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  • Wednesday, July 22, 2009

    The Other Grayling Creek

    Hidden By Canyons
    part park and part forest
    protected by difficulty

    .. Just the thought of a trout that hasn't been fished over for several years will make many fishers salivate. It will conjure visions of monsters so gullible that they jump into your waders.
    .. There are, in fact, fish like that in Grayling Creek. They exist in the river just above and just below the park line. They exist in Grayling Canyon. They exist right next to the road if you know where the road is.
    .. The access is so simple that it's silly. On the other hand there are bits and pieces of this part of the river that require some skill in bushwhacking. These fish are fish ignored by the neighbors.
    .. These are fish bypassed by headhunters. These are fish happily doing their fishy thing with only the stray osprey, wolf, and grizzly bear to worry about.
    .. The fish in the Yellowstone Park section are protected by a dangerous and narrow road with few safe places to park. Downstream from the park boundary is Grayling Canyon.
    .. Access is nearly impossible from the upstream end of this area; entrance to the canyon from the downstream end demands miles of wading - or - making the acquaintance of some of the neighbors.
    .. Adjacent to Grayling Road are some fishable stretches. The dust is beginning to hang in the air as each pickup truck passes. It's not "postcard" fishing. It is, ladies and gents, postcard catching.
    .. The riffles are thin, the pools are deep, the water is clear, the fish are eager, and the access is ridiculously easy. It's so easy that it's ignored by the neighbors.
    .. Bridges and culverts provide wonderful opportunities for fish to hide. They constrict the flow and provide well defined feeding opportunities. The trout figure this out and grow fat, dumb, and happy. Their location is predictable. It is consistent. It's too easy - unless you like to catch fish.
    .. The last two days have produced enough PMD's to clog your radiator. Over the weekend the caddis burrowed into your ears and nose with annoying persistence. There are few mosquitoes and no other fisher folk.
    .. We fish the road section with just a simple dry/dropper combination. A Double Humpy or Hopper up top, and a Prince Nymph or Feather Duster down below. The fish are honest and guiless. They approach with a casual nonchalance that allows one to see the take. Casting is more akin to dropping. Fish will take at your feet. They will nibble the ends of your shoestrings.
    .. These are fish that see any invading presence as food. They occasionally attack low lying leaves and branches that dangle in the stream. There is activity everywhere. It's like watching pop corn.
    .. And, it happens all day. In the sun, in the rain, in the wind, and yes - in the snow. These are "unpounded" fish. These are fish that don't see license plates from Utah, Minnesota, Idaho, New Jersey, or Texas.
    .. These poor, innocent fish aren't scared stiff by shadows from anglers. They don't even know what an angler is. They don't even know that they are supposed to ignore Humpies and wait for the latest and greatest innovative fly. These are natural, innocent, honest trout that visitors often hike miles to find - we just park and fish.
    .. For the mass of fly fishers bigger is better. There are big fish here. There are even giant fish here. It's mostly a seasonal thing, but there are a few residents in the 15" range. And, There are zillions of fish in the 10" range.
    .. The hump into the canyon is rewarding. There are cascades, plunge pools, deep runs, shady pools, downfall, and nutrients aplenty. There are fish that come to see just what you are. There are also large and small boulders, slippery bed rock, slimy cobbles and the chance of meeting a bear or moose. So be it.