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We woke up the next day, packed up the hammocks, and headed to another Logan River trib to fish for a few hours that morning before heading south.  This was a stream I wanted to fish after looking at it via aerial imagery.  It looked like it had a lot of beaver activity on Google Earth and looked too fishy to pass up.  We hit the trail and hiked a mile or us up before we started fishing.  It was nice to have camped so close to where we planned to fish because it’s an awesome feeling to park and be the first ones at a trailhead.

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Once we started fishing it did not take long for me to get on board that morning and I was able to pull a nice cutthroat from the tail of a good run.

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The stream was a small one in a beautiful sagebrush prairie valley.  The first section we fished didn’t have much beaver activity at all, it was faster, with riffles and runs, much like a smaller Logan River.  It did not fish as well as the other trib we fished the day before, which was albeit harder to fish with a much denser canopy.

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Blake wasn’t able to pull any browns out of the main stem of the Logan, but was able to connect with a good one here.  Gotta keep pace in the diversity game.

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I only managed one more cutthroat out of this stream in our short time fishing here.  Normally, I’d be disappointed in a day like that on a river at home, but I really didn’t even notice.  The scenery was beautiful, the weather was nice, life was good.

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Life was good up until we got to the section I had been drooling over while on the computer back home and there was a guy already there fishing it.  I guess he hiked past us and we didn’t notice him.  I know we weren’t deep in a wilderness area, we weren’t far from a city, and this is probably a pretty popular stream, but he couldn’t have given us a bit more room to fish?  We hiked around until he was out of sight (no trees around so this was quite a distance), gave him plenty of water to keep him busy – that section had lots of braided channels and beaver ponds.  Basically we left him sufficient water so that he wouldn’t catch back up to us.

We dropped in on another beaver complex further up and started fishing.  It was slow going, we didn’t see much fish activity and weren’t getting any bites.  We were moving fairly quickly, leapfrogging each other and before we were even out of that beaver complex here comes that guy passing us on the trail again.  My mind was blown.  At this point I was ready to just leave, but out of spite we again went around him giving him lots of room.

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We didn’t fish much longer before we hit the trail and hiked out.  Right before we got to the vehicle we stopped to fish a bit of fishy looking water right next to the trailhead.  We knew that guy couldn’t high hole us here because he actually passed us while we were walking out on the trail.  Maybe we southerners move too slow?

Just as in the trib yesterday Blake was able to end the morning on a high note and pulled a decent sized cutty out from under some brush.  I actually looked back at him and thought he was foul hooked on the brush, but he was actually hooked up trying to keep the fish from breaking him off.

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It was a good feeling to end with that fish.  The Logan Canyon area treated us very well, it is a tremendous fishery and one we probably would not have fished were it not for the Cutt Slam.  I could come back and just spend the week in the Canyon and have an incredible time fishing a lot of different water, such a cool place.

It was time for us to get moving though to our next destination, so got in the car and followed the Logan on up to the head of the canyon.  Just over the pass we could see the brilliantly blue Bear Lake and the town of Garden City.  I had read that when in Garden City one must stop for a raspberry shake so we did and it was fantastic.

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This town is serious about it’s shakes and there were at least a half dozen within sight of the Quick N Tasty that we stopped at – quite the competition.  After the shakes we headed south to Evanston where we were able to restock on a few supplies and fuel up at a local brewery, Suds Brothers.  No trip is complete until I stop at a local brewery for a flight of beers.  Suds Brothers is no Wind River Brewing Co, but it was still a mighty fine way to have lunch.

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After lunch we kept going south, on our way to the north slope of the Uintas and away from modern day amenities for the next couple of days.  It was all dirt roads from here.

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Our next target species was the Colorado River Cutthroat.

 

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The Colorado River cutthroat are native, in Utah, to streams that flow into the Green and Colorado Rivers.  On the north slope of the Uintas those are going to be east of the Elizabeth Ridge.  Bear River cutthroat reside west of the Elizabeth Ridge in streams that flow into the Bear River.

Our destination was a popular trailhead near the Hewinta Guard Station for a trail that led deep into the wilderness of the High Uintas.  Just as at our last stream we wouldn’t be hiking deep into the wilderness, just a mile or so before we began to fish.

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One cool thing about this part of the Uintas is the number of old tie hack cabins.  We saw a few while on the trail and several more as we drove on the North Slope Rd.  Lots of old railroad history in this part of the country.

We left the trail and headed down to the creek at a section where it ran through a big meadow.  I’m a sucker for high alpine meadow streams and could tell this one was going to be fun.

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It was a small, shallow stream with lots of pocket water and at each bend it’s runs ran into slightly deeper undercut banks.  We were on fish as soon as our flies touched the water.  What the cutthroat lacked in size here, they made up for in numbers.  We caught so many fish in this creek, it was almost unbelievable.

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My best cutthroat from the stream wasn’t any bigger than the others, but it was a bit more colorful.  These fish get bigger and a lot more colorful in those high alpine lakes, especially down on Boulder Mountain.  We really didn’t have time to head down to southern Utah for this trip, maybe something to think about for a future trip.

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Fishing really just doesn’t get much easier than it was here which makes me think how great a place this would be to take a kid.  Once we fished through the meadow section the stream started to go into a forest and take on some elevation.  It was here that we headed back to the trail and made our way back to the trailhead, passing more tie hack cabins and an old abandoned truck.

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The drive east on the North Slope Rd. was a fairly bumpy, fairly slow ride.  The weather had threatened to rain on us while we were fishing, but we were able to avoid it.  While in the car though we saw rain at a distance, but also were treated with the rare double rainbow and we were left to question just what did it all mean?

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We set up our next campsite at Little Lake Lyman, which was a nice, quiet lakeside campground that had plenty of rising fish and resident bald eagle.  Pretty satisfied with the day we didn’t even wet a line.  A cold beer by the fire was good enough for me.  We’d get after the Colorado River cutthroat again in the morning, hoping to catch some bigger versions of the ones we had caught today.

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Our last day of fishing in Wyoming was quite the encore.  We had yet to hike-in and fish anywhere the whole trip, but this would be the day to buck that trend.  We had the time and it looked like we might have the best weather of the trip that day.  We packed our daypacks and took off for “Shangri-La”.  After about a mile of walking uphill we were greeted with this site.

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It was beautiful.  If I had the energy to just run straight down the hill to the creek I would have.  Once on the water it didn’t take Blake long to figure out a pattern.  Fish were crushing a nymph he had tied and after sharing one with me we were catching fish at a silly rate.  They were hitting on top too, but the sub-surface flies were killing it.  It wasn’t all cutthroat though, in fact, it was mostly whitefish.

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Cutthroat were the stars though and they were mixed in too.  Sometimes they would be the first fish to hit while drifting through a run or a pool, other times you had pick your way through the whiteys before landing a cutty.

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Some of the cutts were better than others.  I was able to upgrade my Snake River cutt pretty early on and had back to back good fish in one of the first few runs.

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The fishing was incredible.

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In a beautiful place.

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With lots of rod bends to go around.

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I reached a point where I thought – “Gee, how could this get any better?”

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Then Blake catches a double and it just seems fitting.  And just for a bit of diversity he found a chunky brookie too.

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But still the Snake River cutts were what we were there for, and we caught several nice ones.

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We didn’t catch everything that lived in the creek though.  I pulled the hook from a good fish early on, but Blake really missed a beast right at the end.  A monster fish, it definitely would have been big fish on the day and probably rivaled big fish on the trip.  No trip is complete without the “big one that got away” story and unfortunately that is how we ended our days worth of fishing and really the entire trip.  This place really had it all and it was hard to walk back to the car and not snap a few more pics.

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You couldn’t wipe the smiles off our faces as we made our way into Jackson.

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A stop at the Snake River Brewery for a flight and a burger was just what the doctor ordered after a long day of fishing.  After a bit of shopping for the kiddos and an obligatory elk arch pic we headed on down the road to our motel.  It was clean, cheap, 70’s chic and the shower and bed felt incredible.

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Our flight out wasn’t until later the next afternoon so we headed down to SLC with time to spare and decided to check out the Utes digs.

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This place looked tiny compared to 100,000+ Tiger Stadium.  A nice reminder that football(and tailgating) season is just around the corner.

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One last local beer before getting on the plane to reflect on a really special trip.  A lot of planning went into this trip to make sure we gave ourselves the best opportunity at the slam and it felt great to accomplish it.  A big thanks goes to Steven Brutger over at Stalking the Seam for all his help.  I put what I thought was a good plan of attack together and sent it his way and with a few tweaks we were able to get it dialed in.  I don’t think there is anything I would have wanted to do differently.  From the fishing to the scenic drives to the craft beer – everything about Wyoming was amazing.  If I could make this a yearly trip I would – it was that incredible.  Hope y’all enjoyed it as much as we did, until next time.

Slipping out of the hammock and taking in the view on the morning of day 4 was nothing short of spectacular.

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After packing up the campsite and making the short drive through town to our destination, it was time to grab the rods and finish out our slam with a Yellowstone cutthroat.

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It was pretty cool to have fished five different streams over the course of three days and what really stood out was that each had it’s own character.  No two places we fished felt the same, which is a lot different than I can say for those small wild trout streams back in Georgia.  The stream we were about to fish was no different – it had an entirely different look and feel.  We had made our way through the Wyoming Range and were now in foothills of the Winds – and boy did we feel it.  We parked in a pasture on top of a plateau and were greeted with a nice gust of chilly air.

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We like to work our way upstream while fishing so we walked a bit downstream and began working an area where the river braided.  I hooked up with my first fish on the back side of an island in some slower water along a cut bank.

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It was a Yellowstone cutthroat and with that my Cutt Slam was complete!  Now it was up to Blake to fool one.

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Of course he had all day to do it, so I’m not ashamed to say that didn’t stop me from fishing and catching another one.

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The river was gorgeous and at times had more of a desert feel than the previous streams we fished.

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Eventually Blake was able to connect with a fish that was sitting right behind a big rock.  As was the trend, it was a nicer cutty than the previous two I had caught.

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The weather was beginning to look pretty rough so we headed to the car for a beer and lunch.  As bad as it looked, it never really rained on us and we were back on the water shortly, though not before hearing the tale of “Big Lou” from another angler that was at the parking area.  “Big Lou” was a cutthroat that this guy had caught when he first ever fished there with a guide.  Apparently “Big Lou” had quite the reputation and lived under the big rock.  We didn’t catch the name of Blake’s fish, so who knows, maybe it was “Big Lou” or maybe his kin?  We kept fishing though and I caught another small one and missed a really nice fish – twice.  He hit the dropper, then the hopper, on separate drifts, and I blew it each time.

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Just to add insult to injury, while working the next run up, Blake hooked into a stud.  Once we had the fish in the net we could tell it was the biggest of the trip.  A beautiful, golden Yellowstone cutt.  A few quick pics and then he was sent on his way.

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I ended up catching one more little guy before we called it a day.

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It felt pretty awesome to accomplish our goal.  I think what I was more happy about though, and it really didn’t matter to me who caught the fish, was that we were able to catch what I considered to be above average versions of each species.  It really validated all the planning that went into this trip.  After a nice walk back to the car we headed back into town and ran into Marlow’s fly shop just to check it out and buy more flies we didn’t need.

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With the slam complete, the next day was wide open for us.  I had an idea of where I wanted to fish before I even started planning the trip, it was a place that I read about in a report on NGTO a few years back.  The guy called it “Shangri-La” and it looked spectacular.  I asked him about it back then and logged it in the back of my head in case I ever had the opportunity.  It just so happened we had the opportunity this trip.  It would mean a drive through the Absarokas and the Tetons, toward Jackson, which made sense for us as it put us closer to Salt Lake City and our flight home.  It also would put us in prime Snake River cutt territory where I could hopefully upgrade from the dink I had previously caught this trip.  It was a no brainer, so we hit the road – again.

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With the Tetons shrouded in rain clouds we didn’t stop much for pictures.  We kept on to our destination and made sure we could find the trailhead prior to setting up camp.  The campground was starting to fill up, but we were able to find a few suitable trees and set up shop.

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With camp set up Blake went to work on the nearby river and happily reported eight fish brought to hand, including a few whitefish, which we had yet to see this trip.  This was our last night we would camp and according to the host, it was sure to be the coldest.  With that in mind I set out to collect what meager kindling I could find.  The host wished me luck and mentioned that she had collected everything in the area.  She wasn’t lying either as this campground looked like a manicured garden – no deadwood in sight.  Still I found enough to get a fire started (Blake had done a great job of this every other night) and purchased a bundle of firewood from her so that we could sustain it.  The next day would be our last hurrah in Wyoming and I’ve got to be honest, I was looking forward to a shower and a bed that next night.

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