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 Post subject: Western Trip Report
PostPosted: September 26th, 2018, 7:12 pm 
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Joined: December 5th, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 5305
Location: Manchester, ME
Just back from 10 days in Yellowstone. We mixed the trip up this year by splitting our week between Cooke City. MT and Island Park., ID.

Cooke City is perfect for my wife and I. Nearly unlimited wildlife viewing for her, and great options to fish the Lamar, Soda Butte, Slough Creek and some other waters I haven't gotten to yet, all within 45 minutes of our door.

This year's trip started with an adventure I do not want to report. After an uneventful flight and drive, on our first day we did the first light wildlife tour--Grizzly Bear, check. Wolf, check. Mountain Goat, check. Big Horn Sheep, check. We then hiked in to Cache Creek, about 3.5 or 4 miles. Cache Creek was low and I neither caught nor saw fish in several obvious holding pools. No bugs to be seen. I moved down to the Lamar below the confluence and took a few fish, but had to resort to indicator nymphing and wooly buggers to do it. Gorgeous walk with bison and antelope and mountains everywhere.

The adventure came on the walk out, where Dee Dee was not feeling well. We slowly made it back to the car, and when she took a shower she noticed some hives around her waist. She gets that sometimes and they usually go away, so we didn't worry about it, until she passed out just as our dinner arrived at the restaurant. She said she wasn't feeling well, put her head down, and just fell over sideways. I caught her before she hit the floor, but she was completely out. The restaurant staff called 911, and both the local Cooke City emergency team and the Yellowstone National Park ambulance responded. I ended up following the ambulance all the way from Cooke City down to Cody, about 2 hours. (We had planned to drive the Chief Joseph Highway on this trip, but not in the dark with one of us unconscious.)

The hospital in Cody was the the best Emergency Room experience either of us has ever had. They diagnosed it as a severe allergic reaction that caused low blood pressure, and that lead to the loss of consciousness. They held her overnight and put her on steroids and Benadryl and she felt well enough to be released by about 7 am.

That put a damper on the early part of the trip--it was 2 days before she was recovered from the drugs and I caught up on sleep. We did get in a good morning of grizzly watching--2 adult wolves chasing a grizzly away from their cubs. I did a little fishing on Soda Butte close to where we were staying while Dee Dee slept off the Benadryl.

After she recovered, we hiked into Slough Creek's First Meadow, where fishing was tough. Not much was hatching, and I made several several tactical errors I won't repeat. I salvaged the day in one flurry of blue winged olive activity during which I took a cutt of about 18 inches and broke off one was that considerably bigger at the net. It took going to a 12' 6X leader and #20 soft hackle olive to take them.

The next day, she dropped me off in the Lower Meadow at Slough, which is usually crowded but I had it to myself. She took off to get mountain goat photos and I had several hours to fish. There were no bugs or rising fish to speak off. I moved a good fish on a hopper from a deep pool. 20 minutes later I moved a fish from the same spot--maybe the same fish--on a bugger. I tried several other streamers and couldn't move it again, so moved on to the bottom of the same pool and took a 21" cutt on a hopper dropper rig.

Amazingly, I still had the water to myself. At that point a large mayfly started coming off, and a pool below me lit up with rising trout. They were not easy. It took me 3 fly changes to find the fly they wanted, and it still took a perfect cast and drift to take them, but once I figured it out, I had 4 good trout in about 15 minutes. The largest was about a 19" cuttbow, 2 cutts a little smaller, and a fish that looked like a pure rainbow to me.

And then things shut down as soon as they had started, and the crowd showed up.

In Island Park, the goal was to show Dee Dee the Tetons. Hindsight says that's too far of a drive, but it's a spectacular drive. I fished a Snake River tributary--and a tributary to the tributary--and did OK on pure Snake River cutts, which look a lot different than the Yellowstone cutts I'd seen in previous years. Once again, I had to resort to nymphs and streamer to take fish, one of which was pretty good--maybe 18".

I hooked up with Ken B, Greg H, and Craig B for a day on the Bechler. Long hike in to a meadow, and again, we made some tactical errors we won't repeat. Beautiful water with wild rainbows. I got a couple of small rainbows early to break the ice. I think Ken was high hook.
We eventually moved down below the meadow into fast water, and I hooked one of the very few fish we saw rise down there. Nice rainbow that broke my hook, maybe 18". Not broke my leader, but literally broke off the bend and point of my hook. It was small BWO emerger that had in my boxes for a while, and I suspect the hook may have been weakened by rust. Craig took 2 in the 20" range from the same area, and Ken found another one about a half mile downstream. For me, it ended up being about 9 miles of walking for an LDR on one big fish and a few 10" rainbows. Still, I'll be back. On a day with a better hatch, it's pretty clear to me that meadow section holds some excellent trout.

My final afternoon, the Henry's Fork kicked my ass, as several people who are better anglers than I am suggested it would. I hooked a single decent trout, maybe 16", after finding they wanted a #20 BWO emerger, which only took me about 2 hours. It took me down into the weeds and shook off the hook. Another two hours on a different section of river eventually got me 3 rainbows, none better than 12", on the same fly. I never saw a big fish in that section. It took me a while, but by the end of the afternoon I figured out all the local anglers were ignoring the rising trout out in the open river and looking for bigger fish along the banks. I'd do that if I went back, but I didn't see anyone else hook or land a trout, and the few anglers I talked to had no better success than I did. It's probably the most beautiful trout river I've ever seen, and the waterfowl abundance made this duck hunter's heart sing. I'd go back with a shot gun any time and bring the fly rod to fill in the slow periods.

A highlight of the trip for me was the drive from Island Park back to Bozeman, which pretty much follows the Gallatin from its source down to the Bozeman. My next trip will include some time on the Gallatin. It's a gorgeous river. We also crossed an awful lot of good looking water on out way from Island Park to the Tetons, and I got a short glimpse of a lovely meadow stream that is said to be one of the last strongholds for Montana grayling. We went over there just to sight see--and it's gorgeous!--and I didn't have a Montana license. I will next time.


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 Post subject: Re: Western Trip Report
PostPosted: September 26th, 2018, 8:37 pm 
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FFIM Addict

Joined: December 2nd, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 3576
Location: T3R11
Quite a report and hopefully your wife is fine. Epipen next time for sure.

Big fish in the Henry's Fork hang just inches from the the bank as that's where the coldest water tends to be.

Good luck next time.

_________________
You see that dimple way over there? Well I couldn't hit it with a cruise missile.


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 Post subject: Re: Western Trip Report
PostPosted: September 27th, 2018, 5:21 am 
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FFIMer

Joined: May 29th, 2016, 6:46 am
Posts: 61
Location: Sebago ME, Errol NH
Jeff, I can't imagine the incident with your bride didn't have you quite shaken. I'm sure it made you appreciate the number of health care facilities here in New England. Two hour, yikes!

Great report, thank you for taking the time to write it. I wish the fishing had been better for you. Looking forward to following in your footsteps with my wife in a couple of years. Sounds like a romantic get away with some fishing thrown in. Nice job.


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 Post subject: Re: Western Trip Report
PostPosted: September 27th, 2018, 6:29 am 
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Joined: October 15th, 2003, 12:00 am
Posts: 1302
Location: Bangor
Glad everything worked out Jeff- yikes.... Thanks for the report. I'm headed to Bozeman on Saturday. My son has suggested that we want to drive to Harriman one day and fish the Henry's Fork. The house we are renting is right on the Gallatin above Cameron Bridge so we could not leave home waters if we so choose. Doing a day in the Lamar Valley, a day floating the stone, a day on the Gall; a day in West Yellowstone, rinse, repeat.


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 Post subject: Re: Western Trip Report
PostPosted: September 27th, 2018, 7:24 am 
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Joined: December 2nd, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 4073
Location: Ellsworth
Very nice tr, Jeff. I sympathize with Deedee. Food allergies are nothing to mess with. I’m violently allergic to shellfish, so I absolutely symphathize.

I’m glad you got to spend a day on the Henry’s Fork........I freaking love that stream. It’s really tough, but oh so pleasant when you figure it out. The best Flav Hatch I’ve ever seen was on the Fork.

The ne corner of the Park can be great. I haven’t fished there since ‘11, but do need to get back there soon.

Flights can be a royal, flaming, PITA, but are a necessary evil if one doesn’t want to spend days of windshield time getting there and back home.

Dave M

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"Fish the West every year. Life is short; and you'll be dead a long time." Chris Hutchins--2009


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 Post subject: Re: Western Trip Report
PostPosted: September 27th, 2018, 8:26 am 
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Joined: September 28th, 2003, 12:00 am
Posts: 2623
Great report Jeff. Always look forward to your reports. Love hearing about the wildlife your wife is able to photograph.Sorry to hear about her ordeal. Stuff like that can be really scary. But it will also add to the memories good and bad.

Ron

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The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of something that is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope.

Sir John Buchan


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 Post subject: Re: Western Trip Report
PostPosted: September 28th, 2018, 12:04 am 
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Wanna-be Maineiac

Joined: December 11th, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 2413
Location: Tokyo, Amsterdam, Paris...
Great fishing with you again Jeff. That rainbow you hooked on the Bechler was a beauty and one of the prettiness takes I’ve seen. AND, dude, you are a trooper! 8 miles on the trail is nothing to sneeze at and after what you have been through it probably felt like double. No complaining even after we stopped to look at water and you kept walking and talking!

Ken


Last edited by Ken B on September 29th, 2018, 12:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Western Trip Report
PostPosted: September 28th, 2018, 1:03 am 
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FFIM-aholic

Joined: August 28th, 2002, 12:00 am
Posts: 1356
Location: Standish, ME
Good times for sure! It was great catching up and sharing the Bechler adventure - nice fish and lessons learned. Not sure I remember the "stripping" Ken mentions - thankfully my back may have been truned. 1 more day of fishing then back to reality :evil: God I need to retire!


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 Post subject: Re: Western Trip Report
PostPosted: September 28th, 2018, 4:32 am 
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Joined: February 27th, 2002, 1:00 am
Posts: 1532
Location: Mercer, Maine
Great report, but, wow, what a way to start! Glad it all worked out.

Sounds like another memorable trip. Thanks for posting.

Kat


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 Post subject: Re: Western Trip Report
PostPosted: September 28th, 2018, 7:06 am 
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FFIMer

Joined: April 1st, 2010, 10:35 am
Posts: 292
Location: flatland and Vienna Me.
Glad that first part worked out OK and your wife was able to carry on. The rest sounds like a great time. Thanks for sharing.


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 Post subject: Re: Western Trip Report
PostPosted: September 29th, 2018, 5:09 pm 
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FFIM Addict

Joined: October 13th, 2002, 12:00 am
Posts: 3332
Location: Sidney, Me
When we went to Yellowstone, we took a couple of days and looped down through Jackson Hole. We got a nice view of the Tetons from the lake at the park and also from the top of the tram at Jackson Hole. Driving through Teton Pass was a blast for me, and we also stopped in at Big Spring in Idaho. Seeing a full blown stream blowing out of the ground with giant rainbows swimming around was quite a sight, although there wasn't any fishing allowed there. And we observed that there are apparently slobs everywhere, as it was kind of discouraging to see beer cans on the bottom of such beautiful clear water.

Edited to add - we also took our vehicle into the National Elk Refuge and drove way up a canyon on a switchback road to watch the sun set over the Tetons with nobody else around - that was definitely cool.


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 Post subject: Re: Western Trip Report
PostPosted: September 29th, 2018, 6:16 pm 
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Joined: December 5th, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 5305
Location: Manchester, ME
Teton Pass was really cool. Our day was long--we got sunrise coming up over the Tetons as we drove over the pass into Wyoming, and sunset over them as we headed back west into Idaho.

Big fire south of Jackson, and we could see that smoke plume roiling into the valley at Jackson Hole from the top of the pass.


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 Post subject: Re: Western Trip Report
PostPosted: September 29th, 2018, 8:07 pm 
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Joined: October 13th, 2002, 12:00 am
Posts: 3332
Location: Sidney, Me
So you did the loop, then. Yes, that would be a long ass drive in one day. I thought you just scooted down to Island Park and back.


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