Rigging right. McKean toted a G.Loomis 4-weight, 4-piece pack rod into the Beartooth Plateau lakes.
To see Trout Bumming: Intro, click HERE. McKean studies the backcountry warnings on the trail to Island Lake. Bear spray is cheap insurance in this grizzly country.
Alpine trout are on the feed, and McKean inspects his dry-fly box for the right pattern, a high-riding grasshopper imitiation.
Rigging right. McKean toted a G.Loomis 4-weight, 4-piece pack rod into the Beartooth Plateau lakes.
McKean watches his fly with eagle eyes. The water of Island Lake is gin-clear, but trout feel vulnerable in the clear water, so they tend to hold in deeper water, then rise to the surface to feed.
Finally, a trout. This bright Island Lake rainbow hit a rubber-legged hopper pattern. McKean missed the first dozen strikes before hooking this fish.
Water that is ice for eight months out of the year was chilly on McKean’s pasty-white legs, but wet-wading out to a shelf enabled him to extend his range.
After he figured out their feeding pattern, McKean brought to hand a dozen Island Lake rainbows.
Next stop, Night Lake, just up the trail from Island Lake. The Beartooth Plateau holds scores of small lakes, most of which contain some species of trout.
A Night Lake brook trout. This scrappy fish hit a black Chernobyl Ant.
McKean rigs up to cast to dozens of rising fish in a shallow high-country pond. The fish turned out to be hand-sized brookies.
End of Day 1 was Cooke City’s Elkhorn Lodge, a cozy hotel that caters to summertime backpackers and winter snowmobilers.

Outdoor Life begins an epic fishing adventure.