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  • Sunday, August 13, 2006


    good jobs
    good fishing
    good weather
    tough choices


    .. The weather has been cooperative. This is good because the fish have begun to cooperate less. This is not to say that the fishing is bad, just that it has settled into the calm before the Fall feeding frenzy.
    .. Although we have had sunny days, the evenings have been cool, (it was 30 F last night.) The cloud cover and widely scattered afternoon thundershowers have combined to make the afternoon and evening fishing successful for those willing to watch the river and hunt for the fishes.
    .. The Firehole River has increased flows, all other rivers are down below their seasonal average, and the holding water is very apparent.
    .. This is the time of year, when the Summer weather pattern gives way to the Fall weather pattern and all the hatch charts go out the window. The bugs will be picking their days carefully now, and the fisher folk should be picking their bugs carefully - except for hoppers and caddis.

    .. Last month, Wild Bill Schneider at NewWest listed some interesting jobs that sounded too good to be true. Get Paid To: take a fishing vacation, test fishing gear, etc. The full article can be found HERE. There is also an article about hazing sea lions on the Rogue River in yesterday's post.
    .. The Manufacturing Center has a note about "How Grand Prix technology drives fly fishing."
    .. Montana is still in a drought and is still demanding that Wyoming release water to maintain stream flows. This has become an annual occurrence: LINK.
    .. The Conteplative Angler reminds us of the 2" rule; particularly apropos of this time of year.

    .. The folks at "Protect Your Waters" remind us that invasive species alter their habitat to make the environment more suitable to themselves. A University of Michigan Report details the complex processes that affect the changing habitats.
    .. Many of the fish we enjoy are invasive species. An abstract of the Ecological Society of America in Ecological Applications details the competition between Cutthroat Trout & invasive Brook Trout.
    ..The debate about preservation / restoration / enhancement is heating up again in Yellowstone. The tough choices facing managers revolve around the elimination of invasive species, (such as Brown Trout & Brook Trout,) and the restoration of streams to some previous state of grace.
    ..Did you know that the Firehole River for it's entire length, (save for the 1/4 mile as it joins the Gibbon River to form the Madison River,) was devoid of fish before Yellowstone managers planted trout? So, too, was the Gibbon River, above Gibbon Falls, (save - perhaps - for fluvial Grayling.)
    .. If you are so inclined to contact your state agency that deals with invasive species - such as New Zealand Mud Snails, Zebra Mussels, or the like - Protect Your Waters has produced a state-by-state list in PDF format.

    .. The reduced heat, due to overcast afternoons has brought out the bugs and the fisher folks. The rivers are in great shape, (and a bit low for this time of year.)
    .. Gallatin River: terrestrials and attractors are the key for the next week or so. Use the Hopper-Dropper combo of your choice and you should do well. Hoppers = size 10 - 12, (a big Caddis, Humpy, or a floating olive Wooly Worm will do.) Droppers = size 14 - 18 Hare's Ear, Prince, bead-head Caddis, or Pheasant Tail.
    .. As we mentioned last week, the Lewis River was about to POP - it has! There are fish between Shoshone Lake & Lewis Lake. There are also lots of Brookies & a few Cutts along the road just eager to eat your offerings. For the section between the lakes use small, (sizes 14 - 18,) Mayflies and appropriate nymphs. Spinners and caddis in the evening. For the road section use Humpies, Ants, Moths, and Royal Wulff - sizes 12 - 16.
    .. The Bechler, Boundry, & Falls Rivers are just beginning their 'desirable' phase - now that a frost has slowed down the man-eating bugs. Right now the fishing pressure is low and generalized Mayflies in the morning, (sizes 12 - 16,) will work. Terrestrials and Caddis in the evening.
    .. The Madison River from Baker's Hole, (outside the Park,) through the Barns Holes, to 7-mile Bridge has small Mayflies, (sizes 14 - 18,) hatching at about 3:00 - 4:00 PM. The evening from 7:30 until dark-thirty is productive with single Hoppers, Caddis, and small spinners.
    .. Green Drakes have made their first appearance on Slough Creek and the Lamar River. The neighbor Packer/Outfitters report that fishing to these much anticipated flies is just getting started, and that terrestrials and Caddis in the afternoon is the ticket to good action. The pressure on the fish is building and the Cutts in the First & Second Meadows require quiet stalking and precise first casts.

    .. The Gulpers in Hebgen Lake are still not in large pods, but there are small groups, (5 - 7 fish,) cruising in regular patterns. When it's very still in the morning, or during the afternoon "wind shift," you can watch their progress from a great distance, and take them on Calibaetis dry flies, (start with size 14 - go to 18 if necessary.) Float emergers, or a very light colored Hare's Ear if the dry's don't work.
    ..If they don't take your first cast; wait until they have all moved past your offering and then try a second time a bit further in front of them. Good boat handling and tube maneuvering is required. The activity is still concentrated in the shallows of the Madison Arm, and the weed beds off the 'narrows,' and around the west end of Horse Butte.

    .. Finally; for "BRAD," & the hoards that want to learn to fly fish at GET OUTDOORS, here is your final lesson, (#3,) in learning to fish the fly, (Lesson #1, Lesson #2.)
    .. A word of caution is in order before we continue: "Pick your 'expert' and stick with them for your first 6 months." The contemporary fly fishing scene is full of "TRUTH." Everyone out there is selling something, and you'll discover that the seller's truth is touted as the ABSOLUTE TRUTH.
    .. Don't get confused by multiple truths. Pick an expert and stick with them for at least 6 months!
    .. Fly gear selection will lead you into a morass of opinion, tradition, situational caveat's, and problematic solutions. When you buy gear there are many ways to go. For the raw novice we suggest an inexpensive new outfit.
    .. These can be had for about $200, (or less,) - ready to go, (you'll need flies - more truth.) Pick it up at a Trout Shop, Wal-Mart, Target, Western Auto, (oops,) Cabela's, or a garage sale. Get a 6 or 7 weight, (refers to the line.)
    .. Put the thing together and flog the world with it. Trim your lawn, cast to wading pools, splash in trout streams, wear it out and, (just maybe,) catch a few fish in the process. This will give you a basis for comparison when you begin your own search for a better outfit. Once you and your expert have decided that the outfit is not for you - it never is - DISCARD YOUR EXPERT! You now have a body of experience, bad habits, stories, and truth. Not a bad deal for $200.
    .. Armed with your new found truth, go to a new, & different expert and explain your dissatisfaction with your fishing results - BLAME IT ON YOUR GEAR! Listen carefully to what is said and be gracious when you thank them. Tell them you will consider their opinion. Find another - different again - expert and repeat the process.
    .. Now is the time to decide which of two roads to take. You can continue to buy new gear and listen to the 'new gear guys,' or you can buy used and take your chances. Truth abounds in either direction. We would recommend the used route. There are piles of gear going unused. We prefer Fiberglass and bamboo for rod material, and like the feel and balance of the older reels with these rods.
    .. We recommend that once you have completed all three lessons to this point; that you purchase the following four items:

    a Fenwick, 7 1/2' fiberglass rod made in the 70's or early 80's. It should be balanced for a 6 or 7 weight line, (you have the line already,) have the original tube and bag, and be only lightly used - should cost between $75 - $175. The rod shown is lightly soiled, has no nicks or scrapes, has perfect wraps, was bought two years ago at a garage sale in Ennis, Montana, and cost $95,
    --2.) an old, well used, but in excellent condition fly reel. The Pfluger Medalist shown is a good bet. This one cost nearly nothing 40 years ago and is worth about $115 today. Look for one that balances with your rod, (you have the truth to decide,) and spend between $25 and $50. Get one made in the U.S.A.,
    --3.) some new backing, a couple of leaders, a box for your flies, and about a dozen flies, (see below.) Put it all together and flog away some more,
    --4.) some transportation to West Yellowstone, Montana in late May or June; or in mid to late September. We'll take you to some places where flogging is appreciated; where you will catch fish, and where there is more TRUTH per square inch than anywhere else in the known universe.
    .. In the meantime, search the web for truth in all it's forms. A guide is included below:
    ** First, try the note at smallstreams.com before you dash out and fill your newly acquired fly boxes.
    ** Fishingnet.com / Antique tackle and accessories.
    ** Sierra Trading Post / Discount Gear.
    ** Our neighbor George Anderson has a deep discount page.
    ** Vfish.net is dedicated to vintage tackle / Reels, Bamboo, More Bamboo.
    ** Tom Greene buys and sells all sorts of vintage reels.
    ** Antique & Classic Fishing Reels has some fly reels and nifty pictures.
    ** Wagner Rods has a vintage Rod & Reel section.
    ** Art Of Angling Journal / vintage rods, flies, etc.
    *** P.S. Many of Brad's fishing scenes were on the Gallatin ***