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  • Sunday, April 09, 2006

    Spring Fly For Yellowstone Trout

    This Fly Will Catch Fish!

    It was a late night in the loft in Ennis, Montana. We had fished Beartrap, and the Madison near the islands - way below Norris. The sky was broken clouds and their shadows came and went on the water.

    Some people call them 'Millers,' others call them moths. What ever they were, there was a scad-pile of them. A famous fishing guide said that he had the fly to match the hatch. We paused as he pawed through his kit and found two of them.

    "Yellowstone Coachman," he cried and bit off the midge that he had been fishing. He shared his second fly with me, and we returned to the battle. Splash it down, float it in like a gossamer ghost - or anything in between. Fish raced to gather it up. Once I watched three fish dash from under a rock to get to the fly. This was magic.

    We fished 'til almost dark and hooked every fish in that mile of the Madison - all 4,500 of them - or so it seemed! We drove back to Ennis, arm weary and bone tired. The road was dry, the sky was orange, the company was great. We stopped at the Town Pump for some fuel, and some other fuel.

    As we sat in the loft and discussed the day we had to learn more about the Yellowstone Coachman. Our guide explained that he had gotten it from an old fisherman in West Yellowstone, Montana. He took it just to be kind to the old duffer; put it in his kit and forgot about it. Last year on opening day in Yellowstone Park he saw some 'millers' on the water and remembered the fly. He put it on as a lark and caught a few fish. Ever since then he brings it out in the early spring when the 'millers' are on the water.

    This fly is a variant of the fan-wing coachman, The tail is longer and the hackle is softer and larger.

    Ingredients for Yellowstone Coachman: Tail = 3 or 4 peacock sword fibers, Body = peacock herl wound in middle with bright orange floss, Wings = barred chucker. Hackle = grade 3, or stiff hen - one size larger than hook, Head = black thread. Hook Sizes = 6 -14 regular dry fly. Drench with flotant and fish low in the film, or even submerged. Cast gently - it can twirl and sing by your ear and this is hard on the leader and your knots, (and maybe your ear.)

    The last time I put a fly up, I got many emails about the set-up and questions about doing it. There is no secret, and the pictures are certainly not art. Look at the photo below for details. French wine seems to work best.

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