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Wyoming: Two Days, Three Ranches 09-22-2009

On September 22 and 23, writer Will Rice joined us at Angling Destinations' headquarters in Sheridan, Wyoming. Will had wanted to visit a few of our private ranches and hopefully gather material for a story he could submit to
Fly Rod and Reel Magazine. We agreed to the project if Will promised he would not divulge the name, location or description of any of the ranches we visited. As an old friend and experienced angler, Will of course agreed and in two days, we visited three ranches.

We started on a canyon ranch where we would find heavy action on 10-16 inch rainbows and browns. This ranch has over two miles of private water and we have fished it for over 30 years. We hiked and fished about 2% of the available water and enjoyed a beautiful fall morning. Since we had an agenda, we had agreed to leave this ranch at noon no matter how good the fishing. Surprisingly, we stuck to our plan. We hiked out, loaded up and by 1:00 PM we were pulling into the hay fields at Ranch Two. We had transited in our waders and slipped our strung rods between my car's seats for the trip from Ranch One to Ranch Two, so it took only a few seconds to grab a few new fly boxes and fine tune our tippets. Soon we were off yet again walking along an irrigation ditch towards a pretty little stretch of this prairie stream.

Now we should mention that we have had a grasshopper plague in Wyoming this summer. Hoppers are everywhere! Bad for the hay fields, great for the fish... and on this ranch we were now visiting.... we were to find it very good for the fish! In three hours we caught 8 fish, all browns, all were over 20". The biggest were two 22" browns, one with a 12" girth and one had a 13" girth. All the fish we caught were prime specimens, beautifully colored and took size 4 hoppers like you read about. (And since you are reading about this, I'll tell you that 4 days later, I decided to go out again to this ranch in a 20 mph wind for a few hours on Sunday afternoon. On this clear windy day, I caught 7 browns in two hours again all over 20" with the biggest being 23" with a 14.5 " girth. Geez! it just doesn't get any better than this!)

On September 23, Will and I fished a mountain stream on the other side of the mountain from Sheridan, near Tensleep, Wyoming and caught dozens of fat cutthroats and brook trout (with a few rainbows thrown in) up to 18". This stream is a beautiful creek and with the fall colors now in full swing, this could not have been a better day. We had a baetis and a caddis hatch and fished exclusively with dry flies.

So in 2 days, we had fished three ranches and caught rainbow, brook, brown and cutthroat trout from 9-23 inches with perfect fall weather. Oh yeah, I think we got some good photos and fodder for a story in FR & R magazine. Please look at the accompanying photos and see if you agree!

Written by Scott Heywood








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