If you haven’t noticed yet, I don’t travel far in September. September is absolutely the most spectacular time to fish in and around Yellowstone Park. The weather is almost always a perfect 75º with very few clouds in the sky. We have plenty of PMD’s, Mahogany Duns, drakes, hoppers, fall stoneflies and the list goes on of trout foods. That’s why the Jackson Hole One Fly always occurs in September, the weekend after Labor Day.
Gary Eckman and I decided that today we needed to nail down our One Fly fly choices. That’s right – one fly. In case you’re not familiar with the famous Jackson Hole One Fly Contest, it’s a contest where contestants get only one fly a day. Not one pattern, but rather one fly. You lose it. You’re done. You pick a fly that can’t catch fish. You may as well be done. And with all the trout foods around in September there’s a lot to choose from and you need to make the best choice in order to win.
I’ve been involved with the One Fly for over 25 years. Until last years One Fly I rarely got to fish in the contest because there’s a huge entry fee. Lucky for me, Team Captain and great friend Gary Eckman generously sponsors me to be on his team, so rather than work for it, I compete in it.
Today Gary hired guide and long time pal Zack Payton from over at South Fork Anglers to float us on the Upper Section of the South Fork. Zack was top guide in last years One Fly so no better guide for us to fish with. All we really wanted to gain from today was to make a final decision on what fly pattern to use when we have our competition day on the South Fork. What makes the decision hard is that the riffles on the South Fork team with rising cuttys every afternoon. They rise for PMD’s and Mahogany duns but rarely eat the big terrestrials just because so many terrestrials drift overhead with hooks in them. So you might think the decision is easy, just fish a size 18 PMD, right? Wrong. It’s not that easy. Remember, you get one fly. Have you ever tried to fish one size 18 PMD for an entire day? It’s hard to keep and not lose the small fly at least a couple times in a days fishing, tougher yet, if you don’t loose it, will the fly stay together after you catch a dozen or more trout?
I think you get the idea. Luckily we had a nice day of fishing and Gary and I caught a bunch of quality fish. We were able to switch through some patterns and hear Zack’s opinion on their results. And I think we’re set on our decisions. I will be fishing a cinnamon ant size 16, the very ant that nailed that beast of a brown for me on Quake Lake ten days ago. You believe in a fly and it will do well for you – that’s my theory.
Tonight Gary and I and the rest of our team will find out what stretch we drew on not only the South Fork but also the Snake River in Wyoming. And we will find out who our guides are and the contestants that we will directly compete against. It should be a fun weekend. I’ll do my best to keep everyone updated. What I can’t update you on this weekend I’ll finish up on Monday. Stay tuned. . . .