Big fish, little fish, animals, scenery, sunsets, absurdity… all deserve photos. Here you’ll find photo galleries from previous seasons, fishing trips, and whatnot.
2016 Fall-Run Brown Trout
2016 probably saw my clients (and I) catch fewer truly huge fall-run browns than 2016, but we made up for it in numbers. We had many days where we brought over 20 browns over 14 inches to hand, and some saw numbers in the 30s. This is generally for a half-day trip with roughly three and a half hours on the water. Some highlights were the day I had a client get a 22-incher as his third trout ever, the day I got eleven trout including eight browns in the first ten minutes of fishing (this is why you should come in early October, folks…), and the test of a new streamer where I made a demonstration cast for a client and got a 21-incher as the first fish ever on the new pattern. I’d say that’s a winner.
2016 Yellowstone River Float Trips
I’ll be honest. 2016 wasn’t great on the Yellowstone. Low water and high temperatures meant tough fishing in late July and August. Then we had a river closure in late August and early September caused by a parasite that led to whitefish mortality. The fishing was still good in late June, early July, and in September after the closure was lifted, but it wasn’t what we usually get on the ‘Stone. Most of these fish were caught early or late in the season. Thankfully, we’re looking at dramatically better water conditions for this year, and fisheries biologists do not expect a return of the parasite. Note that trout were basically unaffected by the parasite and their populations will be fine in 2017 even in the place where whitefish were hit hardest, the lower end of Paradise Valley.
2016 Yellowstone Park Trips
In contrast to the Yellowstone River outside the park, the fishing was excellent inside. This higher, colder, more remote water just didn’t have its fish turn off like the big river further downstream did. See above for fall-run brown pics. Here are pics from other areas.
2016 Private Lake Float Trips
2016 was unquestionably my best season ever on private lakes, and I never even guided on the Story Ranch lakes, usually my go-to water. The reason for this great season is simple: Merrell Lake is back! After several bad seasons due to a 2012 fish kill, fish populations are finally strong again, and there were a few absolute monsters that made it through the lean years without any competition and so got BIG. With great fishing in late September and early October as well as in May and June last season, the fish definitely made it through the 2016 in fine shape, so the fish that were 16-18 inches this season ought to be over 20 inches next year. In all honesty, the handful of 6-7lb fish pictured here probably won’t survive the winter, but the 4-pounders that mostly aren’t pictured should do just fine, and they’ll be 6lb+ by fall.
If it isn’t obvious, I’m pretty stoked about the likelihood of good fishing on Merrell in 2017, as well. Some of the pics below are from Burns Lake as well, which routinely fishes great due to its abundant spring water which keeps water temperatures down even in the hottest summers and therefore keeps its fish healthy and happy even in lean years, which was the problem for Merrell in 2012.