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Archive for July, 2009

Yellowstone/Glacier Day 2

Yellowstone Grizzly

Friday morning we broke camp early and made our way around the circle drive in the center of the park.  The first stop was Old Faithful.  She went off around 7:40 and awed the small early rising crowd of maybe 12 people.  Old Faithful

Then we through Norris Junction to walk the trail of the grand canyon of Yellowstone.  What an amazing site!  As holds true with all of nature, pictures do not due this site justice.  The eye and the camera are two very different lenses.

grand canyon of Yellowstone

After taking in the view we made our way to fishing bridge where we were very disappointed as we saw no cutthroats in the river.    In years past there were fish absolutely teaming in these waters.  Even as must as a couple of years ago you could see dozens of fish holding position in the swift current of the Yellowstone River.  We continued to Mary’s Bay and fished the shores for some time to no avail…..

We had reservations at Yellowstone Lake Lodge this evening, and after seeing bubbling mud pots, colorful hot pools and what seemed like a thousand other people we were ready for a delicious meal and a gorgeous view of Yellowstone Lake.  If you have not dined at Yellowstone Lake Lodge, we strongly encourage it as there are few dining experiences in this country that offer the atmosphere, the view and the history that this lodge provides along with a delicious meal.

coyote

Before the sun began to set we worked our way North to the Haden and Lamar Valleys seeing many rutting buffalo, two grizzly bears, one white wolf, coyotes, antelope and mule deer.  We were amazed that we were able to show Geoff some of the most elusive creatures in the park, yet we saw not one bull elk which have been nearly uncountable in these parts of Yellowstone.  After an amazing day in our nations first national park we made camp near the wilderness in Silvergate Montana.  That night the temperatures dipped to nearly freezing, Geoff was probably glad it had been too late to set up his tent….

Yellowstone Grizzly Video

Yellowstone/Glacier Day 1

Traveling offers so much more than a relaxing getaway from the daily grind.  One of the benefits of travel is the people we meet.  So many interesting, fun and amazing people are traveling to the same places as we.  It is special when a connection is made and a relationship formed!
We met Geoff on a Halibut charter last summer when we visited Homer.  Geoff lives in Auckland, NZ and he was one of several people that we met, spent time with and kept in touch with.  Over the last year we exchanged emails sharing our adventures and inviting each other to visit.
We drove to Denver early Wednesday morning to pick Geoff up at DIA.  What a great airport!  Easy pick up access, no hassle, simple navigation.  After the pick up we headed to the Bass Pro Shops to show Geoff a top notch sporting goods store.  On the way back to Casper we found 4 cow elk and two calves on the East side of the interstate in the pine ridges outside of Glendo.

cow elk
Thursday morning we got going in the morning and headed for Dubois and the Absaroka Mountains.  The goal was to reach Yellowstone, but we still wanted to visit the Sheep interpretive center and a view of the Tetons.
Our first night in Yellowstone, we camped at Lewis Lake campground.  After setting up camp we drove as far as Mary’s bay looking for wildlife.  We saw a few geese, a couple mule deer and a cow elk.  Erik and Michelle couldn’t believe the bull elk never materialized that night, but there were more nights to come.bull buffalo rolling

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Meadowlark Lake

We really need to spend more time with our nieces Katelyn and Kylee!  The girls just finished hunter safety training and are ready to explore the great wilderness that surrounds us.  We planned a trip to the Bighorn Mountains and picked them up Friday afternoon to head out.  Chad, Kim, Max and Maddox were to meet us in the mountains on Saturday afternoon.
We had trouble finding a camp spot where we told the Chad and Kim to meet us.  The Forrest Service has modernized and restricted much of the camping sites in the area limiting our options.

roastin' weenies
We made camp at Deer Haven’s, Boulder Campground.  The sites were very modern and we were able to set up in the trees making it feel like we were alone.  The girls and Michelle drove the Ranger around to pay and discovered that we were camped directly across from a family that Erik works with at Evansville school!  We stayed at camp and cooked hot dogs and smores and we told stories around the fire the first evening.  In the morning we ate cereal and packed the ranger for a trip to East Tensleep Lake.  It was a great ride in to the base of the lake trail.  We took our rods and a couple of drinks and hiked to the lake, working our way around to the middle of the West side.  ONce there, we started casting for cutthroat trout.  Katelyn put out power bait and Kylee casted a little cleo.  Erik used nymphs.  We weren’t being very successful, but saw fish cruising near the shore.  Once we pulled the power bait in closer we started getting hits.  Katelyn caught 2 cutthroats before we left.  cutthroat

We then decided to head to Meadowlark to try our luck.  Again Kate put out bait and Kylee casted spoons.  Kate brought in one brookie and Kylee reeled in a rainbow and a brookie.  It was getting toward the time we were to meet Kim and Chad at camp, and they had no idea where we were, so we headed to the highway to watch for them.  Erik fished up the creek while Michelle and the girls sat in the Ranger and watched the road.  After some time, we decided to leave a sign and head to camp.  As we pulled into the campground we see a dad and a curly haired boy walking up the road.

rainbow

THEY FOUND US!!   After dinner we went back to Meadowlark to the spillway fishing.  Erik caught a few on his flyrod out of the creek and the kids got to see the fish jumping up the waterfall trying to get back to the lake.  More smores and stories around the fire this night….
In the morning we cooked a good breakfast of the fish Katelyn caught the day before.  We then shot the pellet gun and sling shot with the kids before we broke camp and headed home before noon.dinner around the campfire

Boysen

WalleyeErik and Chad took an evening and morning to catch some walleye for the freezer.  We put in at Tough Creek at 5pm.  We fished the south side until 7pm and landed 7 fish.  The lake had dropped a couple feet from the last trip.  By 7pm a thunderstorm rolled in and blew us off the water.  We went to shore to wait it out, to no avail.
In the morning we got up at 5 and caught 2 more walleye in the same place.  We then headed to Cottonwood and trolled with worm harnesses for a couple of hours.  One fish was lost and one made it to the boat.  We decided to head home before the afternoon heat really set in.walleye

Popo Agie Wilderness

The first pack trip of the season!  We picked up our good friend Chad at noon after Michelle was finished with Popo Agie Wildernesssummer school and drove toward Lander.  We made it to the Fiddler’s Lake parking lot by 4pm, strapped on our backpacks and headed into the wilderness.  It was a 2 hour hike to go nearly 4 miles to our base camp at Tomahawk.  The plan was to take day packs the next morning to Fawn and Thumb Lakes for Brookies, Cuts and Goldens.

brookies
We made camp and Erik and Chad fished Tomahawk while Michelle made a hearty dinner of Dinty Moore and tortillas.
Halfway through dinner Chad became very ill.  It turned out he had altitude sickness.  We gave it until morning, but to no avail.  We needed to get out of there while he still had the strength to hike out on his own.  We left camp by 10:30 Saturday morning and safely made it to the truck.
We’ll be back, Popo Agie……..camp

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The Big Brookie Lake

brookieMichelle started summer school on Monday, so Erik took his dad and headed for the ‘Big Brookie Lake’ (so we call it) in the Wind Rivers.  We left Monday after lunch and drove to Dubois.  We then headed into the mountains to a high mountain lake that is unnamed.  We call the area little Alaska.
We fished for two and a half days in very chilly weather, although there were few mosquitoes because of it.  By the end of the trip we both managed to catch 15 fish between 15″ and 18”.  We saw elk, mainly bulls, each day and even heard one bugling several times (yes, out of the ordinary for this time of year).
All in all it was a good trip for Erik and Gordon fishing with no one but the wildlife nearby.brookies

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Boysen

Ok, the truth is Michelle was not to keen on going to Boysen.  She hates to be very hot and let’s face it, the fishing was not phenomenal last week.
We put the boat in the water around 4:30 and headed for the South side of Tough Creek.  On her second cast Michelle had on a walleye.  We slowly worked our way back and forth on a shelf in front of a weed bank for a couple hours picking up fish or getting hits every pass.  In the end Michelle pulled in 8 walleye and Erik boated 6.  We kept two limits by 9pm and headed back to camp for a late snack and some rest.walleye limit
The trout are really giving us a hard time this year!  We trolled our usual spots with our usual cranks and didn’t get as much as one hit.  When we headed south on the lake to find the crappie, it was very muddy so we didn’t really spend much time on that project.  We haven’t searched for perch on this lake for years, so last effort to catch fish we went to the islands of cottonwood to jig.  Surely no one wants to see a seagull rookery, but if you are interested there are at least a million gulls on and surrounding these islands squawking, molting and pooping all over the place.  Oh, and we didn’t find the perch either- but Michelle did land a 7lb carp on a micro rod using 2lb line.

fighing a carp

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Fish Lake

Erik’s parents met us at the KOA in Dubois to see the sheep and go fishing.  Of course the rams were not in the same place for easy viewing.  Murphy’s Law.  They probably were hidden around some cliff laughing at us.
Wednesday afternoon we took the Explorer in to Fish Lake.  What a windy day!  It was difficult casting and the fish STILL haven’t turned on yet.  Mary did fairly well throwing a leech fly with a spinning rod and Erik caught a couple dozen using power bait.

cutthroat
When we got back to camp our tent had blown against a tree (we didn’t stake it) and the wind persisted until 9pm squashing our fire and smores plan for the evening.

cutthroat
Thursday morning Erik, Mary and Gordon went to the badlands to look for rams.  Neither of the two bands we had seen earlier in the week were visible.  Erik did manage to locate a good ram laying down, however.

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Scouting Sheep

The Polaris Ranger was waiting for us Sunday night at the KOA in Dubois.  We made camp and drove the wheeler into the badlands around 4:30.  Erik’s mom, Mary, drew a sheep tag this year.  The first stop was the ridge that Gordon killed his sheep from in ’92.  We met an older fellow from Jackson who was spending some quiet time in the hills, he left for a new spot 🙂  We glassed for an hour or so and found two bands of ewes and lambs.

bighorns

We headed, then, looking for a path to Wiggins Fork canyon.  We got on a road that led to the highest elevation on the canyon.  After hiking for only 2 or 3 minutes, we happened upon a band of 7 rams.  We bumped them from the meadow where they were feeding to the edge of the canyon.  They settled down over a hump where they were just out of site, so Michelle crawled her way to the crest of the hill to get some pictures.  The sheep were not fooled but they remained calm, feeding and even laying back down after a couple minutes.  There were four 3/4 curl or better rams and three younger rams in the group.  ewes

Monday morning we got up and took another trail that led up the canyon (to the same ridge) from the South.  On the way up we found one group of ewes and lambs and some antelope.  Then at the top we found the same ram group exactly where we had left them the night before, let’s hope they stay there for another couple months!  We walked the canyon edge for a ways south until we happened upon the ewes we had seen earlier, which had apparently moved up for the day.

moon over badlands

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Boysen

Wednesday afternoon we packed the camper, loaded the boat and hit the road for Boysen Reservoir.  We used to have amazing perch and walleye/sauger fishing at Boysen years ago when all we had was a 12’ Lund with a 25hp motor that maybe gave us 5hp.  We would spend almost every weekend there those years when Erik was working summers at Houston Supply and Michelle worked at the Boys & Girls Club.  Some of the hottest afternoons we can ever remember were out there.
catWhen we got to Shoshoni we could see a big storm brewing so we decided to stop at Walker’s to pick up a couple supplies and shoot the breeze while the breeze shot over us.  A friend of Sean’s was working in the shop and we had a very nice visit with him about walleye fishing on Boysen.
We hit the water around 6pm and decided to take some advice and stay on the ramp side of Tough Creek.  The wind came up pretty strong right away and we didn’t find any walleye in this part of the bay.  We decided to go around the corner and try a weed bank.  Erik caught a nice sized walleye within the first half hour.   We worked our way back and forth on this shelf for a couple hours and Erik picked up another walleye and a big catfish.  After a long lull in the action we moved to the end of the point of the bay and were able to pick up 4 more walleye before turning in for the night.walleye
Thursday morning we headed back to where we finished up Wednesday night.  Not as good as we expected.  Erik Picked up a walleye jigging and Michelle picked up two dragging her jig.  We also tried to put out our worm harnesses for a while, but neither of us did any good trolling.  After some time we picked up and went back to our old camping island and tried jigging a shelf.  No luck there.  We went back to Tough Creek where we saw the fellow from the bait shop and fished around him for a while.  Again, no luck.  Time for lunch!  Ribs on the barbie and a cold drink on a warm afternoon- nice.   After lunch we thought we might do better trolling for trout, so we headed for the middle of the lake and put out our lines.  We tried this for half hour or so and had one good hit.  From there we headed to the marina for more crawlers, ice and a cold treat.  The wind came up really strong again and it made it difficult to work our way across the lake back to Tough Creek.  We tried the ramp side of the bay one more time and again found no fish.  We went back around the corner to our spot from the morning and the night before and it wasn’t 30 minutes before we started finding the walleye. Erik finished the trip boating 5 fish and Michelle caught 3.  We kept the 3 we needed and put the rest back.
By Thursday afternoon the camps started really rolling in.  The place was packed by evening.  Parents yelling, dogs barking, generators running- ahhh, the great outdoors!

great outdoors
Although we had to work a little harder than we are accustom to, we still had a great time and left with our limits for the freezer.

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