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  • Andrew Casey, ACF, RF

The Sabbatical

Updated: Mar 10, 2021

Three trout caught from one run on a two nymph rig, with a prince nymph and a hare’s ear dropper. I took a moment to look around and plan my next move. Overhead the sky was a blue you only see in the fall of the year. Large white cumulus clouds were scattered to the horizon. The clouds were dark on the underside hinting of rain showers later in the day. The mountains in the distance were covered with lodge pole pines. Around me it was mostly open, the grass brown with a few scattered clumps of lodge pole pines. The green crowns of the pines breaking up the landscape. The wind was blowing hard enough to ripple the water and make casting interesting.

The first fish was a brown large enough to use a net on. The other two, rainbows, smaller but both jumping free of the water several times before they were landed. All safely returned to the river.

Beautiful landscape, river, and trout. This was the eighth river I’d fished in two weeks, but it was a very special place to me.

Growing up, I’d read about this river in magazines and books. Charlie Brooks, a deceased fishing writer, called it the “strangest trout stream on earth”. As I stood in the river I could feel the heat of a hot spring on my neck. There was the smell of sulphur in the air. Clouds of steam from steam vents, fumaroles, drifted across the river. There were patches of bare dirt where the ground was too hot for anything to grow. As I waded across the stream, I could feel warm water through my waders as I crossed a hot spring. The rocks in the stream bed were jagged and looked as if they had just been formed yesterday.

I was fishing the Firehole River in Yellowstone Park, about 5 miles downstream of Old Faithful geyser. I’m not sure why but this river captured my imagination many years ago. With the blessings of a wonderful wife, Lisa, and an understanding business partner, Craig, I was on a sabbatical in Yellowstone Park and the surrounding area for most of September this year.

Many thanks to the clients who suffered through delays on their projects while I was gone and undergoing shock as I returned back to work.

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