They’re Baaacck!–by Bart

Yesterday,  I made my first trek into the Black Canyon for the 2017 season. Starting outside the park and fishing into the canyon on river right was challenging… actually downright treacherous in places. But this peculiar big bug was enticing me to trek on.


I started out with a “Carnage salmonfly” and a “twenty incher” 3 feet below tied off the hook bend with 3X monofilament tippet. I was fishing with a 7.5 foot 2X leader to my lead fly. After my 50 foot descent to the water and the countless obstructions that I had to navigate this was my first eat.

Senor Blanco–whitefish

After 3 more “whities” and a small brown, I switched my dropper to small bugger and used it on the dead drift as a stonefly and twitched my rig periodically to get some streamer action.

Brown Trout (Loch Leven)

My next combo after the weather front passed was with double dries using a salmonfly in the lead and a golden 12 inches off the hook bend of my lead fly–I switched between these two golden stoneflies: “Carnage Golden” and “Golden Chubby Chernobyl.” All my combos produced fish including the hour with a double nymph rig under an orange strike indicator with various girdle bugs, a Montana prince, and a twenty incher.

So, as is the usual case something has to happen… it did. I lose my favorite water bottle, my Netstaff (no, I do not get endorsements), and I fall on my elbow due to the rain that made my rock hopping more enjoyable.

Elbow bruise
Bart’s Elbow Contusion

So, I had a word with the original park designer, and this is my next scene.

Rainbow on the Black Canyon

Well, I’m happy to say I found my Netstaff and the big bugs commenced to “popping.”  No, my elbow did not miraculously heal nor did I find my water bottle… its not like playing a country music song backwards–that may be funnier to the southerners who have heard that joke a hundred times. My thirty plus fish outing concluded with me going back to two adult stone fly patterns.

Rainbow Trout
Rainbow on Salmonfly

Before I could finish this report I pre-fished the canyon from river left, and I ran into a shop customer who is in Gardiner for the summer. Convincing her to allow me to show her some pointers since I was fishing literally in front of her we fished upstream using salmonflies. I will spare you some details, but we faced some physical challenges that were promptly addressed. I offered to walk out with her, but like a good Texan she “cow-girled up” and pressed on to be rewarded with her first cutthroat and several more fish.

Jen’s First Ever Cutthroat

I landed a respectable brown before I put my rod up to concentrate on my impromptu “guiding.” Since I am a man of my word I told Jennifer Reeves she would get photo cred for snapping this pic (if you have noticed most of my fish are without my mugshot).

brown trout

Well now I am on day three. This morning my client Dr. James Suleski and I met at the shop at 7:30 AM and drove to the Rescue Creek Trail parking lot to begin our trek across Rattlesnake Butte to access the Yellowstone River in the Black Canyon. Two flies: Carnage Salmonfly, and a Twenty Incher dropped deeeeep–4-5 feet since the color of the river went from a stained green with two foot of visibility to brownish and 18 inches of clarity. James completed the “slam” (whitefish, cutt, cuttbow, rainbow, brown–both German and Loch Leven, and we let the sucker fill in for the brook trout since we only see one a year on average in the canyon). The fishing was solid (40 landed with some oh @#$% fish and several more mystery eats). The water continued to clear though 60% of our takes were on the nymph. We had runs of dry fly action and ended the day with double dries (salmonfly and a golden stone). The following pics are highlights including the 20″ sucker fish. Don’t judge! You didn’t  see the fight nor the bend in the rod.

Brown Trout
Black Canyon Brown


brown trout
Yellowstone Brown Trout
rainbow trout
Black Canyon Rainbow Trout
Sucker fish

Until my next report…


Tight lines!









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