Hello to all,
It didn’t take us long to want to head back into the park after our laundry and shower day. We camped right on the outside boundary of the park along the Madison River. We got the opportunity to fish some smaller pocket water for hungry brown and cutthroat trout on the Gallatin and smaller creeks nearby. With larger rivers making up the majority of our fishing time on the trip thus far, it was a nice change of pace to bring out the smaller rods. That night we made a camper's favorite thanksgiving style dinner over a campfire under a blanket of bright stars. The boys seem to love hanging around camp with one another. Needless to say, the group is getting along exceptionally well.
The next day we drove to Canyon campground, where we set up camp for the next leg of the trip to fish the fantastic water all around us. Once our camp was set up, we got the opportunity to go day hike to a lake that holds both cutthroat trout and arctic grayling, a special treat to catch on the fly. Surrounded by tall pines and snow-capped peaks, the boys caught trout and grayling on dry flies before a hike back to play cards around the picnic table after dinner. The next day we got the opportunity to be the first commercial outfitters allowed into slough creek (a Lillard and camper favorite) for day access.
After a solid meadow hike down into the canyon, the kids caught some massive fish on streamers and hoppers under the sun. With limited access to the Lamar Valley of the park (due to the flooding event in June), we practically had the valley to ourselves on the scenic drive back to enjoy the beautiful wildlife and bison traffic jams. Having that untouched valley to ourselves was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and you could see the awe on the kid's faces as we passed elk, pronghorn, deer, and coyotes. Since this group has all spent time in the Lamar Valley during a typical crowded year, they fully appreciate how unique this opportunity was.
Over the next two days, the boys took part in an LFFE classic, the Pine Creek Derby, where the kids were split into three groups of two and given 2 hours to see who could catch the most fish. The winning group caught close to 40 fish and enjoyed bragging rights and a group trip to get ice cream. After the friendly competition, the guys got another chance to fish the upper Yellowstone for the famed massive cutthroats that inhabit the river. Although the fishing is technical, the group still found success after dinner right on the water's edge.
We were blessed with one of the prettiest sunsets I’ve ever seen in the Hayden valley as we drove back to cap off yet another epic day. The flexibility of a smaller group has allowed the kids to have a lot of input on where they want to fish, allowing us to stay in the northern part of the park. In the trip's final leg, we look forward to floating the Madison River. They are all feeling ready to maximize the last couple of days.
~ Jack Kenney