Each year around this time the Firehole Rangers assemble for the annual pilgrimage to Yellowstone National Park. At the core of the trip each year is our ultimate destination: West Yellowstone. The Ho Hum Hotel. The Firehole River. The trip has evolved over the years and some years we throw an audible of one sort or another into the itinerary, just to spice things up a bit (and break up the monotony of the 710.3 mile drive).

With rare exception the Firehole always fishes extremely well for us. However for most other rivers, this time of year can make for tough fishing. Spring runoff is usually in full swing but we’ve managed to scratch out some memorable days on some Montana rivers (not including the Firehole, which is actually in Wyoming). One year we stopped at Rock Creek on the way home and fished a river that was high and dirty, and produced fish all day long. Last year we hit the Missouri River on our return journey and got to see what all the fuss is about with regard to this gigantic spring creek-like river. This year’s annual pilgrimage of the Firehole Rangers will feature a stop to fish a river that we had hoped to fish 5 years ago: The Big Hole. Unfortunately on our trip to Yellowstone in 2010 we brought with us a deluge that would have made Washington’s Olympic Peninsula proud. Our chosen river, the Big Hole, was completely blown-out, along with just about every other river in the region, not to mention every river between there and home. Fortunately the Beaverhead was in decent shape so we were able to catch fish. But it wasn’t the river we sought, and ever since then we’ve been wanting a shot at the Big Hole. And so we as we prepare to set out on our annual adventure it is with greater-than-normal enthusiasm that we embark on the journey that will take us first to Twin Bridges, Montana. With the mild winter and low snowpack across the west, it’s looking like we will get to fish the Big Hole this year, barring an unpredicted monsoon.

After that it’ll be off to the Firehole for a couple of days where we’ll catch a lot of fish, then to the Madison where the fish will kick my ass (with the lower-than-normal flows things could be very different this year, but I’m not banking on it). On the way home we’re going to fish Rock Creek again. We should hit the salmonflies. Fingers crossed.

I’ll probably write about the trip after we’ve returned.