Photo of the Month: Autumn Slab of Gold

Photo of the Month: Autumn Slab of Gold
Showing posts with label Gallatin River. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gallatin River. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Diversity: Yellowstone Day Three

Gallatin River, Yellowstone National Park

After being fortunate enough to catch a big brown trout which was the fish of the trip, I knew that I needed a day to just explore. While I would like to think that my skill helped me to have such a great day on day two, in reality I'm just an average fisherman who was blessed to experience near perfect conditions and everything came together for that magical day. Not to mention that I have some great friends who have taught me a lot about chasing the large brown trout in places like the Gibbon River and even a blind hog finds an acorn every now and again. Thus it was that day three was as much a break to return to reality as anything. To fully appreciate the great day I had, I needed a normal day of fishing.

By this time, my friend Kevin had arrived for a couple of days on his way through to Montana for guide school. He needed to get into town for a couple of things so we decided to hit West Yellowstone for some Internet and errands and then roll up the road to the Gallatin. The good folks in Blue Ribbon Flies gave us an honest report. That is to say that they didn't act very enthusiastic and suggested that it was a bit late in the season for this river to fish well. However, the gentleman we spoke with also mentioned that he would be curious to hear how we did which suggested there was at least a little hope.

Undeterred, we headed north and soon found ourselves rigging up alongside highway 191 which runs through the far northwest corner of Yellowstone. I found myself ready before Kevin, probably since I had already been fishing for a couple of days and had two or three rods rigged and ready to go. Anxious to see what was happening, I headed down to the water. It didn't take long. A nice rainbow trout hammered a large nymph I was fishing. This is going to be good, I thought.


Remember that whole thing about a normal day of fishing? Well, in a normal day of fishing, a fish right off the bat is usually a bad sign. Turns out that it was a normal day of fishing. We worked very hard for a handful of fish. I did have the enjoyment of catching a cuttbow and whitefish to add a total of three more species to the list for my Yellowstone trip thus far.



Kevin needed to head on up to Bozeman for a bit so I headed back towards camp. Another late evening brown trout hunt yielded my fourth species for the day which was definitely awesome.


As day gave way to night, I had to pause and take it all in. The moon, approaching full status, reflected in a lazy meander of the Gibbon River near Norris Campground. The tranquility is something I would not have traded for anything. In the end, big fish are a blessing to be appreciated, but just as much so is the whole experience. All too often, I find myself so caught up in the effort to be catching that I forget to be fishing. As many of you already know, fishing is about a whole lot more than catching fish. I paused to thank the Creator for allowing me the opportunity to enjoy such a magnificent place.


Sunday, September 09, 2007

Crazy Timing: YNP Day 3


Crazy timing, a developing hatred of whitefish, and unreal brookie fishing all made up day three of our Yellowstone adventure. The previous day we decided that a trip over to West Yellowstone and Blue Ribbon Flies was in order. In the process, we hoped to check out the Gallatin River.

We got a reasonably early start and headed west without too many delays. Anyone that has been to Yellowstone knows that what looks to be an hour or two long drive can easily be twice that with all the traffic jams where the tourists gawk at a buffalo that decided to park on a nice piece of pasture immediately adjacent to the highway.

Thankfully, we didn't run into that situation much on our way and were soon in West Yellowstone at Blue Ribbon Flies. We went into the shop and were immediately in heaven. This shop has the best large selection of traditional tying materials I've probably ever seen. The selection of hair and feathers was astounding not to mention their patented Zelon. After browsing for altogether too long, I finally decided it was time to get out before I saw all my money depart my wallet. I made my way up to the counter to pay where a gentleman with a slight southern accent was conversing with the guy at the register.

Standing there listening and waiting my turn, I started to realize that this guy looked familiar and then he mentioned something about "back home in Tennessee." In amazement I asked, "Are you Hugh Hartsell?" We had known that Mr. Hartsell would be out there but hadn't expected to see this excellent guide from Tennessee. After all, it is a huge area out there and the chances of running into him were extremely small. Incredibly, he answered in the affirmative so we had the pleasure of spending several minutes chatting with him about the fishing he had been doing in the area. He informed us that the Gallatin was off color which was a bummer since we were planning on fishing there. He also mentioned that he thought the Gallatin was the best option for good fishing in the area based on his experience so far. Still in shock over the unbelievable timing it took for us both to be at BRF at the same time, we eventually said goodbye as his wife was waiting on him.



After finishing up at Blue Ribbon Flies, we decided to head up to the Gallatin anyway. It turned out to be a good decision. We got there and while the water was cloudy, it was still fishable as long as you could cast in the increasingly gusty wind. I started out fishing hoppers figuring that surely the strong wind would be blowing them into the water but I couldn't rise a single fish. Soon after, I switched to a Tellico nymph and things improved drastically.



The first few fish were chunky hard fighting rainbows that put on a great aerial display. Then it happened. My nymphs were drifting through a nice hole when my line suddenly stopped and then shot upstream a couple of feet as I set the hook. A nice fish had taken the Tellico and started bulldogging persistently. Flashes of what looked like gold were soon reaching the surface and I thought it was a good brown. Soon however, I brought a whitefish to hand (my first I might add). I'm beginning to understand why people dislike these fish. More on that another time...



After landing that beast, I soon caught several more rainbows and cutthroat before finally landing one brown. Four species in a couple of hours from one stream was pretty amazing but it was time to move on. The wind had got even worse and we had other streams we wanted to look at.





After stopping to check a few spots, we finally settled on the upper Gibbon where I had fond memories of casting to brook trout in a beautiful meadow setting. It was just as I remembered and we were soon catching brookies and the odd rainbow on small ant patterns. They came in two sizes mainly, small and smaller. However they were very willing to eat and provided nonstop fun on dries which is a good time any day in my book. I even caught one guy that had some serious "teeth."



It turned out to be an excellent day exploring a couple of nice streams. We still had other adventures ahead though including the Lamar and Slough Creek not to mention the Yellowstone...