August 13, 2013

Yellowstone Cutthroats and a new Canyon, part 2

This is part 2 of my recent trip into Yellowstone country. Part 1 may be seen here.

The next day, I decided to try a different part of the same river I had fished the day before. Access is difficult now matter where you try to go but I made it to the river and started fishing. Here, the river was wide and shallow; there were very few holding lies, unlike the water the day before. I did get into fish right away, but they were little guys 4 inches at most, and I knew there had to better water and better fish elsewhere.

So, after studying the map, I could see that the river exited a canyon just a few river miles upstream. Again, there was no direct access, but I could tell that if I worked my way through a serious willow-choked bog, up a very steep rock outcropping, I could cross country through the aspen and pine and cut off some mileage to get the the canyon. After studying all the options I decided it was my best bet to get into some respectable fish.

Getting through the willows was one of the hardest forays that I have done. It was like on Snow White -- the trees reaching out to grab me and bind me down. I made it through though, and with all my gear!!

Once I made it to the canyon I could tell that better water was in store. The river was a little more compressed, and there were occasional boulders breaking up the flow. Also, parts of the river were in shade -- that always helps.

As soon as I entered the lower end of the canyon I saw a nice lie tight against the north side of the river, just downstream from a boulder. I rigged up and starting working the fly through. Sure enough, in just a few drifts I hooked a 12 inch Yellowstone cutthroat. That was much better than an hour before!

The river was still pretty wide and low, but at least in this section there were some tight lies right against the north side.  It was these that I concentrated on. Over the next 30 minutes I took some beautiful fish.

I then moved upstream a ways because the water appeared to be more promising. At one reach I worked a spot where the river flow compressed against the bank. With the water being so clear, I didn't think there would be more than one fish under the riffle, but there turned out to be more! I'm always amazed how fish can hold in such clear water and not be able to be seen! I guess that's survival!

Anyway, here is a short video of that one spot in the river and the fish that came out of  it.

I'm glad I went the extra mile, so to speak, and hiked cross country to get to this new (to me) canyon. I'll be back for sure, as well as exploring other streams in the area.


  1. First five trout I ever caught were from the same pool casting to the same spot up against a tree trunk growing along the undercut bank.

    What fly was working for you?