• Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Visit: Montana Cowgirl
  • Friday, April 14, 2006



    Go To Yellowstone

    Go Fly Fishing

    Take Your Ugly Stick

    Use A Spinning Rod

    SPF 15 or Better

    In Yellowstone Park there is a unique definition of "Fly Fishing." It means - fishing with a fly! It does not mean using a fly line, or a fly rod, or a fly reel, or a tippet.

    Take your bait casting or spinning rod to the park and you can "Fly Fish." If you put a bobber, (casting bubble?) on the end of the line and have a fly dangling from the end of it, you are "Fly Fishing." And you can fish anywhere in Yellowstone Park with a rig like this. Read your regulations, this rig is recommended.

    There is an interesting mind set at work here. Suppose that a person took a 15' surf rod, with a 3 pound spinning reel, and a spark plug tied to the end of the line, (no lead you know!), and flung it in the deep hole at the Firehole River swimming area. Would that person be "Fly Fishing" if there was a 3" streamer on the end of the leader attached to the spark plug? Absolutely!

    By the way, there are giant trout in that hole, along with a couple of underwater caves. The biggest trout that I have seen underwater was about 19" - 25" --- it's hard to be accurate underwater, in the dark, with your air running out and the snorkel leaking.

    So I took my fly box to a YNP Ranger and asked if I could use the flies in it for fishing in Yellowstone. He said they look fine. "Except for that one!" He pointed to a small fly that was made from a barred hen hackle tied in front of a soft plastic Crappie bait, with a pair of large goose biots at the bend of the size 6, 3xl sproat hook.

    I asked why that was illegal. He said it wasn't a fly because it had plastic on it. Don't let this information get to the folks in Florida, or elsewhere where many flies are part plastic, or epoxy, or have synthetic hair. They think that they are fly fishing. So too, do the people in Yellowstone Park that use synthetic, (plastic in many cases,) materials in their flies.

    It's time to demythologize and demystify the concept of fly fishing. It's also time for Yellowstone Park to get serious about defining flies and fly fishing. Especially if they are going to restrict access to a large amount of fishing water.

    It's quite enjoyable to wade into the Madison, or The Firehole and cast a bubble into the water in front of the ill-informed snobs with their $700 rods, and watch them scurry to kick me out of their water. I show them the regulations, give them the appropriate telephone number, offer to let them use my cell phone, and catch large fish with a rig that cost less than the vest that they are wearing.

    Put a large spruce fly at the end of five feet of six pound monofiliment. Two feet in front of the fly put a very large split shot, (not lead of course.) Tie this to the bottom of a 1-1/2" red and white bobber and cast it into the big plunge pool below Gibbon Falls with a 7' Shimano graphite rod and spinning reel. Aim right at the base of the water fall and let the bobber swing on a slack line for about fifteen feet. Close the bail and tighten the line to quicken the swing. Hang on! Fly fishing at it's best. Try it, you'll like it!


    It's not really a Spruce Fly, but it works as good as a Dark Spruce Fly in the fall, and better than a Light Spruce Fly in the Spring. It's quick to tie, durable, and well suited to Yellowstone waters.

    This fly is a medium sized streamer developed by a group of West Yellowstone fishermen who can't afford a BMW or a $700 fly rod but love to fly fish. This is the recipe:

    Tail: paired hen hackle - cut like a fish tail, Butt: yellow ostrich herl, Body: green floss, Rib: small copper wire, Beard: red hackle fibres, Wing: two yellow hen hackle tips partially covered by two barred hackle tips, Collar: grizzly hen hackle, Head: black thread. Sizes: 2 - 12, 3-5xl bronze sproat.

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