After four hard days of fishing, a little boozing and the late night tire change my body was not cool with the alarm but it was the final morning and time to rally. Our initial plans had been to do some canyon fishing but another opportunity came up that was too good to pass up. A river from my first year out, but unavailable since, was an option for the day so we jumped on it. It is a much bigger river, big enough in fact to easily hold the flows from the first few days combined. It is a river that has less fish then the others we have hit but they are generally larger and the potential is there for monsters. It is where I caught my largest brown in Wyoming to date..one that is the only replica I have on my wall.
As we walked towards it through the field I was mentally steeling myself. This water holds big fish but they are that way for a reason...you better do everything right or not bother. The old adage that they are big for a reason holds true here. These fish are thick, wary and far to smart to fool with any subpar drift. Once we hit the rivers edge a smile spread across my face as the water looked perfect. I entered the water carefully and re-rigged to make sure I was a prepared as I could be. This is some serious hopper water so I decided to start the day by tying on one of the hoppers I knocked out just before heading west. With the yellow hopper at the ready I moved in to position.
The first spot was the outside of a bend with a deep pool that was 50 yards long and as wide as a two lane highway. At the head of the pool there was a grass bank that sloughed off in to the water and formed a small island that was the perfect water break to slow the water on the outside of the bend. A few casts were laid out to knock off the overnight rust and gauge water spped before moving in to target holding water that almost certainly had fish looking up. A few casts later I connected with the first fish of the day.
Greg quickly got in on the act as well with a solid fish on one of his Virgin Chubbies followed shortly thereafter by our guide and friend Cole landing a solid slab as well. It was an awesome feeling to all be on the board quickly as this river is not always that accomodating.
It is a much more wide open sort of scenery here than the last couple days. A gentle breeze was present most of the day and pushed the grass back and forth giving the illusion of green waves. Wind is a four letter word but breeze is a fantastic thing. Ninety degrees in dry air is still ninety degrees so a little breeze is always welcome to cool off, and of course it is always good to have more bugs blown in the water so the fish are looking up!
Where the browns from the last two days where a dark yellow with orangish tints and nearly arctic char like orange around the mouth, these fish were much more buttery. The rocks here were far less red and orange so the fish had adapted accordingly and were a deep rich yellow. They were obviously very well fed too as the shoulders on these fish were impressive.
There are a few spots where permanent islands have taken hold forcing the river to braid. They were neat spots to fish as the current i nthe braids was very steady, fairly strong, and both banks were undercut and fishy their entire lengths. A well placed fly typically meant a high casting angle to avoid the grass and overpowering the forward stroke to an abrupt stop to curve the fly up under the overhanging grass while piling in some slack. Tricky cast but doable and there were a few rewards to be had.
The farther into the day we got the more I started to reflect on the trip and how fantastic it had been. This day was similarly fantastic to the previous days but in a different way. We saw far less fish but the ones we tangled with were significantly larger on average...and there were a few heart breakers that came off early or bent the hook out.
One last fish in the net to end my day and I reeled up. No point in making any more casts as my spirit was full. With smiles from ear to ear Greg and I stayed on the bank and watched Cole work through the last run, hitting one final fish. What a day and what a trip. After a few handshakes and thank yous we headed back towards the vehicles to see how the other guys did gear down. Again all I could think was what a trip...and just 361 days until I am back (now 349).
Making this trip happen yearly is an indulgence that’s thankfully supported by my amazing wife. She understands the opportunity to get out and experience the scenery, fishing and camaraderie of this trip is both something I will never forget and something I cannot get enough of. I am lucky enough to have a great friend in Greg Senyo to share the water with and really work hard together to make these trips come off smoothly. We are also very lucky to have such a phenomenal staff of guides to work with that will put up with finding the experience we are looking for and changing locations on the fly if necessary to do so. Clark runs a tight ship but has fun while doing it. Fishing with guides Clark, Cole and Anthony as well as friends Dan, Aaron, Chad and Rob this year was a top notch experience and one that I can not wait to do again. To that end we set up time for the return trip during the first half of July in 2015 so if you are interested in coming along shoot Greg (email@example.com) or myself (firstname.lastname@example.org) an email to get the details.