Spring Newsletter

March, April and May 2008

07/04/2008

 
BACK to Newsletter Page

This spring has been a great season for fishing

 {Click on pictures to enlarge!}

Spring has arrived here in Cody Country, which for us means alternating days of snow and warming sunshine.  It can also mean high winds and fluctuating temperatures.  For the wife of a fisherman it means days on days of fishing and my husband coming home later and later with the sunset.  Springtime also means it is time to recharge the newsletter page as the early fisherman arrive.  Enjoy the fish tales my husband, Scott, reels in. 

Classic BWO weather!

Nice cuttbow!

Kill'in them!

Beautiful cutthroats!

Midges

Bamboooooooozaled!

March 16, 2008

Randy Richardson and I got to fish together for a couple of days on the weekend of the 15th and 16th. We had every kind of weather imaginable and the fishing was very good if not great. Here's what happened.

Friday we almost didn't fish. The night before a pretty good ice storm had the roads in rough shape and the temperature had dropped about 20 degrees.  Randy drove up from Casper and got to town about 11 A.M.  We had intended to fish the Wind river canyon but he called and said the roads and temperature were bad so we opted to fish in Cody. By the time we hit the river the temps were back up to 37 and the wind was down. Fish were eating midges from the start. We got a bunch of nice fish in the film and about 1 o'clock a snow storm came in and Man, did the BWO's come off! They were literally boiling!  We had a blast catching fish on dries for the rest of the afternoon. Randy said this was the absolute best dry fly fishing he had ever seen and I can't imagine it getting much better myself!

Saturday the weather was much better but the fishing was quite a bit more challenging. By this I mean we had to actually fish a bit instead of a fish every cast. The bright sun had the fish down and fairly spooky to start.  We fished midges down at about 2 feet for the first part of the day. We had a few fish rise to midge and BWO dries but the majority were subsurface. There were people everywhere and this didn't help the fishing with bright sun and spooky fish. Later in the afternoon a front came in bringing some cloud cover with a little more snow and the fish came up to BWO's. The fishing was great! I think we ended up landing about 20 or so each, which is still a pretty good day.

Sunday the weather was partly cloudy with just a hint of wind. Amazingly there were very few other people fishing! In the morning we immediately spotted some risers which Randy began to pick off one by one. I found some nice fish on a pour over eating just below the surface. The amazing thing is that all these fish were in the 16 to 18 inch neighborhood all weekend. Real quality fish. Also, they were almost all cutthroats. We fished 3 holes all day and I'd have to say, we had our way with them. The last fish Randy caught was pushing 20"! It doesn't get any better. On the way back to the car we wondered what it would have been like if the rainbows and brown had been on as well! Unbelievable!  Well maybe next week!

 

Another nice one!

Another nice one!

Big fish of the weekend!

They don't get any better!

Dry Fly O-RAMA!

The sparkle dun strikes again!

Andy's first fish on a fly rod!

Nice cutt on a zebra!

A good brown!

Another fat cutt!

Good looking rainbow!

Andy with a nice cuttbow!

 

March 18, 2008

Robin Jahnke and his friend Andy came to fish Tuesday the 18th for a half day.  We had been doing very well with dries earlier in the week but today we had bright sun and a 15 to 20 mile an hour wind which blew most of the bugs away before the fish could eat them. Not the best condition for Andy for his first time ever to fly fish.

We started at 8:30, which is a little early, but I thought we could practice a while before things started to happen. Andy was a fast study, so with about 30 minutes of instruction we started fishing.

Robin got the skunk off quickly with a rainbow and a couple nice cutts. The fishing was slow to start and we really had to work for them. The second hole we hit Andy caught his first fish on a fly rod, a nice 15" rainbow! I was proud to be there for this once in a lifetime opportunity!  Robin nailed a nice brown and several more cutts before we moved up stream.

The midges began to hatch and we could see fish taking them at about two feet. Robin fished zebra midges on a dropper and I rigged Andy up with nymph rig. Robin stared catching a lot of fish! Most were 15" to 16" with a few 17" and even 18". Andy and I found a hole full of fish feeding sub-surface and Andy proceed to clean it out with the nymph rig catching maybe 6 or 7 nice fish.

We proceeded up stream catching a few here and there. The last hole Robin fished one side and Andy fished with me on the other. Robin fished hard with only limited action on his side. Andy and I began to pick up fish toward the top of the hole.  We lost a nice brown and landed several very nice cutts.  At the very top of the run we spotted the mother of all cutts feeding in shallow water just as some BWO's began to emerge. Andy, having already pulled several nice ones from the spot, offered the big one to Robin. Pure class!

Robin missed a nice cutt on his first cast and on the second the big cutt sucked in his fly and off he went down stream. Check out this beautiful fish (bottom right)! A great way to end the day!

As we left the river the BWO's came off in force and the fish literally started to boil. Robin and I had gotten carried away once before and had a plane waiting for us on the runway. Our only excuse had been "They were still biting". From the looks on the pilots faces that was not a good excuse. This time Robin made sure he and Andy were right on time (no thanks to me who could have easily been talked into doing a little more dry fly fishing). Thanks guys for a real fun day! Nice work Andy on your first day of fly fishing!

Nice 17" cutt!

Pretty little guy!

Teamwork pays off big!

Prefect Lower Shoshone fish!

Check out the bleeding thumb!

The mother of all cutts!

 

First fish of the day!

Bob!

Another brown back to back!

Nice cutty on a dry!

Good brown!

Rainbow in the wind!

Next fish a good brown!

Another football on a dry!

March 28 & 29, 2008

Don Kelly, from UT, and I discussed fishing the North Fork, The Wind river, Newton, and maybe the float from Willwood to Powell on the 28th and 29th of March. Cooler weather and 20-30 mph winds changed our minds at the last minute.  We didn't regret it a bit.

Friday we dropped into the lower Shoshone about 9 A.M. and began working a run. Don worked his fly through several slots that I knew held fish with no response. We knew the fish would be looking for midges first thing in the morning, so instead of changing flies we just continued to work the water that we knew held fish. By 9:30 the sun brought the temperature up a couple degrees and it was on! Every likely spot held 2, 3 or even 4 nice fish!  Don caught rainbows, browns, cuttbows, and cutthroats in the first hour of fishing!

The last hole at the top of the run was the best. I had seen a big cutt in there a couple of times earlier in the week. Every time I would cast to it, a smaller fish would take the fly and spook the big guy. I had named him BOB. Don made a cast to the top of the hole and BOB simply came over and ate the fly!  A beautiful 19" Yellowstone cutt!  After taking several more nice fish from the spot, we decided to wade through the hole to see what we missed. I would say a dozen more fished spooked from the spot!

The next spot was a big deep hole with a great pour in. We could see a huge number of fish nymphing about two feet below the surface. Don is an accomplished nymph fisherman and in no time began to rack up a serious body count on all 4 species. The amazing thing is all the fish are between 16" and 18"!

The BWO's started hatching and we switched first to a dry dropper and then just a dry. The cast and drift had to be right but if you hit the sweet spot, Fish On! We had a nice casual lunch and the rest of our day was pretty much the same. Lots of fish. We changed set ups regularly depending on the type of water and where we were seeing fish in the water column but if you put the fly in front of the fish, bang! They finally quit on us about 5:30 or so, and we called it a day.

Saturday was a different story. The wind was out of the west at 10 to 20 and it looked like snow. We decided to fish a little more inconspicuous section of the river to avoid the weekend fisherman and as it turned out, we didn't see another person all day. The fishing started about the same. Slow at first and then Don started getting some nice fish!  While fishing the first hole the wind came up and it began to snow. Don had gotten several nice fish but the guides were really icing so we hunkered down behind a big rock and took a break for a while.

When we resumed, so did the fish. Don caught 5 or 6 out of the next hole and then hit the mother load! A giant deep pool with a double eddy.  Lots of foam and rising fish!  Don would catch a couple on the surface and when they went down we changed to a nymph rig and picked up a few more. This continued till after lunch. 

Don worked a couple more runs up stream but it was getting late and we were not seeing as much action so we dropped back to the big hole and decided to cross and hit it from the other side. Very smart move! Don worked the top with the nymph rig and nailed 4 or 5 more nice fish. Then we spotted 20 or more cutts, 16" to 20" sipping midges in a big foam eddy. He picked off 6 or 7 nice fish on the dry set up and when they finally went down he hit them again with the nymphs and got 6 or 7 more! It doesn't get any better!

We weathered the wind, snow and cold and it really was a blast. Thank you Don for a couple great days and I look forward to our next adventure in July!

Nice cuttbow!

Great brown!

Three in a row!

First fish on day two in the snow!

Back to back day two!

Real nice bow at the top of a run!

Fat cutty on a dry!

Full of midges!

 

 

Only brown of the day!

Mike was kill'en them!

Killer double!

Wal-mart wiggler strikes again!

Fish on!

 

April 3, 2008

Mike Thomas, Kirk Bollinger, and I floated the Bighorn through Thermopolis on Thursday, April 3rd. The weather was perfect for people. 50 degrees and sunny. This made for some wary fish and some challenging fishing.

There were two other boats on the river which may not seem like much but once these fish were put down they stayed down. After a run or two we concluded that our best bet was to fish the deeper faster water. We found the fish to be in the tail outs of most runs.

We all managed a few while we were searching for where the fish were holding but Mike was the one who started nailing them. he got a nice cutt and then 4 or 5 nice rainbows out of one hole. All the fish were between 17" and 20" with the exception of one 5lb cutt and a couple of 13" we got at the end of the day.

We had forgotten our anchor, which made it almost impossible to set up on the spooky fish from the boat, so we targeted the public land on foot. There was a sparse BWO hatch mid day and it brought a few consistent risers to the surface. This, to me, is the most fun fishing on the Bighorn. We did get a couple on top but unfortunately there just weren't very many fish rising in the bright sun.

We found some risers and a pod or two on some public land and before we knew it it was 5 p.m. and we had to row for the take out. Just not enough hours in the day! It was a great day of challenging fishing, we all agreed. All the fish were beautiful, hard fighters and you can't ask for more. The Bighorn will always be one of our favorites.

 

Mike with a nice Snake river cutt!

Fish on again!

Nice bow!

Kirk in a beautiful spot!

John's first fish on a fly rod!

Their getting bigger!

Real nice cuttbow!

Now they got huge!

Healthy rainbow!

Sundown!

 

April 9th

Our friend John Chapman from Gainesville Georgia came to visit us for spring break this week. John could have been chasing women on the beach like most high school students this time of year but instead decided to do something worth while like visiting big beautiful Wyoming and learning how to fly fish. It paid off in a BIG (fish) way!

After a day of sight seeing on the North Fork where we were lucky enough to see buffalo, deer, elk, sheep, ect. we hit the lower Shoshone. We got there early so John could get the hang of casting, mending his line, reading water and finally catching fish. John was a quick study and it wasn't long before he had his first fish on a fly rod! Once again I was honored to be there for this once in a life time opportunity!

The midges really started hatching around 10A.M. and it was on! We fished a dry dropper in the riffles and a nymph rig in the deep holes and man did we catch a bunch of fish. Lots of browns and rainbows in the 14" to 17" range were landed and some larger fish broke us off in the fast current.

The BWO's started hatching around 12:30 and we switched over to a small dry with an emerger on the back and had a blast sight fishing to rising fish. John couldn't believe the numbers of nice fish right down town! The fishing in Cody definitely can spoil you quickly.

We took a break for lunch and then headed to one of our secret spots. We arrived to fish rising to more midges. The water was calm and clear and the fish were pretty wary. Longer casts were required. Patience and persistence prevailed and just before sundown John landed the fish of a life time on his first day of fly fishing! A 26" rainbow! What a way to start a fly fishing adventure.

For the next couple days we fished hard, practicing different techniques on different kinds of water all over Cody. John caught on quickly, catching fish and having a blast just spending the day on the river relaxing. We checked out a pond to see how it was warming up and hit the canyon below the dam. John was amazed by the literally thousands of fish we saw in the canyon. We even spotted a couple of fish in there that appeared to be 7 or 8 lbs. We ended the day by doing a casting seminar for the Sportsmen for fish and wildlife convention at the Riley arena in the evening. It was a great couple days!

Enjoy the pictures from John's trip. He did a great job and I'm pretty sure he and his Dad will be getting some fly fishing gear in the near future. The last thing he said when we dropped him off at the airport this morning was " Remember, FLY FISHING is EASY!"

 

Good technique!

Good brown!

Much bigger rainbow!

Action shot!

The canyon is a lot of fun!

Massive Blue Wing Olive hatch.

 

Tuesday April 15th

Kirk Bollinger and I floated the only stretch of clear water in the Cody area today! The Willwood section was still running clear this morning so we decided to take advantage of the last day of clear water before the irrigation water hits. We are also lucky enough to have a private take out so this stretch is no longer a marathon float to Powell. It turned out to be a great situation!

We started early and our plan was to row down to the private stretches and fish the faster deeper runs with streamers. I haven't thrown a lot of streamers this winter so I was looking forward to chunking the meat and getting some of the savage hits they can produce.

The fish were where we expected them to be but several fronts came in over the course of the day making us change our presentation from fast strips to dead drift and sometimes the swing.

This stretch holds my favorite species of cutthroat, the Bear river or Bonneville cutt. They are heartiest of the cutthroat and are acclimated to warmer water temps and poor water quality (perfect for the Willwood to Powell stretch). They have big spots, orange fins and fight every bit as good as rainbows and browns. A very beautiful fish!

The fishing was very good as you can see by the pictures. We got lots of fish, browns, rainbows and cutts. The only disappointing thing was that they were only 15" to 17". I guess we are pretty spoiled when 40 or 50 15" to 17" fish is disappointing but this stretch is known to hold some very large fish and we honestly didn't see very many today. We believe the weather played a big part in this.

All in all it was a fun day, just the two of us fishing (and catching), with the whole river to ourselves. The best part was that with our new take out we were able to thoroughly fish the best water (instead of having to rush) and we were both back home with our families by 500P.M.! If it stays clear we might fish it again tomorrow!  Enjoy the pictures!

 

John

Fish on!

Another fish on!

Joel's all time biggest rainbow !

Fat bows!

Joel with nice bow!

 

Killer fishing necklace!

 

April 19th

My good friend John Perry is getting married on the 10th of May. Congratulations! Getting married was the best thing that ever happened to me and I wish you and your new wife great happiness!

Johns bachelor party was a couple of days of fishing on the Bighorn in Thermopolis. Friday, John, his brother Mike, Jeremiah Mackmiller, and his buddies Luke and Joel fished up in the canyon for a half day after driving up from Ft Collins. The fishing was tough but they caught some nice fish. Even a few on dries!

I met them Saturday morning at Wedding of the Waters and we floated through Thermopolis.  I got a real nice cutthroat and a rainbow while waiting at the boat ramp which we thought was a good omen for the day.

First let me say that I have never seen so many boats floating in Thermopolis before. I estimate that between 12 and 15 boats floated on Saturday. This is a ton of pressure for these fish as they are not used to seeing boats like on the Bighorn in Ft Smith. This situation called for a whole new strategy.

Mike broke off a nice fish at the first riffle.  The sheer numbers of boats had the fish down so we got out and fished the open riffles when we could find one. Jeremiah got three or four and I managed a couple nice rainbows in the first run on foot. This became our strategy. Get a hole that we knew held fish and nymph it hard!

There were people everywhere so when we came around a corner and saw that John, Luke and Joel had secured one of the best holes on the river we horned in.

We fished two people on each side of an island and began to pick up some real nice fish. John hooked a couple nice rainbows and a cutt. Jeremiah got a couple nice ones on the other side. Joel caught the biggest rainbow of his life and a couple other nice ones as well. Luke picked up a real nice rainbow.  It was a great time for all!

For the rest of the afternoon we fished spots that we new held fish getting one here and there but really just enjoying the day and the company. The weather was warm but the wind kicked up later in the day.

I did have one nice brown come out and take a white zonker in shallow water that made my day! Nothing like seeing an aggressive brown suck down a streamer at your feet!

It was great to see John, Mike, and Jeremiah and fish with them again and to meet Joel and Luke. We used to fish together all the time but they all had to get real jobs and I still live in a van down by the river. I miss those times a lot. All the happiness to John, Jeremiah, I'll see you in a couple weeks. Mike, maybe the drake hatch in Saratoga on the 4th. Joel and Luke it was great meeting you guys and lets fish together again soon. P. S. Send the rest of the pictures!

 

Bachelor food!

Luke getting advise from the master!

Luke with a nice rainbow!

Great cutthroat!

Soon to be married man nails another one!

Mike with a sweet brown!

Gaping Maw!

1st fish of the day!

Real healthy brown!

Nice rainbow on a #18 dry!

Huge brown!

Close up!

May 24th 2008

Keith Richardson and I always fish together on Memorial day weekend. We had discussed fishing the Firehole in Yellowstone Park. We decided that even though the flows were down with cooler weather, everybody and his brother would be fishing the stretch above Nez Pierce creek and there was still a lot of snow up there(3 feet). We decided to fish the Wind river on the reservation (where it was nice and warm) instead.

We got the $85 permits and headed toward the river. It was perfect!  The BLM had just cut the flows in half so for wading anglers this is good news. Overcast skies, clear water, and a killer hatch of Pseudos.

When we made our way down to the water we immediately spotted a large brown eating nymphs just below the surface. Unfortunately she also spotted us but it was a good sign. We waded out and proceeded to work the water with a bugger sow bug combination. The little may flies really started hatching! I nailed the first fish, a nice cutthroat, on the sow bug but the fish just weren't chasing streamers.

The one thing that made itself clear on this day was that you had to match techniques with the type of water you were fishing. We fished everything from streamers, nymph rigs, dries, dry droppers. We had to modify these with weight or fly size and depth to match the type of water we fished. We caught fish on all of the above and several different flies. The technique was the important thing!

We saw a nice fish rising to the mayflies behind a big rock. After observing it for a while we decided on a small tan sparkle dun which was just slightly larger than the actual bug the fish was eating. Keith made a couple of casts and when the fish saw the fly, there was no hesitation! Check the nice rainbow!

We stayed on one 500yd stretch of water most of the day. Nymphing turned out to be the most productive method on that stretch. I think we landed 7 or 8 fish and had several more just take us down town! The water temperature must be just right. These fish are some of the strongest most active trout I've seen all year. The rainbows would jump 3 or 4 times two and three feet out of the water. (leading to more than several LDR's)

Later in the day we moved to some fast pocket water. The sun came out and we figured the fish would be less wary in the faster water. There was just to much water to effectively control a nymph rig so we switched back to a streamer with a soft hackle trailer and pulled a couple more nice fish out of the fast stuff. Note; The fish started biting just as the sun left the water. Keith had a rainbow take him down town for the last fish of the afternoon. When you see a 4 lb rainbow flying out of the water 2 or 3 times and spit your hook, it is still good! This is one river where the fish have a 50 50 chance of kicking your butt and we like that a lot! Not a bad way to spend the Memorial Day weekend!

 

Nice brown on a black copper John!

Fat cutty!

Porker Rainbow!

Beautiful fish!

Good brown!

Taylor

Sow bug was the fly!

Fish on!

Their getting bigger!

Big mouth!

Bugger fish'in!

May 30th, 2008

Thursday may 30th Keith Richardson and I floated the Wind river canyon with Taylor Wilcox of Wind River Canyon and Whitewater. Taylor guides for Darren Calhoun in the summer and has the same passion for the canyon that Keith and I do. Taylor proved to be a knowledgeable guide with a laid back style and, luckily for us, a good oarsman.

For me, this is a real treat. Keith started taking me on a guide trip over here last year and to be able to fish the canyon with someone else at the oars is just great! Big fish, great company, and wonderful surroundings . It doesn't get any better!

Now for the bad news. The flows from the dam had risen from 650 cfs last Thursday to 2000cfs this Thursday. I think they probably rose 600 cfs during the day while we were fishing. There was a large amount of salad and other debree in the water as well as it going off color.  The rowing also became much more strenuous. I know Taylor was looking forward to guiding under these conditions.

We fished the upper stretch. At first the water looked pretty good. We spotted a couple nice trout tight to the banks but they were spooky. Nothing was moving on streamers so we switched to nymph rigs. The first riffels we hit produced fish! Keith's first fish took him into the backing and broke him off. Then he landed a small rainbow that looked like a football. I pulled 4 or 5 little guys from the riffel I was on! Things were looking up!

Within minutes the water began to rise and go off color. The salad started to become an issue. We had a couple of chasers and I landed one more rainbow just before lunch but the water was starting to look ugly.

After lunch we switched back to streamers and dropped into the canyon. The water was really up. A quick shot to small pockets on the bank was all we got. We had a fish or two come take a look but no hits. Taylor finally found some water we could work from the bank just as a thunderstorm came in.

When the sky clouded up, the fish began to bite! First a nice rainbow on a zonker. Then 3 nice browns on a bugger zonker combo. It was looking up again! Then the sun came back out and the bite just stopped. Absolutely nothing the rest of the afternoon. We tried everything and continued to fish hard to no avail. We had one fish look at a big dry and a couple more come take a look at streamers but no hits. That's why they call it fishing!

All in all we had a great time fishing , joking, and laughing as we floated  through one of the most beautiful places in Wyoming. Taylor took us through some pretty nice white water and that was a thrill as well. Big fish, challenging fishing, good company, and beautiful surroundings. It doesn't get any better! Enjoy the pictures from our trip!

 

 

Little guy

Pretty rainbow!

Tough little fish!

Football!

Nice brown!

White water!

     
                                                                                                    
 

Tight Lines!

 
     

BACK to Newsletter Page 

Click on logo to return to the home page