Great Start to Wyoming 2013….
Wed. Aug 7, 2013…..Early rise this morning, up at 520am and having coffee, the air is so crisp and clear, its 40F and not a cloud overhead as I gaze at a cobalt blue sky dotted with bright white stars. You can literally see forever……so neat to see the crisp, sharp edges of the mountain tops. Real Mountains. Like 10,000 to 12,000 feet plus all around me. Having coffee this morning as I reflect on yesterday and how some places are just neat, cool, well add a ton of other words in there….but it never gets old. Even flying by the Grand Tetons , which still gets the most oohs and aahs of any place you could land in the lower 48. Stunning. Even if you’ve seen it what seems like a thousand times as I have.
Our flight was delayed in Jackson Hole, WY so I didn’t get on the ground and to my vehicle at the airport as quickly as I’d hoped. I had to postpone my drive to Idaho Falls until today….but hey, that was fine by me. That meant I had just enough time to get in about 4 to 5 hours of fishing, enjoy some great late in the day scenery, and some great weather. The weather was sunny, 75F, 25% humidity, and a nice breeze. Just a great day to be outside.
Everything is clear early here. This area characteristically has the latest runoff because of all the large mountains….and tons of snow in the high country. The Snake was clear, I resisted the urge to pound one of my favorite hopper banks…..which by the way is going to change today….. and just checked out a few of my favorite spots. They all looked great.
What a bummer ……it looks like this year will be all dry fly fishing. Just kidding of course. Runoff was early, and light, so things are nice and clear for us and I’ll expect we’ll do pretty well on dry flies as we normally do. The banks and hills are rife with hoppers…..yesterday the whole time I was outside all you could hear was the stiff breeze rattling the sage and willow bushes and the loud clicking of hoppers all across the dry landscape. This weather is the classic setup for killer hopper fishing. I can’t wait….
First fish of the trip was a Cliff creek cutthroat….which eagerly ate my rubberleg Yellow Stimulator. The fish were aggressive and willing to pounce on a well presented dry. One great thing about cutthroats is they love to eat on the surface….and that’s one of the reasons I love them. Maybe the main reason I love them. Fished a variety of patterns and all of them worked well.
What a great cutthroat hole with a hopper bank looks like….fast, boiling riffle coming in, swirling around and creating several eddies, some woody debris in the bank that they can hide in, good depth (protection from predators), and some high grassy banks. This hole held a half dozen nice fish and many others. These places are all WILD, WILD fish who earn their beans the hard way. One good cast on them, they eat. Simple as that. Splashily wade right up to the spot in an upright position, false cast 10 times and make a splashy landing…..you’re done.
Another nice cutty on a dry fly. The bugs that were active yesterday, and as is normally the case here, are Isoperla stones or yellow stones. That is why I never come out without a good supply of them. Caddis, parachute caddis, stimulators, or my personal fave a rubberleg Yellow Stimulator are all foundational patterns here and don’t bring them and you’ll miss a real opportunity to do well. There’s hardly a place they won’t catch fish.
The lineup…..awaiting deployment. Its like a who’s who of attractor and buggy patterns. Out here this is the Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Robert Griffin, etc. of the fly box. A parachute hopper, a fly I NEVER come out west without. Next, a yellow rubberleg stimulator, a parachute wulff, and a Shroeder Paracaddis. These are all what I’d call must haves. I build the box around them.
Here are a few places around here I know well, I usually will take a few pics as I am driving….here are but a few of my most favorites. This place is like a home away from home…..
Ended up the evening on the Hoback in Hoback Canyon and lower Flat Creek in the South Park area. Fish were rising so I couldn’t just go on my way. I had to stop and do something about it. They were very cooperative, landed several nice cutts before it was dusk and chilly!!!! I packed it in and headed back to town. But again, not before enjoying some WBRS….Wyoming bent rod syndrome.
Fish on…! This guy was rising near the bank, a deep bank in about six feet of water. I put on a yellow rubberleg stimulator, a good match for the yellow stones on the water and first drift over him he smashed it. Not took it, not sipped it…..smashed it. A kill shot. And he got the prize and was soon at my feet awaiting release. I thanked him, released him, and watched him swim back to the depths he calls home.
The area is home to a very unique sub species of cutthroat called the Snake River finespotted cutthroat. Wyoming has a number of cutthroat species, and they even have a ‘Cuttslam’ award you can get if you catch and document all four. They are the Yellowstone Cutthroat, the Snake River finespot, the Bonneville cutthroat, and the Colorado River cutthroat. Its the land of cutthroats…….what a bunch of cutthroats they are!
This guy snubbed my yellow stimulator. He was feeding on small caddis. So what did I do? What you ought to do. I went down in size of the fly, changed to a caddis and viola! Fish on. It was a classic example of what we teach on trips and in our classes/schools and that is….you don’t need to know Latin names. You don’t even need to know the name of the fly. You don’t even need to know the size of the fly. Just catch an insect you see the fish feeding on, match the size first, shape /color second if you can, and go on to fishing. This will work in all but the most selective of situations….
This guy wasn’t big but he was spirited, a pretty fish, and the light was so good I had to snap a pic of him. Gorgeous colors and the characteristic orange slash mark which is why they are called cutthroats. Note the personal fave yellow rubberleg stimulator in his mouth. They love this fly.
Well, a Jackson Hole Fishing Report, mine above and the photo above tells it all. Things are down in flow which means dry fly fishing, clear, and fish are eating a variety of stuff. I am finishing up my breakfast and will soon be on my way over the Teton Pass into Idaho. So many oohs and aahs don’t know if I’ll have anymore left by the time its time to come home.
Will post more this evening…..have a great one and greetings from Wyoming!
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