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  • Friday, May 18, 2007

    Annual Secret Spot Report


    FISH EARLY THEN RETREAT
    Area Water Supply Greatly Diminished
    montana special session provides $10,000,000 for access
    new stonefly photos


    .. Last year it was Pocket Basin. This year it's "Hidden Pond," (although we don't know the 'official' name.)
    .. This pond is best fished early in the Spring because of it's geography and hydrology. Fish run up the discharge stream channel during the high water period, and many leave by late June, (perhaps earlier this year.)
    .. Frequently the larger fish are trapped by the low flows and die in the pond. The pond becomes shallow and very warm as the season progresses and by July, any fish left in the pond should be left to their own devices. Local thunderstorms and showers can replenish the water and allow fish egress on fortuitous occasions.
    .. The pond is located at the edge of the timbered strip of land between Fountain Flat and Nez Perce Creek. Our winter survey revealed that readers wanted more news about Nez Perce Creek than any other water that we fish - here's the first installment.
    .. The pond is visible now. Soon it will be masked by the grass. It can be seen from the road at the south end of Fountain Flat as shown in the photo.
    .. The ephemeral stream that feeds the pond runs with water discharged from some of the thermal features around Fountain Geyser and the slopes of the Porcupine Hills.
    .. The pond is best fished early in the morning. The night time temperatures serve to cool the shallow pond and revitalize the fish. There are occasional sparse hatches of various Caddis and Dragonflies. Midges are present, and although we've never seen a scud in our capture net, they work as well.
    .. Unless the rare hatch is encountered, this is mostly a nymphing situation. The conditions and fish distribution in this small pond also allow sight fishing to the trout. We prefer a small, (size 12 - 16,) Yellowstone Badger. When the runoff has clouded the water we use a Stiff Hackle, same sizes in caddis green or a light cream color. Cast a good bit ahead of the cruising fish and let the lightly greased fly sink slowly to the depth of the fish.
    .. Water temperatures can spike to 60+ during mid day. The water is slightly turbid from suspended silts and organics but is clear enough that stealth techniques are required. If crawling on your hands and knees to this exposed pond is not your cup of tea, it's best left to the younger generation.
    .. Fish tend to congregate at the inlet and in the shade of undercut banks. This means that the best opportunities are along the barren SSW shore - DON'T WEAR GOOD PANTS! If the day has been gray and it's cool there is an occasional bite in the late evening just before sundown. In these rare instances the edge of the outlet stream is worth a look.
    .. The outlet stream debauches into Nez Perce Creek just about 100 yards downstream from the bridge. This is an excellent place to look for fish and also requires stealth.
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    .. The Billings Gazette reports the bleak water outlook for the Yellowstone & Madison River drainage's. The unseasonable warmth combined with a low snowfall do not bode well for stream health in the upcoming months. The 'favorite' places to fish will be different this year, and exploration will yield results as you get reacquainted with your favorite Yellowstone waters.
    Money Quotes:
    "Keith Meier, meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service office in Billings, said he expects most rivers in southeast Montana to crest this week or next - three weeks to a month early." "Snow pack on the Madison dropped Monday to 39 percent of normal from 62 percent a week ago. The Gallatin went from 61 percent last week to 36 percent on Monday." "While there is still a chance for precipitation between now and mid-June, the weather pattern seems to be moving quickly into summer mode, he said."
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    .. The special session of the Montana Legislature adjourned with just a budget - no access bills were considered. One bright spot in the budget is the allocation of $10,000,000 for hunting and fishing access site purchase. The full story can be found in the Billings Gazette, and a commentary in New West.
    Money Quotes:
    Overall, Gov. Brian Schweitzer sounded pleased with the outcome. The legislature passed all aspects of his “Square Deal” with Montanans, he said. They repealed the water tax, put $10 million toward hunting and fishing access site purchases, capped college tuition for the next two years and passed a military family relief package.

    The legislature also funded full-time kindergarten and “clean and green” energy incentives, which include tax breaks for transmission lines and power generation of environmentally friendly energy.

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    .. Jason, over at the Trout Nut has some new pictures. The names are staggering - the photos are great: Male Paraleptophlebia Mayfly Dun, Neophylax Caddisfly Larva, Pteronarcys Stonefly Nymph, Baetisca obesa Mayfly Nymph. We like the Stonefly best.
    .. From the Invasive Species Weblog comes news about Georgia's planned removal of Flathead Catfish from the Satilla River. Although native to parts of the central U.S.A. they are considered invasive in this setting. They expect to encounter 50 - 75 pound fish.
    .. The folks at Park's Fly Shop inform us that as the season begins they get inundated with phone calls about fishing conditions. They are always happy to provide this information but request that you follow some guidelines for the phone calls and information requests. Check out the guidelines page for further information.
    .. Jack Dennis lets us know that the lakes in the Jackson region are heating up. Fish Jackson Lake now, Jenny Lake soon.
    .. The USDA Invasive Species Information Site has a new invasive species profile for the Quagga Mussel. This critter is moving quickly and you will read more about it in the coming weeks and months as fishing activity picks up in western lakes and rivers.