• Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Visit: Montana Cowgirl
  • Wednesday, August 16, 2006

    Of Hot Rods And Fly Fishing

    mini rant
    lake reports
    river reports
    bloggs of note

    .. The oldest Rod Run in the Northern Rockies came to town last week. 39 years straight; a sight to behold. Over 350 cars and their attendant occupants and their trailers, and their social milieu.
    .. The cars are cartoons of what a Hot Rod was in the 40's and 50's. We know this because we lived it in SoCal, and busted knuckles with the best of them.
    .. They are better than we ever dreamed. They are painted! They are comfortable. They have engendered a social fabric that is paramount to the activity. In so many ways they reminded us of Fly Fishing. In so many ways they are cars that are not the rods that we had. The technology is so different. Incorporating disk brakes, power steering, power windows, air conditioning, computerized engines, cruise control, and a myriad of innovations that were barely dreamed of 70 years ago; they are functionally and conceptually different than our old cars.
    .. Today fly fishing is a cartoon of the activity of the same bygone era. We never distinguished fishing with a fly as different from fishing with other things.
    .. In those, bygone days, a person went fishing - period. They took a couple of rods, (fly and spinning - or casting,) and used what was appropriate. The social milieu that demanded the distinction was in it's infancy. There were still metal rods, and people used them! There was an egalitarianism about fishing that allowed this to happen.
    .. There was a simplicity to the activity. A fisher used what ever worked. Worms and bullheads, and crawdads on a fly "pole" were not surprising. Bamboo was used if you couldn't get a new glass rod. And, if you could, you were lucky and smart.
    .. Today, the modern fly fisher is encumbered with concepts and situations far removed from those days. Boron, Graphite, Fiberglass, Bamboo, are some of the materials used for the rods. Some are hollow, some are filled with foam, some have metal ferrules, some are self ferruled. And, BY GOLLY, a return to 19th century snobbery has appeared in large doses.
    .. The social impedimenta of fly fishing is staggering. The right stuff means more than just the right stuff. Whose name is on your fly? Whose name is on your waders? Whose fly shop do you frequent? What rivers do you fish? What Fish do you catch? And on it goes.
    .. Of course it's not all bad. Air conditioning would have been wonderful in our old Hot Rods - but it was expensive and robbed horsepower. Mesh vests are certainly cooler than full vests - but they demand that you fill the pockets.
    .. And the technology today is producing the best fly rods - EVER! The bamboo rods of today far surpass most of the rods built by the "masters" of old. We have a highly coveted Gillam, and a Young, and some of Eustes Edwards finest. They get fished because it does something for our head and heart. But the truth of the matter is, our Howell's, our Moon's, and our other contemporary rods are much better - in every way. Hooks are better, leaders are better, and contemporary silk lines, (should you choose them,) are better.
    .. Nostalgia demands that we lament the passing of the authentic Hot Rod. We also miss the simplicity of just fishing. But, if we have to, we will go "FLY FISHING."

    .. Protect Your Waters lets us know that flying pigs can hurt stream banks as well as other parts of the environment. Read The whole story. They also advise us that a Tilapa was pulled from the Monongahela River. The tropics are moving north?

    .. The trout are moving away from the shallows on Yellowstone Lake. If you are seeking them from the shore, the early morning and late evening are your best bet, (particularly around Mary's Bay.) Use a yellow Wooly Worm, (size 8 - 10,) ahead of a size 12 or 14 Prince Nymph for best generalized results. The estuary in the South Arm where the Yellowstone River enters Yellowstone Lake does have an abundance of 20" fish. The canoe and no-wake regulations are strictly enforced in this region. Fish to the visible hatch, or use a small caddis, (size 12 -14.)
    .. Hebgen Lake is at it's peak for gulper fishing. The "wolf packs" are forming and the slurping and gulping can be heard for miles, (well yards anyway!) The best bet for success is to use your favorite calibaetis in front of a pheasant tail. Grease up the line and leader to the floater and cast 20' ahead of the fish. Watch closely and have patience. Let all of them have a look.

    .. The Gallatin River is very low, and the fish are bunching up in the best holding water, and in the shade of undercut banks. This is the time to "Walkalittle - Fishalittle." The deep bends, deep pockets, and deep bank pools are the place to fish. This is like hunting, and remember; if you can see them . . . . Hoppers or Caddis on top, (sizes 10 -16,) and Hare's Ears, Prince Nymphs, and Rock Worms underneath, (sizes to 20.) Make your first cast a bit further upstream than you think is necessary. If you are shooting 20' of line you are too far away.
    .. As mentioned last Sunday, the Gardiner River is an excellent bet this time of year. From Mammoth to the Park Line is excellent, and the only problem is safe parking.
    .. Slough Creek is fully populated by fisher folk and still producing good sized fish. This is definitely hunting. You get just one cast, and the fish will visit your fly with the cautious curiosity of a freshman cheerleader. Remember? Go gently! Use Dave's or Rainey's Hopper followed by a Prince Nymph. No splashing allowed unless the wind is up.
    .. Cache Creek is mentioned in this week's fishing report from Blue Ribbon Flies. Wish we'd thought of it first. It's a gentle walk and we fished it too early this year.

    .. MidCurrent has a new look! It's clean and very user friendly - the picture loads quickly too - how do they do that? We visit them about once a day. Periodically we return to a piece by Paul Schullery on Imperialist Trout. It's uncomfortable if you bother to think about it.
    .. The Grist Blog suggests a novel approach to conservation - enforce the law - duh! The article "Not even a slap on the wrist" is also uncomfortable.
    .. As promised, the Orange County Register has discovered West Yellowstone. Maybe we'll visit nirvana someday.
    .. Even Chester Allen from The Olympian visits Yellowstone. He describes a typical trip to Slough Creek in his note about his favorite place.
    .. Tom & Friends over at TroutUnderground have been 'grandslamming' through the Upper Sac. Our neighbor Craig Mathews gave away the secret spot for the Yellowstone Grand Slam in this week's fishing report, (there are 4 fish in this grand slam - perhaps a few more invasive species should work their way west for Tom.) Maybe on his trip to Maine he could stop off and check out the Gardiner River.