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  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Visit: Montana Cowgirl
  • 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.