We are having a festive and busy Fourth in Jackson as we prepare to enter the backcountry for yet another adventure. We spent the morning fishing in Idaho and celebrated our success with some world famous milkshakes from the Victor Emporium. The guys are excited about a dinner out and an evening of roasting s’mores and watching fireworks over Jackson and the Tetons.
Our first few days have been a monumental success! After arriving in Jackson, we made our way to the Gros Ventre Campsite, which the boys have taken to lovingly calling “Fat Belly,” it’s English translation. There we learned the finer points of tent assembly, cooking and cleaning in the woods, and of course the art of starting a roaring campfire. Leo showed off his culinary talents, expertly cooking us all bacon cheeseburgers for our first night feast. We headed to bed early, exhausted yet excited for the next day’s adventure.
Day Two found us cruising down the Snake River, braving the famous Big Kahuna and Lunch Counter Rapids with Barker-Ewing Rafting Company. Keen-eyed Dante spotted a rare golden eagle perched in a tree overlooking the river. We also caught glimpses of ospreys and bald eagles searching for fish in the current. It wouldn’t be long till we would be doing the same. At a calm section of the river, our guide invited us to talk a quip dip. Charlie proved the most adventurous and was first in the cool refreshing water. At the end of our exhilarating trip down the river our guide told me how impressed he was with our teamwork and enthusiasm.
After a quick lunch in Jackson, our next stop was the National Fish Hatchery. There we got a private tour of the facility where they spawn Snake River Cutthroat Trout to be released in local waters. Dante and Travis kept the guide on his toes with their excellent questions about local fish. Armed with this new knowledge the boys couldn’t wait to start fishing. While on an afternoon hike along the Gros Ventre River, Griffin used what he had learned at the hatchery to identify trout eggs in the shallows. That evening Travis, Griffin, and Rain amazed us with an extravagant dinner of chicken fajitas.
The next morning we piled into the van for our drive to Victor, Idaho to begin our instruction with the Orvis guides from Worldcast Anglers. Lee and AJ, our instructors, met us at our scenic campsite for an afternoon of lessons. We began with casting lessons where the boys learned the roll cast, the pick up-put down, shooting line, and mending. As the afternoon wore on and the fish became more active, we began to send our flies into the current. With a group of local moose looking on and the western face of the Tetons before us, we finally began to fish. Rain, master of the roll cast, caught the first fish of the trip, a beautiful rainbow trout. From that point on, the fish couldn’t stay off our lines. The only way we could get the boys off the river that night was the promise of more fishing the next morning. Dante, our Italian chef extraordinaire, whipped us up a wonderful pasta dinner with garlic bread.
Our instructors met us the next day after breakfast for a morning of lessons. While learning about the local geology, Charlie earned himself a free milkshake after pointing out our location on an unmarked US topographical map. Our lessons were briefly interrupted by another group of moose playing in the nearby river. Travis proved himself a master knot-tier while learning the nail knot, surgeon’s knot, and the perfection loop. Leo and Griffin helped our guides collect an assortment of local bugs to help us understand what the trout were feeding on. By the end of the afternoon, everyone had caught a fish and understood how to present a fly and where to best catch the fish. Dante, Rain, Travis, and Leo decided to see what it would be like to be a fish and swam in the Teton River to cool off after a long day. Griffin and Rain helped prepare a well-earned dinner of huevos rancheros.
Tonight after the Independence Day festivities, we will begin to prepare for our first backcountry adventure where we’ll hike and fish in the picturesque Wind River Range. If the size and quantity of the fish we’ve already caught are any indication, we’ll have plenty of luck. The boys have proved themselves fast learners, excellent outdoorsmen, and fine fly-fisherman. We look forward to the adventures that await us!