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  • Tuesday, June 16, 2009

    Paradise Lost ?

    Fish It Now - It'll Soon Be Remote
    so long - we hardly knew you
    .. Much has been said about the travel delay between Madison and Gibbon. On the other hand, not much has been said about what the impact of a safe road through the terminal stretch of Gibbon Canyon will have on fishing and catching.
    .. The advantages for the visiting public are manifold and apparent: new DOT Spec. Road, wide enough for condominiums on wheels, spectacular overlooks of the Gibbon Canyon and the valley, grades for modern machinery, - the list goes on & on.
    .. What then are the disadvantages? About 1.75 river miles of the most friendly pocket water in Yellowstone National Park will be very difficult to get to, (only a significant deterrent for those of us with rubber bands for legs.)
    .. The new alignment leaves the current road just above Tanker Curve, (and it's big, deep plunge pool,) the road then ascends to the ridge line for a ways then descends to the current road just above Gibbon Falls.
    .. Plans call for complete reclamation of the old roadbed. The grade stakes are already in place for most of it. Preliminary excavation and grading are already underway.
    .. That same stretch of water is also full of some sweet riffles, gentle glides, deep pools, (like the one just below Tanker Curve,) and of course the chance to catch Grayling, (we have a failing when it comes to this fish.)
    .. Currently this stretch of the Gibbon River is just coming into shape. A two fly rig in the riffles, (or anywhere for that matter,) will dredge up fish. The good folks at Parks' Fly Shop recommend a Trude & Prince combination.
    .. These are mature fish of the diminutive variety. 8"-11" is the norm. They are colorful, full of fight and willing. Both Brown Trout and Rainbow Trout are here, along with the Brook Trout and perhaps a Grayling. These are fish that live in a challenging environment and they are opportunistic feeders. Bless their hearts; they get pounded by those that know.
    .. Parking has always been problematic along this narrow stretch of road, and the fish have enjoyed a rather unmolested existence for most of the year.
    .. If the trophy 13"-14" fish is sought a single streamer in the pillows and pockets will produce results. A double fly rig with a Casual Dress followed by a Feather Duster is also worth a try in the tails of the pools.
    .. When hatches occur they tend to be highly localized in the Gibbon River Canyon. On the one hand the canyon waters are of a single cloth: on the other, each stretch has it's own character and personality. It's possible to find PMD's going strong in one pool and Caddis the ticket just a few hundred yards away.
    .. Some riffles are dotted with boulders, others are nearly smooth with barely apparent glassy spots. The rapids can be shallow and devoid of fish, or they can be interrupted by breaks and pockets that allow only a single approach.
    .. This is primer water. A few days on this section of the Gibbon River will introduce the novice and expert alike to a myriad of situations. The canyon waters are intimate and honest. Fish them while you can.
    .. Both the stream and the fish will probably be better off with the new road alignment. Fishing and catching may even improve with the difficulty of access. Right now it's worth the hassle of parking, walking, and dodging buses to fish the bits and pieces of this section. You may never again have the chance.