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Old 09-18-2013, 03:57 PM
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Default Yellowstone River Report

Greetings from New Mexico again!
I promised a report of some sort of my trip to Yellowstone. As you may recall, I was hoping to fish small streams but had no vehicle since wife and friends used it for their day trips. So, I decided to spend my time on the Yellowstone River between Sulpher Caldron and north of Fishing Bridge. Over the three days (Sept. 11, 12, 13), I'm sure that I walked a good 9 plus miles and fished mostly upstream (South, towards the bridge).

The water was clear and cold. During the 3 days, I only hooked 3 fish! Nevertheless, 2 of the 3 cutthroats were huge (probably over 24 inches long). The fishing pressure was not bad in this area since it seems that most of our fly fishing friends headed for the Northeast area of the park. I used large streamer patterns and dead drifted them most of the time. (However, I saw another fisherman who was stripping his streamer vigorously, so you might want to try each method.) Dark wooly buggers and JJ Specials (size 8-10) seemed to work for the limited action that I saw. I tie my JJ Specials with no legs, and they seem to be as effective, if not, more effective. I also prefer to tie them with a bead and not a large cone.

I spotted locations with several large cutthroats holding on bottom but was unable to get them to strike. I did try hoppers, smaller nymphs, and a couple other dry flies but wasn't able to entice them with those. In fact, I didn't see any surface action at all while I was there. I ran into a couple of guys from Vancouver and some other fishermen from other areas who fish the Yellowstone religiously every year. One fly fisher was an avid dry fly user, and we traded some flies. He and his buddy use a size 16 mayfly pattern with a gray body and separated wings and a long tail with 3 microfibbets.

Now, for those of you who like a good story, you may wish to read this one. It's certainly not a highly unusual experience because I've had it happen before myself. One of the large fish that I hooked didn't have to be released. Early during the first day of my venture, I tried a streamer below a large dead evergreen in the water next to shore. It had old dead pine cones and limbs still attached. During my first cast below the tree, the huge fish swirled at my fly but missed it or decided not to take it. I tried several times but decided to move on. Later on, I returned to the dead tree. This time, the fish grabbed the streamer on the upper side, and I hooked it well. I managed to play the fish for what seemed like 15 minutes; then realized that I was going to have to take drastic action because my fly line was hung up in the dead tree, with the fish charging around below the tree. You have probably guessed the end of the story; I had to wade out to my line (up to my crotch in my leaky waders). The second that I touched the line, the tippet broke; and my prize cutthroat went on its way back to the depths of the Yellowstone River.

Well, it was an exciting fishing trip, despite limited numbers of fish. And, it was my first experience fishing the Yellowstone (I say as I rationalize my small catch!)

It was Robin's and my second visit to Yellowstone. The first was when our three kids were 10-13 years old, I would guess. We stayed in the same rustic cabins near the lodge, which has a pretty good cafeteria. We are so fortunate to have such a beautiful national park to enjoy like Yellowstone.

Thanks again for the advice and ideas you shared! Happy fishing! Tom
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Old 09-18-2013, 04:03 PM
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Default Re: Yellowstone River Report

Tom: Sounds like you had a great time fishing the park, congrats! I'll take low numbers of fish for larger sized fish any day!

Larry
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