LOCATION: Yellowstone National Park
Brad and I spent just over a week in the park again this year. Shot a good bit of video, that I am still working on. Hopefully I will have it edited together soon. A lot of smoke from the fires in Idaho and elsewhere on most days. Made some of the photos kind of hazy, but didn’t affect the fishing.
Started the day early in Pennsylvania and landed in beautiful Bozeman around noon. Made a quick stop in Livingston to pick up licenses and food before hitting the Gardner for the evening. Saw a large heard of Elk and a big bull, which was pretty cool. Managed to hook a few nice browns , rainbows, brooks, and a cut. Just at dark, we got into a few really nice browns…which made us stay a little longer than we should have. Especially since the headlamps were all still packed. Things got a little “furry” on the hike out as it was almost completely dark when we stumbled into a rather large heard of Elk. After several minutes of creative dodging, we were able to make it back to the car.
Started the day of on the Taylor Fork of the Gallatin. We did really well here a few years back, but this year things were pretty slow. Only caught some 10-12 inch rainbows, but at least most of them ate on top. Finished off the afternoon on the Gallatin with one nice rainbow and a few smaller fish, mainly nymphing. Hard to beat the scenery in the Gallatin Valley though!
Decided to fish the Lamar today. Hiked several miles upstream and got into some nice cuts, mainly on hoppers. All the fish were pretty beefy and averaged about 16-inches, with some a little larger. Always takes a little bit to get used to the slow takes of the cuts, especially when you see them coming from 5 feet down! Had pretty steady action all day, but towards evening, we came across one hole that was on fire. Easily caught 50 fish just in the one hole, although the average size was only in the 10-12 inch range, it was non-stop action on hoppers and nymphs.
Started off with a brisk 3 mile hike into Hellroaring Creek…all downhill, on the way in and only had to avoid one heard of buffalo. Also saw quite a few antelope which posed for a few photos. Fished the Yellowstone just upstream from the mouth caught a couple nice cuts before beginning to work our way up the canyon of Hellroaring. Caught a lot of fish in the canyon, but the average size was less than 10 inches. The scenic canyon more than made up for the smaller fish and the death march back out.
Started the day on the Gardiner. Caught a few nice fish in the morning and lost about a 16 inch brown but decided that we would head over to Soda Butte for the afternoon. Fishing on the Butte started off well, but slowed as the day progressed. The high winds made casting about impossible in the late afternoon, so we decided to call it a day.
Hiked into Slough Creek to the first meadow. Pretty much had the place to ourselves as everyone else made a “B-line” for the second meadow. Caught some really beefy fish in the meadow before working our way up through the canyon. Good looking pocket water filled with some decent sized fish, but pretty spooky looking bear country. Caught a few more nice fish up in the second meadow before making the 4 mile hike back out.
Back to the Lamar. Another great day with the hopper! Not as many fish as the day before, but still a good number, and all were pretty big fish. Most cooperated on top to the hopper.
Last day…since the Lamar had been treating us right, back we went. Fishing started a little slow, but pick up some in the early afternoon. Caught a few nice cuts before deciding to make the trek back out and head over to the Gardner to look for some big browns at dark….and it didn’t disappoint. We caught several nice browns including one that was pushing the 20 inch mark. Still not sure how we landed the thing. Brad hooked him in some really turbulent water, ended up having to hand the rod off to me, so he could get around some willows, I handed the rod back off and he took off downstream under a bolder the size of a truck, but I managed to lift the line off of it and Brad pulled him into the shallow water as I scoped him in the net…probably would have been a good time to have the head cams running, but we did get some good video of him once he was landed.