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If you like spectacular wilderness scenery, horseback riding and catching cutthroat trout, I recommend a pack in trip to the headwaters of the Yellowstone and Thorofare rivers with outfitter Randy Haecker (*). The good fishing starts in late June and runs into early August. You’ll ride 22 miles from base camp at Turpin Meadows on the back of a good quality horse, then stay in a comfortable tent camp along the Yellowstone Meadows where you’ll likely see moose and elk every day, and possibly even a grizzly.

I took this trip recently and found the outfitter, his tack, horses, camp and staff all of outstanding quality. The food was especially good for being so far back in the brush. Trips usually run about a week, with a day to pack in, four days of fishing and a day to pack out. Costs run $130/ day, or $780 for a six day trip. You’ll see virtually no other anglers on this trip. In fact, this is reportedly one of the farthest spots from a paved road in the lower 48 states!

Not surprisingly, the trout here are fairly easy to catch. I found good nymphing, streamer and dry fly fishing, depending on the speed, depth and current of water. There’s an immense variety of water types here, which makes things interesting backwater sloughs, deep pools, beaver ponds, swift runs and swirling eddies and undercut banks. You can fish both the Thorofare and Yellowstone systems on different days (personally, I preferred the Yellowstone). You can expect to catch anywhere from 25 to 75 trout a day, and even novices should catch a dozen a day. Good patterns to bring include the Adams, Wulffs, Elkhair Caddis, Humpy, Irresistible, Wooly Bugger, Zonker, Stonefly and Hare’s Ear.

Haecker has been in the business for 13 years in this same area and has an excellent reputation. His cutthroat trip is a winner. The only downside would be if you don’t like horses. If you don’t, 22 miles is a l o o o n g ride! Austin Jennings.

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