Bicknell Bottoms

Fremont River (Map)

March 27, 2013.  The wind subsided around midday. I headed to the section of the Fremont River called the Bicknell Bottoms. A spring creek fed the river year round providing for a more consistent water temperature and the perfect environment for lots of insects… and fish.

BicknellThere were several different fishing techniques to be tried. I started out near the road where sections of deeper water called for a little streamer action. As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, I haven’t been very successful with streamers but thought I would try these fish-like imitations once again. I even tied on a black wooly bugger that I tied myself for good luck.

The warm breeze interfered with my concentration and I found myself distracted by the scenery that surrounded me. A pair of Canada Geese that I mistaked for eagles were fighting or mating in the distance. I flushed a blue heron and listened to the red-winged blackbirds annoyed at me for intruding in their territory.

The afternoon passed quickly without another angler in sight and my stomach growled as I thought of yet another great dinner that Dana would whip up being the great cook that she is. Even so, I wanted to check out one more hot spot that I needed to drive to. As I passed by the river, the lighting was such that you could see right to the bottom of the river and I spotted dozens of fish feeding. Dinner would have to wait.


I re-rigged my line as a simple nymph setup so I could get down to the river as quickly as possible. I had already taken off my waders and decided that I didn’t have time to go through that rigamarole. I pulled on my fishing boots which are purposely large enough to accommodate socks and waders so not a great fit without. I slogged down to the river feeling like a child in her parents’ shoes. As I slipped down a very reed-filled bank I ran into barbed wire. Damn. I could still spot lots of fish feeding and I didn’t want to go back and search for an area that would allow me to easily get over the fence. Bad idea.

I snagged my pants, then my net, then my line and ended up taking another ten minutes or more trying to extricate myself from my self-imposed mess. I finally found myself clear of the fence by falling down on the other side. OK, now I was ready to catch my first big fish of the day. I tried to be stealthy as I approached the river knowing that the fish were easily spooked. With oversized, unfilled boots, this was not to be. I finally got to a spot where I felt sure I would find a fish and cast a dozen or so times. I knew after that many casts any fish that would have been feeding was now under cover. Pull back. Trudge along. New spot. Same issue.

I noticed another hole that I could fish only from the opposite side of the bank. I knew my feet would get cold in the water if I crossed the stream, but I would be heading back soon anyway. I took a couple steps into the river and went to lift up my back foot when I discovered I had found cement-like sand. The thick mud captured my feet and there was no way I was going anywhere. Somewhere in the recesses of my memory I recalled that the only escape from this situation was to get down on my knees and work my way out that way. Without my waders on I wasn’t too excited about this approach, but I really didn’t have a choice. After another 10-15 minutes I found myself bank on the reed-covered sod.

At this point, twilight had fallen and I knew I had missed out on any opportunity to get a fish. I was cold and ready to admit defeat.  There were lots of lessons on this day – not only about fishing but life.



5 thoughts on “Bicknell Bottoms

  1. Shelley, Sounds like a great adventure. I love the way you pull me in with your writing, makes me want to be right there with you. Laughing all the time.

  2. Fished the Fremont and Bicknell Bottoms on the 29th with my girlfriend. (Just missed you)
    Had a great time and yes, that mud will SUCK you in! Lol Caught a few beautiful Brown trout.

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