• Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Wednesday, May 31, 2006


    Madison River Clearing Too
    gibbon by the weekend

    <-- Deer Hair Caddis

    photo courtesy of
    Jason Neuswanger:
    The Trout Nut

    -- The evening hatches along the Firehole River produce a constant, sometimes sparse, hatch of caddis. These flies are frequently small dark flies with gray to charcoal colored wings. The normal caddis flies work fine for this evening festival, however the fly shown here is an exceptionally good rendition.
    -- Rather than the standard Elk Hair Caddis, use Deer Hair, and a dark body with dark hackle. Visit The Trout Nut for details about this pattern.
    -- During mid-day, (about 11:00 AM if the sun is shining,) the regular Baetis hatch is underway. These are on the smallish side, (about sizes 18 - 20 - 22,) and occur in the smoother pools. Often times a PMD hatch happens at the same time and the fish can be selective - watch carefully. The PMD's are just a bit larger, (about sizes 12 -14 -16,) and found in the heads and tails of swifter pools. When both are happening, the fish will sometimes take nymphs that are floated instead of sunken. This is a good time to use your cripple imitations.
    -- The Madison River has a substantial number of Whitefish this year, and they are fairly large. They are rising freely right now, and are very entertaining in the quick high water. The Madison River has slowed down to a stately 900 cfs, or so in the park, and is clearing rapidly - thanks to the recent cooling trend. The river purging below Hebgan Dam brought discharge to above 2,000 cfs for a short time, but will be slowing today or tomorrow.
    -- The fish in the upper meadow section of the Gibbon River have had to abandon their grazing in the grass, as the river there has returned to it's channel. Negotiation of the wet meadows can be tricky because of their soft nature, and the two grizzly bears near the Norris campground. The Elk meadows stretch looked fishable, but hard work. The canyon sections of the Gibbon are down to the banks, but still a bit off color. These should shape up by the middle to end of next week.

    Monday, May 29, 2006


    Madison & Gibbon Following Close Behind
    hatches thin but productive

    <-- Photo courtesy of Jason Neuswanger: "The Trout Nut"

    -- Memorial Day dawned grey and with snow flurries. A leisurely breakfast and a view of the race at Indy seemed in order. By 2:30 PM we had a "SUN-dershower" warming the meadows along the Firehole River and there was a hatch to fish. The river has cleared rapidly these last three days, and the suspended load poses no problem to fish, fisherfolk, or the bugs.
    -- We fished Blue Winged Olives, Pale Morning Duns, and some Yellowstone Cinch's. We had a SPARKLE DUN that seemed to fish better than the others, but we broke it off early. The Sparkle Dun was originated by Craig Mathews a while back and has become a standard fly for the Firehole. When the sparse hatch pooped out we switched to Yellowstone Badgers and Prince Nymphs. The fish kept taking.
    -- Stopped along the Madison River and visited with the neighbors. The Madison is still bank-full and very fast, but clearing. Some good fish were taken, but the fishing was hard. Nymphs were the order of the day, until a sparse caddis hatch occurred about 6:00 PM at the Barns Holes. We took some Whitefish and one ultra-thin snake - poor spawned out fellow must have been waiting for the water to clear and get some food.
    -- It snowed again last night; big fluffy flakes that left only a residue on the cars this morning. This cooling trend is slowing the rivers in Yellowstone, and making fishing exceptionally good. The Madison River will continue to clear, The Firehole River is close to perfect, and the water has left most of the meadows along the Gibbon River.

    Sunday, May 28, 2006

    Yellowstone Requiem


    -- WWII is over and, on this memorial day, we remember our relatives and friends that died in service. As we ponder life & death, two good friends come to mind. They died this last year, and we remember them here.
    -- Charlotte Smith, neighbor and friend, is gone from us. We sent her to far flung places to fish with our flies. She enriched our life with tales of joy and bright fish. We miss her deeply and grieve with Larry. She and Larry owned and hosted Sleepy Hollow, the fly fishing retreat in West Yellowstone, Montana. I pass the house daily, the memories leap at me. Those of you that knew her were certainly bouyed by her spirit, as I was. (Sleepy Hollow)


    -- Jerry Galvan, friend, neighbor, fishing partner, and father to a fine family has departed. We fished with Jerry in a time long ago. The Owens River, Slough Creek, The Gualala, The Upper Sac, Palma Creek, the memories are rich. We fished the bait recievers in San Diego Bay for baracuda, mackrel and bonito. We prowled the lagoons and shorelines of Carlsbad, Encinitas, and Oceanside. We pounded the surf for corbina, surf perch, and once a very ugly needle fish. Farm ponds and decorative water in the front lawns of Fallbrook, Carlsbad and Vista, provided bass and bluegills - wherever there were fish we chased them.
    --We once built a minature fly rod with very, very, small flies, (about 32's,) and tried for mosquito fish in the casting pond at Balboa Park in San Diego. Hot Creek, Hat Creek, both Walkers and the Truckee - it mattered not!
    -- The San Diego river and a couple of it's tributaries hold bass - Jerry knew where to find them - in the shadow of Mission San Diego, or the shadow of the giant stadium, (whatever it's current name,) we pounded them, (joggers were perplexed.) All the San Diego lakes, (big bluegills on poppers,) the San Gabriel River, (trout & rattlesnakes,) even the Tiajuana River, (don't eat these fish,) there are many place to fish if you look - and if you grew up there.
    -- We coursed the Owens River Ranch and John Arcalarius' place for giants. From downtown Hoopa to Arcata we scored and got skunked. Half-pounders were a passion for a while. The Mad, The Mattole, The Smith, The Cal-Salmon, the "Damn" Dusen, (from the top of the box cars,) they called and we came. The Russian River in muddy flood or dead dry gravel was always a challenge, (success came in the form of Bill Shadt.) We exercised flies from size 24 to 2xl 9/0 in fresh and saltwater.
    -- During his last visit here we stayed in the crummy cabins at Roosevelt, in Yellowstone Park. We fished the raging plunge pool on the Yellowstone River below Teddy's camp, and Soda Butte, and the Lamar - across the bridge, and Slough Creek. We traded hats, joked and even caught fish.
    -- Jerry loved bamboo, he enjoyed prairie dogs, he served his country and wore a bullet around his neck. He chased fish to the equator and back; always with a smile and always with success. His ashes are sprinkled on the Upper Sac that he loved so well. I'll return there next year and fish with him - maybe the opener at Crowley too - he'd like that - I will too. (Sierra Drifters)

    Saturday, May 27, 2006


    The Fishing Was Excellent
    where to eat on a rainy day
    brief nps news

    Nez Perce Creek
    Slow at the confluence

    Colored Water
    Bright Rainbow

    -- There were a few fisherfolk on the rivers in Yellowstone today. The fishing was good. The weather was a bit nippy. The scenery was as good as it gets. Fished hard all day, saw no hatches. Took fish on: Prince Nymphs, Soft Hackles, Stiff Hackles, & Montana Dusters. Fished the Firehole & Nez Perce at their confluence, and the Firehole just below the Iron Bridge. Decided to come home before dark and put my feet up.
    -- Visibility in the Firehole River is about two feet, a little more in Nez Perce Creek. There were folks at the Island Pool, Mattie's Pool, and in Pocket Basin, - all reported hungry fish. There were about a dozen folks at the Barns Pools on the Madison. Several small fish had been taken near the bank but the color is way off & the flow is still high. Visibility in the Madison is about two feet near the bank and much less in mid-stream.
    -- The day dawned gray, drizzle with a few thin spots in the clouds lasted 'til noon. The sky lowered and occasional light snow flurries continued for the rest of the day. I left the Iron Bridge at about 6:00 PM. Visited with the neighbors and shared a nip.

    **Rainy Day Food**
    --We generally avoid endorsements, but like the old plumber said "folks gotta eat."
    +++There are two excellent places for breakfast in West Yellowstone. These are of the 'ask anybody' variety.
    +++There is an exceptional deli for sandwiches or box lunches.
    +++There is a friendly pub & eatery for a sit-down lunch and satisfying dinner.
    To find out where these places are - - - just ASK ANYBODY.

    --The Firehole Grill is good anytime, however on a cold rainy morning it's nice to talk to the owner-fisherman-guide. Breakfast is special here. Specialty sausage, honey cured ham, enormous omelets, home built spuds, fresh coffee, comfortable and congenial. Tell Swanny or Staci we sent you. It might get you a fishing tip or two. Don't think that breakfast is all they do! Good lunchs and dinners are available too.

    -- The Running Bear has excellent traditional breakfast; in fact that is all they do! Great pancakes, perfect eggs, 'taters to order. Tell Rick that we sent you. It might get you a stock tip. Get there before 2:00 PM.

    -- Ernies Deli provides a quick breakfast of donuts and coffee if you are in a hurry. They are much better at pefect sandwiches, (try the Ham & Swiss, or Pastrami,) excellent selection of wines, friendly service, and box lunches. Tell Dawn that we sent you. It will get you a wink and a smile.

    -- Bullwinkle's Saloon & Eatery is a sports bar with a twist - the barkeep is a fly fisherman. Tell Mark, or Jackie, or Dennis that we sent you. You will get good food - good conversation - and maybe a local fly or two. The information is only slightly tainted with local hubris and it's free. You can eat in the saloon, or one of two dining rooms. Trout is on the menu, along with steaks, sandwiches, special salads, and some local favorites as well. Excellent selection of beer and wine. If available try the cheesecake - yum!

    As We Posted: breaking NPS news.

    New Interior Department Secretary

    New Interior Department Secretary's mistress?

    Yellowstone & Grand Teton out of money?


    Friday, May 26, 2006

    Yellowstone Fly Fishing To Begin

    Madison River Out Of Shape

    try a "stiff hackle"

    --The day is gray, the rain is very small, there are thin spots in the clouds, breakfast is done, Da Ford is warmed up, the opener is tomorrow. Off to the park for a final check on the rivers.
    -- With the recent re-discovery of the soft hackle fly, we offer a local variant that is often used early in the season on Yellowstone rivers -- "the Stiff Hackle Nymph."
    -- This fly grew out of discussions with Sylvester Nemes in the late 70's. We discussed the necessary conditions for a soft hackle to transform itself into a stiff hackle. The decision then, and now, 'when a bit of twinkle is necessary in the hackle!' This is just the situation that exists now. The Firehole River is barely fishable, the 'tea-colored' water allows a bit of light, and any fly with a hint of reflection will do well. This is not the flash of tinsel or of other synthetic materials, but just a subtle bit of 'lightness' to separate this offering from the debris still suspended in the Firehole River.

    -- The fly is simple to tie, effective in several colors, and useful in river conditions like we are experiencing now. This will be in the box tomorrow - along with some soft hackles of course. The body can be caddis green, or peacock herl. The hackle is the best grade dry fly hackle that you have - and that's the recipe.
    -- Taper the body to a 'fat' front. Sly was always talking about the little tennis ball at the head of the fly to keep the soft hackle from matting down along the body. This is still necessary with the stiff hackle, but not so pronounced. White hackle can be used, but we prefer feathers with a silver or light gray cast to them. Great Blue Heron would be perfect if it were legal.
    -- Dyed seal is excellent for the body, as is angora goat. The hackle should extend past the end of the body & hook bend, and one, (at most two,) turns are all that is necessary. The first flies we tied had a fine copper wire rib - worked OK, but did not seem to be in keeping with the original idea. This one is a success without much adornment at all.
    -- This fly requires soaking to fish properly and, in a pinch can be greased to float. It is possible to 'cast dry' the fly, grease it and fish the same fly through the terminal stages of a caddis hatch. (Of course this means that you are not catching many fish.)
    -- Sink tip lines are best to get this fly down, or a bit of weight, if you care to, on a floating line and leader. This is the way we fish it. Swing it all the way to the bank; there is no need for guessing - takes are positive.

    Thursday, May 25, 2006

    Yellowstone Ready To Fish


    ** It appears that opening day will bring cool overcast with thundershowers, and rain. The wind will be moderate, (SW @ 5—15 mph,) and temperatures in the 50’s. PERFECT!
    ** The cooling trend promises to hold and the rivers should continue to slow. Fishing conditions will allow access to most popular locations & the Firehole will probably hold the best promise of success.
    ** Generalized nymphs, (large and dark,) and a good supply of caddis imitations will be required. There should also be a some stone fly nymphs in your fly box. For those brief periods of sunlight it would be good to have some nymphs with yellow or light green.
    **Of course a double fist-full of prince nymphs is always necessary.

    These are some of the the flies we intend to carry:

    Guides Permitted To Operate In Yellowstone
    Fishing Regulations (PDF)

    Click For Weather Forcast:

    Wednesday, May 24, 2006

    Yellowstone Weather Cooling Off

    Madison River High, Losing Color,
    Gibbon still a mess,
    Nez Perce Creek fishable.

    --As of this morning, there are several sections of major streams on the west side of Yellowstone that are clearing. These sections are shown on the map above. The map shows the road from the west entrance to Old Faithful.
    -- The blue oval sections, (on the map,) of the Madison River, Nez Perce Creek, and the Firehole River should respond well to large dark nymphs.
    -- The meadows in all areas are still muddy and very soft in some places so be careful where you walk. There are also some new quicksand bars that have formed in the Firehole river east of Goose Lake, and in the confluence area of Nez Perce Creek and the Firehole.
    -- Parking is always a problem on the opener, and access is going to be difficult where the bison have congregated. The early greening of the areas at the north end of Fountain Flat will make Pocket Basin & Nez Perce Creek a real challenge. Parking is sparse and the herd has bunched up into large groups - they are very social animals when calves are present. They have also bunched up neat the north end of the meadow where the freight road leaves the picnig area - be watchful.
    -- The freight road is a good point of access, even without a bicycle. It's better with a bicycle. You can rent a bicycle at Old Faithful and cross the iron bridge and find some pretty decent water. You can bring your own bicycle and enter from the north and find some decent water there too.
    -- The rivers will be best in the morning and early forenoon, and depending on nocturnal temperatures over the next couple of days, could last the whole day or weekend.
    -- There are sporadic caddis hatches on the Firehole, and on the Madison above 7-mile bridge. The high water has moved the bottom, and there are many stonefly nymphs in the sample nets, (two kinds seen.) There is also an abundance of caddis nymphs, as well. Snails of various sorts were also seen, (no New Zealand Mud Snails found,) and some uncased mayfly neotaneous forms were found.
    -- As the old sailor said - "Fish gott'a eat," - so they will be holding close to the bank, in boulder pillows and pockets, or adjacent to very deep slow runs after a rapid section. Foam is still collecting in some eddy's and holds bits of food - don't pass these up.
    -- Be sure to read the regulations carefully this year, as they have changed. They are designed for both protective and aesthetic reasons to give the native fish a chance - that includes the Whitefish and Grayling. Take note.

    New Regulations
    Official Yellowstone Fishing Map

    Saturday, May 20, 2006


    many dangerous sections beckon anglers

    <- Barns #1 Lake

    -- You may be able to catch fish in the Madison River in Yellowstone Park on opening day, but you will have to be very selective about where you fish. The river is running bank to bank in most sections and the meadows at 7-mile bridge, and above Mt. Haynes are flooded. The river channel at National Park Meadows is just below flood stage, and the Barns Holes look like a lake.

    <- 9-mile bend

    -- Predictions for continued warming and afternoon thundershowers mean that fishing will be more difficult on opening weekend. One stretch of water that has not colored too badly is the area from "Grasshopper Bank" through the secction along the old road to the fire interpretation area. The broad channel here seemed almost placid, and rising fish were seen on the snags next to the road. The eagles nesting next to the road also had fish for lunch.
    -- This time of year the river is 'big water' for sure. There are sections in National Park Meadows, below 7-mile bridge, and around the meadows at 9-mile hole that show distinct and slow moving streams within the river. The savvy angler will use large, or giant dark nymphs in these sections - and be justly rewarded. Don't use your 4-weight.

    <- 7-mile Meadows


    little hope for opener

    <- Gibbon River at Canyon Road

    -- The Gibbon River in Yellowstone Park is at or above flood stage from Gibbon Falls to above The Gibbon Campground Meadow. Trout are in the grass south of the road to Canyon Village, and some are big for this stretch of the river.
    -- Gibbon Meadows and Elk Meadows are partially flooded and show no sign of recession in the near future. The elk and the bison are feeding in 6 - 10 inches of water and loving it. The grass is green and the warm bright sunlight, combined with the afternoon thunder showers have produced an early greening of these popular meadows. It may take more than a week for the river in this section to clear.
    -- Below the picnic area, in the confined channel of the canyon the river is a foot above flood stage and is a very pretty pink color. The big plunge pool at the first bridge is full of whitecaps and the suspended load is so heavy the color is striking. The river is eroding the road base, and there will need to be repairs as soon as the water level recedes. There is only a slim chance that any part of this river segment will be productive in less than 10 days.
    <- Gibbon River at the First Bridge plunge pool

    -- At the Norris Campground Meadows there is a lake, and above the bridge to canyon village there were several large fish finning in the grass where the small lake has formed because of the roadbed and high discharge.
    -- This 20 - 30 acre lake might fish pretty good on opening day if you are willing to wade deep and pretend that you are on a bonefish flat. The fish were very active this morning, and the water is gin-clear as the silt load is dumped at the big bend in the upper end of this little meadow.
    -- The channel is clearly visible by just following the froth and bubble line. We are going to check the regulations on this. The activity observed seemed like feeding, and there were many fish of a size usually seen in the lower meadows. Only one was close enough to identify - a 12" or better brook trout.

    <- Flood Lake, south of road to Canyon Village

    <<-- Fish in left-mid-foreground!


    best west-side bet for success

    <-- Firehole at Biscuit Basin Bridge

    -- The Firehole River in Yellowstone National Park is high and fast. It is fair shape from Midway Geyser Basin to Biscuit Basin, and in some select spots may be productive on opening day. The canyon stretch starting at the Island Hole, and wending through the picnic area is the most colored and the least fishable, although right at the Island Hole it may be productive next weekend.

    <- Firehole River at Island Hole

    -- immediately below the bridge at biscuit basin the discharge is very turbulent and running bank to bank in what will be later just some gentle riffles. The approach to Pocket Basin is currently being guarded by a large herd of bison. The Fountain Flats area is greening rapidly due to the early warm-up, and this is holding the large herds together during the birthing period.
    -- The Madison River & Gibbon River are in worse shape all the way down. Nez Perce Creek is in fair shape and may hold the best promise if the weather continues with warm days and thunderstorms in the afternoon. The rapid increases in diurnal temperatures is just a bit early this year and may delay spectacular fishing for a week or two.
    -- The big eddy just below the confluence of Mallard Creek and the Firehole River is running fairly clear, and is froth covered. Trout are rising to bits of food floating in the foam.

    Friday, May 19, 2006

    Yellowstone Cutthroat Return To Spotlight

    NEWS FLASH ???
    the battle rages on
    Feds vs. Feds

    <-nps photo

    --The scientific and bureaucratic battle among the federal agencies charged with protecting our trout continues.
    -- With such insightful phrases as " . . Hell in a hand basket . ." our paid public servants are bickering with one another about the Yellowstone Cutthroat. Listing of the fish as threatened or endangered seems to cause anything but reasoned discussion.
    -- It seems that fisher folk need to get involved.

    Thursday, May 18, 2006

    Yellowstone Rivers Turn Muddy

    unseasonable warmth hits the park

    -- Now is the time to check your "Dark Nymph" supply! The rivers on the west side of Yellowstone National Park are bank-full and running at discharge rates that exceed the average for the last six years.
    -- Even as far upstream as Black Sand Basin, the water is high and off-color. Iron Spring Creek is about to over-top its banks, and the Little Firehole, Firehole, Madison, and Gibbon are close.
    -- The 15 year average flow for the Firehole River, for this date, is right at 500 cfs. Today the river is running at just about double that!
    -- The 78 year average flow for the Madison River, for this date is about 850 cfs, at the last gauge in the park. Today it is just at 1,200 and climbing - as is the temperature.
    -- By the time the Madison river reaches the Kirby Ranch gauge near Camron, Montana is flowing at twice that vol.
    -- Even the campground meadow on the Gibbon is flooded. This is a good time to keep an eye on the river gauges, (links in the sidebar,) and the weather forcast. With only a week to go, it would take an extream cold spell of two or three days to slow the rivers.
    -- Be sure to have a good supply of dark, buggy, large nymphs for the opener on the west side of Yellowstone.


    Sunday, May 14, 2006


    Yellowstone Fish Revered
    point well taken !

    <--nps photo

    -- The comments that have been sent this way have been noted! Thank you for the responses. We feel that the "Westies" deserve the 'best' attention possible for their survival in Yellowstone. However, this is still just a partial win, and it seems that there are better ways to save West Slope Cutthroats than killing other Cutthroats.
    -- Take yourself to the NPS site below and express your opinion about how you feel that this rescue effort should be conducted.



    seldom used water

    <--nps photo

    --This 450 yard stretch of water is highly productive in spring and early summer. It is seldom fished, and yet is less than 1/2 mile from the road. This view is to the southwest and the river is the Firehole. It is flowing, at grade, across bed rock shoals and from left to right.
    -- At the upper left corner a gentle run is narrowed by bedrock outcrops as the river flows over some uniform riffles into a small but deep pool. Locally this is known as "Caddis Riffles," and the highly oxyegenated water dumps it's silt at the tail of the pool among some small boulders. Of course you know what to fish here. The pool is only about 125' long but is very productive.
    -- As the pool widens, it is interrupted by another outcroup which produces some turbulance, and then a 3' drop over the ledge into a long placid run. Locally this is known as the "Steamy Pool," because of the steam issuing from a hot spring on the east bank. This run is very placid and usually holds several bright fish in the early spring. Fish it deep and slow with a large Feather Duster or any large dark nymph of your choosing. If midges are out then use any small floater.
    -- At the placid tail of the pool, (mid ground - above,) the depth shoals to about 2' and on rainy or overcast days many large trout hang here and behave like 'gulpers' on a lake. These fish are hard to approach because of the open terrain. Sneak up on them and hit them with a short cast and any sort of soft hackle fly that has been soaked in flotant. Near the end of the drift, impart some action with a couple of very short strips of the line, (3 -6 inches at most.)
    -- As the pool narrows and begins it's big bend there is an undercut on the east bank. This is a very deep undercut and holds the largest fish in this stretch. Surprisingly, it is best fished from the east side as well. Because of the little eddy's, when fished from the west bank, the fly line is usually pulled to the mid stream current before flies can get to the depths of this little secret, (local fishers refer to this as the 'Dugout'.) Use a cast that piles the line at the edge of the bank, and 'back-strip', (feed the line out,) to give the nymphs a chance to sink. The little eddy's that pull the line, when cast from the west bank work to sink the line when cast from the east bank.
    -- The bend in the foreground is best fished from the conventional west bank. The boulder in mid-stream is usually jam packed with several good fish. If you can't take a fish here, you are doing something wrong - or - there is just one giant trout resting in the 'pillow' in front of the rock. If that is the case, keep sending Montana Dusters his way.
    -- As the bend in the foreground tails out, there is one more deep pool in the middle of a gentle run, (hidden by the trees,) that can hold some very large fish. This mid-stream hole often has midges or caddis on it during mid-day. Elk hair caddis in sizes up to 8 or even 6 work just befor lunch on these days.
    -- This is Pocket Basin, and it is just an easy walk across the northern end of Fountain Flat, (there is a narrow trail along the tree line.) You can also reach it by fishing down Nez Perce Creek from the Chief Joseph story board. The confluence of these two streams is often visited by visiting fishermen - only the locals seem to go upstream on the Firehole.

    -- Don't step in the quick sand, the hot spring runoff, or the gravel sections. Fish from the bank because the bedrock is as slimy as it gets!

    Yellowstone Rivers Rising

    get the drab nymphs ready

    <-- Yellowstone Badger

    -- After a brief four day cool spell the sun has come out to melt the snow in the high country and the rivers are speeding up, and gaining volume. On the 12th & 13th both the Madison River and the Firehole River were running at or below their seasonal averages. Today they are considerably higher, and rising.
    -- From here on in, until the opener on the 27th of May it's important to check the stream flows on a daily basis. The stream flow sites from the USGS are listed on the right in the 'links section.' This is a quick daily exercise, and will provide very useful information for opening day, and it's week end fishing.
    -- If the rivers continue to rise, and color, as it seems that they will; nymphs of a "buggy" nature and dark in color will be most productive. Many of the standard patterns will work fine: pheasant Tail, Hare's Ear, Prince, etc. in bead head or conventional styles.
    -- We've tied up a bunch of Yellowstone Duster's, Feather Duster's, & the Yellowstone Badger, (shown above.) The Yellowstone Badger is a very old and very local fly. This fly is a favorite of the 'crusty' old local fishermen in the region. It is used mostly in the spring and early summer on the upper Firehole River, and the Madison River, (from National Park Meadows to about 9-mile hole.) It is similar to both the pheasant Tail and Hare's Ear nymphs, and is very 'buggy' if tied with the correct hair.

    Recipe For Yellowstone Badger
    Tail: 5 or 6 very stiff pheasant tail fibers, (use the small stiff ones near the tip of the feather,) Rib: gold colored fine metal tinsel, Body: body hair from the jaw-line of a badger, (be sure to use mostly guard hairs with just a little bit of under hair,) Wing Case / Thorax: pheasant tail fibers mixed with badger hair and wrapped forward, then covered with additional pheasant tail fibers tied in and used as legs as well, Head: a bit of purple or red thread over black. Hooks: 8 - 18 heavy nymph hooks, 1 - 2 xl if desired. Pick out the dubbing and soak overnight before using. A wire or lead underbody may be used. Bead head variations have appeared in the last decade and work well. Fish this nymph in the dappled shadows of the banks and undercuts - dead drift in the slower holding water.

    Cuttthroat controversy

    Wednesday, May 10, 2006


    Yellowstone Cutthroats Sacrificed For Westslope Variety
    this all started with imported fish

    -- The National Park Service is going to poisen a small population of Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout in Specimen Creek and introduce West Slope Cutthroats into the stream.
    -- This action is being taken because Todd Koel, (Yellowstone's fisheries manager,) believes that: "We need to work proactively to restore westslope cutthroat to Yellowstone." He outlined his position to Scott McMillion in a Bozeman Daily Chronicle article on May, 09, 2006.
    -- Interestingly, this is the same justification that Yellowstone fisheries "experts" used for hatcheries in the park, introduction of von Behr Brown Trout into Yellowstone waters, introduction of McCloud River Rainbows into park waters, introduction of Loch Leaven Brown Trout into the park.
    -- These "experts" need to take a close look at just what they are doing. If it is justifiable to remove a native species from it's home range for any reason - then why is it not justifiable to remove introduced species and replace them with natives?
    -- Let's start with the Firehole River. The falls are a natural barrier and there were no fish above the falls before Yellowstone "experts" planted them there! Poisen the Firehole, get rid of the mud snails, introduce some westslope cutthroat and close it to fishing for 10 years!
    -- The so-called "environmentally sensitive" fly fishers would never stand for it. The so-called "environmentally sensitive" fly shops would never stand for it. Their true colors would show up instantly. They would rather catch foreign fish than restore and preserve native fish.
    -- Don't let Yellowstone "experts" fool you - they don't have the courage of their convictions any more than do the commercial purveyors of feathers and fluff. Money is more important to the merchants, and entertainment is more important to the fisher's, than are the native trout.

    Read More:
    Bozeman Daily Chronicle

    Sunday, May 07, 2006


    Lay In A Supply Of Different Patterns
    -- By now you should have decided which destination to aim for on opening day. This will affect the selection of flies that you have on hand, and the numbers of each. Generally the destination of choice for the Yellowstone fly fisher is a clear stream with some warm pools to encourage hatching of flies.
    -- Although the Firehole River is the most common destination for west-side fisher folks, there are other appealing locations as well. The Madison River and the Gibbon River are also potential targets, as is Nez Perce Creek.

    -- Although river flows are high, the melt has been dampened by cool weather and the increase in flows has not hurt much, (except the Madison below the West Fork.) The traditional advice is to have lots of streamers and nymphs for opening day in the high country.
    -- This means at least a couple of dozen of each of the following: (click on name for recipe)
    Yellow Spruce Fly / Yellowstone Winter Grub / Montana Duster (yellow) / Montana Duster (pink or salmon) / Prince Nymph (bead-head or otherwise) / Little Sinkers / Elk Hair Caddis / Yellowstone Cinch /
    Yellowstone Morning Glory.

    -- Fishing is still good for Rainbows in the tailwater fishery below Hebgan Dam, and at the edge of the ice on Hebgan Reservoir. Yse big streamers - they are after "groceries" this time of year.

    Check Stream Flows

    Thursday, May 04, 2006

    Yellowstone has aesthetic fishing


    -- There is no biological reason to believe that a barbless hook is going to increase the chances of a trout's survival. There is a public perception that it does. So; as noted previously, here, Yellowstone National Park has changed it's fishing regulations to require barbless hooks.
    -- As soon as the stiletto effect, (and it's deep infections,) becomes widely publicized; fly fishers, the public, and the powers at Yellowstone National Park will probably change the rules again.
    -- We'll keep you posted.
    Read More:
    Helena independent Record


    this native deserves some respect

    <--nps illustration

    -- As soon as the USFWS decided that there was no need to heed the advice of Yellowstone Park fisheries experts it became apparent that something had to be done. It has been. Even if the federal government fails to act on the advice of it's own experts, other sane people, groups, and organizations will.
    -- Listing, as endangered was recommended last year and first reported widely in the press. The responsible agencies ignored the warning. These are the same agencies that do not see whirling disease as a threat to native trout.
    -- Now the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Pacific Rivers Council announced they would challenge the USFWS's decision not to extend 'endangered species' protection to the cutthroats.

    Read More:
    Billings Gazette
    National Parks Traveler

    Tuesday, May 02, 2006


    newbies start here

    - For those of you that have been asking for advice about visiting Yellowstone National Park for the first time, here is a starter guide to Fly Fishing Yellowstone.
    -Yellowstone Fly Fishing can be intimidating. So much good water, and so many hatches, and so much advice can be a confusing thing for the first time visitor. For those of you that have been asking, here are the places to look to get you started.
    - The Total Yellowstone page is a commercial site that is almost current, and very extensive, but it is not a Fly Fishing site. It has some hatch charts for the various popular rivers. Click HERE to begin the newbies tour at the Total Yellowstone Page.
    - On the west side of Yellowstone National Park is a cluster of excellent fly fishing shops, each with an array of expertise and information. No other place offers the range of expertise in such a concentrated assemblage. Search these for fly fishing reports and other Yellowstone Park information:
    ----------- Eagle's Store: S.P. Eagle was the first licensed fly fishing guide in Yellowstone National Park. This family and store are legends in Yellowstone. The store is on the National Register Of Historic Places, and sits on the site of the original store that founded West Yellowstone. They will be celebrating 100 years of Yellowstone Fly Fishing in 2008!

    ----------- Jacklin's Fly Shop: run by world renowned fly tier and casting instructor Bob Jacklin. He got his start at Eagle's Store and has developed both an Idaho and Yellowstone following. Excellent guides abound in this little shop.
    ---------- Madison River Outfitters: 'MRO' to it's friends. This shop has continued to grow and develop a loyal following for those who fish the Madison River and other west side destinations.
    --------- Arrick's Fly Shop: attracts the younger crowd. This shop has an excellent supply of materials and equiptment and guides with expertise on some of the more popular west side destinations.
    -------- Bud Lilly's Trout Shop: A 50-year-old tradition established by Bud Lilly, who got his start at Eagle's Store. This is the traditional "first stop" in West Yellowstone, Montana. This shop has a staff that fishes and an excellent selection of local flies.
    -------- Blue Ribbon Flies: "Craig & Jackies Place" to it's friends. Don't expect to find this world famous fly tier in the shop on Thursdays; he'll be on the river(s) somewhere. Craig's vise has given us some of our favorite flies.
    - This should get you started if you enter Yellowstone National Park from West Yellowstone, the traditional hub of Yellowstone fly fishing.

    -There can be good fly fishing advice and information if you enter Yellowstone from the North.
    ----- George Anderson's Yellowstone Angler: is located in the paradise vally and has an excellent shop and very knowledgable guide staff.
    ----- Dan Bailey's Fly Shop: a pioneer in Yellowstone Fly Fishing, and a mandatory stop if you are anywhere near Livingston, Montana.
    =========>OR: for a change of pace try this:
    ------- Fly Fish Magazine: the view from outside.


    so far - a gentle melt



    -- So far the weather has been excellent for the fly fisherman. Only a little color in the downstream sections of the Madison River and the Gallatin River. There have been no warm - torrential down-pours, no warm and drippy drizzles, and early hatches have been prolific. The stream flows have been a bit higher than normal, but the gentle rise in water levels has been slow and steady.
    -- With just 24 days until Fly Fishing in Yellowstone opens the outlook is favorable for a productive early season. Fly fishers fly boxes should be organized by now, or within the next week, or so. If you haven't been fishing outside of Yellowstone, it's time to get the gear together too. Lunch, a flask, and a slicker should be planned for.
    -- The tailwater fishery between Hebgan dam and Quake Lake is fishing very good. Access is almost easy, and there are still a few spawners hanging around. Mostly Rainbows, and they are eating rubber legs, and Montana Dusters, (see below,) in pink and salmon.

    Montana Duster

    Click For Recipe

    Good spots for opening day will be posted starting next week - weather & water considered!

    Monday, May 01, 2006