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  • Sunday, May 14, 2006


    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!

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