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  • Sunday, October 21, 2007

    Blustery Weather = Good Catching

    Madison Doing Well
    Hebgen Tailwater Productive
    Gibbon Worth The Time
    .. The neighbors are charging to the Firehole River for a mid-day fix of surface action before winter shuts down the park. The baetis action has been very good along with some midges and caddis. We visited with some neighbors who were doing obscenely well in the long riffles and glides just below Ojo Caliente. They were using flies picked up at Buzz Basini's Fly Shop.
    .. The interesting Baetis Cripple, and Buzz's Baetis Emerger were being used in tandem and dragging in good fish at an amazing rate.
    .. The fishing, catching, and bragging continued at a rapid pace for about two hours - from about 1:30 until about 3:00. We watched for awhile, fished for awhile, and pouted for the rest of the day. These flies are small, and seem smaller with cold fingers and trifocals. Success was being had with 18's, 20's, and 22's. Fish were in the 12" to 15" range with frequent violent attacks by the 8" Wonders. These little devils would exhibit a violent rise with a tail splash and immediately dive deep - no problem setting the hook.
    .. Biscuit Basin is gathering the usual crowds in the evening. Both the daily midge hatch and the evening caddis are providing dances for the persistent. This is "Spot & Stalk" fishing, and both patience and wandering are being rewarded between the bridges. We saw no baetis but fished a floating baetis nymph and did well. The fly is a typically small bit of stuff, (24 - 26,) and the pattern is from Matt Nicol - very competent imitation - of both a midge and an emerger, etc!
    .. We also overheard a good deal of Latin being spouted along the river and were befuddled, as usual, when any foreign language is being used with such fluency. We are reminded about a piece by Jason Neuswanger, (Trout Nut,) about the identification of BWO's & Baetis:
    ... "Baetis is probably the most misidentified genus in the angler's mayfly world. Many fly anglers see anything too small to imitate with a size 16 Adams and call it Baetis. In reality, Baetis is the most prominent of several very similar abundant genera in the family Baetidae.
    ... It seems every species in the family is perpetually being reclassified, and identifying any of them, even to genus level, is difficult. The angler who wants to be accurate has two choices. Most people call these flies "Blue-Winged Olives," a name which has lost all meaning because people apply it to several dozen species which mostly have neither blue wings nor olive bodies.
    ... It's better to just call them "little (whatever color they are) mayflies." The other good choice is to call them "Baetids," the general Latin name for members of the Baetidae family, unless you've had them scrutinized under a microscope. Most of the specimens on this site can't be keyed below the family level from the pictures. So the next time a fishing buddy identifies a little greenish mayfly from a distance as Baetis vagans, just smile and nod..."
    .. We do a lot of smiling and nodding.
    .. For a small group of persistent anglers along the Madison River - size matters. And the Brown Trout are providing it. The fishing and catching can't be described as slow, but it ain't fast action yet either. There is a fall ritual that is being played out along the usual places - morning streamers/evening hackles. This is both traditional and successful.
    .. Right now olive-colored Woolly Buggers are in ascendancy, (some with a bit of flash,) closely followed by Zonkers and San Juan Worms. The Zonkers are either black or white, and the San Juan Worms are mostly two toned, (a few neighbors are using mink strips for their Zonkers but don't seem to be doing any better than the black or white.)
    .. Good catching has been reported from The Barns Holes, Grasshopper Bank, 7-Mile Picnic Area - (fish the Gneiss Creek Trail side of the river,) Talus Slope, National Park Meadows. The fishers concentrated between the confluence area and the road in National Park Meadows are the most active fishers - the large meanders starting just 1/2 mile downstream are lightly fished and hold good Brown Trout in deep bends. Evening prospecting with large Raven or Starling Soft hackles in caddis green are the swing of choice right now.
    .. A few of the neighbors have eschewed the frenzy in the park for a more solitary, yet just as rewarding, an experience by fishing and catching on the upper Gibbon River and the Solfaterra Creek confluence meadows. The water is low, cold, clear, and the fish are concentrated. Attractor flies and generic caddis are bringing fish to net in very satisfactory numbers - some as large as 14" or so. This is stroll and cast fishing and on a bright afternoon with no wind, (HA!,) it's a pleasant diversion from the crowds.
    .. A couple of successful flies for this time of year are the Sparkle Renegade and Sierra Bright Dot. Given a choice, young fishers will choose one of these flies every time - rightly so; they work.
    .. The Hebgen Tailwater of the Madison River is attracting attention from the less than glamorous crowd. The big fish will come to a Dark Spruce Fly or a Yellowstone Spruce Fly. They, and the other sizes, will also respond to Pheasant Tail Nymphs, Prince Nymphs, and small caddis nymphs. Don't forget that this is a good place for stone flies, and if you'd like to throw a rubber legs, go ahead.
    .. The Madison River Estuary and the stretch between the 191-bridge and the lake are excellent places for the streamer stripper. Dark holes, around and in the braided channels at the point of debauchment and the undercut banks offer excellent places for the fish to rest on their run up the river. Apropos of this situation, there is a post in Best Fly Fishing Yellowstone (BFFY) about streamer tactics and undercut banks.
    .. We are stunned by one of the most spectacular fishing photos ever; captured by the alert connoisseurs of the shutter over at The Horse's Mouth. The posts of the last few days have given us pause to think about sailing and a wahine's place in the world. Thanks for brightening our day.