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  • Monday, October 06, 2008

    Disappearing Act

    Fewer Fishers, More Bugs
    but you gotta find 'em
    .. There's no better time than the present to explore the Firehole River. Savvy neighbors and 'in-the-know' visitors welcome the blustery weather and the late fall hatches with an exuberance generally reserved for jocks on prom night.
    .. The hatches are just fine -- but they are not river-long. Where they happen you can spend several hours in just a few hundred feet and wear out your drag.
    .. The key of course is finding the bugs. Surface fishers will cruise and watch. If you are just in a mood for some fish almost any place will provide them.
    .. From early morning to noon or so you can find midges and scattered BWO's. Fish a rig with a Soft Hackle behind a midge cluster and the catching should match the beauty of the fall scenery.
    .. After lunch the same rig will do; but if you do find the bugs and it's a bit cloudy change to a Sparkle Dun, or even a very small Humpy. Rising fish are hungry and not too terribly selective right now; emergers and floating nymphs will gather in the fish as well.
    .. Many good fishing spots are empty at the moment, and the change is a welcome relief from the crowds of the last few weeks. Word will spread and the weather will hold for the better part of the coming week. Bluster is in the forecast and it's just what the neighbors ordered.
    .. The fall fish in the Firehole River have gained both color and energy as they voraciously feed on the smorgasbord floating past their hides. Although the water is thin and clear, it's still just a bit above the seasonal average flow. Fishers without any stealth genes will have a harder time than those with a bit of patience and guile. This is the time of year to sit and watch the water before jumping in. Wading is not necessary in many sections, and if you're fanny-deep in the Firehole River you've probably kicked out a few good fish.
    .. There are still caddis in the evening but this should not last for too much longer. Sink your favorite caddis fly or keep it in the film and it will provide some action all day as well.
    .. There are several narrow riffles that are holding good fish right now, and it's easy fishing for the angler with a diverse assortment in the box. Small streamers, nymphs, and even drowned terrestrials will be gobbled up in the riffled pockets.
    .. Some of the neighbors are migrating to the Gibbon River, Madison River, and the short stretch of the Firehole River below the falls.
    .. There are some large fish that have run up from Hebgen Lake in all these areas. The numbers have not grown appreciably since last week, but they are there.
    .. Good fall-run fish have been taken as high as the plunge pool below Gibbon Falls, and several have been taken in the bridge pools in National Park Meadows.
    .. Large soft hackles, Yellowstone Spruce Flies, and either brown or purple woolly buggers are taking the large fish.
    .. For the moment, you had best be dedicated and persistent to have any success. Fish the spots, then move on. The parking places are not full yet.
    .. The large flies will not necessarily put off the residents. And catching in the Madison River has been good. Fish in the 10" - 14" range can be found in all the usual places and a typical assortment of Prince Nymphs, Feather Dusters, and soft hackles will draw their attention without much effort.