Spring Newsletter

April 2007


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{Click on pictures to enlarge!} March was an incredible month for fishing.










March 25-27, 2007

March 25th, 26th, and 27th I had the pleasure of fishing with Fred and Amy Thranhardt. We have fished together for several years now and I always look forward to their visits. It seems Fred is an in-coming front magnet, but this time they managed to dodge the bullet by one day. 

On the 25th we hit the North Fork for a couple hours after their drive over from Jackson. The lower river had been hit hard by weekend fishing pressure, but it was relatively clear and we wanted to take advantage of it. The wind was up, which always makes for tough casting, but Fred managed to nail four or five beautiful North Fork fish in a couple hours. These are some of the the strongest most beautiful fish of the season! 

On Monday, the 26th, we floated the lower Shoshone. The dry fly action in the morning and early afternoon was phenomenal! It started with little black midges and progressed into a sparse mayfly hatch that made for some really fun fishing. It was very challenging in some places to get the right drift. Sometimes the fish wanted just a little movement in the flies. Casts had to be right on. Fred and Amy both figured it out and had 3 or 4 hours of great dry fly action landing many beautiful fish!

We stopped for a quick lunch round 2:30 and while eating the dry fly action slowed and we had to go sub-surface. The latter part of the afternoon was spent fishing a streamer with a soft hackle trailer and Bah Behr with about equal results. The fishing was not as fast and furious, but we managed to pick up a fish here and there for the rest of the afternoon.  I think the fish were full from the hatches. We finished fishing about 8 PM, tired but satisfied and went home where my wife had prepared for a fantastic dinner! I'm lucky to have her!

On the 27th we wanted to float the North Fork but it was muddy because of the warm temperatures. We hit the " Henry's Fork" of the lower Shoshone. A very technical dry fly run on smooth slow water. On the mile walk in we came across something silver in the water. It turned out to be a 20+" brown with a 12" rainbow in its mouth (My flies are to small)! The fish were rising when we got to the run and we had a blast changing flies and trying different drifts to entice the sippers scattered across the run. We didn't nail all the fish but when you get a fish to take your fly after a dozen or more attempts it is very satisfying! 

Just before the front came in there was a pretty good spinner fall. Up they came again! We got a dozen or more right at the end of the afternoon. A great way to end our adventure. Thanks guys for a great trip!























April 6, 2007

Spring time is BWO time at the Bighorn river in Thermopolis! Overcast skies spitting rain and snow can produce some blanket hatches of our favorite little mayflies. That is exactly what I experienced while fishing with Mike Muffich, owner of the Humble Fly fly shop in Cody, and Jeremiah Mackmiller, my good friend from Sierra Trading Post.

This can be some of the most demanding dry fly fishing of the season! Long accurate casts are required to entice these selective trout to take your fly in clear slow water. We live for it!

We began the float at 9:30 fishing with a nymph rig consisting of a San Juan worm and a grey wd 40 below a balloon on 5X. The fish were eating from the start. We nymphed the deeper faster runs until we saw fish rising. The rising fish required pin point accuracy. For dries we fished a #20 sparkle dun or Adams with a #22 thread midge or RS2 on the back. As the water warmed midges began to hatch.  One cast and they either took the fly or were gone!  I personally spooked half the fish in the river (understatement). All the fish were beautiful, healthy16" to 20" fish full of fight. It was a blast!

Later in the day BWO's come off. At first it was easy. An accurate cast could produce a fish, but the so many bugs came off that fishing becomes much more challenging. Huge hatches like this are typical of this time of year.

Jeremiah made the cast of the year with a 70' cast to a rising 18" cutt in super slow water with a 3wt! A big head casually popped up and ate his fly! We laughed for 5 minutes. We fished the olives for the rest of the day moving from one pod of fish to the next all the way down the river.

The Bighorn in Thermopolis was alive and well in April also. The flushing flows the past couple years have restored it to some of its old glory where fish 16" to 20" have become the norm and fish over 20" are very possible.

If you are considering fishing in Thermoplis, then you may need a shuttle, (good) fishing information, and flies.  I recommend John Schwalbe from Wyoming Adventures. He has recently opened a fly shop in Thermopolis that offers great service.  He is a super nice guy!

One more thing. FLY FISHING is "____".











Chris with a nice one a dry!


Dawn with a victim of a parachute sparkle dun!

Willwood rainbow

Willwood Bear river cutthroat

North fork slab


Wave of the future!

April 25, 2007

This time of year rain and snow can render the clarity fair to poor on a daily basis.  The Lower Shoshone can go slightly off color with snow melt. We found this to be the case after a snow April 25th. 

The canyon section below the dam is warming and starting to see some good hatches. Midges are coming off all day with BWO's in the afternoons. I caught a 25" Snake river cutt in there in the middle of April. {see pic at right}. Dredging with big streamers and nymph rigs can produce some real hogs this time of year. The mayflies really like the cloudy days when the wind is down. The higher flows will change the fishing here as well so pay attention to the edges and any slack water. This section usually stays clear and the fish will start spawning as soon as the flows increase. Please  be kind to the spawners.

Newton lake is has slowed a little due to the influx of spring time fronts.  Midges are starting to hatch in the mornings and evenings. Using a large dry with a couple of midge pupa as droppers is still one of the best bets!  Scuds are starting to mate in the shallows so a scud pattern is starting to take some fish.  There are a few callibaetis and the fish will take them if they see them but since they started diverting the water from the Heart Mt canal a couple years ago, the mayfly hatch has been decimated. We saw a few Damsel nymphs starting to move. There are some big browns chasing minnows in the shallows. San Juan worms are picking up a few fish. Cloudy  days with a little riffle seem to be the best because of the low clear water.

The fish are above Newton creek! Fishing the North Fork in the spring is always a thrill. More and more fish are making there way up stream as the lower snows melt and raise the flows. Fish can still be caught even though the water is off color.  Big fish in a small freestone stream just outside Yellowstone Park! It doesn't get any better! Same stuff as always. Big, ugly, and deep! Viva los Juevoes!

Two things to remember. One is that the river can go off color with increasing temperatures. Also, the river closes for spawning April 1st from the reservoir to Newton creek.

Remember these fish are the future of the North Fork. Each mature female will lay as many as 100,000 eggs in her lifetime! Please use ethical conservation practices on the North Fork. It is a phenomenal fishery so lets keep it that way. Enjoy the pictures. The Clarks Fork has been sporadic as well. Melting snow and rain can put it off color any time. Nymph rigs and streamers with an egg or a soft hackle trailer are your best bet unless you see some caddis hatching and fish rising to them. Big stone fly nymphs are getting some nice ones. The mouth of the canyon above Pat O'hara creek will have the best visibility. Lots of white fish!

Radley with almost a nice one on a dry!

Scott doing a little midge fishing!

Larry learns the merit of Fluorocarbon!

Jim masters the Bah Behr!

25" cutthroat on a Bah Behr!




Here's a few pictures from some other trips we've taken recently. I had the pleasure of fishing with Anna Gale, daughter of Steve Gale from Steamboat. Steve and his friend John wanted to learn about some fishing areas in and around Cody . We started by fishing the Greybull in the snow on the 26th. We knew the river had the potential to blow out this time of year, and it did . We did catch a few nice wild Yellowstone cutts but we ended up back in town in the canyon.

Anna shows great promise as a fisherperson. Here she is with a couple nice canyon rainbows! She has great patience, appreciation and feel for the sport. She also took top rod honors with the most and biggest fish for the day. Great job Anna! Looks like Steve will have a great fishing buddy in the future!

Mike Bonewits from Washington state has just purchased some property in Cody. I volunteered to show him the waters of the area on April 30th. We set out to float the lower Shoshone on the 29th, but it was blown out due to irrigation water. We opted for  Newton lake instead. The full moon had the fish off the feed, but we still managed to get some nice ones. Mike was one brookie away from the Newton grand slam and managed this beautiful brown, site fishing with a black zebra midge. We finished the day fishing from the Titanic, which is starting to become a legend in  Cody fishing circles!

Jon Gates and I fished the Greybull and the Wood on May 4th. The water was beautiful on the Wood and the fish came to big stonefly dries! The Greybull was high and off color but the fish were biting like crazy! This is some beautiful country! Here's a couple pictures from our adventure. We even got one of Jon with a smile this time!








April 28th

Robin Jahnke and Steve Logsdon came for a day of fishing on the 28th of April.  Robin is a regular and he brought Steve to let him experience some of the great still-waters in the area. With the full moon on the way we expected it to be challenging.

We hit Newton early and when we arrived there was a huge midge hatch bringing many big fish to the surface. With bright sun and calm conditions the fish weren't push-overs. We suspended a couple midges below the Bah Behr and within a couple minutes both guys had fish on. We worked our way down the bank and every so often picked off a nice fish until lunch. Check some of these beauties! 

After lunch we hit a private pond and it was on fire! These fish weren't huge (17" to 18"), but they were fat and really fought hard. I think these guys set the all time record for doubles. They had so many we lost count! This is not a big pond, but it sure was a lot of fun in the middle of the day.

The bite slowed around 4:00 and we headed to yet another private lake in search of some real big fish. We decided not to get the big raft as it would cut into our fishing time and these guys got the pleasure of fishing out of the Titanic (pictured at right). It is a small john boat. You can see by the picture why we call it the Titanic. The fish hit sporadically for the rest of the evening.

About 8 p.m. there was a huge midge hatch and some big heads began appearing! We rowed around stalking the risers and both guys ended the day with a couple of hot 22" rainbows. There are bigger fish in this pond, but these guys caught some really nice fish. Steve said these were the hardest fighting fish he had ever caught! A great way to end the day in Cody during run off!







Tight Lines!


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