Six Cutties in a Hot Tub

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A Greys River Snake River Cutthroat. Photo Louis Cahill

Are you fixing to head out west for an exciting trout fishing trip?

If yes, and you plan to do some wade fishing, pay close attention to water levels before you decide on where to start your days fishing. Recently, Louis and I visited the Greys River in Wyoming for the opportunity to enjoy catching beautiful Snake River cutthroats on dries. Water levels were very high on the Greys, and the lower sections of the river were too high to wade safely or fish effectively. We found out very quickly, if we were going to get into some good fishing, we’d have to focus our efforts on fly fishing the upper sections of the watershed. That meant targeting the water above most of the tributaries dumping into the Greys, and driving 25 miles further up the forest service access road. The extra time driving cut into our time fishing, but the strategy paid off, as we immediately began catching fish right out the gates. We also found out that the majority of the trout on the Greys River were taking residence in the upper stretches, for the simple fact that the lower flows found there allowed the trout to feed more easily and burn less calories (less current to fight).


Search out trout water that provides current breaks when you have high flows. Photo Louis Cahill

Louis and I found that most of the fish on the upper section of the Greys River were holding in areas where the water current was moving quite a bit slower than the main river. Notice the soft water located off the green bush in the picture below the laydown. This tiny bath tub area of water accounted for six cutthroat trout landed on a size 12 stimulator. Sometimes it’s the tiny, not so obvious spots in trout streams that many of us overlook that we should pay more attention to and fish. They often can end up being the most productive places to catch fish during the day. Look for spots like this, next time you’re trout fishing on a stream that has high flows. Areas close to the bank are the first places I look because the irregular bank line provides nice current breaks for the trout to feed and conserve energy.

Keep it Reel,

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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21 thoughts on “Six Cutties in a Hot Tub

  1. My first reaction when I read the title was “that would never work.”
    I’m glad your strategy paid off with some good fishing. Fishing the softer water during high water flows will pay off almost all the time. Trout, just like other animals, will take the path of least resistance, and keeping this in mind when you approach a piece of water can help keep you from spooking fish out these spots. When the water is up I focus more on fishing the bank, tailouts, and back-eddys, and I present my flies to these lies first.

  2. Kent:
    I have to admit that I first misread the title of your post. I thought it said Six “Cuties” in a Hot Tub. I thought, “Wow can’t wait to see the pictures.” 🙂
    Justin’s post reminds me of someone’s previous and accurate statement about reading the water. He said that most people stand where they need to be casting and cast where they need to be standing. So often true.
    Glad I got that hot tub thing straightened out. 🙂

      • When I was young and cocky I had an “older” guys who was my trout & steelhead fishing mentor. He said, “Becoming truly skilled and knowledgeable at fishing is a lifelong apprenticeship.” I have come to learn that he was right, none of us ever achieve total perfection. I try to learn something new every time I go fishing while also trying to be sure and not inadvertently make a boneheaded mistake of some kind. Hang in there, the “apprenticeship” is a hoot !!

    • Jeff,

      That’s so darn funny man. We’ll keep that in mind if Louis and I run out of fish to photograph. Ha Ha. Thanks for the comments and taking the time to read what I wrote. It means a lot man.


      • Kent:
        This is my favorite site & I try not to miss a day reading your posts. (unless I am fishing) 🙂 Good tips & information, good humor, & awesome photo work, keep it up!

        • Jeff,

          Thank you for letting us know how much you enjoy G&G. It’s so rewarding for Louis and I hear comments like this from our fans. We are nothing without you guys and gals. Cheers


  3. We fished the Missouri near Craig, MT last week with the opposite issue, low flows. While the wading was easy (wet wading is awesome in the heat) and the dry fly fishing was fantastic, so was the weed production. My son, a beginning fly fisherman, joined us.

    If you did not get a take on a drift, you needed the clean the weeds off of the fly following every cast, a situation that can tax an experienced fly fisherman’s patience to say nothing of its impact on a beginner.

    So we fished a smaller river with smaller fish but no weeds, a welcome break for a beginner.

    • Tim,

      Weeds and slime and be a bummer at times. As long as you’re casting to fish though, I can usually deal with it. Glad you found a stream where this wasn’t an issue.


    • A.J.,

      Yes, we did. Wish we would have had more time to fish there, but the salmonflies were coming off on the South Fork. Looking forward to spending more time on this jewel when I get back out there. Jealous you have it as your back yard.


  4. Love the Greys River. What a beautiful canyon. Fast water, nice cuts, and a great time. Glad you got to enjoy this special place.

    • Ron,

      It’s always a pleasure to fish the Greys. I’ve had some fond memories with friends fly fishing there, and it rarely disappoints. Thanks for the commment.


  5. Looks more like a Yellowstone cuttie rather than a Snake River fine-spotted cuttie. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  6. I love the Grey. Too bad the water was too high to fish. Went up there with my wife several years back to attempt the cutt slam. The fishing was great. Wish I could have spent more time there.

  7. Hey, Kent, just spent two days last week on the middle sections of the Grey’s. I fish it every year in middle July. Without reservation, the bigger fish (16-18 inches) lie right in the middle of the river in the small pockets in the gradient areas that are not very steep or deep. Parachute Adams are all you need to hammer the cutties and droppers only get in the way. The slow reacting cutts don’t like the steeper gradients as they have a hard time catching the fly. 12 PM to 3PM is the magic time. I’ve been doing this for about 13 years and it took me a while the first year to find the fish as I assumed they would be in the seams and softer stuff. The river hasn’t hanged much over those years. Just a great dry Fly River. I suspect black streamers may work in the deep pools, but summer is for dry flies. Too much fun.

    • Jay,

      I was out there about three weeks prior to you and I wish the middle river would have been fishable, and maybe there were a few spots, but for the most part it was a freaking raging river down there. It was pretty hot on the upper end where we were at. Wish I would have had more than just a few hours to fish it. I love that place. It turned out A-OK though since we nailed the salmonfly hatch on the South Fork.

      Hope all is well. Thanks for the comment.


      • Hey, Kent, great coincidence. When I heard the big bugs were out on the South Fork (got a call from John Mauldin who guides for Mike Lawson on the Henry’s Fork), I hustled out and John and I caught the salmon flies 2 days on section three in the lower canyon and one day on section two as they were moving up. Mike told me that was the first time in about 7 years the big bugs made such an appearance. It was pretty incredible, especially given the Goldens were also going. IMO, nothing better than throwing big dry bugs during the epic salmon fly hatches. Just nothing compares. J

  8. The Greys has been my home river for 13 yrs. I never fished above Forest Park until this year the week after the 4th of July. I am a streamer junkie and if you want some visual excitement that exceeds the standard dry-fly rise of a SRC, tie on a tiny conehead Kiwi Muddler sz 10 and fish it upstream. Hit all the snags, green water next to the banks, pool drop-offs and as mentioned above, the mid-river troughs. All the places the dry fly guys have a hard time getting a drag free drift. Little submarines will appear from nowhere, slide downstream in the current and simply inhale the fly. Not many violent takes, just typical lazy cuttie behavior but very visual in the clear flows.

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