July is well under way, and I find myself nearing the half way mark for this summer internship. I am quite nervous that I haven't fully taken advantage of my Wyoming or Montana season fishing licenses yet. When I first arrived here, I thought I would be able to easily fish various rivers in all three states with frequency. It turns out that ten weeks really is not that long. It can also be a tough sell to leave when the Henry's Fork is right there. Nevertheless, I have gotten plenty of fishing in throughout the last two weeks.
In addition to fishing the Henry's Fork and the occasional Warm/Buffalo, I have hit the Madison one night and the Teton one day. While I caught a nice 18-inch rainbow on the Madison, the Teton was filled with July 4 weekenders in inner tubes. I was aiming to catch a cutthroat, but all I got there were 6 to 8 inch rainbows. I also went to Hidden Lake to camp and fish. I only caught a few there, but it was fun to hang out in the woods and rip some lips.
As far as the Henry's Fork is concerned, I have spent much time on various sections. Jack and I took a boat out the morning of July 4 from Ora to Vernon, which was fairly slow. However, golden stones were still along the banks on Monday morning. I did get a few false takes throwing a golden stone chubby on the banks. After losing a nymph or two on the bottom, I messed up because I thought I had again caught a log. After failing to set the hook, I realized that the log had been moving and that it was not a log. It was a big fish.
Oh well. Must have been a sucker.
I am still chasing that mystical ranch fish. It seems that I have missed several of the big hatches on the ranch. I spent a couple of cast-less nights there, so tonight I will be heading to the Madison between Hebgen and Quake in search of a nice confidence boost in the form of a 16-20 inch rainbow. Once I can reel a few of those guys in, I will be right back to the ranch.
I haven't made concrete plans this weekend, but I am thinking of either heading to the Targhee Creek Trail or floating the Madison. I am currently planning a 3-day backpacking/fishing trip next week if anyone has any recommendations. I was thinking Helena National Park or something less mainstream. I am looking to hike along a neat back country fly fishing spot within a 4 hour drive or so of here.
Work has been great. In addition to continuing water quality on Tuesdays, I have been heading out to the field to clean the Chester dam and conduct creel surveys on the Teton. Last week we began our big fencing project to put fencing from the logjam to Osborne Bridge. Although I thoroughly enjoyed working out by the river, pounding t-bars, and hammering nails into dancers, I could not believe how many people volunteered to join in and help out. This should not surprise me though as I have learned. The people here are happy to help the river in any way they can. In addition to fencing checks and water quality, this week I chose a topic for the internship video that I will make over the rest of the summer. If you have ever seen a black PVC tube on the side of the Henry's Fork, this video will present what those are and why they matter. Stay tuned.
The past two and a half weeks since the last blog post have flown by. 10 weeks is simply not enough time to enjoy the Ashton/Island Park area, let alone Southeast Montana and the East side of the Tetons. I have often found myself on the river scheming plans to come back for much longer after graduation next May. My attempts to convince my girlfriend that this is the place to be next year have been rough. I just need to catch her some trout out here and take her to Hidden Lake to camp and fish. I hope that is all it will take. I tried explaining a theory I have that I would live longer if I lived out here, but she wasn't buying it. In the meantime, I will continue to draft schemes to convince her that this is the place. Shouldn't be too hard.