• Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Visit: Montana Cowgirl
  • Saturday, July 18, 2009

    Lovely Loneliness

    Just A Few Enjoy It
    it's an open secret
    fish it nowAll images are enormous - just click on them to view.
    .. There are many branches and trickle-tributaries to Grayling Creek. They probably have official names and descriptions - we don't know them. It's all just "The Creek" to us.
    .. From a passing car the water in the park section looks thin and devoid of magic. It peeks trough the trees and reveals little of it's complex nature.
    .. Fishers on their way to Yellowstone's storied waters often comment that they should fish it someday: usually someday never comes.
    .. This year's prolonged spring has provided the moisture necessary to make Grayling Creek blossom as it did in days of yore.
    .. It is in full bloom right now and fishing like it was a destination of some note. As soon as the deep heat of summer makes it's presence felt, (soon we're sure,) wilting will take place. But for now this lush little stream is in it's glory.
    .. The last few mild winters have been kind to the bugs, the blossoms, and the fish. The water is still up, a bit chilly, and clear. The bugs are everywhere: in the air, on land and in the water.
    .. The fish are happily unmolested and seem a bit larger and more active than in recent memory. The neighbors rejoice.
    .. Some sections of the creek are just ankle deep. Some pools are deeper than waist high on Shaquille O'Neal. There are puddles, pools, runs riffles, glides and glories that demand probing - should you get out of the car and look.
    .. The river is protected by dense downfall, thick willows, a masking screen of lodgepole pines (Pinus contorta subsp. latifolia), and very few places to park.
    .. It takes an effort to explore Grayling Creek. It takes time to make friends with this fine bit of water. It takes a commitment to walk and watch and enjoy one of the best early summer locations in the northwestern part of Yellowstone National Park.

    .. Trout food is abundant right now and the fish are eating a smorgasbord of both terrestrial and aquatic protein. There is an abundance of ants, spiders, beetles, hoppers, and flies for the taking. The thick riverside vegetation provides the opportunity for varied delicacies to be available to the trout.
    .. For the fisher folk that venture this way there is little need to be selective in their choice of flies. The one thing to keep in mind is that the ants are big and the caddis are small. Attractor flies will do just fine for most of the water. A selection of Wulff's, Humpies, Feather Dusters, Hare's Ears, and Prince Nymphs will go a long way toward ensuring success.
    .. This is good water for flinging your fly tying experiments. This is good water to enjoy apart from the technical hatch-matching gyrations of other places. This is good water for family and friends to enjoy without the fishing getting in the way.
    .. This can be good water for lonely fishing. It is, (fisher beware,) also good water for moose, cougar, lynx, and bear, as well.
    ..The dense trees and willows stand in stark contrast to the barren and burned hillsides that flank either side of the stream for most of it's course. It is a refuge for predator and prey alike.
    .. There are resident giants in some deep pools that will surprise you. One kind of place that is readily accessible and can produce a 13" monster is the culvert pools on the downstream side of the road.
    .. These places, not surprisingly if you think about it, offer deep water that funnels food into well defined channels just made for hungry trout.
    .. If you don't mind the roar of buses, mobile condominiums, Harley's and top-down roadsters, you can spend an hour or more tickling the fish in these "choice" locations. There are others, of course, but you'll have to explore a bit to find them.
    .. A full day on Grayling Creek will require leap-frogging the car, several miles of walking and both bear spray and your favorite form of DEET. That same day will provide variety in both fishing and catching, solitude if you choose, and pleasure beyond the size and story of the little stream.
    .. Afternoon and evening are the most productive of catching times. This is not to say that the rest of the day is useless. These fish are active opportunistic feeders right now and will dance an early morning polka or mid day fox trout if given the opportunity.
    .. But, Marlene, it's the late afternoon and early evening when, (after a bit of warming,) most of the terrestrials augment the aquatics and the action heats up - so to speak.