We recently had the honor of being listed as among the top ten guest ranches. It was a fun surprise to find this in our inbox!
As you probably know, I went fishing on the ranch last Wednesday and I wanted to give you a quick report and say thanks for the opportunity. I fished Big Creek from about one mile above the lunch area up to the gate (never went into the meadow). Of course, I didn’t have time to fish every pool but I stopped and fished some of my favorite spots. I landed (and released) a total of 34 trout (26 rainbows and 8 browns). The size ranged from 10 to 21 inches and brown trout tended to be a bit smaller. The rainbow trout in particular showed good representation of several year classes. In general, the fish appeared to be in good condition after the past winter.
Observations on aquatic insects revealed good numbers of Baetis tricaudatus (blue-winged olive), Paraleptophlebia heteronea (blue quill), Pteronarcella badia (little salmon fly), Hydropsyche cockerelli (tan caddisfly) and a variety of midges. These and other insects should create some great hatches this summer. The fish condition also reflected the abundance of aquatic insects. The presence Pteronarcella badia was additionally informative because this species is known to be a good indicator of favorable water quality and riparian habitat (it has been disappearing from many streams in the west).
While reading through his journal, Bob Howe found this fun entry about an exciting fishing trip on Big Creek.
June 14, 2002
There was a lot of excitement here yesterday. The fishing has been wonderful in the low and clear water-dry flies that normally work later and which work this early in the season is a great treat. So the guides left with a dozen very excited neophytes to explore Big Creek. They split into four groups and one of the guides, Scott Polancich, had his group of three by two likely-looking holes. He carefully gave instructions in casting, how to find the fish, and demonstrated various techniques for bringing them in.
One of the guests, ready to go so Scott gave him free rein and began working with the other two in a pool a few dozen feet upstream. For half an hour nothing happened in either pool, then from the lone fisherman a shout, and Scott, hurried upstream. Instead of a heels-up fisherman, he saw the fellow with his rod almost bent into a U and shrieking with excitement.
Through his polarized sunglasses, Scott could see a huge trout at the end of the line. Shaking with excitement himself, he counseled, “Be calm. Take it easy.” The big fish swam downstream then upstream but couldn’t shake the hook. When the fisherman’s wife heard the commotion she crossed the stream, stepped into a hole and filled her waders but retained her dignity and sloshed across anyhow.
Soon there were three or four spectators. As Scott brought the net under the fish he discovered it was WAAAY too big for the net so reached down and cradled the slippery fish to his body so it wouldn’t escape, almost as if he were tackling it. They photographed the proud fisherman with his fish then turned it free to fight again. Later that evening I talked with both the fisherman and the guide; it was impossible to tell who was more excited.”
The A Bar A was just featured along with a few other guest ranches on “The Daily Meal” Check out what they wrote at:
The snowpack above the A Bar A is greater than it has been in 30 years and we are expecting an amazing run-off followed by one of the most impressive displays of wildflowers in years. One of our friends recently sent a picture taken on Snowy Range, which snowed him standing on snow and above a black pipe. The black pipe was the chimney vent from a 15 foot building!
Road crews are working to get the road open in the next three weeks. When you come to the ranch this year, you may want to consider a detour over Snowy Range Road. Even in July there will still be snow up there.
At the A Bar A, we no longer have snow on the ground and grass is starting to green up. We keep getting small snow flurries, but they are melting quickly.
Over the past few years, guests and staff have often asked for a way to connect with each other through the year. To help with this, we have created a Facebook fan page. It was created today and you can find it by searching A Bar A Guest Ranch. Check it out and let us know if you like it!
This picture was taken on February 24th, 2011 after many hours of plowing and digging. By afternoon, the road had blown closed again and we have resorted to using our snowcat until our snowblower (600 horsepower on a front end loader) arrives on the 26th. This pile of snow was at least 10 feet high! Thank goodness spring will be here soon! Even with the snow at the end of our road, the Ranch is beautiful. It was 50 degrees and sunny in the valley. No wind, so it was just perfect for a February day!
The past two weeks have brought temperatures as low as -41 degrees F with winds up to 40 MPH. A recent snow storm has closed our road and many of you may recognize this hill, which is the entrance to the Ranch–just as you turn off the highway. Our massive tractor and bulldozer plow are unable to get through and we are now looking in to snowblower options and will be using our snowcat. Winter in Wyoming is beautiful, but brutal! Thank goodness the summer is such a wonderful time to be here!
This was written by the granddaughter of Ross and Kathy O’Day. Ross, is our head of maintenance. Their granddaughter has visited the ranch the past two summers to share the experience of an A Bar A summer with them.