Fishing the Fifty
My Quest to Fish All 50 States
Wyoming - August 2014
Shortly after completing my 49th state (North Carolina), I was fortunate enough to find myself back out West with just enough free time to see Yellowstone and, of course, fish with Ashley Bonser (flaminggorgefishin.com) again. I knew that my first Wyoming lake trout would be next to impossible to beat, and it turned out the lake trout bite was slow anyway, so we fished for kokanee salmon. Most kokanee I had caught previously in various states were one pound or smaller, but I knew that if anyone were to put me on a big kokanee, it would be Ashley. Not surprisingly, he exceeded even the lofty expectations I had for him. In four hours, I caught 23 kokanee, with the biggest being 23 inches and five pounds. I caught 14 kokanee over three pounds; of those, 10 were over 3.5 pounds, and, of those, five were over four pounds. The smallest kokanee I caught was 1.5 pounds, which would have been among my personal best before this trip. As I mention in the Q&A section of this site, one of my post-50-state-quest goals is to return to some of the states I enjoyed fishing in the most. Wyoming was one of the first of my return trips, and I can only hope that my subsequent return trips are half as good.
While kokanee salmon are not listed on the In-Fisherman Master Angler chart and Wyoming does not have an official program, neighboring Colorado does and its minimum for a trophy kokanee is 20 inches. As my second different species with a trophy, Wyoming joins its end-of-the-alphabet neighbors of Vermont and Virginia as the only states in which I have caught a trophy in more than one species. Simply amazing.
Norris Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park
Grand Prismatic Spring
Yellowstone in a nutshell: a bison in front of a geyser
Yellowstone road block
Another Yellowstone road block; this time it's a family affair
Sunset over Yellowstone Lake
View of Yellowstone River
First kokanee of the day on my return trip with Ashley, a beautiful 21-inch, 3.5 pound trophy
Another 3.5-pounder, this one in spawning colors
The biggest fish of the day and my personal best kokanee, a 23-inch, five-pound trophy
Ashley and his inconspicuous boat