There is a small creek right outside of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Heaven and Hell, together, in one smooth and slithering little stretch of water. It is a place where you crouch behind tall grass, and watch mayfly duns and spinners get sipped, effortlessly off the surface. No fishing, just watching. A place where you can spend twelve hours casting at rising fish without landing one, and a place where your two weight rod can get absolutely throttled in a split second. The Flat Creek.
What is so appealing to me about this creek is it’s level of difficulty. If you catch a nice cutty on the Flat, you are doing pretty well for yourself. Not just anybody can go out and have a day there, so a lot of people are discouraged from fishing it.
Snake River Fine Spotted cutthroat are also known to be one of the hardest fighting subspecies of cutthroat trout. This I can say is one hundred percent true. These cuttys fight HARD! And if they even get a glimpse of your 6x tippet, you can forget about it. Crawling up to the bank, and getting one precisely delicate cast is your only hope. But a well presented fly will get eaten…
An ode to a fish I will never forget-
Ryan and I head to the stretch on the Elk Refuge, a place where I saw a buddy stick a 20 inch fish on a size 20 dry fly- true wizardry. So I knew the fish were around, getting them to eat is a different story.
I saw a fish rising steadily in the middle of the river- the damn ones in the middle are always the hardest. I was armed with my two weight, a rod not designed for these fish, and I let out a downstream cast, feeding line as the fly drifted down towards the fish. Mend, mend, mend, mend, GULP!
Sometimes you cast over these fish so much without any movement, that when you do get a take, you freeze, and it takes a minute to realize your fly just got eaten. Somehow, I was able to set the hook on this fish that ate about twenty yards or so downstream of me.
The fish immediately went on such a fast and long run it was like I had just woken her from hibernation. She ran so hard that I thought my little LL Bean Pocketwater reel was going to explode. That first run is forever engrained in my brain, ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. I was a mess, and all I could do was hold on and make noises out of my mouth that weren't words. Ryan comes behind, grabs the net, and tells me to calm down, we got him.
With 6x tippet, a barbless size 18 BWO on, and with such a violent fight, I have no idea how this fish did not break me off or shake the hook. All I have of this battle are images of this fish cartwheeling into the undercut banks, running this way and that, the sound of my reel screaming out line. Palm it and hold on. But the two weight held up, and honestly, the smaller weight rod helped act as a cushion for the 6x tippet, and probably is a reason why I was able to land that fish.
Some fishing days are better than others, and some fish are just truly unforgettable. Who said you can’t catch big fish on super light tackle? Thanks for the rod Roland!
Tight lines, and stay core.