Wyoming Fly Fishing

The Beast Pond!

Is it wrong to have the very best Wyoming fly fishing has to offer and brag to your salivating friends about the 10 pound beast you caught? That was a hypothetical question. Seriously, if you caught a fish that big would you be able to keep it to yourself? You might be inclined to dial random telephone numbers to share the news or at the very least, share the occasion with the car-hop at Sonic. She cares.

A life-changing (wet yourself just a little bit) angling moment: staring a 10 pound trout in her un-blinking eyes and plucking the deer-hair mouse out of the jaw of her 31 inch body. Being lucky enough or blessed enough to be the recipient of a, “by-invitation-only” day on private waters with a world-class fly-fishing guide… I want that for you – I really do!

My day of Wyoming fly fishing started with a silky gray sky and entrance to the uber-secret fly fishing fish pond behind private gates and fences. (Don’t ask – the “if I told you I’d have to kill you”, rule comes in to play.) The water was chopped by the gentle winds blowing across the sage fields and caressing the golden cattails surrounding this legendary body of water. Cattails which housed the real fodder our tied flies would mimic – unfortunate field mice.

Back it up; let’s start with that Wyoming fly fishing - world class fishing guide. John Dobson has been involved in the fly fishing industry - as a guide, fly shop owner, outfitter and sales rep - for over 15 years. John is a memorable guy, from his appearance to his passion for the outdoors. It’s really kind of cool to hear an extreme looking guy, (mutton chop whiskers and hermitically sealed earrings), talk about the beauty of wildflowers and swoon over the Indian Paint-brush that shrouds the Wyoming plains.

Few people in the fly fishing industry have fished as many places as John, and I know he has more fun on the water than your average guide. John now owns Modobi (pronounced Moo-dob-ee) Fly Fishing Products, (ask him what Modobi means), and reps for Scott Rods, Nautilus Reels, Solitude Flies, Kaenon Sunglasses, Original Buff, Clear Creek, Rising, and THINGAMABOBBERS. If you’d like to contact John you can reach him at modobi@hotmail.com .

John and I met last year at the Fly Fishing Retailer event in Denver and then reconnected on Facebook. You can follow those updates on Twitter, @FlyfishingChick. A quick discussion of weekend plans and I found myself at the Saratoga Resort sitting in a TiPi covered hot-spring readying myself for the morrow’s adventure.

The next day John picked me up and we headed out to the fabled beast pond. This body of water was created from day one to nurture stocked trout into goliath carnivores hungry for slow moving meat. Your standard ‘cow pond’ had been trenched out, aerated, and scattered with nourishing food on a regular basis. The nearby hot springs kept the temperature at a homey comfort level. This was a four star stay for dozens if not hundreds of pampered trout, and a four star day for any Wyoming fly fishing enthusiast.

The technique: cast to the bank and strip the line back in short bursts, creating a popping submersion of the mouse and driving the hungry char insane. My time with a guide typically reveals a new shortcoming in my abilities and today was no exception; I’ve fished a lot on rivers where you simply need turn over your bug and skid it across the water or carefully mend your drift, but I haven’t had any experience in distance casting. It gave me something new to work on and I could manage – I just didn’t have the “fly on the water” time that a person with distance behind them would have.

We quickly caught a gorgeous rainbow, a good three pounds in weight and I was thrilled! Snapping pictures. Twittering. Uploading to Facebook…

John yawned.

“I’d like to get a big one” he hoped out loud. I was certain John’s Rock-a-Billy days had been too potent for his own good. Who doesn’t get excited over a prize like this?

My technique began to strengthen with practice- it’s all in the wrist; flip, strip, pop…. BLAM! Blam is the sound my heart made when this fish hit as she really didn’t hit hard at all. It was as if she sucked in the mouse and then protested when the pressure warned her that things weren’t status quo. But then – the fight was on!

trout mouse fly huge trout

She did a few flips for us, she swam angrily along the bank in an efficacious attempt to unfetter herself, and she pulled the boat around while I giggled like a girl. Sometime later we had her in the boat for her close-up and she was too big for me to wrangle. John was kind enough to pose her for me.

big trout

I’ve been fishing since my Wyoming fly fishing. On my drive up to Basalt I thought I might have ruined myself for future fishing – would anything ever measure up? But the moment I had that nice 12” rainbow in my net I fell in love again and I was reminded of three key lessons:

1. Size isn't the only thing that matters – it’s the fight of the fish.

2. The company you keep can make or break a good time.

3. Bragging rights never die! (Even when you wet yourself. Just a little bit.)

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