All content © Robert Williamson

All content © Robert Williamson

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Working some nice water.

I loved the blue tint to the Grey's River water. I glanced at it frequently as we (my wife and me) drove up the dirt road that paralleled it. Mountainsides loaded with pine forests rose on each side of the canyon. This is my kind of place; my kind of water. A fly fisherman with some experience will know what water looks fishy. This water does. I was excited to get to a place and give it a try. I was patient and drove for about 25 or 30 miles before pulling over to fish. The water looked so pure and clean. I was sure if I looked hard I would spot fish. The first hole I fished was a deep plunge pool that ran out into a nice choppy riffle and then a glide of very smooth water. I could spot no fish in the smooth water and quickly moved up into the deeper riffle. I place the hopper right on the seam where the faster water met the slow water on the deep edge of the run. There had to be trout holding along the seam. It was a prime area. Several casts without a look moved me up to the head of the plunge. Maybe the trout were holding behind the rocks. Nothing. I stood to the side of the plunge and cast above the rocks and into the next run. Sometimes the trout will hold in front of the rocks. It's a place that creates a break from the current and a place where trout like to hold. Again, nothing. I was taught that when the fishing is slow, I should move fast, and if the fishing is fast, I should move slow. So far, the fishing was slow so I started to move fast. I cast into some very fishy looking runs and came up with nothing. As I moved, I looked for signs of spooked fish and saw none. I was beginning to be a little disappointed. I mean, this was nice looking water.

Small, beautiful Snake River cutthroat.

I loved the look and color of this water.

This looked like a Bonneville cutthroat?

After a frustrating first hour of fishing and not seeing any sign of fish, I drove upstream to another likely spot. I walked down river and fished back up to the car. I saw one fish about 10 inches that slashed at my fly behind a large rock. This was nice looking water too. In my mind, I began to think of my familiar "home" waters and how I would have had several fish by now. What is so different about this water than the water closer to home? If it wasn't for the surrounding beauty and the company of my wife, I might have gone from frustrated to angry. In my younger years I think I would have been red in the face by now, but I have learned to enjoy my fly fishing for other reasons than just nailing a bunch of fish. Still, catching fish is high on the list for having a successful adventure. Reports from other anglers had led me to this river. What was I doing different than them? Maybe I needed to fish subsurface? I really wanted to get them on a hopper. Hoppers where in the area. The cutthroat trout should be all over a hopper.

I decided to migrate back down river and hit some spots on the way out. We pulled into a vacant campground and I dropped down over a high bank and into the river. I fished about four nice holes with nothing. I was stinking the place up. One the near bank was a downed pine tree that looked like it had been in the water for a couple of years. I cast up along the edge of it and just before the hopper reached the side of the sunken pine a trout flashed out quick and took the fly. It was a decent fish, strong, and full of fight. I worked it to the river's edge and estimated it at 14 maybe 15 inches. Finally a Snake River fine-spotted cutthroat trout!

I never caught another trout in that area and again we drove down river and to a new area. The next area proved to be a success. I caught several trout but nothing as nice as the first fish. Most of the fish in this are measured 8 to 12 inches. Not as impressive as I had expected or wanted. I wanted to fish the Little Grey's River so we drove down to it's confluence with the main Grey's. It was small water and I was able to catch a trout or two in each hole and run. The little cutts were aggressive and catching them in the small water was easy.

We had some places we wanted to visit in Afton and Osmond, Wyoming before it got dark so we left the Grey's and headed for town. After visiting a cemetery and looking at a great grandfather's grave. We drove up a small dirt road that led out of town and stumbled upon a small creek. "That creek looks fishy," I told my wife. "Well, we are here and you have your gear, see if there are fish in it," she replied. I don't have to get permission twice. I was pulled over and casting in minutes. I stood on the road and cast into some nice pools. The third pool rewarded me with a plump cutthroat. I moved to another hole and again caught a healthy looking cutthroat. These were nice fish for the size of the water and it quickly brought a smile to my face. I watched as several  fish fed in a smooth run taking emerging caddis flies. I couldn't reach them from where I was and didn't want to get wet or put on waders so I let them be. Those two trout satisfied my curiosity and because they were fine-spotted Snake River cutts made the feeling of satisfaction even better.

A pleasant surprise!

Nice, little trout from this creek.

Yes, that is a very satisfied look on my face.

I could catch trout like this all day.

The small creek was a nice end to a good day. I thought about hitting the Salt River and Salt creek on the way out of Star Valley but decided to get back to Montpelier, Idaho for dinner and then back to the summer home at Bear Lake. Even though the fishing wasn't what I wanted or expected, the overall experience, scenery, and time spent with my wife made for good memories. My pleasures are simple.

Young, bull moose checking us out.

This was the best trout of the day. Nothing to write home about but nice for a blog.


mike doughty said...

great looking water

Wildnative said...

Fishing was a little slow and the fish smaller than I expected, but the scenery and fish were handsome.