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  • Wednesday, August 25, 2010

    Follow The Crowd

    Crowded Rivers Now The Norm
    they catch fish & they don't

    .. Yellowstone National Park is gathering up fishers in all the familiar places. Fishing is good. Catching is just as good. Circumstances this year have conspired to draw hoards of fishers to the famous waters of Yellowstone.
    .. The summer has been cool. The water has stayed at seasonal levels. Fish recruitment for the past few years is up due to the mild winters. Tourons are staying close to home. School is about to start & one last dance is calling. The FFF will be in town this coming weekend. Bugs are happening everywhere. Fish are hungry and willing. Runners have started up the Madison River a bit early. And the gray days with thundershowers stir a fisher's soul.
    .. Even the big meadows on the Gibbon River are yielding fish to anglers at an astounding rate. It might have to do with the hoppers, or the persistent mayflies, or the density of the fishing public. Less crawling and more catching is taking place in Elk Meadow than in recent memory.
    .. With the campground at Norris open again, (hard-side only,) and the bears relocated Solfaterra Creek and the little meadows are drawing the attention of the expectant fly fisher. Fishing here is increasingly difficult! It's hard to cast and keep one hand on your bear spray.
    .. Despite rumors to the contrary, the Gibbon River canyon is still a wonderful place to catch fish and enjoy the parade of visitors and their driving antics.
    .. The new pull-outs around Tuff Cliff are attracting the neighbors and visitors alike. At least for now, these conveniences are well situated for fisher folk. A gentle stroll will place you in perfect position for some of the best "riffle & run" fishing in the park.
    .. The Madison River has fished well all summer and is just now starting to enter it's fall phase. Yellows and ambers are beginning to infiltrate the surprisingly still green meadows. The river is bank-full and the bugs are persistent - if not prolific. The evening caddis hatch has been a staple all season.
    .. Even though 9-mile hole is filling in and shallower than it has been, there are still fish to be had on the far side of the river. Wade carefully near the big island and you will be rewarded. The deep narrow channel near the far shoreline is a docking port for some of the largest resident submarines on the Madison River.
    .. Right now the Firehole River discharge is a skosh low for this time of year, the temperature spikes are only in the 75° range and there are fish rising to caddis during most evenings.The temperature will plummet as soon as the crisp nights of Fall put together a string of five or six frosts in a row. Get in the starting blocks.
    .. Nez Perce Creek, amazingly, seems to have fewer fishers than warranted. The walk to the first bridge must seem daunting to the folks that know - or folks don't know! The water is still cool and the fish are very active.
    .. Slough Creek has entered it's "torture the visitor phase." Fishers here will see a perfect pattern, perfectly presented, rejected by the sniffing fish. The growing hopper population seems to have changed the psyche of the fish and they are taking the smallest of ant patterns and minuscule nymphs and cripples floated on the surface.
    .. If you intend to fish the popular segments of Slough Creek it's necessary to bring your A+ game and a box of the smallest flies to offer to these fish. If three flies won't fit on a dime, they are probably too big.
    .. Of course, in the glow of a still evening - as twilight fades to dark, a mouse with the proper wake pattern will still gather up a monster. But, by that time the fishers will have left the meadows - and the fish know it. Bear spray is still a must for fishing these waters.
    .. Soda Butte Creek still has bears, and so many elbows that it looks like circus troupe doing the Funky Chicken. It's a good place to make new friends and enemies while exchanging ring tones for your cell phone and comparing genealogies. Even these normally friendly fish are becoming aloof. It takes real persistence and a bucketful of social skills to fish these waters.
    .. Up north of town, on the Gallatin River the fish are still friendly. They are becoming slightly "stand-offish" and beginning to demand a modicum of manners in presentation and approach. Hoppers and caddis are on the menu here and the fish love it when polite presentation and approach are involved with the servings. Stealth is often ignored on this "easy" fishery - so be it!
    .. We're headed to Duck Creek - Bears Be Damned! The mosquitoes have made their re-appearance and they are hungry. The bears have caused the friendly rangers to post new notices. The moose are enjoying the thick willows and using the tunnel-trails along with the neighbors. It's a dangerous job, but someone has to do it.