I just got back from three days of fishing bliss. On Thursday,
July 11th three companions, Shawn, Ron and his son Eric, and
myself left for Jackson Hole, WY. Shawn was coming from Orlando
and the airlines got his flight arrangements a little messed up.
After a couple of hours of arguing with them he finally was on
his way and made it into Jackson, 4 hours late. We gathered up
our stuff, got our car and drove over the mountains to Driggs,
ID. For those of you that have not made it to Jackson Hole,
before you die, you must make the trip. When I hear the words,
"Purple Mountains Majesty" the Tetons are what I think of. They
are the most beautiful mountains in the US.
Now back to Driggs. It is a neat little town - voted the best
town in the US to raise a family - small, clean and inexpensive
to stay in. After checking into our hotel we found a great
restaurant for dinner. For such a small town, what a great
find it was. Our meal was superb and we talked anxiously
about the trip we were going to embark upon the next day.
We were off for an overnight trip on the South Fork of the
Snake River. Three of us had taken this trip 4 years ago
and we were wondering if it was going to be a disappointment,
since the first trip was one of the best we had ever taken.
Well, we would see. We finished dinner and went back to the
hotel to get some sleep.
Our plan had been to get up and go to breakfast at 7 am. I just
could not sleep. I was up at 5 and had everyone else up by 6.
We had breakfast and were at the flyshop to meet our guides 30
minutes before we were supposed to be there. Our guides Kasey
Collins and Bill Pew from WorldCastAnglers.com in Wilson, WY
showed up, we got our gear together and were off to
the river. We arrived at the put-in of the South Fork of the
Snake and everything was perfect. The sun was shinning, water
level was great and I saw three big salmon flies in the air.
Before we got into the boat the four of us decided to make a
little wager on the trip. Boat against boat on first fish,
most fish, and biggest fish. Now usually I am not a betting
man on fishing trips, but it just seemed right this time. Boats
got launched, gear piled in and off we went.
It was not long, three cast to be exact, and I was into the
first fish, a 19-inch cutthroat. What a way to start. After
a quick fight we released the fish and continued down the
river. The fishing continued too, at least for me. My partner
in the boat, Shawn, was having a little problem hooking the
fish. He is a great saltwater fisherman, and he just could not
get away from the habit of strip-striking the fish. He kept
pulling the fly out of the fish's mouth. Now don't get me
wrong, he was catching fish, just not as many as he was missing.
About 11 o'clock we stopped on a gravel bar to check and see
if the PMD's were starting to show and if the fish were stacked
up to feed on them. They were there, and since Shawn had not
gotten that many yet, I gave him the side where the big ones
were staged. Along this one little drop off, no more then 20
feet wide, there had to be at least 15 fish working. And I do
not mean small fish. Most were in the 16 to 18 inch range with
one huge fish in there. Shawn began working the fish and he stuck
every one of them in the next three hours. You noticed I said
stuck. In keeping with his bad luck, he did not land a single
one. He either missed them, broke off, or in the case of the
biggest one. . .a true 22 + inch green backed rainbow…had him on
and then lost him when the guide tried to net him and the fish
ran and broke off.
I on the other hand, was fishing the other side along the gravel
ledge. The fish were not as big over here, only 14-16 inches
(isn't that a shame). I was floating a PMD Sparkle Dun over them
with little luck. After watching the fish work for a little while,
I figured the fish were taking emergers. I tied on a small Copper
John dropper and proceeded to catch the next 3 fish on 3 consecutive
casts. By the time I was done, I had caught 12 fish from that bar
and lost count on how many I missed. What a time. We decided that
we had been there long enough and went downstream to meet Ron and
Eric and see how they were doing. Their fishing had been great also,
even though the heat of the day was getting to all of us. The temps
were getting close to 100. Shawn decided the best way to cool down
was with a quick dip. Now he was a lot braver then I was, after
all the water temps were a cool 56 degrees. After some lunch we
were off again.
We continued to pound the banks of the river, and the fish
continued to be cooperative. We got to our campsite by about
6 o'clock and Shawn and I had compiled an incredible tally
for the day. I had caught 35 fish ranging from 14 - 20 inches
with most being in the 16 to 18 inch range. Shawn had ended up
with 15. Not to bad. We did not get the big fish of the day,
that went to Eric with a beautiful 22" Brownie.
Now let me tell you a little about the camp. To give you a
little flavor as to what it is like, it is called the South
Fork Hilton. As you walk up the hill, the first thing you
see is the cook tent and eating area.
They have a great chef who stays in camp so your food is
being prepared when you show up. For refreshments, you
walk down a short trail to where a natural spring boils
out of the hillside and forms a perfect little pool there
to keep the beer and wine nice and cool. We drank a couple
of brews to wet our whistles, cleaned up and then sat down
to a dinner of Pan Seared Duck Breast with Porcini Mushrooms
and Grilled Vegetables. It so happened that this night was
also Shawn's birthday, and the cook even had a dutch oven
cooked cake with candles. We ate, drank 2 bottles of wine
and then sat around the fire talking and looking at the most
incredible display of stars that I have seen in a long time.
Before long, we were all too tired to stay up any longer. We
went to our tents and off to sleep. The next morning we woke
to the smell of bacon cooking, coffee brewing and the singing
of birds. After another great meal, we were off to the river
This day did not measure up to the day before. Now don't get
me wrong, we caught fish, but just not like the day before.
Shawn and I both caught 10, but we missed quite a few.
The day was made when Shawn got a 22" Brown. This was the fish that
made his trip. This day was hotter then the day before, 104 F.
when we got off the river, and the bugs were just not as thick
on the second day of the float.
I have to tell you though; I was beat by the time the trip
was over. We got back to town, got showers and off to dinner
again. Seems that on trips like this you are always eating.
All of us were in bed by 10 and we had to be up in the morning
for another trip.
It is amazing what a nights sleep in a good bed can do for you.
The night before, I was not sure I wanted to fish again. But by
6 am, I was up and ready to go. This morning we decided that
we did not want a big breakfast. Instead we headed into Victor,
ID to the Victor Emporium. This is a great little shop with
absolutely the best milkshakes you have ever had. We all wanted
to try their Huckleberry Shakes and we were not disappointed.
When we finished, we were back to the flyshop to meet up with
our new guides. We met Mitch and Jim and got ready to head off
to a small river that is not fished by many anglers. Now I know
some of you would like to know the name, but this is a small river
and probably cannot handle a lot of pressure. I am sure you can
understand my reluctance to name it with all that read this site.
As we floated this river, it is narrow enough that I would work
one side as Shawn worked the other.
Fish just kept coming up to my fly, out of the pocket water,
from just off the banks, and from behind the boulders that were
below the water. And I do not mean just any fish. One this day
I got 25 fish of which the smallest was about 16 inches and the
largest being close to 24 inches. Now that is what I call a
stream. Shawn on the other had continued to have his bad luck
from the days before. I think he missed 30 fish before he
finally caught one.
By the end of the day, he made a good comeback and ended up
with probably 10 fish, all of them of a size that would make
any one jealous. The day ended with one of the most beautiful
floats I have ever been on and another winning day of first
fish, most fish and biggest fish.
What a three days of fishing.
To finish up our trip, Monday we used for a 'play tourist' day.
We took a drive from Driggs up to the Henry's Fork, then up
into Yellowstone National Park and out the Southern Entrance
into the Teton National Park. As I said in the beginning of
this story, what a beautiful place. This was a great ending
to great trip. If you ever get a chance, make it to Idaho and
the South Fork of the Snake. And if you are lucky, you may even
find the small secret stream and catch a 24-inch Cutthroat with the
color of gold. ~ JF (Grizz)