• Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Saturday, September 30, 2006

    Another Big Sky Day

    .Materials Hard To Find.
    .presentation difficult.
    .. This has got to be short because it's another Big Sky Day in Yellowstone National Park, and the fishing yesterday was pretty darn good. Our house guests, who left the dismal fishing in Oregon, were introduced to some interesting flies and techniques yesterday in anticipation of the October Caddis Hatch - (which on occasion is sparse.)
    We, herein, at the risk of being ostracized by the locals, introduce the world to the very secret October Caddis Fly Pattern.
    .. Despite the mistaken impressions of geocentric out-of-state-fishers; the Trout in Montana are not on anything so plebeian as crack. The salmonids of the Big Sky State limit their indulgences to USDA Grade #1 Hashish. This enhances their their already keen ability to discern flies from foreign lands, hands, and minds.
    .. The sad truth of the matter is that fly fishing in Montana is every bit as good as each of the fisher-folk who fish here. Frequently visitors are disappointed with the fishing in Yellowstone National Park. Well then, no aspersions are cast here, (they twist the leader,) but, there is local knowledge that should not be ignored.
    .. This knowledge is hard won and has produced an abundance of locally developed flies that appeal to the heightened perceptions of the local fish. Some of our indiginees have developed a single, superior fly, that is most appealing to the sage trout of Montana's waters: THE FALL REEFER FLY.
    (c) Yellowstoner - Reefer Fly__________
    .. This fly is delicate and requires mastery of all known fly tying techniques. The presentation is even more difficult, (more later.) Here, for the first time ever, is a picture and the recipe:
    All materials are organic and biodegradable - the hook will rust away - should you get cleaned.
    - - - - - -
    Hook: 5/0 Partridge, (this is for the smallest of the Montana Trout - use larger at your own risk.) Tail: Peacock Sword, Rib: Green Silk Floss, Body Hackle: 15-year-old Whiting Select grizzly hackle,
    Underbody: Dubbed rope of baby seal fur, spotted owl down, and USDA Grade #1 Hashish, Overbody: pre-smoked refer tube - do not tear, Beard: wolverine eye lashes mixed with young otter guard hairs, Coal: red silk egg-floss, Wing: Wood Duck flank, or Mallard flank, Thread: 6/0 black silk - unwaxed.

    .... TYING PROCEDURE: Gather materials. Wrap hook with 3-4 layers of thread, tie in tail. Tie in green silk ribbing and body hackle; form dubbing loop and uniformly distribute dubbing materials. Wrap the dubbing rope forward and backward until it is the same size as the inside diameter of the refer tube, (do not attempt this immediately after procuring the tube.) Whip finish the thread at the front of the hook and cut. Gently slip the refer tube over the underbody, being careful not to disturb any of the burned remnants of the lit end. Wrap the green silk floss forward, whip finish and leave hanging. Follow the floss with the body hackle and tie down with the floss at the front of the fly. Re-attach silk tying thread. Build a red coal similar to an egg pattern. Tie in the beard; tie in the wing; whip finish small head.
    .... PRESENTATION & FISHING: Use a #12 level line on your strongest 8-weight flats rod. Be sure to have at least 200 yards of monofiliment or braided nylon backing, (20# test should do.) Use about 10" of green Maxima 50# for a shock tippet and no more than 5-feet of Ande Blue 15# for your leader. Attach fly to tippet with hog rings using a Triple-Madison Eye-Loop.
    .. As soon as you spot the target fish, LIGHT THE
    FALL REEFER FLY and present it to the fish. The presentation should resemble a series of false casts. Be as slow, with this casting, as you possibly can - otherwise the fly will burst into flames and destroy the presentation. Keep the fly about 3-feet above the surface of the water and the fish will erupt from it's holding position to take the fly on the way down. Most of us are used to this by now but it excites many visitors to the point of distraction, (often hooking themselves in the lip with a premature evacuation of the hook.) They usually feel no pain as the fly is extracted.
    .. On rare occasions small brook trout will take this fly, but this is an unusual circumstance. Frequently local fishers will stand on the boardwalk at Old Faithful and try for a hook-up with the rare native GEYSER TROUT. This is a new SUPER TROUT that genetic experimentation has developed. This local pastime is far and away more fun than searching for sand trout in Hampton Corners, Oregon.(c) Yellowstoner - Geyser Trout
    .. There once were fish of this size in California, too. Sadly they were all caught and the hole they left in the river had to be plugged up with Shasta Dam. We feel sorry for folks in that part of the world. They will never know the joy of REFER MADNESS. - And, without that pleasure they could never be KING OF MISSOULA.

    Friday, September 29, 2006

    Come Visit - We're Vanishing

    .Short & Sour.
    .gone fishing.
    .. The "Last Best Place" is about to vanish. New West gives us the details about how it's done, HERE.
    .. Out of state scofflaws are robbing Montana blind. LINK.
    .. Fewer people are fishing. LINK.
    .. Business in the middle of nowhere. LINK.
    .. National Parks see fewer campers. LINK.
    .. Sorry for the brevity.
    .. For Your Mouse:
    - Trout Underground,
    - Protect Your Waters,
    - No Se Nada,
    - The Map Room,
    - Cutthroat Country,
    - Bud Lily's Fishing Report,
    - Blue Ribbon Fishing Report,
    - Blue Ribbon Journal,
    - MRO Fishing Report,
    - Good Grits,
    - All About Fly Fishing.

    Tuesday, September 26, 2006

    A Gentle Firehole Day

    California Dreamin' - The New Texas

    .. We decided to take advantage of the warm day and visit the Firehole River and take care of some business at Old Faithful. The section of the river above Firehole Falls gets very little pressure this time of year and is well worth fishing. There are reliable Caddis hatches in the evening, and the fish are being a bit more cooperative than they were during the heat of summer.
    .. The day was the stuff of postcards, and the sun was blindingly bright. There were fish every where but they were in a "bumping" mood. We took several fish on a size 14 Big Wing Sparkle Caddis but got more refusals by a large margin.
    .. A switch to a floating Green Thing was far more interesting to the fish. The shadows are where these fish hide on the bright days. We fished the stretch around the confluence with Nez Perce Creek, then between the bridges in Biscuit Basin. The parking lots were full but there were only a few fishers for this mid-day foray.
    .. The metropolis at Old Faithful was a-buzz with the recent news that the new visitor center was being delayed, (link.) The ice cream at the store was rock hard, and it looks like summer - it feels like fall.
    .. The monster hunters are doing well in all the usual places: Madison River with Soft Hackles and Rubber Legs, Gallatin River - the same, Gibbon River, (above the campground,) with Humpies - below the falls with Spruce Flies and Soft Hackles.
    .. Now is the time to get out of the park and try the Madison River below Hebgen Dam. Try the confluence with Cabin Creek, and the stretch just above Quake Lake. Big, (8 - 12,) bead head nymphs or a floating soft hackle will do just fine - big fish & Big Fun.
    .. For news about the new National Park Service Director visit National Parks Traveler, HERE.
    .. Go to Get Outdoors for a view of California that bespeaks a lack of familiarity with Australia or South Africa or New Zealand, or elsewhere. You can surf - Mountain bike - ski - etc. in Hawaii, too, (and the coffee is better.)
    .. It seems that marketing and gear are the most important aspect to enjoying the outdoors in the Golden State of Califia's garden. (Was Queen Califia Black?)
    .. Jack of all - master of . . . . JEEZ - why leave all those elbows? Are shoes & boots more ubiquitous than mountain bikes? Different strokes.
    .. More tomorrow - The sun has appeared again.

    Monday, September 25, 2006

    High Water Mark

    10,000 Visitors
    who could guess
    river report
    protect your waters

    .. Sometime late this afternoon or evening there will be visitor #10,000 to this site. During that same time frame a view of page #20,500, will happen.
    .. That's a big surprise. This little "Family & Friends" weblog was just supposed to take the place of the myriad emails that we exchange with folks that come to visit and fish.
    .. The site was opened in January, and the first public post was on April 7, 2006. It's grown and takes just as much time as all the emails, it's less personal, and both more and less rewarding. So there you have it.
    .. Fishers from all over the world visit the site. We've included the visit map from last night - Hello Croatia and McMurdo!
    .. We know what flies to fish on the Kupa River, but what should we use in Antarctica? Size 22 krill?
    .. The visitors to this site must be more web savvy than most, since about 35% of you use Firefox, (the Firefox browser share on the web is only about 10%.) About 8% of the visitors are Mac users, the rest are some form of Internet Explorer.
    ..The average stay is just over 5 minutes and the average page views is just about 2-1/2.
    .. The best of the fishing in Yellowstone National Park is on it's last legs. From now until the park closes will be the best and worst of the year depending on the weather.
    .. We'll continue to post through the winter. It'll be about our trips to Argentina, Chili, and Australia; some fly tying, rod restoration, tackle acquisitions, and sundry notes about Yellowstone National Park.
    .. We'd like to take this opportunity to thank the other web sites that posted links to here.
    .. Also a big Thank You to Jessie Armitage for working out Blogger glitches and the transition to Blogger Beta. Finally thanks to the neighbors who made a special effort to help us keep this weblog accurate, truthful, and current.

    .. The Gallatin River fished well yesterday. We spent about 7 hours on the short stretch below the confluence meadows and took a couple dozen fish. One fat Cutbow was over 14" as measured against the old Payne, and a Brown was as long, but was on the snaky side. There were a couple of hoppers in the grass but we fished a Big Wing Sparkle Caddis, (size 12,) and a dark olive-green Woolly Worm with a yellow tail, (size 10.) There was a reported Baetis hatch at about mile-post 25 - 26, and we saw pictures of large fish taken on Royal Humpy flies, (size 14.)

    .. We'll only provide a brief mention of the South Fork Of The Madison River. The spawners have started to pod up in the estuary. Prince Nymphs, Woolly Buggers, and Light Spruce Flies are the dance tickets for this wonderful event. As soon as the water gets a bit higher and colder we'll have to put WD-40 on the guides and get down to the willows. That's all we're going to say.
    .. If it's big fish you're after try the Madison River between the Talus Slope pull-out and National Park Meadows. Get there at day break and fish a large, (8 - 12,) green or amber soft hackle. Fish it deep and slow as possible. Finally, the river between the Baker's Hole Campground and 7-mile bridge is beginning to get crowded with big fish, and fisher folk too.) Check out this blog post for the surprise of a returning visitor to Fall Fly Fishing in Yellowstone.)
    .. There are also sketchy reports for the big fish making it to the Gibbon River in National Park Meadows - nothing substantial. The big pools and bends just above the Tuff Cliffs area should be good within 72 hours. Dredge these waters deep and dark - a Dark Spruce Fly or a Black Woolly Bugger, (size 6 - 10,) should give some satisfaction.

    .. Moldy Chum is always full of good news and tantalizing photos; none more so than the post HERE.
    .. Get over to Trout Underground to learn how to vicariously fish the world. And don't forget the Blogger Ho Down.

    .. From PROTECT YOUR WATERS comes this note:
    "Yellowstone National Park is our nation's first park and the flagship of our entire national park system. It is also global destination location for many visitors to the U.S. In fact, the entire Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, which spans three states and ranges from Bozeman, MT in the north to Jackson Hole, WY in the south and from Island Park, ID in the west to Cody, WY in the east, contains many incredible natural resources. Find out what the government is doing in cooperation with various business interests to conserve the resources of this region. Click on the following hotlink to get the details. Read the full story to get the details." LINK.
    .. They also let us know that there may be a movement afoot to concede Utah to Whirling Disease. Protect Your Waters SUMMARY. KCPW NEWS STORY.

    Sunday, September 24, 2006


    Too Many Cars
    River Report
    quiet places
    elk & ducks
    other stuff

    .. The run to Yellowstone is on. People are streaming into the little hamlet of West Yellowstone, Montana from the far corners of the nation. South Dakota, Utah, Idaho, Washington, California, Minnesota, Illinois. So too, Japan, Okinawa, Hawaii, England, France, Russia, Slovakia, and even Canada. There can't be that much poor fishing in the rest of the world.
    .. All the fisher friendly motels are full, and furtive fishers can be seen sneaking into the back doors of the plush motels with wet waders. The breakfast cooks are slammed, and the gas stations are just eating it up. Trinket stores have dusted off their fishing wares and wives are buying 'dust collectors' at a record pace - something must be up!
    .. The fishing over the last few days has been very good, but quite a ways short of spectacular. Most fishers are concentrated along the migration rivers. The deep holes and other parking spaces are filling up, and the trophic displacement is working to keep the fish on their toes - so to speak.
    .. There are big fish reports from the Madison River, Slough Creek, Lamar River, Firehole River, Gibbon River, Gallatin River, Hebgen Lake, and even Soda Butte Creek. The Yellowstone River has fished slow all year but is showing signs of agitated fish behavior around Buffalo Ford and the meadow stretch above the Chittenden Bridge. There is even a report from the Tower Falls area, and that's a grunt coming out of the canyon.
    .. The fish are taking a variety of flies. Soft Hackles seem to continue as the fly of choice with dark, (browns and blacks,) Rubberlegs a close second. Check our post about the Fall Fly Box for a good range of possible choices. And our Saturday Post details the rubber legs attraction.
    .. Down south, the Lewis River along the entrance road is showing good activity to both submerged offerings and a steady BWO appearance. We have one trusted - albeit sketchy - report that the fish are moving along the river between the lakes as well. Here's your chance to catch a giant Laker on a fly in shallow water.
    .. The Madison River has a good number of fish. The cloudy weather of the past few days has abated and the clear skies will make mid-day fishing a bit tough. When the day breaks bright, (like right now,) wait for the evening if your after big fish. Use Soft Hackles or Rubberlegs with a Hare's Ear or Prince dropper.
    .. The fish in the Firehole River and Nez Perce Creek are wide awake. The bigger fish are near and above Biscuit Basin, (or in the short section below Firehole Falls.) The residents are active and taking BWO's. Baetis, and evening Caddis. This is one of the best times to get on the Firehole - lots of active fish - lots of bugs - few folks. You'll have to walk a ways up the Nez Perce meadow trail to get fish of any size - the 1-mile pool has a dark bottom that moves.
    .. Slough Creek has a few hoppers and lots of ants and beetles. The sunshine will make the fishing seem just like Summer, but the temperature will let you know it's not. Stick with stealth tactics and small flies. Several perfect casts to the same fish ought to provide results with the correct fly.
    .. The Lamar River is in it's "Wait For It To Clear" phase. The fish are moving and the giant meadows around Buffalo Ranch, and above, have some nice pools that can yield several fish. Stick with small hoppers, and small droppers. If no hoppers are working, switch to a big Caddis, (or Hornberg - size 8 - 10,) and a midge cluster. If you're willing to walk in wolf country, the sage flats below the narrows have some nice fish: attractors above and below the surface will take fish on this neglected stretch of river.
    .. If you're not after big fish; the low water of Soda Butte Creek should be your destination. This little stream is nearly forgotten this time of year. Use small attractors or any Caddis in sizes 10 -14 and you will be rewarded with nearly constant action - and maybe a surprise.
    .. The Gallatin River has seen surprisingly little pressure this year. Right now there is plenty of parking, plenty of fish, and few fishers. The hoppers have all but disappeared here too. Use a Woolly Worm, (12 -16,) all day if you like, or a Yellowstone Morning Glory, (14 - 18,) for the surface. This is the time to dredge the depths with bead heads of your favorite nymphs, (Gold-Ribbed Hare's Ear, Prince, Yellowstone Sally, or Feather Duster.)
    .. One very quiet river is Grayling Creek. The meadow below Horseshoe Hill has some spirited 12 - 14 inch fish that have forgotten what an artificial fly looks like. Once you're below the road the traffic noise softens and when you get to the bottom and are fishing, only the occasional tractor-trailer rig will be heard. Stick with surface attractors like Humpy's and Wulff's; and generic nymphs like Prince, Hare's Ear, Rock Worm, and Montana Duster. The eager attitude of these fish is worth the tromp.

    .. We're under an avian influenza watch, (yup, that's the bird flu.) Some Northern Pintail Ducks have tested positive for the pathogens H5 and N1. This is not quite as bad as the more virulent H5N1 strain. Friday's USDA Press Release details the findings. This is particularly troubling because the Northern Pintail population is dwindling, and we're in the middle of the major flyway.
    .. With hunting about to commence it's best to know about the possible threat and how to deal with the possibility that H5N1 could be present: CDC Fact Sheet, PandemicFlu.gov, Ducks Unlimited; USGS Soundwaves, (a 2002 report on the decline of the Northern Pintail.)
    .. It must be news if the L.A. Times has picked it up. As first reported in Yellowstone Park News; the hunt for escaped farm-elk is causing quite a stir. It seems that all of Eastern Idaho is gunning for the critters that may have disease and genes that could degrade the Yellowstone herd. Even the Portland CW, (a Tribune paper,) has picked up the STORY.
    .. Read how the West Is Wrung by using conservation easement loopholes, and developer creativity. You too can join the battle for a bit of the last best place. Get the story from the High Country News.


    Saturday, September 23, 2006


    Before It's Too Late
    .picture for climb_ca; guyser1.
    because we'd rather do than watch

    Rubber Legs = Fishing Fun

    the weather
    the flies
    the rivers
    other stuff

    a preview of coming attractions: Rain, Sleet, Snow, Wind, Hail, Big Fish.
    .. Bring your bes
    t foul weather gear; the fishing is getting good. We've experienced our annual foretaste of things to come - it's wonderful.
    .. The skies get lo
    w, the clouds engulf the hills, the wind quickens and precipitation explores the many ways to present itself. We even had a few hours of sun shine - and fewer of dead calm.
    .. The cold water and the cool temperatures have awakened the fish in the lake and the residents alike. It looks like Fall fishing is going to be as good as the Spring fishing.


    .. The fish in the Madison River, Firehole River, Gallatin River, and Nez Perce Creek have expanded their preferences. In addition to Dark Spruce Flies and Soft Hackle Flies they are also taking Rubber Legs and Yellowstone Sally flies. We've taken decent fish on all the above flies as well as Montana Dusters. No, they aren't eating everything yet - that'll be next week. For now we're sticking with these favorites and a bit heavier rod/line combination.
    .. Some of the sports arriving on the Madison River are using Spey Rods. Others are gunning with 9 - 10 weight one-handers. We use an 8 weight with a #9 level line. This allows precision roll casts, carries big flies, and cuts the wind nicely. In these conditions it's prudent to fish a little closer than you think necessary.

    .. Nez Perce Creek and the Firehole River have awakened to the cooler weather. There are some prolific hatches of small Mayflies, (Rusty Spinners? - 20's or so,) and Baetis in about size 16 - 18. When the evening is dry there is still a good Caddis hatch. Use soft hackles here for now - the big fish are still a bit spooky.
    .. The Madison River and the Gibbon River below the falls have large fish in all their typical parking places. These fish are aggressive but not suicidal, (yet.) They are moving from holding water and still taking a range of flies in a range of sizes. Soft hackle and rubber legs seem to be the most successful. A few very large fish have been taken at the Barns Holes on stonefly imitations. The holding water just before Grasshopper Bank and in the water by the parking area is full of good fish.
    .. The Gallatin River is just a bit slow in responding to the weather change - but the fishing is still good in the deep pools and in those areas where the riffles dump into undercut banks and long glides.
    .. Use Montana Dusters and Prince Nymphs, (12 - 16.) Some Baetis are showing up in the area around the "animal detection" section.
    Look for the solar powered gizmo's on the side of the road - if your windshield isn't already plastered with the bugs. We're going up there again tomorrow for a gentle day on this less popular river. It deserves better, but we're not whining.
    .. The Falls River, Boundry Creek, and the Bechler River are providing excellent dances. The Caddis have remained constant, Baetis are appearing, and terrestrials are still active. Even without a horse the fishing is better than expected, (& expectations are always high this time of year.)
    .. Visit the Lamar River bet
    ween, or just at the beginning of rain storms. This river provides excellent opportunities at this time of the year. The Lamar River fish are taking Rubber Legs, Prince Nymphs, and floating Hare's Ears. The canyon sections are holding the big fish right now. These opportunities will move upstream rapidly as the silt clouds move through the holding water. Don't be shy about walking across the bridge in the confluence meadow. The first two big pools are very crowded parking areas for the fish on their way upstream.
    ..Slough Creek is full of beetles and ants - the fish are less shy right now. You still need to sneak a bit; and the road section by the the glacial erratics is producing the first of the giants. It's a long walk across the sagebrush flats but it's worth it.
    .. Soda Butte will see a very rapid migration during the next two weeks as the fish dash up to the shallow spawning beds above Ice Box Canyon. If you are young and tough you should give the pools above the canyon a try - "The Deeper - The Bigger." Use a two-toned
    Casual Dress, (black over buff,) or a Montana Duster - try pink.

    .. Protect Your Waters advises us of the new uses for the acrobatic silver carp. From prison food to zoo food.
    .. In the "let no good deed go unpunished department," Protect Your Waters also relays a warning from the University of Arkansas about the possibility of bio-fuel crops becoming invasive species in their own right, STORY HERE. The quote to remember is: "One proposed biofuel crop, Miscanthus, can grow up to eight feet in six weeks." Wiedenmann describes it as "Johnson grass on steroids."

    .. Scientific American lets us know that there is an abundance of new fish species still being discovered. They cite the the so-called "Bird's Head Seascape" off the western coast of the island of New Guinea. This area revealed, upon recent survey, that it contained as many as 52 new species of fish, shrimp and coral. LINK. They also let us know how the giant mix-master, driven by krill, stirs the ocean. LINK.
    .. The San Joaquin River in California is one step closer to having Salmon run up it again. A note from the Scripps Howard News Service details the plans to bring the fish back in the near future and provide fishing opportunities as early as 2014 - 2015. The estimated price $200 million - $800 million. LINK.
    .. West Yellowstone, Montana is one of the worst places in the world to find a job. The BLOGGER Newsalert Page let us know this. The page is so full of news links it will choke your newsgator. LINK.

    Wednesday, September 20, 2006



    .. Protect your Waters let us know about a Billings Gazette Piece that finally does justice to the Lake Trout Menace in Yellowstone Lake. Be Sure to check out the picture page HERE. And there is an excellent 2 minute media presentation - it loads very quickly HERE.

    Mistaken Identity

    some river reports

    .. When we saw that GET OUTDOORS was posting about fishing poles, we trotted right over there hoping to see our friend Kuba.
    .. Imagine our surprise when we discovered that they were really talking about ultralight fishing rods.
    .. So as not to mess up all that wasted time; we'd like to introduce you to some fine folks and sites from POLEN.
    .. If you need carp, (Attn: Carp On The Fly,) go visit Atlantik Travel - MONSTERS! Should you want a taste of the Real Fishing Poles check out PolandPoland.com. And if you'd like some trout, and carp, and pike, and the other half of the picture of our buddy Kuba, visit Fishing In Poland. Don't plan to visit unless you enjoy wilderness, and the possibility of taking a Taimen, (or Huchen.)
    ..If all you want is the best fly fishing for trout and grayling in all of Poland, you can find it at Kuba's other site about The River San - a destination that even the English drool over. (The San is a large river draining from the Bieszczady Mountains National Park in the extreme South-East of Poland.)
    .. The site includes some wicked flies - don't look too closely, you'll see some woven flies to knock your waders off.
    "The San is deliverance. It is where you have dreamt about, why you took up fly fishing, where you have journeyed towards and never really believed you would arrive. Well, here is journey's end. You cannot go beyond, not in this life..."
    Jeremy Lucas, captain of the English Flyfishing Team

    .. The Madison River is where it's at on the West Side of the park. The big fish are being a bit reluctant, but it's early. Soft Hackle flies and small Dark Spruce flies are producing results. The fish are sulking a bit and they have to be hit in the nose. No reports of suicide takes yet. Brown Trout to 22" have been reported - we've even seen one photo to proove it.
    .. The Big Water Madison River fishing slowed a bit yesterday, but the fish were of good size. The guides that are doing the best are stopping at the holding water and wading to get to the fish in the protected water. Row vs. Wade is the topic of the day.
    .. There are some fuzzy rumors of very large fish in the Gibbon River Meadows. There was a bit of hopper action during the bluebird days interlude. We'll be up there Friday to check it out. There are only a few fish at the Gibbon Falls Plunge Pool. We'll be there too.

    Tuesday, September 19, 2006

    Real Bluebird Days

    Three In A Row
    This is quick

    .. The blustery weather left our little town with just some fisher folk and some blue sky. We did, however, find some clouds for a photo. This will be the last bluebird day for a spell as the weather gurus have predicted more fish-moving bluster for the coming few days.
    .. It's nice to see the snow on the peaks surrounding the Hebgen Basin. It's nicer that the fish have perked up.
    .. The "Big Water" Madison River is experiencing a resurgence of bites. This has been followed by a near record hatch of drift boats. The "Bunny & Bead" hatch is about to begin. Visit The folks at Madison River Fishing Company for a full report on the coming festival of Fall. Those guys in Ennis have all the fun.
    .. The 'shop rats' at Madison River Outfitters have come through with the secret to the fresh run of fish in the park. Visit their report for a better view of fish than I've had in a day or two, LINK.
    .. The folks at Blue Ribbon Flies have busted loose with an excellent fishing report that reveals some good information - the stuff of glory. They have it right, LINK.
    .. Bud Lilly's Trout Shop has discovered where the fish are. The quote of the day from these neighbors: "The big boys (and girls) are showing in the Madison all the way to the junction." LINK.
    .. Have there been more folks on your rivers and in your woods? Do you want to know why? Check out the NewWest site for the results of a new, (and scientifically valid,) survey. LINK. And, the land rush is on as we see real estate being gobbled up at a pace faster than an un-hooked lemon-tipped shark. LINK.
    .. A flurry of news releases has burst forth from the dedicated folks at PROTECT YOUR WATERS and there is some good news for: Battle Against Didymo, Great Lakes. And some tragic, (but hopefully good,) news for Oregon's Diamond Lake.
    .. Finally, yesterday's Montana Standard reminds us that George Grant is 100 years old. God bless this defender of the Big Hole River. LINK.

    Sunday, September 17, 2006


    Some New Ones
    Some Old Ones
    Some Big Ones
    And Others

    .. There is some controversy about the necessary flies for the Fall Fly Box in Yellowstone. The folks on the South Fork of the Snake River have one set of flies, the folks on the Lamar River have another set, the folks on the Yellowstone River have their favorites, and the Madison River drainage yet others. This is not too surprising - yet many a congenial brew has been ruined discussing the "CORRECT FLIES."
    .. Between our time spent in the neighborhood and traveling, we have developed a comprehensive collection of generalized Fall flies. They work most places, and are not at all out of the ordinary. There are a few local variants, and a few old-timer's. They are not necessarily "Correct," and certainly not perfect. They are, however, consistently successful.
    .. These are the flies that we would fish until the folks 200 yards down the river gave us a fly that just caught more fish than we did. That's how we gathered up most of these flies in the first place.

    .. The Dark Spruce Fly is a must for Fall fishing in Yellowstone. It can be tied in a traditional, streamer style, or as a Matuka. We use both. We also tend to use flies that are a bit bigger than the conventional wisdom dictates. There seems to be a subconscious message in our hard-wiring; "size matters." We also prefer furnace hackle with a touch of green - if we can get it.
    .. The Light Spruce Fly is carried by most folks in the neighborhood. They fish it less than the dark one. It too, can be tied in either style. Again we prefer a darker and off-color wing to the stark white of the traditional recipe. It is almost a sure thing that any fall fisher will have this fly in the box come Labor Day.
    .. The Yellowstone Spruce Fly is tied in a manner similar to the dark and light varieties. It uses materials that are at variance with the traditional recipes and is probably not a "real" Spruce Fly. It has a small but dedicated following among old-fart-fishers along the Henry's Fork, Madison, Firehole, and Gibbon Rivers. This streamer has two variants. The one shown here is the most popular. The other uses a green under wing with a yellow body and green butt. We fish this one, other folks use the other one - they both catch fish.
    .. The Green Matuka Egg Fly is reappearing in many fly boxes. This was a popular fly 15 years ago on the South Fork of the Snake River. It is seeing use on the Madison and Firehole Rivers right now. It's just a Matuka - tied a little long. Some use red for the egg, some use florescent orange, some use yellow - don't seem to matter much.
    .. The Yellowstone Sally is generally tied in Stone fly sizes for spring fishing. When tied on a long shank hook, with a long tail, it's a very durable and serviceable streamer - of sorts. It is best in the early Fall, (like right now,) and seems to lose it's appeal as winter approaches.
    .. The Black Ghost, Black Nose Dace, Mickey Finn, and Hellifiknow, are all used in the Fall for the lake run fish on their spawning trip up the Madison River. These are excellent flies for the big plunge pool at the base of Gibbon Falls. They also work in the very early morning or late evening on the Gallatin River in the deep dark pools. These are usually tied very sparsely and fished deep on a dead drift. They serve as both searching flies and as mid-day flies, (the tinsel seems to be the key - or the contrast - or . . .)
    .. There are quite a few similar flies that are bright with tinsel; and when they work - they really work. When they don't - they really don't. There must be a lesson here, but we haven't figured it out - yet.
    .. The Gray Ghost in either it's classic form, as tied by Stevens, or it's shorter-shanked commercial versions is creeping back into the fly boxes of the Fall fishers in Yellowstone National Park. Most of the visitors, when asked, explain that they use it because they like it. The neighbors have a different reason - ". . . tried everything else." This fly is usually fished on a mended swing. Make it as slow as you can and mend and back-strip to keep it as drag free as possible - a strip-set is usually required when the take happens. If fished too far away it is probably mouthed and rejected -- and you'll never know.
    .. The Thunder Creek is an old, stodgy, plain-looking, killer fly. It is seldom seen these days, and that is a mystery to us. Depending on conditions, trout preference, and personal preference, this fly can be tied long or short, full or sparse, bright or dull, or any combination - above and below the shank. We prefer a rather short and medium-full rendition. We use plucked pheasant rump fibres and red thread. Some of the neighbors tie it very sparse and with plucked hen hackle, (black or grizzly,) and yellow thread. Fish this one on the swing with a taught line and at the end of the swing let it dangle in the current right in front of the nose of big fish.
    .. The Woolly Bugger is mandatory. This staple of most fly boxes is most popular in black, (dark green, olive, brown, gray, and even yellow are also seen.) With the advent of synthetic materials, this fly has many variants. We usually stick with black or olive and occasionally add just a bit of flash to the body. Sometimes a few strands creep into the marabou fibres too.
    .. The Quick-N-Easy seems to be limited to the Lamar River, the upper Gibbon River, the Yellowstone River, and infrequently it is seen on Slough Creek below the parking lot, and along the road section. This is probably a cultural difference in feather merchant preference as much as a trout preference. We use it on the Gallatin River and the Madison River and it works just fine. The fly goes together quickly and is very durable. Just one kind of feather - two kinds of floss - one color thread.
    .. The Feather Duster is almost a lost tradition in Yellowstone Fishing. The original was actually made from the material in feather dusters. It has some color variants. Tied in the smaller sizes this is a very effective spring and summer nymph. The larger yellow and especially pink versions are frequently just the thing that late Fall migrating spawners are looking for.

    Dry Flies, Wet Flies, Soft Hackle & Others
    .. Three flies, (and their variants,) will do for the dry flies in the Fall in Yellowstone Park. The Big Wing Sparkle Caddis, Yellowstone Cinch, and Blue Wing Olive. The fall hatches in Yellowstone can range from apparent to negligible - they don't ever seem to be spectacular, (save for the occasional "snow fly" marathon.) The Caddis is the one we use most, followed by the cinch, then the BWO, (which will do if the Baetis appear.)
    .. The continuing expanded use of Soft Hackle Flies in Yellowstone and elsewhere is a testament to their effective deployment in sunken fly fishing. It is probably also a testament to their ease of construction. And, tied correctly, they are surprisingly durable. The stiff hackle variant is less well known and probably less effective for Fall fishing. We only use two colors and several sizes of this endearing fly: The Classic Version with barred hackle, and the Green Thing with dark furnace or black hackle.
    .. Wet flies and others tend to overlap in use and definition. In the summer we float a Hornberg and pretend that it's a hopper. In the Fall we sink it and pretend it's a wet fly. We also use a Scarlet Ibis with magenta feathers and sometimes a gold rib. The double wings of the early traditional patterns separate and be become a large bright mass. The fish don't seem to mind, (or even prefer it?)
    .. Yellowstone National Park Fishing Regulations, (page 6,) "Open daily from 5 AM to 10 PM. Fishing with an artificial light is prohibited." This means that there is at least 4, and later, nearly 6 hours of fishing in the dark or near dark.
    .. For these situations it is possible to take some very large fish on a mouse. YES - A MOUSE! or any other large floating fly that can make a ruckus in the areas that fish hide. This is not stealth fishing - this is bomb and boil fishing. We occasionally end our day by cutting back the leader to obscene dimensions and slowly probing the bank with a bass popper or a mouse, (the mice are traditional - use chamois for the ears and tail - rubber whiskers - eyes and colors are optional.) Big trout eat baby ducks; - voles, shrews, and mice too.
    OOPS, as we were taking a break from this post we noticed that Mid Current also referes us to a post about Mice from Michigan.
    Check the "TIP 'O THE WEEK" for the neighbor's secrets.