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  • Wednesday, October 17, 2007

    Mixed Blessings

    FINALLY !!
    .. Well, it took a bit of time this year, but the Fall Weather has settled in and the fishing and catching is now weather dependent to a great extent. Pray for clouds and get rain and colored water. Pray for hatches and get midges in the nose. Pray for big fish and get crowds. Mixed blessings abound.
    .. We need more benches and more parking for the crowds at the Barns Holes - a good thing - probably. The fish are in and they are taking!
    .. It's snowing now, and river levels are up and the fish have finally smelled the cold water and reproduction is invading pea-sized brains of trout in the neighborhood.
    .. Hebgen Lake is the staging area for the run of big Brown Trout waiting to ascend the Madison River. If you don't mind a bit of dampness, this is the time to get in the tube and dredge the deep sections of the old river channel in the Madison Arm. Trolling is a good technique, (and not a bad substitute for an afternoon at the gym.) Use Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash and a full sinking line, or a sink tip with a long leader and some weight. Black, olive, and maroon seem to be the colors, (sizes 4 - 10.) If you can find the edge of the silt plume, work back and forth across the edge. If the water is clear follow the channel. It's not water skiing, but you can get a good ride if you're lucky.
    .. The fish are a bit early in the South Fork Estuary, and as the days get shorter the run up the South Fork of the Madison River will pick up.
    .. The Hebgen Tailwater is holding true to form. "Big below, action on top," is the local phrase. The hatches are fairly substantial right now and midges, Baetis, and evening caddis are all present - not prolific, but present. The Choice Hole is still holding some large fish from Quake Lake, as is the Long Riffle above it. This is the place for big soft hackles and woolly worms - yellow if you please.
    .. This is a good place to mention the "International Brotherhood Of The Flymph." These folks practice a time honored, and tactically challenging method of catching large fish with subsurface flies. There really was a Jim Leisenring, and the "Lift" is well worth perfecting. There is a fine web site commemorating this technique and the flies that work with it. It's well worth a look: http://www.flymph.com/index.html.
    .. We are particularly fond of soft hackles and stiff hackles. and the site is full of excellent information, patterns, materials lists, and photos.
    .. The area around Baker's Hole, and right at the park line, is getting more attention this year than in recent past years. This is probably because the fish caught in the weir are parking in the holes and bank undercuts in the low flows - time to rest and recuperate. The researcher's tagging the fish want us to remind fishers that the recuperating fish are tired, stressed and not fit for sport. Please leave these fish alone.
    .. The waltz at The Barns Holes on the Madison River has picked up to a fox trot, and streamers and soft hackles are the preferred ammunition of the successful fishers. We prefer a Dark Spruce Fly, or a Yellowstone Spruce Fly. Good success is also being had with Buggers, (with and without bead heads.) Deep glides at Talus Slope and 9-mile Hole are also productive. Although the run has reached into National Park Meadows, there is just "some action" to be had, even in the sweeping meanders of the Gibbon River at its confluence with the Firehole River.
    .. There are excellent reports for the Firehole River at The MRO, Blue Ribbon Flies, & Bud Lily's web sites. What is not mentioned is the exceptional catching on the Firehole River above Old Faithful. There has been a consistent midge hatch along the trail to Lone Star Geyser, and although the fish are not as large as those below the Upper Geyser Basin, they are far more friendly and willing to dance. The incised portions of this section hold good numbers of fish that are not too particular about their dance partners.
    .. Mike Stark, of The Billings Gazette, reports on the cessation of the "Catch & Kill" efforts on Yellowstone Lake. The NPS has concluded this season's Lake Trout eradication program.
    This year's six-month gill-netting effort killed 73,279 lake trout, said Patricia Bigelow, a Yellowstone fisheries biologist who oversees the program. That's 13,000 more than caught last year and twice the number netted two years ago. All told, more than 268,250 lake trout have been removed from the lake since the program started in 1994. The Park Service spends about $400,000 a year on the gill-netting program.

    .. FlyfishingEbooks.com is offering a free E-book in PDF. The book "Fly Fishing In Wonderland" was published in 1910 and is an interesting reminder of the way it was - - - if it really was! You will have to order it just like anything that you order on line. That means your credit card number and other personal information. BUT -- IT'S FREE!