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  • Wednesday, August 12, 2009

    It's A Genuine Grunt

    Diminutive Gems
    rain & mosquitoes
    it's all good
    .. Pebble Creek, (way over there,) holds the same fascination for us that the upper Gibbon River does, (much closer to here.)
    .. The biggest of the Pebble Creek fish are found across the road from the campground down toward Soda Butte Creek.
    .. The fewest elbows are encountered going upstream away from the big fish and toward the high meadows.
    .. It's a tough climb, either from the campground or the trail head, (the two trails join-up and the steep part is encountered from either trail.)
    .. It's a worthy journey at least once a year. Get up early and let the dew wet your socks.
    .. Walk slowly and deliberately, (while singing loudly,) to let the bears, moose, and elk know just where you are, (and pause frequently to catch your breath - there's ample shade.)
    .. There are lots of 'edges' here: forest, meadow, burned, unburned, stream, boulder fields, etc.
    .. The big critters love the edges. The moose are just where you would expect to find them - they are big! The elk feed in the meadows - of course. The bears are everywhere - naturally.
    .. The friendliest fish are in the first big meadow that you encounter. It's sometimes called "The Pebble Plateau," or the "Pebble Creek Plateau." It's a nice broad glacial valley. You'll see some hikers but few, if any, fishers.
    .. The switchbacks and trail through the woods pass quickly and the meadow is a good place to taste the flavor of the backcountry. It's just under 2 miles, and you feel greatly accomplished when you arrive at fishable waters, (especially if your legs have a million miles or so on them.)
    .. The trail follows the creek for quite a way and fishing for the gem-like Cutthroat Trout is a genuine joy. The Rainbow Trout invasion doesn't seem to have made it this far yet.
    .. The Cutts are pleased to see you since they get so few visitors. They will dance and frolic and make your day. [Don't brag about the catching until you reach 30 or more fish -- yes we know you don't count!]
    .. Take a small pack rod, a fist full of funky flies, and sustenance, (including lots of water or some water-pills for giardia.) Right now there are still some small mayflies, lots of midges and spruce moths to imitate. Terrestrial imitations are always welcome by the exuberant cutts.
    .. Imitation consists of any fly of about the right size. Adams, Humpy, Prince, Hare's Ear, or whatever is convenient, (size 12 to 18 for now.) Use some Ants, Beetles, and starting next week or so => HOPPERS!
    .. This is fishing of the close-up and personal kind. Small pools, very shallow riffles, lightly undercut banks, and single bush overhangs.
    .. The catching gets better as you become familiar and intimate with the stream. Approaches should be soft and slow, and with a touch of stealth. Only during mid-day is crawling necessary, though crouching is advised most of the time.
    .. The rise forms are usually dainty - so are most of the fish. The scenery is spectacular as only Yellowstone National Park can provide, and when the trail leaves the creek it's not a hardship to anticipate the next vista.
    .. It is possible to do some bushwhacking and explore some places where you know there are better pools.
    .. Be careful it's coming up on "Bear'n'Berry" time. Carry your bear spray. Don't leave it in your pack. Practice yodeling and alpine echo sounding - it helps.
    .. Should you choose to enter from the east end and make this a couple of days trip you will be mightily rewarded. The eastern trail head starts at Warm Creek Picnic Area, (only marginal fishing.)
    .. The huff''n'puff up the first part of this trail is too strenuous for us now. We did it frequently 30 years ago. It looks nearly vertical: it is.
    .. The Upper Pebble Creek Valley is gorgeous but has very few fish; infant molestation is certainly frowned upon. The meadows are bigger and the water is thinner. This is where photographers will go nuts. You also get a good view of the backside of Baronette Peak.
    .. The views of Thunderer are legion and photographers often stand and gawk. Fisher folks are frequently seen to pause in in their labors for the same reason.
    .. Storms blow through the valley. They come quickly, and frequently unannounced. They usually pass quickly and awaken the mosquitoes. These are the friendly high mountain variety of blood suckers. Swarms will visit you simultaneously. DEET is a good companion for these occasions.