also caught several off JG’s Green Bean and other caddis nymphs.
After fishing up about 1/2 a mile on the stream and having racked up a tally of at least 120 fish (Seriously!), we decided to make the jump over to another stream to check rumors of some big Rainbows, Cutbows, and Browns and we weren’t disappointed.
The trip in and especially the trip out were brutal but well worth it. The wading was not for the faint of heart but rewarding if you put the fly in the right holes or runs. Nate landed a 16″ Cutbow off an Elk Hair Caddis in very swift water.
All fish caught in this section had some serious shoulders from fighting the stronger currents through this semi-gorge section.
We spent a couple hours on this stretch of water before the reality of, so-much-water-so-little-time set in.
So off we went to the stunning Tower Creek. It is a feeder creek to the mighty Yellowstone River.
The creek holds both Rainbows and Browns, and they proved eager to please.
We were back into catching shortly after getting our feet wet. Fish 8-14″ were caught with regularity. With 3-8 fish coming out of every plunge pool and run. The colors of both the Rainbows and Brookies were brilliant.
The fish were aggressive chasing skittered dry flies as much as 3′. We fished into the early evening and decided to call it a day after being critiqued by a local resident, the Yellow Bellied Marmot. A relative of our groundhog but with the ability to whistle.
On the way back home the car was, for the most part, quiet except for the occasional reference to some earlier event in the day. We estimated our total catch for the day at being around 180 fish. We were in total disbelief.
While exiting the park we were wished good evening by more locals, the Big Horn Sheep and a Mule Deer (Chad don’t shoot!). Good night and long, drag free drifts! If you are interested in a hosted
Well day 2 has come to an end and a very full day it was. We started off by fishing the Gardiner River above the conjunction with Boiling River. We started by fishing a small canyon with minor success and quickly moved up to a less gradient section of the river.
The Gardiner is in the lowest altitude area of the park which means a little warmer water temps and the only place in Yellowstone were there is a possibility of running into a snake. In all our several trips out we have never seen so much as a trace, so why should this time be any different. Right? Well not exactly.
Nate was fishing the left side of a run while I was fishing the right. Nate suddenly heard the sound of sand paper rubbing together and turned around to see this rascal running for cover. Not sure of the species but we believe it to be a Bull snake.
I know a snake is a snake but the bulls are not poisonous. The snakes apperance was shortly after the catching side of the fishing started to turn on. We were fishing caddis dries with a variety of nymphs underneath. The fish were evenly caught off nymphs and dries.
We caught Browns, Cutties, Rainbows, and even a Brook trout of about 12″ that hadn’t got the memo that Brookies aren;t suppose to be in this stretch of river. What a pleasant suprise being brookies are my all time favorite fish.
We continued on the Gardiner until 3:00pm and then decided to eat some PB&J’s and make the trip to Soda Butte to try a new stretch for the evening.
When we arrived at Soda Butte (pronounced Soda Bute, not Soda Butt) we were greated by large crowds. We decided to go a little higher up river and we found an opening so we jumped in.
Like I said this was a new stretch to both us but that is what this trip is about to us. Exploration. Like in alot of these situations you win some and you loose some. Well we didn’t lose but we did have to work really hard for the srikes we got.
After covering a good bit of water and changing flies several times, we soon found what the fish were looking for. The exact thing the fish on the other stream wanted! Although the rivers run about 60 miles apart and at greatly different altitudes the same flies were on the menu.
This was shortly before sunset and with the glare and mosquitos getting bad we decided to fish for about 30min more and call it an evening and head back to the cabin. One thing that alot of fisherman do when they go on fishing trips is forget to enjoy where they are.
Take a look around, see what flowers you might find, what sight there are to see or the beauty af a mountains sunset.
Or you can do like I find myself doing, lay back kick your feet up and absorb it all. Well time to hit the vise, and maybe even squeeze in a little dinner! Tight lines all! If you would like to do some Yellowstone Fly Fishing, contact Curtis Wright Outfitters for our hosted trip schedule.
So all I can say about Day 1 in Montana is, “WOW!” Talk about action. Talk about dry fly action. Pitchin 2″ Hoppers followed by size 12 trudes equals a phenomenal day on the Yellowstone River. We started off our trip by doing something a little different for us, hiring a guide and floating the big and mighty Yellowstone River.
We went to the local experts Parks Fly Shop, and hired head guide Walter Wiese and set off on our 11 mile journey from Brogan’s Landing through Yankee Jim Canyon.
Fishing and catching started immediately after launch and continued through out the rest of the day.
We caught Cutthroat, Cutbows, Rainbows, Browns, and the other native species the Whitefish. We were fishing pocket water near the banks, and bubble lines following the banks with great success, but we were often surprised by fish rising in the middle of the river in 10′-50 ‘ of water. We were fishing 7.5 ‘ 4x leaders with about a foot of 4-5x tippet between dry flies.
The catching was hot most of the day with an occasional lull. The largest fish we boated was about 17″ and most were in the 12″-14″ range. Numbers were the order for the day with us probably boating at least 70 fish (all on barbless hooks). The fish were absolutely beautiful and feisty and were rivaled only by the beauty of where we were.
On the agenda for tomorrow is the Gardiner and then over to %&?<: creek for some more BANG BANG action. What you thought we were going to give away all the secrets? Better yet book the Yellowstone Trip for next year and we will show you!