The Yellowstone Expedition got off to an early start on Monday morning as we prepared our belongings and broke down camp at the Gros Ventre campground near the Jackson Airport. We were getting ready for our entrance into Yellowstone. On our drive up to the backcountry office for permits and a lesson on bear safety, we were able to enjoy the scenic Snake River Valley and Grand Teton Mountain Range. Many of the rivers we passed on the way looked excellent for fishing which just made everyone more excited than they already were for the next couple days in the park. Once we got everyone fishing licenses at the backcountry office, we headed to a campground just outside of the park and prepared our backpacks for the upcoming backcountry. Once everyone’s packs were ready, the group sat down for a hardy dinner of pesto chicken pasta, and got to bed early for the upcoming days of fishing.
For our first backcountry the group split into two. One group headed five miles into the backcountry on the snake river, where we spent our time fishing for the native Snake river cutthroat. While the other group took the longer hike up to Heart lake for much larger but more finicky trout. Both groups hiked into spots where the fish see less pressure from other anglers in the park, which made for quite excellent fishing. Everybody was eager to get into their backcountry sites, and after a quick lunch and setting up tents, we were able to hit the water and start fishing. The group that took the trek up the Snake River found success fishing in the under pressured section of river. Everyone was able to land multiple trout ranging from twelve to twenty inches. The group at Heart Lake took on a bit more of a challenge fishing for larger fish. Everyone at Heart lake ended up landing a fish and all of them ranged from about eighteen to over twenty inches. Even though the fishing at Heart lake was more challenging it was definitely worth it, and a lot of the kids who made the trek ended up catching their largest ever trout on the fly rod!
After two days of fishing in the backcountry, the groups met back up at the Heart Lake Trailhead and traded fish stories from the two trips. Once everyone was in the van, both groups made their way up to a campground on the scenic Yellowstone Lake. After setting up our tents, the group then made their way into town for some well-deserved showers. Once everybody was done we headed back to camp to celebrate our first backcountry success with a hefty bratwurst dinner. For our next few days of fishing, the group is looking forward to wetting their lines on the Upper Yellowstone River, which holds even bigger fish than Heart Lake! It’s safe to say the next few days will be filled with even more fish and fun in the Park.