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  • Monday, July 17, 2006


    yellowstone river report
    Good & Fishy
    Secret Sources

    .. The Middle Yellowstone River opened to the standard throng of visitors and well wishers. Fishing was good and the day was hot - so too was Sunday. Everything worked and many fish were caught. There is a little known evening hatch of Caddis happening around Buffalo Ford. It starts late, (7:00 - 7:30 PM,) and goes to dark - size 14 - 16. The floating nymphs seem to be the ticket right now, and you have to "hit 'em in the nose." It was good to see some 10" - 14" fish taken, along with some real bruisers in the 18" - 20" range. The recruitment has been low in the last few years, and there is a size difference in the population that indicates that recovery will continue to be slow. We visited but didn't fish this weekend - maybe next week.
    .. There are several fishy places right now:
    Madison River from Barns Holes to 7-mile bridge - caddis in the evening, dark gray Casual Dress in mid-day. Use a size 16 dark caddis for fish that are rising; swing the size 6 - 10 Casual Dress through good holding water, (pillow water in front of rocks - and the shade of the banks.) A slight twitch just before it begins to rise through the water column is useful.
    Madison River at 9-mile hole and in National Park Meadow is showing signs of Flav & Gray Drake activity. This might be the week.
    Gallatin River is fishing in peak form. This will warm up quickly, so now is the time. The grasshoppers have not been seen, but the fish are taking grasshopper flies - go figure. The big bends around mile post 17 - 19 have good fish in the undercut banks, or in mid current if the shadows extend that far. Sneaking is recommended. Small Yellowstone Sally or Yellow Humpy flies will turn the trick right now. (If you tie your own - a local variant on the Humpy is to use extra large furnace hackle.)
    Fan Creek is still running cold and there are good fish to be had from it's confluence with the Gallatin clear up through the first willow meadow. If you take the trail through the woods past the first meadow be sure to have both bug and bear spray. Hare's Ear, Prince, and other nymphs in sizes 12 - 16 will be the ticket here. Cut the wing off of a small Elk Hair Caddis and drown it - works wonders.
    Duck Creek is still lightly fished and producing hungry fish. Enough said.
    The canyon & riffle-run sections of the Gibbon River are solidly in their summer pattern. Nymphs in the daylight, caddis at night will work fine. The meadows, (Elk & Gibbon,) have some spotty late PMD action before noon, but the evening caddis, (mosquito, fly,) hatch is a better bet. The Grayling water above the campground is getting low and even the Brookies are spooky. Take the time to watch the water before you cast - you only get one shot.
    The Bechler Region is experiencing an early influx of visitors. Several have been carried home by the mosquito's to feed their children. Rumor has it that the hazards are worth it. We'll wait till the fall.
    ..Hebgan Lake is showing some gulper action. Late evening or early morning. Small flies with a bit of orange or white is the report. Fish close to shore from your tube. The estuary at the South Fork is doing well, as is the beach at Spring Creek. Further up toward The Firehole Ranch fish it in the willows and the drowned timber snags.
    .. For those of you that want to keep up to date on the happenings around the west side of Yellowstone Park, check out the Upper Valley Free Press. It has a gateway communityy section, some nice Yellowstone maps, and a slightly dated fishing page.
    .. Summer fishing in Yellowstone becomes one of two things. It's either highly technical and requires stealth, superb casting, and precise dry fly patterns; or it's time for the "FUN FLIES." These are searching flies that will bring fish to them without too much finesse. This kind of fishing just requires that you be able to discern the good holding water in any given river segment. This, second type of fishing, also requires that you like to stroll along the less visited "glory waters" and enjoy the scenery.
    Below are the flies we use starting this time of year. They are not particularly fancy, or technical. They gather up fish and are easy to tie.

    .. Big Wing Sparkle Caddis: The name says it all. The head is a bit of peacock herl and that's it. Fish it when you need something that floats high and needs to be seen. We use to tie it with angora goat but this works just as good - or better. (sizes 8 - 14.)

    .. Chironomid: (or so we've been told.) Just some stiff hackle for the tail, a body of stripped peacock herl, a ball of fuzzy light hare's mask, wing case of pheasant tail. Float it for gulpers, sink it for fun. (Sizes 12 - 20.)

    .. Foamie, (foamy?): Just your standard foam beetle. Pick your color for the visibility. (any size you like - we use 10 - 10.)

    .. Hornberg: Nothing fancy here. We glue the tips of the feathers together, use hackle that is too big, and let it float - sometimes on it's side. It works as a hopper, or as a caddis, or as a small streamer. (Sizes 4 - 12.)

    .. Little Mite: Pheasant rump fibers for the tail, pheasant fiber body, peacock thorax, pheasant tail wing case and legs, (Sort of an abbreviated pheasant tail.) Don't wrap it too tight. Red thread for the head seems to work best. (Sizes 14 - 18.)

    .. Little Wing: This has several 'official names' but they all do something fancy with the instructions or ingredients. This is just a mix of red and gold antron with mallard stubs on the sides. A bit of silver antron for the head. (Sizes 12 - 18.)

    .. Rainey's Hopper: (We hope that's correct.) We buy these by the handful. They are the right size and shape for our first invasion of hoppers - any week now. (Sizes 8 - 16.)

    West Slope Cutthroat Restoration