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9 days, 3 States, 4 rivers (long post)

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  • 9 days, 3 States, 4 rivers (long post)

    After catching up on things around here finally, here is the report from one of the best trips I have taken to date.

    The original plan for our trip was floating our Smith River permit, but mother nature decided she had other plans. We had decided Sept 10 was our final day to make the decision and since it was running at 100CFS we bailed. I thought we had back up plans of the Madison and Yellowstone but when my buddy picked me up on Tuesday he handed me an article and said read. He said, we are meeting the Smith River group in Irwin, ID in a few days, to float the Snake, 3-night trip on the river.

    Day 1
    Since we had some time to kill, we decided to drive up from the house in Wapiti and wade fish the North Fork for few hours. The river was very low and has had a bad summer, but we were both able to manage a couple Cuts day one. Since we had two days to kill before meeting the group in Idaho, we decide The Henryís Fork made sense as it was on the way.

    Day 2-3
    After grabbing our license and getting some intel at the local fly shop we decided a quick afternoon float through the canyon was the best option. It took us some time to find the ramp and as we started gearing up we were met with a stiff breeze. It took us a little bit to get dialed in, but we started catching fish on patís rubber leg. As the sun started to fade the fish started looking up and we ended up fishing a small extended body Mahogany fly and started picking fish off as we saw them rise. The section had a lot of grass and we decided next morning to fish a lower section that would give us a full day float. We never saw a boat day 1 but as we rounded the corner to the put in we were greeted with 20 -25 drift boats that either had launched or waiting to launch. Day 3 was more of a struggle than success, but we managed a few fish. There was a guide boat that we were passing when the lady up front sets the hook on a fish and it seemed like she could not even move it. We slowed down to watch as everyone in the boat is getting excited, and she finally makes some head way and they grab the fish we notice its one of the biggest white fish I have seen. The guide immediately starts laughing, along with everyone else.

    Day 4-7
    We meet the group the night before launching, at a camp site right on the river and the next morning we were met with 2 moose in camp and this sunrise.

    As we were driving up to Palisades to put in, we hit the lodge fly shop in Irwin and grabbed a few flies and some intel, and I noticed at this point just how big the river is. I asked, so whatís the flow right now, and the guy smiled and said 8400cfs, but donít worry itís a mild flow. Once we got the boats loaded and turned the keys over to the shuttle lady, we were off for 4 days of one of the best floats I have taken. The river is huge, with channels, braids, and islands just about everywhere and even Mary and here little lamb.

    The first day we went 13 miles to camp 1 and everyone was catching fish. Mostly smaller nymphs but as the sun heated up we began to grab them on hoppers. As we rounded a bend in the river on day we were met with huge water fall.

    The next day we had a short float to the next camp, so everyone decided we would take the day and stop and fish all the islands and channels. The weather was perfect and the river was just warm enough to wet wade. Most of the islandís held fish on the inside seam lines, but nothing big.

    The next camp was just inside the canyon and the next day float was long, but the river gave a little more help with huge eddies and canyon walls. Just below camp, we notice a nice eddy and saw fish sipping. It took a couple tries to get the boat right but as soon as we got a good drift the little mahogany fly was inhaled. Nothing like trying to throw a size 18 dry in 16 mph wind with the river cooking at 8400cfs. It was crazy how many different current lines there were and really took some time to adjust.

    We ended up floating father than we wanted day 3 but had some problems finding a good camp site that would hold the group.
    The last day, was a very short float and finally we had some fun water to paddle through. There is a huge wave train and the river makes a sharp left turn and a massive hydraulic that we pulled some fish out of on the back side.

    Few pics from the river.

    As we loaded up and everyone went their own way, we decided we would head back to Wapiti, get a shower and good nightís sleep in a bed, and the next morning get up early and head to Livingston, MT and fish the paradise valley of the The Yellowstone.

    We stopped in at Dan Baileyís fly for license and river map, and why not stop at one of the oldest fly shops in North America. The guys in there were super helpful and pointed us to a camp site on the river, right at our take out for our short afternoon float. The weather was perfect, but the wind was still blowing and what we thought might be a short float turned into a dark arrival. We already had camp set up, so we just enjoyed the sunset on the river and finished up.

    The next morning, we had plans on floating all day but as we were packing camp, we noticed the wind was brisk and the clouds started getting lower. We decided we would shorten our day just in case the wind was bad. As we were gearing up, the temps started dropping and the wind was blowing fierce. Turns out, we made a great call as it was cold windy and you we struggled getting the boat down river.

    All in all, a great trip with fish caught every day, no monsters, but fished 9 days and only had to wear waders one day!

  • #2
    Great read. Looks like you had an amazing time. Congrats


    • #3
      [QUOTE=blackcatbone;906091]After catching up on things around here finally, here is the report from one of the best trips I have taken to date.

      With an adventure you all just had...catching fish is just gravy ! Wonderful post and pictures!


      • #4
        Looks like a great trip. Thanks for sharing.


        • #5
          Good stuff right there!!
          I hope to make a trip like that in the next few years.