This year our Fall fishout took us to the Island Park area for four and a half days.
Day one: Arrived at the cabin in Island Park around 2pm. Unpacked the cars, got the waders on and headed to the Firehole in Yellowstone Park. We fished it for a couple of hours, until it was almost dark. We caught several small browns, just enough to get us warmed up. Time to go back to the cabin for some dinner and to tie some flies.
Day two: Henrys Lake. We put in the lake around 11:00 am (took some time to get our licenses) and fished just right around the boat launch at the state park. Before the rest of us could even lace our boots, Jeff had his first Yellowstone Cutthroat on the line. A few of us brought pontoon boats and fished around the inlet, the rest fished it from shore. The fish had just moved in the shallows the day or two before we got there and the fishing was dynamite. After fishing out in the boats all day, we moved in and finished the day out fishing from shore. We chased 20 inch Cuts around the shallows. It felt a little like bone fishing except colder. Right as we were about to call it a day all of us except Jeff were standing on the bank talking about heading back to the cabin when a huge bull moose walked by us and headed towards Jeff. Jeff was busy reeling in a fish and didn’t notice the moose walk behind him. Jeff looks up at the bank and notices all of us watching him and gives us a thumbs up. Then Troy yells out “There is a moose right behind you”. Jeff laughs “Yeah right”. We all yell back “Look behind you”. Jeff turns and sees the beast about 80 feet behind him and jumps. The moose trots off into the marsh and we all had a good laugh.
Day three: Madison River. It was supposed to be rough weather today but it looks like we need some sunscreen. The only report we got for the Madison was that the lake run fish should be starting any time but havent really come in yet. We decided to start at Barnes Pools. We got some white fish and a few small resident fish right off the bat. But only one lake run fish. So we moved further downstream and there we hooked several lake run trout and landed a few. It wasn’t the usual distinct waves of fish yet. Seemed like just some early birds one or two at a time coming through the runs.
Day four: Henrys Lake. Our last day to use our 3-day licenses so after a hearty breakfast, we decided to hit the lake again. It was another beautiful day for weather again, plus it was a Saturday so the place was packed. We probably could have planed that a little better. There were anglers standing all around the boat ramp shoulder to shoulder. And there were float tubes and pontoon boats dotted all around the area. We all sort of migrated to the same spots that we were at last time and we all started hooking fish. The fishing wasn’t as fast as the last time, but there was enough action to keep it fun. Jeff kept the one of his fish for dinner that night. And for the first time ever (hopefully the last) I saw someone eat trout roe. We decided over dinner that night (a delicious cutthroat) that we would try the Madison again the next day. We tied flies and watched a football game.
Day five: Madison/Gallatin Rivers. The storm that was promised finally started to move in. We hiked back down to the same hole in the Barnes pools area and fished through the rain. Whitefish and resident trout were keeping the action going, but no one was hooking any lake run trout. After 3 or 4 hours a couple of us were talking about moving on right when Mike hooks up a fish. Wylie says “If its a lake run we’re staying.” Sure enough, it was a beautiful brown. We all checked our gear and hopped back in the river but, that was going to be the only lake run of the day. We decided to rest the Madison and try something else. None of us has fished the Gallatin, and it was close by so what the heck. Mike pulled a few whities out it, the rest of us blanked, and Jeff got harassed by the fish and game for a minute. But what a beautiful river. We found out later that we didn’t drive far enough and the fishing was another 20 minutes or so from where we were. Now we know.
Day six: Cleaned the cabin, packed all of our gear, hooked up the trailers again and decided to just roll home rather than haul trailers in the park, unpack and repack our gear to fish a couple more hours.
All of us had a lot of fun and got to know each other a little better and I think all of us left better anglers.
Hope to see more of you on our next fishout.
Be sure to checkout our fishout calendar and come to the meetings to get the details.