• Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Wednesday, April 30, 2008

    A Break From Fish - Sort'a

    Photoshop Disasters
    need longer arms ?
    need bigger fish?

    .. Is your belly button ugly? Are your arms too short? Is your fish too small? How about a triple-jointed wrist? All things are possible!
    .. Forget about accurate portrayal of the scene before you and have it "PHOTOSHOPPED." After all, fly fishing is just the fantasy of rich snobs with too many Jeep's in the garage. Live large: make it real.
    .. With technological improvement comes advanced photo enhancement. The real and the imaginary come together in visual fantasy that is nearly believable.
    .. Fishing guides have long known that if a client thrusts his fish toward the camera the foreshortening effect creates bigger fish and better memories -- and of course larger tips, and return business. Fish always grow after they've been caught.
    .. There is a place on the web to see some interesting byproducts of the digital age -- gone wrong. It's called Photoshop Disasters. A brief perusal will give you some food for thought about what you're seeing in magazines, books, blogs and other photo sources. The comments about each disaster are just as good as the errors that are recorded.
    ..This world is really a spiffy place.
    The money quote says it all:
    Clumsy manipulation, senseless comping, lazy cloning and thoughtless retouching are our bread and butter.
    .. Below are a few images to give you pause.

    .. With all apologies to Mark Glassmaker at ALASKA TROPHY FISHING; Why stop with a big fish? You can have a giant fish!

    Saturday, April 26, 2008

    Know Your Fish

    MSU Charges To Glacier
    In Defense Of Bull Trout

    Firehole Ranch Catches New Manager
    Visit Montana & Learn 33 Rules - Is That All?
    Yellowstone Atlas Coming
    (brief local report)
    nps photo

    .. As lowland folks trek into the uplands to 'officially' start their trout fishing season, (see the underbelly report,) we're busy stuffing flies into the Spring Fly Box, which is a bit different from years past.
    .. Fishing in Yellowstone will get underway the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend and extend through and including the first Sunday in November. We've been scouting since the park opened and things are wet. If the cool weather holds we'll have some excellent opportunities come Memorial Day.
    .. In a most timely move, the NPS has updated many sections of the official Yellowstone National Park Website.
    .. Among the features that have been recently added is an illustrated section of fish identification tools, and distribution maps.
    .. The web page is fragmented into several topics and sub-pages; so if you're right-click challenged, here's your road map:
    - Fish Distribution Maps,
    - Artic Grayling: photo album, slide show,
    - Westslope Cutthroat: photo album, slide show,
    - Yellowstone Cutthroat: photo album, slide show,
    - Brook Trout: photo album, slide show,
    - Brown Trout: photo album. slide show,
    - Lake Trout: photo album, slide show,
    - Rainbow Trout: photo album, slide show,
    - Cuttbow Hybrid: This link on the NPS site is broken!
    - Here's the real links: Hybrids: photo album, slide show.
    .. The Montana Cooperative Fishery Research Unit at MSU has released some findings of an ongoing four year study of invasive threats to native fish in Glacier National Park. The money quote says it all:
    "What's going on in those lakes is a train wreck," Guy said. "A non-native species is replacing a native species."

    .. The historic Firehole Ranch, (previously the Watkins Creek Ranch,) has landed a new ranch manager. He is Chris McCoy, former Executive Director of Food and Beverage for Glacier Park, Inc. He is well known for inventing the "Red Jammer Soda" in honor of the bright red White Touring Limousines in Glacier Park, when they returned to service in 2002.
    .. The announcement was made in a news release by Lynda Caine. Besides the legendary atmosphere and attention to detail, the Firehole Ranch is also hosting a "Women's Week," August 2-6, 2008, for discriminating fly-fishing enthusiasts of all abilities.
    .. Field & Stream is running an article by Joe Cermele about a road trip to Montana.
    .. He discovered 33 rules, some great fishing, and took some fine pictures. We're aghast that it only takes 33 rules to survive a road trip to Montana. Maybe that's all the pictures that he took. Hope not!
    .. We like the photo of West Yellowstone's night life. Read all about it HERE.
    .. After considerable effort and planning, Yellowstone area universities, National Park Service experts, and other federal and private agencies have joined forces with the University of Oregon to develop the Atlas of Yellowstone, the first atlas dedicated to a national park and its surrounding region, (via The AnyGeo Blog.) You can check out the official web site HERE.
    .. Not to put too fine of a point on it -- BUT -- the cool weather and daily snow showers suggest that when the warm weather arrives, and when the melt is in full flower, opening day will be in close proximity on the calendar. There will be places to fish if the rivers are roaring, but they won't be the traditional ones. Stay tuned and we'll give a complete update in the near future. The long range NOAA forecast suggest that persistent warmer weather will arrive about the second week in May. You know what that does to the Memorial Day Opening.

    Thursday, April 24, 2008

    Close On The Heels

    Can Slick Go On The Web ?
    (and a fishing report too)
    .. Just as we had finally adjusted to the demise of Best Fly Fishing Yellowstone, along comes THE KING OF FISHING - ohmygawd; and the promise of a new site Fly-Fishing-Wyoming.
    .. If the blog is any indication of coming content we're in for a bit of self aggrandizing prose. Here's the money quote - judge for yourself:
    Welcome to your greatest resource of fishing information on the web! Five times a day, we post a new insight from one of the top anglers in the world. Don't go fishing without checking here first!

    .. We'll wait and watch.
    .. This reminds us of an interesting advertisement. "The Yellowstone Insider" believes that one year of decent snow pack promises a "great fishing season" - my, my, my. What they won't do to sell you something. As if recovery of a fishery depended on a single weather event. Shame on their marketing director.
    .. Over at HDW Mobile they're celebrating the passing of the white stuff and anticipating a bit of morel hunting instead of fishing. Happily for us they don't show our morel fields. With lots of fires up here, and rapid decomposition there's a few for us to gather too - it'll be about six weeks though. They also have taken the bait on the recent attempt to provide more fishing opportunities with the introduction of sterile triploid trout. Displacement of natives is the concern. We suspect that this discussion is just starting.
    .. It's a wild world in the invasive species arena. The critters that are making an impact in Oregon and northern California are slugs and mollusks. Via The Invasive Species Weblog comes news in the Salem, Oregon, Statesman Journal about the rapid spread of these slimy creatures. Now that's a problem.
    .. From Protect Your Waters comes a note that Patagonia is seriously concerned about the threat of invasive aquatic species. A new post delivers some information that is well worth the read. The money quote is one that sticks!
    As Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!™ has correctly identified, people’s behaviors matter! Regardless of how they perceive their sport and its relative degree of impacts, the fact is that the aquatic invasive species issue makes the conservation component of recreational activities absolutely essential.

    .. The ice at the edges of Hebgen Lake is letting us know that spring is just around the corner. The Hebgen Tailwater is still fishing to nymphs and midges. Down canyon, on the Gallatin River, there is word of "real hatches" and testimony is found in the filled-up pull-outs.
    .. There is some real hot action on the Yellowstone River. The kind folks at Parks' Fly Shop let us know that streamer fishing is gathering up big fish. They also alert us to the upcoming 'Mother's Day' caddis hatch. Maybe a road trip for us in the near future. Read the report HERE.
    .. Those sneakiest of neighbors over at Madison River Outfitters went to visit the fishes between the lakes. They even caught a few!
    .. Please pay heed to their caution about the spawning fish. The shallow gravels are full of redds and there's no glory in taking these fish. There are bright fish in the deep runs, and you can reach most of them without wading. Check out their report for the spicy details.
    .. From the "mark your calendar" department comes word about the National Folk Festival. This event is held for three years in a single city and then moves on. Butte, Montana will be the host for the next three years. Mark your calendar - July 11-13 is the kick-off for this year.

    Wednesday, April 23, 2008

    Thank You Susan and Peter

    .. A well researched article in New West appeared yesterday. THE ABC's of H2O, "Understanding the basics of water law in Montana." It's well worth the read, thank you Susan Duncan.
    .. And, this comes on the heels of the Aquafornia story (via Trout Underground,) of a similar nature.
    .. In the same issue of New West is a note by Peter Metcalf, about the prevention of 'Death by a thousand cuts:' the Montana stream setback concerns.
    .. Remember: grandma said, "We'll have the next civil war over water, not real estate!"

    Sunday, April 20, 2008

    Growth & Death

    The Way Of All Flesh
    .. We sent them an email. The server spit it back. That's quick work. Just as soon as we'd become addicted to the posts of fins and grins and good information about regional waters -- they pulled the plug.
    .. For some healthy reasons the site BEST FLY FISHING YELLOWSTONE is no longer going to be posting to their blog. Before they dismantle it entirely, click HERE for the final post. We understand their feelings and picked the money quote with ease.
    Given the demands of this opportunity, we’ve simply decided that we’d rather fish that write about fishing every day

    .. Thanks for the memories.
    .. The informative, entertaining, spontaneous, and frequently beguiling HORSE'S MOUTH has brought us some fine notes and a video of kite sailing in San Francisco Bay. It's akin to kite boarding on snow but with less clothing. Interesting and captivating; but the two snaps of sexy women and one lucky dog caught our attention.
    .. They kept our attention through two mornings of cholesterol filled breakfasts and a couple of days in Yellowstone. Why even the truck was a topic of brief conversation. However the question posed by the author "Why is it always blurry underwater?" kept us occupied as we digested the biscuits and gravy.
    .. Protect Your Waters, the STOP HITCHHIKERS bunch, has added an RSS Feed to their site. Now you can stay informed on your favorite feed reader. This is an excellent service, and it's a welcome addition to the effort. The page for RSS selection is HERE. It's even configured for Yahoo, Bloglines, Google, and Live Bookmarks ... take your pick.
    Where There's Mergansers, There's . . .

    Friday, April 18, 2008

    GAME ON !

    Other Wonders Too
    a gentle melt so far

    .. We visited early. The official opening is at 8:00 AM. We pretended it was that time as we 'administratived' our way through the new west entrance station. You'll see the relocated canopy and particle board kiosks soon enough. One kiosk was fully functional. The other was a "cash only" situation. They'll get it figured out.
    .. For us it was the rivers. Those wet arteries of life that hold a vast array of unseen and mysterious life - fish too.
    .. For others it was the enormous black grizzly just below Black Sand Basin - we snapped a few. For many it was the Bison, or Elk, or Eagles, or Swans, or Mallards, or Golden Eyes - we got those too.
    .. Some paused for ground squirrels, others watched the Canada Geese. Many cars parked and enjoyed the scenery - did some of that too.
    .. For us, however, it was the water. The rivers on the west side of the park are near full, flowing clear, and darkly inviting. The snow is confined to the edges of the valley floor, (mostly.)
    .. The first bison calves attracted lots of attention - and ours. But, we watched the eddies and riffles. Dipper Cliff held a few rising trout - what were they eating? There were rises at Elk Island. Hidden Pond is full. We're full of anticipation.
    .. The Madison River is dark and mercuric, The Fire Hole River is animated, The Gibbon River is a bit sleepy, and Nez Perce Creek is as mysterious as ever. We anticipate a congenial reacquantanceship soon.
    .. For those of us that prowl the nooks and crannies of the smaller and lesser fished waters things look good; so far. We took some time to enjoy the sights that we often take for granted. The sights and sounds that we frequently rush past on our way upstream were easy to enjoy this morning. It was a gentle morning. It was soft, gray, and a bit foreboding. There's weather coming.
    We even made a video.


    Tuesday, April 15, 2008

    The Real Yellowstone Spring

    Rewards For The Hardy
    .. After a brief hallucination that the warmth had arrived, and that winter may have passed, (see posts about bicycling: Bear Mountain Point Blog, Yellowstone Park News,) the REAL YELLOWSTONE SPRING has returned. The wind is blowing, the snow is snowing, and the sun is being bashful.
    .. The weather is back to normal and it's 18 degrees and blustery. There's a nice picture of the current state of the Madison River over at Bear Mountain Point Blog. The hallucination was brief and encouraging.
    .. The neighbors are on their way to the most treacherous bit of snow, hereabout, for a shot at some Brown Trout 'schoolies.'
    .. Go up the highway about 8 mies, (slow down for the bison,) turn left, cruise past Hebgen Lake, (wave at the folks from Utah,) then through the Beaver Creek Pass, past the Beaver Ponds, and sneak through the avalanche area and park where you can near the outlet to Quake Lake.
    .. Bingo! You've arrived at the thirty feet - or so - of open water that produces energetic Brown Trout for those willing to post-hole their way down a steep embankment. It's only about 300 or so feet. The snow is rotten from the recent sunshine and it covers a treacherous boulder field - sort of!
    .. Even snowshoes sink. It's deep and full of voids. It's inviting; there are some tracks on top from when the snow was firm. You'll sink to your waist in some places. The joy of fishing never fails to amaze. There are some tracks, however, that you may not want to follow.
    .. Should you choose to fish here you may find some intrepid worm-dunkers. Don't despair, they won't bite and they'll let you know where, (and how deep,) the fish are. Success comes to those with a sink tip line, a double dropper and a slow twitch technique.
    .. Put a small black or dark brown San Juan Worm, (size 12, or even 14,) on the end and, up tight to the leader-line junction a dark olive or even black Hare's Ear Nymph, (size 14 - 16 - 18.) Some folks, (ourselves included,) use a pair of Yellowstone Badger flies -- seems to work just fine. Use a lot of bear grease on the line and hope that it keeps the sink tip from bombing to the bottom.
    .. A well placed double roll cast, or a Spey-flip will put the rig on the ice across the water. Let it rest there for 30 seconds or a bit more; then slowly drag it off the ice and let it sink to the appropriate depth - yesterday it was about 5 feet.
    .. Keep your rod tip low; even in the water. With a very slow, steady retrieve; give a small twitch and pause - twitch and pause - twitch and pause.
    .. SLAMMO !!! Eager brown trout in the 14" to 16" range love this rig and technique. Don't mind the worm dunkers. They'll laugh and understand why you threw back the pygmy. They've got some three pounders floppin' and freezin' next to them. We'll pass.
    .. Our annual "opening of the park day" comes this Friday and promises to be eventful. The new entrance station is not fully functional. At last report, (yesterday at 5:00 PM,) one kiosk was operational and there were problems with the others. It seems the winter construction schedule was delayed by a small amount of snow.
    .. Friday morning will see scads of lookie-loos and some intrepid visitors.
    .. The weather forecast is for a one day return of the hallusination . . . we'll let you know.

    Thursday, April 10, 2008

    Not For The Faint Of Heart

    Self Defense

    After All, It's Still 4' Deep UP HERE
    .. Granted, fishing in the snow is not for everyone. Granted, the mind wanders toward the perfect day for fishing. Granted, the wanderings occasionally turn to the beauty and grace of women, (after all, it is still winter in West Yellowstone.) But, need our mind suffocate in 'BAGGIES' when other forms of fashion are available?
    .. The good folks from Get Outdoors send us on a wild romp into the world of snowboard fashion. We must admit that this year's fashion collection from Future Snowboarding Magazine leaves all to the imagination, - (and, ours is weak.)
    .. We do prefer the way that the Dallas Snowboarders approach the season, (main image above.) If you don't believe it you should check out their video for "BOOBIES IN THE HOT TUB."
    .. And, lest we continue to be maligned by folks who believe that this is just pure fantasy, the good souls of South Korea have also discovered the joys of riding the boards in bikinis, (in Lapland - no less.) And these ladies are so good at it that they do it at night and admittedly drunk.
    .. We're not about to go out and buy a board, but we will continue to watch the developments in this arena. We come down on the side of "Less Is More."
    .. Snowboarding fashion is definitely retrogressing to the sixties look of baggy surf wear. We vote for the more streamlined approach. After all, as they used to say - Dood: "Let it all hang out."
    .. Meanwhile, down at the Hebgen Tailwater , there has been a resurgence of snow flies. Surface action is apparent, widespread, and frenzied --- BUT --- and it's a big but: it takes a genuine dry fly master to convince the fish to take a minuscule artificial on the surface. The best work is done by using a Griffith's Gnat -- start with size 20 and go smaller if necessary.
    .. This action is just like the the action that the folks in Florida enjoy when they "Jump Tarpon." Skittish fish won't take a fly presented on a leader or hook that's big enough to hold them for a dance. So this is the time and place to jump some trout. Consider yourself a winner if they don't break you off in the first 30 seconds.
    .. For the rest of us, nymphs will just about guarantee a dance of satisfying length and arousal. Our usual assortment of common, non-sexy, mundane, and pedestrian nymphs are shinning like the buffed bumper on a restored Bugatti.
    .. You wont need a heavy vest, surgical instruments, miles and miles of gossamer tippet, or voodoo to take satisfying fish all day long. Put a couple dozen of your favorite nymphs in a 35mm film canister, (aside: are these gems about to become casualties of the digital age?)
    .. Post-hole your way to the water below Campfire Lodge, (avoiding the tin hatch along the highway - otherwise you'll get tangled in the gossamer tippet,) and dance with some 12" - 18" pre-spawn trout. Any place that you can't see the bottom probably holds fish.
    .. Our selection is determined by the fly box that we open first. It bewilders the sophisticated angler. A bit of this, a bit of that, and off we go.
    .. Right now the canisters hold some Shop Vacs, Yellow Woolly Worms, some beat up Feather Dusters, and one lonesome Yellowstone Winter Grub.
    .. Your assemblage might include some Prince Nymphs, very dark Hare's Ears, and a Jacklin's Rock Worm - you might even do better than we do; probably would. But it's not always about the catching.