“Would you like me to row a little bit?” I asked, after I had been at the front of the boat for a while.
“Naaa” Terry said, “But I will cast my sinking line from here”. The fishing had been slow, so Terry pulled out his fly rod with his sinking line to give that a shot. After a few casts, he brought out his depth finder, which he held in the water with his feet.
“You know, Terry, with all the fancy gear you have in your boat, it’s a shame the holder for your depth finder is so old and tattered.”
“I can’t afford anything better than this.” He laughed.
We had arrived at the lake early, and maybe a little too early for the callibaetis hatch. There had been nothing to cast to for a while now, so I joined Terry by switching to a sinking fly set-up.
“There’s one!” Terry yelled, lifting his fly rod.
“It’s about time one of us caught a fish.” I said, as Terry started clawing for the net near his feet.
“You’re so photogenic!” I told Terry, as he let his fish go.
“The camera can’t catch beauty like mine.”
“That’s right!” I said back, and we went back to fishing.
“There!” I yelled.
Before Terry had even made one stroke to head back, I saw a rise and the unmistakable silhouette of a cruising fish just under the surface. Fly line was peeled out in less than a second, and I punched my line backward with a serious haul for substantial power and speed. I wasn’t even thinking about casting, because I didn’t have to. Everything was happening naturally: excess fly line was flying off the deck of the boat, out my rod tip, still soaring behind me for an extra long back cast. When the fly line had shot out as far as it could, I stopped it, only to punch my hand forward while adding a haul to send my fly line rocketing out to my target. It was the perfect cast. Fly line surged forward in a perfect arch, carrying my fly exactly in the path of the feeding fish and laying it out softer than tucking in a newborn. The dark swimming silhouette approached my fly and sipped it like a toddler sipping up a marshmallow in a cup of hot chocolate. BAM! I set the hook, and the fish bolted to my right, leaping out of the water like a dolphin leading a charter boat.
“It feels good to get a fish, Terry!” I said, holding my fish.
“Maybe we should stay out here a few more hours.” He joked, as I slipped my fish back into the water.
We didn’t stay another hour, but we did take our time getting back to the boat ramp. After a conversation with a local, we decided that we may want to look for new water to fish tomorrow. A quick phone call to a Livingston fly shop suggested fishing Yellowstone River. “There are a lot of fish being caught on the birdie stretch,” they said, and that lit a fire under Terry.
“Were going to Livingston tonight!” He said with all kinds of excitement.
“I’m good with that; the terrestrial fishing should be great.”
“This makes me feel young again.” He said, “Way back, we used to hop around from mountain to mountain during the ski year. We would call all the resorts and find out where the best snow was, and go! Just like that!”
Terry was beaming with all kinds of excitement, and he slipped his buff over his head to look cool.
“I’m feeling young!” He yelled, and smiled like he was up to something malicious.
The travel through the park was a bad idea. The construction up to the north entrance was terrible, with one way roads and delays. The time to drive up is normal two and a half hours through or around the park, and today it took us over four hours.
“I think on the way back we will go around the park.” Terry said, as we were stuck in traffic, again.
“I agree, but look at the full moon.” I said.
“Yeah!” Terry said looking in the distance.
“You know what this means?” I asked.
“We have a built-in excuse for not doing well this fishing trip.”
“Do you believe that the full moon makes fishing tough?”
“After today… Yes…” I said, turning to Terry, “I mean, it couldn’t be us!”
“Yeah!” Terry agreed, “but the Yellowstone is going to be great for us tomorrow!”
“Yes it is!”I said, and we arrived in Livingston later than expected, but ready for what tomorrow would bring.
1 thought on “A Great Year to Fish Hebgen Lake”
A slow day fishing in Yellowstone , is like eating ice cream as it melts off a 3 scoop cone … delayed enjoyable flavor ! Cool pic of the moon , AND a good read ! Got my gear ready…hope to fish Idaho along with you guys ASAP . ( Dad )