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  • Friday, May 04, 2007

    Our Fish Love The Snow

    Party Politics & Fishing In Montana
    Snow And Cool Days Slow Rivers
    Nymphomania Continues

    .. We're very concerned about the state of our state, and the lack of constitutional concern shown by our law makers. SB78 is effectively dead, and it's been a miserable death, and it's strictly party politics and interest groups that have killed it. The stage is now set for a continuation of the "access vs. fencing" issue.
    .. Mark Henckel of the Billings Gazette has a fine article about this sadness. His understated prose barely veils the outrage that he must feel. It comes across like lightening.
    .. We fear that the outrage he expresses on behalf of the citizens of Montana will be lost on the politicians that supposedly serve them. Visit Billingsgazette.com for the article - and the amazing responses from the good citizens of Montana. It's no wonder that the legislators don't read these comments. And it's a shame that the rich landed gentry and greedy interests of this state don't understand what the word neighbor is all about - of course they just got here.
    .. Well the brief and very warm weather has come to an end. Perhaps it's in time to slow the raging runoff that is now beginning. Rivers are again above seasonal norms and averages. The slight slowing of the discharge is shown in the USGS charts, but we fear that it's going to be tough fishing for a bit.
    .. Mark Henckel, (the same,) has noted the rapid coloring of the rivers and has an extensive state-wide report that is worth a glance.
    .. The Firehole River has been running at over 300 cfs above average, the Madison River near West Yellowstone is charging along at over 400 cfs above average. Upstream the Gibbon River is also going quickly at more than 150 cfs above average.
    .. A sure indicator that the melt is well advanced is the discharge from Yellowstone Lake. The Yellowstone River at its exit from the lake is now at about 350 cfs above the 77 year median flow.
    .. Despite the recent 50 degree temperature swings, and despite the rapidly increasing runoff, and despite the nasty wind that has howled for two days; there is still some excellent fishing to be found in the neighborhood.
    .. The Madison River between the lakes, (see map below,) is still fishing well. This tailwater fishery is now full of spawning trout and we urge you to avoid the easy targets. Avoid too, wading in the shallows: each step could kill 500 trout.
    .. Nymphs of various sorts are producing fish with regularity. Campfire Run and Awkward Bend are fishable from the shore, have some deep holding water, and the sort of substrate that is made for a nymph fisherman. Some caddis have been spotted and are in the 12 -14 range.
    .. The Flashback Quill Nymph is admirably suited to the current conditions. Fished in tandem with an elk hair caddis it is a 'go-to-rig' for the current water conditions. Use a rather large and bushy elk hair caddis, (as much as a bobber as a lure,) and vary the depth of the nymph so that it is just above the bottom. A simple skank-slip will allow you to cast and adjust without too much trouble in the Awkward Bend stretch of this tailwater.
    .. Recipe:
    Hook: Size 18 or 20 nymph hook
    Thread: Black
    Body: Black thread or peacock quill
    Tail: Pheasant tail
    Ribbing: Fine silver wire
    Head: Peacock herl/large tinsel flash
    .. Speaking of caddis: click on over to Thee Ass Hooked Whitey for a look at an amazing bit of sculpture disguised as a caddis fly.