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  • Friday, June 27, 2008

    The Heat Is On

    NORTHERN CALIFORNIA ON FIRE
    FIREHOLE JUST AS HOT
    Fish It Now
    .. Finally, after some bit of color and high flows, the Firehole River is in great shape. There are bugs galore. There are fish galore. There are fishers galore. And the FFF is in West Yellowstone with sages of all stripes parading the streets instead of fishing.
    .. Still high, the Firehole River is clear and the fish are looking up. Hatches of PMD's are getting more dense by the day, and persist into the evening Caddis hatches. It has been better, but not much.
    .. The river is providing something for everyone right now. There is a good spinner fall, and the "before coffee crew" are scoring very well with light colored soft hackles, (size 16 - or so,) floated in the eddy's of the quiet stretches.
    .. Another fly that is useful in the morning is the Yellowstone Morning Glory. Fish it in the film and hang on. This fly is best in mid-morning: that time between the beginning of the hatch and when you give up on the spinners.
    .. By the time brunch is on -- 11:00 or so, the same soft hackle and Morning Glory can be drowned and serve as an emerger. If the hatch is up to snuff and a few clouds obscure the sun it's time for a bit of fluff on top. Many of the neighbors use a CDC dun, in size 16 - 18.
    .. Should you pause for a late lunch at 4:30 or 5:00 you won't miss a thing and the caddis will start with the tail end of the PMD's. The Dark Peacock Herl caddis is doing fine, as is the Deer Hair Caddis that we borrowed from Jason Neuswanger over at the Trout Nut. Instructions and recipe for the dark caddis can be found at the Flyfishingconnection, (Recipe.)
    .. Nymphing is an all day proposition because of the overlapping hatches and a two fly rig is very productive. We're using a Feather Duster up top with a Prince Nymph at the point. Sizes in the 14 - 18 range are fine.
    -- The prospects for catching will increase with overcast days and the bug density is very high right now. There are even some BIG and little stoneflies for those fishers of a dredging bent. Silli-Legs seem to be the most prevalent fly on the river right now. We've used them in yellow and deep orange and done well. The rocky and riffled sections have held some good fish, (to 18"+) in very gratifying numbers over the past few days.
    .. With little, (other than the afternoon showers,) precipitation forecast for a week or so, it looks like the Firehole season is upon us.
    .. The most elbows are seen in Biscuit Basin, at the south and north ends of the Freight Road, and the riffles and runs in the Midway Basin area. A little walk will bring you to less crowded water such as the nooks and crannies of Pocket Basin.
    .. Nez Perce Creek is barely fishable and still full of bears. This is truly adventurous water.
    .. The Madison River has maintained its depth but clarity has greatly improved over the last week. Many have called the death of the stonefly hatch, but they are still hatching and they are still productive as lures. The big nymphs and surface flies such as Marcella's Trout Fly, and yellow Woolly Worms are wonderfully plebeian and magnificently effective. In fact, for those that want to catch some of the larger fish these two flies are all that's needed. Silli-Legs in various combination's of colors are also being used by the neighbors with good success.
    .. The Gibbon River canyon is still a bit frothy and surprisingly swift. Color is down to a nice shade of pink and visibility is at about 3 or 4 feet. Just about any nymph is a good bet. We like: Yellow Feather Duster, Bead Head Prince, and Green Soft Hackle flies. The little meadows above the Norris Campground are holding small Brown Trout, (to 12",) along with the standard assortment of Brookies and rumors of the occasional Grayling. We missed our iridescent ghost last year and have vowed not to be so humiliated this year.
    .. The snow is off the trail to Grebe Lake and all that's left is mud and more mud. Take a brief walk, (about 3 miles in,) and catch the most willing fish in Yellowstone. There are grayling and other dancers just starving for your two-fly rig. A floated soft hackle or elk hair caddis with a small Yellowstone Badger should fill your ego to gigantic proportions. That should provide the energy to get back out. Requirements are: BUG SPRAY, BEAR SPRAY, MOOSE ALERTEDNESS!
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    .. Catching should slow down a bit for the rest of this weekend, but the clouds and afternoon showers will be returning for next week. The snow pack will keep the flows up a bit; and should keep the water temperatures in the best range for a few more weeks. The Firehole River is still about 200 cfs above its seasonal average but the clarity is very good. Temperatures are within seasonal norms and showing their typical diurnal/nocturnal swings.
    .. The Gibbon River is still the major contributor of color to the Madison River. It's running about 250 cfs above its averages and given the flows is surprisingly clear.
    .. The combined discharge rates of the Gibbon River and the Firehole River have kept the Madison River at about 400 cfs above its 81 year seasonal norms. It's amazing that it's fishable at all; let alone as good as it is. It will get better next week as temperatures and clouds contribute to its catch-ability.
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    .. Well, the folks in Missoula are trembling as the ancient Chandler Toyota gasps its way toward paradise. Tune in to the Underground Adventure and see what kind of California Shenanigans invade the serene mountains of Montana.
    .. An update of the California fires can be found at The Horse's Mouth. They also have an awfully nice image of the purrrfect pout.
    .. Jason over at the Troutnut has added some superlative images of both bugs and water. There are some new wallpapers too. give it a click the next time you're interested in a bit of learned esoterica.