The last time I left you, we had fished the Madison and Firehole Rivers of Yellowstone National Park and were headed back south to one of the most anticipated rivers of our trip westward....the mighty Teton River.
The Teton River hit my radar after talking to friend Jim Lampros. Jim had spent some time working with World Cast Anglers during his adventures out west, and this put him in the backyard of the Teton. After hearing his stories and seeing the awesome photos of him traversing this river plastered all over Orvis catalogs, I just had to see it with my own eyes. The fact that it held stellar populations of Yellowstone Cutthroats, one of those species I had never caught, was just icing on the cake.
After meeting with Jim and making careful notes we were within a short drive of the river. Leaving Ashton, Idaho, we were soon on a dirt two track headed for the place that I had been told about. At first, I wasn't sure if I had the right road (I was a bit gun shy after some of our previous adventures), but we did and in short order we were overlooking an awesome body of water. It may take us a while to find our water, but we always find the fishing hole!
THE MIGHTY TETON RIVER WINDS
THROUGH THE IDAHO COUNTRYSIDE
The view looking up was just as stellar as the one we had looking way down into the canyon. In fact, when we first got there, I didn't know which way to look. I said wow so many times, that I think the guys thought I had found a new favorite word.....DUDE.....WOW!!!!
THE MIGHTY TETON RANGE STANDS OVERLOOKING THE
PRODUCTIVE TROUT WATERS THAT SURROUND IT.
After making our destination, we jumped out to snap some photos. I remember the moment I got to the trail heading into the canyon and looking over the edge! Insert one of those "WOW's!" Wow is all you could say! It was a huge drop into this canyon stretch of the Teton and when I say huge, I mean roughly 1000 vertical feet at about a 45 degree angle and sometimes steeper! This insertion point wasn't for sissy's! And if you weren't going to take a boat down with you and float out, then you had better make sure your heart was in good condition, because coming out is not for the faint of heart...This I guarantee!!!
SHOOTING SOME PHOTOS OF THE TETONS
SAO GUIDE BEN BARGER PREPARES GEAR
FOR THE DAY ON THE RIVER
We took our time getting down to the river for two reasons...safety and for filming. We couldn't just blaze down the trail without capturing it on video, so roll film we did! Hopefully I can put together a sequence from our day on this river. Of all our days on the water, this one definitely got the majority of my time. From big fish caught to heartbreaks to rattlesnakes, we got it all on this day! So, keep your fingers crossed and maybe I will show you some more film.
Once we got down to the river, the guys started packing gear for the trek along the river. I just couldn't wait to fish and catch that next species, so right then and there, I got the rod out and started fishing. It wasn't any time at all and the first Yellowstone Cutt was in hand. Just a moment later, a monster fish exploded on my fly and here is where the first heartbreak occurred! You see, I broke one of my own rules. The long story made short is that I forgot to loosen my drag...yeah, oops! The cast was made, the float was drag free, the rise came, the explosion ripped the water apart and it was fish on!!! The problem was that with fast water, a big fish, and a tight drag, disaster was looming. I rushed to get to the drag as the fished turned down stream. With a less than graceful staggering few steps down stream and every attempt to keep my rod up, the fish was gaining ground. I got the drag...I got it....The rod tip was dropping, dropping, in the danger zone, still dropping......OH CRAP, No, I can do this......rod pointing as fish....I could feel the tippet stretching...then all at once.....BANG!!! It was over! My second fish of the day and one pushing twenty inches was now only a story! Oh well was all I could say! After all, it was early in the morning and no worries! I mean, no phone was going to be ringing telling me I needed to be anywhere....ahhh, what a feeling!
It wasn't long after this failed attempt at a trophy, that we were up river and into fish after fish.
SAO GUIDE PATRICK ROBINSON HOLDS A
HEALTHY TETON YELLOWSTONE CUTTHROAT
DON FISHES AT A CONFLUENCE POINT IN THE TETON
During our time at the confluence that you see above, Don and I were doubled up. Although the waters were slightly stained, the fish were more than willing to look up and since we don't get to fish the dries all that often back home, we opted to throw the big dries!
SAO GUIDE PATRICK ROBINSON AND FRIEND DON
LAND A DOUBLE ON YELLOWSTONE CUTTIES
AND THE SMILES......OH SO SWEET!
We continued to fish the morning away in this general area. We fished up the Teton and up a smaller tributary and more fish came to hand than we could count. It was getting to be mid day and we wanted to fish a lot more water as long as it was accessible in the rough terrain. So, to insure we would have enough fuel in the furnace to make the continued push, we paused to grab a streamside lunch.......
SAO GUIDE BEN BARGER GETS THE FIRE GOING
FOR SOME STREAM SIDE HOT DOGS
After cramming our faces with fine pork products, we decided to head up stream a bit further. There's always a big one just around the corner right?
Well, up stream did treat us very, very well and we captured a lot of film and photos of fish on this stretch. However, I had to get the fish in front of that rock first.
SAO GUIDES PATRICK AND BEN WADE THE EDGE OF
THE FAST WATER CATCHING FISH IN ALL THE
SLACK WATER HOLDS ALONG THE WAY.
In the next adventure, we will head up stream to see what the waters offered us. This was one of my most memorable afternoons I have ever had and I look forward to sharing it with you!
Until next time,
Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Steelhead Alley Outfitters