August is forest fire season. Unfortunately this summer fires started earlier than August in the Yellowstone area due to the hot dry conditions. Gary Eckman and I floated the Moose to Wilson section of the Snake River under a smoke blurred Grand Teton Mountain Range. Although the smoke certainly takes its toll on our lungs and the rest of our environment, it hardly affects the trout. If it affects them at all, in my opinion it’s in a positive way because it acts as cloud cover, something almost all fish love.
As usual, we started early and beat the guide traffic down the Snake. The only other boat we saw all day was a couple old friends of mine that put in as we were pushing off. And in the first ten minutes of fishing this morning Gary and I proved the fish might like the haze of smoke. Every where you would expect a Snake River cutthroat to ambush your streamer, there was one.
Many of today’s cuttys were special too. Heck, their all special, but we caught several of the most vibrantly colored Snake River cutts I’ve ever seen. This one in particular was more yellowish than the normal gold. And his solid orange fins and pulsating pink cheeks – he was unreal! If Snake River Cutthroats were sea run, this is what I’d imagine them to look like. I don’t paint many fish for myself but you may see this one in my portfolio next time you see me at The Fly Fishing Show.
We caught some huge cutthroats as well. Any day you catch a Snake River cutthroat longer than 18 inches it’s a great day. Today, I kid you not; we caught about five big boys. Fishing on the Snake was flat out awesome!
It’s back to work tomorrow but not for long. My long time friend Derek Mitchell rolls into town tomorrow night and as of now, we are planning two hardcore days on the Harriman Ranch of the Henry’s Fork. Then I’ll be home briefly Monday night, like ten minutes, to pick up Granny and the boat and we are heading for Quake and Hebgen Lake in Montana. Be sure to look at the blog from last years Montana lake trip. We caught one of the largest browns I’ve seen in more than 25 years of living in the Yellowstone area!