• PARTNER: PROTECT YOUR WATERS
  • Go To: THE FLIES OF YELLOWSTONE
  • Go To: YELLOWSTONE FISHING WEATHER
  • Go To: YELLOWSTONE FLY FISHING MAPS
  • Visit: The Trout Underground
  • Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: Buster Wants To Fish
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Visit: Montana Cowgirl
  • Thursday, June 29, 2006

    GONE FISHING IN YELLOWSTONE

    ENJOY YOUR FIVE DAY WEEKEND







    4th Of July Prognosis

    -- Area Fishing Report
    From The Montana Standard:
    HERE!
    -- Good advice
    for the weekend:

    HERE!

    -- Brief first hand prognosis
    Madison River
    Barn's to 7-mile: spotty morning PMD's, good evening Caddis,
    9-mile hole area: good early spinners, excellent nymphs, excellent PM Caddis,
    9-mile to National Park Meadow: good streamers in AM, excellent PM Caddis.
    Anywhere: Watch for Gray Drakes in the morning.
    Use Yellowstone Morning Glory.
    Firehole River
    Good nymphs in canyon and riffles AM & PM,
    Freight Road: AM dry's if overcast, PM caddis and Yellowstone Duster,
    Meadows: AM spinners, PM caddis,
    Bisquit: undercut banks all day, spinners and duns if overcast.
    Iron Spring - Little Firehole
    Stonefly nymphs all day, AM PMD's, PM Caddis.
    Nez Perce Creek
    Picnic Area: AM nymphs, Excellent PM Caddis,
    Meadows: AM spotty PMD's, PM excellent Caddis.
    Gibbon
    National Park Meadow to Tuff Cliffs: On knees for big fish,
    Riffle-Run: Stonefly nymphs in AM, some Baetis/Caddis PM,
    Canyon: Humpies all day, sight fish to risers PM,
    Gibbon Meadow: Knees to risers, PM Caddis,
    Elk Meadows: Bison, Elk, Visitors,
    Norris Campground: AM attractors, PM big nymphs.
    Gallatin River
    AM attractor dry's, Mid day streamers in shadows, PM nymphs and caddis,
    Yellow Sally for now, The Big'uns are at the boundry.

  • _______
  • -- Neighbor's Prognosis:
    Slough Creek
    AM dry attractors, PM Match the hatch.
    Lamar River
    Stonefly nymphs, streamers, muddy.
    Soda Butte Creek
    AM Humpies & Wulff's, PM nymphs & match the hatrch, (caddis?),
    Cutthroat Trout Love size 14 Royal Humpy's
    almost as much as floating size 16 Hare's Ears.
    Yellowstone Lake
    Streamers & large nymphs near shore,
    4# lead from a boat, Thumb for Lakers.
    Heart Lake
    Streamers on windward shores,
    Floating nymphs in evening.
    Greebe Lake
    Parachute or emerger types for Grayling pods,
    Small streamers in evening.
    Hebgan Lake
    AM try parachutes near Madison Arm Resort
    AM streamers in the shallows near Rainbow Point
    PM gulpers starting near South Fork estuary
    PM gulpers going wild near Happy Hour Bar
    PM streamers and scuds at the narrows and Spring Creek.

    Wednesday, June 28, 2006

    Another Fish Tale From Yellowstone

    ANOTHER NICE DAY IN THE PARK
    Leaping Rainbows
    sulking six incher's
    no grayling
  • _________________________



  • <- Upper Gibbon



    .... The upper Gibbon River, (the meadows, & above,) is perfect right now. The cold clear water of the river sections above the roads to Mammoth and Canyon are fishing very well indeed. They are also producing Boon & Crockett sized mosquitoes.
    .... We took a very fat and sassy 14" Rainbow in the thin-water riffle right next to the road by Norris Campground. The dance was brief, as the fish leaped out of the 18" deep pool onto the grassy bank. Again there were quite a few nursery fish, both Brookies and Rainbows in the 6" - 10" range. They were taking small Caddisflies, (12 -14,) on the surface and small drowned and floated nymphs, (Prince 12 - 14, & Pheasant Tails 14 -16.)
    .... The Grayling research team was on the river and told us that they think recruitment is up in this section of the Gibbon, and that the population of Grayling in Greebe Lake is also higher than anytime in the past few years -- couldn't prove it by us.
    .... To see how they do it across the pond go to the world acclaimed site OgmoreRiver.com. The Grayling Page and the Grayling Fies are useful on this side of the pond as well. You'll recognize the "Red Tag" as a rendition of our favorite Wooly Bugger.
  • _________________________
















  • .... After lunch we went to the Firehole River and fished between the bridges in Biscuit Basin. This section is easy to access, elbow to elbow with fisherfolk, pounded to within an inch of it's life, and still producing good numbers of catchable fish. We took a few eager rainbows of 10" and a nice, pudgy Brown Trout right at the confluence of the Firehole & Little Firehole. The water temperature at 2:00 PM was only 72 F. As you can see on the temperature chart, yesterday was a cooler day than the previous week's average. The heavy clouds helped. The fish were taking the same flies on the Firehole that they took on the Gibbon.
    .... The good folks at Moldy Chum, pointed us to an excellent bit of research about 'catch and release' fishing from the "Alaska Science Center" of the USGS. There is also a similar note from across the pond at WadersOn.com.

  • _________________________


  • .... Second Hand News: Madison River at the Barn's Holes and to 7-mile bridge still fishing well to Stonefly nymphs, (golden & yellow is the speculation.) Greebe Lake is worth the battle with mosquitoes, (and the 3-mile walk,) for the eager Grayling. The Gallatin River in the meadow, at the confluence with Fan Creek has produced fish to 12" in the late afternoon on drowned cul-de-cunard caddis. Soda Butte Creek is high, cold, clear and fishing good in the meadow at the confluence with the Lamar River.
    .... Finally, since we have no pictures of Grayling to show you, we suggest the Montana 'Fish Wildlife & Parks' site for a nice photo of a male Grayling. An exceptionally nice female Grayling is shown in a reference photo at the Taxidermy.net site.
    .... There is a pleasant aroma eminating from the kitchen.

    Tuesday, June 27, 2006

    OUT THE DOOR

    the meadow is dry
    The Fish Are Waiting
    MAYBE TODAY
















    -- The photos above show the Grayling pools on the upper Gibbon River. The water is back in it's banks, and there was a report by the Grayling research team that several fish were seen here.
    -- Just a brief note before our Grayling quest continues. There are good reports from Greebe Lake. The Grayling are still on the bite, the meadow is mostly dry, and the fish are near the shore and taking flies all day. We just might have to hike in and gather up a few. Only, however, if we miss them at the pools shown above.
    -- Note #1; Beautiful picture of a Firehole River Rainbow at THE TROUT UNDERGROUND.
    -- Note #2; The PMD's are finally appearing in reliable numbers on the Madison River around National Park Meadow, and down to the talus slope pull-out. Try J.D. Miller's EZ PMDmerger, for a fly that will fish well for the whole hatch.
    -- Note #3; The rivers in the northern part of Yellowstone National Park are high, but clear and coming into shape rapidly. Visit Rocky Mountain Fly for some insight on the rivers in the northern part of Yellowstone..
    -- Note #4; The Firehole River is spiking to 78 degrees in mid-day. Fish early and late and the temp. is O.K. Fish 'between the bridges' in Biscuit Basin, or at the confluence of Nez Perce Creek for cooler water. There were some folks on Iron Spring Creek - so the fish are beginning their travels to cooler water. Get your Firehole River fishing in soon; it's about to become tough.
    -- Note #5; We are out the door - biscuits and gravy first; then a Grayling.

    Monday, June 26, 2006

    NOT SO LOST WEEKEND

    trout over the hill
    Yellowstone Park Very Busy
    RUMORS OF GIANTS IN THE NORTH
    REMEMBRANCES OF SEASONS PAST

    <-- Eye-itchin', nose-cloggin', throat raspin', pine pollen.



    -- We took a trip to Ennis to see the "great Stonefly hatch" over the weekend. They're there! The warm weather means that they are moving upstream fast, and the glut is on.
    -- The weather has also brought the pine trees into full rut. Cars are covered with pollen, eyes are full of pollen; don't blow your nose unless you're willing to have a yellow 'hanky.' And, of course, when the afternoon rainshowers quit, there's a ring-around-the-puddles.
    -- When we returned from the big water our neighbors regaled us with stories of our home waters, and chastised us for the trip to the lowlands.
    -- The Firehole River is still fishing good but the temperature is rising and it's best fished in the morning or in the evening after the sun gets off the water. There's a heavy evening Caddis hatch right now in the sections along the Old Freight Road.
    -- Some of the neighbors have already started their trek up Iron Spring Creek and Nez Perce Creek. They report that there are good fish taking large nymphs, (6 - 10,) in the cooler waters of Iron Spring. Nez Perce has lost most of it's bison and the meadows are fishing well to dry flies in the early afternoon. This seems a bit early, but July is just around the corner.

    <- nps photo Heart Lake Cabin

    -- The trip "over the hill" to Ennis gave us time to remember when it was a simple task to walk to the Heart Lake Ranger Cabin. Do duty, then fish. Heart Lake opens in just 5 days. We invite you to visit it for us and kill a few.
    -- We took some time to cruise, (surf, navigate, search, whatever,) the web and discovered that there are sea monster sightings on the northern periphery of Yellowstone. Visit George Anderson to see how he is busy sticking them on the rivers in that direction.
    -- Our neighbor Dick Green, at Bud Lily's Trout Shop reports that the glory waters of the Lamar River, Slough Creek, and Lower Gardiner are beginning to fish well. He also fished at our favorite place on Soda Butte Creek and took some nice Cutthroat. He reminds us that the kids area where bait can be used is now clear and fishable. So now is the time to go to Indian Creek, Panther Creek, Obsidian Creek, and the Upper Gardiner. This area is usually full of Brook Trout. The kids will have a ball. Check your regulations, or ask a Ranger to direct you to the hot spots.
    -- Road blocks for commercial vehicle inspections are starting now, and may cause some delays. Be patient if you bump into one. You can read about it HERE.
    -- The folks at the Midcurrent Web Site have added some features and it's always well worth a visit. Check out the article about the thermal optimum by David Ross. Now we know why the Firehole has so few friends in summer; not a real big surprise.
    -- If you plan to go somewhere this summer, if you plan to stay home this summer, if you hibernate in the summer, or if you have a spare 5 minutes, you should visit the GetOutdoors web site. It is a premier destination on the web, and is full of good information and tips.
    -- MOLDY CHUM is always full of insights and information. Today's posts are no exception. Lee Marvin just became a bit more exalted, in my eyes, after seeing the post. They have also uncovered the very popular, and extreamly informative HATCHES MAGAZINE; just 6 months old and already a site that sucks you into the monitor.
    -- Tomorrow we renew our quest for our annual Grayling. Hopefully we will be able to avoid catching all the Brookies, Browns, Rainbows, and Cutts that get in way. Right now we're going to cruise, (surf, click, wander, etc.) over to The Trout Underground and see how the fishing is on the Upper Sac.

    Saturday, June 24, 2006

    FIREHOLE RIVER AT DUSK

    FISHING IN THE TREES
    Finding Many Eager Fish
    news from over the hill

    <- Upper Firehole At Dusk



    -- It's been a good week fishing, and we've abandoned most of our neighbors that have been fishing on the Madison and Firehole Rivers. We foolishly thought that since fishing was so good this year our annual Grayling would come easy and early -- silly us.
    -- We decided to take a break from our Grayling quest and went up to that little stretch of the Firehole River beyond the Upper Geyser Basin, and above the falls. This afternoon as we drove by the Firehole River below the geyser basin we noticed that it was crowded; but not overly so. There was a good PMD hatch at the Iron Bridge around 1:00 PM.
    -- We decided in favor of the water in the woods and that has made all the difference. The access is easy and the trail is good. There were not too many folks on the trail, but that will soon change. Fish here if you want your picture taken by strangers. This is primarily a Brook Trout fishery, and that is all we caught. The big fish of the day was 11" and was fat. The late afternoon produced an ear and nose filling Caddis Hatch which is shown by the white dots in the photo above. (We just aren't any good with cameras.)
    -- On the way down the road after our Brookie Safari we stopped at 7-mile Bridge on the Madison River looking for some more Caddis action. We fished from the bridge to grasshopper bank and back. There were many fish but we couldn't figure out the risers, so we switched to Hare's Ear Caddis and Prince Nymphs in sizes 10 - 12 and took a few fish to 12" near the bank. The sun was setting when we got back to West Yellowstone at 9:30 PM.
    -- Second Hand News: The Salmonfly hatch is scattered and thin in the Firehole Canyon. Big rubberlegs are still dragging in some fish. Dry flies for this hatch have been iffy, and as they say in Mongolia, "It's where you find 'em." The Yellowstone River at the Yellowstone Lake outlet is nearing seasonal flows and sightings of trout near shore promise an exciting opener in just over three weeks. The Yellowstone River is fishing great as it clears just outside of the park. The good folks at George Anderson's shop can help you out if you decide to fish the big water up there.
    -- Heart Lake opens in just one week and sunny weather of the past week should be just ideal for that event.
    -- The big water fishermen are currently beating a hasty path toward Ennis, Montana. The Madison River is, (as we speak,) being engulfed by swarms of Family Pteronarcidae. Ennis fishermen report that it as heavy a hatch as they remember. Our memory is a bit longer than most of theirs; however, we are headed that way too. The major activity seems to be from the Varney Bridge to Ennis. This is going to be tricky because of the continuing warm weather.
    -- The folks at Westfly ran a series of pictures of the big critter as it emerged. (We always need an excuse to search the www for fishing news.) Kris Kristovich, the photographer mentioned at the Westfly site kindly provided us with some additional photos to show to you. Keep in mind that it can take the better part of an hour, (or more,) for the whole process. Thanks to you, Kris, for waiting it out for us.



    <-Kris Kristovich Photo













    <- Kris Kristovich Photo









    <- Kris Kristovich Photo





    -- It is always an adventure to fish the "Real Madison River," as the folks in Ennis like to call it. We'll probably stop in at the Madison River Fishing Company for the best stories and a bit of information from the lowlanders. Indian Creek still has some water in it. The coming of the early rain this year , and the afternoon thundershowers has made the Madison River Valley very green, and diversion of all the water in Indian Creek for irrigation has not been necessary this year -- YET! We'll start there, sans boat.

    Thursday, June 22, 2006

    FISHING YELLOWSTONE'S SUMMER

    A TALE OF FIVE RIVERS
    fish hard the days are getting shorter
    Some Small Secrets Revealed
    less people -- more fish



    <- Firehole River @ Ojo Caliente parking area.

    -- With our summer in full swing, it's time to expand the offerings in the fly box. Any given day on the Yellowstone Plateau can bring forth weather of any given sort. The aquatic insects are sensitive to this, and sometimes inclement weather is your best chance for catching a hatch. THE FIRE HOLE RIVER is still fishing like a storybook river. It's just that, now, the stories have developed some plot twists.
    -- The early morning hatches of Mayflies are combined with a spinner fall. Catching the "spinner float" requires an early breakfast and dedication to the proposition that someone has to catch all those fish that nobody ever sees. Use a generic Mayfly pattern, (we like the Yellowstone Morning Glory,) with a bit of the pattern that represents a trailing shuck, or downed wings. Sizes for the current hatch seem to be in the
    16 - 20 range, so take a fist full of each.
    -- Start fishing early enough to beat the crowds, (just after sunrise,) and fish until around 10:30 AM. The very soft currents and slower foam lines contain a lot of trout food, and the parking lot at Ojo Caliente is
    a good place to begin. We like to fish down on these early mornings, other early birds fish up. By the time you've worn out a stretch of water folks will be filling up the parking lot, and as you leave for a leisurely brunch you can tell them -- " . . . you should'a . . . . . "
    -- The PMD's are still around, and on those blustery mornings you can look forward to finishing your morning with a flurry of Baetis. You might even bump into the mid-day Caddis. Should you choose to fish through lunch time a few well selected nymphs and small soft hackles will serve you well.
    -- Evenings on the Firehole right now are showing good Caddis hatches - some are small. For the smallest dark gray or black Caddis, we like a Deer Hair Caddis pattern with a dark body originated by Jason Neuswanger at The Trout Nut. Right now sizes 18 - 20 seem about right.


    <- Find This Place For Fish



    -- We've been spending quite some time on the Gibbon River in our annual, (still unsuccessful,) Grayling quest, and have taken many good fish and just piles of Brook Trout. The mornings are filled with wet fly and soft hackle work. Occasionally we throw some Stiff Hackle Nymphs if the clouds are low.
    -- The hot spring shown above is across the Gibbon River from a nice big parking lot in the canyon section. The walls of the canyon are mostly too steep for mature fisherfolk, but there is a trail that will get you down to the river. There are always good fish in this steep riffle section, an
    d it is seldom fished. We took a nice Brown Trout of 14" here and recommend this place for the more fit fisherfolks.
    -- The National Park Meadow section of the Gibbon River has slowed to seasonal levels and inspection of the clear water shows that the scoured sandy bottom is almost devoid of vegetation. This varies from year to year, and when it is in this condition fishing becomes too challenging for most folks. The fish are of generous proportions but hold in plain sight in undercuts. This requires getting some grass stains on your waders. Caddis in the late evening is your best bet.


    <-- Campground Pool on the Gibbon River



    -- At Norris, Dusty took a Grayling in the "Campground Pool" on a size 14 soft hackle with an olive body. He was elated, we were dejected. The open dirt bank in the left center mid-ground is above the pool where the Grayling was fooled. He crawled across all that grass on his knees. That's him at the point. He had to release a dozen Brook Trout before his triumph.
    -- The thin water of this upper section is very clear now, and pending rains will stay that way for the summer. Hatches are also thin and localized. Be prepared to scare a lot of fish unless you are gentle in your approach. The Elk Meadow, and Gibbon Meadow sections are still guarded by bison. Evening Caddis hatches are producing good numbers of both Brown and Rainbow Trout. There are some good sized Whitefish in this section too. We saw a 15" whitefish that was as thick as a Foster's Oil Can.
    -- Nez Perce Creek above the story board is still fishing good, and there are some PMD's coming off as late as 1:30 PM. Be careful as you work the second or third meadow. The ground is still soft and the bison are filling up the lush green landscape. Most fish taken in this section will be fooled with a small Wooly Bugger with an olive or dark gray body. In the evening you can float a size 16 Wolly Bugger, or an Elk Hair Caddis to the fish.
    -- This piece of water is often overlooked by both visitors and locals alike. We're sorry for them and pleased to enjoy the solitude. Soon the day hikers and backpackers will fill the trails but the fisherfolks are not often seen. Catching is steady along this bit of Nez Perce Creek but not as furious as it can be on the glory waters.


    <-- Seven Mile Bridge at Gneiss Creek Trailhead.



    -- On the Madison River there are several hatches that can be fished if you find them. The local trout shops can give you a location on a daily - or hourly basis. One bit of water that is neglected is the 1/2 mile below seven mile bridge. Most people fish this section from the rest stop, or the pullouts adjacent to the road.
    -- The parking lot at the Gneiss Creek Trailhead allows access to an excellent bit of water. Start with some long roll casts to the bridge footings. A good sized Bead Head Hare's Ear, (6 - 10,) with proper placement will start you off on the right foot. If you fish the river from the road side you will meet many local folks and may get a truthful tip or two.
    -- There are some small yellow stoneflies in this section and herds of caddis in the late evening. Depending on the day the Gray Drakes may appear here first. If bison are encountered on the trail above your head as you fish downstream, be sure not to hook one with your backcast: most tippets just will not hold.
    -- We have some reports that both the Lewis River and Lewis Lake, in the southern part of the park, are beginning to attract fisherfolk. For current information about these locations visit Jack Dennis or his web site. There is also a stirring on the Gallatin River. We braved the willows a couple of weeks ago and took a small fish. The water is still cold, and bug activity is just starting.
    -- A tip for the more adventurous. Ask a local fly shop about Slate Creek. Right now the Brook Trout are going nuts. They are starved. Some are 11" long but most are 5" - 10". There are days on this little stream when you can get tired of catching fish. There are days when you are driven out of the water by the fry eating your waders. It's worth the walk; so too is Greebe Lake, if you have a Grayling fixation -- no names mentioned.

    JENNY, Call your mom.

    Wednesday, June 21, 2006

    JUST ANOTHER DAY AT THE OFFICE

    get up early
    Go To The Office Before The Help
    FINISH THE DAY WITH A BIG FISH


    <- Bob's Caddis "Jacklin's Green Rock Worm"



    -- So; you're a bit more lucky than most folks. You have a job that lets you fish. You have a job that you would do even if you didn't get paid to do it.
    -- You put in the long hours; just like any boss. Your rewards are modest in terms of "THE WORLD" - but you wouldn't have it any other way!
    -- It's the 16th of June, 2006 and you have a full day ahead of you. The new guides need some direction, the office needs some attention, the staff at the shop has some new employees that need a bit of training, and - - oh yeah, you have to do some filming for instructional videos and other projects.
    -- It's 5:30 AM, you open the front door and go to the office in the rear of the shop. You have had a small breakfast, the staff hasn't arrived, and you get some work done. About 6:30 AM the guides show up and get their gear, check the river reports, arrange the boats, order some box lunches and get going to fish the big water outside of Yellowstone National Park.
    -- At 7:15 AM the shop staff arrives and makes sure that there are plenty of flies, the shop is in order, the cash registers have tape, the lights all work, and the coffee is on for the first customers. They open the doors at 8:00 AM, (officially: in actuality the neighbors and a few early visitors have been in the shop since the clerks got there.)
    -- A mob appears at your office door . . . . the film crew is early . . . . "Just wanted to go over some things before we got started." And, there it is, the beginning of another day at the office. Today you are going to demonstrate some techniques that you have developed over the last 30 years or so for fishing a small nymph, with an indicator, in rapid water.
    -- By the time the film crew is satisfied, it's time for lunch. You all go to a local eatery, discuss the shoot some more and have lunch. The schedule, and shooting location have been discussed too much. It sounds like so much gobbly-de-gook. You just want to get to the water and get it done!
    -- The whole circus arrives at a local fishing spot and debauches from the vans and SUV's. You are "BETWEEN THE LAKES" and going to fish the tailwater fishery below Hebgan Dam. There are fish here and the location is accessible.
    -- There are already a couple of fishermen in the water so you select a place for the demonstration. Camera angles, (two cameras,) lighting, casting room, fill lights, and on and on and on. "ALL RIGHT BOB, LET'S DO IT."
    -- So you address camera #1; explain fly fishing a nymph with an indicator. You show a simple little creation of your own, - size 10, black glass bead head, peacock herl, and some green stuff. Nothing fancy here but a pretty good imitation. You turn to the river and Camera #2 follows the casts. They watch the indicator. Camera #1 is on the fisherman. You feel good that the line is finally wet.
    -- A couple of short controlled casts to the nice bit of holding water. A long seam between some rocks and the main current. You forget the cameras and begin to fish. You watch the drift. You strip to keep up with the swirling currents. You mend a little. And the indicator pauses -- then disappears. Fish on.
    -- The tug is light and you tighten just a bit, then pull a bit, then the fly line is ripped from your off hand. Holy Cow! You hope that the 4# green Maxima will hold this fish. The cameras are eating it up. The director is shouting, " . . did you really catch a fish?" He has no idea.
    -- The battle was a bit testy in the rapid flow in the narrow part of the stream. Details are unimportant. Finally the fish is subdued. It's dragged to the shallows and emerges like a submarine from the depths. The film crews are going nuts. You are pleased to have gathered in a fairly decent fish. Well, just a bit better than fairly decent; 30", healthy, strong, Brown Trout. And you caught it on camera.
    -- This is a true story. Our neighbor, Bob Jacklin, Fly Fishing Hall Of Fame member, Buz Buszek award winner, etc., did a fine job of demonstrating the technique. He caught a nice fish on demand, and - - the best part of the story is that it's just another day at the office.




    -- Not a bad day's work!

    Visit Bob's Shop.

    Read more about it.

    News Paper Report #1

    News Paper Report #2


    Tuesday, June 20, 2006

    YELLOWSTONE RIVERS DRAW CROWDS

    EASYCHAIR FISHING
    Parking Lots Full
    rivers & weather cooperating


    <-- Firehole River @ Midway Geyser Basin



    -- The gentleman at left, with his wife in the lawn chair, and the little "Yorkie" yapping all the time, fished 100 feet of the Firehole River for about one hour. The wife and the dog never moved. The fisherman caught more than a dozen fish. We finally made friends with the yapper!
    -- Fishing is very good. Word has spread that the rivers are in great shape, and the hatches are doing fine, and textbook regular. They are not as heavy as you dream of, (yet,) but there is no lack of bugs - all day - and no lack of willing takers, either.
    -- This is the stuff of stories. Beautiful surroundings, clear skies, afternoon thunderstorms, ravenous fish, easy wading, green grass, wildflowers, yapping "Yorkies," and full parking lots -- ah wilderness.
    -- The FIREHOLE RIVER is fishing very good. The flows are clear and seasonal. PMD's are getting thin in the morning but a Caddis hatch about 11:00 AM is filling in. The Baetis are also slowing; however a few Gray Drakes have been noticed. The slow mid-day period can be filled with nymphs and soft hackles. Once the sun is low a second Caddis hatch start and peaks about 8:00 PM. This is good since fishing is open until 10:00 PM when the light is gone.
    -- NEZ PERCE CREEK is fishing pretty good as well. It's not as hot and heavy as the Firehole, but then again, it's not as crowded. The stretch by the picnic area is about the same as the Firehole. The quicksand at the confluence is yielding big Rainbows, (to 14",) on streamers and soft hackle flies. Upstream from the Chief Joseph story board standard nymphs, (size 12 - 16, prince, hare's ear, and dusters of any stripe,) are working well. The evening Caddis hatch is a little earlier in this section.
    -- The MADISON RIVER in National Park Meadow is full of fish that are still dreaming of Salmonflies. The undercut banks have good fish that can be taken on large nymphs. The rising fish in the morning appear to be taking spinners. There is a Caddis hatch late in the afternoon, (about 4:30 - 500 PM,) that is just heavy enough to produce lively fishing. Use Elk Hair Caddis in sizes 10 - 18, as there are two types of bugs hatching during this period. The fish are becoming a bit selective, so choose your size with care.
    -- Our quest for our annual Grayling was thwarted again. We fished the GIBBON RIVER hard for three days and came up empty - well, sort'a. The "riffle - run - pocket water" sections in the canyon yielded the standard assortment of 8" - 12" Rainbows and Browns on Elk Hair Caddis and Prince nymphs. (ASIDE: about two miles of this section along the road will be hard to access when the new road and bridge is finished. Fish it now for good action on small fish.) Gibbon Meadows is still a little "squishy" in spots but the fish in the big bends can still be approached on your knees. The water is almost as clear as it gets and there is a good Caddis hatch in the afternoon. Elk Meadows is a little more firm and the same hatch can be found there.
    -- The Gibbon's thin water at the campground and above is full of the nursery fish. There are gobs, (technical term,) of Brook Trout in this section; still eager but becoming just a bit shy. Now that the weather has softened there are plenty of folks to bump into on this section. Most of them are busy putting down the fish.
    -- Reports from GREEBE LAKE are glowing. The Grayling there are still in the "ice-out" feeding frenzy, and are cruising the shore looking for groceries. Fish the detritus along the windward banks. Some fish have been taken in 8 - 10 inches of water. The meadows are a bit soft and walking is the hardest part of this fishing. It's about 2-1/2 miles to the lake, and a charlie horse in in the offing if you're out of shape and tramp around the soft meadows too much. It's probably worth it if you want a Grayling. At our age, this is a last resort.
    -- Down south LEWIS LAKE is getting hot, (figuratively,) and producing good fish on Wooly Buggers and leeches. Soon the Dragon Flies and Damsel Flies will be evident. Fish are also being taken on floating Hare's Ear nymphs.
    -- We're taking a mental health day, (yet another,) and going back for more. There has got to be a very stupid Grayling out there somewhere.
    .
    JENNY, Call your mom.

    Friday, June 16, 2006

    BEAUTIFUL DAYS INN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

    YELLOWSTONE FISHING HITS STRIDE;
    Madison, Firehole, Gibbon, Swift & Clear,
    some bugs sparse - all on schedule,
    still no grayling.






    -- Early morning on the Madison River, at Barn's #1 produced a couple of nice Brown Trout on a size 4, dark gray 'Casual Dress' nymph. We started with this fly as a prospecting situation to see if the fish were still dreaming of Salmonflies - they are.
    -- Mid-morning on the
    Firehole River, east of Goose Lake had a modest Gray Drake spinner fall, and a scattered hatch of PMD's. The fish were taking both - we think. We floated some small, size 14 -16 elk hair caddis to them and they ate brunch.
    -- Still on the pilgrimage for our annual Grayling; we went to the Big Riffle Bend, just upstream from Tuff Cliffs on the
    Gibbon River. The water is high and clear, full of oxygen, and some small stoneflies. This section requires a walk across the meadow of about 3/8 mile, and there are only a couple of places to park.
    -- The day was perfect. Low broken clouds scudded across the sky and the breeze kept most of the mosquitoes down. On this section of the Gibbon, there are Mountain Whitefish, Brook Trout, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout and Grayling. We caught a few of each, (except Grayling,) on the same elk hair caddis during our mid-day break. Brook Trout are rare in this section and the one we caught was about 11" - still competing.
    -- We sank a 'Yellowstone Sally'** and took a nice brown trout of about 15" in the tail-out of the last pool before the valley widens into the meadow section. Then back to the car.
    -- Lunch was consumed amid the gaggle of visitors at the Gibbon Falls overlook. The falls still have some color and are running fast. Some neighbors stopped and reported that the Gibbon was fishing good up near Virginia Cascades, and in the big pull-out near chocolate spring.
    -- We drove to the parking area at the Norris Campground Meadow. The Upper Gibbon River is in perfect early season form. The one-cast water south of the Canyon Village Road is high, swift, and clear. We fished up to the waist of the meadow, and then, back down. Today, only the Brook Trout were taking. They were taking everything! We used elk hair caddis, prince nymphs, bead head hare's ear nymphs, and some small, (18 - 20,) mosquitoes - sweet revenge. The meadow had dried to the perfect mosquito breeding stage, and they are taking advantage of it.
    -- The big meadow section, across the road, and west of Norris campground is beginning to move toward seasonal flow, and several fish were rising in the bend that turns the river south, (about 1/4 mile from the road.) Dirk took a couple of small Browns and a sea monster of some sort. We never saw it, but it torpedoed upstream like a Smith River Steelhead headed for the interstate in northern California. Excitement and failure to re-tie a 6x tippet caused Dirk to exercise a long forgotten stream of explicatives.
    -- A dark cloud sent us back to the car and the ride home. We arrived to a gentle shower and a rainbow. The metropolis of West Yellowstone is filling up with visitors and both parking and traffic is a problem.



    <-- Casual Dress





    -- The weather forcast, reports from neighbors, and observations made today suggest that we are in for a good fishing week ahead. We are still looking for a Grayling, maybe the hike to Greebe Lake will have to save this quest. Now is the time, and the trail is dry enough, (second-hand report,) to make the hike in fairly easy. These old bones could probably make the 2 -3 mile jaunt with a companion and several 'vista' breaks.


    <-- ** Yellowstone Sally


    -- The Yellowstone Sally is a local fly that works well in both the lakes and streams of Yellowstone. It combines elements of both nymph and streamer forms. It is easy to tie with common materials, can range in size from 4 to 14, can be tied weighted or not, and catches fish.
    .
    Recipe for Yellowstone Sally:
    Tail; 6 - 8 muskrat or hare's mask fibers, Shell Back; turkey tail (fold to make wing stubbs too), Body; yellow floss or waxed yellow thread, Rib; peacock herl, Wing case; folded section of turkey tail shell back, Beard; small pheasant tail fibres, Thread; we use red, others use yellow. In the larger sizes this is a good searching nymph in spring and early summer. In the smaller sizes it can be floated on lakes for gulpers, and sunk in the tails of pools where you need to get down quick.
    .
    Jenny, call your mom.

    Thursday, June 15, 2006

    YELLOWSTONE RAINS RAISE RIVERS

    HEAVY JUNE RAIN IS NORMAL:
    Combat The Weather With Nostalgia,
    can you say scarlet ibis?

    (P.S. YELLOWSTONE LAKE OPENS FOR FISHING TODAY!) **


    <-- Scarlet Ibis, ca.1964




    -- The gray days of the last week, and the evening showers are typical June weather. The soaking rain of yesterday and last night is not an unusual thing this time of year.
    -- Folks that have been here for only 5 or 6 years seem astounded that it should rain so much in June. The phraseology is interesting if you listen to a conversation between folks who have lived here all their lives, and those neighbors who have recently arrived.
    -- "JEEZ, it's still cold and rainy, and it's already June."
    -- "YUP, it's June."
    -- June is, historically, our wettest month, and consistently provides us with our greatest water content in precipitation. This includes all but the deepest snow years. Maybe the drought is over. We hope so.
    -- The west side rivers have responded to the persistent precipitation of the last two days with a noticeable rise in discharge.
    -- The Firehole River has gone from a seasonal 400 cfs to a sprightly 600 cfs. The color is still good and I'm sure the remaining Baetis are just happy as bugs in . . . . .
    -- The Madison River has gone from a pleasantly slow 650 cfs to a bubblingly seasonal flow of about 850 cfs. It's color is a bit off, but still fishable. These overnight swings are normal for this time of year, and do present some day-to-day challenges, but they can be overcome. Change your flies and change your techniques. Change where you fish; after all the damn rivers are changing.
    -- Apropos of all this is the happy coincidence of the mention of a couple of recent articles that will just grind at the guts of the technical brethren who have boxes full of 'realistics.' The alert fishermen at MidCurrent, and The Trout Underground reminded us of a timely solution to the current conditions.
    -- At MidCurrent two perfectly pertinent notes should be read immediately. "Beyond The Swing," by John Likakis, and "The Mystery Of The Ratty Fly" by our neighbor, Paul Schullery.
    -- These works provide us with nostalgic views of techniques that are still viable and pertinent solutions to today's challenges.
    -- The photo above is of an imported Scarlet Ibis from about 1964. (We admit to never throwing anything out.) And, it is also an example of a 'Ratty Fly.' The hook is a bit rusty, there are no Ibis feathers in it - never were; and it has seen it's share of use. We would buy these things by the handsfull - they were very pretty, they were very cheap, sometimes they came in assortments of six, (yellow, white, dun, red, black, brown,) and some even came with a leader attached - ah, but we digress again. This fly, and the techniques mentioned in the Likakis article will probably catch plenty of fish on the Madison and Firehole Rivers in their current conditions.
    -- We've not been to the Gibbon yet today; but, we're going tomorrow on our continuing annual Grayling pilgrimage. We're going to take the old ratty scarlet ibis. More to come.
    _____________
    ** The lake is high for the opener, and fishing should be good right at the Lake Hotel - depending on the direction of the wind. Stick a "Laker" for us.
    --
    The Yellowstone River, at the outlet, is running at about 5,300 cfs; that's about 2,000 cfs above the 76 year median daily average.

    Wednesday, June 14, 2006

    Just Outside Yellowstone National Park

    BIG WATER FISHING?
    Need A Boat?
    try these!


    <<- photo courtesy of Jason Cajune

    -- Although we prefer the Wade vs. Row approach to fly fishing; there are times . . . . . . . . . .There are some real advantages to fishing big water from a boat. You enjoy a nice ride with a competent guide, (what? . . row at my age?) You see a lot of the river. You see a lot of nice scenery from a different perspective. You get to cherry-pick the best holes and runs. And, .. if the boat is well designed; you get to have a stable platform. When you visit Yellowstone Country, try fishing just outside the park if you have the time.
    -- That’s where this brief post comes in. Lighter, stronger, less ‘corky,’ and beautiful; what’s not to like? Montana Boatbuilders in Livingston, Montana has the premier drift boat on the big waters of Montana, and many other states as well. They produce a full line of drift boats and duck boats.
    -- Steam-bent oak, rope seats, knee locks, dry storage and kevlar — What? . . . KEVLAR? Yes-siree-Martha the best of all known worlds is incorporated into these boats. They are pure beauty and function, combined. Even Cadillac wishes they could do as well.
    -- Starting in a Whitefish, Montana garage 10 years ago, Jason Cajune and his wife Vedra have built a business based on innovation, craftsmanship, and customer satisfaction. The company was recently featured in an article in the Redding News.
    -- If you are handy with common hand tools you can build a boat from a kit. If you are skilled you can buy the plans and a complete materials list along with tips and tricks. The “Freestone Classic” is a boat that makes both guides and fisher folk drool. We, however, like the design of the “Recurve” model, shown above. It solves many problems that are inherent in the classic design. Visit their web site and take a gander at the future of drift boats. — Or was it Roe vs. Wade?

    YELLOWSTONE RIVERS IN GREAT SHAPE

    BLUEBIRD DAYS & THUNDER NIGHTS
    Bring The Whole Box
    everything's working
    still no grayling


    <<-- Firehole River: running clear.




    -- The good news is that the rivers are in great shape and look to stay that way until a mega deluge. The bad news, (of sorts,) is that we have not caught our annual Grayling and it's week three of the season.
    -- Reports and news are in abundance; they are all good for a change as the weather has settled down, and it's beginning to look a lot like summer.
    -- First off: Yellowstone Lake opens for fishing tomorrow -- get in the boat, drag out the tube, or walk along the shore and stick some Lake Trout. There has been some progress made in the Lake Trout eradication program and the Cutthroat recruitment seems to be on the rise. Good News! The lake is high due to the rapid warm-up of a few weeks ago, and looks to stay that way for some time as we are experiencing some warmer than normal days, (87 F is just a tad too much in June.) The Yellowstone River at the outlet is running at just over 5,000 cfs. This is at least 1,500 cfs above the 76 year median daily average.
    -- The Firehole River is flowing at seasonal levels (about 400 cfs,) and is clear and highly productive. There is both an evening and morning Caddis hatch, PMD's are really popping, and "afternoon" is starting about 10:30 for the Mayflies. Baetis are available until dark, and there are lots of bugs on the water. During the overlap between the morning Caddis and the Baetis the fish are leaping into your waders - bring a small net to get them out. The river sections along the old freight road and those just below the iron bridge are fishing very well in the evening to the prolific Caddis hatch.
    -- The Madison River is just a bit below seasonal levels, (at about 700 - 750 cfs,) but is still bank to bank and surprisingly clear for this time of the year. The overnight thundershowers are keeping the flows in line with the running average and there are plenty of groceries. The Salmonflies are still emerging in places, and there are two kinds of smaller stoneflies as well. The mornings are still showing PMD's in good numbers, and the evening Caddis are showing up at about 5:00 PM. Depending on where you fish the afternoon may show some Baetis or the beginning of the Gray Drake hatch. The heavy Salmonfly concentration should be at the Barns Holes by today or tomorrow. The evening Caddis are especially thick in the mile below 7-mile bridge. Between National Park Meadows and the Talus pull-out the PMD's and Baetis are providing all day fishing if you can stand it.
    -- Nez Perce Creek, above the bridge at the Chief Joseph story board has provided excellent mid-day fishing with nymphs. Sizes 6 - 12; pick your flavor. We stick with Montana Dusters. You can do as well with Hare's Ear, Pheasant Tail, or Prince sorts as well. There have been some bear sightings above the wolf release pen area so be on the look out in the first open meadow. Sing a loud and stupid song - it'll keep both the bears and other fisherfolk away. The river section by the picnic area and down to the confluence with the Firehole has slowed down some. There are still piles of small Brook Trout, (down to 4",) and we saw one 13" Brown Trout taken in this section - both on the same fly - a size 12 Royal Humpy . . . . . go figure.
    -- The Gibbon River is beginning to show it's summer character. The canyon sections are still a little high for consistent good fishing, but large nymphs above tanker curve in the riffle and run sections are beginning to show where the fish are. Pick the biggest rocks in the stream that are visible. Fish the pillow and the seams. The meadow sections have cleared nicely and are beginning to fish in their typical tough fashion. As the water clears in the meadows the big fish will be harder and harder to fool. Some nice Rainbow Trout, (to 16" or a bit more,) sulk in this section and it's very satisfying to stick one - they leap like a salmon and fight hard. The campground meadows and the one-cast water above the Canyon Village Road have the usual assortment of eager Brook trout. There are Grayling here too. Several Grayling were taken on small dry flies during the last three days - just not by us. The action is continuous, and some of the Brookies are 10" long. We're going to pound it for another week in search of our annual Grayling. It'll happen.
    -- The Gallatin River is clearing at it's typical capricious pace. The meadows at the confluence of Fan Creek and The Gallatin River have some nice Brown Trout and they are still taking streamers. Fish the deep undercut banks and keep the flies down in the water column. Be careful of your back cast, there is a lot to get hung-up on in this section. The Mountain Whitefish seem to be thick this year, but that may be a function of temperature as well.
    -- How Do You Know The Fishing Is Good? - - - - - All of the feather merchants and their famous guests are fishing daily in the park. This spring has been fishing just the way we dream Yellowstone should fish. Those who hear about it, and have the means have flocked to the west side of the park for the opening weeks - and have not been disappointed. We hope it continues.
    -- Second Hand Reports: upper Firehole River, (above the closure by Old Faithful,) producing Brook Trout to 10" on Elk Hair Caddis and bead head Prince nymphs. Grayling Creek along the road producing many precocious Brown Trout and Brook Trout on Hare's Ear nymphs and small Wooly Worms. Lewis River clear but cold and high.
    -- JUST A REMINDER; 100% barbless. This is for gear, flies, and the kids and their worms in the Gardiner. Click HERE for regulations. And HERE for the fishing map.

    Monday, June 12, 2006

    Yellowstone Blogging

    Why Blog
    other blogs


    -- This site started out as a simple means to communicate with neighbors and friends who visit Yellowstone National Park. Many of our neighbors and friends have tight schedules and need to plan their hectic lives around conditions at their destinations. We started this blog to help with that.
    -- The damn thing has grown, and there are now many folks that we don't know using the site. This is an ego satisfying result, but it wasn't our intent. We now get requests for much that was outside the scope of the original plan. We are happy to comply where we can. We have time for much more than fishing, and have learned to search the web and find news for our busy friends. This is also a satisfying task. There is a wealth of good information as well as pure junk out there.
    -- There are no advertisements, pop-ups, redirections, or other www-impediment's on this site. The intent is not to make money, even as an ancillary act. We intend to keep it that way. Our personal fishing includes much more than just Yellowstone Park, and we find it hard to keep that stuff from creeping in - for that we apologize.
    -- However, we find ourselves returning to some sites time and again because of their information content and their entertainment value. Most of the sites we use are listed in the sidebar. Most are Yellowstone related in one way or another. The others are just plain fun.




    <--
    Map of the 100 most recent visitors from North America.


    -- Because blogs are more dynamic and current than web sites we visit them more frequently. Web sites trend toward static marketing tools and provide us with little current information.
    -- There are some places on the web that demand attention. Fujioka's Home Page is one such place. It is well organized and has a high information and entertainment value. So does The Trout Underground, as does Moldy Chum. If you are interested in links try Fujioka's page, also MRO has an excellent Yellowstone related links page. Our friends often travel to Washington D.C. and we always send them to Rose River Farms to help with jet lag and home-sickness. MidCurrent is a standard for information and entertainment. Two exceptional sites for the buggy folks are Troutnut and Flyfishing Entomology.
    -- Our current perspective is geocentric and has a West Yellowstone bias. We make no apology for that. This place is certainly not the best place in the universe for fly fishing. It is however the best place for a variety of accessible excellent fly fishing. At our age it is a blessing to be able to drive to exceptional fishing sites and back home in the same day.
    -- All this is by way of saying thank you to the new friends and neighbors that this blog has generated. And, as they say in Mongolia - "tight lines & don't catch 'em all!"
    .
    --We're off on our annual Grayling quest.

    Sunday, June 11, 2006

    YELLOWSTONE’S RAINY DAY FISHING

    FIREHOLE UP AND DOWN
    Madison Quickens
    Gibbon very stable
    river reports and rumors
    BLOG VISITATIONS

    · Of course it has to happen; the Yellowstone Park rain has slowed fishing just a bit. Some people just don’t fish, some don’t fish as hard, and some tell stories. We fished a bit today, then told stories, then went to town to enjoy some of the local whistle wetter's.
    · The Firehole River collected enough rapid runoff to deepen it’s color a bit and nearly double its discharge. There were a few brave souls, and some silly ones too, (we plead guilty to the latter,) that fished through some torrential rains. It was a “WASHOUGAL DAY’ - minus the Steelhead and the deep pools. This morning the river gauge shows it has slowed again, and the thunderstorms of last night have abated. We look for fishing to improve this afternoon and evening. There are still stoneflies in the canyon and along the road. We’re headed back in to verify our silliness.
    · We have spoken to no one that has fished Nez Perce Creek in the last couple of days. The forest pond should have fish in it, and we intend to visit it mid-week or later: weather and mosquitoes permitting.
    · The Madison River absorbed the discharge from the Firehole and the Gibbon without too much damage. Visibility is about 18” - 30” and if the sun comes out before noon tomorrow there might be some PMD action. If it stays blustery and broken we’ll be blessed with another Baetis swarm. We have reports of Salmonflies in the rapid sections around the talus turn-out, and Mt. Haynes. More to follow.
    · The Gibbon River provided us with grand entertainment yesterday, and we are going to return for more this afternoon. We intend to catch our annual Grayling, and then stalk the big meadows for some larger fish. Rain gear is certainly in order.
    · We occasionally cruise the web for news and entertainment from other fishing blogs. We’re sorry to hear from the folks at The Trout Underground that the Upper Sac has decided to be recalcitrant in clearing this year. They have been getting the same storms that we are and the mountains there are wringing out the clouds in an efficient manner. However, they have found us a place that allows us to "Sleep With The Fishes."
    · The kind people at Moldy Chum always have something interesting to report. And for a reality check visit TroutGrrrl at Science & Sarcasm.
    -- Well it's time for pecan waffles, a couple of eggs, biscuits and gravy, coffee, milk, and maybe some marmalade on toast. Then back to the battle. It's another gray day and if the clouds break this morning the PMD hatch will be dispersed but reliable. If it gets grungy in the afternoon the Baetis will burst forth. Hope springs eternal.

    Saturday, June 10, 2006

    GIBBON RIVER BLUES

    OFF TO CATCH A GRAYLING:
    How 'Bout A Brookie,
    wouldja settle for a whitefish?
    MADISON STILL HOT
    Firehole Discharge Down
    try the Lewis River


    <-- "HELLIFIKNOW"


    -- It shouldn't take seven hours to drive 31 miles; even if the speed limit is 45 mph, and the road is wet, and there is bison poop smeared on the asphalt, and the motor homes are stopping in the middle of the road - but it did.
    -- The day dawned soft and gray with the hint of fog. We had breakfast at 8:oo AM; then off to the park for a leisurely drive to the Upper Gibbon. We started our annual pilgrimage to the upper Gibbon River on Friday. Our stated goal, this time each year, is to take a Grayling. Sometimes We Do! It started to drizzle: an absolutely perfect June morning.
    -- A brief detour to see the Madison at the Barns Holes and a visit with some folks from Nebraska. The river is still swift but clear and fishable. We flung some Montana Dusters into the seams and took a couple of whitefish at Barnes #1. Then back to Da Ford.
    -- We paused a couple of places along Riverside Drive to watch some Golden Eye Ducks rafting downstream. There was a Merganser with something in its bill, and a Great Blue Heron with the tail of a fish hanging out of its beak. There were some cars at the Muskrat Hole across from Grasshopper Bank (6 miles from the West Entrance,) we paused again to inspect the river. One angler had a nice fish and landed it as we watched.
    -- There was no one at 9-mile hole so we re-rigged and fished the end of the PMD hatch with some Yellowstone Morning Glory flies, (size 16 - 18,) and then smoked a cigar. The upper end of the swift water had several fish rising & we went back for more. We took a dozen fish each, (+/-,) then gave up the hole to some local fishing guides who had never fished in Yellowstone. We suggested that they try the deep run in the middle of the river, over by the large erratic boulder on the shore, (titter, titter, titter.)
    -- We paused a couple of places along the Gibbon River near National Park Meadows but decided that since the rain had quit we should continue on up toward Gibbon Falls. However, we hadn't fished the meadow near Tuff Cliffs in over two years. So we parked Da Ford, walked across the meadow, (it's firm and poses no problem now,) and tried a couple of rising fish. No luck with the little dry flies. Floated some big olive Wooly Worms and took a 14" Brown Trout. There are still Salmonflies, (Willow Flies if you're from Colorado,) working in this section. This lower section of the Gibbon River is very lightly fished, and will occasionally produce a Grayling so we justified the detour as the official beginning of the Grayling quest. Back to Da Ford.
    -- As we climbed past Gibbon Falls and into Tanker Bend, (a fuel tank truck wrecked here long ago,) the riffle and run sections were clear and frothy. Some color reamins in the fast sections of the Gibbon in the canyon, but we saw several fisherfolk addressing the turbulent stream - we waved and wished them luck.
    -- There was a cloud of bugs at the Artish Paint Pot turn-out. Da Ford killed about 200 for us and we stopped to identify them. Probably Baetis of some sort? We turned into the picnic area between the meadows to look at the stream.
    -- Rumbling stomachs and grumbling thunder, (or the other way 'round,) announced lunch time - 2:30 PM and we weren't there yet. The Gibbon has cleared very nicely - thank you, and we visited with a pair of writer-fishers who had walked the Elk Meadows stretch. They had good stories 'bout some large fish and the clarity of the big sweeping bends that held them.
    -- Lunch was disposed of quickly, and then we drove to the pull-out just past Norris Junction and parked. It was 3:20 PM. The rain was fairly serious and the sky was dark; no thunder or lightning for the last hour or so. We rigged up with our Grayling armaments: small Elk Hair Caddis', and the local secret fly - "HELLIFIKNOW." (The simple recipe for this fly is given below.)
    -- Rumor has it that a local famous fisher-writer was using the fly one day and was asked the name of it: "Hell If I Know," was his answer, and it stuck. It is too simple to have caught on with many "serious" fly fishers. We love it, (are we not serious?)
    -- We fished from the Campground Pool, upstream to the road to Canyon Village: across the road to the single-cast-water. The vest-pocket meadows here are still a little damp and "squishy," (technical term.) This water is running at grade, & is soooo clear that you only get one cast per holding area. It's grossly under fished, challenging, and rewarding. There is a good population of Grayling in these little meadows. There is also a giant population of Brook Trout.
    -- At about 6:30 the sky threatened again and our stomachs, (or thunder,) let us know that it was time to head back to Da Ford. We arrived at the parking lot at the same time as the hail and a couple of folks from Bozeman, Montana. We finished some chips and shared stories -- window to window, then headed back down the road. We took easily two dozen fish each, (probably more - every one of them a twinkling little Brook Trout of 6" - 10".) Grayling will be caught tomorrow - no pausing along the Madison!
    -- At Madison Junction, (mandatory drainage break,) we met some folks from Jackson that had been fishing the Lewis River near the south entrance to Yellowstone National Park. They were dry fly purists and reported that just about any fly in a size 18 - 20 was working late in the afternoon. They reported that the Lewis River had cleared early and that they just came up for the Stoneflies on the Madison.
    -- How does one measure success? Is it even a concept that should be applied to a day of fishing? We ended the day feeling a bit disappointed. We had not caught our Grayling. We don't keep track of numbers, and on occasion have been known to deflate or inflate numbers in a situational context -- yet we caught a lot of fish and were still just a little morose -- go figure! Just a case of the Gibbon River Blues: tomorrow we will catch a grayling. - Or, the next day.
    .
    Recipe for "HELLIFIKNOW"
    Tail: dyed red squirrel, or red synthetic fibers, Body: silver tinsel, (mylar works, we use French metal,) Beard: reddish brown rump feather fibers from golden pheasant, Head: red thread. Hook: heavy nymph, size 4-12. Fish on short light leader in shallow clear water or long heavy leader in colored water. Brookies, Grayling, and other precocious young trout take this just the way a Bluegill takes an empty gold-plated hook.

    GET A BADGE IN YELLOWSTONE

    TAKE A BOY SCOUT FISHING,
    There Is No Better Time,
    TU has merit badge for fly fishing.




    Trout Unlimited
    Merit Badge Page

    can you tie an arbor knot?

    Thursday, June 08, 2006

    The Madison's Dirty Little Secret

    DON'T TELL THE NEIGHBORS
    Pretend It's New
    use obscure language


    -- It was roaring hot yesterday and the mosquitoes loved it. There is not enough OFF or CUTTER'S to drive them away.
    -- (As an aside, Ralph Cutter invented the "a bump is a win" fishing game. Just cut the hook in the middle of the bend so there is no point to stab the fish. Float the fly in a feeding lane. If a fish bumps it -- you win! He used to spend hours doing this on the Owens River while poor Joe Tomelleri was taking pictures, and making sketches of a fish that they had trapped for illustration purposes. Great fun.)
    -- The Madison River is in fine shape, and the riffle and run sections above 7-mile bridge have a hatch - of sorts - going on. The cognoscenti use words like "Yellow Sally," "Thunder Bug," "Pteronarcidae," "Taeniopterygidae," "Capniidae," and other words that strike fear and awe in the casual fly fisher. The words we use generally sound like "the big ones," "the middle-sized ones," and "the little ones."

    <-- Marcella's Trout Fly
    Courtesy Marcella Oswald




    -- Depending on what section of the Madison you choose to fish; have some of each. Right now the big ones are beginning to fly and the fish are rising to surface flies.
    -- Yesterday 9-mile hole, (yup, it's nine miles from the west entrance to Yellowstone,) had some fast action from about 2:00 PM, until the sky got so dark that a headlight was necessary at about 7:30 PM. The rain was horrendous and then a little hail, and then the sky lit up with lightning and called the game. Marcella's Trout Fly dragged down a couple of nice fish.
    -- The nymphal forms of all these flies are very active now, and the fish are really staying down to get their groceries. Only those sections where the emergence is in full swing are they coming to the surface.
    --HERE'S THE SECRET: "As plebeian as it seems, you can fish it all with two sizes and two colors of Wooly Worm."
    -- The colors are Yellow and Olive. The sizes are 10-12, and 4-6. With a double handfull of these flies and some thought you will do very well indeed. Grease some up and they float just fine. Soak some overnight and you don't need much weight to get them down. Tie a few with extra long hackle and they become a very effective fly 'on the swing' just like a soft hackle. Remember - don't tell the neighbors.