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Yellowstone National Park Camping/Fishing Trip Report 7-18-2011

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

This isn't a skiing report, but what the heck.  One skiing-related aspect is that I was actively scoping ski lines in the adjoining Absaroka Range peaks.  The second is that the guides we went with on this trip both work for the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and we see them almost every day of ski season.

 

Ruthie and I and a couple of skiing friends just got back from a camping/fishing trip on Yellowstone Lake in Yellowstone National Park.  The trip was guided by "Dutch" Gottschling and John Fournelle, who guide fishing and scenic float trips on the Snake River in Jackson Hole for A J DeRosa's company, Wooden Boat River Tours.  Dutch and John set up a tent camp on a beautiful little promontory on a south-facing shore of the lake and we spent three days fishing for wild Yellowstone Lake cutthroat trout.

 

Yellowstone is a magical place.  Once you're at the camp, it's impossible to imagine that millions of tourists drive through the park every summer.  We had beautiful views of the lake and surrounding mountains and hardly saw anyone. 

 

The fishing was really good and we caught dozens of big, strong trout.  These are pure, native cutthroat trout that averaged 20 inches long and probably three pounds in weight.  It was an outstanding trip and I would highly recommend it if you're interested in a backcountry experience deep in the heart of the very first national park in the world.

 

Here's Ruthie with her first fish on the afternoon we got there.  For those of you who aren't very familiar with trout, that scarlet stripe just under this fish's jaw is where the name "cutthroat" comes from:

 

IMG_3631.jpg

 

This is Dutch scoping out some of the remaining evidence of the epic forest fires of 1988.  That charred tree was burned in the fire and the lodgepole pines behind it are some of the billions of trees that have sprouted since the fires:

 

IMG_3629.jpg

 

Here's Russell, the camp cook, with our first night's dinner:

 

IMG_3634.jpg

 

Tent sites:

 

IMG_3642.jpg

 

This is me fishing from the dock at our campsite early the next morning.  That snow-covered peak in the upper right is the one I'm thinking about trying to ski next year:

 

IMG_3662.jpg

 

And this is me landing a cutthroat while wade fishing at Plover Point.  The Dolly Parton peaks of the Absaroka Range are in the background:

 

IMG_3708.jpg

 

Dave and I having lunch at the Plover Point campsite, which is closed to overnight camping due to high water.  This winter's unbelievable snowfall led to extremely high levels in Yellowstone Lake.  The lake peaked about five days ago at a level that was one inch lower than the all-time record.  The ground this picnic table is sitting on would normally be about four feet ABOVE the level of the lake. 

 

IMG_3775.jpg

 

Hot shore lunch.  Mmmmm...

 

IMG_3769.jpg

 

We had to wait out an afternoon thunderstorm that rumbled over the lake.  Yellowstone Lake is a huge and very cold body of water and it can be very dangerous in windy conditions.  The storm passed over in about half an hour and we were able to casually motor back to the campsite.  The lake was absolutely gorgeous as the storm rolled away:

 

IMG_3791.jpg

 

One more storm while we were eating dinner and then the skies pretty much cleared out. After dinner, we went back out on the water to catch more trout and watch an incredible sunset:

 

IMG_3882.jpg

 

Yellowstone is one of the greatest places in the world. 

 

 


Edited by Bob Peters - 7/21/11 at 3:06pm
post #2 of 17

Beautiful photos and a great trip.  Yellowstone is an amazing place.  Any bear sightings with all that food around?

post #3 of 17

Bob.....  You guys absolutely kill it!  I missed seeing you at the Doc Severensen show two nights ago.  I saw Ruthie and she was all wound up to see Doc AGAIN!  I had no idea she was a musician.  That show might be the best musical event that I see this year.  Looking forward to LA Guitar Quartet and Double Bach shows though.  I'm writing this from Chico Hotsprings.  I'm currently on a 3 day Yellowstone tour with some guests from China.  I got a little extra "seasoning" in my guiding career yesterday as the tour SUV broke down in a bad spot and we had to be rescued.  I spent a lot of time yesterday in Grant Village wishing I was fishing!  I plan on doing a trip similar to yours sometime soon.  My Whitewater rig has a motor transom and would be great on Yellowstone lake.  I just made another order of fishing frame parts from NRS and the boat should be pretty buffy and ready to go by next week.  Now we just need the water to come down..... Heresy from a whitewater boater, but I want to use the flys I tied this winter.

post #4 of 17

ARE THOSE WILD MORELS????? YUUUMMMMM  - as always, great pics, loved the picnic table, I have a similar one from Steamboat last week.  Cheers!

post #5 of 17

Fantastic pictures, and that's an awful nice cut' there in the first one.  

 

Your pics reminded me of the last time I was there.  I haven't been back to Yellowstone since 1988 when I spent six weeks there.  I was kind of busy at the time wink.gif :

ystone.jpg

 

I've had it in my mind to go back to fish Slough Creek up in the NE corner of the park.  Thanks for the pictures.

 

Edit: BTW, Dolly Parton peaks?  biggrin.gifroflmao.gif

post #6 of 17

What an incredible TR!  

post #7 of 17

Bob, if you are scoping those lines in the Absarokas, you must be pretty motivated.  Aren't almost all of those lines a very (e.g. 30+) mile hike?

 

Mike

post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pwdrhnd View Post

Beautiful photos and a great trip.  Yellowstone is an amazing place.  Any bear sightings with all that food around?

 

No bears.  The park has installed steel, locakble bear boxes at a lot of the permanent backcountry campsites.  Our outfitters were VERY cognizant of making sure nobody left food, liguids, or lotions unattended.  Once the meals were over, everything was cleaned up and no bear magnets were left hanging around.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

Bob.....  You guys absolutely kill it!  I missed seeing you at the Doc Severensen show two nights ago.  I saw Ruthie and she was all wound up to see Doc AGAIN!  I had no idea she was a musician.  That show might be the best musical event that I see this year.  Looking forward to LA Guitar Quartet and Double Bach shows though.  I'm writing this from Chico Hotsprings.  I'm currently on a 3 day Yellowstone tour with some guests from China.  I got a little extra "seasoning" in my guiding career yesterday as the tour SUV broke down in a bad spot and we had to be rescued.  I spent a lot of time yesterday in Grant Village wishing I was fishing!  I plan on doing a trip similar to yours sometime soon.  My Whitewater rig has a motor transom and would be great on Yellowstone lake.  I just made another order of fishing frame parts from NRS and the boat should be pretty buffy and ready to go by next week.  Now we just need the water to come down..... Heresy from a whitewater boater, but I want to use the flys I tied this winter.


You really should go.  It was a great trip with what I would call exceptional fishing.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post

ARE THOSE WILD MORELS????? YUUUMMMMM  - as always, great pics, loved the picnic table, I have a similar one from Steamboat last week.  Cheers!


They were indeed.  And that soup was definitely YUUUMMMMM.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post

Fantastic pictures, and that's an awful nice cut' there in the first one.  

 

Your pics reminded me of the last time I was there.  I haven't been back to Yellowstone since 1988 when I spent six weeks there.  I was kind of busy at the time wink.gif :

ystone.jpg

 

I've had it in my mind to go back to fish Slough Creek up in the NE corner of the park.  Thanks for the pictures.

 

Edit: BTW, Dolly Parton peaks?  biggrin.gifroflmao.gif

Believe it or not, that fish was what I would call a little sub-average.

 

I'll bet you WERE a little busy in 1988.  I was telling the guys in camp that we were living outside Des Moines, Iowa, in the fall of 1988.  While the fires were at their peak, I would go out on our deck every morning and there would be about a sixteenth of an inch coating of ash that was being blown all the way from Montana.  I think that's just amazing.

 

Speaking of firefighters - thanks again for what you did during your career.  That's a tough job.

 

You liked the Dolly Parton reference, eh?  I don't think that's their official name as far as the USGS is concerned.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post

Bob, if you are scoping those lines in the Absarokas, you must be pretty motivated.  Aren't almost all of those lines a very (e.g. 30+) mile hike?

 

Mike

 

Definitely NOT going to try to get to any of those Absaroka peaks east of the lake.  You're right about the distances and I can't even imagine trying to walk there, let along with skis on your back.  After the big fires of 1988, it's nearly impossible to walk for any distance in Yellowstone if you're not on a maintained trail.  The blown-down trees from the fire make it like trying to walk through 60-foot-long pick-up sticks that some giant kid threw down. 

 

That particular peak is actually Mt. Sheridan, and it's south of Yellowstone Lake.  It's summit is 10,298 feet and it rises up from the shores of Heart Lake, which is another backcountry lake in the park.  Heart Lake is about an 8-mile hike from the trailhead and I camped at the lake a few years ago.  I looked at Mt. Sheridan as a possible ski target then, but I kinda forgot.

 

So, Mt. Sheridan is not part of the Absarokas.  I didn't know this until going to the google just now, but it's part of a tiny little mountain range called the Red Mountains.  The east end of the range is Heart Lake and the west end is the Lewis River Canyon just north of the south entrance to Yellowstone Park.  From what I can gather, that little range (no more than about 6 miles long) may be what's left of a much larger mountain range that got blown to smithereens by one of the Yellowstone super-volcano events over the last couple million years.

 

Here's almost the entire mountain range looking from the west shore of Yellowstone Lake as seen on a Wikipedia photo.  The hiking trail goes almost along the base of the mountains and Heart Lake is at the left edge of the mountain:

 

800px-Mount_Sheridan_YNP_June_2011.JPG
 

 

post #9 of 17

Its really amazing to see the Red Mountains covered in snow late in July. I recall one Memorial Day weekend seeing them snow covered. They are North facing from this point of view and the southern end of the park does tend to be higher but even so this must be exceptionally late for this kind of coverage.

post #10 of 17

Yep, I've been to Heart Lake.  Still, the hike to Mt. Sheridan is a long one, particularly for a day trip.  I've never done it; just wished I was in good enough shape to be able to do so...

 

Yellowstone is one of my favorite places in the world.  The Tetons are right there with it.  My spouse and I go almost every fall and split a week between YNP and GTNP.  We love hiking in Yellowstone in late Sept/early Oct.  There virtually no one on the trails.  One year, in 4 days of hiking, we say a total of 6 people, and 2 of them where the same couple on different trails.

 

GTNP can be the same way as long as the shuttle is not going.

 

Bob, you are a lucky man.

 

Mike

post #11 of 17

That is a wonderful place, the whole area. I remember a few years years ago sitting in the campground at Jenny Lake, talking with some people from Idaho and it struck me, the sheer immensity of the offering of experiences the area had to offer and they are all invariably beautiful. Yellowstone is amazing and the backcountry even more so but then there's Grand Teton National Park and between the two and mostly ignored is the Teton Wilderness which, together with the southern roadless part of Yellowstone and another wilderness area to the East is over a million acres Then there's the Absorokas and the Wind River Mts, 130 miles of mountains, thousands of lakes and alpine wilderness. Jackson Lake, Yellowstone Lake and the others. Throw in a couple wilderness areas to the North and West of GTNP and then there is the wilderness to the North of Yellowstone and the Beartooth Pass area and this is just the backyard. Get in the car and drive a little more and there are places like the Bob Marshall and more places than I can remember and these are just the spectacular things that come to mind.

post #12 of 17

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post

IMG_3631.jpg

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post
Believe it or not, that fish was what I would call a little sub-average.

 

<boggle>

 

Quote:

Speaking of firefighters - thanks again for what you did during your career.  That's a tough job.

 

Thanks Bob, the pleasure was all mine.  

 

Quote:

You liked the Dolly Parton reference, eh?  I don't think that's their official name as far as the USGS is concerned.

 

They will be forever known by that name, at least in my mind.  

post #13 of 17

Thanks Bob. I enjoy reading your TRs almost as much as I enjoy some of the places I actually visit.

post #14 of 17
Wow GREAT! You live in an incredible place! Thanks for sharing.
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post

Fantastic pictures, and that's an awful nice cut' there in the first one.  

 

Your pics reminded me of the last time I was there.  I haven't been back to Yellowstone since 1988 when I spent six weeks there.  I was kind of busy at the time wink.gif :

ystone.jpg

 

I've had it in my mind to go back to fish Slough Creek up in the NE corner of the park.  

 

 Bump for a sweet tr, cool pics and ^^^^^^^
[jedi voice] THESE ARE NOT THE DRONES YOU ARE LOOKING FOR[/jedi voice]

Been here in Jackson since thurs. with the whole inlaw clan Snakes fishins pretty substandard but sure some interesting rowing and mindblowing scenery.

Given my choice of a week of great fishing vrs. a fantastic water year that should pay great dividends in future fish stocks and a great fall fishing season I'll take the latter every time. My fav yellowstone fishin experience;

Must of been about 10 years ago wife and I were up there in late Sept. I had waded out chest deep in the yellowstone a few miles down from the fishin bridge onto a sand bar and was engrosed in trying to see the tiny tricos or midges I was casting to risers.  A large bison and her calf decided to cross upstream ~ 1/4 mile from me. I heard them enter the water and remember thinking  they should easily cross upstream from me. Well I should have guessed those things are pretty inept at swimming next thing I know this snorting struggling beast is on a collision course with me I'm trying to back out and not swamp the waders I actually needed to move closer to be able to get off the bar and out of it's way. One of the both most terrifying and afterwords hilliarious fishing experiences. and one of those why couldn't I had the pressence of mind to get the camera out.


 

 

post #16 of 17

The Snake is looking pretty clear up by Flagg Canyon.  I went fishing a few days ago on the Green and it they were surface feeding pretty hot around 10:00 and then again around 5:00.  I killed with an extended body green para-drake.  PM me if you want more info.

post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

The Snake is looking pretty clear up by Flagg Canyon.  I went fishing a few days ago on the Green and it they were surface feeding pretty hot around 10:00 and then again around 5:00.  I killed with an extended body green para-drake.  PM me if you want more info.

I had heard that both the Green and the New Fork were fishing really well in the mornings and that the drake hatch was happening.  I'd like to get down there but we're packing for our trip to Chile and I'm kind of spoken for until we leave on Thursday.

 

Along those same lines, I went out to the Snake from our place yesterday afternoon and did very well throwing streamers into the eddies and backwaters along the riprap rocks next to the levee.  The river has cleared enough that the fish are starting to get pretty active.  I would think we're going to have very good fishing for the rest of the season.

 

Have fun out there.  We should go chase fish around once I get back.
 

 

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