• Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Sunday, April 29, 2007

    Warm Up - Run Off

    Snow Pack Dwindling
    Fly Tipping Rampant In River Itchen
    .. It had to come sooner or later. This year it's sooner. This last week of warm weather is good for early tourism, and it may be good for the opening of fishing on Memorial Day Weekend - depending on how much snow disappears; and how fast it goes.
    .. As the long term weather forecast now stands, early fishing will be good and the Summer will arrive early and knock a hole in many favorite locations on streams such as the Firehole River and Nez Perce Creek. Hatches promise to be earlier, and depending on the bugs, may in fact be more prolific. We'll keep you posted.

    .. The Firehole River is currently running at about 150 cfs above seasonal average. The Madison River is churning along at nearly 200 cfs above seasonal average. Elk Island GlideThe elk Island Glide below 'Dipper Cliff' and Firehole Falls is "bank full" and rising, (see Platial map below.)
    .. The snow water equivalents in the river basins are very low. The snow pack in West Yellowstone is 0% of the average. The Madison River Basin is 69% of average. The Gallatin River Basin is 76% of average. The upper Yellowstone Basin, (Yellowstone Park,) is 70% of average.
    .. Unless there is a flurry of tremendous snowstorms in the upper elevations the rivers will become low, slow, and warm in a hurry. To keep tabs of the snow pack and the water equivalents check out the USDA Snowtel Site.
    .. Just a couple of days ago we read about the Royal Navy coming along to help clean up the River Kelvin. The note disturbed us and now we find that the River Itchen is in dire straights as well. As a more pertinent aside: congratulations to the Urban Fly Fisher for their Urban Sports Blog Award. And the new look of the blog is attractive as well.

    Thursday, April 26, 2007

    Grayling Loses "Endangered" Battle

    .. The courts have spoken and the Fluvial Grayling in Montana will not be listed. According to an article in the Montana Standard:

    "The federal government announced Tuesday that it will not protect fluvial arctic grayling by putting the dwindling species of fish on the Endangered Species List.

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the fish, one of Montana’s rarest that are found in the upper Big Hole River, is not genetically different enough from the more abundant lake dwelling grayling.

    The decision not only prevents them from endangered listing now, but takes them off the candidate list, meaning they’ll likely never be considered for protection."

    This is a blow to those of us who appreciate this fish and it's indicator status.

    It's well worth the time to read the two recent articles published by the Standard:
    1] - Arctic grayling kept off endangered list,
    - Feds decide against protections for arctic grayling.

    .. This decision, along with the recent one about the Cutthroats is indicative of a growing trend to pretend that all fish are alike. A sad commentary on both our Courts and the USFWS.
    .. The commentary, may be even worse about those fisher folks that refused to submit comments. We suspect that this trend will continue and that everyone reading this will be affected within 5 years.
    .. The Big Hole Watershed Committee is affected in this situation because of the withdrawal of federal funds for stream projects. Visit their page about Grayling Recovery for additional information.
    The key to this sad situation is the phrase
    ". . . not genetically different enough . . ."
    Such tripe!!

    Friday, April 13, 2007

    Yellowstone Fishing Secret #37

    WAKE UP CALL(photos courtesy THE HORSES MOUTH)

    .. It's Friday and we get to fish. But before we do here's a secret ritual that happens every Friday in Yellowstone country: the neighbors all travel, (virtually of course,) to San Francisco and visit THE HORSE'S MOUTH.
    .. It's a bit of a reality check before we gather at the coffee emporium and plan the day. The site is full of fishy things - and other notes about the happenings in 'The City:' sailing, surfing, and other sea side material.
    .. Mostly it's a photo blog and always entertains. The pictures are nice, the captions are occasionally riotous. The FISH ON FRIDAY feature is what has drawn the neighbors to this site,(it surely has nothing to do with the women in scanty attire.) And we know that the videos of the bikinis are simply extraneous fodder for surfers. Perhaps it's the secret video about how to charm fish into your boat without any bait, flies, or finesse. Whatever the the reasons, we enjoy this fishing secret and the neighbors do too.
    .. This and other Friday 'secret sites' provide us with coffee chatter and conversation to start the day. It's a ritual that never fails to amuse, entertain, and occasionally provide insight - we enjoy it and thought that your would too. It's not a big secret, and it's not even a secret anymore.
    .. This secret has been revealed in the face of strong opposition and death threats from some of the neighbors. It seems that they feel that this is their very own secret site - well that's the way it goes. Fishers of all stripes should enjoy this ritual, and we thank this mildly dyslexic blogger for taking the time and effort to bring us a bit of humor and beauty. With this revelation comes a spot of dubious honor in our "Excellent Links" section in the sidebar - neighbors be damned!
    .. It's 8 AM, the day is bright overcast with a gently wafting north breeze. It's only zero degrees, and about as balmy as we can expect. Fishing promises to be fruitful and rewarding. We're venturing into bear country - just down the road, and expect that the South Fork Estuary, (sorry, no map, the neighbors will only let me go so far,) will be a productive bit of water. Rumor, (substantiated by several loudmouths,) has it that streamers are taking post spawn Brown Trout to 3# - however long that is. And worms are working on the really big fish - oh dear!

    Thursday, April 12, 2007


    "This is simple,” Schweitzer said in a statement. “This is the peoples’ right to fish and recreate on our rivers."

    >>>>> Read how Montana's governor is fighting for the people's right to access their water !

    >>>>> After all, it's in the state constitution !


    Nymphomania Season

    Dances With Trout Exhilarating
    Used Flies Preferred
    NOAA Information: Bleak

    ..Nymphomania is the word the neighbors use for this time of year. The fish are very hungry and are grabbing all manner of flotsam from the water. Many of the neighbors are keeping fish to eat and the stomach contents of these fish are revealing - even surprising.
    .. Although trout are frequently selective, they are always opportunistic feeders and their stomach contents reflect the food, (trout perception,) in the water column. This time of year the water column is full of vegetal detritus, suspended inorganics, and even some digestible items. The trout eat it all: small twigs, spent caddis cases, small stones, moss, collar buttons, bug bits, etc.
    .. Any fly that approximates any of these things will probably be sampled by hungry trout. And, it's a good bet that there is a chewed-up nymph in your fly box that is going to work just fine. Right now the most attractive "bits" are best simulated by Pheasant Tail Nymph, Yellowstone Badger Nymph, Brown San Juan Worm, and black Woolly Worm. Sizes on the smallish side: 12 -18.
    .. Hebgen Lake is fishing very well and any place near the edge of the ice will produce. The tailwater fishery below Hebgen Dam is beginning to show spawning activity in the shallows - DON'T WADE! Fish these sections from the shore, or don't fish at all. There are some excellent deep runs and pools that are easily fished from the shore -- after all, Spey casting and roll casting are good for the soul. The Plunge Pool Run & Discharge Riffles, (see map,) are excellent spots for a deep dredged Woolly Worm or San Juan Worm.
    .. Quake Lake is beginning to draw the neighbors as the ice recedes and breaks up. The lower sections of Awkward Bend and Long Riffle are holding excellent fish, (to 20",) and a slow drift - down deep - with a Pheasant Tail or Yellowstone Badger will produce some 'quick grabs.' These takes are of the tentative variety and it takes a great deal of skill and some luck to hook the fish. It's been suggested that 50% of the fish that taste a nymph go unnoticed by the fly fisher - probably so. Below Choice Hole and into Estuary Glide there are still pods of trout. These fish may come to the surface for a well greased Woolly Worm, (size 12 - 16,) or one that is just below the surface. If your casting skills are up to it try a 5' leader: the takes are gently and quick.
    .. The Madison River below McAtee bridge is in perfect shape right now and wading is a joy in the current low flows - guaranteed not to last for long. Some caddis are making an appearance and the appropriate sized Pheasant Tail or Yellowstone Badger will produce good times and dances.
    ..Some of the neighbors are willing to drive to the 'big water' and are fishing their favorite Golden Stone Flies and "Big Black Uglies" - and catching fish. There are even a few brave souls moving into the deep water and 'tight-lining' a streamer. This is a good way to coax some hogs from under the banks. They move just far enough away from the bank to avoid spooking the fish: then, cast way upstream from the target, and as the streamer approaches the 'hide' tighten the line and bend forward to let the fly move into position -- back strip a bit and allow the fly to 'swim' to the surface -- hold on!
    .. On a different note: there is very low snow pack as shown on the national hydrologic outlook maps. We, here in Yellowstone Country have the most in the nation, and we can walk through it up to about 7,500 feet - this is not good.
    .. The drought prediction is for persistent to slight improvement, and the current flood risk is below average. Another low water year is in store for Yellowstone, (subject to the whim of Mother, of course.)
    .. The USGS national stream flow map is looking very much like it does in June - right now. This will, even with above average rains, not improve much. Plan your fishing accordingly. A quick warm-up and runoff will mean that early fishing may be the best of the year. Should we have a very dry and warm summer, even the Fall fishing will be adversely affected.

    Wednesday, April 11, 2007


    Colorado Follows Utah In Seeking Resistant Trout
    is whirling disease on the run?

    The whirling disease parasite, Myxobolus cerebralis, digests and destroys cartilage in the cranial region of infected fish. (Courtesy Montana University Water Center)

    .. A recent post in the Trout Underground notes that Colorado is using the techniques pioneered by the Whirling Disease Foundation to breed a disease resistant trout. This effort is similar to the one Utah developed to aid their stocking program. Two strains of Rainbow Trout are used by Utah: the Harrison - a slow-growing semi-resistant variety, and the Hofer strain of trout. This is similar to the program in Colorado.
    .. The Hofer rainbow strain has spent some time as an introduced species in Germany, and apparently had, during that time, developed a significant resistance to whirling disease. The eggs from the Hofer strain came to Utah from Colorado in 2004.
    .. The resulting Rainbow has been nicknamed the HO-HA TROUT. We noted the results of this research in January. There is now a study period in Utah to see if the fish are as catchable and popular with fishers as the previous strains of Rainbows - some indigenous and some introduced.
    .. One significant aspect of the Utah effort is the reliance on wild stocks of fish in the breeding program. These combined with the Hofer stocks, (which are a docile fish bred for generations as a 'food' trout,) may or may not produce a 'sport' fish. The same concerns are being noted in the Colorado project.
    .. The Whirling Disease Foundation has been instrumental in these studies. The foundation has also noted that the reduced populations of Rocky Mountain Whitefish led to the understanding of the disease vector.
    .. Tubifex worms are an intermediate host of the disease and research is being conducted to find resistant strains of these mud loving critters as well.
    .. The diminished populations of Whitefish give concern because they are a valuable forage fish for trout and char - including the Bull Trout. The Whirling Disease Foundation has completed a pilot research program aimed at exploring this aspect of the disease and its impact. Some of us enjoy fishing for Whitefish, others demean both the fish and the sport. The species itself, however, is crucial in the understanding and combating whirling disease.
    .. Several research projects are currently underway that are sponsored by the Whirling Disease Foundation. The three phase research is just now beginning to show some results. The Utah and Colorado fish breeding programs are one of the initial outcomes of these projects. This is an effort that is over a decade old and is ongoing. It has involved universities, agencies, groups, clubs, and individuals across the nation and around the world.
    .. Understanding of the disease and more importantly the impact of hybridization is crucial to maintaining an healthy sport fishery, and an ecologically sensitive program. As noted by Hedrick & May, et al:
    Resistance to a single disease is only one of many criteria that need to be considered when moving plants and animals from one geographic region to another. If broader ecological implications of movements are not considered, greater harm than good may result. Thus, the second phase of experimentation provides assurances that the HR trout, having developed resistance to whirling disease, have not become extremely susceptible to other microbial pathogens they may encounter. In addition, these trout will be thoroughly examined to determine if pathogens unknown in North American trout are potentially transmitted with them via eggs. Such studies are critical before further discussions on the potential applications of these fish in North America can proceed.
    .. Protect Your Waters has an informative section on their web site about the disease and what we should know, and what we should do. Results are promising, but not definitive; a battle has been won, but the war will continue for quite some time.

    .. A 'sidebar story' is in the offing for Yellowstone National Park. Since most of the Rainbow Trout in the Park are introduced species, will Yellowstone follow this lead? And, in light of the recent court decision that opts for morphology over genetics, will the fishers of Yellowstone pretend that . . . " if it looks like a cutt . . . . ."

    Monday, April 09, 2007

    New Trout To Give Better Battle

    Efficient Gills Allow For Sustained Life At High Temperature
    (Harder Fighting Fish Possible)
    .. The trout is a fish that requires cold water with high dissolved oxygen content. It is as much the lack of dissolved oxygen—not just the temperature - that is fatal to the trout in warm waters.
    .. An interesting combination of research findings has led to the discovery of mechanisms that will allow trout to tolerate higher temperatures and lower oxygen in rivers, streams and lakes.
    .. Research into topics as diverse as ice cream and global warming have produced findings about gill mutation and augmentation that suggest: "trout can be produced that will tolerate higher water temperatures & significantly lower oxygen content."
    .. The first reported result of the research is a process by UNILEVER to produce low-fat ice cream from a fish-blood protein.

    <- Pout Fish
    .. The blood protein originally used in the research comes from the eel-like ocean pout fish, (see SEA FISHING for details,) which uses it to survive extreme cold at the bottom of the seas.
    ..The process is used to make ice cream with less fat and fewer calories. In a June 23, 2006 DAILY MAIL article the researchers note that: “The protein has been chemically synthesized and can be grown in vast vats which produce a brownish liquid. This is added to the ice cream and lowers the temperature at which ice crystals form and the shape they take up.”
    .. This Genetic Engineering, (GE,) was highlighted on June 26, 2006 by Alaska Fishermen in their web page Alaska Report. The process has already been approved for use in the United States.
    .. GE Free Main, a website in Maine quotes Friends of the Earth food campaigner Clare Oxborrow who said:
    "At a time when more and more consumers want to choose unadulterated food, it's disappointing to see Unilever investing in this unnecessary development in overly processed food."

    <- Amanita Gills

    .. This research also found that the process could be used to modify tissue such as gills and blood to become less viscous and more gas permeable.
    .. This result was shown in a series of photos at FishDoc.com in the exploration of bacterial, or environmental gill disease.
    .. The pictures show how gill clumping in cold water fish leads to oxygen deprivation.

    <- Normal Gill

    <- Gill Clumping

    .. The Billings Gazette has just reported on similar research for the production of “Super Trout.” Their article cites research that suggests that if trout are fed creatine, (the same stuff Mark McGwire used,) we could develop super trout with stronger muscles and greater fighting stamina.
    .. Alicia Amyx, part of a family that has operated the Rainbow Trout Ranch fee-fishing operation near Rockbridge, Mo., since 1954, agreed that a new genetically engineered trout could present new possibilities.
    "Fee-fishing operations could market that they had harder-fighting fish, and they could gain some business. I'm sure it would be attractive to some of our fishermen, having harder-fighting trout." she said. "Trout 2 pounds and up fight hard enough. We hear a lot of stories about the one that got away. To have a trout that fought even harder could be exciting."

    .. The United States Trout Farmers Association has already expressed interest in the fish for warm water farming in Georgia and Florida. Hopes are high that a tropical sea-run trout can also be developed.
    .. J. L. Fernandez, et. al. in their article “AluI in situ digestion of human alphoid and classical satellite DNA regions: high-resolution digital image analysis of FISH signals from condensed and extended chromatin.” show the necessary steps for DNA implantation to bring the efficient gills to the trout.

    <- Cell stacking

    .. As shown in the photos, the “clumping,” or “stacking” of trout blood cells reduces their efficiency in carrying dissolved oxygen from the gills to the rest of the organism. The proposed DNA implantation, and the more efficient gills disperse the blood cells and allow for a more efficient gaseous exchange through the more permeable gill membranes. This condition supposedly allows the trout to live in warmer, (less oxygen-rich,) environments.
    .. Another potential use for the DNA modifications is in the treatment of the human condition known as "Rouleaux." Rouleaux is a medical term for a condition wherein the blood cells clump together forming what looks like stacks of coins.
    .. This is an unhealthy state because the cells are not free to absorb and carry oxygen. It is a pre-cursor to many serious diseases, and is associated with ‘stress’ in mammals.
    "Should the calming effects in mammals be observed in trout it is likely that they will rise more freely and take more willingly

    <- Severe Cell Stacking

    <- Moderate Cell Stacking

    <- No Cell Stacking

    .. A final result of the applied research comes from The Center for South East Asian Studies, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan. In a paper, Y. Yoshida has suggested that there are probably uses for the blood modification in the treatment of MYELODYSPLASTIC SYNROME.
    .. Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) is a disease of the blood whose etiology is unclear. The ability to "un-clump" the blood is a major breakthrough!


    .. The first trout to be genetically modified are probably going to be planted in sterile, warm water lakes in the Bechler Region of Yellowstone National Park & in several hot springs along the Firehole River in The Upper Geyser Basin around OLD FAITHFUL.
    .. The probable scientific name of the new GE TROUT has been influenced by the California Golden Trout “Oncorhynchus aguabonita.” and has been informally dubbed "Oncorhynchus geyserensis", (The Geyser Trout.)
    .. Since the brood stock for the genetically engineered experimental fish was the Yellowstone Cutthroat “Oncorhynchus clarki bouveri” it is presumed that the final taxonomic nomenenclature will be: “Oncorhynchus geyserensis yellowstonii,” in honor of the first experimental population in the wild. A revised partial species list for North American salmonid taxonomic data can be found HERE.

    A picture of the new trout is shown below.


    Saturday, April 07, 2007

    Spring Weather: Clear & Cold

    grass is greener here
    .. Cruising home without a bug on the windshield is one indication of the success, (or lack thereof,) of an outing to the local troutery. It does happen, even in paradise.
    .. As we returned from a visit to the mouth of Beaver Creek, (see map,) our musings strayed first to the joys of solitary fishing, which hadn't happened, and then to the nature of paradise. Oh, there was a fish caught - two actually, but the adventure was rather pedestrian - having to share such meager success with the neighbors and their fish buckets and garden hackle.
    .. Our musing on the drive home produced a question: 'Just what is paradise?' How do we find it? A private paradise, king of the realm, master of the universe, fish in every direction, salubrious weather, no bugless windshields, no driving to the water, no ten foot snow drifts, no long underwear. Is there such a place? Of course there is: VATU VARA!
    .. Now there's a paradise: assured privacy, remote yet accessible, within our means, good neighborhood, and it's available. We could own an island.
    .. We're going to call our new best friend Cheyenne Morrison.
    "Say, 'SHY,' heard that lonely ol' rock is on the market again." -- "Really; sand fleas?" -- "What's the 10-year hurricane forecast look like?" -- "No, not that many! Oh, global warming, huh?" -- "What invasive species?" -- "C'mon, the damn thing's a petunia!" -- "What'cha mean the infestation?"
    .."Oh, and the lagoons are that warm? And the fish went where?" -- "What kind of fungus and mold?" -- "Not in your underwear? Really? Chlorine and Clorox?" -- "What kind of bug? Protected? EATS WHAT!" -- "Pincers? How big? Toxin?" -- "Oh not that kind of crab. Them too?"

    .. "Are those evening breezes still a delightful surprise every day? What's a doldrums? E-gad, and the well went dry?" -- "But can't you use desalination? HOW MUCH? You just have to be kidding! Import it from Israel? French duty on what kind of technology? A license fee? Every year?"
    .. "Well how's the beach looking?" -- "Disappeared? Oh that global thing again, huh?" -- "ROCKS? No more sand? That much?" -- "What kind of bird? They're big! Bite? No guns? Nesting sites? No development? But that's the cabana site! Oh, not now eh?" -- "The turtles what? Can't go on that part of the island either? Who can? But not the owner?"
    .. "MEL WHO? Really, only 35 km? Don't like him there either?" -- "Thinking of selling? That bad? His son?" -- "What about ol' Emori? He still there? Still own the grocery store on the next island?" - "What, the whole damn thing washed away? Groceries and all? But . . . , oh another 40 miles, and what kind of tax?" -- "No gasoline for the generator? -- What's that mean? Ahhhh, generator rusted because of the salt air; got it!" -- "New storage tank regulation? How small? Weekly deliveries, that's insane! Environmental what? Down there? Oh, well"
    .. "What lawsuit? Displaced local Fiji residents? How much? King Who? And the boat he came on . . . can't be true! Prison? Extradition?" -- "Foreign national permit? For fishing? Daily? In U.S. Dollars?"
    .. "Well, 'SHY' it was good talking to ya, hope you pawn that pile off on some unsuspecting billionaire. Sure, next time you're up this way. It's not bad. Went up to Beaver Creek and caught a couple of fish. No, about 16" nothing remarkable. John says hi, take care."

    Bugless windshields are a genuine indicator of paradise!

    Friday, April 06, 2007

    Ice Out At Hebgen Lake

    Swim If You Must
    NSF News: Undersea Observatory
    Invading China
    .. Finally there is the opportunity to fish the ice out at Hebgen Lake, (Quake Lake too.) We're experiencing a warm day and the ice is pulling away from the shore. There are fish aplenty for those brave fishers willing to search for open water and an ice edge within casting distance.
    .. You can see the trout patrolling the edges looking for bits of flotsam and bugsam. Cast to them if you are secure in your gentility. Most fly fishers cast to the ice and then pull the fly to the water's edge. Although most of the bugsam is composed of nondescript bits of biomatter, there are also bugs adjacent to the ice edge. The trout seem to take either of these in an indiscriminate fashion.
    .. There are also bits of aquatic life that seek the edge for various reasons. And, of course the occasional sparse hatch from the depths as the water warms and light penetrates to the shallows. All of this means great fishing for a brief time.
    .. Most of the bugsam is small. Use your favorite midge cluster and a dark Hare's Ear Nymph, a Prince Nymph, or Yellowstone Badger; sizes near the invisible range work perfectly. However, if like us, your trifocals aren't that strong, a 16 - 20 will work. A variation of the hopper-dropper is effective. Size 22 on the tip with a well greased size 16 Yellowstone Badger about 18" up works for us.
    .. At the other extreme is the grocery-bag approach. A dark Rubberlegs, a big Spruce Fly, or even a dark Muddler will work. We like to grease up a size 6 Muddler and fish it with a splash: pretend it's dusk and you're on a bass pond in Arkansas: strip-splash - - - pause - - - strip-splash - - - pause; you know how.
    .. A few of the neighbor girls take this opportunity to enjoy their first bath of the season. What, with the pipes being frozen all winter, this is a good time to remove the winter grit. It also brings out male fishers with no line on their rod. We too have been known to enjoy the local scenery during this annual ritual.
    .. A news release from the National Science Foundation informs us that:
    Oceanographers have completed an important step in constructing the first deep-sea observatory off the continental United States. Workers in the multi-institution effort laid 32 miles (52 kilometers) of cable along the Monterey Bay sea floor that will provide electrical power to scientific instruments, video cameras, and robots 3,000 feet (900 meters) below the ocean surface. The link will also carry data from the instruments back to shore, for use by scientists and engineers from around the world.
    .. One of these in Yellowstone Lake would certainly enlighten the fishery problems there.
    .. From Protect Your Waters comes news of the invasion of China by the American White Moth, This insect's larvae can strip the leaves from a tree in a matter of days. They are now chomping up large amounts of vegetation in Beijing as well as its neighboring municipalities and provinces, Tianjin, Hebei and Liaoning. The Chinese see this as not only an environmental threat, but an aesthetic one as well, in light of the scheduled 2008 Olympic Games. The Chinese have enlisted an army of one billion moth-eating bees, released in May of 2006, and are continuing the campaign.
    .. A curious warning sneaks into this post from Glasgow (UK) about "knowing" just what size fly to fish.
    "Most angling pundits, including myself, will tell you that at this time of year a sink-tipped floating line armed with a wispy size six fly is the best way to attract a springer. By the same token, during the height of summer when we tend to fish smaller flies, sometimes tying on something like a budgie with a hook in it can do the trick."

    Thursday, April 05, 2007

    Bye The Way, The Weather's Rotten

    Weather Cold - Fishing Hot
    California To Slap Boaters ??
    Quagga's Threaten Utah
    .. It seem a simple thing. Just affirm that the state law - already on the books - is the right law and that it means what it says. Not in Montana!
    .. The Montana Legislature has shirked it's responsibility and tabled the stream access bill that would have clarified the meaning of the law.
    .. The law is simply worded and not ambiguous: people can access their water from public property and use that water between high-water marks. Back in 2000, Montana's attorney General, Joe Mazurek said:
    "Montana's Constitution guarantees the public the right to use all of our state's waters for recreation, our legal research revealed that bridges on county roads are basically the intersection between two public rights-of-way: the road and the stream or river. When the public has the legal right to use both, it wouldn't make any sense to conclude that people can't use the point where they intersect."

    .. Recently there have been some notes in various posts on the web, and an occasional note in newspapers. However, the issue is larger than the play it has been getting. This has been simmering for at least 10 years and has only recently gotten some attention in the media.
    .. And, lest the pictures of jury-rigged barbed wire and electric fencing fool you into thinking that this is just a transient problem on a few rivers, we provide you with another to clarify how substantial the threat is, and how much money and effort go into keeping the public from their water.
    .. 10 years ago the issue was reignited by the need for county workers to access bridges in order to maintain these structures. They discovered that hunters and fishers were being illegally excluded by the attachment of private fencing to public structures - which also excluded the county workers. The conflict from it's inception is well documented by Three Rivers Park, in their series of excerpted articles.
    .. In 2005 the skirmish escalated from low to high gear as the Cox Foundation began honking their horn about their rights. An article in New West spells out the vitriol that entered into the discussion at that time. It was this article that provided the picture used in most web posts about the conflict.
    .. The New West article posted yesterday brings us up to date on the current status of the issue.
    .. An intriguing 'sidebar' note in the issue is the role(s) of Trout Unlimited. The Montana chapter of the organization was instrumental in drafting the current bill - the national organization wanted nothing to do with stream access - but have decided now to study the situation. Hal Herring, in New West, has detailed this, and of course provided another classic picture. You can check the local reaction in the post by A Step Apart.
    .. By avoiding their responsibility, the current legislature will allow this issue to go to the courts and deprive the public of their say in the issue. Given the players, and the attitude of moneyed interests, this promises to be a grand fight indeed. Fishers and the rest of the public stand to have their constitutional rights decided by entities outside of Montana because the legislature is not doing their job.
    .. Those folks interested in how avoidance works in Montana can follow it at the official Montana State Legislature site.
    .. The waters are clearing a bit thanks to the typical cold spring days we've had for a week now. Fishing has picked up, and fishers with gumption are finding the fish a bit more cooperative than last week, (and they were pretty cooperative then.)
    .. The Madison River tailwater fishery between the lakes has seen a few of the large fish enter the stream. Spawning will begin any day now and by this weekend, or next - for sure - will be at the point that we will abandon this stretch of water to the fish and those that would trample redds.
    .. Right now is a good time to tie on some small nymphs and fish the faster water and the bigger pools at the head of the runs. A Yellowstone Badger in size 16 - 18 will do nicely, and for prospecting use the Yellowstone Winter Grub. The snow flies are still abundant and you can use any diminutive bit of fluff for a midge cluster imitation. Good results are also possible with a bead head prince or a pink Montana Duster.
    .. The ice and snow is off Cabin Creek. It warmed enough last week to produce a silt plume and is beginning to see some fish. About a week's worth of fishing is available here before spawning takes place. This is an excellent time to use a rubber legs Golden Stone imitation, or a yellow Montana Duster: sizes 8 - 12 are producing well now.
    .. If you happen to find yourself on the north side of Yellowstone National Park, stop in at Park's Fly Shop. They report that there is some surface action beginning on the Yellowstone River near Gardiner, (can you say BWO?)
    .. From Protect Your Waters comes news that there is a distinct possibility that California will slap boaters with an enormous tax - $1,500. We can only wonder what it will cost to launch a float tube in the land of Queen Califia.
    .. They also report that the Quagga Mussel is poised to invade the waters of Utah. It will be only a matter time before these too, are in Yellowstone's waters.
    .. The map at the bottom of the page is slowly growing and has attracted the attention of the Platial Blog. - - - - - - - We're flattered.