Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Amateur Guiding

I'm not Hank Patterson, when I guide somebody, but I also don't confuse myself with Lefty Kreh. Like Hank, I've been fly fishing roughly 3 or 4 years now. I don't own A River Runs Through It, and I haven't even watched the entire movie yet! I know, I should be hung now.

My parents visited me during the middle part of August for 2 weeks. During the ten days I had available to go fishing (Ie. Not working!), we went fishing on five of those days. Some of those days were exploring the fun of GTNP, and Jackson in general with my parents.

Moose at Moose JunctionMy Family at Jenny Lake

During our time in Jackson, we took one day to do nothing but fishing. I would be "leading" my wife and my Dad on where to fish. My primary goal was to get them both into fish, but I had a personal goal of getting a leg of the Cutt-Slam, and getting my Snake River Cutthroat. Based on the fly shop reports, we headed out to the Hoback River and Granite Creek area. Both rivers were running low, and you had to hike to fishing spots, rather than having several fishy areas in a single run. We started on the Hoback River, and I gave the first fishy spot to my wife, helping her with the basics of fishing in current (MEND!!!, Strip!!!). Once she was comfortable I moved upstream to the spot my Dad was fishing. I was pleased to learn that he had a strike, but wasn't able to get a hook set. Eventually we worked all the holes in our first stop, hopped back into the van and made our way to the next hole. Only a couple of spots here as well.

We then came across Granite Creek. We took this road, it follows the stream nicely. There were a few fishy spots early on, but some fisherman were already on those spots, so we kept driving. Eventually we found a nice pocket water area. I decided that I wasn't going to take down a rod this time. I'd just help them out. We continued to work some fishy areas hitting each pocket a half dozen times then moving on. Eventually we worked our way to a very large boulder that had a deep cutout next to it. After a half dozen casts of nothing happening on the surface, I said, lets try to drop a nymph and see what happens. This spot was just to go not to have anything in it. I tied on the fly, put up an indicator and handed the rod back to my wife. I figured she deserved the first shot at this hole. She makes her first cast, The presentation is almost straight upstream, so no mending required. I am telling her to strip! strip! strip! (bad joke in there somewhere) and then I see her indicator dive, SET!!! Fish on! She starts stripping in the line, and I see the flash of a nice fish. I take the net off my back, and she worriedly tells me she thinks she lost it. I look down and still see the flash of a fish, so I tell her she's fine, and to keep stripping. The fish made a run down a boulder thus generating some slack in the line. Luckily the fish was hook in the upper lip, with the barb coming out the nose entirely. So this fish wasn't getting off by itself. She gathers the fish into the pool we are standing in, I reach down and net her fish.  Congratulations, my wife has completed a stage of the Cutt-Slam. She has a Snake River Cutthroat.

A wonderful Snake River CuttieProudly holding her catch
Now, this is the frustrating part for this blogger. I have yet to catch any of the native cutties in Wyoming. Sure, I have caught hybrids, grayling, etc., but never a pure strain Yellowstone Cuttie My wife has caught two. She caught a yellowstone cutthroat on our very first Wyoming Fishing trip, before I even took up fly fishing. In fact, this was the trip that I first took out a fly rod (you can see my fly rod below on the bottom right). I was flailing very badly, and had no clue what I was doing.
Wife with her first Wyoming Trout - Yellowstone Cuttie
She was satisfied, and handed her fly rod to me, in hopes that I could get my own. Within a couple of casts, fish on! I was excited, I got the fish to net, and Oh no! Whitefish!!

Gah! Whitefish!
I proceeded to pull out several more whitefish from the hole, but it appears my wife had caught the only Cuttie in that spot. After a bit, I handed the rod back to her, hoping to get her another fish (white or trout) before we moved on. Sadly, she didn't catch anything, and after a bit, we had a wind knot that would require a new leader to be put on. During this time, my Dad also took several shots at the hole, without having any luck either.

As it was starting to get late, we headed back to the van, broke down our gear, hopped out of our waders, and headed back to Jackson. The wife was extremely happy with her catch. I was satisfied to have the tug and fish to the net, but felt bad that I couldn't get my Dad into anything. The biggest thing I came away from this day, is that a guide with 2 people is extremely busy if both need his help. I fully understand now, why most guides only want 2 people maximum on a trip.

Well that's all for now, be sure to check back soon, and I'll update with our other fishing adventures, closer to home.



  1. Hi, Paul, I have followed your blog for a little while, but, decided I had better say hello. Great post detailing your efforts to land a Snake River Cutthroat. Congrats to the wife! Funny how things work out sometime. Anyway, wish you much success in your goal of catching the Cutthroat slam. Have added your blog to my blog roll and will be back to visit and comment often.

  2. Hi Mel, Glad you enjoy it. I just added your blog to the roll. I have read your blog a few times myself. Glad you enjoy it. I'm hoping to make a trip to Flat Creek this fall and get my hands on a fine spotted cuttie. We'll see!