Twenty persons came to the Lucky Lab to share in the air conditioned comfort and listen to Hal Gordon discussion his tour of Wyoming to find [and catch] the various species of cutthroat found in that state. Prior to his presentation, several items of Chapter note occurred………..
Erle Norman, aka The Prez, asked for any new members to introduce themselves; two new faces were in the crowd. Anna, newly arrived from Vermont with her 5-weight in tow, noted though the spey crave is intriguing, based on her short experience she will be sticking to her favorite single hander 5 – there were a few nods of agreement. Trout beware!
There was a brief reminder Steelhead Science for Anglers meeting last week; hopefully some of you were able to attend after we passed on the word.
Mike Gentry, man formerly known as The Prez [and current money wrangler], stepped up to let everyone know what they missed at South Twin this year. As he relayed the story, there was quite a tussle with a smart osprey where another former Prez – Alex B – lost the battle [and his fish]. Mark Rogers added that besides the bird watching/wrangling, he kept focused on the fishing and was able to bring in several notably nice fish between 17-inches and 19-inches! There were others less than that as well. We have not seen photos, but Mark is a pretty straight shooter so we tend to believe him; more reports like this without a photo or two though and we might stop giving him the benefit of the doubt on his reports….
Mark kept the mic and let us know about a few items:
- The FIRST BATCH OF C4C TREES were placed in the Clackamas; he noted that they placed in and around the Logan Natural Area – he was quite impressed with the restoration effort in that area and noted it is worth seeking out.
- Sandy River Spey Clave was also this past weekend; it was a timely reminder – hopefully some of you got out there and not only enjoyed the Clave but met Mark and the others at the TVTU booth. My guess – without confirmation – new member Anna was not there….
- Tualatin Refuge Bird Festival is May 21; again Mark has organized a TVTU outreach table. Whether, or not you are a bird lover, the refuge is an interesting area to visit – this weekend it will be completely open for touring. A great family event – stop by and say hello at the TVTU table.
- Tualatin Riverkeepers Kids Camp – again this year, Mark has organized a class in the TRK day camp schedule for young fishers; learning casting, ecology and some basic etymology. Mark is looking for volunteers to assist in this organized event again. No dates are set currently but anyone interested in this or any other volunteer effort can contact the chapter at VOLUNTEER.
Jerry Lorang, the Chapters Veterans Services Coordinator, shared a few items:
Standing in for Andy, Jerry mentioned the next TVTU outing is June 24-26; this will be a CAMPOUTING at Timothy Lake. Contact Andy if you have any questions.
PHW tying session at PSU; Jerry is looking for some folks established in fly tying who can help teach a class on Monday, May 23rd at PSU. The class is on campus from 2:00-4:00 p.m. Contact Jerry if you’d like to help out.
At this point, Hal Gordon took control and fired up his slide presentation. Hal took it upon himself a few years ago shortly after the Wyoming Game & Fish Department released their new CUTT SLAM PROGRAM to take a week and try his hand. Part of the fun of his adventure was the planning – WFGD does not promise any help in finding the fish – but there are some relatively simple methods for determining which waters hold which fish. Before we get there, though, it is noteworthy to know that Wyoming has four species of native cutthroat trout – Colorado, Bonneville, Yellowstone, and the Snake River variety; the purpose of the slam is to acquaint anglers with these species and their importance. It also helps the department manage and assess populations and health as all participants must submit catch locations, photos and other basic data to receive their certificate. Pretty nice way to involve anglers [ODFW has similar reporting that is not species specific – used to be that they had card books to fill out and send to bio’s – now the reporting is online; there is no ‘reward’ in return for angler reports other than knowing you helped a bit].
Hal’s trip took him primarily to the western end of the state – that is the closest to Oregon after all. His travels went something like this:
- Soda Butte. Easy peasy and came up with cutthroat number one – a nice healthy Yellowstone. Now knowing he had a week, he didn’t dawdle and headed directly out to his next spot….
|Yellowstone Cutt [NOT Hals]....photo: Dave Showalter|
- Salt River. Hoping for a Snake River version he was disappointed. Apparently, he could not keep the browns away long enough to catch his targeted quarry. Partly, due to poor timing [as he found out later] – Hal simply moved on.
- Smith River was his next destination; here he sought the Bonneville Cutthroat. The Smith is pretty much all private access water – he did note that with some smiles and handshakes he garnered access to move onto some property above a bridge crossing. Success! Bonney off the list…..Interesting tidbit, the Bonneville Cutts are locally migratory in this system – timing can be everything.
|Bonneville Cutt [still NOT Hals'].....photo: TU|
- Hams Fork River. This one is outside Kemmerer. He found great fishing and though many catch cuts here – the best Hal could do was some monster rainbows – arm aching from beating back the big ‘bows, Hal took a side trip to the Fish Fossil Beds – he suggests you do the same. Missing out on any cutthroats from the Hams, he traveled on.
- Green River [near Fontenelle]. Again too many nice rainbow and brown trout to keep him focused on cuts – he had limited days after all and they disappearing quickly!
- LeBarge River. Focusing on the Colorado strain in this system, it was interesting to note that after being overrun with stocked rainbows and weir was built on the upper river to segregate the rainbows from the cutthroat. The water above was rotenoned to rid it of invasives and local cut stocks were placed back in to re-establish native pure strain fish. Hal caught none.
- Greys River. Finally, Hal notched his card with a Snake River Cutt from this system just outside Jackson Hole. He was under pressure to though with only days remaining to finish his quest and get back to Oregon.
|Snake River Cutt [nope - NOT Hal's]...photo: yukongoesfishing blog|
- North Fork Cottonwood Creek. His last visit with no time to loiter – spied a good hole and bailed into the canyon where he caught – in rapid succession – numerous willing Colorado Cutthroat to finish out his slam.
|Colorado River Cutt [still NOT Hal's]|
A few items of note:
- Timing: we all know Yellowstone area is a popular tourism spot – so what do you do about the crowds? Preferably, as Hal did, go early October; the temps were still mild in the valley areas [40’s – 70’s], the tourists are back in school and everyone else is hunting big game. Do be aware – the wind is constant.
- Flies: you need two – Clarks Stonefly and EHC.
- Trout: curiously, many of the western waters – and others – in the cutthroat region have been treated in the past to kill planted trout species in an attempt to reestablish only the native cutthroats. Many of the fish being are caught are several generations into being wild fish – but are not natives technically since they are naturally spawning stocked fish. Most all the waters, especially the less popular ones, are no longer stocked simply because people take more care in their approach these days or the regulations dictate the protections.
- Accommodations: Hal camped out of his Toyota wagon for the most part; if you don’t camp or want to take refuge nightly motels are available in a few of the towns along the way [most are very small 6 or less room places – no Hilton here…]: Alpine, LaBarge, Afton, Kemmerer all have motels; if you need the high end fair – go to Jackson Hole.
- Information: the WYOMING GAME & FISH DEPARTMENT website has all the information and applications you need to plan and succeed in your own trip!
Last note: we opined on the applicability of this program to Oregon when we posted about the meeting – curiously, Hal is on it. Apparently, he has contacted the ODFW commission and is working out some details – in the meantime, you might like to hear that our fishing fanatic friends at Royal Treatment have become interested and they along with Hal are working out some deals you are sure to hear about soon. Sounds like they are hitting it broad brush with native trout of Oregon [4 native cuts, 'bows/steel, bull, redband]. Seems like if we wanted to be picky as a dry fly fisherman you could go into strains as well – how many redband strains are there!?
Next up: Andy Andrews and packing the Winter Survivalist car box. June 8.