Photo of the Month: Evening Light in Dog Cove

Photo of the Month: Evening Light in Dog Cove

Friday, September 07, 2007

Yellowstone Day 2: Soda Butte Creek

Day two in Yellowstone was dedicated to Soda Butte Creek. The afternoon closure necessitated fishing earlier in the day and we were on the stream by around 11:00. We fished in the vicinity of Soda Butte and did well, mainly on terrestrials.

Things started out a bit slow for me as I was learning where the Cutts liked to feed and hold but once I figured out where they were, things became easy. It wasn't until just a little while before the closure that I discovered a deadly technique to take some nicer fish. It was really quite easy but provided a lot of fun and entertainment.

I positioned myself somewhere around the head of a pool where the riffle from above dropped off the ledge into the deeper waters of the pool. The best spot was where there was an eddy at the head of the pool. The fish would just stack up in there. The slightly off color water of Soda Butte Creek is really what made this technique work. After I had positioned myself, I would cast my fly just a short distance, never more than 10 feet or so. The goal was to have all my line off the water with just the fly touching. Once I got the fly (foam hopper) on a good drift, I would start tapping my rod vigorously enough to twitch the fly as it drifted through the whirlpool. The fish absolutely went nuts.

This technique accounted for my best fish which probably was around 15 or 16 inches. Unfortunately, the closure went into effect soon after I figured out this method so we had to move elsewhere.

After a quick lunch, we decided on fishing upper Soda Butte Creek above Icebox Canyon. This proved to be an excellent choice and we caught several more fish with most in the 6-10 inch range but a few nice 12-14 inch fish were mixed in as well. The best fly here was hard to determine. It seemed that once you caught a fish or two on one fly, it would no longer be effective. This kept me changing flies quite frequently. Another interesting phenomena we discovered here was that the fish were very hard to spook. Often, the fish would not hit on the first, second, third or even fourth drift. Sometimes it took 15 or 20 casts before a fish would rise. This was strange since I'm used to the willing fish of the Smokies where it is generally agreed upon that you give each spot a few casts and move on.

Despite changing flies often, several fish came to hand to complete a productive and interesting day. That evening, we decided we were going to make the trek over to West Yellowstone and the Gallatin River so we got to bed early. The next day would prove to be amazing...


  1. Anonymous1:57 PM

    I suspected the twitching dry fly might work. During our last few minutes on the Lamar last year, a hefty fly of some sort (looked like a big dragon fly) crashed to the surface near us. The thing proceeded to flop around like a drowning hippo. Trout went nuts! Several fish porpoised out of the water after it. Those fish wouldn't touch our flies, but we only had time for a couple casts. I vowed to try dancing a big dry next time we head out there.

    Great story and pics. I look forward to your next installment.


  2. Great pics! Keep em coming

  3. Hawgdaddy, it was like throwing in a real bug when I started twitching the fly. The fish went berserk trying to attack the fly...

    Alex, thanks for the kind words! I just checked your blog and really liked what I saw...I'll definitely be stopping in often...

  4. Great article David;sometimes you have to have a little patience with the fish before they decide that their like what your offering and sometimes as with bass you have to put the bait almost in their mouth before the'll strike it.Using different technics in the same hole till you find one that works well is good but alot of times it's just skill that gets results from the fish. Alot of nice scenery photos, I probably be destracted by the scenery and miss alot of fish cause of it.

  5. Anonymous9:52 AM

    You caught some beauties! Soda is a wonderful place. Gotta keep an eye out for the buffalo!

    I love fishing in a new place. Figuring out where the fish are holding and what they're feeding on, on that particular day, can be a challenge. It's amazing when you figure it all out, though. I'll always be seeking new waters. 3!!!

  6. Great post and great pics! Were you able to find any quicksand up there?

  7. Jon, speaking of! I stepped on what looked like solid ground and sunk quickly in before pulling myself back out. Only one foot went in but at some point in the process I lost my sandal. Needless to say, I spent the next several minutes up to my elbows or deeper in mud and wonder of wonders, I finally found the sandal...