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  • Monday, September 24, 2007

    Old Reliable

    Madison Good
    firehole ok
    .. The rush to the glory waters in Yellowstone National Park has left the Gallatin River nearly deserted. It's still raining and by the time you read this there will be a little color in the river. The river should clear by Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday and provide exceptional fishing and catching. There are Baetis hatches in the afternoons that are bringing fish to the surface. They seem to be keying on the nymphs and floating a double nymph rig should be your first choice. For the subsurface nymphing use a double fly rig also. The thin water is concentrating the fish in all the apparent places.
    .. Don't forget the undercut banks and be cautious as you approach the river's edge. In these low water conditions most of the river can, (and probably should,) be fished from the bank. The neighbors are using stiff hackle flies, (12 - 16,) Prince Nymphs, (14 - 18,) olive Woolly Buggers, (8 - 12,) and Yellowstone Spruce Flies under the banks, (4 - 10.) As the river clears it's always a good strategy to use a San Juan Worm; we prefer a brown or deep purple one below a fairly large Caddis. Don't expect the fish to come to you. Right now the Gallatin River is a hiking proposition. Just take your time and stroll through the meadows, the gentle rains will keep you cool.
    .. The Madison River is beginning to attract both fish and fishers as the catching picks up. Rumors and stories in the pubs and on the river seem to indicate that the catching is just good enough to keep the persistent angler happy. The White Fish have returned to the Barns Holes after being missing in action for most of the summer. They keep things interesting.
    .. Despite what you see on the river, it's better to cover quit a bit of water right now, as the are still more holding areas than fish. This should change during the week if the cool weather persists.
    .. Streamer and nymph fishing has been the tradition on the Madison River during this time of the year. However, we've had remarkable success with a soft hackle variant. We borrowed a Royal Prince Soft Hackle pattern from Jeremy Barela and use it in a size 6 or 8 instead of the traditional 12 - 16. You can find the pattern HERE.
    .. Rain has not deterred the fishers on the Firehole River. It's getting that "crowded in the fall" look. There are almost as many fishers as Baetis - and that's a lot. The bugs are being unusually prolific, and the fish are enjoying it. They are on the smallish side so be sure to have a large assortment of sizes 16 - 22. The size seems to vary with the day and the river segment. Catching is still good along the riffled run below Dipper Cliff and right next to the road above the Iron Bridge.
    .. The crowds are thickest around the parking lot near Ojo Caliente - go figure. If you want some good fish and only a few folks to applaud your efforts there is just a bit of a walk in your day. Try the long runs around Goose Lake. This area has some deep water and is holding fish to 16" and maybe more. The undercut banks are just as productive as the deep holes. Play your cards right and a bright late afternoon will bring you a Caddis hatch, These hatches are going to get thinner as the days grow shorter, but they should continue through October - mother willing.
    .. The rainy road to the Gallatin River.

    .. We just love this image.