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  • Tuesday, May 19, 2009

    Opening What ??

    Tradition Will Out
    we might wait-------
    .. The buzz in the local blogs, and feather merchant sites is about the opening of fishing season in Yellowstone National Park. Rightly so: it can be pretty good fishing - some years. And even this year there will be stories of great success and mighty fish.
    .. On the other hand, it's just another day in the neighborhood for those of us that have the luxury of being here all year. And, not surprisingly, there just may be better places for catching.
    .. The delta and willow bottoms of both Grayling Creek and Duck Creek are clear, cold, full of fish, and under-fished. Fish are hanging in Hebgen Lake and gobbling goodies freshly washed down in the runoff. But they are not in Yellowstone National Park. And, after all, it is opening day.
    .. The short stretch of the Gallatin River between Snowflake Springs and the Taylor Fork is seldom muddy. It's a little cold right now but . . . fish got'ta eat!
    .. The South Fork Estuary is full of giant pre-spawn and post-spawn fish. The pressure is very light and the access is good - go figure.
    .. Quake Lake, Between The Lakes, the Madison River just below Quake Lake, and $3 Bridge will all provide better catching than most places in the park on opening day.
    .. There are a couple of places in Yellowstone National Park where the water is always crystal clear and that always hold fish early on, and probably will not be visited on opening day. We mentioned them in past posts about the opener and won't bother with them now, (#1, #2.)
    .. For those planning on dashing to the park for opening day we remind you that all stream fishing is lead-free with barbless hooks. We also remind you that you don't need a fly rod, or fly line, or fly reel to "FLY FISH" in Yellowstone National Park. A spinning outfit with a casting bubble, (or bobber,) and up to two flies may be used.
    .. We should also mention that there will be - "SAFETY & SOBRIETY CHECKPOINTS" - over the Memorial Day weekend. These involve roadblocks by park rangers to ascertain the condition of drivers, their vehicles, - and others. Read about it HERE.
    .. This year's expanded regulations brochure includes sections on native fish identification, invasive species, (but only concentrates on boats and not the wandering fly fisher,) releasing fish, and harvesting Rainbow Trout in those waters with native Cutthroat populations, (PDF.)
    .. Flows are currently high and getting higher. The color is a wonder to behold. The meadows are spongy, and a couple of places downright dangerous, (around Goose Lake, Pocket Basin, and Biscuit Basin.)
    .. For the surface fishers there are some mayflies and even some caddis available. For the serious catchers there are three kinds of stoneflies, and a myriad of nymphs. Flies that imitate these buggy denizens will all take fish on opening day.
    .. Yellowstone regulations allow two flies to be used. This is "Hopper-Dropper" fishing. Hoppers, however, need not be used. A big parachute caddis with a prince nymph dropper is perhaps the most common and successful combination for the first couple of weeks.
    .. The weather is going to be just too good to fish. Hoards of elbows will fish anyway. It's a tradition that calls many fishers. It's a Spring ritual that seems to demand participation. We're scouting the park just in case it gets really cold and perpetually rainy and foggy and blustery. Now that's opening day.