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  • Monday, July 10, 2006

    FISHING IS AWESOME, (as 'they' say.)

    silly trout,
    Silly Fisherfolks,
    .. Traveled north on Highway 191 on the way to the Gallatin River for some afternoon delight. We paused just inside Yellowstone National Park and watched some folks on upper Grayling Creek. They were hooked up, so we observed the fun. When they saw us, they came over and we visited for a bit. They were taking pretty fish, (Brook Trout & Rainbow Trout to 10",) on ants and beetles. We decided to stop and try it out.

    .. The little meadows, short riffles, and dainty pools in this section of Grayling Creek are a nursery fishery, and they are full of fish this year: we took fish to 8" on foam beetles.
    .. After fishing for an hour we then continued over the divide, passed "Divide Lake," (which still has some water in it,) and paused in the full parking lot at the Fawn Pass pull-out. There were just too many folks around for us to fish in the willows so we continued down stream.
    .. We stopped at a convenient wide spot and walked to the Gallatin River. The grass is still green and the clouds promised an evening shower. We put on our favorite Caddis flies and got skunked for about two hours and two pull-outs, (yes there were rising fish.) We drove all the way to "Snowflake Springs" and turned around. There were several folks on the river and they were hooked up.
    .. As the clouds lowered, we paused at a wide spot to ask some anglers what was going on. They were Bozeman residents and had taken some nice fish on hoppers. "HOPPERS???" But it's just the first week in July, and the grass is bright green. "Yup, dummy, hoppers."

    .. So we tied on the only hopper that had sneaked into the box and walked down to the river. We caught eager Rainbows and Hybrids until we broke off the only hopper we had, and the clouds fulfilled their promise.
    .. The biggest fish was a 13" Rainbow, but the prettiest was a 10" hybrid with a back that looked like a wet, dark green, emerald. We haven't seen that color since we fished the upper Lochsaw in Idaho, 10 years ago.
    .. The fish may have been taking the hopper for a giant caddis; who knows? We saw no hoppers, and haven't heard any reports; though that time is sneaking up on us. We stopped once more on the way home to visit with some neighbors. They too had heard the hopper story, and had more of that sort of fly than we did. They were going to wait out the storm and fish some more.

    <- Gallatin at mile 24: pool, bend, riffle; all produced fish on a hopper.

    Photo courtesy of BigSkyFishing.com

    .. It's time to prepare some fly boxes for the Yellowstone River opening this coming weekend: Marcella's Trout Fly, Sofa Pillow, and Giant Caddis for the optimists. Some Midge, Ant, and Hopper patterns would be in order too. Our favorite searching fly is a Scarlet Humpy. Pick your favorite may fly pattern for matching the hatch. Flav, Gray Drake, and Pink Lady imitations should be included. Don't forget an extensive assortment of nymphs in all sizes. A few streamers wouldn't hurt either.
    .. Heart Lake is still doing well, and the bears are still there. Please leave the spawners alone, even if you are outside the 'no-fish-zone.'
    .. Greebe Lake is wonderful, the meadow is dry, and the grayling are changing their color from irridescent purple to tinfoil-gray. Scuds, midges, caddis, Montana Duster, and Yellowstone Morning Glory flies should continue to work.
    .. The Madison River at the Barns Holes have sprouted a giant crop of Hare's Ear-eating Whitefish. There are a few big Rainbows eating the same thing. This may be the signal that Tricos are about to happen. We'll watch this carefully.
    .. The Gallatin River has fully cleared and come into its own. There are still fish taking big, (size 4 - 8,) nymphs. The Little Golden and Yellow Stoneflies are still present in some of the stretches both above and below the falls. We missed a dense caddis hatch over the weekend in the upper sections of the canyon. This will continue to happen for the next 2 -3 weeks.

    SECOND HAND, (but trusted,) information:
    .. Iron Spring Creek has a good Caddis hatch in the evenings, (6:30ish,) with Brown Trout to 14" freely rising to floating nymphs.
    .. Moose Creek & Elk Creek, (beyond upper Shoshone Lake trail,) is producing 16" hybrids.
    .. Boundary & Bechler are producing mosquitoes the size of Condors. Take lots of DEET and catch some nice 14" Brookies, and a few 16" Rainbows.
    .. Yellowstone Lake is fishing very well near Arnica Creek. Small streamers, wooly buggers, and large floating nymphs are taking Cutthroat to 18". There are rumors of a Cutthroat larger than two feet stalking the yachts in the Bridge Bay Marina.