• Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Visit: Montana Cowgirl
  • 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.