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  • Tuesday, March 23, 2010

    Locals' Interlude

    It's Just A Big Barrel
    calm before the storms
    .. This is one of favorite times of year for the neighbors to fish. Between now and ice-out the fish are concentrated in the estuaries between the ice and the "silt plume."
    .. By thinking of the open water as a big barrel it's possible to fully appreciate the phrase, " . . . like shooting fish in a barrel." It's just that easy.
    .. Should you bother to take the time to trudge to the several barrels available locally you will be amply rewarded with dance partners stronger than your arms can hold.
    .. A day's catching in these areas will leave your arms quivering, your muscles twitching, your hands aching, and your heart pounding.
    .. It's a simple spring-time occurrence. As river discharge impinges on the ice-covered lakes the melting ice gives up the debris accumulated from the winter. Much of this debris is indigestible for the trout. However it is almost all eatable. Pods of trout cruise the edge of the ice and nibble at almost anything suspended, (or slowly sinking,) at the edge of the ice.
    .. As the river discharge slows, the debris from upstream begins to settle. The edge of the debris-laden discharge is another place where pods of trout concentrate. They pluck the eatable, (some indigestible,) morsels from the water column.
    .. Right now these two sources of goodies are very close together and the neighbors are loving it. Although some of the tributaries to Hebgen Lake are still closed to fishing, the estuaries are open to catching. It's a grand local tradition and provides stories of some of the best fish of the year.
    .. The neighbors are concentrated at two points nearby. Some are at the Beaver Creek Delta; some are on the South Fork Estuary. A few stalwart souls have reported that the Madison Arm Estuary is loaded with big fish and few fishers - we'll take their word for it.
    .. The annual gentle weather period, (equinoctial,) between "REAL WINTER" & "REAL SPRING" is upon us. Spring storms will soon muddy the rivers. Right now snow comes in flurries instead of storms. Rain is cold and sprinkled with sleet. As air masses mix we get raw wind and bright sunshine, or warm and overcast, or warm and blinding as the sun bounces off the snow.
    .. But weekends like this last one are frequent enough for the locals to refer to "Beach Weather." We're loving it.
    .. This is the time to use the small rejected flies from your winter experiments. Dark amorphous blobs of stuff on hooks in the 16-20 range are just the type of flotsam that the fish are eating, (along with twigs and frozen mud balls.)
    .. Last year's ragged emergers are a sure bet too. Remember all those unraveling and unraveled ants and midges that you just couldn't throw away. Use them now.
    .. There are fry that get washed down from upstream and translucent bits of fluff in the 12-14 range will work on the upstream end of the barrel.
    .. As the neighbors meet, greet, and part; "Don't catch 'em all," is the favored salutation this time of year.