The Yellowstone Expedition has officially wrapped up their first backcountry section. As always we separate the group into two smaller backcountry groups. Half the group did a smaller hike to the upper Snake. The first day was tough and the fish proved difficult, but they stuck with it and figured it out. By the end of their 3 night stay they had all caught some beautiful brown trout and native Cutthroat over 16".
The other group did a longer hike to Heart Lake and through to the upper Snake. The motivation for the longer hike is a shot at the huge Yellowstone Cutthroat that come out of Heart Lake and into the Heart River to spawn. We book these permits for the same days every year. We have been fortunate to have good to great fishing for these migratory monsters every year. Unfortunately, our streak ended this year. The smaller stream-dwelling cutthroat were still plentiful, and some trophy cutthroat were caught (including a beutiful 20" cutthroat), but they were few and far between. It is safe to say that the group is looking forward to the better fishing to come. At the same time, it was great to hear how well the group has bonded, and despite the slow fishing they still appreciated the fact that they saw areas of Yellowstone few people ever get to see.
Tonight the group will spend another night in Yellowstone, at one of the few front country campsites that are open. From their sites at Bridge Bay, they will have access to the upper section of the Yellowstone. Another section of river that serves as a seasonal home to massive lake fish, this time out of Yellowstone Lake.
Tomorrow they head out of the park to fish the Madison River. We don't usually fish this section during this trip, but the group is excited about the opportunity. Yellowstone has not opened up any of the park managed front-country sites despite announcements they were planning to do so on 7/1 and 7/15. The plus side is we will have the chance to fish both the Madison and Gallatin Rivers. If you have been following along on our Instagram you have seen the monster fish we pulled out of these rivers last week on our Montana Road Trip.
We will send our next update on 7/23 before we head back into the park for our backcountry trip to the notorious 2nd and 3rd meadows of Slough Creek.