Tag Archives: West Yellowstone

We’re a little late with May’s fly of the month, but it’s by design.  We’re continuing to feature flies that have worked for us on the trout at the cabin, though prior to this month they were all from last year’s trip.  I’m fairly certain they will work for trout elsewhere and probably other fish too.  The first one will be a beadheaded version of the featherduster nymph which was first tied by Wally Eagle out in West Yellowstone.  As you’ve probably guessed the original pattern was tied from a feather duster.  The sizes that were effective in North Georgia were 14 and 16, but this one is tied in a size 12 for purposes of picture clarity.


  • 2x long nymph hook(I prefer 2x long hooks when using a bead and regular hooks without a bead)
  • Bead to fit hook
  • Lead wire
  • Gold wire
  • Ostrich herl
  • Pheasant tail
  • Thread

1. Put bead on hook and slide to the eye.


2. Wrap lead onto the shank and butt it up against the bead. I put enough lead on there to take up the space where my thorax will be.


3. Cover lead with thread and create a smooth underbody.


4. Tie in a wire rib on the far side of the hook. I tie it in on the far side so that the first half wrap goes under the hook.


5. Tie in two peacock herls at the bend and bring thread to the area at the start of the thorax. Twist herls together and palmer. I try not to make this very dense.



6. Measure some pheasant tail fibers for length and tie them in at the thorax. I like my tails to be roughly half the length of the hook shank.


7. Use the wire rib to tie down the pheasant tail.


8. Tie in a few more pheasant tail fibers with the tips pointing over the eye. These will be the legs, so they should also be roughly half the length of the hook shank. The butt ends of the fibers will become the wing casing.


9. Tie in a few more herls, twist together, and palmer. You could twist these with the thread to reinforce the herl if you want. I like to make the thorax area a little more dense than the abdomen.



10. Separate the pheasant tips, pull the butts over to form the wing case, and tie them in dividing the tips.


11. Cut off the butts and whip finish.




Finished fly, enjoy!


This kype jawed rainbow fell for the beadhead featherduster nymph.


On Tuesday we let the girls do their thing while Dad and I went on a guided trip down the Henry’s Fork. It was pretty nice to devote a full day to fishing. Our guide was Derek Hobbs with Trouthunter and at his suggestion we hit two different sections of the river; Box Canyon before lunch and a section downstream of Railroad Ranch after.

The Henry’s Fork was an interesting river, the two sections we fished were just a few miles apart, but they were totally different from each other. Clarity was excellent at both spots as the river was loaded with submerged vegetation. With that much salad the river was also loaded with trout food. Cased caddis covered the rocks and tricos were pretty thick as we showed up to the launch in the morning. Dad started catching fish almost right away while I was still working the kinks out.





Once I finally got a fish to the boat I began catching them pretty regularly, though they weren’t much on size.



Fishing ended up being pretty good for me on 8-12″ rainbows throughout the Box. Dad was able to get into the bigger fish and from the back of the boat no less. He caught a couple of stud whitefish and pretty much all the bigger rainbows we had on the day.




I landed some whitefish of my own (a new species for both of us) though, like the rainbows, they weren’t very big. I finally managed to get a respectable rainbow toward the end of our float through the Box. We didn’t catch any monsters through Box Canyon but we did catch a bunch of trout, which is exactly what Derek told us would happen. I did briefly hook into a fish that surprised me, it was much bigger than what we had been catching, but it wasn’t on very long.




After lunch we picked up and headed down the road. Derek told us this was where our big fish might come. The Henry’s Fork flattened out in this section and the current slowed down big time. The submerged veg was much thicker down here as well, it was matted up in spots where the river was real shallow.



The water here was even clearer than in the Box and the fishing was tougher. As we floated downstream we saw the fish we were after. And sure enough they were bigger here than in the Box. Pods of trout would move out of the way of the boat as we floated by them. It was both exciting and frustrating to see, knowing you’re floating that big hopper right over these fish and watching none of them take it was a test of patience. I think I had one or two that came to inspect it, one swirled under, the other I missed the set. Toward the end of the float the current picked up and the river fished more like the Box. I ended up catching a few more small rainbows to get rid of the skunk on this section before we reached the take out.





What a challenging stretch of water, I couldn’t imagine a more polar opposite for Box Canyon than that section downstream of the Ranch. We went from easy to slim pickings in just a short drive down Hwy 20 (which has to be the longest main street in the country, the city of Island Park is huge!). The Henry’s Fork was a beautiful river though and I can see why it has been written about and fawned over by nearly every fisherman that has the pleasure to fish it. It seems to be a virtual fish factory, what a resource. Derek was a great guide who made every effort to put us on fish, especially in the afternoon. I could tell he wanted us to get one of those big boys bad, but it just wasn’t in the cards.

The girls ended up back in the Park while we were fishing as the boardwalk at Grand Prismatic Spring had opened up. We didn’t get to see it in person, but at least they did. Before heading back to the cabin they shopped in West Yellowstone and did a little driving around Island Park. Mom was really excited to find an aspen with her name carved in it. It’s a sign I tell you!





That evening we had dinner at the cabin then went outside to sit and enjoy our last cool night in Idaho (the weather was awesome the entire trip) before we had to head back to the heat and humidity of the South. As we sat outside I noticed something dark in the distance of the backyard. It looked like a cardboard cutout it was so dark, but once it moved there was no doubting it was a moose! It was very timid, not like the moose we saw near Jackson. Soon enough we saw why, it had a young calf with it. What a great way to end our stay in Island Park.


On Sunday we checked out of our cottage in Jackson and made our way to our cabin in Last Chance, ID. Our drive would take us up through Grand Teton and into the heart of Yellowstone National Park then out to West Yellowstone and down to Island Park, ID. I decided to go a different route through Teton taking us along Mormon Row – it paid off with our first glimpse of a wild bison herd.




It was really cool to see buffalo in the wild, but I’ll be honest, they are not very exciting creatures. It was kind of like watching cattle in a field. It was still a cool experience because like trout, they live in beautiful places. We continued up following the Snake River through the Tetons on up into Yellowstone, where we were now following the Lewis. We had a short stop at Lewis Falls as we made our way to West Thumb Geyser Basin. There we got our first taste of the geothermal activity that Yellowstone is known for.






As you can probably tell in the pic of my wife(which was my favorite of the whole trip BTW), we are expecting our first child in November. We are very excited! Just trying to fit in as many trips as we can before that day arrives.

After West Thumb, we made our way toward the busiest part of the Park, Old Faithful. We had a little time to kill before the next eruption so we walked around the Upper Geyser Basin a bit. It didn’t take long to see why the Firehole River was named so.





Catching Old Faithful in person was definitely cool to experience, but I think I only need to do it once. In a different way, the inside of the Old Faithful Inn was just as impressive to see. We hopped back in the car and headed toward Grand Prismatic Spring. It was a bummer to find out that the boardwalk alongside the spring had collapsed that previous week and was being rebuilt so the site was closed to pedestrian traffic. We found more geysers, springs, and the Fountain Paint Pots just up the road at the Lower Geyser Basin.





We made one more detour as we approached Madison to go check out the Firehole Falls. As soon as we got in the canyon I had to pull over to cast my line against a giant rock wall. It just seemed like a cool place to fish that had to be holding something. Sure enough I caught a little rainbow and missed another a little bigger right at the foot of the wall.




On our way out of the Park, following the Madison River now, we stopped to check out the elk that were grazing in the meadows. It was kind of funny to see a “wild” animal with a giant antenna protruding from his head.




It was a long day touring Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, finished off perfectly at the Madison Crossing Lounge. The beer was cold, the food was good, and the bartender was top notch. I’d recommend it to anyone headed to West Yellowstone.