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Wyoming Indian Summer, Part 1

Started by Damselfly, October 12, 2007, 18:15:17 PM

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Damselfly

I'm having a hard time believing that a week ago today I was hip deep in the Madison River in the blowing snow with fussy risers in front of me. My mind desperately wants to hang onto that as "reality", and this as the dream.

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I'd stayed in West Yellowstone and woke at dawn to a white-out and 5 inches of snow! While the few tourists in town seemed content to hang out in the fly shop and linger over breakfast, I grabbed two cups of black coffee and a few hard boiled eggs from the hotel, checked out, and headed to the Park. Since the ground hadn't frozen, the snow was just deep slush as I made my way, looking for a likely fishing spot. It was my last day of fishing before leaving from Jackson. Though the tourists didn't seem adventurous, the fishermen were- every pullout on the Firehole was occupied, and I settled for a spot at the end of the meadow section on the Madison. From the lot, I could see three other fishermen spaced upstream, including one working towards me, fishing downstream. As I suited up in the snow, movement in the field caught my eye....I'm sure the downstream-fisherman never knew that a coyote had bounded through the reeds to watch him from a short distance, then run back the way he had come. Yellowstone is a Park- but it is still also wild...
As the snow slowed and stopped, a short-lived blizzard of bluewing olives swept downstream, but the trout were focused on emergers and only an occasional brown or rainbow would grace my fly. I caught this brown on a BHPT and laughed as he tore around, acting twice his size. (My new waterproof camera for some reason, set itself in "Blue Mode", sorry, this is one of only a couple Madison pics that came out)
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Then after a long dry spell, when even the swirling trout had quieted, I cast the last of my big ugly flies- the #12 BH Softhackled Squirrel Caddis that JT refuses to tie- and as it drifted beside a submerged rock the indicator gave the slightest twitch and I set the hook....and my heart stopped. After such a long dry spell, was my mind playing tricks or could that possibly be a fish??! As the thought formed, the trout I'd hooked, obviously a brown- a very BIG brown- shook his head. I felt it pulse all the way to my elbow-left, right- it felt like your Grandma's poodle was on my line!- then the beginning of a surge, and ................*plink* the heartbreak of the line going slack. Nobody home. The brute had slid up just enough to cut my 4x tippet on the rock he lay beside. My waders took that exact moment to spring a leak at the outside of my right knee. Insult to injury. And I did what any one of us would do in the situation. I threw my head back and howled....then laughed. Then slogged back to the car for a Moose Drool.

But that's not where the story begins.....
It begins more than a week before, when I landed in Jackson Hole at dusk on Weds evening, with a huge, huge full moon rising.
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I met Sleepytrout & Flygirl for a great dinner at the Cowboy Bar (thanks guys, that was awesome!) and we swapped stories of their Snake River Cutts and my possible painting commission on the plane, and planned to meet for fishing in the morning.
As I left the hotel to head to the Wildlife Art Museum, a car parked in the front spot caught my eye and I did a shocked double-take. A blanket I'd designed almost 13 years ago lay folded neatly in the back window! Not only was I surprised to see my design, but the same thing happened last year in Butte! Two trips, two different blankets from the past.
After a quick trip to the Wildlife Art Museum where I dropped off my application for next year's Western Visions show and had a very interesting conversation on Native American Spirituality/Christianity with a Native gentleman, ST, FG and I headed to Hoback Canyon South of town.
It was beautiful:
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but mysteriously fishless. And the water levels were less than half of where they'd been last summer.
Skunked there, we three drove the opposite direction to the Blacktail Ponds pullout to reach the Snake.

The drive was gorgeous
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And The Snake was inviting
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But here, the water level was higher than David & Susan had seen the day before, and risers had been pushed to unreachable water. Of the three of us, I caught a whitefish, losing three flies as the breezes dropped my backcast into the grasses- and the highlight was standing at the parking lot to watch the elk and moose come out of the willows far below. (Sorry, low light and long distance- I didn't even try to photograph them)


boondoggle

Awesome report.  Looking forward to more...


troutphisher

Very nice report!

One of these days I will make it out that way.

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

walt

sweet damsel...... sweet. thank you for sharing....

wally

"All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain."
— Cormac McCarthy

Oldman

When I get over the pics I will read the story. Maybe about Jan.


Woolly Bugger

Thanks for the sweeet report....

i've color corrected your brown a bit... hope you don't mind...

can't wait for part II ;hb

ex - I'm not going to live with you through one more fishing season!

me -There's a season?

Pastor explains icons to my son: you know like the fish symbol on the back of cars.

My son: My dad has two fish on his car and they're both trout!

Trout Chaser

What a great start...can't wait for  the rest of the story  0--0

TC


Damselfly

Umm...couldn't manage to stretch it a little too, could ya? ;)


jscagline

As always, a beautiful report.
Am I mistaken or are there going to be a few "pieces" come from this trip too?  I'd love to see them WHEN they do!

Thanks Lauri for the report and pics!

Jim

The truth hurts but not as much as a gas guzzling, eco wrecking SUV hitting you at 100 MPH!  Yeah baby, yeah!

troutjedi

Ah....the elusive Madison river blue trout.  A rare catch indeed!

Sooooooo......you came all the way up here and didn't look me up?  I am hurt  :'(


Woolly Bugger

Quote from: troutjedi on October 12, 2007, 22:30:46 PM

Ah....the elusive Madison river blue trout.  A rare catch indeed!

Sooooooo......you came all the way up here and didn't look me up?  I am hurt  :'(

uh,, she's seen pictures.....
ex - I'm not going to live with you through one more fishing season!

me -There's a season?

Pastor explains icons to my son: you know like the fish symbol on the back of cars.

My son: My dad has two fish on his car and they're both trout!

Damselfly

Darn Jedi, I'm sorry. Guess I have to come back!


brownhunter

Lauri,

Thanks as always. I enjoyed reading this and looking at the pictures, and like the rest, am looking forward to the rest of the story.

"Why, he wondered, did rich people call it sushi while poor people called it bait?"   -- Same Kind of Different as Me

Sleepytrout

Lauri,

Just awesome!

The pics of the moose (meese!) ;D and the "BIG" elk came out pretty well. I've not really had much time to work with them though....maybe I'll post when I get around to it.

Great report! Nothing like fishing in the "silence" of the snow, eh?

If fishing is religion, then flyfishing is high church.-- Tom Brokaw

FT

Charter Member Shenandoah Valley Irregulars


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