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  • Tuesday, June 06, 2006

    Firehole River Hints

    There Are Less Used Places
    check out these

    -- As fishing on the Firehole River in Yellowstone National Park progresses into the season it becomes crowded and, in places, elbow to elbow.
    -- People often ask about secret places that hold fish and can be fished in less crowded circumstances. Truth-be-told, there are no secret places. The Firehole is well known, short, and celebrated in many books and articles. There are, however, places that hold good fish, in good numbers, that get fished less than other places.
    -- Here are a few places where you can gather in good fish and probably have long stretches of the river to yourself -- relatively speaking.

    <-- Ouzel Falls. Before we knew that the American Dipper was not the Water Ouzel of Europe we called this place Ouzel Falls.
    --It's really not a waterfall, and it's inhabited year 'round by American Dippers. This bit of rapid water is coming to be referred to as "Dipper Cliff," which is a more appropriate name. Here the Firehole River cascades over some bedrock and forms two nice pools.
    -- The pool above the rapids is really a rather long run with a rocky bottom that harbors at least three kinds of Stoneflies. Today the large salmonflies are emerging. For the next two weeks or so there will also be an emergence of little yellow stoneflies. The trout in this section will take nymphs up to size 4 with vigor. The drawbacks to this stretch at the lower end of the upper Firehole Canyon are poor parking, traffic at streamside, and the real possibility of hooking a tour bus with your back cast.
    -- The pool below the rapids is a long gentle run that also holds fish and occasionally will provide excellent dry fly fishing to a late evening caddis hatch. Both pools are neglected by contemporary fisherfolk because of the traffic and lack of safe parking. If you are willing to walk a bit along the side of the road, and endure the sounds of continuous motor vehicles there is good fishing to be had here.

    <-- Elk Island Pool. This pool is at the very lower end of the upper Firehole River Canyon. The river exits this pool over the upper Firehole Falls. There is a parking area here and a NPS sign that announces "Fly Fishing Only."
    -- There are some good hatches of caddis here, and the trout will also rise to dry flies during the sparse hatches of mayflies during the season. Most local anglers pause in the parking area and watch the pool for rising fish before moving upstream to the meadow sections of the Firehole. The pool is slick and deep and harbors some large fish, as well as many fish in the 8" - 14" range. The disadvantages to this pool are the same as for the stretch mentioned above.

    <-- Nez Perce Creek. The last 1/2 mile of Nez Perce Creek fishes just like the Firehole, into which it debauches.
    -- This bit of water may be accessed either at the picnic area, or from the pull-out at the Chief Joseph Story Board. Currently it is experiencing an early morning hatch of PMD's followed by Baetis, and the ubiquitous caddis. The woods on either side of the creek are damp, and the mosquitoes are fierce. On the south side of the creek, in the woods is a small pond that occasionally holds giant trout that get trapped from the spring floods - or grow large because they are not fished over. The fish population is primarily a nursery population until mid July when trout migrate up and out of the warming Firehole.
    -- The Yellowstone fishing experience on the Firehole River is enhanced by the grand vistas, steaming thermal features, and other bits of the environment. These three bits of water do not scream Yellowstone, and perhaps that is why they are less used.