|Hot tub, anyone?|
It's an odd primal urge. I get that.
But when I stand next to one of the dozens of crystal clear--and scalding hot--pools of magma-charged water that gurgle and simmer along the banks of the Firehole River in Yellowstone National Park, it's all I can do to keep from jumping in.
The Firehole, too, is a primal body of water. As it flows through geyser basins inside the park, it picks up steaming rivulets of water that, later in the year when the air temperatures climb a bit, make the river so warm it's virtually unfishable. The fish simply move up into the cooler tributaries of the river, or they hunker down and wait it out in water that is barely habitable. But now, early in the season, it's as close as a dedicated trout angler can get to a sure thing.
|The best of Yellowstone|
Turns out, we had a to walk quite a ways. We weren't the only anglers with this brilliant idea.
The Firehole's hatches this time of year are also pretty predictable. It's the weather you have to keep an eye on--just ask my friend Kirk Werner, who was on the river just a few days before we were, and had to trudge to the water through a foot of fresh snow. Even so, I'm betting he enjoyed some blue-winged olive hatches and some pretty lively streamer action.
|Typical Firehole brown trout|
We also had a few blue-wings, but with air temps in the 50s, we also enjoyed a pretty impressive caddis hatch, and dry fly fishing most of the day. That's not to say we didn't go after the big boys in the river's deeper reaches with streamers--I caught a couple of nice browns that might have pushed 18 inches with a weighted black Woolly Bugger.
But the fishing, truly, is only part of the Firehole experience. There's something unique about having to squint through clouds of sulfurous steam to see your fly, and there's something amazingly wild about casting to river-born trout and having to watch your backcast to ensure you're not inadvertently snagging a wandering bison.
|Wild brown trout|
We'll see a place that hasn't change much at since it was "discovered" around the time Lewis and Clark ventured across the Northern Rockies.
|Wild, desolate, sparse ... and perfect|
You'll see a fabled river in all its glory, and you'll meet wild trout that thrive in a place that is wonderfully desolate, wonderfully sparse.
And among the most amazing fly fishing destinations on earth.