Twenty years ago or so, I sat along the banks of the Yellowstone just above the falls in YNP during the summer evenings awaiting a rising fish. Back then, I was pretty inexperienced but had a couple of good friends that had taken me under their wing and broke me of my evil Bassmaster ways. We would sit there smoking cigs and enjoying the setting sun at our back and wait patiently for the next fish. There were lots of Yellowstone Cuts in the river at the time so the wait was usually pretty short…maybe a Menthol at most. There were always fish rising, but we waited until one came in close enough to avoid getting our feet wet.
Those were some of the first moments in my trout fishing life that I was able to catch lots of fish on dry flies without the aid of others. They were special moments that etched their way into my soul along with the sounds, smells, and sights of those few evenings in 1993. Once again, I realize now that those were the good ol’ days and that they are gone forever, I’m glad that I enjoyed them while they happened instead of wishing now that I had appreciated them then.
Although the names of my companions are different and the fish are pretty much gone from that piece of water, that bank is still there along with the surrounding Sagebrush, Bison crossing the river, and the water is still clean and pure. I miss the old friends Greg and Scott, and am eternally grateful to them for teaching me the ways and taking me to all the places. Like the river, life keeps going even though its course might change here and there.
Beatitudes aside, a little ranting is also due. Who the F@*K thought that it would be cool to put Lake Trout in Yellowstone Lake? I know it was some honky, but why? Who would have ever imagined -30 years ago - that a little Whirling Disease and a bucketful of Lakers would ruin an entire ecosystem, for at least a generation and probably forever? I hope that the commercial netters get it done and the Cutties make mad love in all those tribs of the lake and that their fry make it to adulthood and swim in great numbers down the river to rise throughout Hayden Valley once again but I am not holding my breath.
It would be nice to take my sons there someday and sit on the banks with fish rising freely once again. In the meantime, I’ll probably go back there in 4-5 years just to make sure that they really are still gone. I did enjoy the day yesterday with my fishing companion of late and the familiar feeling of this special place.