Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Dubois: Our First Day

When you live in Wyoming and the holidays are over and its January and 10 below zero and blowing snow and you're going a bit stir-crazy, you dream about those perfect fishing days in late summer. At the end of August into early September, the days are still hot, but the willows and aspen are just beginning to take on a yellow tinge. At the end of summer, the streams are low and clear, the fish are hungry and eager and the dry fly fishing can be superb.

When you plan a trip for these days, you hope you get it right. You hope no early fall storm dashes your dreams. More often than not, your luck holds. But the days before your departure day are filled with anticipation and a bit of anxiety fueled by those rare years when things didn't go as planned. 

Last Thursday, Tony Wendtland and I left Sheridan for Dubois, Wyoming. We trailered Tony's 4-wheeler hoping to get in two good days in on remote streams he has fished since high school. We were not to be disappointed.

We drove west through the Bighorns, up Wind River Canyon, turned right at the struggling town of Shoshoni eventually arriving in Dubois in time for dinner and a beer. 

The next morning, we were up early and headed to Cathy's Cafe for a cup of Joe with some of Tony's cohorts before heading out of town to fish the Wind River. Tony's old friend, Lynn Stewart, followed us up into the high country until we could go no further and it was time for us to transfer from pickups to 4-wheelers. 

After a 30 minute scramble over rocky saddles and down steep hills, we reached what may be the most beautiful trout stream this side of New Zealand. Wide gravel bars filled the valley. Yellow stone walls dotted with pines framed the rocky bars until they met dark spires of volcanic rock off in the distance. Through it all ran a perfect stream. Turquoise pools, long riffled runs, steep graveled banks and long pine-shaded corners gave one a strong desire to venture upstream around the next corner. 

Lynn headed downstream and Tony and I headed up. We planned on leapfrogging some runs and fishing together on others. Our fishing was slow at first. We coaxed a few fish to the surface on small hoppers, but it was predictably slow. Then we noticed a few big drakes slowly buzzing about. It was 10:00 am. From then on it was game on!

Tony and I picked off fish after fish while wading from opposite sides of this run.

Over the next few hours, we picked off rising fish. Large trout sipped, rolled, swirled, followed and otherwise chowed-down. If we hadn't known the predominant species in this stream, we could have easily guessed by their distinctive behavior. This surface feeding "dance of the cutthroats" is mesmerizing with each crazy rise form guaranteeing you'll make "just one more cast" no matter how late in the day it is. I have no idea how many 16-19 inch cutthroats we caught. Plenty would be the answer!

Soon it was time for another bouncy 4-wheeler drive out, followed by beers, dinner and a bad James Bond movie. Again, perfect!

Nice try, but this is actually public land.

Next post:
The next day was somehow better than today!

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