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  • Thursday, August 05, 2010

    Yes, There Are Bears !

    Avoid Actively Feeding Grizzlies
    keep bear spray in hand
    fish with a friend - or two

    .. Bear activity and tragedy in northeast Yellowstone country is getting a lot of press lately. Rightly so!
    .. We're often lulled into a complacent stupor by the hype about "WONDERLAND" & the "SERENE FISHING OPPORTUNITIES" in Yellowstone National Park.
    .. There is one simple thing to remember: bears are not part of a serene experience unless viewed from afar through a spotting scope.
    .. Fisher folk density was rearranged over this last weekend by a large grizzly bear sleeping and feeding on a dead bison in Soda Butte Creek. Well, Martha, the bruin lives there and eats there, and that's that.
    .. We saw and snapped a couple of frames of bears in the area. From Pebble Creek, to Slough Creek, to Soda Butte Creek the maulers were everywhere; or so it seemed.
    .. As an aside, there's some wolves to see and enjoy as well. Should you be planning a fishing outing in this area be prepared to interrupt that activity with some rare critter observation, awareness, and caution as well.
    .. Depending on thundershowers and attendant muddy water great catching opportunities now exist in the Lamar River drainage.
    .. Elbows are thrashing the air into complex currents along all the popular streams. The 'easy' spots are getting hammered by fishers, (and bears too.)
    .. Hopper activity is beginning in earnest and the beetles and ants are far more prolific than the bears. You should have a large assortment of all terrestrials if you plan on catching success.
    .. Rumors, (from a trusted source,) about Cache Creek suggest that the hopper explosion is well underway in that scenic byway. Spruce moths are also present along with the usual and predictable mayflies. Only whispered information is percolating down about the stonefly and caddis activity. We'd believe it if we kept hearing it.
    .. We limited our excursions to the water with fewer elbows and more fish. The vest-pocket meadows of Soda Butte Creek above Ice Box Canyon have quite a few fish. The water has warmed and is usually crystal clear.
    .. Strolling and catching is a most enjoyable activity along this stretch of water. Catching success is enhanced by a gentle approach, quiet observation, stealth, and short precise casts.
    .. Dry-dropper combination's are the way we go about fishing this bit of water. A small Beetle on top with a Prince Nymph on point is where we usually start. Also effective is a pair of caddis dry flies: one greased to float high and the other mangled and drowned.
    .. There are a couple of steep trails right near the Ice Box Canyon pull-out that can be negotiated with care. These lead to small bits of water with fish seldom molested by anglers. Usually only photographers and serious hikers venture down these paths. Birds like the rocks along their edge too.
    .. Pebble Creek is getting it's share of attention, particularly in the meadow section below the road and campground. Ants and Spruce Moths, along with Yellow Sallies are the typical bits of fluff flung in this water.
    .. We prefer the hidden nooks and crannies above the campground. The bears are more numerous but there are fewer elbows. The fish are a bit smaller but are far more willing to dance. The scenery is better above the campground as well.
    .. It is water that can be simple as you like or challenging as you make it. We do the simple. Two Feather Dusters: the top one is well greased and floats along, the one on point is old, ragged, and takes most of the fish. We can't see either fly in the water. It doesn't matter, the willing fish usually hit hard and let us know when to lift. Monsters in this stretch can exceed 9".
    .. We took a long walk through the sage to fish Slough Creek at it's confluence with the Lamar River. It's a pleasant journey. There is a good trail along the Lamar River.
    .. For us, it takes the better part of the day. We hurry in and fish the little canyon on the lowermost part of Slough Creek. Then, happily, blessed by clouds without rain, fish the Lamar River on the way out.
    .. This is "run-n-gun" fishing. It is cherry picking of the finest kind. Each pause can reveal rising fish, or no fish - but there are always fish to be caught.
    .. Very few anglers wander along the trail down the Lamar River. Fewer yet venture into the little canyon going up Slough Creek.
    ..We like it because it makes our legs hurt so good. They hurt so good that it's taken us four days to recuperate and write this post.
    .. This is prime terrestrial country all day long, and there is always the chance of bumping into a hatch of more dainty bugs.
    .. We fished with a Bumble Bee as a strike indicator and followed it with a Red-Head Copper John Variant. Both took fish, the Bumble Bee outscored the nymph by about 4 to 1.
    .. The Big Drakes are coming off right now. PMD's and a few caddis are in the area. For complete and current updates about the popular and crowded water check the sidebar for the fly shop reports.