Well I finally got around to achieving a long term dream: a dual purpose hike deep into the wilderness for both blue grouse and golden trout at the same time. The new "travel light" system is working great; the Lefever DS 16 and TFO 2 wt both served me well.
I started the hike injured. I have been fighting knee injuries for days and they are actually pretty agonizing at times, but the alternative is the couch. The hike back down, well that hurt.
What made the day even more notable is the fact that I took a young college student along and he caught his first golden trout. We actually caught a heck of a bunch of them, but no biggies. Top fish were only 14". My friend prefers to fish, so he continued casting when Rusty and I wandered off to do the blasting.
The grouse hunting at this location is not the greatest, but they are there so it was worth giving them the once over. My third grouse fell at an elevation of 11,000 feet. He flushed from literally the last stand of "real" trees on the mountain. Above there the vegetation is severely stunted. No surprise, it spends nine months of the year buried under snow.
3/4 oz loads of chilled #5 are just what the DR. ordered for blue grouse at the typical short shooting distances. Small stonefly nymphs and #16 caddis pupae do the job on tricking stream bound goldens. #16 orange scud is bread-n-butter for lake dwellers.
It is a strange time in the high country right now. There is still snow that won't be melting anytime soon, aspen stands and even willows are turning yellow, yet flowers are blooming where it has obviously frosted overnight. Magical.
Joined: 14 Mar 2017
Location: NW Wisconsin
Fabulous report, great photos of high elevation country few people get to experience. I've caught goldens in the Sierra and shot blues in WY, CO, and MT, but never both on the same outing. Congrats, you're livin' the life!
Impressive day! Not many folks pull that one off. Looks like the weather is finally going to change this weekend. They are calling for 6-10" of snow in the Big Horns. It was 94 in Sheridan yesterday. Gotta love September! Are you guys expecting snow too? Hopefully it melts quick. The blue grouse have been plentiful this season.
Does that light rod do a respectable job in a light breeze? Sounds like a blast to fish with. I struggle with my 3 wt in the breeze, but it sure is fun when you hook up. Makes little fish feel big.
Possible heavy snow above 9,000. Blue grouse hunting is definitely better in the Big Horns. I have pondered dragging the camper that way for a few days, but there are too many other options coming in to play, especially with friends coming my way or me going their way.
The 2wt does okay, but I have adapted over the years. I once fished with it 70-85 mph winds in the high country. Caught one massive brook trout (nearly 6 lbs.) and got the heck out of there before a rock fell on me. Stuff was coming loose. The main thing is to treat it like a .410 shotgun: use it for close range work. That minimizes wind issues.
_________________ Only catch snowflakes on your tongue AFTER the birds fly south for the winter...
Joined: 06 Nov 2009
Location: West Coast of WI
There aren't many things more beautiful than a native trout.
_________________ What friends I have, what days I treasure most, what places that I think about and smile . . . they are because shotguns are. Without them I would have been empty. They have made my life full. - Gene Hill
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