A Real Trout-Mount…



I dubbed this hill to be “TROUT-MOUNT” (see below) for my own usage / terminology. It scales to be an approximately 1,200′ W x5,900′ L x160′ High hill (not a mountain), which is seemingly “MOUNTed” right next to the Madison River, and also unquestionably resembles a huge “Brown TROUT” as shown. ALL but a portion of the tail lies in the Montana portion of YNP. I consider it to be the “HOME of Brown (trout)” and to be located in “No-Man’s-Land”. SEE: http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/wyoming/yellowstone-no-man-s-land-leaves-jurisdiction- question/article_f4caad4c-fd01-5e78-b2d9-1a0cf37b4855.html


“NOT implausible”

(Note: arrow = mouth below eye- see map below also)

Barnes Hole “Looks FISHY to me?” This FISH is entirely uncanny!

Note: arrow = mouth below eye ~400′ per scale) < < – – – ~2.38 miles ( “No-Man’s-Land”-MT.) – – – > > | Fenn’s (our) 2.086 acres = ~301’sq.


My initial thinking was to climb to the “EYE”, look quickly down to the “MOUTH” area, and expect to see a “BLAZE” of some sort. Maybe deeper into the stomach area!? But, After doing a Google Earth count (approx.), I calculated I would have to climb over about 100 trees per 1,000′ of uphill climb due to the 1988 forest fire. NOT for ME or FENN, even though I’m 74 yo, have beaten a heart attack, bladder cancer, 3 previous trips from CA. to MT. and am finishing up 3 cords of firewood (cut, split & stacked) I’ve done it tired in the last few weeks. Getting over this “IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THERE” 4th trip, hasn’t been accomplished yet. Since I’m NOT a gluten for punishment, I’M DONE NOW! — (SEARCH WAS ON 5/25/16 — Not a quitter, just going quieter) HA! — On gmap4, you can select google aerial also.
I can handle it up to a point, then I lose the point and the handle. (My actual photo of “T-M” area)

image[10](Below Photo) Left Center is my vehicle at Barnes Hole #1. I Island Hopped 3 times to the right, then crossed Mad. R. (off-photo) at far right. This minimized the depth and velocity for me as it increased the incremental width..Easier on me. Photo is taken from atop (~50′ plateau above Mad. R.) in front of “T-M” @ expected Blaze / TC. (see next)

image[13] Some of these images / info are copied or scanned pages from my workbook and are therefore “partial” with an item missing or out of place as well as suffering visual clarity. — I aborted my “initial” thinking and opted for something more “realistic”. (ALL IMHO) Just inside a “tree-line-inlet”, hidden from the across-river parking spot at Barns Hole, I found and speculated the below item at the 3 arrows / cross-hairs.

image[39]The below G.E, overhead shot and the sketch at left were my “homework” and can be compared to the actual “fieldwork” photos further below. As I suspected, the “false-shadow” (wrong direction) is NOT a tree, but rather an opening / split amid the suspected rock pile. “G.E. doesn’t focus close enough …”!

image[42]My “Thrill of the chase” has included “Earthquake Lake”, 2 trips to “Beaver Creek” and this 4th one to “T-M”.
Thanks to Forrest Fenn and ALL whose input we have enjoyed over the past few years.
Eureka! Forrest has succeeded in pushing me until I FOUND MY WITS END! HA! I DON’T KNOW WHERE HIS IS! I salute you for your many accomplishments. A fellow VET. — SincerLEE —

This was “MY” ideal spot for “Forrest’s Spirit” to rest and watch over HIS Madison River “domain” from about 50′ above, viewing the river, the valley, the town ((behind the trees) and every “PEEK-TO-PEAK” from “T-M”. (blue lines) — https://www.google.com/maps/@44.6613628,-111.0651102,2383m/data=!3m1!1e3

image[45]MY MAP to T-M / T-C — Just start at the RH “Line # 5 / Clue # 1 (IMHO) and follow it down to the map location.
”IT SHOULD’A’ BEEN THERE” (is that an echo?). Who can deny, it’s NOT “nigh”! YOUR TURN, as mine is DONE!




Don and Bubba

by dal-

Don Martinez was a California real estate professional who opened a fly shop in West Yellowstone in 1932. Wisely, Don spent his winters in California but when spring hit the rivers in the Rocky Mountains and the trout began searching for new hatch to feed upon, Don headed east and unlocked the door of his one room shop on the edge of Yellowstone National Park.

Don spent a lot of his time fishing and guiding in addition to running the shop and folks who knew him claim he had a fondness for alcohol. So he wasn’t always at his small shop and generally hired a couple local boys to fill in for him.


Inside Don’s shop. Don is in the middle.

His shop was stocked with a few good lines of fly-fishing gear and he tied and sold his own flies. In-fact, Don is credited with originating the now famous Woolly Worm and also with introducing dry fly fishing to that part of the country.

Unlike many retail shops, if you work in a fly shop you don’t just stand behind the counter all day waiting for customers to stroll in the door and hand you money. You spend your non-customer time tying flies… a lot of flies… because that’s what fisherman buy. No self-respecting fly fisher is going to walk out of a shop without a pocket full of hand-tied, local flies guaranteed to catch fish. It would be impolite and disrespectful.


If you are ever so blessed as to walk into a good fly shop you’ll see the usual…sleek, long poles…lightweight reels…a variety of green or brown waders and all kinds of “gadgets” to help you catch a big trout. But what generally jumps out at you are the neatly stacked rows and rows of compartmentalized bins holding hundreds of different kinds of fishing flies.

Bins of trout flies

Bins of trout flies

You’ll see streamers and buggers and dry flies and spinners with fascinating names like Zonkers and Old Adams, Royal Coachman, Bunyan Bug, Elk Hair Caddis and Sparkle Dunn, They are colorful and attractive like containers of tiny gemstones, shiny and glittering and begging to be picked up and examined…and that’s what you do in a fly shop.

A fisher is attracted to these bins of alluring flies no less so than the fish they hope to land. First you look to see what’s new…then you look to see how well they are tied. Then you begin looking to see how the local flies might be slightly different from the ones back home. Most of the flies are tied by the folks who work in the shop. A good fly tier can knock out a dozen or more flies in a single hour.

Back at Don Martinez’s fly shop, the local help Don hired in the 1940s included a tall, lanky kid known to his friends as Bubba. The kid was long on fishing skills even though he was barely in his teens, and was a good fit for the fly shop.

On one particular day Don strolled in about closing time, Bubba recalled. “I had just tied my 144th Woolly Worm of the day. I was shooting for a gross. Don looked at them and said he didn’t want them because I didn’t put silver tinsel on the bodies. He said, ‘you can have them’. So I kept every one of them and coaxed a lot of fish to the edge of disaster with those things.”

A Woolly Worm by Bubba

A Woolly Worm by Bubba. No tinsel needed.

Bubba also remembers using some of those Woolly Worms to his advantage when he was guiding. “The clients all had their fancy flies, but I always caught more fish on my Woolly Worm. Sometimes I was the only one who caught any fish at all. My other fly was the Squirrel Tail. I caught a lot of fish on it too, especially in the lakes. So I decided to make a Woolly Worm Squirrel Tail fly, which was nothing more than a Woolly Worm with some squirrel hair tied on the front. It became a famous fly and everyone called it the ‘Bubba Special’. I was a hero.”


By the time WWII was finished Don had sold his shop and retreated back to California permanently. He died in 1955 at the very young age of 52. His old shop is still in West Yellowstone. It’s Bud Lilly’s Trout Shop these days. If you wander in there be sure to gaze longingly at the fly bins and admire the Woolly Worms. Look around for a Bubba Special.


Forrest generously sent some pics and corrected what I wrote about the location of Don’s shop.

It turns out that Wikipedia (where I got the info about the location of Don’s shop) is incorrect. The Bud Lilly shop shown above is the NEW Bud Lilly shop. The old one did take over Don’s old shop but Bud outgrew Don’s small space and they moved three and a half blocks away to where the shop above is now located.


Don’s shop was probably located around here on Yellowstone Ave. (from Google Earth Street View)


A young June Fenn standing out in front of Don’s shop on Yellowstone Ave. That’s Don in the doorway. (from the Forrest Fenn collection)


Inside Don’s shop. That’s Skippy over in the corner. (from the Forrest Fenn collection)

Don’s shop (and the original Bud Lilly shop) was located on Yellowstone Ave. about half a block east of where Eagles is today.


You won’t find Bubba over in the corner tying flies anymore. He grew up, did a few pretty cool things, and I heard he moved out to Santa Fe.

I wonder if he still has any of those Woolly Worms left?

Click the link below to:
Watch Bubba tie a Woolly Worm


Scrapbook One Hundred Forty Nine…



A Memory Runs Through My Family

Lightning struck me today in the form of an email from someone I never met and do not know. But the history of our respective families is so entwined as to be almost umbilical.

Here is her email to me. My response to her is at the bottom.


Mr. Fenn
Can’t tell you how much your treasure hunt has rekindled memories of my best childhood vacation!

When I was 10, back in 1958, my family went on a fishing pack trip out of Jackson Hole, over the divide, and into the Lamar River Basin. These were the most special 10 days I can recall in all my youth. Though my mom, dad, brother and sister were there for the fishing, I have to admit I was there for the horses. I can still remember all 14 of them with names and color (how is that even possible). Our guide, Bob Adams (how do I remember that???), would get up before everyone else and catch trout for breakfast. There is nothing better to wake up to than trout for breakfast over the campfire! It was 10 glorious day in the wilderness with lots of fishing and wildlife watching!

Looking for treasure clues online brought up all kinds of Yellowstone photos and reminded how I always said I would return. Somehow I never did. Don’t know why. But now I am determined to take my trip down memory lane next summer before it is too far for me to walk! Thank you SO much for that extra push in the right direction!

In doing my research, I was looking for connections that might tell me why you used the phrase “if you’ve been wise” and found this lovely story about the Eagle family and their “right of passage” introducing the next generation to fishing the Firehole River. Subsequently I decided that there was no connection between “wise” and “Hoot Owl Hole” where the Eagle family started the younger kids fishing but it was a great story anyway. It led me to wonder if you were friends with the family as they did have an outfitting store in West Yellowstone and were themselves fishing guides in Yellowstone. Just curious. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3487577/ A River Runs Through My Family.

My real question is: if I were to happen to find the treasure and if it happened to be in Yellowstone Park, would you consider claiming it yourself and offering a finders fee? The last thing I would want would be to find it and hand it over to the government! Just askin’……

Again, thanks SO much for setting in motion an amazing adventure for thousands of individuals and families who will now have all their own stories to tell about their great treasure hunt!

Lou Ellen Williams


Dear Lou Ellen,

I knew all of that old bunch in West Yellowstone, starting in about 1938, from old Sam, the patriarch to Wally, Joe, Bette, Rose, and the rest. Wally and I fished together many times on the Firehole, Gibbon, and Madison Rivers. I knew your grandmother Frankie when she was barely old enough to wear a top and even today she remains a cherished friend. I love the link you included in your email, and think I need another hankie.

If you find the treasure in YNP, tell me where it is and I’ll go get it for you so you won’t be thrown down the hole at Old Faithful.

Forrest Fenn

Scrapbook One….


Thought you might enjoy some photos of Forrest and his family and environs that you may not have seen before.

I figured we’d add one of these pages to the blog every once in awhile. Just for grins…

These photos show one of Forrest’s grand daughters with a very nice rainbow trout. Forrest taught her to tie flies and as payment, made the rule that she can never fish for trout with a fly that she has not made herself.

She laughed and the deal was struck.363a

A fly fisher spends her day shin deep in the cool warmth of a sun splashed stream among the chatter of chipmunks and clobber of woodpeckers. She shares the stream with darting dragonflies and dancing dippers ambivalent to her presence.  A fisher must use all her senses when on the water. Smell the scent of sweet wet grass bending along the water’s edge. Feel the sun warm her determined shoulders. Listen for the faint patter of insect wings in the clear air just above the ripples. Taste the lightly beaded sweat on her upper lip and dance with the swaying dark shadows she watches and admires.