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  • Saturday, June 27, 2009

    Emerald Meadows

    Confluence Meadow
    Solfatara Meadow
    Virginia Meadow
    .. When people mention the meadows on the Gibbon River they generally mean either Elk Park or Gibbon Meadow. That's just fine with us - it reduces the elbow count on other, smaller meadows, containing many eager fish.
    .. We're not sure of the official names of these meadows so we've included maps with "local place names."
    .. These upper Gibbon River meadows are providing excellent catching right now.
    .. The confluence meadow is at the junction of the Gibbon River and Solfatara Creek. It is fished rather heavily starting in late June and through July, (right now.)
    .. The most willing of the fish are the resident Brook Trout and the section around Norris Campground is considered a children's fishery. Early morning and late evening fishing holds the promise of good-sized Rainbow Trout and the possibility of a Grayling.
    .. Upstream, (south,) of the Norris to Canyon Road the water is thin and clear. This is water that requires a bit of stealth to take the 6" - 10" monsters. These fish are not particularly selective in their fly sucking - but they are spooky. You will see many fish darting away if you charge up to the stream bank. There are both scattered trees, and large bison here so be very alert and cautious in your sneaking.
    .. Solfatara Creek seems to hold mostly Brook Trout in the confluence section. They seem both smaller and more willing. This section is pounded all day. It is, however, visited by knowledgeable fishers in the very late afternoon and evening. This is an excellent section for night fishing, (fishing in Yellowstone National Park is closed after 10:00 PM.)
    .. The trail along the river to Solfatara Meadow is gentle and well worn. This trail is popular with the campers at Norris Campground. The fish in this section of Solfatara Creek are definitely smaller.
    .. Many are juvenile and this is primarily a nursery fishery. It's best to sight-fish for the larger residents, (up to 9".) They can be seen and will pose for you if you are stalking in the afternoon with the sun at your back.
    .. This meadow often contains wildlife such as moose, bison, the occasional deer, fox, coyote, and elk. Bears are always a possibility with the aromas of the nearby campground wafting on the westerly breezes.-------
    .. One of the most catcher-friendly meadows in all of Yellowstone National Park is Virginia Meadow. For some reason this beautiful meadow is often ignored by seasoned fishers. It is also considered a children's fishery. The grass is tall, the Gibbon River is gentle and at grade. the fish are willing and can be surprisingly selective.
    .. This clear water can treat you to the surprising vision of an 8" trout following your fly and rejecting it time and again.
    .. Same fish - different fly - another rejection. It's a ballet of frustrating magnitude in its gentle beauty and snobbery.
    .. There is no discernible reason for this selectivity. Hatch or no hatch; the ballet can be present. Flies that were just plain "KILLER" a dozen steps away are often rejected.
    .. The humor and entertainment value of this sort of fishing must be appreciated if you intend to venture into this meadow.
    .. Access is usually easy from the generous parking area at the eastern end of the Virginia Cascade Road. This one-way road is narrow and has suffered numerous collapses and landslides in the last 10 years. There are many pedestrians and most of them have children of the "don't-look-before-running-into-the-middle-of-the-road" variety. Please drive slowly and carefully. No RV's are allowed.
    .. This meadow continues north of the Norris to Canyon Road. This is also the trail to Grebe Lake, and other interesting destinations. This river segment offers the best chance for catching one of Yellowstone's adfluvial Grayling. These shy, opalescent ghosts reside here after abandoning their home in Grebe Lake. They are primarily water-column feeders but they will actively chase small surface flies in the early mornings and evenings.
    .. This upstream portion of the meadow is very often the stomping ground of black bears and bison. It seems to be a way point on their travels. Be extra alert as you fish the upstream end near the trees.
    .. What flies? Generally just about anything in your box. Royal Humpies to ants and beetles will usually work. There are some hatches that the trout will key on. But the size seems to be a bit more important than the pattern. Carry some small mayflies and caddis imitations along with your attractors and nymphs. One box should do it - travel light for your venture into these emerald meadows.
    .. It's early and the relatives want to catch some fish. Maybe we won't be delayed too long at the signals in the canyon section.