Summer Sunset

Signing off from a summer's worth of fishing fun in Yellowstone National Park.

  • By: Steven Spigelmyer
Call me a Trout Bum

With the summer sun reaching its twilight, creeping ever so subtly toward fall, I write this last article of the summer with both fondness and sadness. Fondness to return to civilization, where beds are plentiful and showers easily accessed; where you can live off food besides what’s sold from the gas-station deli; where having a fridge to put that food in is the norm, where you even have an oven to cook it in! Fondness for being fortunate enough to have spent another summer in this beautiful place, Yellowstone National Park, fond of everywhere I’ve been and everyone I’ve met. Yet as joyful as I am to return back home, just thinking of the dry land around Reno, Nevada, gives me shivers. Sure the Truckee River is great, and Pyramid Lake in the spring really can’t be beat. Unfortunately, it's not spring, and the Truckee is in no way similar to the Madison. No river is.

So just as I did last year, I’ll take my last day near Yellowstone and say goodbye to the Madison, my baby.

All summer long I’ve fished the Madison, so knowing that it would be my last day I naturally felt pressure to try and catch fish, refusing to leave Montana unless I could have one more memorable day. I started in the rower’s chair, since I had learned to row down this river throughout the summer. I immediately rowed Curtis to a run where he quickly landed a beautiful Madison River rainbow. Although it wasn’t my fish, I do see the excitement a guide has everyday when one of his clients or friends lands a fish because of where he placed the boat. Not to mention my professional netting job. After Curtis landed his first fish, I took the spot in the back of the boat and proceeded to cast. I landed a nice brown on a dark-bodied Hopper, and then managed to hook another one on my King Prince dropper tied about 14 inches off. Although I didn’t exactly knock the river dead, catching those two fish and just taking in the beauty of the river one last time ensured a great ending to my summer in the park.

As much as I would love to stay and fish all fall, especially for those big spawners, I know that every good thing must come to an end. Whether that is a perfect summer in the park or a hatch of caddis, eventually it will end.

It’s been such a pleasure and an honor to be able to write for such a great magazine all summer. If this wasn’t the best summer job ever, I sure would like someone to find me a better one. Because for a kid from Vegas, where you’re taught that the best water around is at amusement parks like Wet N’ Wild, it truly was a thrill to be surrounded by the best water in the world. Sure Patagonia, New Zealand, Russia and many other far-flung destinations are gaining popularity, but when I'm fly-fishing it’s not always necessary to have the best hotels, nice beaches or bountiful night excursions. I’d rather have to fend for myself in nature, sleeping on the ground, getting devoured by mosquitoes and barked at by bears.

Call me crazy, or rather a Trout Bum. It’s been a joy, a thrill and an unforgettable summer around Yellowstone National Park. Keep fishing and learning, and if anyone still has one more trip out here this summer, please catch a trout for me.

Steven Spigelmyer has been reporting from Yellowstone all summer long. He’s now returned to the real world of the University of Nevada, where he studies journalism.