Yellowstone National Park draws in millions of visitors from all around the globe every year. People from all walks of life come to view the incredible geothermal features, abundance of wildlife, and picturesque landscapes that Yellowstone is so well known for. With that said, there is plenty of solitude to be found in the park if you are willing to put in the time and effort. One of the most popular tourist sites is the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. At over 1,000 feet deep and a mile wide, it is a site to behold.
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
For the past several months, Brent had been speaking of a place where there are hundreds of wild cutthroat trout, each one willing to rise to a dry fly without hesitation. The end of July is when the river is in it’s prime, and Chris, Brent and I were able to find the rare occasion that all of our schedules aligned. Like any phenomenal fishing location, there is always a catch. What’s the catch to “Seven-Mile Hole”? Hiking down into the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. A 1,200 foot descent in a mile and a half is not an easy task, even for an avid hiker.
From the head of the trail, the hike in to the canyon is approximately five miles. The trail begins at a relatively easy gradient, with only the occasional hill. It’s the last mile and a half that keeps most people from making the descent into the canyon. It’s extremely steep, and the ground does not provide very solid footing. It’s not a matter of “if” you slip and fall, it’s a matter of “when” you are going to slip and fall.
Fishing a Productive Run
Upon arriving at the river, I immediately thought about how beautiful the water was; a deep turquoise color that is only seen in the purest of rivers. It was only a matter of seconds before we were casting into the river. It was immediately apparent that the fishing was going to be phenomenal when Chris and I each hooked into fish on our first two casts. What a rush it is to see a beautiful cutthroat trout rise from the depths of the crystalline water, swimming so slowly that time seems to stand still. Eventually they would eat the fly, and then slowly descend back to the depths of the river, without even realizing they had eaten a big piece of foam.
It took a little while for me to get the hook sets down, but once I figured it out the fishing only got better. We spent the next several hours working our way down river, picking up multiple fish at every spot that looked promising. It is not often that you can pull a fish out of every single run, all day long. Most waters are too pressured, but not the Yellowstone. The few who venture out to fish its mighty waters are greatly rewarded. The further we walked downstream, the better the fishing became. It also became more treacherous and difficult to navigate. Boulder hopping and balancing acts on top of logs became the norm.
Salmon Flies Were On the Menu
Chris With a Beautiful Cutthroat
Watch Your Step
Chris Demoing the new RIO Perception Line
Bear Spray is a Must in the Yellowstone Backcountry
One of My Best Fish of the Trip
Beat up and Battered
Around 4:30 in the afternoon, we decided it was time to hike out. We were all a little sad to leave such an incredible place, but we wanted to get back to the vehicle well before dark. Hiking in Yellowstone National Park in the dark is a terrifying experience and not one that any of us wished to do. We had the unfortunate experience last fall when we made the mistake of leaving too late. We made sure not to make that mistake twice. After a long and grueling hike out, 14 miles roughly, we were all relieved to make it back to the vehicle.
Ominous Storm Moving In
Spending time in such a remote area was both an incredible and humbling experience for me. I cannot think of another time in my life where I have ever had such an epic day of dry fly fishing. There is no where else in the world quite like Yellowstone. The Yellowstone backcountry offers a whole other experience that most people who visit the park never get. Despite the level of difficulty it took to get in, I am already looking forward to returning next summer and creating more life long memories with great friends.