Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Dubois: Day 2

On the morning of our second and last day, we jumped in the 4-wheeler in the parking lot of the Twin Pines Motel in downtown Dubois. We headed south past the cemetery and into the high desert. We buzzed across big sagebrush flats and long benches of bleached prairie grass. We only slowed down to cross dry washes or gingerly traverse steep cut hills.

This appeared to be the habitat of Bighorn sheep, antelope and wintering elk. It seemed impossible that there was a trout stream flowing through all this desert, but soon enough the trail stooped at a canyon. We set the brakes on our 4-wheelers and peered into the canyon. Large pine trees and cottonwoods were framed by red rock cliffs and undercut yellow limestone corners. Through it all ran an impossibly beautiful stream. We had arrived.

After rigging up, we strapped on bear spray and pistols. Grizzly bear are always a threat in this country and if they were to be found anywhere, it would be in the river bottoms. Properly equipped, we set off down a steep rocky bank. Once off the hill, we pushed though the bankside willows and stepped into the cold, crystal clear water. The stream looked perfect!

If our first day was great, our second day was somehow even better. The hatch came off on schedule at 10:00 am and every fish in the river wanted to get their fair share. Every pool, every bend, every small scoop or divot in the bottom held big cutts that were either actively rising or willing to rise to a well-presented fly. Most pools produced dozens of takes with often a half dozen over 18 inches. Tony and I were constantly hooked up. It just doesn't get any better!

By 2:30 pm, we were ready for some lunch, so we turned around and hiked back downriver. Downstream of our entry point, we found an old homestead on a bench above the river. The site consisted of a few small log homes with sod roofs and a couple old corrals. I questioned how they managed to survive in this harsh environment. It might not seem so bad in late August, but when it's 20 below in February, life would be very tough indeed. One mistake, an illness or an accident and it was game over...

But not for us, we climbed out of the canyon, motored back thru the sagebrush and grass to beers and steaks at the Cowboy Cafe. Life is good!


  1. I'd say "life is good"! What a great little trip. I want to go. Off to redfish for 3 days next week. You could've been there.