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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Westward Bound Part III; Yellowstone's Lamar River

In Pursuit Of Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout

Theresa and I decided to get up, have breakfast, and check out of our hotel pretty early this morning. We would be pulling out of Buffalo, Wyoming and heading to Livingston, Montana to spend a couple of days fishing for Yellowstone Cutthroat with Scott and Nathan McClintock.

Some of you had the pleasure of fishing with Scott this past steelhead season, and he quickly has become a welcomed and popular addition to the Steelhead Alley Outfitters team. Scott and his family have spent many years out west fly fishing for trout, and in recent years Scott has been guiding clients through his RSM Fly Fishing Services and Sweet Water Travel. We'll have more on Scott and upcoming trips opportunities with our services in the very near future.

After a decent haul we pulled up to Scott's summer home in paradise. After a few old man jokes and complaints about the unseasonable heat, we unpacked and settled in for the next two days of trout fishing. We decided to start the weekend off with a good old fashion grill out. The steaks had to be at least 16 ounces and a heart attack waiting to happen, but heck we were living the good life right?

Where's The Beef!

After dinner Scott had plans for us to travel a short distance over to Yellowstone National Park. We would be hiking into the Valley and fishing the Lamar River for Cutthroat. I can say I was pretty excited, as this would be my first chance at this species of trout. My wife on the other hand had bulging eye balls after overhearing our conversations. While Scott and I were talking about the area he loves to fish there may have been a little mention of Grizzly Bears.

It seems the bear activity was at an all time high, and that the park bears were a little more confrontational than usual. Just a few days prior to our arrival Scott and Nathan were fishing the same area and came a little too close for comfort with a bear fighting with a few wolves over a dead buffalo carcass. Just recently a Grizzly with cubs attacked campers just 12 miles from where we were, killing one person and wounding several others. During our visit to the park we took every precaution to respect the wildlife and still be able to enjoy such an amazing landscape.

Navigating through a buffalo road block

Everyone rose early and was ready to hit the road before 8am. After a pit stop at Sweet Water Fly Shop for a few last minute items and a quick fishing report we were officially on our way. The drive through the park was absolutely stunning, and after a quick buffalo road block and a few pictures we reached our destination.

Scott and Nathan pose for a father & son shot. Nathan hit the
first fish of the day with an attractor dry.

Scott poses with one of several nice Yellowstone
Cutthroats he coaxed to the surface.

A close up of the amazing colors these trout display.

After a short walk into the valley, we pushed downstream to a section of the Lamar River Scott was very fond of. While walking the river banks, Wolf, Grizzly, and Bison tracks littered the ground around us. I must say it was pretty cool walking by small groups of bison and fishing for trout in this wild setting. I almost felt like I was back on Margot Creek in Alaska, but instead of seeing strictly Grizzly in Alaska, we were surrounded by buffalo.

As we arrived at the section of the Lamar we intended to fish, Scott and Nathan wasted little time putting the first couple of fish in our nets. I kind of felt like the "home field advantage" was definitely kicking in. Soon after Theresa and I were also on the board with a pair of our first Yellowstone Cutthroats. We were fishing primarily small hoppers on this day, and it was really different watching the Cutthroat rise and take flies. Unlike the sipping brown trout and rainbows I have caught in the east, the Yellowstone cuttie would rise slow, and take the fly on a roll back down beneath the surface. I missed my first couple of takes by being a little to quick on the hook set.

Theresa and I pose with a nice cutthroat that took a small hopper.

This is probably my favorite picture of the trip! The solitude
and peaceful setting made the fishing unforgettable.
There was zero sense of urgency or the need to rush!

Here's a closer view of Theresa's first Yellowstone Cutthroat.

and then the release....

We spent the remainder of the afternoon sharing good water, laughing, and enjoying all the reasons why we pursue trout with a fly rod and reel. Time flew by and before we knew it, evening was setting in. To the pleasure of my wife, we didn't see any bear on the river, and as we neared the car she let out a relaxing deep breath, and the constant looking over your shoulders was over at least for the remainder of the day.

Fishing a nice run on the Lamar River

One of the beautifully colored Yellowstone
Cutthroats I was able to glance at.

Hooked up in the Valley...

A good fish to end a great day...

I had to add this little rant and one last picture of my experiences in Yellowstone National Park! Everyone knows that the park is a vast and very wild place, many signs and warnings are posted about the wildlife here. To my amazement there were so many people that have no common sense or concern for their own personal safety, or that of their families. Anyone who would willingly run after and continue to follow a Black Bear for a simple picture is just plain retarded. So below is my Dumb *** photo of the trip! Just for the record this is why people get attacked by Buffalo, and mauled by bears each year.....

This photo was taken from the road. The people are at least fifty
yards off the road, with this bear being about 40 yards further yet.
I hope you can run in sandals when this bear finally
gets tired of being followed....

In my next blog I will be focusing on fishing a small out of the way mountain stream for small rainbows and cutbows.

Until Next Time,

Greg Senyo
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

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