Friday, June 27, 2014

Headwaters Kayak 2014 - Yellowstone Fishing Trip

Headwaters Kayak (Dan) and I have teamed up yet again for another Yellowstone fishing trip! The fishing, scenery and overall experience last year was absolutely amazing so I decided, what the heck, let’s do it again.
Last year Headwaters sponsored our trip by supplying a Cuda 14 and a Go Pro for pictures, this year they will be doing the same by supplying a Big Rig and a Cuda 14. I fish off of the Big Tuna shown above (purchased from Dan), my brother (Mark) will paddling the Big Rig and my brother-in-law (Jack) will be riding on the Cuda 14.
This trip will include multiple days fishing as we cross the Yellowstone Lake to where the Yellowstone River enters the lake (Approx 17 miles). Once we hit the river we will hide the kayaks and start the backpacking portion of our trip. We will hike approximately 15ish miles into the backcountry fishing the river as we go. Then we will turn around and make our way out of the backcountry to the kayaks and paddle our way back to the starting point. The overall trip is about 35 miles on kayak and 35 miles hiking.
When we get back I will work with Dan to set up a presentation/Potluck so that we can share our fishing stories, backpacking Stories and the differences between the three Kayaks. I will bring all my kayak, fishing and backpacking gear to share with everyone. I am an avid fisherman and backpacker, I have in the last two years integrated kayaking with my trip and am loving the experience of fishing from a platform.
I hope to see ya all then!
The Fishing
There is only one way to explain the fishing on both the lake and the river……..absolutely phenomenal!!!! On the lake we catch lake trout and cutthroat trout. Unfortunately the lake trout is an invasive species and fish and game are trying to exterminate the population before they take an even larger toll on the natural cutthroat trout. The river only has Cutthroat, they go up the river to spawn.

Lake Trout:
Last year was the first year I have actually fished the lake portion. I found that trolling at about 1.5 miles per hour and at a depth of 30 feet produced good results. The largest lake trout caught was approximately 12-15 lbs but there are ones quite a bit larger that have been caught in the lake. The largest picture I have seen was one about 51lbs!!!
-       Gear Used
o   One trolling rod with 10lb test and an old penn 940 reel rigged with:
§  Diver to get me down 30 – 60 ft
§  Flasher
§  Lure –  I like the little Cleo but most the of the lures I brought produced fish
o   Second trolling rod with 10lb test and a Abu Garcia line counting reel
§  The line counting reel helps you get down deeper by identifying how much line you have out
o   I will also be trying out using 1-3 ounce weights to get me to the bootom while trolling. We will see how this works out.
o   Fly Rod with sinking line and various black fly’s
§  my best fly has been a black wooly Bugger
Cutthroat Trout
-       Gear Used
o   On the lake see above gear
o   On the river I primarily use my fly pole
§  Sinking black lures
§  I have tried others but black sinking lures like the wooly bugger has been the only consistent producer for me.

Interesting Note:
Fishing regulations on in the park state that you cannot use any lead products other than large weights > 4lbs with downriggers to catch the lake trout. Last year I went through a painful process of trying to get all Non-lead products so that I would not break any of the rules!!! When Mark and I got to Yellowstone, we stopped to see if the store was selling any lures and what they had. The store was selling lead based lures!!!!!! I asked the store manager about the lures he was selling and he told me that those are the ones approved by fish and game. You can do with that as you will J . Here is a list of lead free products I found during my research for the 2013 trip
-       ACME fishing lures are all lead free – who wudda known…..They include
o   Spoons
§  KO Wobblers
§  Kamlooper
§  Little Cleo
§  Phoebe
§  Thunderbolt
§  And More
-       Kastmasters – not my favorite but hey they are not made out of lead

-       Rapala – Most of the divers are balsa wood and lead free
-       Eco – Makes Tungsten spinners
-       Dave’s Tangle free steel weight
-       1oz, 2oz and 3oz Steel with a plastic covered weight
Here is one of the Cutthroat that I have caught on the river:

Trip Details
The drive is going to take us approximately 14hrs (881 Miles). We will start driving as early as possible on July the 30th and arrive sometime on July 31st . When we arrive we have to stop at the ranger station, check in, get our boats inspected, get our boat permits, watch a safety video and get our fishing permits. We will launch out boats from Sedge Bay and start the kayaking portion of our trip sometime Mid afternoon on the 31st.
From Sedge Bay (5K4)
-       7/30/2014 Start Driving – drive all night only stopping for gas and restroom J
-       7/31/2014 Kayak and FISH to 5E9
-       8/01/2014 Kayak and Fish to 5L9
-       8/02/2014 Kayak and Fish to 6A1
-       8/03/2014 Beach Kayaks and Hike to 6C2
-       8/04/2014 Hike and Fish to 6D1
-       8/05/2014 Hike and Fish 6Y6
-       8/6/2014 Hike to Kayaks and Fish to 5E2
-       8/7/2014 Kayak and Fish to 5E6
-       8/8/2014 Kayak and Fish to 5H1
-       8/9/2014 Kayak back to truck and start driving