Rachel and I had the car loaded up and ready to go Thursday evening. We left Kansas City around 3 pm on Friday, but had to make a stop in Manhattan, KS, to pick up Bayes (and transfer the load into his truck). It would be after 6 before we would finally be Montana bound. We drove through the night, taking turns trying to sleep. The sky started turning blue in the East somewhere around Sheridan, Wyoming. The lack of sleep seemed to be forgotten with views of the Bighorn Mountains to the West. We rolled into Billings, MT ten minutes before Cabela's opened. We decided to make a Wal-Mart run first to load up on groceries for the week. After speed shopping at both locations we headed West to Livingston. After much deserved burgers and beer from the Montana Rib and Chop House, we drove up Paradise Valley in search of a camp site on the Yellowstone. The on-river sites were all full, but we did find a suitable spot just below Yankee Jim canyon.
Bayes couldn't resist the fishing urge that first evening, but Rachel and I were content to sip on a few beers. We knew we had a big week ahead of us. We only missed out on a few Whitefish and a small rainbow. We went back to camp where we met up with a old co-worker of mine from my Minnesota days who happened to be in the area. We had some beer and whiskey, but no campfire. Almost perfect.
We awoke to rays of sun lighting up the opposite mountainside. Today we had arranged to fish a local Spring Creek for a trespass fee. The check-in was at an old Southern mansion-type place.
We were given a map, and had high hopes of sight-fishing to some finicky trout. Driving across the bridge we stopped to see several PMD's floating in the drift. We found it strange that they weren't being eaten, but thought that would be our best bet for the day.
We didn't see any rising fish, but stubbornly threw dries anyways. I finally decided to go sub-surface and picked up a few fish, but it was still slow. After lunch our luck changed as rises came on in spurts. An appropriate fly placed above a rise would almost always produce a fish. Due to the size of the creek, we split up to have our own water. The upside was the better fishing, the downside was not having a photographer around. I didn't catch anything over about 15", but when I met up with Bayes he said he had a couple pushing 18. You can believe him if you want.
It was a good first day, albeit a little disappointing for having to pay a fee to fish. I think we could have done as well on the Yellowstone for free.
But this was just a layover - a time to relax before the REAL trip began. We headed West once again. We had business in Helena that evening. After maxing out ATM withdrawals for the last 3 days we were ready for some fun!!
to be continued....
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