• PARTNER: PROTECT YOUR WATERS
  • Go To: THE FLIES OF YELLOWSTONE
  • Go To: YELLOWSTONE FISHING WEATHER
  • Go To: YELLOWSTONE FLY FISHING MAPS
  • Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Visit: Montana Cowgirl
  • Wednesday, July 11, 2018

    AWOL

    FOR GROUP
    5 times 5 At 100
    mirage no problem
    *HUNTER CLASS BENCHREST RIFLE
    *EXPENSIVE AND UNSUNG GLASS
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    .. Gone and, we're easily forgotten. Brief road trip to Cody, Wyoming. Better than fair success.
    NOT TOO BAD
    .. The shooting complex at Cody, Wyoming is a world class facility that can accommodate all forms of the shooting sports.
    .. From SASS, to casual, to Hunter Class, to Varmint Class, to Rail Guns, to 1,000 Yard competition, to Police and Combat training, to skeet, to trap, to across the course, to sporting clays,  --  it's all there.
    .. We do this less and less as our fishing is closer and less fiddly. When the weather gods lay down the winds and, the cool air allows for clear views, it's possible for even us to do well.
    .. We did!

    .. [[ *Hunter class benchrest rifle with fixed power 6x42 IOR Valdata scope [with glass from Schott Glass Werkes of Germany.] Trued Remington action in .308 Winchester caliber.  Krieger stainless steel barrel. Jewell 2oz. trigger, Big spring true firing pin, Aluminum rail, Magnesium rings, Macmillan Edge ultralight stock. Weight is nine pounds, fourteen ounces.]]
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    .. The last week of warmer than seasonal weather has slowed the catching only slightly.
    EASILY CATCHES FISH
    .. A few daily temperature records were set and the neighbors have exercised both their sweat glands and vocabularies.
    .. Looks, now, to be settling into seasonal temperatures and the fishing is too.
    .. Ants are up. Hopper nymphs are molting. Beetles are roaming. Millers are flitting. Bitsie Beasties are hatching. Caddis are prolific. Even the Madison River is highly productive in unusual and accessible places.
    .. We're awake way too early and planning more road time. Such is the sleep rhythm of the mature.
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    WALLPAPER:  RIB EYE DONE RIGHT

    Wednesday, July 04, 2018

    On This Day

    NO MORE KINGS
    No More Dictators
    a constitutional republic
    MAUREEN WISHES YOU A HAPPY FOURTH
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    .. Grab this day by the throat and wring every little bit of joy from it.
    .. We are still an exceptional nation. We trend variously at various times. We face crises and trial with a distinct style. God bless most of us.
    .. The popular saying "CARPE DIEM" only gives us a bit of the original phrase:
    ". . . carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.from HORACE . . . Odes.
    FLY DU JOUR
    .. The loose translation is something like: ". . . Seize the day, put very little trust in tomorrow . . ." (i.e. tempus fugit.")
    .. Waste not - want not, a stitch in time, if not now - then when, gather ye rosebuds while ye may: got it!
    .. We wrote this yesterday and are presently down the road to the best picnic and fish catching meadow on the Notellum Creek. Hope you are too.
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    WALLPAPER:  START HERE
    WALLPAPER:  FINISH HERE

    Monday, July 02, 2018

    Your Aerobic 4th

    VERY EAGER FISH
    Thin Cold Water
    patience is rewarded
    WHERE THE NEIGHBORS FISH
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    .. So, with a mid week FOURTH OF JULY the bookend weekends are very busy.
    .. Yellowstone National Park is on pace for another record year and the fisher folk are thick as remoras on a nurse shark.
    JOIN THIS LINE
    .. Lines for the one lane park entrance through our village extend for a mile or more.
    .. Waiting time can exceed an hour or more. It's like a buffalo jam but worse.
    .. There is no need to expound upon the catching conditions for the popular crowded jam packed bits of our west side rivers.
    ENTRANCE STATION OUT OF SIGHT
    .. Recently the Firehole River has been blessed with cool weather and cool rains.
    .. Little bugs are regular and predictable. Caddis and white millers are plentiful.
    .. The counter help at the feather merchants are up to speed and can provide you with decent, (if slightly dated,) information. Use them and enjoy the camaraderie of the dusty aisles.
    .. The same is true of the Madison River. If you can find a safe parking place  - - - go for it and, join the throngs. We welcome you to our village and the rivers on this side of the park.
    .. Even the poisoned Gibbon River has some fish in it below Virginia Cascades. There is even a pod of Grayling in the campground meadows.
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    .. For those of you willing to forego the elbow display and parade of mobile condominiums, there is a lovely little, (and sadly unloved,) stream that is far from the maddening crowds. It's name is Fan Creek.
    FAN CREEK:  VIEW TO THE ROAD
    .. This little creek has profited from the cooler weather and the sporadic rains. It is running clear and cold. There were even some spent spawners still in the deep holes yesterday.
    .. It's not easy fishing and fails to attract the visitor because it requires stealth, patience, observation, and a modicum of water savvy.
    .. Most of the best places are guarded by thick willows with no pounded down trails. Occasionally there are moose in the willows. Even the bears are a bit shy of entering where moose may be.
    FAN CREEK:  VIEW OF THE CREEK
    .. Should you choose to follow the trail from the parking lot to the creek you will bypass a few hundred yards of deep holes, good holding water, thin riffles and, many eager fish.
    .. There are fish under every bank. Many are very small. All are eager eaters. This is a creek that allows you to use your winter rejected flies with impunity. With a bit of stealth you may even be able to cast to a 12" monster on the surface.
    WIDE SPOT - -  WAY UP HIGH
    .. By the time you get to the thick willow meadows by the current and previous beaver ponds you will find the creek hidden from view.
    .. The meander bends are deeper than expected in this stretch.
    .. Depending on where the sun is; those fish could be or, not be where they are expected.
    .. Should you choose to sample only the bottom reaches it is possible to access the Gallatin River at the bridge and fish up to the confluence with Fan Creek.
    CONFLUENCE: FAN & GALLATIN
    .. The bridge pool, (both sides of the road,) can hold fish in the shade and the dark pockets between the boulder riffles. The riffle and run stretch along the steep headland is very productive nymph water for big bugs and, yellow ones as well.
    .. The green growth this year is nearly blinding. This has been a Springtime for growing. Willows, grasses and sedges, are crowding each other and look like one big plant throughout the meadows.
    FOR A WET YEAR
    .. Wet years produce a fine crop of mosquitoes. If you tie 'em, use em.  This is the perfect time and place.
    .. We anticipate a good hopper hatch in about six weeks. The beetles are already showing themselves along the elk trails and crumbled bank.
    .. The best part of this little creek is that you can spend the first half of the day fishing up the stream and then fish back down in the afternoon or evening.
    .. You can fish the same spots and even catch the same fish - if your stealth skills are good and you have some small binoculars and a bit of patience.
    GET IT !
    .. There are other small waters throughout Yellowstone National Park. They are less fished. They are not for the headhunter or glory water fans.
    .. They all have fish and, right now, the catching is as good as it has been in the last five years - - maybe more.
    .. Explore some and catch many.  Have a great Fourth Of July and don't forget the bear spray!
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    BILLIE'S SPIDER
    .. Morning is still coming after daylight. We'll manage. And, fools that we are; we're headed back out into the fray. The wind is up and we have a 10' four weight with a spider that ought to fool a few fish into a mid day dance.
    .. Yep! Bright sun and spiders dancing near an undercut bank. It's an old fishers' trick.
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    WALLPAPER:   BISTEC a la MEXICANA

    Friday, June 29, 2018

    Mythic Madison

    BEARS FISH HERE
    Walk Just A Bit
    unmolested fish
    FISH WHERE THE BEARS FISH
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    .. This year there has been a fishing bear at GRASSHOPPER BANK on the Madison River.
    .. Most visiting fishers will never see the bear. Most visiting fishers will not take advantage of the pods of large fish that fin and flop lazily in the dark water of this bit of the river.
    .. It takes just a small walk to get into position to fish for the trout. However it will put your car out of sight. Crouching and duck walking is not in the mindset of the average fisher visiting Yellowstone National Park.
    TAKE SOME
    .. Hell's Bells, if you can't jump into a school of fish and splash to the center of the river in order to fish the bank  --  it taint "fly fishing."
    .. We've seen the bear.
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    .. Today's rain is perfectly gentle and inviting. Mid day catching will be very productive. We'll take some fresh bear spray. The exercise will guarantee a good night's sleep.
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    WALLPAPER:  TAQUITOS  --  FLAUTAS

    Thursday, June 21, 2018

    The Mythic Firehole River, (part two)

    AEROBIC FISHING
    The Magic 7300
    path to good catching
    WALLPAPER:  DESTINATION BISCUIT
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    .. Biscuit Basin in Yellowstone National Park is world famous for it's geothermal features. It is also an attractive destination for fisher folk from around the world.
    GEARING UP !!
    .. The typical behavior of visiting fishers is to park in the parking lot and fish along the stream well within sight of their vehicle. Seldom are wader-clad fishers seen on the boardwalks or trails around the thermal features, (galumphing through fish infested waters is the norm.)
    CAN YOU STILL SEE THE CAR ?
    .. Granted: the elevation is  ≃7300' asl, many lowland fishers initially need more oxygen than is readily available, many visiting fishers are of the 'mature' persuasion, city folk are protective of their stylish vehicles, Biscuit Basin can seem to be a wilderness to fly fishers, most fishers don't carry bear spray and feel the need to be in the vicinity of other members of their species.
    NEED ONE OF THESE ?
    .. A short walk to the confluence meadow is well worth the effort for those seeking substantial fish in surprising numbers.
    .. If trout need highly oxygenated water, (we think so,) and, if they inhabit cooler rather than warmer water, (we think so,) and if fertile stretches of the stream attract actively feeding trout, (we think so,) then it might be worth a gentle stroll through a lush meadow to catch a few - view of the car be damned.
    MINGLING WATERS
    .. The confluence meadow in Biscuit Basin combines the waters from three creeks: Iron Spring Creek, Little Firehole River, and Firehole River. These waters originate in three different landforms and contain three different chemistries from the chemo-geology of the diverse landforms. This fluvial diversity is mirrored in many places in Yellowstone National Park.
    .. Bugs, beasts, flowers, shrubs, trees, water weeds, and fish profit from this kind of diversity. It is well worth a walk to these areas if you should be seeking fish to dance with.
    RIVER CHEMISTRY
    .. It is also worth exploring each stream through the year to ascertain the seasonal variation of the water and the fish population. The most popular 'fish experts' pontificate about these things based on sporadic visitations and spurious catching experiences.
    .. Counter help at the local feather merchants parrot the wisdom that they pick up from scuttlebutt through the day. Such is the palaver that informs fishing behavior in Yellowstone National Park.
    WHY NO FISHER FOLKS ?
    .. Extensive and exhaustive firsthand knowledge is wonderfully missing in the erudition spouted by fishers when discussing the Firehole River and Biscuit Basin in particular. This condition is feasted upon by politicians, and fly fishers alike.
    .. We are constantly asking embarrassing questions: how do you know?, who says so?, when where you last there?, how many times?, etc.
    ARE BIG FISH HERE ?
    .. Time transgressive events, (both small and large,) bring changes. Rivers change daily, weekly, seasonally, annually, etc. Today's truth is tomorrow's fiction.
    .. Explore, observe, fish, move on. Do this and you become the expert; no matter who said what - especially any blog post or sacred tomb by famous names - even those who were here last year.
    .. The fly fishing literature is rife with outdated information, mythic truth, and attractive prose. The lure of 'a good read' seduces us into believing the specificity of examples - shame on us. A good read is a visceral experience and very satisfying, indeed. It is not a substitute for either technical literature nor firsthand experience.
    .. The satisfaction of a good read is of a different sort from that of catching a fish that you discovered by exploration. Try it  --  you'll like it. Vicarious experiences are far different than existential experiences!
    .. There are big fish in the Firehole River. You can dance with them right now. The rain and drizzle has abated for the moment.
    CLOSED TO FISHING  --  SHAME !
    .. Explore the river and make your own history. Write your own script. Direct your own movie.  Become your own expert - it's better than following in the footsteps of famous dead, (or living,) gurus. After all, the river is different today than it was yesterday.
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    .. Dawn comes early on this solstice! We're off to direct a bit of romantic drama: or tragicomedy as the case may be!
    .. After the coffee . . . . . . 
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    THE VIEW FROM TEXAS

    Monday, June 18, 2018

    The Mythic Firehole River, (part one)

    "THE FISH PREFER"
    No Big Fish Here
    abandon your car
    WALLPAPER:   DESTINATION BISCUIT
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    .. It would be futile to debunk the myriad myths that appertain to the Firehole River. That said; there are a couple of popular myths that demand to be addressed.
    .. The first myth that needs to be explored is that ". . . the trout prefer the warm temperatures of mid summer . . ."
    .. The second myth that floats continuously is that ". . . there are no 'big' fish in the Firehole River . . ."
    FIREHOLE BLACK SNAILS
    ..Aside from the anthropomorphic attribution of 'preference' to the little scallywags, the argument that they have lived for so many generations in the warm environs of the Firehole River that they have adapted to warmer water has some merit. BUT ONLY SOME!!
    .. However, the first fish introduced to the Firehole River were Smallmouth Bass followed by Brook Trout. Neither of these species have taken to the warmth of the stream. The bass are gone and the brookies have migrated to colder waters and are very rarely taken in the river below Kepler Cascades.
    .. Introduced Brown Trout and introduced Rainbow Trout are the two dominate species in the lower Firehole River.
    FIREHOLE BLACK SNAILS
    .. Although water temperature is a rough indicator of both Brown Trout and Rainbow Trout distribution, aerobic capacity is more meaningful. Dissolved oxygen is the key to survival and ability to thrive for these trout.
    .. Wild trout, in their indigenous habitat, do show a wide range of temperature tolerance depending on their natural history and geographic constraints. The Rainbow Trout can be found within a range of 17.8–24.6°C [LINK-11.]
    USE FOR "GOOD FISH"
    .. Brown Trout seem to be a bit more tolerant of warmer waters and can be found in waters at 28°C. This oversimplification of thermal tolerance does not take account of other limiting factors such as: length of day, length of extreme temperature exposure, age of fish, dissolved oxygen, egg tolerance, smolt tolerance, etc.
    .. Research from regions as diverse as from the Iberian Peninsula to Idaho to  Michigan to California to Germany to Australia suggest that these two trout do best, (survive and thrive,) in cooler rather than warmer water.
    .. Given the opportunity, these fish will hang out, (prefer to be?) in more highly oxygenated cold water rather than less oxygenated warm water.
    FOR TOPSIDERS
    .. Not surprising then, the fish in the Firehole River will indeed, be mostly found in the cooler bits of the stream. We all knew that, right?
    .. The Firehole River does have submerged cold water springs. We know a few. The river also is fed by warm streams as well as cold streams. We know a few of those too.
    .. Should you be seeking to dance, a time or two, with the fish in the stream your best bet is to hire a guide. Should you want non stop catching seek the optimum fish locations: nearby shade, weeds and bugs, cooler water, dark holes and hides, etc. These are the spots that the guides keep for themselves.
    NEED BIG FISH ??
    .. As for the second myth; you must define big. A three or four pound trout is big in our book. Length varies depending on species and time of year. A spawned out buck at 22" may be big to some folks. But they look too much like a snake to us.
    .. There are four pound trout to be had in the Firehole River. They are far less rare than you have been led to believe. They are in those places where optimum conditions exist for growth and survivability.
    WANT BIG FISH?
    ..  Keep in mind that although big fish are opportunistic feeders, (as are all trout,) they eat little fish. A little fish can be defined as the "good fish" that your guide praises for your ego.
    .. You will often see a fish skimming the surface, leaping in the air, charging the shore, and diving into weeds when chased by bigger fish. Got a fly that imitates a six inch trout? Use it. Be a myth buster!

    RESOURCES:
    >> Rainbow trout thermal tolerance,
    >> Brown trout thermal niche,
    >> Rainbow trout upper thermal tolerance,
    >> Brown trout consevation,
    >> Thermal Tolerance Limits for Trout,
    >> Requirements and tolerances for Brown and Rainbow trout,
    >> How hot is too hot?,
    >> Henry's Fork trout requirements,
    >>
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    LISTEN TO THE JUNGLE DRUMS
    .. The cool days and frequent rains have been a boon to fishers on the west side rivers. Not too much color, not too much discharge, not too many elbows, not too few bugs, and - - - great catching. Be here now.
    .. Just dumped the wet poncho on the oriental rug, draped the wet jeans over the silk brocade on the Victorian Chaise, kicked the muddy boots into the corner by the giant Navajo baskets, and  settled down to scrawl type this.
    .. Now for a late supper and some couch time.
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    WALLPAPER:  CHILI BURGER -- HOLD THE BUN