November in the Land of the Giants

A quick dispatch from New Orleans and Plaquemines Parish.  After fishing in Florida, Texas, and South Carolina, it's become quite apparent that this region, hands down, is the best place to sight fish for enormous redfish.

My fishing buddy Ping and I always stay at the Woodland Plantation, which is the same mansion that was featured on the Southern Comfort label for many years.  The Southern cuisine at Woodland is outstanding.

The fried alligator and grilled oysters at Cochon (New Orleans) weren't too shabby either!

Our guide, Cody Cash, put us on some enormous reds.  Yes, I caught that sea turtle on a fly.  Long story.

On to the main event...

In a location Cody called "Donk Town", we were surrounded by hundreds of gigantic redfish and black drum quietly finning around the boat... A surreal experience punctuated by screaming fly reels.

We've already booked our trip next season in the Land of the Giants.

Autumn in the American West

Long overdue, but this recounts the my last remaining days as a "trout bum", with nearly two weeks spent plying the waters of the Henry's Fork of the Snake, Yellowstone Park, Paradise Valley, and the Madison River.  Autumn comes earlier in the American West,

The famous Railroad Ranch Section of the Henry's Fork.  I saw some bruisers in the weedy waters, but they were too wily for me.

A float trip down the Henry's Fork yielded some easier fishing.  Quite a few rainbows were eager to take dries and nymphs.  Nothing huge, but scrappy fighters as rainbows should be.

No fishing trip to the Yellowstone Park is complete without a visit to the Firehole.  The brown trout I caught were not notable in terms of size, but the strange geothermal environs were unforgettable.

The first meadow of Slough Creek in Yellowstone National Park.

The cutthroat trout of Slough had definitely seen their share of flies- I watched one closely inspect and refuse a real mayfly!  After a few attempts, I found either a CDC or comparadun fly smaller than a size 18 would usually be effective.  A downstream and across presentation seemed to worked best.

A whitefish from the Madison River in Yellowstone Park.

After spending a few days touring Yellowstone with my parents, I met my girlfriend Michelle for some fishing in Montana's Paradise Valley.  The Yellowstone River was unfortunately muddied by recent rains, but it was still quite a sight to wake up to.

With the Yellowstone River blown out, our guide brought us to Story Lake, a private pond on the ranch of the Story Family.  For those who succumb to pop-lit, the Story Family's cattle drive in Paradise Valley was the inspiration for Larry McMurtry's novel Lonesome Dove.

Michelle with a fine rainbow trout, taken on a San Juan worm.  When the fishing gets tough, the worm still works!

The following day we fished one of the most famous spring creeks in the American West- DePuys.  Certainly one of the of the prettiest creeks I've fished in the US.

A small fly shop was located conveniently along the banks of DePuys Spring Creek.  I picked up some size 20 Sawyer Pheasant Tail nymphs, which did the trick.  This shop would be a great place to work.

The trout were actively rising to tiny emergers, but were tough to land on 6X tippet.

Michelle managed to land this nice rainbow.  I'm just standing in the background to pretend it's my fish.

On my final morning, I fished the Valley Garden section of the Madison River, near Ennis, MT.  This section is delightful to fish, as it braids out into much smaller channels that an East Coast angler (such as myself) can find easier to fish.  My final fish was this nice brown, which took a swung soft hackle wet.  It was a great way to end the trip.