Had a great month of July folks, with a few days on the Au Sable yielding small but numerous fish and more days out west yielding large and plentiful brown, rainbow, and cutthroat trout. So it goes for this time of the year when the big fish bite has shifted from daytime to nighttime and early morning here in Michigan. I like to think that going out west makes it easier to keep our rods bent with good fish all the way through the summer.
In the next few installments of the blog, I will outline our western trip, which consisted of approximately 8 total fishing days and two days of driving. Foregoing the names and stretches of rivers, I will tell you that we we split our time between waters in and around Lander, Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park for the duration of the trip.
After a 24 hour drive, you could say we were a little "stir crazy," to go fishing. So when we arrived in Lander, Wyoming we located the nearest "fishing licenses sold here" sign and practically dove in the front door to procure the proper documents. Not surprisingly, the shop wasn't exactly catering to fishermen, judging by the number of shotguns, rifles, pistols, and assault rifles that lined the walls. These guys were out for bigger game than a 20-inch trout.
After a little conversation, we took off to fish a well known canyon that holds both rainbow and brown trout, some of them very large. When we arrived, I found the water high. After a single cast and a fish caught, things were definitely looking up. Heavy water and giant boulders were the two keywords for the day however, and, though we caught fish, we were in rough shape from the tough wade and the long drive and we elected to push further towards another well-known canyon on a different river.
Making camp that night on the river, both Dane and I hooked large brown trout. Things were definitely looking up for the next day of fishing. Later that night, my good friend Allshouse pulled in and awakened me from my slumber. Thoughts of a big river and big trout filled my head as I drifted back to sleep.
The next day, I awoke at about dawn, and slowly stumbled down to the river. Much to my chagrin, big trout were rising everywhere. Scratch that. These were not just big trout. These were the biggest average trout I had ever seen rising in a consistent pattern. Unfortunately, none of the crew could put a hook into them and we decided to head downstream.
At the first stop, Dane landed two beautiful rainbows, Ken lost a beauty, and I lost two trout that put my "poop in a group." One fish made and indelible impression on me. When it rose to my stimulator, it literally resembled a salmon rising to a dry fly. It was easily 27 or 28 inches long. I have had dreams about this moment for a long time.
By the end of the day, we had hooked somewhere in the area of 25 fish, consisting of a mix of rainbows, cutthroats, and brown trout. None of the fish hooked were under 18 inches long! This fishery is now known by yours truly as "big fish canyon." We will be going back next year, when the cicadas are hatching ;). Fishing with an old buddy was as good (or better) than I remember, and I look forward to doing it again soon.
That night we departed for Yellowstone National Park. After a long day of trophy trout fishing, we were in a daze when we pulled into Yellowstone. After a mix up with our sleeping arrangements, we ended up hitting the hay around 2 o'clock. We would be up and ready the next morning, on the hunt for Cutthroat trout in America's first National Park.
Guess the trout...
Little river from our 2nd leg in Lander
19" rainbow from "big fish canyon"
Allshouse with a cutthroat
Check out that canyon...