• Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Visit: Montana Cowgirl
  • Saturday, September 01, 2007


    Burn & Let Burn ?
    -- a bit of a fishing report too --

    .. It's probably not too much of an exaggeration to say that most fly fishers know about the extensive fires in Yellowstone and Montana this year. The concern is obvious - watershed quality, mud from runoff, loss of shade, and near-term reduced fishing opportunities. Marshall Cutchin at MidCurrent points us to the NewWest summary of the wildfires.
    .. What most fly fishers probably don't know is the cavalier attitude of one Montana legislator toward the destruction of private homes and families.
    .. Because of the extent of the fires, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer has called a special session of the Montana Legislature to obtain more fire fighting resources.
    .. As reported by David Sirota:
    Senior Montana Republican lawmaker John Sinrud - who heads the state House's appropriations committee - used a legislative hearing this week to attack Gov. Brian Schweitzer's (D) administration for - get ready for this - trying to prevent homes and buildings from being burnt down. At the hearing, he asks "Why not just let [buildings] burn?"
    .. The comment was caught on tape and posted on You Tube. Here it is for your viewing pleasure and it gives a bit of insight into Montana Politics.
    .. This is just one more example of Montana's earthy kind of politics and the problems facing the current governor. Last April, Michale Lang (R) bombed Governor Schwietzer (D), and it too was caught on tape and posted to You Tube. It's just another example of the typical vocabulary that our state legislators use in doing the people's business here in Montana.
    .. The cooler weather and frequent widespread rain showers have awakened fish and fishers in the park and surrounding area. It's beginning to look like Fall in the region. Bits of yellow are appearing in the green cover and the grasses, despite the moisture, are turning brown.
    .. Fishing in the southwest corner of Yellowstone is picking up despite the low flow and lack of the usual hoards of mosquitoes. Fall fishing is in full swing on the Falls River, Bechler River and Boundary Creek. The fishing pressure this year has been light in the 'cascade corner' as the die hards continue to try to coax fish from the Henry's Fork. Hatches that are anticipated this time of year have not matured yet. Happily the fish are taking terrestrials with a zest usually reserved for Salmon Flies. Small hoppers and beetles are working very well. Success is enhanced with a hopper-dropper combination. Use a prince, hare's ear or feather duster in sizes 12 - 16 for the subsurface fly and a foam ant or hopper as the bobber. If you're luck the first of the Fall Caddis are beginning to appear in the afternoon. Watch for the birds and find the fish - these hatches are very localized at this time.
    .. The Hebgen Tailwater area, (between the lakes,) is flowing consistently near 800 cfs and is fishing well. The hatches are sporadic but concentrated, varied, and locally heavy - (probably a result of the recent fluctuations.) As a result, the fish are taking attractors along with hatch-matching surface flies. This is opportunistic behavior at its best. Your favorite Humpy, Coachman, or Soft Hackle, (yup!) can be floated with good results. Size 12 to - as small as 20 may be necessary during a mid-day midge hatch. Good fish to 18" will come up to a proper presentation. Bigger fish may require nymphs in green and brown sizes 12 - 16 should do fine. Some of the neighbors are swinging a Thunder Creek variant in the deep runs and picking up monster fish. Most fishers, however are drowning terrestrials or using traditional streamers for the submarines.
    .. Hebgen Lake gulpers are being very persistent as the water in the constantly changing shallows yields good hatches of Callibaetis. Hoppers in the foam also seem to be attracting the cruising pods. Most of the neighbors use a dropper rig with a small 14 - 18 nymph below the surface imitation. Tubes and boats are still best but you can find shore fishing near Yellowstone Holiday and the docks at Hebgen Lake Campground. The slime is less thick this week. The hatches seem a bit later; about 10:30 should be your starting time.
    .. Quake Lake has seen increased pressure because of the good morning Callibaetis hatches. Persistence and patience are the key to this fishery. The big fish are spooky and perfect casts are required. The stick-ups near the road can be a fruitful area if you are very still and have good polarized glasses. Use the same rig as you would at Hebgen Lake.
    .. Fishing on the Madison River in Yellowstone remains a morning proposition despite the lifting of the closure. Things should pop in a couple of weeks and we just stop for a short time on the way to the upper Gibbon River. Give the afternoons a rest and wait until the big fish show.
    .. The Gibbon River Meadows have been exceedingly tough but exceedingly rewarding this week. Long walks, grizzly bears, anxious bison, and spooky elk have made fishing a safari adventure. The big fish are responding to small ants on the surface and even smaller nymphs in the shadows and undercut banks. A well placed soft hackle in size 16 will gather in these fish - provided the leader is long, the tippet fine, and the drift perfect, (and you're very sneaky.)
    .. Color phases on the Gallatin River have followed the showers, making the river, periodically, an 'iffy' proposition. When it's hot it's hot and when it's not, it's not. The hoppers, ants and beetles have been the mainstay of fishers during the last week. The riffles and bends near the northern border of the park have shown good fishing to streamers and golden stone fly nymphs. As the weather cools and the rains spread out this river promises to continue to produce good catching.
    .. Forget the famous parts of the Firehole River for another couple of weeks. If your psyche demands a Firehole fish, fish above Old Faithful along the trail to Lone Star Geyser. Small fish in great quantities with little pressure await you here - and, it is the Firehole River.
    .. Cache Creek, the Lamar River, Slough Creek, and Soda Butte Creek are probably the best fishing in Yellowstone right now. Because of the varied locations of the headwaters of these creeks there is usually clear water in the northeast portion of Yellowstone. Green Drakes have been spotted and there are folks that plan their whole lives around this hatch. Keep an eye on Park's Fly Shop fishing report for the progress of these flies. Be prepared to move at a moment's notice. right now there are a few appearances near Pebble Creek on the Soda Butte front and on Cache Creek and the Lamar River above Cache Creek.
    .. For excellent Fall fishing consider camping on the Lamar, Cache Creek or Slough Creek. Yellowstone campsites that are prime and nearly full are: Heart Lake, 1G2, Hellroaring Barn, We4, Cougar Cabin, Slough Creek, Union Falls. Check the sidebar for outfitters to get you there.
    .. It's time to ignore the Trout Underground as Tom is planning an imbiberation at the Fly Fishing Retailer Show. We anticipate glowing reports about useless trinkets designed to keep the ailing industry afloat, (baited Breath - as it were) - no more the string and pin approach. Countdown clock - 14 days.
    .. Moldy Chum has finally acknowledged the virtue of nymphs. Back door, Backhand, Backwards; but still acknowledged.
    .. Wayward Fly Fishing has given us a bit of insight into the breadth of the abnormality of the site with their sayings for fly fishing fortune cookies. Check the August 15th post. We like: "You will win the lottery tomorrow; then you'll catch no more fish."
    .. Sad But True! The Horse's Mouth is going on vacation. Happily they left us with some great videos about dogs surfing. They also gave us another unforgettable image . . . click on this image for the original, it's much better.
    .. Unabashed commercial plug for a neighbor. Visit MIKE'S WORK for some enduring images of Yellowstone. We can hardly wait for winter!