Summer has zipped by once again. Sure there’s a few weeks left, but here in the Yellowstone Country nights have cooled significantly and our first frost isn’t far. It can only mean one thing; the Jackson Hole One Fly is just around the corner.
I’m fortunate to fish in the One Fly competition. It’s expensive to enter. I’m not sure what it is but probably about $5000 for a four person team. It’s a great investment however; you get three great dinners, wine and beer at parties and two days of guided fishing. Best of all, most of the money raised goes towards restoration projects for rivers and fish in need.
I’m a guest angler of Gary Eckman’s Good Times Team. I fished on Gary’s team in 2010, 2011 and 2012. It’s darn cool he includes me on his team and because he does, I give my soul to help win. So far I’ve done well but we still haven’t made the podium as a team.
This year I’ve been traveling but normally by this late in summer Gary and I have fished together at least several times on Snake River in Wyoming and the South Fork of the Snake in Idaho. These are the waters where the One Fly takes place. Although I know both well, it’s nice to “tune up”. Every fish counts and keeping your ONE fly (that’s all your allowed) on without losing it in a tree takes some practice.
Today Gary and I, joined by friend Andy Asadorian, floated the Upper Canyon of the South Fork. The South Fork hasn’t been fishing up to its potential for several weeks but we need to check it out regardless. Over the years I’ve chosen a small dry fly for the competition. I’ll probably do it again this year so I practiced with a small dry all day long. This choice destined for a long morning. I literally caught one 6” brown trout in the first four hours of fishing today. It wasn’t as bad as it seems though. Gary caught one whitefish despite trying every method in the universe including nymphing.
Andy chucked streamers and caught three fish. These were nice fish and nice fish add up to far more points than a few smaller ones. One of Andy’s fish was this hefty brownie that came from underneath a grass clump on an inside turn. The way his streamer was working caused me second thoughts on fly choice.
At 2 PM I was up to a roaring four fish less than 12”. If it was tournament day I would have jumped overboard. We approached a sexy looking side channel at the same time the first heavy rain in about two months hit. I had Andy pull over and I walked over to it. There he was, a nice cutty rose right in front of me. I made one cast and bam; I landed an 18” cutty. I made three more casts and caught another dandy cutty of about 17”. That was all she wrote. In fifteen minutes I landed five sizeable fish that would liven up any quality One Fly score. After today I’ll be sticking with the small dry.
While I was raking in fish in the upper part of this side channel, Gary was stripping a purple streamer through the seam where the channel entered the main river. These are always good places. Although the usually productive place wasn’t great, Gary landed this heavily spotted rainbow that also would have scored very high in the tournament.
It was good to be back in the boat with Gary practicing for the One Fly. Gary’s one of the most hardcore anglers you’ll ever meet and believe it or not he’s in his 70’s. He absolutely won’t slow down. I can only hope to be doing the same at his age. The next few days its back to work but I expect to get Granny out on the water for her days off Tuesday and Wednesday.