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  • Monday, August 16, 2010

    Grasshoppers & Ants

    Waiting For Biblical Episode
    classic combination
    .. The predicted enormous numbers of grasshoppers has not made itself apparent yet. On the other hand there are prolific numbers of ants, and the hopper population is very visible on days when it warms to above 70 degrees, like yesterday.
    .. Our cloudy days and frequent thunderstorms have keep things on the cool side. That's not all bad. The rivers are cool, the gray brings the fish to the surface, and the Firehole River has temperature spikes only to 74 degrees or so.
    .. The appearance of of these terrestrials marks the end of summer fishing and the transition to fall fishing.
    .. In years like this we're less happy to see the flurry of fish takes than in most years. This cool summer has been at the very least exceptional, we're sad to say goodbye.
    .. Ants are busy with their winter preparations and the ant hills and debris aprons are very large this year. There are also a large number of wasps and bumblebees in the neighborhood. Beetles from the very small to the very large are being crunched underfoot. The terrestrial season is upon us!
    .. The neighbors are fishing our traditional hopper - dropper combination. A giant hopper on the surface is followed by a drowned ant on point. This rig gets modified depending on the situation and is frequently changed to a dry - dropper combo when a hatch or whim strikes.
    .. Right now the lunch-time fishers on the Madison River are starting with a #6 hopper on top and a red & black ant on point. The ant is often replaced with a Prince or Hare's Ear nymph during the "Cigar Break."
    .. Spruce moths are becoming a favorite on the lowland Madison River,  Grayling Creek and the Gallatin River. These are often imitated with a mangled and mashed flat Elk Hair caddis or a small Madame X.
    .. Flying ants are making their appearance felt on Nez Perce Creek and Duck Creek. Beetles and Bumblebees are also taking to wing in the park and the surrounding neighborhood.
    .. Some of the neighbors persist in flinging a single hopper at a single fish. If you should choose this plan of attack it just makes sense for them to reduce the size of the hopper to about a size 10 or so.
    .. The bears continue to make their presence felt in the Lamar River drainage as well as the Gallatin River meadows. Be sure to fish with a friend or two, stay alert, and carry , (repeat carry - in your hand,) bear spray.
    .. Local lore attributes the persistent "down low" bear activity to the slow ripening of berries due to the frequent cool days and thundershowers.
    .. Given the chance, most fish on the Gallatin River will take a nymph, ant, beetle, or drowned hopper in preference to a surface offering.
    .. Unverified reports of swarms of flying ants around Black Butte are circulating. If true, this is a fishers delight.
    .. There are still some hatches happening and a small Adams or a Down-Wing Adams can be fished with moderate success, (especially in the foggy morning, or the twilight in the deep shadows of evening.)