* Mid July - On the road with Elaine and John Cook

At the end of the week with the group at the Green River, John and I took another drift trip with guide Gene Gautieri. We did a sort of lower A section/upper B section trip. It was a very long day getting back at 7:30 PM. We had exceptional fishing and all on dry flies, of course.
Our next adventure was down to Jones Hole. We came upon seven mountain sheep (we understand that's very rare, to get close to them). We were about 30 feet away from them, as you can see from the photo. The fishing was very slow. Where were all those beautiful, big trout that have been there in the past? We thought maybe they go down to the Green River for a while in the summer, then return in the fall-don't know.
Last week, we camped for a week in the mountains of Wyoming on a beautiful stream that was loaded with nice-sized cutthroat averaging 14" to 16" and a few in the 17" to 18" size. It's rugged country. One day we went about 600 feet down in a canyon, fished about 9 hours up the stream to get to the next spot to get out. Early in the day, we came upon fresh Grizzly prints, so there was lots of whistle blowing and, of course, bear spray carried on our hips.


*August 9-15 - Montana - Pat and John Steele

Thanks to Ed Lawrence's Outfitters, we had another enjoyable experience in Montana. We flew into Bozeman and were warmly welcomed by Ed, who reserves rooms for his clients at the Holiday Inn Express. After a restorative night's sleep, we ventured forth with guide Tim Schwartze to the Madison River. Typically, in the late summer, the river runs a bit skinny and warm, so the fish were not very energetic nor willing to bite just anything. We worked hard to land a couple of nice browns apiece.
The next day, we convinced Tim to take us out on the Yellowstone, which, due to recent upriver rains, was still a bit off color. Once again, we had to earn the few fish we caught.

The third day, Wednesday, was a travel day. We drove to Helena, where Ed had made reservations for us at the Holiday Inn Express there. It stormed and rained heavily all day, and we worried that Thursday, the first day out on the Missouri, would be nasty, but it cleared off for the most part, only was windy in the morning, but when you're throwing weighted flies and fishing subsurface, the wind doesn't play as much of a critical part in the equation. Our guide, Mike Niles, rowed us around and around up by Holter Dam, where we caught a lot of nice, big, fat rainbows that fought unexpectedly ferociously, leaping out of the water, tail-walking, head-shaking, diving into the weeds to try to unbutton themselves, and it was all we could do to land them. We broke off quite a few of them until we learned how to play them and get them to the net. We had fun with the fish beneath the dam, then Mike took us on down the river.
Later in the day, when it got hot, we switched to hoppers and I had a classic dry fly take, with the trout coming up from the depths, opening his prodigious jaws, closing over the fly, and then rolling over, head down. I had to take several deep breaths to refrain from yanking the fly out of his mouth, but my timing was just right and I hooked him, whereupon he began his hook-throwing tactics, leaping, spinning, diving, and even though he broke me off, I have that snapshot branded into my memory. Even though I didn't land him, he was the fish of the trip for me!


* Late August - Goodwin Lake - Steve Rudzinski
I'm up here at Goodwin Lake, but not at the Gunter residence this time. His next door neighbor has me up to water his trees for a couple weeks.
After the first six days of record heat I finally put out into the water in the Scadden pontoon boat for a half day on Friday. Right out of the starting blocks, (I ran track in HS). I hooked and landed the largest trout of the day, a huge female that was around 25" and weighed at least 7 or 8 lbs. She really bent over the 6 weight and grabbed the Lake Almanor pond smelt streamer with the flashy body and tail. I landed another soon after that was well over 20" and had all the beautiful colors of these native Stanislaus rainbows.
I lost that fly on a sunken tree I tried to fish too closely. I put on one of my own that was the same size but a lot different in a tan marabou and found another six beauties to the net with one more I got indicating with a red Mahalo and 12' drop.
So I landed nine and lost only one this time out. I used Rich Rubin's method of landing the fish quickly and all swam away with gusto even though the surface water was in the 60's and I did not even wear waders and my feet and lower legs were not cold at all.
There were other fishermen out there, including Roy, and it seemed everyone was catching, but I got the big ones. I decided not to be all photo crazy and left the camera home; the fish deserve a quick release with such noble battles they exert. This is my first time fishing since June and I really needed that spark I got yesterday. Hope the rest of the week goes as well or better. Just missed that double digit, but I tried. See you at the meeting, I hope.

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