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April Painting of the Month – “Abstract Cutthroat – Slough Creek”
Inspiration for this painting:
Late June, 2007. I was working hard on finishing a painting when the phone rang. It was my friend Ty, who worked at the Bozeman Angler. He said he had a group of people in the shop, on their way out to Silver Tip Ranch, on the border of Yellowstone Park. They needed a guide, and the shop had none available. They where wondering if I would be willing to come and help out?
As I thought about the best excuse not to go, Ty said, “Hey, this is a once in a lifetime deal.. Silver Tip Ranch is legendary, and just to be able to go stay there would be amazing!” Then Ty put me on speaker phone so I could meet the group. I told them I was game as long as they promised not to murder me or anything weird… They all laughed and said they wouldn’t if I didn’t.
So 20 minutes later I kissed Janell goodbye, threw my waders, 4wt, and pack w/ flies and gear into my truck, and was headed to the Slough Creek Campground to meet the group of anglers. When I arrived there was a coach with a couple of huge horses.. possibly Clydesdales, waiting for us. No walking the grueling 8 miles into lodge for us! However, we did start out on foot, making it roughly 3 miles before the coach picked us up and delivered us the rest of the way in comfort.
Finally we crested the last hill, with Slough Creek spanning as far as the eye could see back the way we’d come, and in front.. the most spectacular log built lodge I’d ever seen… not quite as fancy as the Old Faithful Lodge, but unreal to see so far into the wilderness!
As I entered the front door, I felt like a Robber Baron from the mid 1800′s out for a little R&R. The decor was done by Abercrombie and Fitch.. from back before they switched to making clothing for cool kids.
Inside, there were mounted bear cubs holding ash trays, eagles hung from the ceiling. World Class moose and elk mounts where scattered around the bark covered log walls of the main room of the lodge. Along the far wall was a table, with every top shelf liquor I had ever heard of and more…this was going to be fun!
That afternoon I spent a few hours teaching casting and walking the creek close by the lodge to point out likely spots to fish. Then I was cut loose. I spent that night, and the next two days fishing for Slough Creeks larger then life Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout. I saw some of the slowest rises on hoppers I’ve ever seen, testing my nerves, not to set the hook before the trout really had the fly.
At one point I hooked a 13″ fish, and as it fought near a deep undercut bank, a 21″ Cutthroat bolted from the shadows and grabbed my fish musky style! He eventually let go, but as often the case, the fish you don’t land are the ones you remember best. It was an amazing trip to Slough Creek…one I will cherish for my whole life.
26 x 40″ oil on canvas
Available on the website at: Available Originals