It’s not hard to figure out what lake we went too. It’s in books and articles all the time, but it’s my pal Dan Swift’s (Danimal) favorite place to fish on the planet and he took me on my first trip here ten or so years ago. To him it’s sacred so I won’t mention the name. Danimal and I used fish this little gem early in the morning with ants and beetles till about mid afternoon. Then we would head for the famous Irma’s for lunch and beers. I don’t know if they still do, but they had one of the first big screen TV’s ever made. It seemed ancient. The picture was awful and the dust on the screen was thick. Whatever was on always seemed to be in the fog. Dan and I would have them put on the Cubs when they played their usual afternoon games. We loved it! After the game and several beers, we’d walk to Dan’s parents house only a block away and take a few hour nap then head back to the lake and fish mice patterns till 2 AM. We caught some ginormous brown trout! Those were the days. . .
The problem we faced yesterday was cloud cover and the ability to spot fish. You can blind fish lakes from shore but what’s spectacular about this one is walking along and sight casting to big fish. The fish are everywhere but you absolutely need to see them. Once you spot one of these brutes you drop some sort of dry fly about a foot in front of them. When it’s the right pattern it’s a blast to watch the trout accelerate and munch your fly off the surface. As if that’s not fun enough, then there’s the fight – these fish take off!
By the time we wadered up, it wasn’t only cloudy but it started raining. And for the next four hours we had clouds, rain, mud, thunder and lightning. If Dan’s parents still lived in Cody, we’d of been knocking on their door so we could go hang out at Irma’s till the rains stopped before a long nap. Instead, we walked the shores and experienced few chances and caught nothing.
On occasion the rain would settle and the sun would pop. But just as you saw your first fish a cloud would block out the sun and the trout would sneak away. It was really tough. I was in a definite continuation of Monday nights fishing slump. However, don’t give up and you will prevail, at 5 PM the final storm passed and at last we had sun. We could spot cruising fish. And at 7 the rainbow trout started to rise and although fishing still wasn’t easy, Don and I managed several nice rainbows including a spectacular leopard spotted rainbow. Unfortunately the girls got skunked.
Camping isn’t allowed at this lake and at 8 it was time to find a place to relax camp and have our usual camping feast. I don’t know the Cody area too well so I called another friend of mine, Marty Mononi, of Cody. Marty used to work for me in the fly shop in Jackson. He’s a well travelled angler and knows this area better than most. Marty suggested yet another lake about a half hour drive away with great camping. Marty even suggested we fish this lake because we might even like it better. I liked the sounds of that and off we went down muddy dirt roads truly into the boonies of central Wyoming.
By 8 Granny, Becky, Don, Sierra and I began fishing Marty’s lake. It didn’t take long to notice that this place was full of rainbows. The water was crystal clear and with sun overhead you could spot a rainbow in every direction. It was obvious today was going to be the day. I continue to work on my programs for the Fly Fishing Shows so I began my day taking pictures of rising trout. It’s a heck of a lot harder to get that rise on the frame than get that trout to rise on your fly. Soon into my work Granny missed a fish on a flying ant pattern I set her up with.
I walked over to see what was up and Granny was surrounded by nice rainbows. I couldn’t believe how many. Meanwhile far down the bank I could see Don and Becky also fishing diligently. They too were surrounded. That was enough. I packed up the camera and rigged up my Ross.
This is a good size lake. To walk around the entire lake looked like a nice way to spend a gorgeous morning so Granny and I set off the opposite direction of Don and Becky. We continued to see fish everywhere but they were by no means easy. The clear water gave them every advantage. I don’t know how many times they swam right up under my fly but refused it. Both Granny and I changed flies at least ten times. Finally, I landed my first fish of the day. Then awhile later I caught another. Granny who got blanked yesterday was getting a little ticked. I’ve never seen her change through flies the way she was but finally it paid off and she landed a nice one.
Just as Granny released her first of the day my friend Marty showed up, Marty and his two great Danes I should say. Marty and his entertaining pets joined us for the rest of our excursion around the lake. We continued to see and catch the occasional cruising fish. Then at last I cracked the code. I put on a Henry’s Fork cricket and almost every fish I cast too ate it. It was an absolute blast.
At 2 we returned to camp. We all had a celebratory beer with lunch and then it was time to go. Marty headed back to Cody. Granny and I headed back for what we thought would be a 4 hour trip back to Victor (it took nearly 6!) and Becky, Don and Sierra left for the three day drive back to New Hampshire. They left with smiles however even though vacation was over. They flat out had some great fishing out here!
I’m headed to the South Fork for the first time all year with my friends Gary and Cooper Eckman on Friday. Man, last year at this point in August we had at least six great SF days under our belt. Not this year with the high water however. Anyhow, stay tuned for some more fun reports.