• PARTNER: PROTECT YOUR WATERS
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  • Friday, July 14, 2006

    MIDDLE YELLOWSTONE RIVER OPENS

    mud snails
    Catch & Release
    CUTTHROAT TROUT
    Wallpaper 4 U
    HINTS AND FLIES
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    Distribution Of New Zealand Mud Snails



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    .. There can be little doubt that the New Zealand Mud Snail is being carried to trout waters by trout fisherfolks. The distribution map above shows the current places of infestation in and around Yellowstone National Park. A similar map of some premier fly waters in California is shown Here.
    .. Do not doubt for a moment that this insidious little beast is coming to a stream near you. It will eat all the mayflies, provide no nutritional value to trout, and mutate at a rapid pace. It has already proven that it can do these things. If, during wading, you squish and kill 10,000 of the little demons; their very guts will live in the damp seams of your boots and the spore will propagate in the next water that you enter!
    .. The threat is real. We mention it here because it has not yet been found in the Yellowstone River drainage. If you follow recommended prophylactic procedures it may be possible to slow the spread. Please become familiar with the problem and the preventive measures: YELLOWSTONE PARK, PROTECT YOUR WATERS, MSU I, MSU II, ST. VRAIN ANGLER, EnvironMental, DFG CALIFORNIA.
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    .. The Yellowstone River Sections that open to fishing tomorrow are the home of a native Cutthroat population that is dwindling from: the introduction of Lake Trout, recent low stream flows, recent high temperatures, environmental degradation, very high fishing pressure. Today the stream flow is already 1,000 fps below the 76 year mean .
    .. We are going over to the Yellowstone River tomorrow - we are not going to fish. We urge you to be especially careful with the fish that you catch. This river section has tons and tons and tons of food. The remaining large fish are healthy and growing rapidly. Please be aware of the effects of catch & release fishing techniques. Check out GORP for catching & releasing trout.
    ..The fishing should be good tomorrow. Enjoy it and help it to recover to great.
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    .. Yellowstone & West Slope Trout are under the gun from all sides. They were first described on about this very date 200 years ago, (HERE & HERE.) They disappear through hybridization, habitat degradation, competition from introduced exotic species, and over-fishing. They are remnants of the first "in-migration" of the trouts of 60,000,000 years ago and are a precious resource.
    .. These fish are listed as species of "Special Concern," (West Slope Cutthroat, Yellowstone Cutthroat.) The Lake Trout Crises has been well documented for Yellowstone. The ecology and mechanisms of replacement and extinction are just now becoming known, as detailed by Paul Schullery and John D. Varley.
    "When white settlers first began colonizing the western United States there were probably 14 subspecies of cutthroat trout (Onchorhynchus clarki spp.) in various levels of abundance (Behnke 1979). After several centuries of civilized "progress," two subspecies are extinct and eight of the remaining groups are listed by the American Fisheries Society (1989) as endangered, threatened, or of special concern."
    .. Knowing these very special fish will certainly enhance your fishing experience tomorrow when the Middle Yellowstone River opens.
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    .. A pair of excellent web resources have brought forth desk top backgrounds for your monitor. Jason Neuswanger at TroutNut.com, has a series of excellent fishing related wall papers that are scalable to your resolution. He has also provided us with a common-name to scientific-name translation of most mayflies.
    .. Tom Chandler at the TroutUnderground has provided a bit of scenery from the Upper Sac that should nicely dress up your monitor.
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    .. Slough Creek is still fishing like the story book river that it is. Check out The Friends Of Slough Creek for recent fishing & non-fishing developments. Go to Montana Fly Fisherman for general trip planning in this area. There are some details about the camping regulations that may affect you.
    ..Right now you will need your favorite PMD's and Caddis patterns in the river sections above the campground & in the meadows. Cripples and emergers are also working if you are an early-riser, like the fish. There are invading Rainbow Trout in the river and the meadow sections. We, (and the NPS,) urge you to kill them - IF YOU ARE SURE OF THE IDENTIFICATION! The rapid hybridization of this fishery will certainly degrade the experience. Slough Creek needs your help.
    ..If you choose to fish the flats or the road use the same flies on top, and the Yellowstone Sally or Casual Dress for bigger fish in the riffles and runs. There are still stoneflies working in these sections. Evening is the time for "The Bite," mosquitoes, flies, and fish are all hungry at the moment.
    .. The Madison River may just be ready too. Prolific hatches of caddis are appearing around Mt. Haynes, 9-mile hole, and 7-mile bridge in the evenings. Sizes 12 - 18 seem to be the range for at least three different species. Early morning is productive, but hold off for a week before the mayflies start.
    .. Soda Butte Creek at the confluence meadows with the Lamar River is producing 14", (yes that is big for this section,) Cutts. They are taking olive Wooly Buggers in size 10 -12, and prince nymphs in sizes 12 -16. These are fish that behave like lake dwelling trout. They move in pods, they seek water conditions that are food producing. Fish hard and fast in this section and even in the adjacent sections of the Lamar River. You will be rewarded.
    .. All of the traditional "Good Spots"on the Yellowstone River will be occupied tomorrow. The long riffle and run section above Chittendon Bridge is usually excellent, lightly fished, and is best accessed if you cross the bridge and then walk upstream on the eastern side of thr river. Read the regulations carefully for the short closure in this area. There should be stoneflies, there should be good fish. The farther you walk, the better the fishing and the bigger the fish. Watch for isolated pools of dark water - ignore the automobile traffic noise.
    .. The Alum Creek area is producing good hatches of Midges and some early Trico's. There are also Golden Stoneflies in this section, observe the closure in this area and fish the downstream stretches. You can see the waters mixing - guess where to fish?
    .. The rapid water above and below LeHardy Rapids also is a brood area for the stoneflies. There is a 100 yard closure on eather side of the rapids that is clearly marked - observe it, you will miss nothing and the fish will get a well deserved rest.
    .. If you choose to brave the deeper water sections near Sulfer Cauldron, Mud Volcano, or Buffalo Ford be very careful. The water conditions are perfect for quicksand. Fish stoneflies in the quick sections, floating nymphs, cripples, and emergers in the various separate stream-flows within the big water. Be able to cast accurately, mend properly, wait patiently, and see sharply. These fish will be taking your first perfect cast - don't count on a second cast after Wednesday.
    .. The Gallatin River has dropped and warmed significantly in the last two days. Take a few boxes full of your favorite mayflies. Hunt the flies. You will find them piled up on your windshield. From dawn to dusk, right now, this is the best way to find a hatch.
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    Follow these folks to the Yellowstone River.