• Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Visit: Montana Cowgirl
  • Monday, November 08, 2010

    A Day To Remember

    Pretty Pictures
    many fish
    (mostly enormous images - click for high resolution.)
    .. It was a fitting end to this year's season in Yellowstone National Park. Elbows have returned in throngs as fishing and catching reached a mighty crescendo on the final full day of our fishing access.
    .. The water has remained very low, cold, and quiet: the fish bunched up like cord wood in the few available parking places. The bugs have filled the air with the silent fluttering of diminutive wings.
    .. Gawking at the beautiful day replaced lunch for many fishers on the final day of dancing.
    .. On occasion the winds were crisp with of a hint of moisture from the peaks surrounding the plateau. They were not so strong as to disrupt the perfect placement of cast flies.
    .. The Firehole River addicts were traipsing through the cold deep runs and risking erect nipples in their efforts to kick a few fish loose.
    .. The "FIREHOLE FANDANGO," (practiced by some neighbors and visitors alike,) is similar to the 'SAN JUAN SHUFFLE.' It's a herky-jerky triple-metre jog dance: step - scuff bottom, step - roll rocks, step - twist feet; repeat.
    .. About 35 feet of fly line is followed through each run. The offering at it's end is anything that the capricious angler desires. Tripping and falling in this river is not usually fatal. The fish however, sometimes die of laughter.
    .. Fisher folks on the Madison River had a chance to practice both their casting techniques and their social skills as the famous runs drew too many cars and too many elbows.
    .. Quite a few of the neighbors have discovered new depths and hides that resulted from the heavy early runoff. They have taken an obscene number of fish that the feather merchants haven't heard about. Oh well.
    .. The arrival of real fall weather late in the day did not seem to dampen any spirits. Stories in pubs ran longer than the fish that they depicted and were way more colorful - and that's saying a lot.
    .. This has been a memorable season in Yellowstone. Old farts and newbies alike have commented on the gentility of the waters and the density of fish.
    .. The early runoff, (record setting on some rivers,) moved the gravel, and moved the holes. The rejuvenated river beds should be healthy for quite some time.
    .. The bugs were prolific as ever, but not as predictable as the feather merchants would have it. This situation obtained throughout the season and added some spice to fly selection as well as some unique marketing techniques for newly hired clerks in the feather emporia.
    .. Guides did well, of course. They carry every fly known to man and can re-tie a rig with lightning speed. Hatch matching and contrarian techniques are their bread and butter. They are good at it.
    .. Bears, bison, cantankerous elk, and wolves haunted the meadows of our favorite creeks. Some closures lasted longer than we have been used to. The upper Gibbon River and Nez Perce Creek closures put a kink in our seasonal habits. Change is frowned upon by our very epitome. We did survive.
    .. Even Norris Campground was closed for marauding bears. The berry crop has failed this season and the Whitebark Pines have dropped very few nuts - the bears have stayed down low to forage in the meadows and in town.
    .. A couple of bears up on the Gallatin River never left the valley floor. The same situation was found in the willow bottoms of Duck Creek and Cougar Creek. Not the kind of occurrence to encourage exploration of new territory in either case.
    .. All during the year there were very few days that were too hot, and there were even fewer that were too cold.
    .. This Autumn has been the stuff of calendar pictures and mild temperatures. We're still waiting for mom's payback. It could be brutal but maybe not too deep - we'll see. The evening's snow sprinkle is just a taste.
    .. The images below summarize the final day. all are big enough for wallpaper - should you choose.