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If you're like me, you've been feeling the Chesapeake BLUES lately. I mean, don't tell anyone, but I actually stopped fishing for a bit and tried to learn to wakeboard this summer. I think I'll stick with fishing because this didn't feel good:



Fortunately, at the end of September, I had a chance to escape the Chesapeake BLUES for 2.5 amazing weeks out west, which is far less hazardous to my health. My brother Mike was getting married in Missoula Montana, and the guys decided to head out a week early for a backpacking/flyfishing trip in the Scapegoat Wilderness. Here's the crew... that's uncle casey, me, dad, steve (mike's new father in law), mike (photographer) and uncle tom (not pictured... taking a leak)...



We had an amazing week of fishing. We had trouble finding trout SMALL enough to ethically kill and eat. Fish after fish after fish we said "that one's too nice to kill" and sent them swimming. We caught countless cutthroat and rainbows over 16 inches, and had several go over 20 inches. Here's a sampling:

Uncle tom at some great water:



Dad with an average cutty:



Me with my biggest cutty of the trip:



On one day we had an amazing campsite on a bench on the inside of a river bend. It was too nice to break camp so we decided to stay an extra night and spend the day doing day hikes (without our 60ish pound packs). The old guys set off for a fire tower to get a view of the whole valley and Mike and I headed back down the trail to fish some pools we had seen the day before. It was a steep descent from the trail along the ridge, but we figured that just meant the fish never saw a fly down there.

We got down to a beautiful looking pool, and started drifting flies that had been working well the whole trip... and not even a look from a trout. We were completely perplexed, as the fishing had been phenomenal so far... until I noticed 3 LARGE dark shadows sitting at the bottom of the riffle. There was no mistaking it... they were 3 large bull trout, a VERY rare thing to see. No doubt they had pretty much cleaned this pool out of the "small" rainbows and cutty's.

I tied on a streamer (actually a dropper fly I usually use above a stingsilver here in the bay with two split shot on the leader), and to my SHOCK hooked up with one. Here's the fight:



And here is my first trout ever caught on a streamer:



But I have to tell you, the shadows I saw were much bigger than that. We left the pool for a few minutes since we had made quite a commotion over this guy, and stalked back to take another cast. I couldn't believe when I hooked up again, and this time I knew I had something much larger on the line. Lets just say the 5 weight and 5x tippet I was using was getting a workout. About 10 minutes into the fight, and Mike and I running maybe 100 yards downstream after him, and after several runs into structure that I have no idea how I got out of, mike waded into the pool and landed what I am told is a once in a lifetime bull trout. I only hope I get to do it again in this life, but suffice it to say I was pretty stoked about this guy:



We couldn't get anything else out of that pool, but we had success farther downstream on some other water that wasn't apparently occupied by those vicious beasts. Here's Mike with a beauty of a rainbow:



And that day ended like every day on the trip... and let me tell you, it's real hard to complain about a day ending like this:



Despite the amazing fishing, we managed to get out of the wildnerness in time for the wedding, which went out without any drama. Here's a pic of the bride and groom and then a pic of me and my bride:





After the wedding, the wife and I headed for a tour of yellowstone and grand teton national parks. We didn't do as much fishing, but we did wet a line a few times. We were there for the peak of the aspen golden fall colors, and the scenery was amazing. Here's a shot of my wife on a quick stop along the Beartooth Highway (a "must do" drive if you haven't done it)...



The wildlife viewing was also great. Here's some shots that will get the blood flowing in a few of the hunters on this board:







We did do some day hikes, and got in some fishing as well on those. One in particular in Grand Teton was amazing. We took a 15 mile round trip hike :eek2: up the "cascade canyon" on the way to Lake Solitude, a high alpine lake. I stopped and fished along the way, but only found small cutty's (all under 6 inches)... but it's still hard to complain when you're doing this:



Although we were DOG TIRED by the time we got out, the hike to the lake was well worth it. The view of "the grand" was amazing:



And did I mention that the fishing was insane here. There were thousands of grasshoppers all along the lakeside, and if you caught one and threw it in, anywhere between 2-5 cutthroat would materialize from the depths and literally race to engulf it. The visibility was easily 20-30 feet, and it was amazing to watch them come up out of their hiding spots like 3 second torpedos and nail them.

I tied on a small hopper imitiation, and caught trout after trout after trout after trout on consecutive casts. Anywhere near the shore with a dropoff nearby was loaded with 9-12 inch trout... and did I mention the scenery was amazing. Not sure what else I'd rather have as a backdrop to fish:



It was so good, I even managed to let my wife take a shot at a couple. There was nothing delicate about her presentation, but she managed to pull a few out as well. Here is her first 100% completely unassisted (she did the casting, the hookset, and the fighting) flyfishing trout:



Hope you enjoyed the escape from Maryland!!
 

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Josh, Really nice report and pictures. As much fun as salt water is, the flyfishing out west is something to be experienced. I used to go out once a year for 20 years. In fact I camped on the lake you have pictured over 30 years ago. Beautiful country and a long hike up hill to that lake. Nice.
 

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Hey Josh

That was an absolutly spectacular report along with the pictures, thanks for putting it all together:thumbup:

I am headed out to Jackson Hole next week to fish around there, Idaho and Montana, you have me all jacked up and ready to go.:yes:

Spectacular report man:rockingreport:

Brandon
 

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Breathtaking. That's all I can say. Thank you.
 

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Love that area! Something about fishing around bison is a hoot! My son and I on the Madison.
Wonderful photos! Was that elk at Mammoth Hot Springs?

Dave
 

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Man, that's a dream trip. It make some of our MD streams not look so good! Except Savage, I love the Savage. Too bad they are going to drain it to repair the dam...
 

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Unbelievable pictures. I have never been someplace like that. Thanks for taking the time to post the pics!

Anthony
 

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I would love to move out West. I'm guessing I could buy 10 acres for what I could sell my 2 acres here on the Eastern Shore for.
 

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Enjoyed the story and pics. :cool:
 

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What.. no yakkin'??? :D:D Thanks for putting that up bro! Making me start wishing for a trip out west! Did you stay with family out there, or are there cabins for rent? I would really like to get out that way... I could use the break from the coast...
 

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Sweet Josh Ill be out at Grand Teton National Park next July. I planned on doing some fishing so Ill find that lake. Congrats on the HUGE bull trout!
 

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WOW Josh that looks like a trip to remember. Thanks for sharing your trip and what GREAT pic's :thumbup:
 

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Excellent report! :bigfish:

Very nice trout! An out west pack in trip is on my list, too!

Since your an avid trout fisherman a trip closer to home is Algonquin Park in Ontario Canada. Canoe / portage access only and some really nice Brook and Lakers.

Nice job - thanks for the report!
 
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