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  • Monday, June 11, 2007

    June Gloom In Full Swing

    pmd's abound
    elbows plentiful

    .. After the snows, the weather has settled down into an unsettled gray pattern - just perfect for the fly fisher. Gray skies dotted with an occasional puffy cloud and many widely scattered rain showers, along with rainbows, abound. The emerging flies come and go with their perception of the weather and there is always action to be had.
    .. The bugs and the trout on the west side of Yellowstone National Park have returned to a "gentleman's schedule." Things begin to 'pop' about mid morning and persist until about 2:00, then a pause until just after dinner. This is right out of the textbooks. Evening brings caddis and a spinner fall.
    .. Hebgen Lake has shown a few early Tricos on those days that have a calm sunny spell. Fish the protected inlets and near the ephemeral runoff. Midges are getting smaller and less frequent. Streamer action near the shore has become iffy.
    .. The campground at Campfire Lodge is filling up, but there are still places at Cabin Creek and Beaver Creek camp grounds.Both creeks are still producing fish but the evening is best. Caddis of both the surface and submerged variety are the flies of choice, and they're getting down to normal size, (12 - 14.) The upper end of Quake Lake is producing some cruising giants in the 18" - 20" range. Fish a small Yellowstone Badger, (14 - 16,) below a bushy Elk hair Caddis, (size 8 - 10,) to cruisers. The areas around the boat launch and Beaver Creek are hot right now - busy too.
    .. There are still a few fish in the lower stretch of the South Fork of the Madison River. There have been reports, (trusted,) of 20" dark fish taken on Yellowstone Spruce Flies, and Micky Finn's.
    .. Word has spread rapidly, and the early fisher folks have arrived to take advantage of this year's Spring fishing in Yellowstone.
    .. The Madison River continues to fish very well in it's early, clear phase. PMD's in the morning will rise along with some Baetis. You can fish to both hatches with a Yellowstone Cinch, or try to corner the PMD risers with a Yellowstone Morning Glory, Sizes are about 14 - 18.
    .. There is still some streamer action for the "walker/ stalker" fishers. Fish the slow water and undercut banks around Riverside Drive and the Barns Holes for leftover lunkers to 20" (dead drift a black or dark purple Woolly Bugger right into their nose: sizes 6 - 12 should do.) Evening has been good to the caddis fisher folks. Start with a Bead Head Prince around 4:30 or 5:00 and when the bugs start to fly switch to an Elk Hair Caddis and fish until dark - or 10:00, whichever comes first.
    .. The Firehole River is drawing crowds of fishers. It's also producing multiple hatches. The fish are less confused than the fishers. From mid-morning through early afternoon you can expect PMD's, Baetis, and Caddis to hatch, (particularly in the area around Biscuit Basin and below.) Sometimes the fish are very active and very selective; other times anything the right size will do.
    .. There are still many of the neighbors that can get up early enough to fish the still waters of early morning. Large fish will be gently taking spinners and are easy to spot in the spume lines. They are tough to catch and require stealth. We posted a note about this last season, and it's rewarding if you are an early riser.
    .. The Soft Hackle and the Stiff Hackle fishers are having a sweet time of it right now. Pick a size and body configuration that matches the pre-emergent bugs and have at it. These flies are the "fake de jour" at this time.
    .. The upper Gibbon River is full of eager Brook Trout that are enjoying the gentility of the Spring runoff. They are constantly "on the feed" and it's just a matter of presentation. There are some awfully small mature fish this year, and the recent gentle winters must have had their role in this.
    .. The thin water and riffles are a mid-day nymphing proposition. Hatches are sparse but present. Your favorite Caddis, PMD, and Baetis in a size 12 - 16 will do if a hatch is on. The Yellowstone Coachman is a good attractor around the Norris Campground and Solfaterra Creek. The fish in the vicinity of Virginia Cascade are awake and hungry. This is prime Grayling water, but we've yet to catch one.
    .. Obsidian Creek is flowing below the seasonal expectation, cold and very clear. The Brookies in this little creek are always a satisfying proposition and they don't get visited by many fly fishers. May people view this stretch of water as a kids fishery. The Park suggests it, and it works for that purpose. There are, however some deep pools that will provide fish in 12" - 14" range. These are places where you can sometimes see the large fish. A bit of patience and a single perfect cast will inflate your ego to gigantic proportions in this "Kids Creek."
    .. The New Zealand Mud Snail is busy munching it's way through the waters of western Yellowstone Park. This critter eats the vegital material that many of the flies need. It also takes up living space on the rocks. It is eaten by trout and provides no nourishment.
    .. It is spreading rapidly along the major fly fishing corridors and waters through the simple method of hitching a ride on or in your wading boots. DON'T LET IT.
    .. There are some of the neighbors that doubt that fly fishers have had anything to do with the spread of this snail.
    ..It is certainly not a much heard stream-side conversational topic. We're saddened to report that the necessary precautions for curtailing the spread of this invasive species are viewed as a joke and a nuisance by many of our neighbors and guides.
    .. The map at the bottom of this post shows the distribution of the snail in and around Yellowstone National Park. We don't doubt for a second that fishers are spreading this trout killing snail.
    .. There are many things that fishers can do and don't do. For an excellent overview about the measures that can be employed, go to the West Denver TU site. Seldom do we see the neighbors or the visitors taking the necessary precautions. We suggest that you ask your guide if they carry a brush and some undiluted Formula 409, or a copper sulfate solution with them. Ask your host fly shop if they provide free sanitizing of your waders and boots - (Golden River Sports in Colorado is a pioneer in offering this service free.)
    FFF Mud Snails
    TU Mud Snails
    Yellowstone Invasive Species Page - New Guidelines
    Stop Hitchhikers Mud Snail Page