Saturday, August 6, 2011

Slough Creek on My Birthday

Today August 6th is my birthday. I've been having awesome fishing on my birthday for the last couple of years (except for 2010 that I got stuck with cows) that I called "Birthday Magic". My birthday in 2008 was simply very good and one in 2009 was more like "surreal" that made me thought of "Fishing God". What could I expect today? I decided to visit Slough Creek in Yellowstone Park. To summarize the day shortly, fishing was average. I don't think I lost the magic touch of birthday, especially not because I'm getting old!!, but it just seems fishing is my job now. Even on this personal fishing for fun, I had to see and do things as if I was guiding. Over all I did enjoy the day. Let me look back.

I got there and started fishing earlier than I thought. I went to Lower Meadow of Slough, not the upper 1st, 2nd, or 3rd (that's another guide story that I tell you some time later).

Attractor dry flies seemed the way to go but I soon switched into swinging soft-hackles for pre-hatch situation. Then this Mr. Nick's Caddis Soft-Hackle started the day. This is truly a versatile fly that can be fished on the surface as a dry and by swinging after dead-drift.

I heard a large gulp!! I felt it was large and it fought very hard!! It was a fine cutbow. It rose like cutthroat and fought & jumped like rainbow!!

Good looking but no orange slashes. Must be a cutbow.


Then accident did happen on my birthday!!

I waded and fished down-stream from there. I was in the middle of the creek and noticed the spot seemed just unproductive. I started to walk toward shallow parts and I stepped on the sandy area. First step sucked my legs to middle of my shins. I kept on then with the next step, my entire right leg was swallowed up to my crotch!! It was a deceiving quick sand!! At least I could free my left leg but my right leg was totally held in the sand, then again in the middle of creek!! Totally unmovable!! "Is this a bad joke?" I thought. I quickly recalled all the survival stories in TV programs. I would eventually be bitten by mosquitoes and be eaten by bears. I tried to scoop sand around my right leg but the wading boot was totally stuck so I had to go deep, which seemed endless. Then I saw a group of two people watching me from the hill!! "Fishing God" gave me just an average day but did send me help!! They were father and son. Father said "need help?" I says "please help me!!" Father got close to me but I warned him he could get stuck too. He really shouldn't have got closer for his own sake. But I needed help. At least I tossed him my rod. Now my left hand was free so I could work on scooping around my right leg better and finally I could pull myself out!! Still sloppy footsteps but father grabbed my hand and helped my steps when I was out of breath.................
I said to him "help came faster than bears, thank you very much!!".

I got my breath back. Further down-stream, I finally started to see rises and hear gulping sounds. I thought hatch must be going on. I rigged up Sparkle Dun for Gray Drake.

This section of Slough has lots of complicated characters in currents that make dead-drift tricky. Furthermore, I was casting over 50 feet that made the hook-set difficult too. After several challenges, I got hooked into another fighter!!!! It did take the Gray Drake!!

Great looking another cutbow!! I bet they must have "hybrid vigor"!! These two are among some of the best fighters I ever felt on my rod regardless of their sizes!!

I walked all the way down till the gorge (3rd pic from the top) that eventually joins Lamar River. Insect hatches seemed tapered off or pretty much over. I switched into a hopper/dropper rig. I started to see some trout came to look at my hopper, some even ate it, then got hooked on a dropper nymph.

I gained confidence that trout were looking up on terrestrials. I moved more trout along the way up and finally saw a native Yellowstone Cutty!! (same scenario, came to hopper but foul-hooked on a trailer dry-fly. Guess what that is?)

I did get hooked into a large one on the hopper!! It fought hard again and went deep. Lost him..... That turned out to be the last trout I saw today.

Over all I had great fun. I walked and fished all day long. Of course I can say that because I managed to get out the quick sand. I even smelled some very bad odor that might have belonged to bears (it was after the quick sand incident!!) So fishing was average and may not have been as magical as before but hey, now I'm fishing full-time!! See what I get next year!!


  1. Well happy birthday first. And man that quicksand story was great. Glad you made it out of there alive. Other wise it could have been your Death Day instead of Birthday :) Great looking fish and I dig those pics. Tight Lines man !!!

  2. Thank you for the comment. Whole incident lasted maybe 15-20 minutes. I knew I was not alone fishing so eventually someone would find me but so would bears and mosquitoes. I can't emphasize the feeling of how tight my leg was locked in the wet sand.....