Firehole, lakes and flows

The past week had me out on the water with various anglers from across the country. With Yellowstone National Park waters clear and fishing well, it was only natural we headed north. The Firehole is a fun place to be casting a fly as David and Ken of Florida learned yesterday. Both guys were able to catch some spunky brown and rainbow trout. Other anglers lately have fished the Lewis and upper snake with me. Both are fishing well and offer up some different water than typically fished around Jackson. I also took Tom out on some lakes last weekend while he was in town. Boy did we have fun catching rainbows on leeches and wooly buggers!

Ken works in his first Yellowstone Brown trout. Swinging soft hackles is always a good way to fish riffles on the Firehole..

Ken's first fish on a fly

Overall fishing conditions are improving here daily. Driving home from YNP yesterday, it seemed that a lot of tributaries to the north (buffalo fork excluded) have dropped and are clear or very near clear. Looking at river flow charts, it looks like most rivers have peaked and are now falling. It won’t be long before we’re floating big waters like the Snake. Hope everyone’s enjoying the sunshine!!

Return client David T. shows off a fine Firehole Rainbow. Trout in the Firehole may not be the biggest, but they do tug on a line!

David with a  Firehole rainbow

Tom McCoy is in fish heaven. He claimed our lake fishing to rival any of the “gold medal” waters of CO he use to fish!  

Tom's rainbow

Fishing’s good in Yellowstone National Park

Fishing conditions are improving daily around here in Jackson Hole. Lately I’ve been spending time guiding clients up in Yellowstone National Park. The hotspot right now is the southwest corner of the park; notable (and fishy) waters in this area include the Madison, Gibbon, Lewis and of course the Firehole. These popular waters are fishing great and I love fishing the Firehole with guests this time of year. Most days allow anglers to fish some great hatches of PMDs, BWOs and caddis, and when fish aren’t feeding on top, nymphing and swinging wet flies often work well.

Me, capturing Sam, photographing Bob, catching a fish… follow?

Firehole Panorama

Highlights from last week include taking Bob and Sam up to the Firehole. Neither had ever been there before and were eager to fish this great river. This was Sam’s first time with a long rod and he did great, catching browns and rainbows while Bob got his zen on and nymphed some nice swift runs. Super fun to spend the day with some great guys from San Antonio.

Sam shows off his first ever fish on a fly (a Firehole brown trout). Not a bad way to kick things off!

Sam's first fish

Bob shows off a nice Yellowstone Cutthroat trout; one of many he landed on a different day fishing with me.

Bob shows off a nice cutthroat

In addition to guided trips last week, I managed to fish yesterday with my friend Matt. We hit the road early and fished a sweet little cutthroat lake. The fish there aren’t big but they sure are pretty! Off to the Firehole again this week with eager anglers.

A gem from a high country lake. I think the Yellowstone cutthroat trout are my favorite.

Yellowstone cutthroat trout


Yellowstone Grayling

Spent the past weekend traveling around Yellowstone National
Park and the surrounding area. Every year about this time Jamie
and I make a run north, spending a day or two in Yellowstone
together before the summer gets nutty. This year we added to the
getaway and drove over the Beartooth Pass, spending a night in
Red Lodge, MT, before returning through the Lamar Valley and
Mammoth Hot Springs.

We had a great time, and in addition seeing lots of wildlife
and cool country, we also managed some hiking and fishing. We
hiked to two lakes in Yellowstone. One skunked me. I saw plenty
of fish, but, save one, they wanted nothing to do with my flies.
Too make matters worse, thunderstorms rolled in and forced us to
retreat down the mountain.

The lake we fished today though treated us much better. We
decided on a lake that holds Grayling; a rare treat for a fly angler.
I’ve been fortunate to have caught grayling before (there are some
accessible lakes around if you know where to go), but I’m always
excited to pursue this rare Salmonid. After a good hike, I strung up
my rod and began casting. As you can see from the pictures below,
a few fish were caught. 

One of several Grayling fooled today with a leech

Hike in Grayling fishing

Jamie standing along a small spawning stream. No, we
didn’t fish the stream, just observed.

Jamie at Grebe Lake

Close up of some of the many spawning grayling in this
tiny stream. It was really cool to walk this stream that was all of 3
feet wide at its widest point; like a big aquarium. It’s finds like this
that make backcountry fishing so cool!

Spawning Grayling

Close up of another fish.

Grayling in hand