Fly Fishing with Robert Johnson in Wyoming Summer 2008


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This page is a digression from my cabin building pages about a fishing trip I took with my friend Robert Johnson who teaches ethics and metaethics in the philosophy department at the University of Missouri, Columbia. The latter capacity was the occasion for our first meeting and we have crossed paths and roomed together at various conferences as well as visited each others departments. We both have an interest in the outdoors and fly fishing and Robert proposed a trip out west for this summer. The following pictures are the results of that suggestion and trip.

I've now also got a page about a subsequent trip we spent fishing with the cabin as a home base. You can find it here.

The plan was to drive to the cabin near Encampment, drive further to Yellowstone National Park, staying at Mammoth, and fish the Northeast Corner of the park. Then from there we would go back to the cabin to fish the North Platte or the Encampment. It worked out well.


Even before we really got to go fish we saw a good bit of wildlife, including moose, bighorn sheep and bears. The pictures tell a good part of the tale.


We arrived at Mammoth in time to claim a good cabin and have dinner. Then after some philosophy and other talk we slept until relatively early morning.

This shot gives a sense of the relaxed atmosphere on the Mammoth cabin porch as I prepare my flies for the day:

A trip to Park's Fly Shop (nice & helpful folks!) in Gardiner Montana confirmed our plans to fish the Northeast corner. They supplied us with the grey drake and spun grey drake patterns that were said to be doing well in the Lamar Valley. We refined our plan to hit Slough Creek the first day, the Lamar River the next and Soda Butte Creek on our final day. Each day was a success and most days we lost track of how many we caught. And each day was somewhat different in terms of the waters we fished.

One constant was the cutthroat trout. The one below was a medium sized fish feeding in Soda Butte.

The scenery was always impressive as well, though it varied much like the waters did. Here is Robert fishing Soda Butte above Ice Box Canyon.

Hemmingway Catches Some Fish

Since we were wading, it was often hard to get decent shots of the actual fish we caught. But I got some of Robert with fish one of the smaller fish he caught and also with some fish on the line. (Check out the size of the fish in the lower left of those last couple of photos.) He's pretty good with the roll casts as well. Disconcertingly to me, the fishing hat he sported for the trip made him look a bit like Ernest Hemmingway to my eye. But then I never met Hemmingway.

The photos of me aren't so dramatic, and as usual show me with funny expressions and squinty eyes if they show my eyes at all.

That's me with sunglasses to hide the squinty eyes. The expression of concentration is probably due to my just having broken off a twenty inch fish as it struck, due to my not having my line in order and my reflexes up to speed.

The Encampment

We fished the Firehole early on the day we left the Park just to fish early. The river is too hot to fish for the most part, but before the sun is on the water some fish do feed. We caught several trout of various sorts on PMDs before the sun warmed the water, and then headed to Old Faithful for coffee. From there we drove back to my cabin in the Sierra Madres with plans to fish the Encampment the next day.

We hiked into the Encampment from the South end of the Wilderness Area at the Colorado border. Again we caught lots of fish and several larger ones. The Grey Drakes that worked in Yellowstone worked here as well, as did my trusty Royal Wulffs, which I like because I can see them. Having gotten used to pinching down the barbs on my hooks for catch and release fishing in the park, I continued that here since I had found it much more pleasant to remove fish and seemed not to lose any due to the lack of barb.

Almost all of the fish down here were brown trout, though Robert caught a large rainbow that gave him a bit of excitement before he reeled it in. No photos of that, I'm afraid. But we do have a somewhat grainy photo Robert took of me relaxing later:

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