Sunday, June 28, 2009

High Stream Bonanza

Adam and I had planned a float for Sunday but the flows were still a little higher than we would have liked on the river. It was decided to alternatively head for a high country stream that can present excellent fishing this time of year on the dropping flows. Upon arrival I rigged up with a hopper up top and dropper PT and had a nice rainbow on the second cast. Adam was similarly into fish very early and he was on fire all day. It was amazing to watch him and sometimes I sat down and did just that. It was one of those field days where fish were taking the hopper or dropper all day long. Everywhere you thought was a good lie held fish and they were eating. Browns, rainbows and brook trout were all on the hunt and provided us with a truly blessed day on the water.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Dries In The High Country

A nice evening in the high country with trout rising to a pair of dries. The royal wulff seemed more popular than the para adams. I managed some nice high country rainbows and one little brookie along with the first couple splake of the year. The water was still quite cold and I packed it in when the rising fish stopped. An all together satisfying evening to be out stalking trout.

Arriving at the lake

One of the rainbows

Another high country scenery shot

A small brookie


Friday, June 26, 2009

Fishing For Knowledge At The Museum

The university is closing the Geological Museum here due to budget cuts and it has been a hot topic in town. It is one of the more popular attractions for visitors and residents alike. I decided to make a trip over and spend some time taking it in before access to this wonderful resource is either severely restricted or completely non-existent. The hope around town and campus is that the budget crisis will subside and they can resume operations but there is no timeframe or way to predict what or when that will happen. The fossils are world class and specifically focus heavily on Wyoming and the ancient life that filled our region over millions of years past. I am saddened to see it close.

"Big Al" the Allosaurus


Wooly Mammoth

The giant bird


Fossil Fish

Crocodile skull

Sauropod infant

50 million year old gar - fishing large duckling patterns probably would work

Horned Dinosaur


74 million year old crustacean - Crayfish patterns or buggers would have worked :)

Bite marks on the fossilized bone

Finally of course T. Rex

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Day Of Many Rainbows

I was able to get on the water at about 11am today and found the lake to be rather hot with consistent rainbow trout on beadhead PTs and midge patterns. The PT started as the hot fly then the midge gradually got better and better, eventually winning out. I never did see any callibaetis coming off but there were a few more damsels around than on Tuesday. It didn't seem to matter as I never had to switch off of my PT/Midge pairing. Almost every fish was in the 16-19 inch range and feisty leaping balls of lake fattened slob trout. At least one coughed up a large amount of snails. They are just gorging on everything in sight. A bit of a storm passed to the east and was cracking lightning but luckily it was pretty far off in the distance. Otherwise, I would have gotten the pontoon out of there. It was a fine way to spend the day, fighting rainbows on the three weight with a couple of Newcastles.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Quick Warm Water Trip

Hit a couple small warm water lakes just south of the border in Colorado today trying to find some bluegill or bass. I wasn't very successful as the algae at the first lake made fishing from shore very difficult (the pelicans were doing well though) and at the second lake I didn't have much time on the water as I had to go and pick up my wife from her meeting. At least I got to scout the waters and give them a shot. I will be back again for a more intensive attempt at some warm water species.

Lake one

Lake two

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Two Nice Lakes Trips In One Day

I awoke at 5am to get started with George on a nice plains lake that has serious rainbow trout fishing right now. The fish are very hot and run and jump as if on steroids. I was fishing my three weight and it proved for quite a day of battle. George and I got into them early in the morning with a slight chop on the water. It went flat as a pancake though and they were taking caddis on top but I couldn't get a rise to a dry. So I went back subsurface and when the chop picked back up so did the fishing. Shoe and Willi showed up and so did Eric later in the day. We had a hoot hitting fish on the indicator rigs and then holding on to try to land them. Most of the fish were running a very portly 16-19 inches and Eric told me later he had a 20 incher. I picked up my first bear river strain cutthroat on the year as the G&F must have stocked some in the area lakes recently. After the bite slowed and the heat of the day approached, we took off for an afternoon at a high country lake in pursuit of some bigger brook trout and to find a few suitable for dinner. At about 9000 feet in altitude this lake is doing quite well and provided us with good action for brook trout, more cutthroats, and some very respectable rainbow trout. Shoe, Willi, and I worked different methods but all seemed to be producing fish. A great evening in the high country unfolded with the weather holding up and cooperative fish. I kept a few of the brook trout as I like them as fresh as possible. The best brookie went an even 14 inches. Tuesday ended up as a great outing that felt like two full days worth of fishing packed into a single day.

Some of the rainbows from the plains

George floating the morning calm

Shoe floating the plains

Shoe taking on a fiesty rainbow trout

Bear River Cutthroat closeup

Willi working the water

Brook trout

Shoe looking happy with the day's action

Shoe battling a brook trout

Brookie clutch for dinner

Monday, June 22, 2009

High Country Lakes Have Cracked

A quick evening trip to one of my favorite high country lakes found it to be at about 90% open and the trout were on the feed, rising to my first and second casts of the para adams with the third cast finally resulting in a quick rainbow trout to start the evening. A slight chop gave me an advantage early on with the fish taking my larger adams without time to inspect it or worry too much about the size discrepancy between it and the naturals. Later on, the lake laid down flat and calm and all they were interested in were the tiny midges on the surface. I went subsurface with a hot head leech and took a strike or two and another rainbow before heading back down to town for a late dinner. A beautiful evening with the lake all to myself and nothing but the rustling pines to hear with the nippy chill of the high country air felt on my face.

Mountain lakes are finally open

Edge of the final sunlight near the lake

First rainbow to hand

Another nicer rainbow, none are monsters at 11,000 feet

Calm lake as I left for the evening

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Chairlift To The Skies And Ancient Seas

Faeron and I headed for a mid morning chair lift ride to the top of Freds Mountain at Grand Targhee to get a nice view of the peaks and the surrounding valley. It was a beautiful morning to be at the top and although the clouds came and went we had some great views. At the top of this mountain also lies the bottom of an ancient sea as evidenced by the fossils embedded in the rocks at nearly 9900 feet above sea level. Referencing the geological map for Wyoming it appears to be Mississippian era seabed (about 320 - 360 million years old) from my admittedly amateur investigation. I can't identify any of these really except for a piece of a crinoid in one of the photos. These are macro photos so they are fairly close up. I wish I had a little better scale in them. If you know what any of these fossils are please post a comment. I would be very grateful.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Jedediah Smith Wilderness Area

Floyd and I had Saturday morning free while staying at the Grand Targhee resort and decided to explore the nearby Jedediah Smith Wilderness Area as there is a beautiful creek that runs out of here into the local valley. On the way there, we spotted a nice cinnamon colored black bear. It was clear and strong and seemed to be perfect for trout. We could not find any present though and hiked our way in about 2.5 miles trying different water and enjoying the canyon. There were waterfalls on both sides of the canyon and at one point, you could see seven different falls from standing in a single place. We crossed several fresh avalanche paths from this winter that has taken out trees with snow still insulated under some of the debris. As we hiked in the wilderness manager was on his way out from doing some work on the trails and mentioned he had never caught any fish here or heard of anyone doing well fishing the creek. At least it was a nice day out and the hiking in the canyon was beautiful. I had never been here before and I am glad I got the time to stop and enjoy this wonderful place.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Guided Trip With Dad

Tetons in the distance

Dad and I had a meet up in Jackson for a few days with the intent of getting out for a day trip with a guide. I had not been on a guided trip before so this was a new experience for me. Initially, we were all set to float the canyon section of the South Fork but as is typical with fishing trips, conditions changed. Flows nearly doubled the day before our scheduled float. A quick alternative was devised and we were off to Yellowstone National Park to enjoy a day fly fishing for mackinaw and brown trout. We went out with Scott Smith as our guide and worked a popular lake and its channel with sinking lines and various streamers and buggers. The day was so enjoyable, we found fish, spotted wildlife, had varying weather from rain to full sun, a nice lunch and dad got some great casting help from Scott as well. Dad and I picked up our first lake trout of the year and both got a respectable brown trout in the mix too. Dad quickly nicknamed his monster headed brown trout "Madame Leech" as she had a few anchored to her. All good things seem to end quickly and as the day waned we headed for the boat ramp and concluded the float. Thanks to Scott for such an excellent time on the water. I can't wait to get back to the Jackson area and spend more time on the local waters.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Greenbelt Highwater

I went and attacked the edges on the greenbelt this evening. The river is over the initial flood level, limiting the amount of open movement I had without waders. The water was not as muddy as I would have expected with a lot more visibility in more of a tannin brown tone than actually being muddy. I rigged up the six weight with a bugger and went cranking along the slack water limits but didn't land any browns. I had one positive strike and saw some mini browns working midges on the surface in a back eddy. I just managed to get in some time on the water between storms. It has been very Seattle like with regards to moisture here in the valley lately. The red winged blackbirds were working hard bringing insects back to their nests. A nice evening to be out in the brief evening sunlight.

Swollen river

Outfit for the evening

End of the trail for me

Upriver view with the next approaching storm

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Plains Lakes, High Wind, And Not Quite Ice Out

I went out in the float tube briefly before the high winds pushed me off the lake. I spent the rest of the time between wind storms fishing from shore. There wasn't much going on. I had some light hits and managed to hook one cutthroat that escaped before I brought him to hand. The weather was spectacularly entertaining to watch. Storms were moving in on both sides of the lake. After I had my fill of the plains lakes I went up to check on ice out. It is not quite here yet. I took a few casts in the high country but didn't spot any working fish or activity. The creek up high was beautiful with the high snow banks. They still had cave structures formed over the water in places.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Quick Mountain Bike Tuneup

I got the mountain bike out and took a quick evening ride after the high winds died down from earlier in the day. The bike is old but still fun to ride even with its failing components and clumsy weight. This solitary red fox was out working the fields this evening and seemed unsure of what to make of me. He watched me intently until I began to move on at which point he continued his hunt heading the other direction.