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  • Wednesday, July 14, 2010

    The Back Of Beyond

    Just Not Discussed In Public
    very big fish - very little flies
    continuous action

    .. The gulpers are out in force. Hebgen Lake is dimpled with noses every morning.
    .. They seem bigger this year than in the last three or four. There are lots of bugs. The usual haunts are crowded and everyone is gathering in fish - some to 6#, (and more.)
    .. We shouldn't do this. We should hold our tongue. The neighbors are already up in arms.
    .. We anticipate finding things burning in front of the house.
    .. Whispers and scowls accompany our visits to the P.O. and grocery store. We're tough. We only cry in private.
    .. But, you have a right to know. Should you choose to make the effort you will be amply rewarded with stories to last a lifetime.
    .. It's a little cove in the wind shadow of Lionhead Mountain. It's a place where the bass fisher would revel in the ideal subsurface structure. It's easily accessible once you get there. Getting there requires a bit of local knowledge and the willingness to drive some distance from town.
    .. It's past the lush meadows full of grazing Limousin & Angus cattle. It's past the enormous pastures of the seasonal horseman. It's past the summer castles. It's past the local cabins. It's long past the 'prettiness' of the easily accessible ranchettes.
    .. It's beyond Lonsomehurst Campground. It's beyond Cherry Creek. It's beyond Spring Creek. It's way beyond the end of the paved road.
    .. It's beyond the ruts and gullies, and mud holes in the one way road. It's at the edge of the forested slopes and a gentle meadow.
    .. The lake bottom here is a combination of mud, sand, gravels, cobbles and boulders. All are strewn with piles of dead, dying, and decaying vegetation. The shallows extend well into the lake and are surrounded by increasing depths on three sides.
    .. Water weeds of many sorts are visible as you float above them. It looks like a miniature forest - lush, green, gold, red, brown - yum!
    .. It's beyond the effort of the casual fisher. It's just a stroll in the country for the folks who know. It's a cove deep in bear country at the edge of a proposed wilderness area. The wind arrives here later than anywhere else on the lake.
    .. Last Sunday it was possible to fish for gulpers well into the afternoon. The little hail storm around 12:30 PM did not put down the fish, and was a gentle reminder that mom is still in charge.
    .. The rig for successful catching is a simple set-up. One or two flies on a 9 foot leader in front of a high floating line, OR: a slow sink-tip line with a single perfectly selected fly on a 7 1/2 foot leader.
    .. Some neighbors troll with a small motor and small buggers or bits of fluff that are locally tied and hidden from view until used. These fisher folk are after the giant shadows that ghost just below the gulpers. They catch a few. They brag a lot. They deserve it.
    .. Most folks tie on the usual suspects for flies. Chironimids and Callibaetis bits are selected, (your choice until you visit with the neighbors.) Right now the flies are swarming in clouds. Should you venture to tie your own there are plentiful live ones to aid your efforts.
    .. You can use a personal watercraft, a float tube, a boat, or even cast from shore. The fish are semi-selective and gentle casts with very little splashes are the fish-getter's.
    .. A pause to allow the ripples to settle is mandatory prior to any sort of slow stripping technique that you should choose to use. Just watching the line float in the ripples is probably as good a tactic as any.
    .. The trout patrol in pods. Some of which are as large as 10 fish each. They are not put down by a hooked fish. They fight each other for the scraps of floss and feathers.
    .. You could kick the submarines as they pass beneath your fins in the crystal clear water. It's dream fishing in the back of beyond.
    .. We promised not to put an "X" on the map. We promised not to explain the easy access once there. We promised not to reveal the name of the cove, (it's a local place-name, anyway.)
    .. If you don't mind a 45 minute drive from town. And if your vehicle can stand the torture. And if you truly want to gather in gulpers the size of bread boxes. Then visit the back of beyond.
    .. You'll be welcomed by the faithful with good advice and pleasant conversation as you drift around - towed by the gulpers of Hebgen Lake.
    (enormous image - wallpaper if you choose)