Winter Newsletter

2005

 

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     Winter fishing in the Bighorn Basin has been a little different this year. The good news is that the water police have given us twice as much water in the Shoshone River below Buffalo Bill Reservoir, which has given the fish a more feed.  With the extra food, they have become fat pigs!    The bad news is that we just haven't seen the hatches we've become accustomed to in the post 4 years.  Coincidence, water temperature...Your guess is as good as mine.   The result, however, is less risers.  No problem, we just fish streamers instead!  I'd have to say that I've never caught as many big fish as I have this winter.  Check out some of these hogs!          

    Winter fishing requires different strategies from the norm.  When the temperature drops below freezing you must slow down your retrieve and dead drift just off the bottom.  As air temperatures rise the fish become more active.  Use a 3 foot strip with a pause and hold on!

Randy Richardson, from Cheyenne, and I have become masters at out running the wind this winter.  On one occasion, that meant driving to Thermopolis to fish the Wind River.  Unfortunately, we discovered we were masters of none!  The wind was blowing there also!  We toughed it out and really caught a bunch of nice ones.  The Brown bugger with a sow bug trailer did the trick.  What an awesome canyon! 

The Shoshone below Corbett Damn has been producing some really nice rainbows, cutts, and browns.  Don Hicks has sure caught some nice ones there.  See for your self (at left).
The The river through town (the Shoshone) has also been fishing well.  My friend Scott Hemingway of Lander, Wyoming landed a 241/2 inch rainbow on a pheasant tail soft hackle.  We've been throwing the bugger sow bug combination as well. 

The Shoshone above Belfrey Bridge has been good too.  Midges start about 9 in the morning.  We fish griffith's nat 20-22 and thread flys to the risers.  If we don't see anything on top its back to the streamers. 
The canyon below Buffalo Bill has been fair in the past month.  It stays cold there in the winter because the it gets very little sun exposure.  However, you can still catch a bunch on top if the wind is down. 

 
Fisherman's Profile: Don Hicks            
Any body that is willing to fish in freezing temperatures is "alright" in my book; but you add to that 30 plus years of fishing, still fishing at the age of 79, a good fishing dog and has a wife that feeds us extremely well and you have the perfect fishing buddy!  Don Hicks is 'the man' in Cody, Wyoming.

Don has lived in Cody, Wyoming all his life.  He has taught me a lot about fishing "Wyoming Style."  He has hunted and fished this area since he was a youngster.  Now a seasoned veteran of these waters you can tell when the fish is worthy....he pulls out the tape measure so he is sure not to "lie" about the catch of the day.  Now that isn't to say that he can't spin a good yarn or two.  But when the tape comes out you know it was for real.  For example, the Rainbow above is a verified 23 incher!

Don has a trusted side kick in his black lab, named "Dog."  Dog is the only working bird dog that is also a seasoned fishing dog, I have seen.  Given an opportunity Dog would retrieve a brown in good fashion.  But not without a nod from Don!

High winds and sub-freezing weather don't slow us down too often.  As a matter of fact some of our most memorable trips have been in inclement conditions.  As long as we have one of his wife's (Evelyn) hot breakfasts to start us out in the morning and a hot meal at night when we return we are good for the entire day!

 
Spring time will be here before you know it.  Don't forget to make your reservations for a fly fishing experience early.  We are booking up already, so don't miss out!

Thanks again to the agricultural guys for the extra water this year.  It really makes a difference.  I am really looking forward to spring fishing.  Hope to see you there!

 

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