• Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Sunday, May 31, 2009

    Brief Firehole River Report

    LOOKING GOOD-------
    .. Believe it all. Mid morning = good. Early afternoon = great. Early evening = fantastic. Dusk to dark = Caddis. Everything works. There's a lot of hungry fish.

    Saturday, May 30, 2009

    Blessings Upon Us

    BAR-B-Q ?

    just what kind ?
    all of it
    brief fishing report too
    .. There's over 40 motels in town: about that many restaurants exist too. There's 5 churches, (most of the time,) and more pubs than churches. Hell, there's more fly shops than churches.
    .. The niche market is filling up fast in the trinket shop category, and there's a gas station for every disposition, (and three car washes.)
    .. We often hear heated discussions about the "BEST" of whatever, (food, church, souvenir shop, motel, etc.) Ahhhh, the joys of living where others visit.
    .. We also have two remarkable Bar-B-Q restaurants. Both are "authentic," (gawd, can you imagine the arguments ?) No boiled ribs with pounds of sauce to disguise the process will be found at either. Genuine, 'do-it-the-long-way-and-enjoy-the-finished-product BAR-B-Q.
    .. We are truly blessed. How do you like your ribs? Beans? Brisket? KC style? Texas style? You can have both! Dripping with rich sauce and smoky aromas? You got it! Subtle aroma and melt in your mouth delicious, (sauce on the side?) Sure! Beans all dolled up and full of special tastes? Just ask! Just beans, with a hint of ham or bacon, no sauce and broth to die for? Why not?
    .. Downtown crowds and search for parking? Got it! Leisurely front porch and off street parking? As you wish!
    .. Not Often is there a choice so hard to make. Certainly tastes vary - praise the pig! Palettes and moods vary - praise the beef! Atmosphere is certainly an idiosyncratic judgment - praise the difference!
    .. Which one is best? You decide!
    .. Fishing and catching is good and getting better. Pick your spot and time and flog away. The offerings are famously varied and not many disappointed fishers can be found. Conditions are tough but rewarding.
    .. Both the Firehole River and the Madison River have cleared considerably. The un-seasonal warm weather is keeping the flows a bit above average but the fishing is good.
    .. There is some fog, (if you are the early type,) and fish are very active on the surface in the morning. No giant spinner fall to speak of but the finny friends are looking up in the morning. Pick your poison and a dimple in the surface, size 16 - 18 BWO, (and/or PMD,) if your eyes work that early.
    .. There is some little stonefly action and the big ones should be along soon, (for the subsurface folks.)
    .. The bugs are crawling along the bottom right now and the recent flooding has moved the gravels considerably.
    .. Bugs are very active right now but they are mostly in the lower 1/3 of the water column. Use you favorite Yellow Sally sort of fly and you should be rewarded with some fine fish.
    .. Small streamers and buggers are also working. The perennial favorite Prince Nymph is about sold out in a couple of the fly shops. The decisions will hurt your head if you worry about them.
    Just tie one on - the dance is on!

    Wednesday, May 27, 2009

    Say It Now - Say It Loud


    Gulper Fishing May Be Here
    can it be true?
    .. The simple truth of the matter is that the worm fishers get there first. Be there more of them, or be they more persistent, or be they sharper than the rest of us - it's true.
    .. Rafts of mayflies have been reported by the wormy folks at a seldom fished, (by fly folks,) area of Hebgen Reservoir. Of course we investigated. It's true, and it's early.
    .. Say Callibaetis, and Yellowstone Lake and Hebgen Reservoir come to mind - IN MID-JUNE!
    .. Say gulper fishing, and Hebgen Reservoir springs to the lips - on the north side, or the east end. And, truth-be-told these areas are both productive and easy to access from town.
    .. However, the rocky shores at the tip of Rumbaugh Ridge in the area known as Rumbaugh Point, (or locally as just "Rumbaugh,") get the sun earlier and more persistently than other places on Hebgen Reservoir.
    .. The ice leaves here earlier, (although it takes a snow machine to get there early.) The coves are sheltered and fairly shallow. The bugs are prolific and healthy, (and the fish find them just before the fishers.) They're there now.
    .. With all the concentration on opening day in Yellowstone National Park, the gulper fishing buzz will have to wait - for the orthodox fanatics. For the catchers of fish, (flies, worms, gear,) Rumbaugh and the South Fork Estuary are the places to be.
    .. Not only are the bugs present, but it looks like there is a population explosion of leeches as well. They love waders, they love float tubes, they love to attach and stay. If they don't get some blood it's O.K. they are just along for the ride and it's their means of dispersal.
    .. Currently the fish are eating everything. If a nymph, or emerger, or dry won't work - try a leech and troll around the mud and rock interface.
    .. The tube fishers are using floating emergers like the Challenged Callibaetis and Hackle Stacker as their primary weapons. We're happy to see some greased Feather Dusters in the mix as well. Sizes are on the largish size - 14 and 16 seem to be the ones most commonly used. Color at this time seems less important than size, and if you have some PMD's in the right size - use 'em!
    .. Woolly Buggers are always popular for trolling. Be sure to keep the sizes down and the action slight. Trolling with only the wind as propulsion is a good place to start.
    .. Right now it's not a bad idea to put the tip of your rod in the water and keep a short line and only a 7' leader. Remember, your fly rod won't shrink if it gets wet.
    Click on map for larger image.

    Tuesday, May 26, 2009

    Paper The World


    Jeff Kennedy Strikes Again
    will there be 365 wallpapers ?
    one for every day ?-------

    .. Jeff Kennedy has prodigiously drawn a fly a day for a full year: he's still at it.
    .. There are a couple of new renderings on his site DRAWING FLIES 365.
    .. Better yet, he has released a zip file with wallpapers for your iPhone and iTouch. Right now there are only eight available. They are variations on some of the drawings and paintings created during his marathon artistic binge of last year.
    .. Be the first in your neighborhood to have genuine, designed for fly fishers, mobile phone wallpaper.
    .. Astound your cohorts, be the envy of all your friends, add style to your mini-screen: CLICK HERE to download the zip file with all eight images.

    Monday, May 25, 2009

    Damn Butts

    We Know
    .. It's no secret that we smoke cigarettes on occasion. We also hate the habit, (addiction,) and it's byproducts. Pollution of the body is detrimental to our health. Pollution of the environment is inexcusable.
    .. We are sensitive to the unthinking discard of butts. Cigarette butts are more than just unsightly. They are poison pills in the environment.
    .. A recent post by Mark Powell over at Blogfish alerted us to the damage that these damn butts do to fish. Read it HERE.
    .. From the News Center at San Diego State University comes a note about the environmental hazards of cigarette butts and the damage they do to fish, and other marine life.
    .. What's this have to do with fly fishing in Yellowstone National Park? Plenty!
    .. Last October as we joined the conga line at The Barns Holes we noticed an enormous amount of cigarette butts in the parking areas. These butts are leaching poison into the streamside environment.
    .. There's a new crop of them there already this year. We do know one thing - they don't breed.
    .. We doubt that many fly fishers have noticed them, but they are there. We are particularly sensitive to butts because of our addiction. We pick them up. We stash them. We dump them in the trash. Good for us. Maybe not!
    .. There is a movement afoot to have the damn butts be classified as toxic waste. It's not a bad thought. An estimated 1.69 Billion pounds of butts end up as litter each year. These are the ones scattered by irresponsible smokers. They get concentrated by sewage systems and other mechanisms and form pockets of poison in our environment - even the parking areas at the Barns Holes.
    "Each year, billions of cigarette butts end up on our beaches, and in our oceans, lakes and rivers, based on this new research, we believe that cigarettes should be considered toxic waste and new requirements need to be established for how they are disposed."

    .. The website for the Cigarette Butt Advisory Group, (CBAG,) is currently under construction. There is a sign-up form if you'd care to stay informed.
    .. Just thought you'd like to know what 'butt dumpers' are doing to our fish in Yellowstone National Park.

    Sunday, May 24, 2009

    By The Bye

    Enough To Break The Gauge
    .. So sorry to report that the Gibbon River is now in record discharge territory. The color is not as bad as yesterday, but the visibility is still pretty damn poor.
    .. The broken gauge on the Madison River is still not fixed, and it's last recorded values show the line on the graph headed north!
    .. The bottoms at 7-mile bridge are a quagmire, and the rest of the valley is just a mess. We'll not say it's blown - but it's blown!
    .. The Little Firehole River produced fish yesterday, (cold and quick as it is,) and the Firehole River along the Lone Star Geyser Trail was rewarding to the few fishers, (neighbors included,) who walked past the first bridge. A green-body, or purple-body soft hackle in the monstrous sizes seems to be the ticket - try 4, 6, or 8.

    A Great Big Thank You

    .. Dick Vincent, 68, retired this year after 12 years as whirling disease coordinator for the FWP, eight years as fish manager for Region Three of the FWP and 22 years as area biologist over the Madison, Gallatin, and upper Missouri rivers.
    .. In 1991 Vincent noticed some problems with young Rainbow Trout populations in the Madison River. By 1994 the population of rainbows had fallen 90% and Whirling Disease was pinpointed as the culprit.
    .. The disease was poorly known at the time. Vincent and his coworkers established an initiative to study the disease from every angle. The initiative continues today and we have learned much.
    .. Trout Unlimited and the Whirling Disease Foundation have since merged and the URL "WHIRLINGDISEASE.ORG" is now for sale.
    .. These conjoint efforts have brought Whirling Disease to the forefront of our discussion of healthy Rainbow Trout Populations in Montana.
    .. Currently Montana has 150 infected streams. The Madison River Rainbow Trout population has slowly recovered and is now at 60 - 70 percent of what it was before the discovery of Whirling Disease.
    .. The recovery is most likely the result of genes from the DeSmet Rainbows probably imported from California by way of Wyoming. The exact source of the introduced fish is not known and the detective work is still underway.
    .. An article "HAS WHIRLING DISEASE COME FULL CIRCLE?" in MSU's MOUNTAINS & MINDS recaps the story about Dick Vincent, his career, and the Whirling Disease saga.
    Vincent announced four years ago that whirling disease researchers had found rainbow trout that were somewhat resistant to whirling disease. The fish live in the Willow Creek Reservoir, three miles east of Harrison in Madison County. Their ancestors came from Wyoming between 1977 and 1981. In the century before that, they came to Wyoming from somewhere along the West Coast. They made the trip by train, riding in milk cans filled with water.

    Vincent said he tried unsuccessfully to learn more details about the West Coast relatives. Despite his detective work, he knows they were wild trout, but doesn't know the state or stream where they originated. It was common back then, he added, to scoop wild fish out of streams during spawning and dump them elsewhere.

    "In the late 1800s, fish were hauled everywhere, whether they needed it or didn't," Vincent said. "It was willy-nilly."
    .. A related article published this week explores the work of the research laboratory at Pony, Montana. It's at this lab that Billie Kerans, MSU ecologist, and long time collaborator of Vincent's holds forth.
    .. If you want to know about caddis flies, New Zealand Mud Snails, Whirling Disease or the ecology of invasive species - just ask Billi.
    .. We take this opportunity to thank both of these tireless researchers. Go get 'em Billi, and enjoy your retirement Dick!
    -> Montana University System Water Center
    -> Researchers Optimistic about Montana's Trout
    -> Has Whirling Disease Come Full Circle?

    -> Eye Of The Guide
    -> Billi Kerans Home Page


    Saturday, May 23, 2009

    Opening Day - (secret)

    Good Today - (all things considered)
    don't tell-------
    .. We have a tradition of mentioning places that are under-fished. On this opening day, conversations about the Firehole River will bring to the tongue places like Biscuit Basin, Elk Island, Goose Lake, Iron Bridge, Ojo Caliente, the Canyon, Dipper Cliff, and such.
    .. These are fabled places and are sites of pilgrimage for fishers the world over. These are places that form the chatter in pubs after the day is done. These are places that you must speak of to be a genuine Yellowstone fishing guru. High water or not, there will be a throng of fishers tiptoeing through the flooded meadows.

    .. All these places are popular, all produce fish, and all will be crowded today. It's tradition and damn the high and murkey water.
    .. There is, however, another Firehole River. It's teeming with eager fish of the un-molested variety. It's a river that everyone knows about and few fish. Seldom are pilgrimages made to this water. It's the upper Firehole River found along the trail to Lone Star Geyser.
    .. The river here has picture book pools, runs, and riffles. The current is moderate and the river runs at-grade or thereabouts for long stretches, (reduced turbidity in these sections is common even in very high water.)
    .. The undercut banks are dark and deep. There are snags, sweepers, puddles, and overhanging brush. It's a fishy paradise.
    .. The access is splendid and simple. The parking is spacious. The trail is gentle. The fishing and catching are rewarding and surprisingly easy. Very few fisher folks are found here on opening day.
    .. We've mentioned this stretch of water before. We talk about it often and openly. Fishers from far and wide ignore it because - "It's full of little fish." Amen! And, they will dance with you when the famous Firehole River is muddy, or hot, or crowded, or reluctant.
    .. We suggest that everybody enjoying today's opener park their vehicles on the 'Freight Road,' (either end,) or at Biscuit Basin, or at Midway Geyser Basin. We suggest that the opening day diehard's rub elbows with each other and moan about the poor river conditions, lack of bugs, and bright sun. We suggest that they park where they can fish. We suggest that they leave the little fish alone. We won't!
    .. We're making a pilgrimage to the gentle water, shady banks, and bubbling riffles of the upper Firehole River. The river will be a bit cloudy. There will be bicycle riders. There will be shouting and giggling teenagers. There will be crying babies and barking dogs, (many off-leash and in violation of the law.) There will be a general cacophony of human rabble and there will be throngs of all kinds of visitors - except fishers.
    .. We've got the second pot of coffee going. We've fought to the death with a couple of the neighbors for the last three strips of bacon. We loaded the car last night. We slept fitfully and briefly. As hard as we tried not to do it - we're going.
    After all, it's:
    Opening Day
    In Yellowstone National Park.