Where to even start? In an incredible second leg to my summer fly fishing tour, I ventured throughout the Rocky Mountain states, taking on some high altitude trout angling.
Just 36 hours after returning from Florida, I woke up at 1:30AM and headed east to Idaho, staying in Idaho Falls, to be able to get first drifts on the Henry’s Fork of the Salmon River in Island Park. What extremes! To go from slinging big flies to big albies to tying on small trout flies and carefully creeping across the river was a startling 180. In fact, it was somewhat of a sloppy transition at first, but I was able to bring in a few gorgeous trout – one pretty big.
After a few hours on one of the world’s most famous trout rivers, I headed to Montana. Day one in Montana was with Michael Stack of FishTales Outfitting in Sheridan. We floated part of the famed Madison River before walking/waking some of the best water I’ve ever fished. Hookup after hookup gave us hour after hour of thrill, and the number of big trout throughout the day left me in disbelief. A 22″ brown got the day rolling, and the piggies were relentless all day. And the scenery was incredible, with the Madison Range taking on a unique spectacular look with every cloud that rolled in during the day.
After a memorable day on the water, I headed to Bozeman and took residence at the infamous “Blue Room.” With Bozeman as my basecamp, I ventured throughout the area, fly fishing the Madison again and in Gallatin Canyon (on the Gallatin River). It was great to connect with cool fly fishing folk in the area, and like many visitors, I wondered about whether I have a future in Bozeman and what drifts boats cost …
Truly not wanting to leave Montana, I left Montana, (brother), to meet up with Luke Keil of Wyoming Anglers in Casper, Wyoming. Luke and I floated the North Platte, where I had an impressive number of hookups from, aggressive, healthy trout … and possibly my worst session of losing fish ever! For a few minutes, I pondered any curses that could have been placed on me. Despite the absurd number of fails on my end, it was a beautiful night on a beautiful river.
After Wyoming, it was back to my old stomping grounds in Colorado. The Dream Stream produced fun pig-hunting with my buddy, Tad Howard, of Colorado Trout Hunters, and in a contrast, I headed to Rocky Mountain National Park the next day to pursue small, wild trout on the Big Thompson.
And on the way back to California, I hit some of my favorite rivers in the state – stopping in Aspen to fish the Roaring Fork River and then the Frying Pan River the next day. (I could get used to being in Basalt as well!)
Blessed with three weeks of amazing fly fishing, I’m excited to know that there are stripers in the surf in California, and it’s just about steelhead time up north. Life is good.