The Yellowstone custom adventure just finished up an incredible second backcountry! The last time you heard from us, we had just arrived at the scenic B4 Ranch near Cooke City, Montana, and were settling in for a fun few days of fishing. The first day at the ranch was a fun one. We unpacked all of our gear from the last backcountry, got settled into our cabins, and headed out to fish the afternoon on the B4's private section of the Clark's Fork of the Yellowstone River. The brookies and rainbows were rising readily, and every kid caught multiple fish by the time we headed in for dinner! To finish off the day, the kids cooked up some delicious brats for dinner, and we enjoyed the beds and showers at the ranch.
The next day the kids were exhausted from all the hiking, fishing, and travel, so we decided to sleep in. We got up late and the kids cooked up a hearty breakfast before we got to work helping out at the ranch. We worked for a few hours before heading in to eat lunch. We set out to fish again for the afternoon with more awesome results. No huge fish were caught, but several campers landed upwards of 20 fish in just a few hours! That night we had a big pasta carbo-load dinner, packed up our gear for the next backcountry, and headed to bed early to get some sleep before our next big day of hiking.
We woke up early the next morning and said goodbye to the B4 ranch. After a scenic drive through the Lamar Valley, we arrived at our trailhead and started hiking. After a few miles of mostly flat hiking, we began a technical descent into the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone in search of our campsite. The campers hiked well, and the scenery was phenomenal. We passed countless hot springs, rock formations, and saw beautiful vistas of the canyon. Once we reached our campsite, the guides walked down to the river to fill up on water and discovered salmon flies hatching! For those who don't know, the salmon fly is the largest aquatic insect, with many specimens growing as large as your thumb. Safe to say, this hatch brings the largest of trout to the surface to feed, so we knew the fishing would be epic. Once word about the hatch spread around camp, the kids quickly rigged up rods and got to fishing. We scrambled down the side of the canyon, and immediately started catching big, native, Yellowstone cutthroat trout on big dry flies. Every kid caught multiple fish that evening, and we headed to bed ready to do it all again the next day.
The next day we got up and got straight to fishing. The fishing was great throughout the morning, and gave us guides plenty of opportunities to refine the campers' fishing technique. After a solid morning of fishing where each camper caught some good sized fish, we headed in for lunch. Still feeling tired from the big hike the day before, some of the campers decided to take a midday nap, while others headed back out to fish around the campsite. We all resolved to reconvene for an early dinner and hike further down the canyon in search of some new waters and hatching salmon flies that evening. Unfortunately, some evening thunderstorms dashed our hopes of hiking far, but we did get a nice weather window where we were able to catch a bunch more fish around camp after dinner.
We woke up with the sun this morning and packed up camp quickly. While we had only five miles to cover in total, a good chunk of it was hiking up the steep trail out of the canyon that we descended two days earlier. Although the hiking was difficult, the kids hiked hard and ended up making better time on the way out than they did on the way in! We reached the van, and headed into Canyon Village for a resupply and some ice cream. We just arrived at our frontcountry campsite where we will stay at for the next two nights before heading into our final backcountry: Slough Creek. Everyone is having an awesome time and can't wait for more shots at big fish on our next backcountry! The next time you hear from us we will have just exited the backcountry and will be back at base camp getting ready for our final day of float fishing!
Will and Drew