Undoubtedly, today is the beginning of a pretty rowdy and fun six days. My college buddies have arrived. We all graduated from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin back in 1987. I can’t believe it’s been that long. Anyway, we keep in touch like brothers and after all these years we continue to get together and fish.
Matt Norton (Howie) of Minnesota and Mark Rieser of Iowa arrived in Jackson, Wyoming this morning by plane at about 10 AM. They gave me a ring and I met them at the Albertsons Grocery in Jackson. Just as I pulled in the lot they were coming out with two full carts of food. There was no doubt we would eat well! Once the coolers were loaded with food we filled all remaining space with beer. Oh, and another cooler as well.
We drove about an hour south of Jackson and met our other friends that drove out from Iowa. From my directions earlier this week they had settled into one of my much loved camps on one of my favorite rivers. Although a nice day when we left Jackson, now it was windy and cloudy here in the mountains and we could see thunderstorms on the way. After a few celebratory orange whips the rain and wind started. It was so bad I thought for sure it was the fall equinox storm. Then the temperatures dropped and we even had some sleet. However, rather than getting us bummed out and force us to sit in our cars we all wadered up and sat in the rain over another orange whip. Then, we rigged our rods and while most fished around camp Howie and I walked upstream.
Howie (Matt Norton) was my roommate in college. He fly fishes just enough back in Minnesota to get in trouble. Howie has fished with me out here before and he can cast well and is actually a pretty darn good fly fisherman. I had Howie rig up with two winged Chernobyl’s about 4 feet apart from each other.
By now it was more than just raining. It was flat out pouring. We could only hope that this wasn’t the way our weather will be all week. Nonetheless, Howie and I worked our way upstream. Howie tends to work his fishing very slow and methodically. I don’t mind this when fishing is great and fish are everywhere, but typically on this river you need to move fast covering the good water and skipping the bad.
In fact there’s an old saying, “When fishing’s slow, fish fast. When fishing’s fast, fish slow.” And this is a perfect theory for this river. But Howie tends to fish slowly no matter what so I had to keep pushing him along.
In no time we both forgot about the rain because we started to catch fish. It seemed that every rock I threw behind produced either a small brown or rainbow. I felt like I was competing in a Euro tournament because how fast I was catching these little guys. Howie was catching a few but he wasn’t doing as well with the wading. This river is boulder strewn and fast moving. If you not used to gliding across the rocks all the time they can be a challenge. He did his best though and kept up by covering some ground on the bank. What slowed down Howie more than anything was the beauty of each and every one of these nice little trout. I always admire them but not like Howie was. He just doesn’t get trout fishing like this back home.
When the rain and wind was at its worst Howie and I found ourselves working opposite sides of a deep pool below a fast rapid. I landed two nice browns about 17 inches on my first two casts. Howie was hooting and hollering as my fish leaped all over the place. I was really wishing he had caught them rather than me because I knew he’d go even crazier. Then just as I released the second brown, Howie hooked up his own. I began a fast wade across to him but Howie landed and released his fish so fast I never got a picture. He was in absolute awe! All I can tell you is that it was a beauty from a far and I wouldn’t be surprised if he topped out at about 18 inches – large enough to make Howie's trip even if he doesn’t get another!
The rain is miserable as I write from the back of the Explorer. We just finished our dinner over the campfire in pouring rain. My plate literally had water sloshing around my steak and potatoes. This is not too cool. And unfortunately it doesn’t appear to be clearing up. Also, I have few photos to show from today just because I was afraid to take my camera out for more than a second at a time. The last thing I need is a trashed good camera.
I doubt I’ll be able to post again till Sunday or so. That’s when we will return to Victor and regroup for another two days of fishing. As of now we plan to stay on this river and next week float the South Fork and do an overnighter on Monday and Tuesday. Be ready for more stories and pictures soon!
Jeff Currier Global Flyfishing web site