Spring-Summer Newsletter

April 2012 - August 2012


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

August 29th

Didymo or "Rock Snot" in Cody!

Dog days of summer are here and I finally got some time off to get out and explore a little on my own. I found something I did not know was here. I guess I had seen it but just wasn't familiar with exactly what I was looking at. The flows coming out of the dams are lower than normal in order to save water in the reservoirs for next year. This colder environment is conducive to the propagation of Didymo or "rock snot." It is very apparent in the lower Shoshone below the dam and in certain places as you move down stream. Areas of the South Fork and even the North Fork of the Shoshone have also been infected.

Didymo is a one celled diatom or algae that has a tendency to cover the bottom of the river up to 6 inches deep and choke out much of the bottom dwelling creatures, mainly trout food. It forms stalks and can break loose and spread quickly and efficiently all through out  a drainage in short order. You can find clumps of it floating in almost all the little eddies in the lower Shoshone right now. It is not actually slippery like snot but has a consistency more like wet wool. It can cover boots and waders and be spread to other streams if you don't properly clean your gear.

We have been hearing lots of info about Zebra mussels lately but in actuality not very many have been found in Wyoming as of yet. We hear nothing about Didymo because the GAF considers it native to the area. It is here and seems to be spreading pretty well through out the summer. I don't think it spreads in the winter. It seems to die back and go dormant until conditions become favorable again. Run off also knocks it back in the spring so I don't think it will be as big an issue here as it is in places back east.

Many rivers in Montana are also full of it. The Bitterroot, the Blackfoot, the Missouri, the Bighole, the Jefferson. and the Beaverhead to name a few. Colorado is also covered these days.

The main concern is spreading it to other streams in your gear. It won't take much for it to get into other rivers if you don't clean and dry your gear properly before heading to other waters. Just know that it is out there and no one really knows how it will effect our rivers yet. Do your best to clean and dry your gear. Just a heads up to let you know it is here and thriving in our waters.


August 27th

Line management

Lately on the Lower Shoshone, streamer fishing has been the key to success. Many people don't like to throw streamers for one reason or another but I think this is primarily because they have just never taken the time to really learn how to fish them effectively. When done properly it is one of the easiest and most exciting ways to catch trout. Usually, the biggest fish of the season are brought to hand on streamers. With cooler temperatures in the forecast this is the time to start thinking of fine tuning your streamer tactics. The key to this is educating your left hand (or right hand on lefties). The main problems I see fly fisherman struggling with on the bank or out of the boat is line management. The key to alleviating these issues is educating your stripping hand. The casting hand does the same thing all day long. Guess what the other hand does. EVERYTHING ELSE! The stripping hand is always on the move whether you are casting or fishing. If it is not you will always have problems with your line management, especially when you are stripping streamers. Rarely do I see anyone with an active left hand.


One of the main problems with a lazy left hand is to much slack in your line. Most people only hook about 30% of the fish that bite their flies due to this. This means that you can triple the number of fish to hand if you rid your self of this problem. Worth working on? I think so. Get that hand moving! When fishing weighted streamers another big issue is salad for most people. In Cody weighted streamers are more effective than sinking lines and unweighted streamers mainly because of varying water depth. One cast you might be fishing 10 feet deep, the next cast you might be sliding the fly over 6 inches of water. If you are not in total control of your fly the second it hits the water you will be in the weeds for sure. I pinch the line with the fingers on my left hand during the shoot to make sure there is absolutely no slack in my line the second it hits the water. Also the second it hits the water I get it moving. This instigates a strike about half the time when the fly is fished right on the edge of the bank. Fish aren't vegetarians so if you have salad on your hooks, no bites! Another issue is excess line off the reel. I see people standing in piles of line all the time fighting tangles and the line getting caught on stuff. Of course we have to have some extra line on the floor when casting streamers but try to keep it to an absolute minimum. Take the time to put it back on the reel if you aren't using it. Finally, what do you do with extra line as you strip it in standing in the river? There is a way to coil the line in your stripping hand as you strip it in. It takes a little practice and getting used to but is well worth the effort. You will be able to move from spot to spot without your line being under your feet and catching on current or bushes. How many of us have been frustrated trying to make a cast when the current won't release your line or it is caught under foot while wading. The solution is simple. Get that hand moving!


The stripping hand can be used in many ways but line control is it's number 1 objective.  Once you get your line hand educated you will have your flies fishing much more effectively in no time. It is the one problem that costs fisherman more fish and causes more problems than anything else I see. Think about all the obstacles that keep you from having your flies fishing when you are on the water and do something to minimize these time bandits. Get that hand moving!


August 17th

The Strifes

My good friend Bob Koether referred a couple of guys to me, Jim and Bryan Strife. Bob and Mike Koether have been good friends for many years now so I figured if they sent them they had to be ok. They turn out to be just the kind of guys I really enjoy fishing with.


They wanted to try the Clarks Fork canyon on the very first day. I love the place but had been so busy this summer that I hadn't had a chance to get down to see how it was fishing. It is also one of the toughest hikes around and we usually save it for the last day but they assured me they were up for it. The weather looked to be perfect.


When we hit the river the water was slightly off color and still a bit high but it looked excellent. There were a few golden stone shucks on the rocks and we decided to put on a big stupid dry fly and go for it. It was on in the first hole! All you had to do it hit the good looking foamy banks, down trees or pour overs and jerk the fly under water and start twitching and a fish would smack it with great enthusiasm! Lots of fish and lots of fun!


The river has changed quite a bit due to the high water last year. Many of the downed trees are gone and side channels are no longer flowing. It has been straightened and holes filled in with gravel. This did not have any adverse effect on the fish population. Most of the fish were very healthy with some a tad on the thin side but with plenty of energy. Hopefully they will fatten up by the end of the summer.


We caught tons of fish. Action was non stop all day until the sun left the water. Then, in the shaded areas, it was like someone turned off the switch. Jim landed a very nice cutt after an epic battle around rocks in fast current. It was one of the nicest fish I have seen in the river in a while. We hiked out with no problems went home and slept like babies, very tired but very satisfied. What a beautiful place!


The next day we hit the Greybull very early so we would be assured of a prime spot. We arrived at the river about 7:15 a.m. As we were suiting up another car of fisherman started to pull in and then politely moved on to another spot. I want to say thank you to whoever it was. We really appreciate that kind of etiquette. It seems to be a dying courtesy these days.


We hit the water and were into fish immediately. Both guys caught several nice fish and then Jim hooked an absolute behemoth. After carefully working the fish into a calm area the fish ran right through Jim's legs, got a fly caught on his pants and broke off. Bryan somehow managed to catch the fish barehanded but it jumped out of his hands before we could take a picture. Heck of a start to the day.


We worked up stream and began to notice a lack of fish in holes that had previously been loaded. We found balls of spinning line and a spinner stuck in a root. Then we started seeing dead fish in the water with no noticeable sign of injury. Jim then spotted a stringer of fish caught in the rocks with a couple of dead fish waving in the current. We started to get worried. Three of the best holes had been devastated by poachers. There is a one cutt limit in the Greybull and that fish must be under 15". All the fish we found dead were better than that.


We made our way up stream and thankfully started to see fish rising to emerging caddis. We stuck with the dry dropper for a while but soon went to a single dry and just had our way with the fish! It was an unbelievable fish fest for the rest of the day. Many nice fish were caught and just tons of 8" to 12" inchers. Fishing on this stream doesn't get any more fun than that! Another great day!


The third day a drastic cold front came in bringing wind and dropping the temps 20 degrees. We knew this would put a whammy on the fish so we took the day off and went over to Thermopolis where it was a bit warmer. We managed a few fish but as we expected we were basically screwed by the front. Kind of disappointing but we still made the best of the day!


The last day was cloudy but calm. We were fishing the lower Shoshone right through Cody. We were unsure if the fishing would improve but the guys came to fish so that's what we did. Jackets and waders early in the day. In the first hole we caught a few fish but nothing spectacular. We were mainly just feeling the water out, trying different stuff to see what the fish wanted. The next couple holes were about the same but the weather began to improve and we started to see bugs hatching. The fish seemed to be taking streamers pretty well when we were floating between holes.


We stopped at a side channel and Bryan got a couple of nice cutts. Jim landed a nice fat brown. We proceeded down stream and chucked streamers at a bank that we knew held some real nice fish with nothing to show for it but a big gold flash from a nice brown. We pulled over and went to work.


Bryan went up to where we saw the brown and proceeded to pick off fish on a dry dropper. Jim went down stream with a streamer. Bryan started to see fish rising and went to a dry. He started murdering them! Several real nice cutts and rainbows, then a brown that was pushing 20". I somehow managed to cut the head off the fish in the picture but as you can see it was a monster for this river. One of the biggest fish I have seen on this stretch.


Jim got a couple fish down stream on the streamer, got broke off by a nice fish, but nothing special. We switched to a dry dropper and it was on!  Fish after fish! The river had turned on for us! Both guys pretty much had their way with the fish until about 2 p.m. when we broke for lunch!


Since we had only floated about a mile and a half all day we needed to start making time down stream. We still had 8 miles to the take out. We put on a bugger with a sow bug trailer and started pounding the banks. The guys had never fished this way before but in a short time they tuned up their retrieves and had fish chasing on almost every cast. With a little more tuning they started hooking fish and then began just a couple hours of some of the most fun streamer fishing you can imagine. Almost every cast to the take out a fish was chasing. There is no telling how many fish we landed but it was a bunch. Just an incredible day.


At the takeout we were all just done. Arms tired and worn out and completely fished out (at least for that day). No better way to end a trip. I really enjoyed fishing with these guys. They were both hard fishing tough guys, full of enthusiasm, and they gave it all they had everyday. Just a couple super nice guys and I can't wait till they come back to give it a shot again next year! Enjoy the pictures!

August 8th

Fishing During the Dog Days of Summer

We have had some darn good fishing lately especially considering how hot it's been. We've had 90 degree temps for over a month and August is just starting. I've had a bunch of new guys this year and they've all been great people. We did our usual thing of going where everyone else is not and it has worked well for us. Most days we saw no other fisherman all day and got good numbers of nice fish. Not to shabby as fisherman have been all over this summer. I hope to see them all in the years to come.


The freestones are very low and clear now. Most hatches are slowing down and terrestrials are becoming more important all the time. My philosophy on these creeks under these conditions is to use as much stealth as possible. Stay back, good casts, and lighter florocarbon tippet  can double your success rate. Be patient, persistent, and thorough with the way you cover the water. Get an early start when the water is cooler. Approaching the situation carefully has really been the key to our success lately.


The tail waters are  the place to be right now. There is plenty of water at the right temperatures. Bugs are still hatching and there are tons of terrestrials in the grass. Again, early is the name of the game. As the water warms over the course of the day the fish will move up into the riffles where it is cooler, there is more food, and much more oxygen to help keep them active. The biggest fish seem to come from the skinniest fastest water under these conditions. Ironically, we have not had as much success deep nymphing during the day as we do working the pour overs and edges around the fastest water.


With the hot conditions it is always important to get the fish revived and in a back to the water as quickly as possible. The temps in the rivers seem ok till about 3p.m. but in the lakes the temps start out in the critical zone. Personally, I'll leave the lakes alone until it cools off later in the month.


Good luck to everyone this August. The fishing is good if you fish intelligently. Slow down, pay attention, and do your best to take care of the fish in during this heat wave. Most of all have fun! We are very blessed to live in one of the most beautiful places in the country with some of the best trout fishing in the lower 48.



July 20th and 22nd

My good friends Dan and Lynn Breck came to fish with me again this summer. We have been fishing together for many seasons now and I always look forward to their visit. Dan owns a high end Hatteras charter boat for billfish in Mexico now out of Cabo and has just bought a ranch in Steamboat so he is much closer to Rocky Mountain fishing. He and his lovely wife Lynn are good fisherman so our trips are always quite productive.


The North Fork went off color a couple days ago and the client I supposed to fish with only wanted the North Fork so he canceled. It was AOK with me because fishing is excellent right now and I could use a day of fishing myself. As it turned out, Dan and Lynn came in a couple days early with some friends of theirs and it was Dan's 70th birthday. I asked him if he wanted to go fishing with me and he was very excited to get on the water on his birthday. His good friend Steve was coming along as well.


We normally fish the North Fork for the numbers of hard pulling fish but lets face it, the North Fork is not a very cerebral river. It is easy fishing when the fish are there and we opted for a more quality experience. Big Snake Creek. Not big numbers of fish but they are all big. They can be very finicky, especially when the water gets low. They eat dry flies!


That was exactly what we got. Stalking big cutts holding tight to the bank or behind structure. Slow sipping pods of big risers. The sight fishing is unbelievable! Both guys had a ball. I think they both landed 4 or 5 nice ones and LDR'd that many more. A phenomenal showing for their first time fishing this water. The scenery was spectacular, the water crystal clear, and the wild life plentiful. It couldn't have been a better day. Happy Birthday Dan!


The next day we really wanted to try the North Fork. Dan's wife Lynn really likes the white water and the big hard pulling fish. The river was still pretty darn off color but I had stopped and fished it just to see if the fish were biting the day before while stocking up. They didn't seem to mind the color in the least. When we put in we had about a foot of visibility and we were all a bit apprehensive about it and wondering if we had made the right choice. At the first good hole our worries were over and we boated several nice fish and one of Dan's was a measured 20"er.


The fish wanted a dark nymph and you had to slow down and put it over a spot several times in order for them to get a look at it. As the water cleared over the course of the day it became easier and easier to get the bite. It was a heck of a day. We ended up boating 30 fish 16" and up and LDR'ed at least that many more. We had 3 doubles and 5 fish that measured right at 20". Darn good day in the off color conditions.


We were all pretty tired at the take out but it was great to spend a couple days with these guys. We have become good friends over the years and no one deserves good fishing more than these two. Enjoy the pictures!





July 18th

Lon Fisher returned for a couple days of fishing this July. Lon and his Wife Dianne have fished with me before and I really enjoy fishing with them. Lon came by himself this time which puts us the one on one. Lon is a good fisherman and the one on one scenario enabled us to really do some serious fishing. Unfortunately, the North Fork blew out due to rain showers and we had to amend our plans and find something else to do. We floated the Lower Shoshone the first day and surprisingly Lon thought we had a better day on this river than we had on the North Fork last year. Here's what happened.


I told Lon that it has been very hot lately so the earlier we could hit the water the better. We needed to hit the river early while it was still cool. The conditions were perfect, the water very clear and midges were coming off when we arrived at the first hole. We got out and decided to try a couple different set ups to see what the fish wanted. The first 4 casts produced 4 fish! I set up one rod high and one rod low and off we went.


The Lower Shoshone is a very diverse stream. There is big water, deep holes, pour overs, seams, side channels, riffels, and everything in between. On top of that there is plenty of public access so you can get out and really enjoy the experience. This also allows you to put numerous casts over a spot that may hold many fish in stead of just floating on by. Almost every place we stopped Lon got 7 or 8 good fish from the spot. Considering we had only floated about a mile and a half by 3:30 in the afternoon, this equates to a pretty darn substantial fish population.


The fish were taking midges in the morning and caddis and mayfly emergers in the afternoon. There really wasn't that much dry fly action. We got a couple dozen on dries but tons of fish about 3 feet below the surface. Techniques had to be varied hole to hole depending on what the fish were eating in each spot. It wasn't complicated at all but the little changes made the difference between a few fish and lots of fish.


The day turned out better than expected. We were even able to land at least a dozen fish in the 17" to 18" range which is pretty good for this river these days. The river had a big fish kill a couple years ago and a lot of the fish, especially in the lower stretch are only 10" to 13". There are tons of the however! Lon had a great time, caught lots of fish, a great lunch, and basically had a nice relaxing float all day!


The next day we hit the Greybull. We used the same stratigy of getting there early while it was cool. We were on the water by 8 a.m. I had been there a couple days before scouting it out and it had been great. Good hatches, water was perfect and almost all dry fly action. This day looked to have the same potential but it was totally different. The fish just didn't seen that enthusiastic about anything all day. Very little sign of rising fish and no hatches.


We bit the bullit and just decide to bare down and fish hard. We changed flies a lot on every hole. We worked top to bottom patiently and methodically. Lon fished hard making good presentations in all the right spots. We caught fish! It wasn't easy but every good hole produced 2 or 3 nice fish and a half dozen smaller ones. Neither one of us felt like we had done all that well because we had to work so hard but when we took a look at the pictures at the end of the day it looked like a great day to us. You be the judge.


We took off around 3:30 when the fishing slowed and decided to try Sunshine reservoir. We could jump in and cool off and have a chance at some really nice cutts there as well. The fish weren't doing much there either and the ones that were feeding were out in deep water so we did a little double haul lesson to make the time worth while. Lon picked it up very quickly and I think when he gets home, with a little practice, he will be casting a country mile in no time. It was a great two days of fishing. We were both tired but it was a good kind of tired and I know I for one slept like a baby last night. Patience, persistence, and hard work always pays off. Enjoy the pictures!



July 11th

Private Salmon Fly Hatch

Some people say that salmon fly hatches are not all they are cracked up to be. But, if all the fish in the river are coming up eating a big dry in a beautiful crystal clear river with not another sole anywhere in site, it's pretty darn good. This is exactly what happened to me on the 11th. I hit a section of the Yellowstone below the Lamar river in the park.


One huge benefit of fishing the Yellowstone this time of year is that there are very few biting bugs as opposed to the hoards of deer flies and buffalo flies in the valley. There are tons of good bugs on the water. Salmon flies are out in force. Golden stones, brown stones, little brown stones, sallies, a couple types of may flies and tons of species of caddis. Terrestrials are also on the menu for the fish. As far as hatches go the Yellowstone in the park has got to be the best river anywhere.


 I tried several different set ups over the course of the day just to see what would happen but the fish only really wanted one fly. A #4 orange Bah Behr. They would come up and hit this one every time on the first drift and sometimes come back and get it again and again if they missed it. The fly is easy to tie, totally bullit proof, maintenance free, floats like a cork but can also be drug under and fished drowned if need be. I fished it on 0X and used one fly all day.


The water is still a little high and fast. Under these conditions, most of the fish won't be in the traditional lies. The bugs crawl to the edges and like to look for rock walls in the shade to hatch. Later in the day when the sun warms the bugs, they fly around looking for partners (sometimes multiple) and then find the same types of places to mate. This means they will sometimes be on the other side of the river in the afternoon as the sun sets. The fish will find little eddies and seams right below these areas. These are usually not the bigger pools and obvious holes most people like to fish. One cast in the right spot and fish on! This means you might have to do some real creative wading so be very careful in this river. I fished one side in the morning and the other side in the afternoon.


The fish in this section aren't that big but they are stocky and some of the most beautiful Yellowstone cutts in the world. There were a few cuttbows and one rainbow in the mix. The takes are relatively slow but deliberate. I love this about these fish. Very fun to watch in the crystal clear water. I made my way up the bank watching bugs and wildlife, enjoying the day in one of the most beautiful places on earth. It can't get any better.


Many local fisherman talk down about Yellowstone park due to the crowds and traffic. I say keep up the good work and keep sending people to the famous spots. Anyone with a little get up and go can find total solitude on some of the most beautiful and best trout water in the US just a mile or two off the road. You just have to have a little sense of adventure and don't go to all the spots that you read about in the magazines. If it is easy to get there, there will always be to many people and the fish will suffer. I never cease to be amazed at what I learn or the good places I find to fish in the park and I've been doing it for quit a while. It is a fly fisherman's national treasure. Enjoy the pictures!




July 6th

North Fork in Decline, Maybe not!

Kirk Bollinger, his brother in law Dave, and Dave's son Michael floated the North Fork on the 6th of July. We weren't expecting much in terms of catching as it is still very early and the water is just starting to come down enough for good floating. There is just not that much good holding water for the fish to rest in yet. At 1900cfs the water is still really moving.


We were thinking the fish would be deep as the water is so high. We did catch a few on nymph rigs early but since Dave and Michael were just learning we set them up with dry dropper because it would be easier to cast and control. The fish were coming up to the dries! This is pretty unusual for this time of year with the high water and lack of big bugs but I guess since the water is so clear the fish have no trouble seeing them. The droppers did get 60% of the fish but it sure is fun seeing these big fish hammer a fly on top.


After a couple miles of floating we could tell exactly what kind of water the fish were sitting in and all we had to do was float till we saw a likely spot and fish on. Usually 3 or 4 fish came from a good looking spot. Sometimes almost a mile would go by without any decent holding water.


The higher up in the system you go, the poorer the fish seemed to be. They need time to feed up after spawning so as usual the healthiest fish are down low. You can really tell the difference from the first to the last pictures of the fish.


Around 6 p.m. the caddis started coming off and there were fish up all over the place. I have never seen so many fish rising on the North Fork. Another thing was the numbers of small fish we were seeing. We probably caught 20 fish that were only a few inches long and saw many more rising on the edges. Good to see that many little guys. Those are the future of the system.


Dave and Michael had a ball. By the end of the day they really started getting the hang of it. They got a couple father and son doubles and at the end Michael even had a big smile on his face. How could anyone not after witnessing this kind of fishing. I don't know how long this level of fishing will last this year. We'll just have to see what happens but I am much more positive about the run on the North Fork after seeing what we saw last night. There could be a bunch more fish up high on they're way down or the fish could already be back in the reservoir. Only time will tell. In the mean time I'll be fishing the North Fork for a few days to see how this scenario plays out. Enjoy the pictures!


July 1st Slough Creek Second Meadow

John Chapman and I decided to take a look at the second meadow of Slough Creek on the 1st of July instead of fighting the crowds and high water on the North Fork. It couldn't have been a better idea! We arrived at 8:45 in the parking lot, grabbed our gear and headed off down the trail. The weather was like a perfect spring day, bright sun, no wind and cool. There were very few people in the parking area and not many wagon tracks on the trail yet.


Once we hit the first meadow we new it would be well worth the walk to the second. The water was a little high but very clear and not deathly cold. There were PMD spinners in the air! It was looking good. Upon arriving at the second meadow we began to see the golden stones. There was also an occasional drake of some type floating by. Not many rises though. We broke out the rods and began rigging. John had a brand new 7'9" hollow rod I had made for him and I had my trusty 8'6" Phillipson dry fly special just in case the wind came up or we needed to throw streamers. We decided to start with dry droppers as it was early and do some prospecting. I picked up 4 or 5 fish out of the first little spot and had a fish come up and try to eat the big dry. Ah Ha! I switched over to a rubber legged stimulator with a cdc PMD sparkle dun on the back and it was on!


Any slack water next to a seam was holding fish. It was classic Yellowstone cutthroat! You would see a fish slowly rising to take a look at the fly and then confidently suck it in. The fish are very naive this time of year. As the day warmed and the wind came up a bit we started seeing more golden stones blowing in and fish out in the riffles and even in the middle of the river smacking them. If you located a fish it was fish on! What a blast! Honestly, I think the fish were really keyed on the PMD's but they just couldn't pass up a big meal like the goldens.


This was John's first experience fishing bamboo and what a way to get started. Killer dry fly on the most famous Yellowstone cutthroat fishery in the world. He was truly impressed at how the rod could easily toss the dry dropper in a breeze and how accurate and effortless the rod was to cast. Light in hand but with plenty of back bone and just a phenomenal roll caster. I modified a Winston taper a bit on this one and it really came out nice.


We fished to our hearts content and probably only covered a quarter mile of the stream. There aren't enough hours in the day. We headed back to the car around 4 p.m. so we could get home at a decent hour. As we approached the first meadow we stopped and watched a couple fishing below laughing like crazy as the women caught a fish right at her knees. It was an excellent day. Lamar valley is on and this is a great time to fish before the masses arrive. The fish are in good shape and very willing. I am truly blessed to have this kind of fishing in my back yard. Enjoy the pictures!



June 28th

What you can expect from the lower Shoshone this year

The lower Shoshone has gone through some major changes in the last 4 years. High water pretty much wiped it out a couple years ago and last year the water was extremely high again but luckily the flows weren't sustained for long enough to kill all the fish. The food base has been changed drastically from aquatic worm and sow bug population to a more caddis and mayfly based food source due to the bottom being free of sediment. Also the numbers of midges are way down. This is a transition year for the insects so the trout are having to work hard to keep weight. On the bright side, natural reproduction is way up due to great spawning habitat and there are tons of little fish in the system.

The river contains browns, rainbows, cutthroats and a few brookies. Whitefish are scarce. The cutthroats are stocked by the GAF but I think the other fish reproduce naturally though I could be mistaken on this. Browns seem to be the best suited to the river. Each species has it's idiosyncrasies and each seems to prefer different types of water. Some days just one species will bite, some days a mixed bag and other days everyone is chowing down. On the days when the fish are feeding well you will loose count of the numbers of fish you will catch.

The average size of the fish is 10" to 12 " right now. There are pockets of fish here and there in the 15" to 18" range but the 18" fish are few and far between right now. Give it a couple years of reasonable flows and I think you will see it back to the average of 13" to 16" with plenty of 17" to 18"'s . There are those that catch plenty of 23" fish but we all know that certain fisherman can be very optimistic when it comes to fish size. I did catch a 24" taped brown last year below Corbett but that is the only truly big fish I have seen in a long time.

The lower Shoshone is still a great river. If it was back east it would be considered blue ribbon stream for sure. It has tons of fish and offers anglers of all skill levels many challenges. Fishing can be as easy or as hard as you want to make it. The river will be clear this summer and will offer some fantastic dry fly opportunities when it comes down and really clears up. It will also maintain a good flow and water temps should remain good for fishing all summer. Consistently good fishing year round. I'm very glad to have this jewel of a river right in our back yards.

24" Lower Shoshone Brown Last Fall





Obligatory Fish Picture!

Stairs of Death!

Taking a dump on Mother Nature!

Funds were allocated to start a war on the Russian olives in Wyoming this spring. They are considered an invasive species and the powers that be decided to try to exterminate them by cutting them all down by hand. This raised an eyebrow or two in this house right away. I have been at war with weeds (ie: plants that you don't appreciate) since I moved to Wyoming 13 years ago. All I want to do is keep the weeds out of my gravel parking area. First, I killed them all with weed killer which seems to be the custom in Wyoming and then covered them with reconstituted asphalt. They promptly came back up by the next spring. Since then, I have sprayed them, weedeated them, burned them, pulled them, and tried digging them up all to no avail. The spraying of chemicals was definitely the most expensive if you don't count labor but I have spent countless hours and can barely hold my own just in the drive way. These are just your basic small weeds that grow on the side of the road. I have now reconciled to just trying to keep them down a bit. On the bright side I have a new appreciation for the resiliency of nature and have found if you ever do succeed forming a void in nature it will quickly be filled with something else. After doing a little more research I find that no where in the history of man has there ever been an invasive species ousted by mans actions and an even fewer number even slowed down for any length of time. They either just stay or have to run their course which can take many, many years. We have, however, wiped out hundreds of indigenous plants and animals successfully.

Russian olives are perfectly suited to the climate in Wyoming. They take very little water, grow in poor soil, withstand the harshest conditions either hot or cold, wet or dry, and provide valuable food and habitat for almost every animal in Wyoming. They thrive in places where even our indigenous plants cannot survive. They can even be pruned to make very nice looking ornamental plants. So, we want to kill them? Ok, but if we're going to do that, let's cut them, clean up the mess and replant with something else that won't take so much away from the already struggling wildlife. Oh, they didn't send enough money to do it right. I see now.

So, in our best judgment, we decide the thing to do is go into one of the cities most beautiful natural assets, the Paul Stock "nature" trail and the lower Shoshone walking and cycling trail, and cut down all the olives which make up 70% of the greenery along the river, house and provide food for almost all the wildlife , and provides much needed shade for fish and animals. On top of that we didn't cut the hard to get to trees so in a short period of time they will simply rejuvenate on they're own. You can see by the pictures the beauty of mans work. What we do see is a lack of deer, birds, and a few other animals huddling under piles of brown brush panting it the 100 degree temps. There are other failed examples of man trying to make things better along the river like blown out boardwalks that are now just piles of rubble. Attempts by well meaning people to put in stairs to the river that are now compromised and if anything are now just death traps to anyone who doesn't have the balance of a gymnast. If you are going to attempt these kind of projects, permanent routine maintainence should be factored into the equation or all you end up with is a big pile of trash.

The lesson here is man cannot over come nature ever. We can attempt to contain it a bit but any effort further than that will cost us more money and time than we are willing to give. A light thinning and keeping the trails clear would be just fine. On the bright side, after seeing the huge dump we just planted on mother nature I feel no remorse if I don't pick up my dogs poop!

Trying to keep the zebra mussels out of our waters is a much more sensible proposition. We know we it won't be able to stop them if they come but the $5 stickers manage to provide much needed jobs around the state and these efforts hurt nothing. This is the type of environmental commitment we can all live with.






Without trees the fish can't hide from birds of prey!

June 19th

Wind River Canyon

I fished the canyon on the 19th and it was unbelievable! Tons of caddis in the bushes now and there was a huge emergence of yellow sallies. Also tons of tricos in the morning. The fish were on fire at 9:30a.m. when I started fishing. You could see them just below the surface eating nymphs. They were all close to the deep fast water. My guess is more oxygen and cooler. They can also escape under the fast water quickly if they sense danger. The water is fairly clear and surprisingly there is not to much salad in the faster water.


I used the Bah Behr with a couple of #16 black copper johns. 0X on everything so break offs weren't a problem. Hooks straightening out was a problem as all the fish were 18" and up and hot. I LDR'ed at least half the fish I hooked and still landed somewhere in the neighborhood of 40. The best day I have ever had on this river as far as catching.


There were so many bugs in the air and crawling all over me that it became uncomfortable. It was the best hatch I have ever seen in the canyon. This is the first time I have seen this many little stone flies ever. I saw only one or 2 fish rise all day and had only one fish take a dry. Almost every bite was in a foam line or on an edge in water at least 4 feet deep. If the fish were there they would take it right away. The first seam produced 6 fish in almost that many casts. My friend from Lander has been killing them on cicadas on top as well.


The water temp in there is perfect and the fish were hot. Rainbows and browns alike came flying 3 feet out of the water and took off down stream. After running back and forth on those rocks all day I have to say I was exhausted but man it was fun! The dogs never made a peep on the way home.


It's great to see a river doing this well and on top of that I never saw another person fishing all day. This has to be the best big fish water in the state bar none. It's been fun watching the fish put on weight since last fall and they are as fat and healthy as I've ever seen them. There was a parasite on some last year and so far this year I haven't seen any sign of that. Good news.


This was without a doubt the best fishing I have ever seen on this river. Hopefully, the hatch will continue for a while. I've got 3 or 4 trips coming up in the next few days but after that I'm going back! Enjoy the pictures!



June 16th Father's Day!

Keith Richardson and I have been scouting out the fishing together for the last couple weeks. Keith's son Ron and his granddaughter Lilly came in from Washington for Father's Day and we thought, what better way to spend the day than fishing with your son on his first day of fly fishing and also on Father's Day. Ron had made one attempt before but with no luck so we really didn't count that as a first day. I had happened to hit upper Sunshine the day before while I was out and about scouting and since it was fishing so well we thought it would be just perfect for a beginner. Ton's of willing fish all day and some of them pretty nice size to boot!

Ron really picked up some basics pretty quickly. He was able to get his cast out there plenty far enough to catch fish within the first hour. There where schools of 20 to 100 fish cruising the banks and if you presented the fly properly without spooking them it was on! Sight fishing these large schools is a lot of fun. Usually, when you stripped the fly away from them at least 2 or 3 fish would break out and chase the fly almost to your feet. Very fun to watch! It wasn't long before Ron had his first fish to hand on a fly rod, a once in a lifetime opportunity!

Stripping streamers your first day take some pretty darn good hand eye coordination. Getting everything just right on your first day can be tough but you are seeing fish chase your fly, hooking fish, and sometimes landing fish on almost every cast on this lake. Putting all this together makes for plenty of missed bites and LDR's but it is all just darn fun to watch, especially for me. Ron's biggest deterrent to catching was his enthusiasm and I'll take that all day long! He got into it to say the least.

We did have a couple with their kids drop right in next to us and set up a tent which at first can cause you to feel a bit mistreated. After all, this is Wyoming and people are usually aware of others and give each other plenty of space. That feeling didn't last long however and after seeing those 4 or 5 year old kids with rods stuffed into their guts pulling as hard as they could on those fish, a smile had to come to your face. After all it was Fathers day which is really about the kids anyway.

This lake always amazes me with it's ability to sustain the kind of fishing it provides considering all the fish that are taken every day. It's just an amazing fishery and I don't believe you will find anything better anywhere. Everyone we saw was having a blast. We had a lot of fun, caught plenty of fish, and ended the day with a father son double! The weather was perfect as was the fishing and company. It just couldn't have been better had we planned it. Hope everyone else had as good a Fathers day as we did and enjoy the pictures!

Father Son Double on Father's Day!

Sweet little creek!

Nice cutts!

Find the fish!

Bent Twig Creek June 12th

Bent Twig Creek is a good example of living in an area for over a decade and driving by some excellent water without taking the time to stop and smell the flowers (fish). I'll bet I passed by this little jewel at least 30 times a year for the last 12 years and never bothered to wet a line. A small stream on public land less than an hour from Cody that is chock full of cutts this time of year  15" to 18" that like dry flies.


At first glance the creek doesn't look like much. It is no more than 2 feet wide at the widest places. It is overgrown with willows which make it very difficult to fish. There is approximately 1/2 mile of fishable water. The only method of fly fishing is dapping as there is no way to get a cast in most places. The fish live under cut banks and brush piles. They are very wary and any mistake will spook the run. They are also very big for a creek this size.


I ended up spooking the majority of the fish before I finally came up with a plan to fish it. Extreme stealth and some belly crawling was the ticket. If luck was on your side a fish would come out and take a small hopper or cricket in almost every good looking spot if you could get it in there without spooking them or getting hung up. Unbelievable! I even got a couple pictures of fish holding out in the open.


The moral of this story is never assume you know everything there is to know about your area until you have actually done the exploring for yourself. Many locals have pooh pooh'd this creek and pass it by every day heading to better water. What a great find!  Enjoy the pictures!

Beautiful Cutthroats!

Find the fish!


Firehole June 7th

Keith Richardson and I did our annual Firehole pilgrimage on the 7th. The difference this year was that we were both fishing bamboo. Keith was fishing one of my rods, a 7'6" Dickerson taper and I was fishing a vintage Abercrombie Fitch "Firehole" which is a 8' Phillipson Peerless made for Abercrombie Fitch. It made the day just that much better!


The weather was perfect for people. Sunny, no wind, and warm but for fishing it could have been the kiss of death. It wasn't. The morning was one of the best mornings I have ever had on the Firehole as far as catching. There were several types of caddis in the bushes and a few PMD's floating down the river. Not a ton of dry fly action but there were a few fish eating emerging caddis in the riffels and a few eating the floating mayflies. I started off sub surface.


One of my favorite flies on the Firehole subsurface is an olive UV dubbing scud. You never hear of anyone fishing a scud on the Firehole but I can tell you this fly will consistently produce fish subsurface and even ginked up in the film during a caddis hatch. I fish it about 3 feet below a dropper with a copper john in front to take it down. 90% of the fish came on the scud.


Keith nailed the first fish of the day on his first cast. A 13 inch rainbow. I got a couple rainbows and then got my biggest fish to date on the Firehole, a 17 " measured brown! It made it that much sweeter getting him on a 50 year old rod named "the Firehole." My day was complete in about 30 minutes! The fish looked very good this year and there were plenty of them probably due to the nice mild winter. I stood in one hole and pulled at least 20 in a about an hour. I got a bite on almost every cast.


Like the fools we were we decided to leave fish and move down to the Madison. It was just to bright and sunny down there. I picked up a couple browns, a nice rainbow, and a white fish which was the second best fish of the day. Keith got a couple nice browns after a couple hours of hard work. You could see fish, they just weren't eating. We headed back up to the Firehole to look for evening risers. There were plenty of caddis about and the fish started to go for them but the wind came up and blew them off the water. We got 4 or 5 fish to take but it just never really got going. It's hard to complain after a morning like we had.


The Firehole is in great shape right now. The hatches can bust loose on any given day. The flows are absolutely perfect. The fish are in great shape and appear to be a bit large than in years past. The Madison and Gibbon are the same. I'm sure the fish just quit because of the bright sun and wind. I saw plenty of fish on the cut banks and deeper runs, they just weren't feeding. On top of that there were very few people fishing. We saw a few people right at the pull outs but if you take a short walk you will be hard pressed to run into anyone. Yellowstone Park is one of the most beautiful places to fish anywhere! Now is the time to take advantage of our local treasure!


Mark Sweat May 30th

My buddy Mark Sweat just finished up a grueling 6 month job out in California and decided he owed  himself a day of big fish fishing. Mark has been a good friend for several years now and usually comes out in the early spring and late fall to go after the big boys. This year with the lower flows we will be able to fish for these fish until it get to warm, probably around the 1st of July.


Mark loves to fish the canyon on the reservation as do I. This fishing is definitely not for everyone. The terrain is brutal. Walking on big loose rock all day can be treacherous. An injury in there can make for a real bad day. There is usually a good bit of wind. Casting in the wind is essential. The water is big and fast. It is not what you'd call technical fishing as in precise dry fly fishing but your cast need to be in exactly the right spot to get the right drift. Good mending and line control is a must. In short, you really have to get in the zone to be successful in there.


Charles Ritz wrote the book "A fly fisher's life" back in the 50's and in one of the chapter he critiqued the 10 best fisherman he knew. Each one had certain traits that made them great fisherman and allowed them to rise to a level above the average guy. It turn's out that these traits are usually character traits adapted to fishing. In Marks case it is patients, persistence and thoroughness. He will work over a run top to bottom, side to side, and from up and down, and everything in between. Then he will change flies and do it again. I have never seen anyone take so many fish from a single spot in the canyon as Mark does consistently. He has done it every time he has fished there. 20 fish days in the canyon!


The fish were still on baetis nymphs. A dry dropper set up is definitely the way to go. It is much less intrusive than a traditional nymph rig and allows the flies to be presented much more naturally. The nymph rig also picks up a ton more salad. We still vacuumed the bottom with one but 90% of the fish were caught on the dry dropper. The nymphs are blowing around in the current and the fish simply rise up and down , back and forth, picking them off as the come by. Very fun fishing as most of it is done by sight. The down fall is that you have to use lighter tippet and small flies so landing these big, hot fish in fast water can be tough. We couldn't get pictures of some of the best ones here do to LDR's and drops right before the shot but you can see he did very well!


We climbed out of the canyon for lunch about 4p.m. and headed down to Wedding of the Waters to look for some risers as the sun went down. There were already a couple of boats working the run and we didn't see any risers to speak of. Luckily the best hole on the run was empty and we sat there for the rest of the evening. Mark did his thing, hooking 4 or 5 out of one spot, then dropping down and hooking 2 or 3 out of the next. He then went back to the first run, changed flies and proceeded to do it again. We LDR'ed the best fish down here also so we didn't get pictures but it was still a blast and really amazing to see that many big fish taken out of one little spot. It was a long day for sure but very satisfying. I always have a great time fishing with Mark. Enjoy the pictures.


What's going on with the North Fork?

A lot of folks lately have been asking this question. For most people, 10 or 12, 15" to 18" fish in a couple hours is a good day of catching. On the North Fork this is less than average for this time of year.


Last summer we witnessed some of the best hopper fishing I have ever seen on the North Fork. It was unbelievable for a couple weeks in August and continued to fish even into late Sept. A fish on every cast is know to be pure fantasy to most knowledgeable fisherman but in this case it was so. These are pictures of my friends Marc and David Kalish from Macon Georgia. They had a couple days of the good stuff. When this kind of fishing happens the word gets out fast. The following year tons of fisherman show up with expectations that this kind of fishing is the norm and sadly it is not always so. It would be to good to be true if it was. In the last 12 years of fishing the North Fork I have seen this kind of fishing three times. Here's how I think it works.


The North Fork is a spawning run of fish. The fish live in the reservoir eating plankton all winter. In late March when the lower snows melt the fish begin their spawning run up the river. They are on this journey as we speak. They travel as far as 60 miles up stream to lay their eggs and then begin the journey back to the reservoir. This is generally in late June and early July. A trout generally lives 5 to 6 years. As a young fish they will spend up to two years in the river growing large enough to be safe when they hit the big water. I believe they hold a year or two in the lake before they begin to migrate back into the river to spawn. This gives them one, maybe two years of spawning runs. This is why we're seeing 15" to 16 inch fish and 18" to 20" fish. Two different age classes. From year to year the success rates of the spawners vary, sometimes greatly. High water, low water, quick run offs that leave the babies high and dry, and many other factor play into the scenario.  Last year and 3 years ago we had extremely high water during run off making it difficult for these little guys to survive. This could be why were seeing the lower numbers of returning fish. It's a cycle that can vary greatly due to natural conditions. When you throw man into the equation, it makes it even tougher.


The optimistic outlook would be that the fish are coming into the system later or are coming up in staggered numbers. This is a possibility but in the past the numbers of fish we see above Newton creek this time of year are a pretty good indicator to how the fishing will play out this summer. The bottom line is that  the even smartest people really know nothing about how all this works. We'll just have to wait and see.


Great Day of Big Fish fishing!

I had a free day on the 8th and decided to go try the Wind river canyon up on the reservation. It is one of my favorite places to fish. It is rough terrain and right on the side of a major highway but is so beautiful and challenging I barely notice the traffic. It was a bright sunny day with perfect temps. Traditionally not great weather to go after big fish and especially not big browns.


 As I walked down the railroad tracks to some good holes I noticed a few fish nymphing a couple feet under the surface on the edges of real fast water from about 100' above. When I got down on the water it was almost impossible to see the fish feeding at water level without very careful observation. The fish appeared to be eating baetis nymphs as there was a fair hatch coming off most of the day now. If you looked very carefully for a few minutes you would see an occasional shadow that was just a bit different from the floating vegetation. Very subtle.


I tried a conventional nymph rig first. After tossing the mess at a couple fish and spooking them I finally got the first fish of the day, a nice 21" rainbow. This rig just wasn't right for this application. When the fish are feeding on small stuff on a bright day they can be very wary. On top of spooking the fish, I was also having a hard time using just the right amount of weight to get my flies down with out making them appear unnatural to the fish. I decided to try the hopper copper dropper. Basically this works as an ultra light nymph rig. I used a big dry to float a couple nymphs which is a lot less intrusive to the fish than a bobber. A couple even came up and took the #8 dry fly. Below that I hung a #12 black copper john mainly as a weight to get the primary fly down. This appeared to the the exact weight necessary to put the fly in front of the fish and was also inconspicuous to the fish. Below that an #18 black copper john which after trial and error was the fly the fish would take most consistently.


I walked up the bank carefully looking for feeders being careful to cast before I walked even though I couldn't see a feeding fish. When fish are feeding like this there are so many bugs passing them that it may take many casts to get them to see your fly. One thing you can do is use a fly that is slightly larger than the natural to improve your chances. We'd all rather eat a double cheese burger than a single. Once I spotted a fish I could usually get them to take if I was stealthy and persistent. In certain situations you have to readjust depth and weight to get the job done. You really have to be observant and think things through. Very interesting fishing.


I was very surprised to see the numbers of browns out eating on a sunny day. They were all very close to fast deep water escapes. Most fish were in very good shape with some a little on the obese side. That's a lot of baetis nymphs! The good fishing continued all afternoon. By 3:30 it slowed a bit and I decided to hit Wedding of the waters to look for some evening dry fly action. It never did materialize but I did get a few smaller fish and one real nice Snake river cutt. The day well exceeded my expectations. Just fantastic!


The flows this summer are prime for this type of fishing and should remain good until the weather gets to hot for the fish to feed midday. Baetis (pseudos) and midges right now but look for caddis to start in mid June. Big dries aren't out of the question any time now. Enjoy the pictures!


The Wading Boot Dilemma

I will prefix this essay by saying that there is no one tougher on fly fishing equipment than I am. My boots are worn virtually everyday and pretty much never dry out. I also greatly value my relationship with tackle providers. They have been supportive way beyond any reasonable obligation. They have always given me more than what I deserved through repairs and replacement. I could not be more satisfied with the quality of service and they back they're products up and above the line of duty.

The best pair of wading boots I ever owned as far as durability were the Simms Freestone with the simulated green leather that came out about 7 or 8 years ago. These boots lasted for FOUR seasons of hard abuse and cost a mere $80 retail. At FOUR years I ended up selling them to one of my long term clients for $20 when his boots blew out on vacation and he is still wearing them to this day with a felt resole.

I also tried the Patagonia Beefy Boot and really liked them but they were $180, heavier, and discontinued. 2 to 3 years was their maximum durability for me.

 I joined the rubber sole contingent almost as soon as they came out. The Simms Aquastealth. I liked it because I do a lot of hiking and they were at least as good if not better than most good hiking boots. Felt is a pain to hike in. The other big plus is that in the winter, the rubber does not pick up snow and have you walking on a 6 inch thick ice cube all day. I fish all winter and this was a huge advantage to me. The down fall was that they just didn't provide the traction on algae covered rocks that felt did. Back then I was young and a strong wader so I could over come that problem with shear determination. Another problem became obvious down the road. Since the rubber was made of a soft compound so it would stick, the durability was cut back to maybe one year. The soles were smooth as a babies butt and dangerous to wade in a year. On top of that, since they were considered a light weight boot, they again suffered in the durability department and the uppers blew out on the sides as well in about one year. Now at the time these were the top of the line boots made and they retailed for a cost of around $180. Over twice what the 4 year Freestone sold for.

 There was another boot, the Guide boot, offered. It had an upper that lasted longer than the Aquastealth and built in studs that helped with the traction problem but still the rubber soles would wear out in about a year. Another issue was that with the studs you couldn't use it in a drift boat or walk in side.  A great boot but a year was about all I could expect. I think they were about the same price as the Aquastealth at the time.

I then moved to the Patagonia sticky rubber. Retail $160. A friend let me try a pair and they were even lighter and more comfortable, at least to me. I was hoping they would be as durable as the Patagonia Beefy Boot which was heavy but would last at least several years. This was not to be. About one year or less and the sides blew out on these boots as well. This was not a material failure as with the Simms but a thread failure. The stitching simply rotted out and came loose. The sticky rubber was a step up from the Aquastealth and was still in good shape when the uppers failed. Slightly better traction in the water and after all this is really what we are all after. I simply resigned myself to keeping two pairs of boots on hand at all times. I stuck with the Riverwalkers up until the G4 Simms came out a couple years ago.

The Simms G 4's sounded like they could be the answer to my troubles. The one catch was that they now cost $229. Holy crap! They were heavy duty with a new type of rubber that was touted as the stickiest ever, Vibram. The first thing I noticed when they came was that they weighed more than twice as much as the Patagonias. It would take some getting used to but I realized if you wanted durability, usually weight was the trade off. The Vibram was pretty good in the water and once you got used to the weight, they hiked pretty well. Plenty of support. Unfortunately, after only 4 months the Vibram was as smooth as a babies butt. Dangerous to wade in. I returned them and was told that now the Vibram was warranted with the Vibram company itself. I had to mail them in and for an additional $50 they could resole them. I was dumb founded. I told the repair dept just to toss them in the dumpster and he offered me a set of Vibram soles that I could glue on myself. Huh!  Luckily, My friend Kevin Lundvalle at Waynes boot shop said he could make them good as new. He did a great job putting them on and unfortunately refused to take any money for the work. Just one heck of a nice guy. The whole family are just great people. I have now had the boots for about 2 years. The uppers are holding on the sides but the insulation and cushioning  on the inside is rotting away due to retention of moisture.

On to the present day. Patagonia came out with a new improved rubber soled boot that I had to try, not being satisfied with anything to date. Retail price $180. These boots had a new sealed seam and the rubber had a much more aggressive tread.  They also came with removable studs. Sounded pretty good. I took them out of the box and eagerly hit the stream. On dry land they were very comfortable and hiked well. In the river, without the studs these boots were the slickest, scariest boots I had ever worn. The aggressive tread gave them much less surface area on the rocks and they were dangerously slick brand new. I installed the studs and the traction was slightly better but still very slippery. Also, when I took them off at the end of the day, I noticed that about one quarter of the removable studs were gone. They just pulled out. I called Patagonia and they said what I needed was the new aluminum bared boot. The stickiest boot on the planet. Retail price $240. Wow! I had to have something so I tried a pair. Folks, these boots grip like nothing I have ever used before! I was now invincible on the slickest rocks. I literally ran through the creek sobbing with joy. At the end of the day when I took them off I noticed a couple of the aluminum bars had pulled away from the bottom of the boot. 3 hours of use and the screws holding the bars in place were pulling loose from the bottom of the shoe. The aluminum bent when I stepped on the apex of a rock and pulled the inserts out of the rubber. I was disappointed. Luckily I was able to remove and straighten the bars, reinsert the inserts and things were good. Now I try to be a little more careful where I step. The traction is fantastic! One other thing you have to watch with these boots is stepping on your line. If you step on your line on a rock your line will be shredded instantly. I have only had them a short while so we'll have to see how they hold up. And I have the other slippery boot for drift boat use.

The search will continue for the ultimate wading boot. At this moment the Patagonia aluminum bared boot has my vote for the most secure traction in rivers. To me this is the number one criteria. There is also comfort and while these boots aren't terrible, they just aren't as comfortable as the boots without the bars for general walking. Finally, durability. If I can get a year out of a pair of boots these days I am pleased as punch. We'll just have to see. If we could take the durability of the original Simms Freestones that cost $80 and add the aluminum bars and then make them as comfortable as the light weight boots that would be the perfect boot. Maybe some day we'll see just that!













April 5th and 6th

The day after I returned from Costa Rica I had the pleasure of fishing with Darron Cline and his son Logan. Darron and I have fished together for a number of years and this trip was to be about getting Logan started off on the right foot in his fly fishing career. Logan is 12 and as soon as we met I could tell he would grow to be passionate about fly fishing.


We started off by taking a little time to go over knots, gear, rigging, and casting. I showed Logan 3 knots and his retention was outstanding. He was able to tie them all on his first attempt. No one is ever a natural at casting. It just takes practice, but Logan was able to adjust his cast to the point where he could get out 25' of line in just a short time which is outstanding!


We headed into the Shoshone Canyon and conditions were perfect with the exception of a little breeze. We talked about reading the water and about the order of hatches. We made a few casts and learned about mending. In less than 10 minutes Logan had his first of probably 25 or so nice little rainbows and cuttbows. Midges seem to always be the first hatch of the morning so we used a dry dropper to get fish before the hatch really got going. As the water warmed the midges began to emerge and we saw the fish feeding just below the surface. We switched to a dry with a little emerger and continued to catch fish. In short order the fish began to feed on top and Darron and Logan had a blast picking off fish on the surface. Making a good cast and seeing the fish eat your fly is very satisfying and can really get your blood pumping!


It turned out to be non stop action until about 2:30 and we decided to go try for a big one. Most of the lakes and ponds are still a little cool so we kept our expectations in line and just went to work. We fished a nymph with a little emerger behind it slowly and right on the bottom. After about 45 minutes Logan had his first bite and quickly found out that the bigger fish are a totally different ball game than the smaller guys we had been catching all day. BYE BYE! A clean break off. We moved around a bit and found a couple fish cruising the edges in the warmer water. Logan hooked a monster female rainbow that I would have guessed at about 7lbs. He fought the fish with much more finesse this time, letting the fish run when it wanted to take line and putting pressure on it when it tried to rest. After about 2 minutes it appeared that the fish was tiring but just as we were going to try to land it it made one final unexpected run and broke off! What a disappointment!


Darron came over and said time was getting short but Logan continued to fish with determination. On what was probably going to be our last cast of the day Logan felt a huge hit and a Big male rainbow flew out of the water and came right at him. He stripped furiously while back pedaling and some how managed to keep tension on the fish. After a 3 minute battle the fish was finally at hand and a big beautiful rainbow that would go 5 or 6 lbs. What a way to end your day. It was his biggest fish to date!


Day 2 was just not to be. We woke up with rain and snow and the front seemed to really put the whammy on the fish. We went to Newton and hooked a couple of fish but it just didn't look to promising. We watched the way the fish were reacting to our flies and they just didn't seem interested. The snow and rain started to fall. We decided to try the river again but in just a couple hours the river had turned to chocolate milk. That was a real surprise. Time for plan C.  We headed out to Luce and by this time the road was starting to get sloppy. When we arrived it was calm and snowing, a good sign we thought. We saw some fish immediately and hooked a couple right off. Logan landed a couple of nice 15" rainbows and Darron one slightly larger but that was about it. The rain and snow got worse and we started to be concerned that the road would get bad. I could tell Logan didn't want to give up but we decided it was better to be safe than sorry and headed to the house about 3p.m. That's why they call it fishing. We ate a late lunch and talked about bamboo for a while.  Darron decided he wanted to give it a try so I sent him home with a couple blanks to build up from scratch that he and Logan can use in the high country this summer.


Logan is now firmly hooked on fly fishing. He experienced the full gauntlet of emotions and conditions and came back with a big smile on his face. He is already considering tying his own flies and possibly, one day, building his own bamboo rod. There is nothing about this sport that I enjoy more than seeing a young man get excited about fly fishing for the first time. He will carry the torch into the future. Great job Logan and thanks guys for a fun couple days!











Tight Lines!


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