Fishing Far Surpassed Expectations

September 15-18, 2011

We woke up to clear skies and the thickest frost I’ve seen in years last Thursday.  In fact, remember that wet meal we ate Wednesday night?  Our plates were solid ice blocks when we woke up.  Even the flies on our rods were frozen popsicles for fish.  We had to chip them loose from the rod guides.  But the sun was out and things could only get better for the rest of the week.

Once things thawed, including us, we pounded the fish around camp until about 2 PM that day.  Although most the fish were small browns, everyone managed to catch at least one 16 incher and they were all on dry flies.  You can’t beat that!  By then it was 70º already and we broke down camp and migrated north into the Bridger – Teton National Forest where we could fish the headwaters of the same river.  This area also gave us access to many tributaries and even some lakes.  There’s no way my college pals could get bored or run out of water even in the four days we had left. 

I hate to put four days of fishing in one blog, but with more camping and fishing days ahead without internet access its best I get this done tonight.  All I can say is these last four days far surpassed my expectations.  I simply wanted to show my Midwestern college friends a good time with some reasonable fishing in a gorgeous place.  On the very afternoon we arrived at our new camp we had great fishing.  This is a camp I’ve stayed at before and it’s absolutely spectacular.  It’s right on the river, there are peaks in every direction, the elk are bugling and fish rise all the time.  This week was no exception and before we even set up the tents we observed several nice rainbows feeding.  Travis of Iowa was first to pursue the risers.  He waded right out and on the third cast he hooked and landed one of the nicest trout of his life.  It was a thrill not only for Travis, but the rest of us enjoyed watching the whole experience unfold before our eyes as we sat in our lawn chairs sipping beers.  Fun!

That was Thursday.  On Friday morning Mark, also of Iowa, climbed from his frosty tent and made some casts to warm up.  The sun had barely risen and most of us were still hunkered down in our sleeping bags.  Sure enough, Mark got rocked by a nice brown.  Again, these guys from Iowa don’t have trout fishing like I’m spoiled with and this chunky brown will go down as one of his most memorable. 

Friday night got about as cold as I like to deal with when it comes to camping.  Call me a wimp, but as I get older, temps in the teens aren’t that appealing for sleeping out.  I tell you, walk ten feet from the campfire and it aint fun.  And in the morning, good luck getting your waders on.  They are always frozen solid.  But once the sun rose Saturday the temps skyrocketed and before we knew it was back in the 70ºs. 

Mark Rieser and I fished together all day Saturday.  We actually planned to fish a mere four hours then return for lunch with everyone, but the fishing was so good our four our jaunt turned into a ten hour full day of fishing and hiking.  The situation was simple, the first hole that I fished produce a huge rainbow of about 18 inches.  The fish absolutely smoked my 4-weight Ross rig up and down the river with several jumps mixed in.  Once I got him beached I couldn’t help but stare at how pretty he was.  His speckles were amazing to say the least.  There were millions of them and they were all over his body including his pectoral fins.

That rainbow wasn’t the only great fish yesterday.  Mark and I just kept on walking – probably four miles of river.  And every pool, run and bend produced a surprise.  We caught several more nice rainbows, a couple of big browns, a huge cutthroat and even a fall colored brook trout.  This place has everything.  However, the most memorable moment of the day was not catching fish, but rather witnessing some serious fish carnage.  While I was rapidly stripping in an 8 inch trout that I had on, a huge trout, likely a brown but possibly even a monster cutty, ripped him off my fly and ate him.  Just seeing this massive trout whirl effortlessly through very fast shallow water and maneuver so easily will leave an impressive little memory in the back of my mind for a long time.  What I’ll never forget was that his eyes were as big as nickels and his tail like a broom.  He was so focused on stealing my trout off my line it was incredible!

Naturally, after my heart settled and I could think clearly again, I tore through my fly boxes in search of some sort of massive streamer.  I didn’t have one.  My streamer box was nowhere to be found. So instead I put on two huge Polish nymphs and started dredging the run in hopes I’d hook up with him. But no luck.  Evidently, once this big guy showed himself in the area, all trout went into hiding.  For the rest of the day I found myself doing terrible things like really taking my time to land the all the small trout I hooked and I may have even dangled one through a deep pool accidentally on purpose! 

After a few hours of fishing this morning, we are back in Victor, all cleaned up and ready for a night on the town.  Remember, this is a celebration with college buddies.  We graduated from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin 25 years ago and we are still great friends.  The plan is to search out a big dinner in a warm room under a roof after our four nights of camping in the cold and good bit of rain.  Then it’s up early in the morning so we can head to the South Fork of the Snake where we will do an overnight trip through the Canyon.  Expect a good report as I believe these college buddies have really brought along some fantastic luck!

That rainbow wasn’t the only great fish yesterday.  Mark and I just kept on walking – probably four miles of river.  And every pool, run and bend produced a surprise.  We caught several more nice rainbows, a couple of big browns, a huge cutthroat and even a fall colored brook trout.  This place has everything.  However, the most memorable moment of the day was not catching fish, but rather witnessing some serious fish carnage.  While I was rapidly stripping in an 8 inch trout that I had on, a huge trout, likely a brown but possibly even a monster cutty, ripped him off my fly and ate him.  Just seeing this massive trout whirl effortlessly through very fast shallow water and maneuver so easily will leave an impressive little memory in the back of my mind for a long time.  What I’ll never forget was that his eyes were as big as nickels and his tail like a broom.  He was so focused on stealing my trout off my line it was incredible!

Naturally, after my heart settled and I could think clearly again, I tore through my fly boxes in search of some sort of massive streamer.  I didn’t have one.  My streamer box was nowhere to be found. So instead I put on two huge Polish nymphs and started dredging the run in hopes I’d hook up with him. But no luck.  Evidently, once this big guy showed himself in the area, all trout went into hiding.  For the rest of the day I found myself doing terrible things like really taking my time to land the all the small trout I hooked and I may have even dangled one through a deep pool accidentally on purpose! 

After a few hours of fishing this morning, we are back in Victor, all cleaned up and ready for a night on the town.  Remember, this is a celebration with college buddies.  We graduated from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin 25 years ago and we are still great friends.  The plan is to search out a big dinner in a warm room under a roof after our four nights of camping in the cold and good bit of rain.  Then it’s up early in the morning so we can head to the South Fork of the Snake where we will do an overnight trip through the Canyon.  Expect a good report as I believe these college buddies have really brought along some fantastic luck!

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing Website

2 Responses to “Fishing Far Surpassed Expectations”

  1. Todd September 22, 2011 at 9:39 am #

    Jeff… This is a great trip report. I really want to do another trip to the Teton area now.

  2. Jeff Currier - Global Fly Fishing September 22, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    Thanks Todd. It was a great trip with great friends. I thought I was ready to return to the warm bed but I’d rather be camped again. Our weather is still gorgeous. I hope you make it back soon.

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