Friday, July 29, 2016

Cool Release Shots

I love watching trout head back after their release! It is a great moment to see a trout make its way back to the depths! here are several from this year! Several great moments! (Remember to click on the picture to make them larger!)

 ...Barry Stokes photo

Thursday, July 28, 2016

You Bastard, ...Adams!

Bastard Adams

Hook: Standard Dry Fly (e.g. TMC 100) sizes 10-18
Thread: Grey 8/0
Tail: Grizzly and Brown Hackle Fibres
Body: Grey Antron
Wing: Polypropelene or macrame, usually white
Hackle: Cree or Grizzly/Brown Karen Vanderwater

On the quest for the cutthroat slam in Wyoming I was reminded again of an old friend, the Bastard Adams. I love to dry fly fish and have used flies in the Adams family quite frequently in the past. I have had great success with the Irresistible for brown trout, the Parachute for cutthroats and every once in a while I pull out a Bastard Adams to give it a go.
As we pursued our quest to complete the cutthroat slam in Wyoming, we found the fish in a few spots to be quite stubborn. I would try my dry flies and then switch to a nymph to fulfill the slam. But my stubbornness kept coming though. Once I had the first fish of each type for the slam, I would go right back to dry fly fishing, hoping to complete the slam on dries.
The first river was off colour and we had a hard time getting fish to rise. After several flies, I went searching in the boxes for a solution to dilemma. There had to be something that would work. Up in the corner of one box, forgotten, was a beautiful size 12 Bastard Adams. I decided why not? It should work. It might be something the fish had not seen lately. Sure enough, I had a beautiful Snake River Cutthroat hit it. One down! That was the only cutthroat I caught on a dry fly that day but that was all I needed.

Snake River Fine Spot Cutthroat

The second stream was a high country stream that was spectacular. Again the fish were stubborn. We worked hard to get our first fish to complete the slam. My first fish of the day was a brook trout. First time I think I have ever been disappointed to see a brook trout but it did not fulfill my quest. After a couple of hours, I was rewarded. A fine looking Colorado cutthroat came hurtling up and inhaled  a dry fly. Which fly worked? A Bastard Adams worked, of course.
At this point, an idea hatched. Could I possibly complete the slam using a Bastard Adams? I was willing to test this and see!

Colorado Cutthroat

The third stream was a pretty stream that rambled down a mountain side with ripples and small pools.  Off we went on the search again. Bob pulled out some white fish with nymphs and then we hit some cut-throats.  We both succeeded in catching a Bonneville cutthroat on a nymph. Out came the Bastard. I was on the hunt again. As we sat eating lunch, we spotted a small rise in a large back eddy. This time I was rewarded with a beauty. I caught a 16 inch cutthroat ( a giant on this stream ) with my Bastard Adams.  I was 75% of the way to completing this mission. Being a keener, nothing but 100% would do.

Bonneville (Bear River) Cutthroat

River number four was richly rewarding. The cut-throats there were all about the dry fly. The Bastard Adams was the fly of the day and I succeeded in catching many Yellowstone cutthroats.
SUCCESS was sweet.

The Cowboy Slam on the Bastard Adams was complete. The week of fishing for a slam was very exciting and rewarding. It is a trip I will always remember. I love dry fly fishing and sometimes being stubborn is a great trait to have.

Yellowstone Cutthroat

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Wyoming Cutthroat Slam, ...Getting There and Day One

Karen and I just got back from a neat trip. We headed down to Wyoming in pursuit of 4 subspecies of cutthroat trout. Our mission is to eventually catch all of the subspecies of cutthroat. The Wyoming Cutthroat Slam , also called the Cowboy Slam was a great deal of fun! Over the last week we have added 4 and we have now caught 6 subspecies of cutthroat!

The trip involved a lot of research and planning. Our dear friend Leon Buckles was the catalyst for this adventure. Leon had done a lot of the research and has already successfully completed the Wyoming Cutthroat Slam.

After a 14 hour trip, we meet Leon on a tributary of the Snake River in Wyoming. We set up camp in a very quiet campground where we plotted out a course of action.

Our first night at over 7000 feet reminded us that it gets cold at night at that elevation! Warm coats and extra blankets made us comfortable!

Day one on the water, we targeted Snake River Fine Spot Cutthroat. We were fishing well above 7000 feet on day one. The cutthroat were not all that cooperative at the start of the day but eventually we solved the riddle of how to catch them. We hoped that dry fly fishing would do the job. We did catch all of the subspecies with dry flies but nymphing with size 14 flashbacks gave us a lot of action. We did encounter Rocky Mountain Whitefish while nymphing but we caught a lot of Snake River Fine Spot Cutthroat.

The back roads we drove ranged from great gravel roads to rough rutted roads that were at the limit of what I felt comfortable travelling with my truck.

Take a look at the next 5 blog posts below to see how our adventure unfolded! Karen and I owe a great deal of thanks to Leon Buckles. Leon's experience and knowledge paved the way to a very successful trip. Thanks Leon! This trip will be hard to beat!

Awe, Yes, Gravel Roads and lots of Dust!

This Map Book was extremely Valuable to Our Pursuit of Cutthroat

Two Great Examples of Snake River Fine Spot Cutthroat Trout!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Wyoming Cutthroat Slam Day Two...Colorado Cutthroat

This was a very cool day. Neither Karen nor I had fly fished above 8000 feet. We worked our way up to the head waters of a Colorado River 4th tier tributary. What was neat to us was the amount of restoration that has gone on by both the Wyoming Fisheries as well as some chapters of Trout Unlimited from the USA! The instream structure along the creek we fly fished certainly was a lot of work to complete!

The area we fly fished was an inland sea millions of years ago.

The only downside to the day were the bot flies that were quite annoying!

We set up after a slow 90 minute drive up over a height of land into the Colorado Drainage System. The creek had a lot of restoration work done. The creek also had some brookies but we did manage to catch some beautiful Colorado Cutthroats!

Each of these in stream structures helped to create holding water for the trout! 

This was a very picturesque area to fly fish. The views were amazing and the cutthroat were not as plentiful as we expected or perhaps they were just plain stubborn!

Colorado Cutthroats

Friday, July 22, 2016

Day Three of the Wyoming Cutthroat Slam, ...Bonneville (Bear River) Cutthroat

Day three was amazing yet challenging. We worked our way up a very rough road to the Tri Basin Divide. What a neat place! This was the head waters of three major drainages within the USA! Today we headed to a creek system that held Bonneville (Bear River) Cutthroat Trout. The road to travel on was rough, real rough. I was a bit uncomfortable travelling along a very gnarly road. At one point we had to modify our starting point because I did not want to chance travel on the road that took us to our intended destination. After bumping along for three hours, we finally set up on a creek that eventually included water that flowed to the Great Basin. This was a day I really looked forward to. I loved the spotting on these beautifully coloured cutthroat trout!

We did a lot of willow crashing to find some holding water but once we did, we managed several beautiful Bonneville Cutthroat including a real beautiful 16 inch Cutt that Karen caught on a Bastard Adams.

Karen and Leon with a true trophy Bonneyville Cutthroat!