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July 22, 2012Dry Flies and some exploring

The dry fly fishing on the Snake has been great lately! It's nice to see the river in such good shape; clear, ample fish holding channels and riffles and lots of bugs. Each day I've been having clients fish a variety of different flies to the local trout. I'd say PMDs, Yellow stoneflies and parachute adams are my favorites at the moment. We also have started to cast some large foam bugs now that the grasshoppers are out and about. Here's Jim with a nice Snake river cutthroat trout.

Jim's cutthroat trout

After spending the week on the water with some great clients, Jamie and I thought we'd get out of town and do a quick camping trip. Our destination was the Tri Basin area, more specifically, LaBarge creek. A small stream high in the Wyoming range rumored to contain pure Colorado river Cutthroat trout, LaBarge and the surrounding wilderness seemed to be just the adventure we were looking for. 

Somewhere between Jackson and Alpine, we decided that since we were headed to the Tri Basin area, we should take a shot at catching 3 of the 4 native cutthroat trout needed for a Wyoming Cutt Slam. We ammended our drive and squeezed in some fishing for the rare (thought to be extinct until "rediscovered") Bonneville cutthroat trout. Fortunately we knew of a tiny stream not too far out of our way that held lots of them and within a few minutes of wetting a line, Jamie and I had our Bonnevilles. Here's Jamie showing off one of the pretty little guys.... 

bonneville cutthroat trout

Feeling confident, we pressed on, traversing miles of Forest service roads, all while taking in the sights. Eventually we came to the Tri Basin (3 water basins begin here. one goes to the Pacific ocean via the Greys/Snake river, one to the Gulf of California via the Green/Colorado and one to the Great Basin via the Bear River) and our camping destination, LaBarge Creek. Along the way we encoutered numerous historical markers as we traveled on the same trail that pioneers had traveled in 1859 during their journey west along the Oregon Trail. Below is a little info on the meadow we fished. Pretty cool to think of what went on here 150+ years ago.

Labarge meadow

A wide shot of LaBarge Meadow... Jamie's fishing while Sage looks for trout

Labarge Creek

Unfortunately for us, the trout were no where to be found; not a rise, look, fly refusal, etc. Didn't even see any spook. This, despite reading numerous accounts of the healthy population that resides in this stream. I'm not gonna lie, after fishing the LaBarge hard, as well as its tiny tributaries, we were a bit bummed. I'm not really sure what happened. The only thing we could surmise is that the recent forest fire nearby might have had something to do with the lack of fish... Who know? If anyone out there has any info, I'd love to hear it.  

Regardless, we had a great time camping along the stream under the vast Wyoming sky. Heading home to Jackson, we followed the Grey's river all the way to Alpine and redeemed ourselves in the fishing department, catching several pretty Snake River cutthroat trout. Now that we're home, we're already thinking about a reunion trip and other places to find some Colorado cutthroat trout.


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