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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Wyoming 2012 - Day Two

The previous night’s sleep was delayed a bit by some re-rigging, delicious cold Fat Tire, and a conveniently placed Tosh marathon on Comedy Central.  Though not as early as we likely should have called it an evening, eventually the lights went out and I laid there starring at the ceiling for a bit before crashing out.  Despite the late night we woke up ready to go as on day two armed with the knowledge that we would be hitting Greg’s favorite water of the trip…or perhaps anywhere.  With gear in hand we headed downstairs to meet up with the crew for a quick breakfast, and then off we went to hit the water.  Our targeted river for Day Two was about 90 minutes away, or the Wyoming equivalent of ‘just down the street a bit’. 

I had thought the scenery from day one would be hard to beat, but day two was unbelievable.  As we made our way southwest and then off the highway and in to the hills we found ourselves in a landscape that seemed a cross of Sedona and Moab.  With red rock cliffs and canyons, and endless arroyos, it was easy to see how the Sundance Kid and his gang could melt away in to thin air ahead of their pursuers in this county.  As we wound our way back farther and farther in this unforgiving environment I could not help but think that if we were not following friends then this remote maze would certainly be cause for concern.  Luckily we had guides Cole, Zach, and Teddy along to keep us out of trouble.

Eventually we wound our way down along the river and parked back up under a grove of trees.  Everyone geared up quickly and we split off to see about some fish.

Right off I could see that today was going to be a blast.  This was small water with plenty of overhanging cover.  The casting was going to be challenging and mending across different water speeds tough, but this water looked super fishy.

It did not take long for Greg to get on the board with a nice brown that made quick work of a variation on a Madame X.  Cole is the head guide for the outfitter and was along with us for the day.  He was a pleasure to work with on the river and exuded a confidence that what we were doing would work.  

Again I was amazed at how technical the fishing was.  Despite only seeing a couple rods a week through this water they were extremely spooky and demanded a drag free drift to even show themselves.  Often they would come out from the slower lies and nose up to investigate the fly for a few feet before deciding it was an acceptable meal, or sensing something was wrong and disappearing.  The program stayed the same for us all day long...long casts, drag free drift, hitting every seam and undercut, multiple times, and setting once the fish turns away but not before.

Rather than go through every picture I will let them speak for themselves.  The scenery, water, and fish were truly spectacular.


After another long day on the water we were exhausted heading out, but all smiles and sore arms.  This would not be a day we would soon forget. 

Once the gear was broken down and the flip flops were put on we got in the cars and headed back out through the canyons.  The drive out was no less awe inspiring than the drive in.

Rather than head to town for dinner the outfitter owner, Clark, put together a Prime Rib feast for us out at the ranch.  The dinner was fantastic and then we stuck around to have a few beverages and trade stories with the guides and other guests.  This building is the oldest in the county, I believe the fourth oldest in the state, and now serves as the fly shop on the ranch. 

Inside is a great little bar for everyone to gather at and embellish stories.  The bar is filled with all sorts in old and new items, gag mounts, dart board, and of course pictures galore.  As you can see the fridge is as stickered up as my car.  Going to have to send an Anglers Choice Flies sticker out there for it...

This was the scene for a few hours that evening.  It really was fun to talk about the day on the water and to hear some of the stories of past wins and losses vs both fish and life.  This was definitely my kind of gathering; everyone had a smile on their face and a beer in their hand. 

As the evening wound down we started to turn our thoughts towards the last day on the water that was just a few hours out.  We were told that we would be hitting some newer water that the guides said had been absolutely on fire and was a few hours away over the pass through the Bighorns.  On the way back we did our best not to run over any of the hundreds off mulies and pronghorns that lined the road back to town.  We did our best to doze off quickly since we would need our rest for one final long day on Wyoming trout water...

-mike schmidt
SAO Tyer and Fly Fishing Specialist

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