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  • Monday, July 13, 2009

    In Between

    Even The Fish Are Friendly
    and it's right next door
    (All images are humongous - just click on 'em.)

    .. Just about half way between National Park Meadows and the confluence of Fan Creek with the Gallatin River is a group of small, (and not so small,) streams that hold very friendly fish and very angry willows.
    .. These waters allow us to make the early summer transition from the heated and lethargic Firehole River to the vivacious and energetic Gallatin River. The transition teaches our trusty steed to head north, rather than east, for fishing entertainment.
    .. Cougar Creek, Duck Creek, Grayling Creek, all are names missing from the whispered lore of glory waters in Yellowstone National Park.
    .. The neighbors love it. These are waters that have no lengthy books or treatises written about them. These are waters so intimate and secret that it takes more than a visiting sport's week to enjoy them.
    .. These are waters that serve the neighbors' need to pause and refresh, and then return to the fray of elbows, intruders, gawkers, and dilettantes.
    .. Even the Madison River below Baker's Hole Campground is bypassed by eager visitors scurrying to the sacred waters of fame and fable within the boundaries of Yellowstone . . . "Oh, there's the Madison; can't wait to get on it." Hell, just stop and fish!
    .. All of these waters transect the park boundary. This means that both a Montana fishing license and a Yellowstone fishing permit are required to enjoy them. Probably it's just too complex an issue for the gadfly on a western romp. "Just one ticket, please. Don't confuse me. Is the guide from around here?"
    .. When asked about these waters the feather merchants get swollen tongues. They spit out epithets like "Swamp," "Mosquitoes," "Little Fish," "Nasty Willows," "Long Walk," "Sweaty Places," - etc. "Besides that, we haven't been there in three years!"
    .. Not the fodder for noble prose and best seller's. Not the glamor of a ride in a corky drift boat. And, you certainly can't fully utilize that fancy new rod and reel combination. Hell, the rod is longer than the creeks are wide. What kind of spectacular Yellowstone Experience is that?
    .. Golly Gee, Mable, you don't even need a double haul and 50-foot cast! What will become of the $40.00 worth of 15' leaders? A Humpy you say? What about these 25 fancy proprietary flies that cost $4.00/each?
    .. We admit to helping keep the myths alive. We didn't complain too loudly about the bear closure - just didn't see it for two weeks. We didn't crow when it was lifted - just didn't know.
    .. The last three days on these lousy little creeks allowed us to catch quite a few fish; about three per cast.
    .. It was so hot and sweaty and mosquito ridden that we had to wear a wind breaker, got chilled, and only got bitten once. We had to walk all of 150 feet from the road to catch a dozen Yellowstone Park fish on Grayling Creek.
    .. Later, and lower down, the willows gobbled our leaders and tippets to the point that a five foot piece of Maxima was what we used to catch the biggest fish of the weekend. Just how big?
    .. It was about four hundred feet from the car and ate a yellow Humpy, (or what was left of it.) It was a Brown Trout that stretched from reel to stripping guide on our old Fenwick with a short tip section.
    .. That was a fish in the willow delta. It is marshy. It is a swamp. There were mosquitoes. And, there were little fish. But that's fishing.
    .. It stormed pretty good yesterday. The lightning chased us back to the car, and as the storm blew overhead we watched a dozen, (or more,) drift boats speed past us; rushing their sports to an early dinner and a bit of Chablis.
    .. It was only 6:30 PM. We fished for a few more hours. Caught more fish. Didn't sweat and got only one mosquito bite. The moose didn't mind. The osprey took a fish just about 50' away. The ducks did squawk a little but moved on and left us alone. The snowshoe hare was waiting under the car for us when we gave it up for the evening. Just not the stuff of stories!