Recently, I was convinced to fish in the Lamar drainage on Soda Butte Creek by my friend the esteemed oceanographer, Dr Dave Kadko. In case you have been under a rock this season, the water is at record lows. But the fishing pressure in the Northeast corner of YNP has been crazy. Those two components usually push me toward other fly rodding opportunities. But the cold front had passed and the hoppers were active so I obliged.
Even though the hecuba’s and midges were present the fish did not appear to be keying on them. Plus, we were fishing the structured water–boulders, rocks, runs, and tree cover. Before you question if I really was on Soda, do a little recon and you will find it is not all cut banks with troughs and braids that join to form pools. Albeit that is a much of the water, and certainly that is the case where the stream parallels the road. And yes, we did fish that water later after the crowds thinned out.
I had a Trude with a Matt Minch Bead, Hare, and Copper (BHC) and Dave was using a “Stimi” (Stimulator) with a beetle.
I picked up one on the Trude, but quickly had a few on the BHC.
I changed my indicator fly to a hopper since we were seeing the terrestrials, but I kept the BHC as my dropper. Dave picked up a couple quickly on his beetle.
We did fish the classic Soda Butte water where we dodged the bison and ran our flies along the seams of the deeper runs along the bank. I even had fish turn on my hopper but no takes. Eventually, I went to the hecuba when the hatch became more sustained; but, by then the fish had seen so many flies that we started getting refusals. Before I switched though I managed a respectable well fed cutthroat on what? All together: Bead, Hare, and Copper.
We left with 18 fish released in about 4 hours on the water and Dave had a big fish on the nymph as well. For a late season outing on low, heavily pressured water, I call that a good day. But how bad could it be when you have good company, fly fishing, and this as a backdrop?