I had an unpleasant feeling in my gut right before leaving on the trip. I try to listen to my intuition and the rhythms of the world around me when I make certain decisions, and everything seemed to be telling me that heading out for nine days of driving, camping and fishing wasn’t right.
Only because I’ve taken a few trips to various locations and for various lengths of time was I able to compartmentalize these feelings and still get behind the wheel 10 days ago and start driving. I’m glad I did. I’m home now, having caught a few fish, seen some absolutely beautiful country, more than doubled the number of trout rivers I’ve ever fished and the species of trout I’ve brought to hand, driven about 3000 miles, fished every day for seven days in a row, taken some photographs, and made more memories than I can hope to hold onto.
Of course, there are many memories to record and thoughts to write down, and I’ll probably publish more photos of rivers and mountains and roads than I should, but for now, here’s a few stats. The rest will come later in the week:
Biggest fish: 17-18″ cutthroat. Slough Creek, first meadow, Yellowstone National Park.
First rainbow: 16″. Taken on a sowbug pattern on the Bighorn River in southeastern Montana.
First cutthroat: 3″. Taken on a Royal Wulff dry fly in a tiny pocket of tumbling Pebble Creek just up the canyon from the campground, Yellowstone National Park.
First cuttbow (cutthroat/rainbow hybrid): 15-16″. Taken on a Pass Lake just after the sun dipped over the mountains in Paradise Valley on the Yellowstone River.
Rivers fished: 7. The Bighorn, Slough Creek, Pebble Creek, Yellowstone River, Beaverhead River, Gallatin River, Madison River.
Favorite road: Trail Creek Road, connecting Bozeman Pass to Paradise Valley. Long, quiet dirt road driven at midday. Huge mountains all around.
Favorite stream: That’s a toughy. That upper meadow in Slough was amazing though. Only two other pairs of anglers, sight-fishing to picky, picky, picky cutthroats, moose prints and elk sheds, buffalo, mountains everywhere.
And on and on. It was a good time. It seems like it flew by until I think about fishing the Bighorn, our first stop, which seems like it was months ago.