.......................  ......Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park

04/25/09


Fly Fishing the Yellowstone River - Fishing Tales - Part 1

The first time Angie and I ever fished the Yellowstone River was in Yellowstone
National Park at Buffalo Ford, or Nez Perce Ford, on the opening day of the
season on July 15th. We traveled there from West Yellowstone first thing in the
morning. When we arrived, the parking lot and the river were already crowded.

While we were putting our waders on sitting on the back of our vehicle a
gentleman walked up from the river and asked about our cameras and video
equipment. I guess he thought we were from a local TV station. It turned out that
he worked for Dan Bailey. He had arrived at the river at daylight. That must
have been some drive across the park at night but anyway, he had already
finished fishing. He had caught two cutthroats on a streamer, both around 16-18
inches. By the way, that is about the average size of the cutthroats you will catch
in this part of the Yellowstone River.

I asked why he was quitting. He said it was because he could no longer do any
good. He said the crowds had already waded all over the river and disturbed the
trout. That is why he came so early in the morning. He had fished the river for
the past several years and knew exactly what would happen.

We stayed, of course, and fished the bank along the river from the parking lot
downstream maybe a half mile. I saw a couple of fish but managed to spook
them both. My guess is they had already been spooked because it didn't take
much for them to leave. In fact, it was my first cast to each one of them. After a
couple of hours of searching the banks, I gave up and sit down. People fishing
and some not fishing would walk along the banks all the way down the river right
along the edge. They spooked every fish in sight of the bank.

After sitting and resting for a while, watching the other guys and gals fishing, I
noticed a large cutthroat right under me nose. It wasn't over fifteen feet out from
the bank. People had walked around Angie and I sitting on the bank and
apparently this had given the fish an opportunity to come back to its redd. I
slowly reached for my rod and sitting down, tried to cast to the fish. The fly
landed perfect for the drift. The trout took the fly and I proceeded to break the
tippet setting the hook. I don't know if I set it too hard or if the tippet had been
damaged. I  had not looked at it (like you should) in a long time. The big trout
swirled and left. I sit there for another forty-five minutes hoping it would come
back. It didn't. It had a fly in its mouth.

Copyright 2009 James Marsh
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