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  • Friday, February 15, 2008

    Bad News -- Good News

    GRAYLING TAKES IT IN THE SHORTS
    Rainbows Without Whirling
    mindless sex
    .. As the sun splashes over West Yellowstone, (and mothers hide their children from the strange shinning orb,) news reaches us in the form of continued stupidity from our federal bureaucracy.
    .. Marshall Cutchin over at Midcurrent pointed us to the final, (in a long line of finals,) decision about the fluvial grayling by our very own United States Fish and Wildlife Service. It seems that " . . . genetics similar enough . . . " is good enough to damn the grayling in the lower 48 because it has genetics similar to those genetics of grayling elsewhere.
    .. As near as we can tell the genetics of the USFWS are more similar to chimpanzees than the genetics of the the two sub species of grayling being considered. Perhaps a new genetic infusion is needed in the USFWS. You can read about the most recent results of this struggle in the Helenair.com article.
    .. As we've noted previously rainbow trout that are resistant to whirling disease are being studied in Utah and Colorado. Now the resistant fish in Colorado are proving capable of breeding and may provide another front in the war on this invasive species. The Hofer strain, (similar to the Ho-Ha strain in Utah,) were introduced to the Gunnison River in 2004, and the Frying Pan River in 2005.
    .. The fingerlings introduced back then have produced what appears to be a viable population. Much of the credit of this project belongs to the dedicated staff of the Colorado Devision of Wildlife and research scientist George Schisler. A tip of the fedora to you folks. You can read all about it in the Coloradoan article.
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    .. Not so surprisingly, beer consumption in West Yellowstone increases about this time of year. This phenomenon has been attributed to many diverse factors ranging from love to Valentine's Day to the approach of St. Patrick's Day, to cabin fever.
    .. Whatever the reason, it's not an all bad thing, (and useful in a snowbound setting.) Alcohol, in its many forms has, throughout the ages, served as a social lubricant, and the same is true at this time of the year in the high country.
    .. Those of us who remember Falstaff Beer probably remember its claims, and it's fishy and sexy advertising, (dating from as early as 1897.)
    .. The happy coincidence of fishing, beer and sex is probably not as random as it would seem.
    .. Certainly there is an element of substitution and sublimation in this social trifecta. It is certainly apparent in the pubs around this town.
    .. If talk turns to fish it also turns to sex. The parallels and vocabulary are humorously similar. It takes little imagination to see the similarities: bait, trolling, snagging, catching, hooked, hooking, hooker, etc. Even T-shirts celebrate the association: "Tie me, fly me, whip me, strip me . . . "
    .. Hot fish and hot women are on the minds of our neighbors as the snow continues to accumulate.
    .. And you know that when it's deep enough to ride your snowmobile to the second floor window of your beloved, it's deep enough to suggest that Romeo's fair Juliette is on the minds of even the sled heads in West Yellowstone.
    .. Even the crusty old farts in town, lubricated by a bit of brew, begin to succumb to thoughts of warmer topics. Entice a fish? Drift a little deeper? Get hung up? Really snagged? It's hard to fish without being sexy. Have you ever been bit?
    .. FISH ON! The call comes from the end of the bar. Where's the bite? Nice fish, good fish, pretty fish; it goes on and on. There are even sights that float into the mind that defy reality.
    .. Winter, snow and brew bring about a bit of hallucinogenic foolishness. Images, that never could be, float through the convoluted folds of remaining cerebral cortex. Cool cats and hot fish don't seem like much of a likely pairing. Yet in the muted light of a congenial pub all things seem possible -- nay -- probable.
    .. A vise-like grip? Play her a bit longer? She's not ready to be landed? A bit of dark fur for enticement? Blue ribbon waters? A gentle rise? A swift current? Where's my fly? Did you land her?
    .. Was it this good last year? Is it always this hard? The words and images of drinking and dunking seem continuously interchangeable. Where were we last night? Do fish, once caught, get bigger with each retelling of the tale? Do the girls all get prettier at closing time?
    .. The end of the rise? All played out? One last cast? Trophy waters, trophy women? It can't be cabin fever, winter's only five months old.
    .. We recall, very fondly, these fine and beautiful fish that we caught . . . . Gorgeous!