Thursday, August 8, 2019

Randy Blaine and I Go Off the Grid


Tuesday, I met Randy Blaine behind the Fly Shop of the Bighorns. We had planned a fishing day and the weather gods had smiled on us. Randy had brought the lunch (and a good one at that!) and I had done the logistics. We loaded up his Suburban and soon we were off on our "vacation" as Randy termed it!

After a few miles, we pulled off the interstate and headed north across the Wyoming border into Montana. 

No human tracks... lions and bears seemed to be the main traffic in these "parts"!

 

Nothing big yet by noon, but lots of fat and feisty 12-16" fish
  
After bushwalking our way though dense willows and deadfall, we found an untouched stream filled with trout just coming out of the shock of snowmelt waters.



Runoff had concluded a few weeks ago in Wyoming and here, just across the border, runoff had probably just slowed down a few days ago. All the stonefly shucks were brand new. Probably from last night. This would normally be the case in June, but here it is August and the water is just warming up!

The water temps were 52-54 degrees and the fish were gingerly flashing hoppers and beetles and the few PMD's we saw. They were very reluctant to eat and often required multiple drifts before one would commit. 

The fish acted like they had seen a lot of pressure, but I assure you, no one had been in here at all. We saw no tracks (except noted above). One had to conclude the fish were not in the feeding mode yet this year. But, with our 92 degree temperatures things will change fast now! 

Randy with a fat brown
In any case we caught quite a few fish, turned some monsters and had a great day on a beautiful stream!
Thanks for a great day Randy!

Friday, August 2, 2019

Wyoming Summer Dreams

Sometimes, you just hit it right... when you do, you are blessed with deep blue skies, temps in the upper 80's, dead calm conditions with fish eager to open lines of communication. These are the days we dream about. Especially, when the snow is flying and the streams are hidden under a thick blanket of freezer frost. 


Scott Sawtelle arrived on Friday night and for the next five days, we probed the streams that flow out of the Bighorns from north to south. We hit it just right. Run-off was a fresh memory so the streams were well-watered, cold and in perfect shape. We fished clear as a vodka tonic prairie streams lightly peppered with big browns and gorgeous ranches hidden in red sandstone canyons. We even fished a mountain stream loaded with cutthroats.

Our first stream was a bit off color due to a thunderstorm the night before. It fished best with slowly stripped, brightly colored streamers. Another stream evenly distributed takes on high floating hoppers then to be fair, on beadhead droppers.  I even had a two hour period in which a dozen 16-18 inch browns ate #18 caddis emergers. These eats were splashy and  dramatic epitomizing what any experienced anglers calls a "caddis take".

On the red rock stream, small hoppers fished next to the bank were lethal. Here, it was target practice and any bulls-eye was eagerly rewarded.

Here are some photos from our trip:

Day 1... streamers to big trout.


Day 2... Perfect day, beautiful day.



 


Day 3... Big browns on hoppers & droppers with a dozen beefy browns on caddis emerges thrown in.






Day 4... Red rock and dry flies. It was all about the take with 12-14 inch fish.

 


Last Day... off to the high mountains. Bows and cutts on small dries. Nothing better!