Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Drew Decides to Make a Visit

Last Saturday morning, a storm rolled in bringing heavy rain which soon turned to a dense wet snow. What was to be 1-3 inches became 6-7. Behind the storm lay an arctic cold front. By evening the temps had dropped into the lower 20's. It felt more like February than October.

This would normally have been all good and well... we would have hunkered down and enjoyed the beautiful fresh snow. But my nephew, Drew Overholser, who is on the faculty at the Journeys School of Teton Science Schools was on his way from Jackson Hole. He had two high passes to cross: Togwotee Pass in the Absaroka Mountains and Powder River Pass in the Bighorn Mountains. What should have taken him a bit under seven hours turned into nine. We worried about him all day knowing how taxing that journey can be in a winter storm. He finally arrived blurry-eyed and tired a bit after dinner time .

We had planned on fishing Sunday, but we awoke to 17 degree temps and everything encased in ice and frozen slush. We soon punted and watched football. On Monday, I took the afternoon off and with pleasantly warming temps, we drove to a small ranch outside Buffalo, WY.

The water was very cold, but as the afternoon wore on, the weather warmed into the lower 50's and we finally got some fish to move. Drew caught some fish, I caught one of the most beautiful browns I have ever seen and we ended up having a great day. Thanks Drew for making the effort. It was a lot of fun!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Da' Bear

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. No animals were harmed in the making of this work.

I was asked to show a few more of the bear photos I posted on Facebook in late September. 
...And yes, it was quite an experience... 
Exhilarating and a bit frightening all at the same time.
Here you go...

Soooo... in September, on my way home from the FISH group, I went fishing somewhere on some river in some park. I'll say no more than that.
I hiked a bit upriver and stopped at a likely looking spot. I reached to unhook my fly when something caught my eye in the deadfall from the ’88 fires. I dropped my rod and hiked over to the edge of the trees and sat down.

I knew I had seen something… elk? maybe a bison?… probably not... too lightly colored. Then I heard a big snap. Amongst the charcoal and gray deadfall, I saw a massive silver rump rocking back and forth. It looked up and I knew immediately what it was. A BIG grizzly. The huge bear was pulling up massive logs and licking grubs from the exposed bottoms.

I hunkered down. With shaking hands, I fished my big lens out of my pack, slipped a black buff on it as camouflage and set it on a stump in front of me. I spent at least an hour photographing the bear. Even though I lost track of the time, I made damn sure there was no shift in the wind. The bear never saw me. It was a strikingly beautiful animal. 

As I was thinking of making my exit, a backcountry official (euphemistic term) spotted me. He was on the trail by the river hiking up the river valley. He walked over to me and I, with a single finger over my mouth, told him to be quiet. He joined me and pulled out a range finder. The bear was 43.5 feet away. The legal limit is 100 yards. 
He said, "We need to go."
I said, I know."
Then we spent 10-15 more minutes watching the bear. I told him I did not know his name and I was never there. He smiled. We left the bear to his grubs. He hiked upriver. I went to my car and continued my journey home. I never did fish that day.

Monday, October 8, 2018

FISH XVII: More Photos and Videos!

Some photos from Steve Moore. This was Steve's first time at FISH. Great meeting you Steve. Hope you can make it next year!





And a photo-bomb from Chad Sukurs. Well done sir!

And finally some great videos from Craig Heath. These really show off the ranch and the beauty of this area's rivers and mountains.
Ranch by Night

Floating the Upper Madison

The Firehole

Happy Hour



Ranch by Day

Monday, October 1, 2018

FISH XVII... The Classic Water


We visit the "Mecca" of flyfIshing, West Yellowstone Montana... 

FISH XXVII in the morning frost on one of the rafts.
Our headquarters for FISH XXVII

The annual FISH Trip (Forum for Indiana Subjects in Healthcare) just adjourned last week. This year was our 27th year... FISH XXVII! For this year's trip we chose as our headquarters the 9 Quarter Circle Ranch near West Yellowstone, Montana. From here, we could fish the Gallatin, Missouri and Madison Rivers and in Yellowstone National Park, the Firehole, Gibbon and Madison Rivers. These rivers are the “Classics”... some of our nation's most well-known, and in some case, exotic trout streams. Despite some of the rivers in Yellowstone Park being closed due to forest fires, the rivers we could access both inside and outside the park certainly did not disappoint.

A nice Cutthroat! 
Firehole River rainbow

Now this is a perfect day!

A 20' 'bow from the Missouri

It was great to see everyone and enjoy yet another wonderful fishing experience. FISH XXVII turned out to be a great group. We were a terrific mix of veterans and rookies. We meshed well and had a great time together. We enjoyed some great fall weather early and only a slight bit of rain towards the end. Some of our days showcased absolutely perfect fall weather with little or no wind under a cloudless sky.

A solid big bow!

Again, in order to access these classic rivers with the least drive time,  we headquartered FISH XXVII at the 9 Quarter Circle Ranch. The 9 Quarter Circle Ranch is 34 miles from West Yellowstone followed by a five mile drive up the beautiful Taylor Fork Road in the Gallatin National Forrest. The ranch is perfectly located to fish Yellowstone National Park and the many streams and creeks that flow through the area. We enjoyed comfortable accommodations in the form of rustic cabins heated by woodburning stoves and classic western meals. Our food was delicious, and the staff very accommodating! 

Here then is a photo essay dedicated to FISH XXVII. My thanks to all for a wonderful trip! Next year FISH XXVIII... I hope everyone can make it!

A little sage eau de cologne for this pronghorn antelope.

John Hoover works on a rising fish during our lunch break

John Hoover and a beautiful rainbow!

Dawn on another perfect day

Chad works on the permitting process...
...while I work on the daily fishing/guide assignments... with revisions!
Chad Olsen and Steve Peskoe fish just before the geyser in the backgound goes off. 
We were most certainly in bear country!
John David Hoover probes the Firehole and its crystal clear waters... geysers and hot pots gurgle and steam around him.

Steve Peskoe has a take on the lower Gallatin...
Steve Peskoe and "our" big brown. Steve found it and hooked it.. I somehow hooked it again on a "Hail Mary" cast after it got off.
A fatty!
And there it goes...

Enough said!