It was going to be hard to better last years trip around the West. I headed out to meet up with Micah on Thursday evening with 11 days of fishing ahead of us. An airplane delay for Chad made for 12 hours that seemed to last several days for Micah and I. After getting Chad from the airport, it was off to Geoff’s place for some ice cold keg beer and Leg 1 of our journey. After an undisclosed length drive to an even more undisclosed location we arrived ready to see if the Bull Trout were waiting. Chad got me into this sport 16 years ago when I met him in college in Erie, Pa we had not had a chance to fish together in almost 10 years. This was also Chad’s first trip out West fishing. As a special welcome to the West, Chad got the biggest Bull Trout of Leg 1 a 10+lbs hog.
To say Chad was impressed at this point would be an understatement. This year produced even more big fish than last years outings, so we were all pretty pumped at this point.
After a couple days of running with the Bulls, we headed back to pack all the necessary gear for 5 days of base camp at Henry’s Lake. We arrived to a 30 mph wind that would hang out for just about every day we were in the area.
Day 1-Decided to head out in the morning on Henry’s and try our luck. Heard rumors of fish stacked up by a spring about a 45 minute paddle away. Took to the oars and got our spot in the flotilla. Landed a couple of fish, but it was pretty slow.
After that we headed out for some grayling in some small streams. We got out of the car and were ambushed by the biggest swarm of bugs I have ever seen. Not the bugs we were looking for either, the biting kind. We cowboy’d up for about an hour and Micah caught a couple of fish, we were just glad to get out of there alive without the West Nile.
Day 2-We decided to check out some new water at Wade Lake. I have never seen a mountain lake so clear. Micah hammered them here catching a couple dozen fish, I got about a dozen, Chad managed to get a half dozen or so Nothing big though, most fish were in the 12-16″ range. We hit a small stream as well and got some nice cutts up to 18″.
Day 3-Yellowstone NP day. Chad had never been into the park, so we decided to take a 100 mile loop through to see some scenery and hopefully catch a few fish. We fished the Madison, Gibbon, Lewis, Yellowstone Lake and Rivers. Nothing on the lake or Lewis, we all managed to catch browns on the Madison and Gibbon in the 12-15″ range. We did not spend much time on the Yellowstone, but Micah and I both landed Cutts over 20″. No pictures from this leg, overall more driving than fishing on this day.
Day 4-We decided to head back into a little hike in lake in the area to see if it was as good as last year. It was. I landed over 40 fish during the most amazing Callibeatis hatch I have ever seen. Micah fished mostly dries for 25 fish. Chad, still learning the ropes of lake fishing, was into double digits pretty easily as well. A beautiful lake with many eager rainbows in the 15-20″ range with some bigger ones in there for sure.
Day 5-The night before in camp we had heard about 3 10lbs fish being caught out of Henry’s. We decide to take one last shot on Friday morning. As you may be able to tell by some of the photos Chad is a guy who likes a good workout. He decided to row across Henry’s Lake and back, which is about 9 miles. Micah and I opted for the 1\2 mile paddle. We got into them a bit, I got 7 fish in a few hours which is good for me on Henry’s. Micah landed several and shots as several others. Chad accomplished his goal and is the only one I know who has ever rowed a pontoon across Henry’s.
The wind really started to howl around noon, so we decided to give the grayling and Cutthroat one more shot, hoping the wind would keep the bugs away. It was pretty slow at the stream, but I got to one stretch and things went crazy for about 5 casts. 18″ grayling, 16″ grayling, 21″ cutt, 15″ cutt, 14″ grayling in 5 casts on the cicada. I was hollering for someone to come and take a picture, no one came, but managed to get a few pics of them. It was an awesome way to end Leg 2 of our trip.
After a good watering at Trouthunter’s that night we hit the road home for Boise, with a stop at the Big Wood. We all managed to catch a few browns at the Wood and we had some shots at some big fish, but could not connect. We were fishing in the middle of afternoon and the water was skinny. Oh well, 1 day left for the Grand Finale.
We finished up on the Owyhee in Oregon. Same old, same old with a nice surprise to end the trip.
The Macho Man
After already catching the biggest grayling and Bull Trout of my life why not add the biggest brown. Micah’s fish was caught on a hopper and was 22″ for reference. We estimate mine to be 27″ around 7 lbs…caught on the last cast of the trip.