Each year I try to make it over to Yellowstone at least once, so this year as the fall was already underway I finally made the trip over to the park, even if that meant that I only had one day there. With snow dusting the upper elevations and the leaves turning colors everything definitely had an end of season feel. I started out at Mammoth Hotsprings where I got my fishing license, lunch and took in some of the sights.
Minerva Terrace at Mammoth
After my brief stop at Mammoth I headed out east towards the Lamar Valley and into Yellowstone cutthroat country. Unlike in the summer when it is hard to find a place to fish due to the amount of anglers, this time it was more of a problem of too many bison hanging out along the river.
Typical scene along the river
The Lamar Valley
Before long I did find a nice stretch of the river that was clear of wildlife and rigged up and headed to the water. With air temperatures in the lower 50's and a strong breeze blowing the air had a wintery feel to it and I decided to start out nymphing.
It would be hard to say that fishing was fast paced, there was no sign of any rising fish even with a decent hatch of blue winged olives and midges coming off and my nymphing rig of a San Juan worm and BWO nymph wasn't getting much attention either. However persistence pays of and when my indicator went down I am not sure whether me or the fish was more surprised about the hook up. With the cooler water temperatures the battle seemed a bit sluggish, but the fish did have some size to him and still put a good bend in my 4wt. Before long though, I slid the beautiful 15" Yellowstone cutthroat into the net.
A beautiful 15" Yellowstone cutthroat
Another shot of the same fish
I finished fishing through the run after getting the one cutthroat and had one more brief hook up but with the cold temperatures I decided to call it a successful outing and do a bit more sight seeing before leaving the park.
The sight seeing was actually rather impressive as among the wildlife spotted there as a grizzly bear, some bighorn sheep, antelope and a couple of wolves.
A Yellowstone grizzly making his way across a small stream.