As the departure date for the annual pilgrimage to Yellowstone nears, anticipation builds as it does every year. This is a trip of traditions, and not surprisingly I’ve written of it many times before:
This blog entry is a preview as much as it is a review because this trip is nearly always the same.
It never fails—the drive is always long. We’ve yet to figure out a way to change that. But the destination is always worth the 12-hour drive.
We always stay at the Ho Hum Motel in West Yellowstone.
The cats are always there to welcome us.
No two years see the same assembly of Rangers, although it’s largely the same core group. I was a Rookie Ranger in 2006. Couldn’t make the trip in 2007, but haven’t missed a trip since. One year it was just me and Marck (talk about a blow to one’s fishing ego). Marck is always there. Goose has been a constant since before my time. Nash is there more often than he’s not. Jimmy has been a reliable Ranger since 2010. Morris was a Rookie in 2012 and has enjoyed his non-Rookie status ever since. Erique was there a couple times but hasn’t been seen since 2010. Lancelot seems to have been a one-hit wonder. No matter the headcount, it’s always a great group of guys. Always.
Last year we were even joined by some girls…
…and a guy wearing a girl’s shirt.
No matter who shows up, we can always count on one thing: the weather. It is always unpredictable. Some years it snows a little.
Other years it snows a lot.
Sometimes the weather is decent.
Less often it’s downright pleasant. This much is certain: the weather is never the same, even within a 2 hour window.
Another thing that we cannot change is the flow of the river. Some years the Firehole runs a bit high with runoff while other years the flows are perfect. But either way, there are lots of fish in the Firehole and it fishes very well. After getting to know the river, one can be guaranteed to catch rainbows in certain areas, browns in others. And in some spots you will catch either, or both.
Most of the fish are typically in the 10-12 inch range.
Occasionally a larger fish is found.
The bigger fish are always browns.
No matter the size, the fish are always cooperative. And Marck always catches the most. Always.
It’s a risky proposition the mess with tradition, and being creatures of habit the Rangers generally avoid varying our habits. But this year there’s one significant change: we’re going back a week later than usual. The Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, when fishing opens in the Park, has always been motivation. What can we expect to be different this year? Hopefully not much, other than smaller crowds and maybe—just maybe—a better chance at some nice weather. Reports from those who fished the Firehole on opening weekend this year indicated high water and slow fishing. Unusually and previously unseen slow fishing. Glad we’re going a week later–hopefully things will have improved by then.
In reality it will probably just be more of the same. We wouldn’t have it any other way.