This has been a great trip. We have met and fished with some
great folks. Fishing has been great - while the catching has
been less than expected. Jeff Fields, one of our Chat Room
Hosts is a great companion with a fine sense of humor. And
yes, he caught fish!
A highlight for JC and I was fishing with Mike
and his two sons. Mike and his older son Aaron were former students
of our casting school. The younger son John, only 11 is a tenacious,
patient, enthusastic fly fisher. His willingness to be taught and
to put what he was learning into practice was great fun to watch. Aaron has
become a good caster. Given a few more healthy fish to cast to, he
will be pushing his dad. That's what fly fishing used to be - a
family passing on knowledge, skills and appreciation of the out-of-doors.
In all fairness, we did see two or three other
dads fishing with kids. One I particularily enjoyed was sitting on
dad's shoulders casting a pretty fair line. And at Buffalo Ford,
another dad and daughter. Good for you dads! Those are memories
you will have forever.
We played tourist and did not fish yesterday.
We chased down to Island Park to see if we could find one of our
friends from the Chat Room. We found his rig, but missed him since
he was out fishing with friends. Well gee, on Henry's Fork, who would
It has been some twenty years since we have
been down in the Island Park region. But as long as we were there,
we took a little side jaunt to see the beginning of Henry's Fork.
The picture at the right is Big Springs, which really is the headwater
of Henry's Fork. Compare the one above to see what really happens from
small beginnings. The huge rainbows, 7 - to 12 pounds, in the
spring are protected,and tourists feed them pellets from a machine
on the bridge or chunks of bread. No fishing, wading or swimming
is allowed in the spring.
From Big Spring we headed for Bozeman. What
a nice town Bozeman has become. Home of Montana State College, it
is clean, bright, loaded with new homes and looks like the picture
of prosperity. The road from West Yellowstone to Bozeman runs next
to the Gallatin River. The Gallatin has a variety of water to fit
anyones requirements. From meadow glides to rock strewn falls, plunges
and riffles. It was unfortunatly very off color due to the deluge of
the three prior days rain. But that didn't seem to discourage the large
number of fly anglers, at least in the upper calmer stretches.
Midway down the Gallatin Valley is a fly shop.
We rarely miss an opportunity to see any fly shop, so of course we
stopped in. Looking through the merchandise I saw some shirts with
an embroidered logo to the effect that it was for a women's group.
Asking the young gal at the counter what it was,
she explained there is a women's group headquartered at the shop,
and they get together and fish a couple of times a year. I asked
A young man immediately informed me the owner of
the shop was a woman, and that women are just more "comfortable"
fishing with other women. JC decided about then to take a walk out
the side door, I muttered something under my breath and also left.
Livingston Montana was almost a shock. We were
appauled on the condition of the town three years ago when we were
there. Gambling is legal in Montana, and it is everywhere in Livington.
After being in and out of West Yellowstone for the past week, we were
used to seeing cars and folks walking around town, in shops and
resturants - a very healthy, lively scene. In fact, 'West' as the locals
call it, may be on the edge of overgrowth. Lots of new hotels, motels,-
everything. People standing in line to get into one of the popular
Livingston may have succeeded in living down to it's
local nickname 'Deadrock'. We saw two vehicles on the main street, and
those were motorcycles. Things do not look healthy there. We stopped
in to visit with old friend Tommy Travis at the Master Angler. We have
always considered the Master Angler the finest shop in Livingston. His wife
Krysal was there, Tommy was out guiding. There was not a customer in
the shop. This of course was in direct contrast to the half dozen or so
fly shops in 'West' all of which seem to be doing a brisk business.
Those who followed the Sunday evening Tying Chat
with Mat Lyon will be glad to know he is working at the Master Angler. We
did have a chance to meet him, and hope he will find a more permanent
home in the fall. Another one of the Chat Room guys, Cutthroat is also
working at the Master Angler. It is a small world, especially the fly
fishing world. You just never know who you might run into.
The road from Livingston South to Yellowstone
National Park is through some spectatular country. Paradise Valley
is well named. The Gallatin Mountain Range to the right, the
Yellowstone River flowing through the center and the Absaroka Mountains
on the left engulf the traveler. Someone once told me the Absaroka's
looked like their mountains at home in Switzerland. Pretty spectatular
with the evening sunset reflecting back...alpine glow.
Gardiner Montanta is the official North Gate
for YNP. The 'old town' main street is unchanged with the exception
of a couple new eateries. But again, much new construction. New
hotels, and lots of people. Good to see. Montana is a tough place
to earn a living. Glad that the tourists are are helping keep
Our final leg to the day trip was very dark,
and included a drive through the Park back to West. A bit of an
adventure! Few cars are on the road at night in the park, and
the expectation is of a moose or elk walking out in front of your
vehicle at any time. Luckily we only saw one deer. Still a bit
tense. Neither of us dared blink an eye.
Just have to mention one of the oldest places
in West. Some 50 years in business on the main street, the Totem
has the best piece of beef I have had in years. We ate late, almost
10:00, they gladly served us, even though the kitchen closes at
10:00 pm, and the Petite Fillet we both had was done exactly as
ordered and could be cut with a fork. Rolls that were hot, small
but very adequate salad bar, and for me, mashed potatoes served in
a small bowl. Snowy white peering up out of a pool of real, hot, brown
gravy. (You just can't keep this stuff up on cheeze and crackers.)
If you are in the region, do stop by the Totem!
Our next stop is Rock Creek where our friends
tell us it's 80% brown trout, averaging 18- to- 20 inches. Looking'
forward to that! By the way, Doug and Carolyn Persico are the owners
of the Rock Creek Fisherman's Merchantile and Motel and the Fly of the Week this week is one of Doug's
One more evening to fish in the Park, stay