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  • Tuesday, June 10, 2008


    can you say thundersnow ?
    .. Last night's soaking rain and this morning's constant drizzle is sure to cloud the rivers a bit more. The thundersnow over the weekend melted rapidly in the warm deluge that followed in its aftermath. This produced a bit of color in the rivers as well. The beauty of the rose colored water is a wonder to behold.
    .. Briefly: the Gallatin River is cold, cloudy, and fishable above the Taylor Fork, productivity should be low; the Madison River is a portrait in mud and silt, catching will be done with a bit of tinsel and white - down and deep; the Gibbon River is roaring again but is mostly in-bank, (a rainbow of earth colors swirl through its froth;) the Firehole River is holding its own and in the meadows around Biscuit Basin clarity and visibility is surprisingly good.
    .. Despite the optimism of the intrepid fishers in our neighborhood, both the flows and colors of the rivers mitigate against spectacular catching. The apparent discharge peak of June 5 - 6, and the two day down-turn thereafter brought joy to the neighbors' hearts. Short lived it was.
    .. Flows are again on the upswing. The Madison River is at 950 cfs, still 100 cfs above its 81 year average and climbing once again. The Gibbon River is nearing 400 cfs, about 200 cfs above its seasonal average and raising rapidly. The Firehole River is currently at 600 cfs, a full 200 cfs above its seasonal average.
    .. Rain, snow, sleet, and cooler temperatures are in the forecast for the next four days. Temperatures will hover around the 40's and 50's for highs. This is just enough to slow the rivers a bit. Warmer temperatures on the coming weekend will increase the flows again - there's still snow to be melted.
    .. The Gallatin River has finally reached seasonal flows, but is very cold and slightly turbid. The discharge from the Taylor Fork can be distinguished for a good two miles before it dissipates into the full width of the stream. Fish the edge of the silt plume and there will be fish to dance with. This is strong water despite its appearance. The wade to the east bank can be treacherous. Take a stick or staff or have a native porter carry you across. You will be rewarded.
    .. Weather be damned, bugs and genes have their own calendar; and persistence of emergence will out! There are some hatches, and they are fishable. The fish have found them and so have the observant fishers.
    .. Despite the color on the Madison River there are Stonefly Nymphs actively moving underwater. A Yellowstone Sally will be your best bet as the top fly in a two fly rig. The trailer might be a soft hackle or a flashback Prince Nymph. Size 8 for the Sally, 12 - 14 for the trailer.
    .. Fishers looking for surface action can find it on the Firehole River. The cool temperatures and afternoon drizzles have brought forth the PMD and Baetis hatches. Mid -afternoon to dusk is good for the hatches.
    .. Caddis hatches are now appearing but they are spotty and intermittent. These are all flies that trend toward the SMALL! Sizes 16 and 18 will be a good place to start.
    .. The spinner float has been excellent. For those of you that don't need a second cup of coffee, (or even a first,) try the Yellowstone Morning Glory. These can be fished in reasonable sizes of 12 - 14. They can even be drowned and will produce well.
    .. The Firehole River also has a bit of Stonefly activity. If you're interested in some larger fish try the Yellowstone Winter Grub, or your favorite rubber legs pattern.
    .. Many of the neighbors are having success with the Silli-Legs stoneflies, (every feather merchant has a version or two - choose by color, size, aesthetics, or ugliness: they all work.) Just be sure that you let the drift carry the fly to the deepest part of the water. Pockets near the bank and undercut areas will be your best bet.
    .. There are excellent and detailed reports, along with prognostications at Madison River Outfitters, and Blue Ribbon Flies.
    .. We haven't forgotten those of you that like to view a bit of pleasant scenery. The Horse's Mouth brought us a bit of unseasonable decoration. Football instead of fish? We'll take it!