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  • Friday, August 18, 2006


    our fickle weather

    swami stillwater says
    some good river reports
    excellent advice from afar
    Exceptional Places To Stay

    .. This time of year in Yellowstone Country we experience highly variable weather. In the last three days the temperature has seen 24 degrees and 83 degrees.
    .. Our "dog days" come in bunches; punctuated by hints of Fall. This produces some interesting fishing conditions and both the trout and the bugs behave capriciously.
    .. The Yellowstone Plateau produces weather as well as experiences weather. As air movements approach us they are modified by the Rocky Mountains and the vast plateau. Storms come and go like a hooker on a street corner - you just never know when they'll appear.
    .. Fishing weather can be perfect on the Gallatin River and hail storms may be flogging the Lamar River, Soda Butte Creek, and Slough Creek. Or, you may spend a glorious evening on the Gardiner River and experience snow flurries on Swan Lake Flats.
    .. To make matters more interesting we are approaching the end of our predictable friends - the Caddis Fly. Granted, they hatch all year, but the dependability of using a caddis imitation is drawing to a close. Perhaps we will have two or three more weeks - then bingo, it's time to pay closer attention to the bugs. Hopper dependability will end about the same time, (or maybe sooner,) depending on the weather.
    .. Warm weather and warm water produce fishing challenges that can be successfully addressed, (SEE BLOGS OF NOTE BELOW,) and the results can be rewarding. Despite several myths - fish got'a eat, big fish don't evaporate, & fishing becomes more important than catching.

    . . Our fishing guru Swami Stillwater advises us to take our own advice and fish the places where the fish are. Smart fellow is old Stillwater. He failed, bless his heart, to tell us where - exactly - that is.
    .. Happily the neighbors are fishing too and we have some insight into the location of the slippery little devils. We dashed, (crawled through the Motor Homes towing Hummer's, RV's, Harley's, Camper Trailers, and fender-benders,) up to Obsidian Creek and caught a few congenial Brookies.
    .. It was pleasant, and we got far enough from the road that we almost could believe that Yellowstone was a wilderness. The low clouds and cool breezes that blew in around noon helped. (P.S. good weather links in the sidebar.)
    .. The willing takers were all after ants and beetles. We used some size 10's and did just fine.
    .. The folks around the bend, (shown above,) were using floating Feather Dusters and Adams in size 8 and 10. Seems that the dog days haven't hit Obsidian Creek as hard as elsewhere. Surprisingly, there were only five fishers on the river for the 6 hours that we were there. This is not a secret place - what gives?

    .. Slough Creek is fishing exceptionally well right now. All three meadows and the section below the nasty old parking area are responding to terrestrials. If you can get there - DO IT!
    .. Crowded as it is, Soda Butte Creek is just going nuts. The water is low, the fish are bunched up and eager, and there is very little technical expertise necessary. Humpies, Caddis, Wulffs, hoppers, beetles, foamies, etc. Keep it small or medium sized, (10' & 12's & 14's,) and don't be too sloppy. Good times will end soon.
    .. The Bechler River, Falls River, & Boundary are just as hot. Any thing that floats will bring a fish to the net. There are reports, (exaggeration?) that the fish are jumping into waders to avoid the mosquitoes. Happily, the cool nights have put down the fanged flies that were causing anemia. Try "X-Caddis" if your favorites don't work, and the hoppers are smallish this year, use sizes 10 - 14 for best results. Right now you can drop the dropper.
    .. The Gallatin River is still steady, (in the holding water with oxygen and shade.) Fish the riffles at daybreak and you may be surprised at the monsters in 10" of water. Use light-colored Elk Hair Caddis, (or your favorite spruce moth imitation,) or spinners, or beetles in sizes 14 - 18. Although the cool mornings encourage anglers to have a second cup of coffee, this early morning fishing can be very rewarding. The larger fish will retreat to the cool holding water about one hour after the sun hits the water. Our neighbors at MRO have been taking advantage of this excellent fishing. Their fishing report contains some fine pictures and good tips.
    .. There are mixed reports from the Yellowstone River. Even the best reports are pale compared to years past, and 'crisis' may be too strong, but it aint what it used to be - sad! If you must fish the Yellowstone River, fish in the morning and watch for rising fish. Go down stream and use a seine. There is still an abundant bug population and it pays to have some insight. Spinners, (size 16 -18,) are a good bet - as are small beetles. The spotty hatches of Gray Drakes, (16 -20? seems a bit small to us - but we trust the report,) can be exceptional if you bump into them.

    .. One tends to wonder why invasive species on the Great Lakes is important to Rocky Mountain fly fishing. It's simple. The Chicago river had it's flow reversed and now drains to the Mississippi River system. The Missippi is fed by the Yellowstone/Missouri/Gunnison/etc. Fishers use the lakes and streams in the same day. The crittiers are carried upstream by us!
    ++ Why aren't the Canadian Feds Protecting Lake Erie?
    ++ Increased Shipping - Increased Invasive Species.
    ++ The ethics of blood sports & invasive species.

    .. Good advice is good advice - period. From the far reaches of the Great Smoky Mountains comes some hot weather fishing tips that are useful right here & right now. R&R Fly Fishing has some good tips for how to do it when the dog days hit. Thanks to the TroutUnderground for the heads up.
    .. Growing pains have hit Fishing Jones. Watch for the new site at: http://www.fishingjones.com/. It looks good.
    .. Ranger Gord tells us why mom was right!
    .. Much of the best fishing in Yellowstone is a bit farther from the road than our old legs will carry us. We did it in the past, and the fishing can be spectacular. National Parks Traveler tells us of a new trail guide that will help the young of leg.
    .. Posting videos is in. Moldy Chum lets us know about a few of them: Wyoming Fly Fishing, Norway Fishing Video, Argentina Sea Trout. Since our photo skills are limited we may try the new waterproof camera that they told us about.
    .. You'll be pleased to note that Glacier To Yellowstone, a pretty good commercial site about Montana Fly Fishing has re-returned to it's blog - flyfishingupdate.com. It's New & Still Raw, and IT'S GREEN! We'll watch this one. They must have hired some more staff.
    .. We recently posted a note about the need for early reservations for your Fall fishing adventure in Yellowstone country. It's getting a bit late to find fisher-friendly places to stay, however in addition to the lodging mentioned in the previous post there are two others that may be able to accommodate you.

    .. Cabins West is a large lodge suitable for groups of fishing buddies. It has six bedrooms and a sleeping loft - AND - storage for fishing gear.

    .. Two Feathers Cabin is a little smaller & can accommodate up to 6 fisher folks. If you hurry, you may not have to stay at the Holiday Inn where waders are frowned upon!