Fly-Fishing at T Cross Ranch

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Darley Newman
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I am a beginning fly-fisherman. I've had one lesson in Wyoming prior to this at a place known for its great fly fishing, and I did not catch anything. The instructor didn't either, but maybe that's because I was talking too much during the lesson. Those trout are skiddish!

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This time Phil was taking me out for a fly fishing lesson and to hopefully catch fish. We began by practicing my casting technique out in the field, so that we wouldn't scare the fish down at the creek. Horse Creek is stocked with Brook Trout, Rainbow Trout, and Cutthroat Trout. There are multiple pools on the creek that Phil says hold some big fish, so we're going to hit those and test our luck.

Phil gives guests at T Cross Ranch lessons in fishing or you can go out on you own. It's catch and release, using barbless hooks. Guests can keep some fish for meals if they wish, but we're putting them back, as salmon is on the menu for dinner.

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Within a minute, Phil has caught his first fish, a colorful Brook Trout. He has also challenged me to a fish catching contest. I can't refuse a challenge and decide that we're not leaving until we catch a fish.

Phil gives me some helpful tips, like casting between 10 and 2 o'clock. We are striving to emulate a fly, so that the fish will want to bite on our line. We're using dry flies. Please don't ask me which kind, because Phil has a colorful multitude of bright and furry plastic flies. He even ties some of his own.

We move to a new pool down the creek and put on our polarized sunglasses, in order to try to see the fish. I spot one and begin to cast its way, hoping to make it my big win. The fish bites, but I am unsuccessful in reeling him in. You have to be fast to catch these fish!

The clouds are rolling in and a cold breeze begins to blow, making it harder to cast my line out. After hooking myself a few times, I'm sort of ready to give up and head in for dinner. I don't think that Phil, who has already caught three fish, is going to let me leave T Cross without catching a fish, so it may be now or never.

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I head to a further pool for another try. This time, I get a bite and quickly reel the fish in. It's a 10-inch Brook Trout, and I couldn't be happier. I actually can't believe how great I feel from catching this fish. It's my first fly fish catch. I've been fishing before. Recently I went fishing in North Carolina and once went deep sea fishing in Florida, but usually ended up chatting more than trying to fish. Today, the focus was fly fishing and catching a fish--success!

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You have to be stealthy to catch those fish, but I can see how it's addictive.

Learn more about Equitrekking on PBS and the Wyoming episode and learn about exceptional equestrian vacations, including ranch vacations, at EquitrekkingTravel.com.