Yellowstone Park report 5/31-6/4

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by troutpocket, Jun 5, 2005.

  1. I visited Yellowstone for the first time in 10 years this past week. The official purpose of the trip was helping out with cutthroat research in Yellowstone Lake but the weather was bad enough that most of that was cancelled, allowing me to strike out on my own for a few days of fishing. It snowed every day and temps were in the 40's.

    5/31: Hiked into a trib stream along Yellowstone Lake. We were trying to catch spawning cutthroat to check gut contents for a U of WY research project. With three people fishing, I hooked the only fish. It was a huge cutthroat that broke me off on 4x tippet. It rained or snowed most of the day and the level of the trib rose by more than a foot during the day.

    6/1: Research was cancelled due to weather so I bought a park fishing license and drove down to Lewis Lake to take a shot at catching a lake trout on the fly. I aired up my watermaster and set out in big swells and sleet. I trolled a big, white bunny leech down the shoreline without any action until I found an inlet stream. I worked the mouth and caught 2 lakers, biggest around 18" and missed a few other takes. I got cold and waves were breaking over the back of my raft so I headed back to the put in. I broke down the watermaster and drove north to Madison Junction and west until I found some good looking water. I fished the Madison inside the park and caught 1 rainbow and 4 browns all on woolly buggers in the slack water. The river is high and off color. No big fish but beautifully colored, 10-14".

    6/2: Drove out to Cody for groceries and stopped by the ff'ing only, 1 fish limit lake. Big 'bows were cruising in the shallows. After a frustrating first 30 minutes, I tried an olive seal bugger and had a great next hour landing 3 and losing a few others up to 22". Also caught my first splake (brookie x lake trout hybrid).

    6/4: Hiked in to Grebe Lake and found the grayling spawning in the trib streams. What a sight! Hundreds of 6-12" fish were doing their thing in the riffles. I fished in the lake and found many willing fish.

    6/5: Returned to Laramie and got a call saying the trib streams are dropping into shape and big cutthroat are moving up from the lake. I missed them by a week.

    Pictures to come

    Rod :cool:
  2. Thanks, Rod, that was fun. Wish I was young enough to take the beating you took...Those days are over, I'm afraid.

    Bob, the I don't like this laker idea at all. :mad:
  3. Hey Bob,talking about the days being over now that we are on the down side of life,I know how you feel. Went out with Dave on saturday and walking over the big rocks on the river bars liked to kill me. All I wanted to do was sit down and rest as the rocks were killing my ankles. Oh to be just a few years younger to be getting around.

  4. FYI: for anyone who isn't familiar with the current peril of Yellowstone Lake cutthroat, lake trout were illegally introduced (likely by a fisherman who wanted to see them in Yellowstone Lake) sometime in the late 80's. They were first reported to the Park Fisheries crew in 1993.

    I talked to the Fisheries crew who gillnet in Yellowstone Lake for the purpose of removing lake trout. They got 1000+ lakers on their first day of pulling nets. The next day they got 400. It is estimated that a single lake trout eats ~50 Yellowstone cutthroat trout per year. The numbers are scary! However, the population estimates for the cutthroat show a new year class is moving into the fishery - a very good sign. Also, this past years netting efforts for lakers show a decline in the number of big spawners - a first in 6 or so years of effort. There may be hope for at least controlling the numbers of lakers!

  5. They thought the Lakers were a "recent" introduction, until they netted a twenty-some pound monster, which essentially re-wrote their timeline for the illegal introduction - I don't recall the exact years.

    A new school of thought on the demise of the Cutthroat fishery (as related to me by a highly-regarded friend in West Yell) is that the problem is not just the lakers, but also lingering effects from the '88 fires. Drainages that previously had the necessary vegetation to meter run-off and filter silt from the streams are now carrying a higher sediment load, which in turn is filling spawning areas.

    If this is true, its going to take Mother Nature a while to clean the system. Problem is, she has more time than you or I do. ;-)
  6. Good report, congrats on catching the lakers and the splake! Hope you got some good photos of them, would love to check those out...

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