Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Wyoming 2013 - Day One

Living here in Ohio I do not have mountains to greet me everywhere I look nor do I have what anyone would refer to as an abundance of wild trout out my back door...or any. About a week ago, after the long wait from last summer, the time had finally come to head back out west to Wyoming to chase around fish in one of the most amazing settings possible.  Needless to say, it is a trip that I look forward to all year. 

The days leading up to the trip seemed to draw out the closer it got but finally Thursday afternoon came and it was time to hit the road.  I lit up the first of many fine cigars on the trip as I headed north to meet up with Greg Senyo.  The plan was to crash out early at his house, to get ready for the long travel day, but instead we put down a fair number of Yuengs and tied flies for far too long.  Instead of getting a good nights rest we got more of a short nap in before heading to Detroit Metro and jumping on a plane headed west.

We made it in to Sheridan, via Denver, in good time and got right through to the car.  As it turns out they were unaware that to keep the sprinkler water outside of the vehicle would require the windows to be closed...so after closing said windows and drying off the front we hit the road and were in Buffalo in no time.  After dropping by the Sports Lure to load up on the local fly favorites we had a great dinner at the Winchester Steakhouse and then called it early since the morning would come soon.

Breakfast was knocked out early and then we met up with our outfitters and hit the road.  After about an hour and a half we made it to our river for day one, which was nestled way back in the canyons.  It was hard to contain our excitement as we geared up and started the walk in...this was my favorite river from last years trip so expectations were high.

I was fishing with Greg and for the first day our guide was our good friend Kelly.  As we got in to the first run to be fished I backed off to grab the camera and had Greg jump in first.  As much as I love this river I think he digs it even more and I was not about to take the first shot from him.  To start off he was so excited to be there that he seemed to shake visibly and the first few casts melted away any lingering stress.  It was great to be back.

Once Greg worked through the first run I jumped in to fish the tailout from the next pool and that run.   Just a few casts in and a bolt of lightning came flying out from a cut to demolish my elkhair and CDC caddis.  On the board!  Of course the picture had to be taken regardless of size...one does not want to risk upsetting the fish gods by not properly recording the first fish of any day!

This particular stretch of water varied from being able to touch grass on both sides with outstretched arms out to about 20 feet.   In the more narrow sections the scrub and willows, which grew right to the bank, were a welcome break from the wind but forced some precise casting.

Greg put up the first respectable fish of the trip with this gorgeous brown trout.  These things hit like a freight train and fight like crazy.

The water was gin clear and in the pools any misstep would send water waves out which would put the fish down.  they are wild fish and lightly pressured, but they were not stupid...they know how to survive.  Each spot that looks like it should hold a fish did, but to get in to the good ones required stealthy movement and well offered bugs.

If you could get a few good drifts through promising water though then the fish were out to eat! 

As we worked pool to pool together it was a blast to be able to sit back and watch how the others would aproach and work the water.  It was almost as much fun to watch the other guys perfect presentation fool the fish as it was to do so yourself...

...almost.  Of course it was still great to tag in and get your shot at the next holding water!

This was the kind of wood filled chute that held enough fish for us to rotate through and each get in to some before moving on.  One other thing that is a blast about playing baseball on the river is that push to get the better cast in to the more difficult spot with others watching.  Sure we hung up plenty and the other would jump in to finish it out, but when you made that perfect cast in to that impossible spot with an audience and made the heckling turn to ooohhs and ahhhs....priceless!

There was sexy water everywhere we looked...it was tough to concentrate on one spot when the next spot looked just as good.  I hooked what was likely the biggest fish of the day in the slackwater off the edge of the log in the lower right.  It hammered the first cast in with a violent explosion of water but after a short run around a rock edge and the log the hook lost hold...doh...

Kelly was spot on as always.  It is great to be able to spend the day on the water with a good friend like him that just happens to also be a first rate guide. 

Even with the fishing as amazing as it was the scenery made it tough to concentrate at times. 

Tight casting and deep undercuts were the name of the game.  Slowly moving in to a good position and then working the pool throughouly without moving produced some great fish.  Many times the best drift would pull the fly back under the cut bank for a few seconds before emerging farther downstream.  What was really cool was when that happened and then you set based on the sound of the trout sucking down the bug while totally out of site and then trying to get them out before they wrapped you around a bunch of crap.  It was awesome!

One thing that becomes quickly apparent is that the browns are all colored spectacularly here.  They all take on the richest electric butter yellow coloring I have seen anywhere.

I fished the Orvis Helios2 rod on this trip and it was the perfect stick for me.  It had enough ass to make the wind a non factor and roll casting a snap, but the sensitivity and feel to protect the tippet and keep things fun. 

After a full day on the water we made the long walk back across the meadows to the car.  We got in to browns, rainbows, and cuttbows...as well as some brownbows and cuttbrowns on the foam orgymidges.
On the drive back we stopped at the saddle to take a few shots out over the valley floor, and frankly the pictures do not do it justice.  There is just no way to convey the unbelievable scale of what you can see from that vantage point.

Just one day on Wyoming trout water and all the stress had melted away.  The ride back was a mix of excited stories about fish landed and missed, along with long periods of silence as I was the only one awake and driving the car.  Once back we had a quick dinner and then I grabbed a sixer of Fat Tire (can't not have some while I am there) and we geared up in the room for day two.  As we drifted off we all joked that there was no way it could get any better, but I was smiling an chuckling knowing that was not the case as the next day would also be amazing.

The shots from day two should be cleaned up in the next few days and posted.  It was a new stretch of water for me that I was told was spectacular, and they were not wrong.

-mike schmidt


  1. Thanks Cam! Always fun to go back through the shots after the trip and relive it a bit. I had been so busy there and since I got back that I never had a chance to go through the pictures, so as I was cleaning these up was actually the first time I saw most of them! Can't wait to wade through the day two shots tonight ;)

  2. Always love reading the stories you throw down. Glad to hear you and Senyo had such a good time. Wish I could have been there to share the water with you guys! It's gonna be weird heading to AK solo this year. I've always made the trip with a co-host. There is something to be said for sharing an awesome stretch of river or creek with guys you know get it and can get it done! Glad you guys did! Some great shots for sure!

  3. Great photos and story. You're right about the fish too, buttery as all hell!

  4. Nice day , and a great report from Wyoming trout areas.