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  • Thursday, April 12, 2007

    Nymphomania Season


    FISH COOPERATING WITH ANGLERS
    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!
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    .. 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.