• Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Visit: Montana Cowgirl
  • Thursday, July 02, 2009

    Not So Secret Roads

    Two To Draw To
    enjoy the dust
    .. There are two, (really many more,) gravel roads in Yellowstone National Park that visiting fishers ignore as they head to the glory waters of the park.
    .. For whatever reason, these roads are not deemed "fashionable" in the fly fishers weltanschauung. They are perfectly visible and immaculately ignored. SORRY!
    .. These dusty roads lead to dead ends and little waters - not the fare of headhunters and elbow lovers. But, the fishing is good. The fish are willing. The crowds are sparse. And, these are perfect places for the visitor to escape the lovers of Yellowstone.
    .. Should you find yourself on one of these roads you will also find water cold, clear, and congenial. One road is well and heavily used by outfitters and guides taking horses along the trail in the upper Gallatin River valley to Bighorn Pass, (or other nifty places.)
    .. Should you choose to explore this road please be thoughtful and choose a parking place that will allow giant horse trailers adequate room to maneuver.
    .. The other road is also occasionally used by the same outfitters and the same cautionary advice is offered. This road leads to Bacon Rind Creek. The name, (despite what you read in the popular guidebooks,) stems from a unique banded chert formation that resembles a side of bacon.
    .. Should you follow the trail outside the park and up the slope to Monument Mountain you can clearly see the banded outcrop of this formation. The fishing is not the best, however, and it's quite the grunt too!
    .. Both of these bits of skinny water are in wonderful shape right now. Bacon Rind Creek has all the charm of a small seldom fished stream. It's honest and straightforward. The fish are not particularly selective but they are wary. Many fishers spook the fish before they even see the water. They return to tell us that there are no fish in the river. Probably so!
    .. The hardest thing to do along Bacon Rind Creek is to gently stroll, admire the scenery, saunter sneakily through the willows, and pick you spot with care - all the while making noise and fingering your bear spray. Hyper-awareness is mandatory here.
    .. There are larger fish in the Gallatin River headed upstream from the meadows. They are also more selective and just as spooky. These are not waters to wet your waders in! These are waters to wear out your knees. Great and gentle fun.
    .. Nearby, is Fan Creek. It's character is similar to both the other two creeks. It's more heavily fished - but only in it's lower reaches. This too, is a place to finger your bear spray. Moose spray would be useful if it were made.
    .. Little pockets of deep green water hide hungry fish. Tactics and approach are critical in the many open sections of the little meadows here.
    .. Study the water from afar. Plan your approach carefully. You get one, (at best two,) shots at these fish. You will also be occasionally surprised by a fish with shoulders.
    .. These monsters with shoulders can reach 14" and they will quickly tangle you, splash water on you, run at you, leave your line in a pile and then break you off three pools away. You can see them furiously negotiating 2" deep shallows as you change your shorts.
    .. Should we find ourselves in a wantonly silly mood this Fourth Of July weekend. And should that mood demand that we visit Yellowstone National Park. We would probably seek out these roads, (or similar ones - like those below.)