Summer Newsletter

July 2009 - August 2009


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Be sure to check the current fishing report for frequent updates on our conditions and latest fishing excursions.




August 29th

My wife Dawn and I hosted the Cody Women's Fly Fishing Class this year and it was a blast. We had 12 women from all over the bighorn basin and attempted to introduce them to fly fishing. The Hunters graciously donated the use of their private pond and it turned out to be the perfect place for the event.

We started from scratch, rigging up rods, going over equipment, and casting. The women all did a great job learning the knots and casting. We discussed fly selection and even went to the water and looked at the bugs we were going to imitate.

Since we only had 4 very short hours to teach everything we went straight to fishing and at least half the women caught their first fish on a fly rod. A once in a lifetime opportunity! The rest at least had a bite and missed the fish but it was a great effort by everyone. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the class and all the women did a fantastic job and made the event a huge success! Congratulations to all!





August 22nd and 23rd

Vaughn and Matt Allen came back to Cody to fish for a couple of days for Matt's 30th Birthday. I met these guys last year when Vaughn was in charge of putting up the steel for the new hospital building here in town. It is now the tallest building in Cody. I had hung some steel years ago so we hit it off from the start.

Vaughn is battling cancer for the third time and was in the middle of chemo treatments. I knew he would not be feeling great but he is one tough son of a gun and did just great for the two days of fishing. Our prayer are with him and his family and I know he will find a way to pull through like he has done twice in the past and we will be fishing again together very soon.

The weather seemed to be against us. We had wind, rain, sun, clouds and any other combination you can think of for both days. We fished a local lake on the 22nd. Fish began to rise shortly after we got on the water. Matt began to hang a few right off. Vaughn was just getting warmed up and missed some nice fish but was unable to land any. We put in the float tubes trying to get out to where the fish were but when the weather changed they became pretty picky. We fished hard and Matt managed a few more but it just got tuff. We tried a private pond where we should have been able to get some real nice ones but the fish were locked up there as well. Had to be the weather. That's fishing!

The next day we went in search of scenery, solitude, and big cutts. We knew it was probably going to be tuff but just got out there and gave it our best. Matt and Vaughn hooked a couple in the first hole but both fish came unbuttoned. We finally found a hole with rising fish and both guys caught a couple before lunch on little dries. They were big and colorful but spawned out and didn't have much fight. Not exactly what we were looking for.

I was getting desperate for these guys to catch some fish so I talked Vaughn into a long wading expedition across big water to an island that normally holds some big boys. Vaughn said that if he walked out there and didn't catch any I wouldn't be coming back!

We fished the best places for about 45 minutes with no luck. We changes flies and tried some more. Then the sun came out and the fish started biting. Matt landed a nice fish and lost a real pig right at the shore. Vaughn and I went up stream and on his first cast a 5lb cutt ate his dry right in front of us. We were both stunned. He fought it to the shore but it made one final break for it and came off. He then proceeded to hook two more real nice ones on the dry. Mean while Matt was still catching them down stream. Vaughn changed to a streamer with a soft hackle trailer and hit another nice fish. Matt spotted some fish rising and we took of the streamer and replaced it with a PMD emerger and he got another nice fish on the little dry. It was pretty cool for a couple hours and I got to return with the guys to the other side. It was weird, challenging fishing but we persisted and it finally paid off!

I had a great time with this father and son team and I can't wait till we fish together again. They are good people! Enjoy the pictures!



August 17th and 19th

My friends Dan and Lynn Breck stopped in to fish for a couple days. Dan sold his 55' Hatteras in Costa Rica last year and now has much more time to fish the Rockies. They both like big fish and dry flies so this was a perfect time to hit Cody. 

On the 17th we decided on Luce lake. It has some of the biggest and healthiest fish this season that I have ever seen out there. We had initially planned on site fishing with scuds like we did last year but the conditions just weren't right. A big cold front had just passed through and the fish were pushed into deeper water. With a little breeze it was just about impossible to spot any cruisers so after a couple futile hours of trying the scuds, we changed to hoppers.

Around noon things started to happen. Big nice fish started coming up and slowly sucking down the hoppers. It was a blast! We landed some real nice fish and ldr'ed many more. The fish were big and healthy and Lynn managed to land her biggest rainbow to date. A slow day turned into a great day in just a couple hours. At 4:30 someone turned off the switch and it was over. We picked up a couple Hogan cutts and called it quits.

On the 19th Lynn had some chores to catch up on so Dan and I had a guys day. We hit a local cutthroat stream early and the fish were eating from the start. Dan nailed 8 nice fish out of the first hole and one that could be the nicest fish I've ever seen taken from this stretch of river. Nice way to start the day!

The bugs were out in force. Caddis were in the bushes and in the afternoon hatching from the riffels. Trico spinners were a blizzard in the morning. PMD's and Green Drakes mid day and more caddis in the evening. This made for some pretty interesting fishing. Lots of fly changes and different presentations were the key to catching these fish that are getting more selective as the summer progresses. We handled it pretty well and caught fish all day on different stuff. All dries and emergers. It was very similar to the hatches over in West. Great fun!

At 4:30 someone turned off the switch again and it was over. Strange, but we had had enough anyway. We stopped in to get the traditional Klondike bar on the way home. A perfect end to a perfect day! Enjoy the pictures.





August 8th and 9th

My good buddy Fran Lunney came to visit after teaching at a camp for dyslexic kids in Colorado. It had been over a year since we saw Fran and I was afraid he had gotten married and given up the trout bumming life for a more acceptable life style. He hadn't, although he does now have a steady girlfriend back home in Cambridge. We fished the Greybull on the 8th. It has been one of the only waters not effected by the rains of last week.

It was cold and rainy most of the day we fished. The water is also very high for this time of year. The hatches were non existent for most of the day but the fish were still coming up on dries enough to keep it interesting. We did use a dropper when it got slow. Caddis were still in the bushes. A good PMD hatch brought the fish up for an hour during a heavy rain late in the afternoon. Very Fun!

Fran fished a little 2 WT and these fish were almost more than it could handle in the swift water. Lots of fun though. Long distance releases didn't bother us in the least. I stuck with my little 7' 6" Phillipson Peerless "63" and had a ball. All the fish were between 14" and 18" and in excellent shape.

The fishing dogs ran all day and it was a day reminiscent of the way we fished a couple years ago when Fran lived in Cody and my old dog Christmas was still here. Good friendships never change! We came home and cooked some burgers on the grill and watched our favorite movie Fido. I highly recommend this movie if you have a sense of humor.

The next day we headed to the park for some solitude and big cutthroats. Even though the park is very crowded the river was not. I almost like to fish the Yellowstone better now even though the fish population is way down. It is one of the most beautiful rivers in the world with great hatches and now only a few people are still fishing it. Numbers has never really been our game anyway. It was Fantastic to say the least. We had the entire river to ourselves and caught or hooked some very decent fish. Just sitting on the bank watching the buffalo is pretty neat. We had a great time and it was good to spend some time with my friend before he went back to the grind. Enjoy the pictures.



Luce pig that got away!



August 4th 5th 6th

Bob Awtrey fished with me again this year. Bob is a great guy and has turned into a good friend of mine. He is even starting to get the Bamboo itch. My advice is to turn back now before it is to late! Anyway we fished together for 3 days and had a ball.

We did the big dry fly thing the first day and the conditions had changed a bit. A rain storm had dumped some water into the river the day before and the fish weren't quite as eager to take flies off the surface. We picked up a few on a dropper but around noon things began to happen. The fish were taking caddis emergers in the tailouts of pools. We began to see a lot of backs and tails. I had a couple new caddis emergers that fit the bill and if you applied a swing at the right time, fish on! We started noticing quite a few green drakes but as it turned out the swallows had them before the fish even had a chance. We stuck to the caddis.

A little later PMD's became the deal and we went to a sparkle dun with a small caddis emerger as a dropper. We had all the bases covered! After five hours of non stop catching we called it a day and hiked out happy and fulfilled!

The second day proved to be similar to the first. Conditions had changed again. Several days earlier we had experienced multiple hatches and we were hoping for more of the same. Much cooler weather had the hatches on hold. The fish were not near as eager as they had been. They were still looking up though and with patience and perseverance we were able to get plenty of action on top! The fish were looking for the bugs, they just didn't hatch. Still a lot of fun!

Our last day together we decided to take it easy and fish Luce. Site fishing big fish at distance is one of my favorite ways to fish a lake. It is very challenging but also very rewarding. We used a zebra midge with a scud dropper and hooked up some nice ones early but they came unbuttoned. Latter in the afternoon we managed a couple more on hoppers but they came unglued as well. That's the way it goes sometimes. We still had fun and saw some very big fish. We then took a tour of the Clarks Fork canyon area before we headed in and called it a day.

As always Bob, it was a pleasure to fish with you and I can't wait till next year when we'll hit the water again! The fishing dogs will be waiting! Enjoy the pictures!



Bah Behr!

Beautiful Wild Fish!


Big Fish on a Caddis

Great color!

July 24th  Pickett Creek

The two fishing dogs and I went on a recon mission to look for some interesting water for some of my best clients. They are especially fond of catching Yellowstone Cutthroats on big dries. With less than 10% of the wild fish remaining in less than 10% of their original habitat, this is becoming more difficult all the time.

Fortunately the two dogs and I have plenty of get up and go. We hiked in about 4 miles to a creek recommended by an old timer back in the Beartooths. The water was still very high with just a little water on the edges for the fish to hold. It was overcast and the mosquitoes were out in force.

I put on a medium Bah Behr and let it rip. I was amazed by the health and size of these fish! This is a really small creek with a short growing season so it must really have the food to produce fish of this quality. Every little piece of holding water held at least one very nice fish. The Dogs were loving it.

I did see some egg laying caddis in the bushes and the rocks were covered with case caddis about to hatch. A few PMD spinners were about in the morning. I tried all the above but due to the very fast, high water, I think the fish could see the Bah Behr much better because of it's size. I did have a couple refusals on the big fly and the little foam caddis was able to pick them off.

I only fished for about a half a day but it was enough to let me know this is a creek well worth the hike and the bugs. I really can't wait to fish it when the water drops a bit. It should be awesome. The dogs had a blast and the little one (who is no longer little) got to work on her swimming and creek crossing. They were both dead tired when we got home. I think I'll keep this one under my hat!  Enjoy the pictures!

Devil's Pitchfork!

Dash loves to go Fishing!

Bah Behr!


Say Hello to my Little Friend!


Syd being a Good Girl!


Old Guys!

Great Views!

Healthy Fish!

Dry Flies!

July 22nd Soda Butte

Don, Jon, and I hit Soda Butte on the 22nd. We fished above the Soda Butte to try to get away from people but as it turned out there were people in almost every hole by 10 a.m. After getting those guys situated, I headed up stream till I managed to find a decent looking unoccupied run.

No bugs early so I put on a small Turks with a prince dropper. I was into a fish right away.  Any run with deep green water held fish. I got a dozen fish out of the first spot with the prince and a small black copper John.

The weather was perfect. There were a few black flies but it wasn't even necessary to use bug dope. It was turning out to be a pretty good day. I chose a 7 1/2' Phillipson Peerless "63" and it is the perfect rod for this little creek. Some guys say these rods are a little on the fast side but out here it never hurts to have something that can handle a little wind. I love this rod!

I moved down to check on Don and Jon and they hadn't had to much luck. Jon had just had back surgery and was hurting so when he went to the truck I moved into the hole he was fishing. A few PMD's came off and the fish were on them immediately. I landed about a dozen more on a thorax cdc sparkle dun. A fantastic first day on Soda Butte!

It was good to see the little fish were in very good shape. They have plenty of water and food for the time being and lets hope the can gain plenty of weight this summer even with the severe pressure they will experience from well meaning anglers.


Big Boy!

Another Big Boy!

Old Phillipson is the perfect rod for this creek!


Black bear with cubs!

1st fish!

Nice bend!

Classic colors!

Wolf track!


July 16th Slough Creek

I took the day to myself and hiked into Slough Creeks second meadow. Weather was perfect and the flows are conducive to dry fly fishing. There were lots of people in the parking lot but by the time I got to the second meadow there were only a couple of people that were in the camp grounds. I never saw another soul while I was fishing.

In the woods between the two meadows I heard a quite woof and came face to face with a female black bear and two cubs. At first I thought Grizzly because of the color but as you can see, round ears, no hump, and no dished out muzzle. I backed up slowly and began to take pictures after it was apparent the bear was ok with me being there.

When I got to the river the wind was up and no bugs hatching so I put on a Bah Behr with a black copper John dropper. On the very first cast a nice cutt came up and slowly inhaled the dry. A classic cutthroat take! I took off the dropper and fished a big foam dry for the rest of the morning with great success.

After a lunch of a bag of tuna, some crackers and water the Pmd's began to emerge. The fish became a little more selective. An emerger placed just up stream of the rise and presented in front of the leader was all that was needed to get a bite. It is some of my favorite types of fishing. A little later they went to a PMD sparkle dun. The fish continued to rise sporadically for a couple hours.

Towards the evening the wind came up a bit and I went back to the foam dry with a small beetle on back. Fish came to take the beetle for the most part for the rest of the afternoon. The bite slowed around 5 p.m. and I headed back to the parking lot. It was hot and it seemed a lot further on the way back to me. Maybe I'm just getting old.

All in all you could not have asked for a more perfect day. I even saw another black bear on the way out. The fish are healthy and there are several age classes in the river. Plenty of bugs in the water (and flying around my head). Slough Creek appears to be holding it's own and lives up to it's reputation as the premiere Yellowstone cutthroat stream in the country. Enjoy the pictures


Wild flowers!                                                                 1st meadow!

Big country!

Bamboo cutthroat!

Big dries!

Elk scull with Boo!

Dry fly water!


July 12th and 13th

David and Marc Kalish came out for their annual trip. It is always a great pleasure to fish with these guys. They are always excited and full of energy. I decided to give the North Fork a try. The water was high and clear and it is still a little early for this river but I figured that if we covered enough water we could get plenty of fish.

David caught a nice rainbow and lost another before we ever left the boat ramp. We started with some nymph rigs and had some early success but we really had to work the water to get them to bite. We got out and fished a good looking side channel and got nothing but Marc said he saw a nice fish follow his fly on the retrieve. We switched over to streamers and got immediate success! 

We though we had something for a while but the fishing remained tough. There is still very limited water for the fish to hold in so we stopped at any place that looked like it would hold a fish and worked it over. Generally we would get a fish or two out of each spot.

Even though they weren't jumping on the line the weather was beautiful and it was a very relaxing and enjoyable float. We had a nice lunch and by the end of the day we probably boated 20 or so nice North Fork fish. Not a stellar day by our standards but not to bad. Check out the great photos!

The next morning we headed to an unnamed high mountain stream. Everything looked perfect! Wild flowers, sun, no wind. Perfect! The fish were biting right off! Our secret fly was irresistible to these guys! We walked up the small stream taking turns picking off fish.

The water is still slightly high and the hatches are just starting. Around lunch time a thunder storm came in and drenched us with rain, hail and wind! You actually had to pour the water off you plate to keep from making soup! Lots of thunder and lightening! It was pretty dramatic weather.

Then the mayflies and caddis began to hatch. First it was a smattering of BWO's. Then a few brown caddis. Tan caddis began to hatch! Then came the PMD's. The fish began to rise and we went straight to some dry flies. We caught a bunch of fish! After only about an hour the sun came back out and the fish went down.

We decided to wait for the evening caddis hatch in another part of the river. We got several fish skittering caddis on the surface. Marc found a pod of fish feeding in a little pour over and nailed about 15 fish from one spot! David and I went looking for a similar situation but some other fisherman were fishing the spot I had in mind. We walked up stream looking for an opportunity. I spotted a nice cutt of about 17" hiding in a little seam right in plain view. It was as if he was daring us to try for him. David made several casts with no response from the fish. I changed flies and first cast he took! Out in to the current and down he went. David stayed with him the best he could but he eventually he came unbuttoned in the fast water! We had made our point!

We ended the day on that note and headed home happy and fulfilled. It was a great two days of fishing with two good friends! Enjoy the pictures!


Tight Lines!


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