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  • Thursday, October 11, 2007

    Fish Weir Verifies Run

    THEY'RE HERE !
    Hebgen Lake Alive
    madison & firehole hot
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    .. As announced by the USFS last month (PDF), the floating fish weir on the Madison River is in operation and researchers are continuing to evaluate the condition of the fishery in the Hebgen Basin.
    ..The weir, located between Baker's Hole & the Highway 191 Bridge, is checked daily and each trapped fish is measured, weighed, examined for signs of disease, and released. Rainbow trout are also tagged with a uniquely numbered tag.
    .. Anglers are asked to refrain from targeting fish that may be concentrated immediately upstream and downstream of the weir.
    .. Any anglers who catch tagged rainbow trout should report the tag color, number, date captured, and location of capture to the Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks (406)682-7807. For more information contact the Hebgen Lake Ranger District at (406) 823-6961 or Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks at (406) 682-7807.
    .. Hebgen Lake is providing excellent catching of both Brown Trout and Rainbow Trout. Hot spots include: Rainbow Point, The Narrows, Madison Arm Estuary, The Dam, and the whole North Shore. Most of the neighbors are reporting fish in the 14" - 22" range on the local fly called a "Gob O' Worms."
    .. Intrepid fly fishers are taking fish on Dark Spruce Flies, Yellowstone Spruce Flies, Woolly Buggers, and Hornberg's. The last couple of warm days produced a midge hatch and those that like to torture themselves have been using size 18 - 22 midge clusters in the late evening.
    .. With the low water it's easier to find the old river channel if you are in a tube. A dark olive Woolly Bugger, San Juan Worn, or Chamois Leech can be presented deep if you'd enjoy being towed around the lake by a fish.
    .. At least one other good thing has come from the low water - no willows or grass to foul your backcast. Big rods and long casts seem to be in order and the success rate is high - especially for the patient fisher that knows how to strip slowly. If you need instruction - ask your wife.
    .. Quake Lake, near the boat launch ramp and the confluence with Beaver Creek is also producing some excellent catches on the same flies as noted for Hebgen Lake.
    .. The Hebgen Tailwater has come alive with precocious males, and fishing with nymphs is excellent for all runs between the lakes. The fish are not very selective right now and your favorite nymph in size 12 - 18 should attract good dances all day. With the blustery weather approaching we expect that a two-size, two-type, dropper rig should work wonders in the drizzle and snow of the weekend.
    .. The Madison River in Yellowstone Park is becoming more crowded by the day. Both fish and fishers have begun the fall run in earnest, and the parking spots, (for both,) are filling up rapidly.
    .. Wader friendly lodging is scarce, and Ernie's Deli has changed their hours. This is the time to be enjoying the west side of the park.
    .. The spawners are still moving and resting in holes and undercut banks. The proliferation of fish has brought out a proliferation of soft hackle patterns of various sizes and colors.
    .. There seems to be no preference at the moment and swinging the floppy little flies is producing good catching from the park line all the way to National Park Meadows.
    .. Late afternoon and evening fishers have been treated to multiple hatches of BWO's, Baetis, and that little, nearly black Caddis, that appears this time of year. We use Jason Neuswanger's Deer Hair Caddis for these flies when they appear in the early, and late part of the season. Combined with a Feather Duster or a Montana Duster, this is an excellent dropper rig for the back eddies and slicks on a crisp cool evening.
    .. The fish seem to be slow in moving into the lower Gibbon River this season. The low water may have something to do with this. There are fish and it takes some hiking to cover the water necessary to gather them in. Streamers and stiff hackle flies are taking a few in the section around National Park Meadows. If the reluctance of the fish to move persists you can expect elbow to elbow conditions in the confluence area - good catching too, just like in '86, '87, & '88.
    .. And, like in 1988, the big plunge pool at the base of Gibbon Falls is getting its share of attention from both the fish and their stalkers. This is a chuck it and chance it proposition right now, with big streamers the ammunition of choice. The riffles, rapids and glides just a 1/2 mile below the falls are collecting fish and only a few fishers. This stretch was good yesterday with a soft hackle below a black woolly Bugger. Swing and carefully mend this combination through the large pocket water and hang on.
    .. Good stories and proof to back them up are coming from the Firehole River as the temperatures continue to drop. Multiple hatches are present here too. Midges have made a roaring appearance in the grills of most cars and are being fished by those anglers with the skill and eyesight to make it work. Big fish / Small flies - heaven for some!
    .. Have a late breakfast and hit the Firehole River about 10:00 AM for continuing Baetis action. Floating nymphs and emergers seem to be the flies of choice for both the quarry and the fisher folks, (these should be smallish too - 14 - 18 and on the light colored side.) The low water has concentrated the fish in the very apparent channels of the riffle and run sections of the Firehole Canyon.
    .. The area just above the falls at Elk Island and the swift water by Dipper Cliff holds good fish that are willing to take a soft hackle or small streamer all day long.

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