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Thread: Bechler Meadows and Bechler R. (Yellowstone) FAIL!!

  1. #1

    Default Bechler Meadows and Bechler R. (Yellowstone) FAIL!!

    Okay NAFFF fans, I thought I'd never post these pictures because I was so disgusted at my effort. I made my first ever march into YNP a few years ago, and it was an embarrassing disaster. As many of you RM forum folks know, I am a huge fan of Rich Osthoff's RM book and love to hunt down many of his destinations. One of them was the Bechler River in southwestern Yellowstone. He talks of huge rainbows in the Bechler Meadows but warns they are some of the spookiest fish he's ever run into in the Rockies.

    Well....I said, "I am ME!!! I shall overcome and dominate this drainage!!!"

    NOPE!!! This place got the best of me like I'd been had in a joke or something. All I can say is that I walked away feeling like the most humbled be-yotch in FF history. I picked late August to make this trip because of the potential of biting insects in this drainage. I made the seven mile hike easy-nuff (I chose the long way from Cave Falls), but when I arrived at the river it started raining cats-n-dogs for 12 hours straight. They don't call it the Bechler Meadows for nothing.......these meadows have the most tallest grass of all times! I arrived to my designated campsite late in the evening and immediately set up camp in the pouring rain, which lasted all evening. I awoke to a bluebird day, and started to explore around my campsite. The previous night's rain had left the ground and tall grass saturated. Only then I realized I had haphazardly forgot both the leggings to my hiking PANTS, and GAITERS, and WADERS back at the trailhead. Here I was in the middle of high grass heaven.......yet I had no leggings or gaiters (waders are of no use as per Osthoff..the river is easily fished from shore so I left the waders back at the TH).

    So here I was......surrounded by waist high, water-dense grass with no clothing protection. MY FIRST TRIP TO YELLOWSTONE WAS NOT GOING WELL!!!. I pulled on my long johns under my hiking shorts, laced on the hiking boots and off I went to explore the Bechler. If any of you have read Osthoff's description of the Bechler, he warns of the spook-ish nature of the Bechler rainbows. MY GOD!!!! Could there ever be a harder fish to pinpoint and catch???? Just like he says in his book, Osthoff is 100% correct about the spooky rainbows and the dry fly presentation on the Bechler. Whenever I was able to spot a rainbow (extremely difficuly due to the river substrate), they bolted faster than a turkey on Thanksgiving. If and when I ever did pattern a nice rainbow holding deep in the river, the current was so hard to present a fly to.........HATE TO SAY BUT I JUST GAVE UP!!!!

    Then there was the fact that I was walking around in waist deep, saturated meadows. Within a day's exploring, my lower half was saturated in didn't take long before I said, "EFF this!!!! It sucks!!! Why am I doing this?!?!!? I am so uncomfortable..........I GIVE UP!!!!!!!"

    Even after a full day of sunshine, the grasses were still saturated like a sponge from the previous days' rain storm. Again, "I GIVE UP!!!!"

    The fish were way too smart for me and the ground was way too saturated for my gear. I don't wave the white flag very often in the wilderness, but in this story I have no problem admitting defeat.

    YNP = 1

    ME = ZERO

    Here I am in my long johns and shorts (no long pants) in the dense, wet grass...........I didn't last too long.

    The Bechler Ford

    My campsite

    my campsite on the best part of the bechler....right on the ford, yet this river made me hiking off 100% defeated

    the Bechler Meadows

    On a side note, the camping and fishing right outside of the park boundary at Cave Falls is lovely.

    Last edited by countr21; 02-18-2014 at 05:22 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Languedoc/near montpellier
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Bechler Meadows and Bechler R. (Yellowstone) FAIL!!

    Great report!!!it's not a defeat...that's fishing....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Southeast Idaho

    Default Re: Bechler Meadows and Bechler R. (Yellowstone) FAIL!!

    Sounds like a learning experience. It will go better next time, because of this time . You know you're going back. Enjoy !
    " I'm just a cook " Casey Ryback, Under Siege

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Red Lodge, MT

    Default Re: Bechler Meadows and Bechler R. (Yellowstone) FAIL!!

    Great looking area though, even in defeat if adventure is your game you at least scored.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Bechler Meadows and Bechler R. (Yellowstone) FAIL!!

    Quote Originally Posted by siege View Post
    Sounds like a learning experience. It will go better next time, because of this time . You know you're going back. Enjoy !
    Heck yeah, I'm going back!!! You said it!!

    When I get beat down like that, you know I gots to get back in there and tangle with an 18" backcountry 'bow!!!!!

  6. Likes shortyb liked this post
  7. #6

    Default Re: Bechler Meadows and Bechler R. (Yellowstone) FAIL!!

    Quote Originally Posted by shortyb View Post
    Great looking area though, even in defeat if adventure is your game you at least scored.
    Even though the Bechler smacked me down like some kind of rag-doll, the experience was something else......until that trip I had never stepped foot into YNP and not since. Through the years, I've spent a couple of hundred nights in the backcountry of the Rockies. Yet, this place just presents an aura about itself that is indescribable. The sounds through the two nights I spent there was amazing. I'm pretty sure I heard wolves howling and a flock of cranes (that I never saw) trumpeted loud noises almost constantly. At first, the trumpeting was getting annoying, yet halfway through the trip I was annoyed when they stopped...........and then there are those endless, flat meadows.

    The Bechler is unlike any part of the YNP, but I walked away from the place feeling something special inside of I was walking in the footsteps of Lewis & Clark or something (I know they never came here), but YNP just hit a nerve with me that I'll never forget.

    As they always say, "it must be something in the water!!!"

  8. Likes shortyb, cpiercem, mcnerney, dharkin liked this post
  9. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Pinedale, WY
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Bechler Meadows and Bechler R. (Yellowstone) FAIL!!

    Great trip report and photos! Sorry things didn't go better for you. Your story of the heavy rains and TALL grasses reminds me of a lot of the summer fishing in Alaska, boy can that grass grow tall with all that sunlight in the summer months. I how you go back for a revenge trip!

    Your story takes some of the sting out of today's trip down to the Green River where I got skunked. I just knew better than to go down there with the forecast high of 27 degrees and a 31 mph wind, but I needed to get out of the house........I knew I was in trouble when I reached the water this morning and the wind was already up. Even with my fingerless gloves I couldn't keep the hands warm, felt like I was on the verge of frostbite a couple different times, and had to jump in the car to warm up. The winds just kept getting stronger and stronger making casting very difficult and I was just miserable, finally gave up and drove home.


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  11. #8

    Default Re: Bechler Meadows and Bechler R. (Yellowstone) FAIL!!

    Hey Larry, at least you got the stones to get out there and give it a whirl. That's better than the rest of us on a super cold day!!

  12. Likes shortyb liked this post
  13. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Carmi, S. Ill

    Default Re: Bechler Meadows and Bechler R. (Yellowstone) FAIL!!

    I feel your pain. I have fished the meadows a number of times and those wild fish are way off the dial on the ol' Spook-o-meter! I can honestly say I've never caught a fish there on a dead drift, for all the reasons you have mentioned. Dry or wet. However, they can be caught. The first time I went I met another fisherman on the river - the only time I've met another fisherman on the river. He said he had caught some fish, but it was a little unconventional. He used a 3wt (for stealth) full sink line on a 5wt rod (for some fish-fighting muscle), positioned himself well ABOVE his target, cast as far across the river as he could, then swung a #18 nymph into the target zone. If he didn't get a hit on the swing, he started a hand-twist retrieve straight upriver along the undercut bank. He said he didn't get a lot of hits, but enough to keep it interesting! This was back in my college (broke) days and I couldn't afford such a specialized setup. I improvised by using a long leader on my floating line and tying on a small, heavily-weighted streamer. I did as he did and caught a few fish each time I went to the meadow after that. I didn't tear them up, but caught some. I hooked a few good ones, but never could land them. Those fish fight like Muskies - there's no quit in them.

    The Bechler Meadow is hallowed ground to me. Walking in from the ranger station is almost like a pilgrimage! I'm glad it's so out of the way and the fish are so hard to catch - it keeps the rabble at bay.

    Good luck on your next trip. I hope this helps.


    PS: For a little more conventional fishing in the area, the Bechler/Falls River stretch between the south end of the meadow and Cave Falls can be very good. A little steeper gradient with riffle-pools and pocket water, as well as some nice deep runs. Pretty much have to bushwhack for access.

    PPS: You probably know this, but there is plenty of bear activity in this corner of the park. Take the usual precautions, +1.

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