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  • Sunday, June 14, 2009

    Looking Up - Seeing Elbows

    Firehole In Bloom
    madison & gibbon getting close
    click on image to count elbows
    .. Based on the above photo there are approximately 88 elbows per mile on the Firehole River.
    .. Barring a deluge of biblical proportions; now is the time to fish the Firehole River. Density of elbows promises to only get higher as the next three weeks pass.
    .. The Baetis and PMD's have been coming off sometime between brunch and thundershower. The clouds of Baetis increase through the hail 'til about clearing.
    .. For the clock watchers that means be on the river about 10:30 with your nymphs and emergers. Be ready to change to floaters around noon. Fish dries for about 4 hours and then hope for sun and caddis.
    .. That's the way it went Saturday. A bit of sun produced a caddis hatch around 5:00. The fishes took PMD's, Baetis, & Caddis on the surface until twilight, (about 8:45 or so.)
    .. From Elk Island at the nick point above Firehole Falls, to Dipper Cliff, the gentle pools are producing all day long on soft hackles. The riffles and runs are about the same. There is a large population of eager little fishes this year, (6"-10",) and they are surprisingly strong in the still high, (but clear,) water of the river.
    .. The kids down in Jackson have developed a fly that can be fished all day. Drown it, Film it, Dry it, Smash it; it's a genuine multipurpose invention.
    .. We chatted with some folks from down that way. They politely paused their rapid fire catching just long enough to tell us about it and to get our own.
    .. Pick your time of day. Pick your spot. Fish furiously and frantically. And by all means add your profile to the growing sculpture garden that is the Firehole River.
    .. Traffic along the West Entrance Road has reached summer proportions. This should not affect fishers entering the park after about 10:00. If you have a season pass use the left lane, (if it's open.)
    .. Just about every pullout is going to have fisher folk transportation. The proliferation of high-dollar SUV's and Crossover vehicles belies any hint of recession among the fly fishers in Yellowstone National Park.
    .. The West Entrance Road along the Madison River is a 14-mile long parking lot. Fishers and catchers are rapidly populating the Madison River, (though not to the same extent as on the Firehole River.)
    .. The Madison River is still primarily a subsurface arena but there are some bugs floating in most stretches.
    .. Use your favorites right now because the fish are still a bit indiscriminate in their eating habits. It won't be long, though, and the bitter verbal fights about the 'best bug' will begin.
    .. The "Secret Stinger" golden stonefly imitation is a favorite of the new crowd; even a couple of our ancient neighbors use it. Even we have tried it - it works.
    .. These are rare in Yellowstone National Park. Perhaps that's why they work so well. Or, maybe it's because its curled up - who knows? Fish them now because the time will soon be past.
    .. Clarity is excellent given the flow. Some sections passed the 'big white fly test' at better than six feet. The fish are active, eager, and plentiful in most sections of the Madison River - right now.
    .. We discovered several new fly fishing techniques while watching visitors from afar. Perhaps we've been working too hard at this stuff.
    .. We also discovered some places that should be fished but were ignored by those same visitors. Everyone seems to be having a grand time on the Madison River.
    .. We're aghast! The campground at Norris is full. Statuary has sprouted in some of our favorite vest pocket meadows and the upper Gibbon River is fishing very well. Catching is good both in the campground meadows and the meadow around the end of the Virginia Cascades Road. It's a bit early for the visitors to find these little waters - but they have.
    .. The very eager Bookies in these waters are already being masochistic. They will eagerly impale themselves on a bare hook. Just politely ask for a dance and you will be rewarded. The clarity is superb. The temperature is a wee tad cold - but then, they are Brook Trout.
    .. There are Grayling here, but they are being shy right now. There's even a few Brown Trout mixed in with the Cutthroats, Rainbows, and Cutbows. This is pretty much a nursery fishery so be gentle with the little fellows.
    .. The pull-out at the bridge on the way to Canyon has been rebuilt and there is room, (just barely,) for two vehicles, (if they are not the pudgy, yuppie crossover, type.)
    .. The "one cast water" above the bridge is still running at a good clip and with luck you might get to throw something at the same fish twice or thrice. It will get thin enough for precise fun in about a week.
    .. Flies? C'mon, they're Brookies!
    .. The big meadows, (Gibbon & Elk,) are saturated and spongy, but the Gibbon River is in it's banks and clearing rapidly.
    .. Streamers and fluttering surface flies, (surprised? we are too,) are making dents in the mouths and psyches of the normally wily fish in the big meanders.
    .. The fish in these meadows certainly must have genes of the radar variety. Stealth is always the watch word for fishing here. It's even more important right now as you cross the gelatinous soil toward the banks. Lateral lines - remember?
    -------dark enough for good wallpaper
    .. P.S. Weve' added a real-time weather page. The link is in the masthead.