Stalking trout with dry flies. Floating, wading, and camping along the rivers. Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Winter trips to Mexico.

Jul 17, 2016


32 days, 11 waters, a few flies, two spools of tippet, and a broken leaf spring repaired in Livingston.  I caught trout in 8 of the 11.  Browns, 'bows, Yellowstone cutts, Colorado R. cutts.
This is my "big trip" of the year for trout fishing.  A whole month straight.  Opening of the Ranch, Drakes and other big bugs, PMD's on nearly every water, the longest days of the year, familiar waters, "the creeks," and a few side trips.  It has a totally different feel than the fall trip of similar origin and duration.  This one is more lively.  Its a weird feeling now, still buzzing from all the fun, but knowing its now an 11 month wait to do it again the same way.  I look forward to it from the minute it ends until the minute I leave again next June.  Sure, I have a lot of summer and fall fishing ahead, but this one, from mid-June to mid-July, is the one I remember and anticipate the most.  You could say I live for this 4-week period.  My 2017 reservations for the creeks are made.  My calendar is cleared.  I just hope I'm still here and can do it all again in 11 months.  I will be motivated by the anticipation in the meantime.
I took 10 rods, 4 glass, 6 graphite.  Used 7 of them, incl. all 4 glass. 
This spot always gets me.  Where SW Wyo. desert turns to NW Wyo. mountains. The trip starts at this second. 
Over the hill and around the bend, and there it is.  Nothing but green, trees, trout, and paradise in the distance
Then over the pass and on down into SE Idaho
And the first rising fish on the first evening on the 'Fork.
Things have changed in the last couple years for this trip.  I once fished the Beaverhead and Poindexter Slough for a week or more on this swing through the golden triangle, but this year it was only a couple brief stops that were mostly disappointing.  "They" have ruined Poindexter's for the most part with their stream "reconstruction," "enhancement" or whatever you call it.  I call it ditch digging and trashing.
The water quality in the Beaverhead is also not good lately.  Releases from Clark Canyon Dam are of cloudy, dirty water with low visibility that have reduced the number if rising fish greatly.  Some say its lower water, others don't seem to know, but it sucks.  I once really loved spending a week or two in Dillon, but a night or two is more than enough now.  The shops call it "Beaverhead clear."  Right.  It used to flow very clear.  Maybe the low flows of fall will bring some fish back to the top and some clearer water.
The same can be said for my favorite trout river on the planet, the Henry's Fork.  For some reason, the daytime hatches weren't that great during the first week of the Ranch opener.  Too many Franklin Gulls eating the bugs as they hatch over recent years?  One Foundation board member said he thought so.  The Brown Drake fishing in the evening was spectacular though.  On the way back home I stopped at the overlook at the top of the Ranch. The river roared at 1600 cfs, and visibility was about a foot.  I moved on.  Fly shop reports used words like "challenging," "sparse," and "terresterials."  That means it sucks.  The 'Fork suffered from high and dirty water last summer as well.  I don't remember this in recent years past.  Hopefully the fall Mahogany fishing is good.
However . . . The Missouri again showed why its the best dry fly river in the country.  Big hot fish that test your skills ("techy" the shops call it).  Fish that reward good flies and presentations, and scream well into the backing nearly every time.  Flows remained constant, grass/weeds weren't a problem, and bugs were just plentiful enough to keep the action going. 
Pretty much "there!" when you go around this turn, into the canyon.
Shady camp upstream from Wolf Creek
PHD Island, a favorite evening bite spot.
Not a bad view from the "bedroom" window
Number one spot, riverside, at the bridge.  Ready for launch.
Been fishing with this guy for 36 years!  Friends for life.
Our first big road trip was in 1984 to the Fork, in my little Toyota pickup with no A/C, no place to sleep, filled with stuff in labeled cardboard boxes.  We wore neoprene waders and used shitty flies we tied on the steering wheel.   Now its usually the MO and creeks.  But he still ties on the steering wheel, and sleeps in the back of his truck.  I've gone soft.
The Livingston creeks are always good in summer and fall, I just happened to hit them really good this year, and the cooler weather helped.
Camp on the banks of the Yellowstone, 8 mins. from the creeks.
Westlake Goes Glass on Armstrongs!
And Depuys
It works!
The Creek on the River.
And what about Silver Creek?  Hell, I never made it over there.  I had the week, but stayed in SW Montana instead of heading west.  It worked out great with the last 3 days of fishing I had.  Maybe next year I need 5 weeks though.

Coming Home (7-15)

What a perfect way to end my month-long trip.  Just a few hours from home, down the stretch.  Sometimes we tend to forget the greatness of closer waters.  This one's just far enough away to be a destination rather than a day trip, but I can do both.  Today is the best day I've ever had here.  PMD's and some yellow sallies kept the fish looking up on the first walk-through.  The big one got away after quite a show and rodeo.  They were all big though.  This spring creek is free, close, and I didn't see anyone.  Browns, Rainbows, and Cutthroats. 

Jul 14, 2016

Madison Quickie (7-14) 850cfs

Happiness is a side channel on the Madison at sunset, and I was there a few hours before sunset.  Left Livingston, headed to the 'Fork, and its right on the way.  A no-brainer.  It did not disappoint.  Just as the sun went behind the hill, the trout came to the surface.  I never saw a pmd, only caddis swarming about and a few mosquitos buzzing.  The channel fish love the spinner at dark though.  Note to self: Next time cut back to 4X from the start!  I lost some good fish in the cut bank, around willows, and zipping up and down the fast current with the 5x, which happened to be tied on from the Missouri.  These Madison fish were hot.
9:45 pm.  Gotta love MT summers

Jul 13, 2016

Depuys Return (7-13)

The available rods calendar showed today available for one, and leaving the MO, I couldn't just let that go unclaimed, could I?  Just 10 days following the best day I ever had on this creek, with favorable cooler weather. (It snowed above 8,000 feet two days ago!)  No wind, cloudy and overcast at times, a high of 70, and just enough PMD's to keep some fish rising non-stop from 8:30am to 6:30 pm.  Couldn't really have been any better.  Best ever.
Brief shower