• Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Visit: Montana Cowgirl
  • Saturday, September 15, 2007

    The Slowly Falling Autumn

    Bears Doing Bear Things
    Elk Doing Elk Things
    Cutts Getting Attention
    prescribed burn announced
    .. The gentility of the weather has produced a bumper crop of visitors to Yellowstone National Park. The glorious Fall weather is occasionally punctuated by a snow flurry or cold shower - often accompanied by a bit of a blow. All-in-all it's just too nice to be the middle of September, (we're waiting for October's revenge.)
    .. The fourth grizzly bear attack occurred yesterday. This one was in the park. As we noted earlier the bears are restless this year - numerous too! Click over to The Seattle Times or the Bozeman Daily Chronicle for the story and the YNP page for the press release. Just before you get your fresh leader and specialty flies you should get a big canister of bear spray. Wear it where it is quickly and easily grabbed - not in your back pack. Get the big one and practice how to use it. Portions of Yellowstone and adjacent Forest Service lands have been closed to human entrance because of the attacks. It's interesting to note that no report of the attack said anything about bear spray. Despite the video below, karate does not work!!
    .. Bears are not the only cranky animals in Yellowstone. Elk and bison can also do serious harm to humans during the "Testosterone Season." The video clip below shows how not to view animals in Yellowstone.

    .. If you are planning to fish in the Norris area on Monday, be advised that a 65 acre prescribed burn will take place southeast of Norris. This could affect your eyes if you're planning to fish the meadows around Wolf Lake or Virginia Cascades. Additional information and instructions for the press are included at the NPS site. The fire in the Cascade Corner continues and is not of any immediate danger to fishers on the Bechler River or Boundary Creek. However some backcountry trails and campsites are closed.
    .. West Slope Cutthroat continue to attract the attention of concerned citizens. New West reports of an effort by the Bonneville Power Administration and Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks to begin restoration of Cutthroat populations in the Flathead River Basin including parts of the Bob Marshall Wilderness. The restoration effort will take place over the next 10 years and use rotenone to kill the entire aquatic population of fish in several stream segments and lakes. A large population of Whitefish and Bull Trout, (a threatened species,) will also be killed. We anticipate that a similar effort will take place in the future on Slough Creek in Yellowstone if fishers continue to release Rainbows and the hybrid Cutbow population continues to grow. The online version of the Yellowstone Fishing Regulations, (pg. 16,) says:
    Non-native rainbow trout also interbreed with native cutthroat trout, producing hybrids. Once this happens, a cutthroat population can be restored to genetic purity only if all fish are removed from a stream and genetically pure cutthroat are reintroduced. To reduce hybridization in the park’s cutthroat trout waters, anglers are encouraged to harvest rainbow trout.
    .. Hebgen Lake and Quake Lake continue to provide great catching as does the Hebgan Tailwater. The morning gulper fishing is still rewarding but the Callibaetis are thinning out. Late afternoon at the narrows or in the Madison Arm are still a viable proposition with hoppers - (we're surprised and delighted at this.) Midges and a few Caddis continue to keep the area around Campfire Lodge a viable proposition throughout the day. From Awkward Bend to the Choice Hole eagar fish are taking both the small Caddis nymphs and dark green Woolly Buggers. The fish seem to have moved from the edges to mid-channel as they move up from the lake.
    .. Some small pre-spawn fish have moved into the South Fork of the Madison River and are podding up in the estuary. The neighbors with worms have found the fish in the estuary but the willows make access difficult upstream. Small streamers and Hare's Ear or Prince nymphs should gather up some nice 12" - 16" fish. There is no sign of the run above the highway.
    .. The Madison River between Hebgen Lake and Baker's Hole is jam-packed with parked fish that are slow in moving further upstream. The neighbors are reporting some fish to 20" - all Rainbow Trout so far. Besides worms, Thunder Creek, Dark Spruce, Yellowstone Spruce, and black Woolly buggers seem to be the ticket to dance in this segment. There is the beginnings of a Caddis hatch at about 4:30 - 5:00 around Baker's Hole - sparse at best; the afternoon winds may make it hard to see the bugs and the rising fish. Size 16 Elk Hair Caddis on top with a size 14 Rock Worm dropper is an excellent prospecting rig.
    .. Salubrious weather and low flows continue on the west side of Yellowstone National Park. The Madison River from the park line to 7-mile bridge has some medium-sized Rainbows that are causing a rustle in the pubs. The early morning Trico spinners are getting very sparse and the evening Caddis are even less apparent. From National Park Meadows to 9-Mile Hole is a desert during the mid-day heat, (rightly so,) and only two fishers were seen in this six mile section today - wonder why.

    .. The Gallatin River can be fished all day if you choose. Cover a lot of ground and prospect with a hopper - dropper rig during the heat of the day. Sometimes a pair of drowned hoopers of different patterns will produce. Stick with the smaller hoppers and beetles.
    .. The best fishing on the Gibbon River continues to be above Norris Campground. Afternoons with a 3-weight and a box full of terrestrials and attractors will provide you with many dances if you're willing to stroll from hold to hold. It's a wonderfully pleasant way to enjoy this sterling little river. Be sure to look around and watch for bison and bears - a few bars of your favorite drinking songs will go a long way to keeping you safe. The riffle and run waters of the canyon are holding some nice Brown Trout, as is the pocket water around Chocolate Pot Spring. Again nothing fancy other than your approach is needed.
    .. Slough Creek is producing excellent fish in from the late afternoon to the evening. It is clear, cool, and low. Terrestrials are present and will move fish -- BUT -- don't be sloppy. The big fella's are not likely to be taken with the same poor approach twice. There is a growing hatch of BWO's and midges to accompany the still present hoppers. Soda Butte Creek, in the confluence meadows, is full of late-blooming hoppers - as is the Lamar River from Buffalo Ranch to Cache Creek. A little color creeps into these waters from afternoon showers, but so far the rains have been light enough to allow pretty good fishing, (we know it won't last.)
    .. For those willing to work for fish the Yellowstone River, in it's popular sections, will yield 15" - 20" Cutts on well presented Baetis imitations. Prince & Gold-Ribbed Hare's Ear nymphs will produce good fish if you are very attentive. Keep the flies on the small side, (16 - 20 on top and 12 - 16 below.) One area that has gathered up a dense population of fish is the area immediately downstream from Tower Creek. There are also fish to 18" in the lower stretches of Tower Creek.
    .. Down south, Jack Dennis reports that the lakers are podding up for the spawn in Lewis Lake. The reports for the Gardner River system from Parks' Fly Shop suggest that if you pick your place, day and fly you should be amply rewarded. Give them a call and tell them hi for us.
    .. From Protect Your Waters comes good news about the battle against Rock Snot. They also bring us a bit of bad news about the two species of Asian Carp that have invaded the Upper Mississippi River Drainages. These flying carp would be a bit more entertaining were it not for the impact that have on indigenous fish -- and fishers. The Tunica Times has an excellent article about the impact in Mississippi on the lower river. And there is yet another video of flying carp produced by the Illinois Natural History Survey, Great Rivers Field Station.