A late departure from Centennial Valley - it's hard to say goodbye to such a good gathering of guys - put us back in Yellowstone later on Tuesday than we had hoped, limiting the time we had to be on the water. At the confluence of the Firehole and Nez Perce, amid the vacationing hordes, we rigged up and headed up the NP, hoping to put some distance between us and the crowds - it's said that 90% of Yellowstone visitors get no more than one-hundred yards from their vehicles during their entire stay - and to gain some elevation in order to find cooler water.
The Firehole is aptly named.
|The Upper Gibbon|
But a mile or two under our boots was not enough. The Nez Perce remained warm, shallow, and fishless, so we turned and adjusted our sights higher, looking towards the elevation of central Yellowstone and the Upper Gibbon to find more hospitable waters.
Fishing the high Gibbon reminded me of home - crisp, thin water full of small brook trout - like fishing the eastern Appalachians once again - except, of course, those stretches where the roadway paralleled the stream and countless cruising gawkers paused to ask "How's the fishing?" Happily, we could truthfully answer "It's good".
|Driving from Stream to Stream|
|The Obligatory Yellowstone Buffalo Pic|
So we spent a delightful afternoon hopping from stream to stream - and getting a little sightseeing in along the way - while we waited for the sun to find the treetops so we might return to Firehole as the day cooled. You couldn't stand next to that magnificent stream and not return to fish it.
|Basking in the Firehole|
|The Hard Side of Yellowstone|
|Ojo Caliente Bend on the Firehole|
We each managed to squeeze a small brown from the tepid Firehole before the sun disappeared, quickly landed and quickly released so as to not stress the fish in these summer conditions, and then reluctantly unstrung for the final time on this western fishing adventure. Before the trunk was closed we were already discussing what needed to be done when we came back.
And we will be going back. And when we do, we'll take more than a day in the park.