Monday, April 7, 2014
This was our big day. Off to Yellowstone national park early to travel 100 miles or so of the north end of the park and then to fish the remainder of the day at Dupuy’s. A private spring creek that feeds the Yellowstone River. but, because of the success of the prior day it was really hard to get mark out of bed. I wanted to leave by 6am and I wasn’t even out of bed until 630. I think we left around 9am.
Once we got into the canyon within 10 miles of the park I told mark, “ok, it’s going to get good.” And sure enough it did. Wild buffalo were everywhere in the hills. They were even wandering around in the town of gardner on the north entrance to the park’s border.
We couldn’t have travelled 2 miles into the park when we ran into the first (of like 50) heards of buffalo. I told Mark, “wanna’ stop?” “hell ya”, he said.
As we stood above and took pictures I noticed a stairway looking thing and a trail. I couldn’t resist and said, “let’s go.”. so, cautioning him on safety and getting gored, we walked down to the buffalo. Mark got within 20 feet of them before he started getting nasty looks from the males and I told him to back off.
He iPhone videoed to send to his buddies and got one crapping…typical. We pressed on in the rental car. Net-net I have never seen as many animals in one day as we did on that day. And I have been going to national parks, including Yellowstone my whole life. They come down from the mountains in the spring and we caught it just right. There was hardly anyone there too so we saw none of that famous YNP traffic. We went all the way to the lamar valley hoping to see the wolves and all we saw there were the professional photograhers taking pictures of them 2 miles away….and tons more buffalo. The only real mammal we didn’t see that day was a bear.
We saw a lot of animals… a lot… 500+ buffalo, elk, deer, moose, antelope, big horn sheep..
After a full 4-5 hour trek in the rental car in Yellowstone we headed back towards Livingston to Dupuy Spring Creek. We didn’t get there until 2pm. And to my dismay, the place that Paul told us to fish had 8 trucks parked there. I have never seen that many people on Dupuy. I really thought they limited the rods, but not on this day. we kept going on the dirt road up river and there were people everywhere. We eventually parked way on top and fished that part – which I had never done before….and now I know why. I taught mark how to fish a streamer, but even I couldn’t get one on a streamer. I got a small tap, but that was it for the first hour. Mark was proficient on the streamer, but since we werent’ getting anything I switched him to the bobber. But, that stretch yielded nothing. So back in the car we went and travelled on the dirt road all the way downriver to the other end which I was very familiar with the water. It was late so most of the guides and fisherman were gone. And sure enough, within the first 10 mins I guided mark to spot saying “cast there; cast here.” ect and boom! Brown trout. Ok, good. the rest of the day we had good action. Mark is really proficient in nymphing and can match up with anyone. I had to retie a number of his rigs from trees and bushes caught, but that is expected. Dupuys is very technical fishing.
Then we got to a spot where we clearly could see spawning fish. I let mark fish over them but they wouldn’t have any of it. I even tried to coerce the stray male and failed. But, mark moved down river 200 feet and without my help sighted a run and fished it….and boom! Huge battle.
I fled out of the river to the side, dumped my rod and pack, grabbed the net, took a long distance picture of him battling and I ran down stream; and he was still battling. When I got to him, I said that must be a big fish and he says, “No, I think I tail hooked him.” I went in the river downstream trying to net the fish and got a glimpse as he saw me and bolted into current again. “no mark, it’s a huge fish and you have him hooked in the nose!” mark tired him and I netted him. high fives. I said, “you really are a good fly fisherman.” He was very pleased.
We kept him in the net and I took pictures underwater of him while mark released him.
We hiked all the way down to the culvert where the fish swim in on the way to spawn. It holds huge fish but it’s impossible to get a cast. The view is good though:
At this point it was after 6:30pm and mark was clearly tired and running out of steam. I wanted to fish it to the end; to darkness at 8:30pm, but not a problem. I was mostly guiding on this day and was very pleased mark was doing well. So, we headed back to the truck with the deal that we’d fish that good hole by the truck before we left. And when we got there … risers, so I switched to the dries and mark continued to do well on the bobber.
And then I learned the sobering reality of matching the hatch and why I just am not an expert yet…at least in Montana. I threw everything at the rising fish and was ignored. Now mark was sitting, lost his flies again and I knew we needed to go. He was also probably starving. In hindsight instead of rapidly changing flies what I should have done is tied on finer tippet and seined the river to see what the hell they were eating. It was the first time I had brought a small net on the river and I totally forgot I had it. no problem. Lessoned learned. And I was pressed for time anyways.
So, we headed out, drove the 30 mins to bozeman and hit dave’s sushi, surprisingly good and packed with locals, before getting to the hotel room. Instead of crashing immediately we shared JD and coke. I caught up on email and mark did his social networking thing…I guess. He was on his computer. It wasn’t long before we crashed, exhausted.