Heidi-Land - Flyfishing Along Beartooth Highway
Visions of flowering mountain meadows and crystal clear mountain streams with some great flyfishing mixed in. Doc Knoll recommends a visit to this area at least once in your life!
As a young boy I read a whole lot more then many people ever expected I did. I now know that was good for me and presumptuous on behalf of the other people.
One story, which was mandatory in my grammar school system, was the story about Heidi, a Swiss girl who lived near the center of the Alps. Visions of flowering mountain meadows and crystal clear mountain streams coursed their way through that story. However, in the extreme northwest corner of Wyoming, USA I found a place which continually brings up the same visions which were scribed into my mind many years ago. Not far from my farm is a road which is known as the Beartooth Highway, Highway 212. It is often call by many of the people who have been there, "the most scenic road in the lower 48 states." I believe the statement is true as this wondrous two lane road courses from Cooke City, Montana to Red Lodge, Montana but, between these two remote mountain hamlets lies miles of "Heidiland".
High alpine meadows and sweeping expanses of scenic wonder are there awaiting anyone who might happen to venture down this winding chunk of asphalt. Spotted alongside this road are hundreds of high mountain lakes and ponds and within these waters lie trout, colorful and plenty.
These trout are not big by any means but, I believe they are the most vibrant colored fish to be found in the Rocky Mountains and this fact makes me feel compelled to make an annual pilgramage and visit this land of striking beauty every summer. Maybe you should think about going. . . or if you've been there how about a return trip? You know - we all are not getting any younger.
Catching these fish is not a great accomplishment. In fact, anyone who wishes to "indoctrinate" a novice angler should concider using this area to capture the undevided attention of the beginner. There are no distractions to hinder instruction. The immense quiet of the area will keep a novices' attention on the subject at hand which, for your information, will not be totally the "pursuit of angling" art but a "unhindered" course in nature. The fishing actually will become secondary in importance since they are very easy to catch.
When you arrive you will find that these alpine trout, which have been under a blanket of ice for quite some time, are willing aids to the teacher. And, when "Mother Nature" pulls back the covers... the fish will eat just about anything that twitches in the water including flies of any kind, color and shape. Even spin fishermen can get readily into the action as they wobble small spoons across the lake bottoms and flip spinners between the rock outcrops. Occasionally there are "worm" fishermen who idle the day away sitting solitary on the bank with a rod propped between two rocks. That's okay too. It's just the way they "dance at the party" but, they're there just like you. . . they are there.
The land holds many physical features to be discussed and learned. Wildlife is existant but don't expect the animals to act like they do in a zoo. The nearest fence is forty or fifty miles away. Grizzly bears are in the area and so are deer, coyotes, marmots, moose and elk. Eagles and hawks will soar quietly above your head to study your actions as you "invade" their summer home. Magpies and ravens will croak their call to you as they beg you to leave them something to eat but only a "real pig" will willingly spoil the sanctaty of this wilderness by leaving a Twinky or something else on a rock. Besides that. . . you really wouldn't like it if some fool was unknowingly feeding "scraps" to a mother Grizzly and two cubs for the last two days and you just happen to pick this "feeding station" to spend a pleasant afternoon. . . I hope you get the picture.
There are not a lot of lodging facitlities in Heidiland. You cannot expect to get a room with a view unless you open the flap on your tent. Red Lodge, Montana is just a half hour away and can provide the visitor with some great resaurants and lodging. (Red Lodge hosts a ski resort so they definately have rooms.) Cooke City and Silver Gate, Montana are other choices and are somewhat more remote in setting. The hamlet of Cooke City is located just outside Yellowstone National Park's northeast gate. In the winter hundreds of snowmobiling snow entusiests are housed and fed. Summer is not much different (except the whine of countless "rice burners" are not present.) So there you have it.
Pull out a atlas and find this unique area on the map. You'll see that Yellowstone National Park is nearby as well as Paradise Valley, Montana. . . The valley in which I live. Between the three the striking beauty of the area might allow you to fall in love all over again. Come check it out. You won't be disappointed except when you have to leave.
You can contact Doc at: Knoll's Yellowstone Hackle for more fishing tips on this area.