Monday, May 31, 2010
Saturday, May 29, 2010
A JOLLY GOOD TIME
WAS HAD BY ALL
WAS HAD BY ALL
-------.. Not much snow and a trifling amount of cold mist and rain greeted the eager and faithful as they entered Yellowstone National Park for this year's opening day.
.. The clouds loomed low and were that perfect shade of dark gray that brings moans to most visitors and smiles to feather flingers who know.
.. Heavy overcast, and light fog greeted the dawn and lasted until 2:30 - 3:30, depending on where you were.
.. Fishers on the Firehole River were greeted by broken clouds and tiny bits of blue sky about noon. The brightness did not last long nor did it significantly interrupt the ample but not overwhelming Baetis hatch. Drizzle and gray clouds made for great conditions over much of the west side of the park.
.. By noon-thirty many successful Firehole fishers had doubled up their rig by floating an emerger followed by a Flash Back Prince Nymph on point. The flies were dinky but not impossible, (16 - 18.)
.. By 6:30 the day had transformed itself into a still, soft, and gentle countenance that had us transfixed and mesmerized as we pulled fish after fish from the Notellum River. Not much more could have been asked.
.. The river discharge rates for the Madison River Basin increased noticeably overnight but the color and visibility are still good. We'd hoped for a full week of clear water in the Madison River and the Gibbon River. We'll probably be lucky to get four days. Then it's everybody on the Firehole River for about a month, (baring a significant cold spell.)
.. The midges were thick on the Madison River around 7-mile Bridge. Fishers were fooled, but not the fish. They were taking Hare's Ear Nymphs and bright green Soft Hackles.
.. We saw some pilgrims far out on the meadows on the Gibbon River but have nothing to report for this area. However, the finger meadows north of Norris Geyser Basin did produce rumors of good catching on streamers.
.. The little meadows around the campground and by the Museum Of The Ranger were full of anglers enjoying both the scenery and the bite. Reports of fish right next to some campsites on Solfaterra Creek drew a lunchtime B-B-Q party for fresh Brook Trout.
.. Several of the neighbors fished around the Barns Holes and the park water near Baker's Hole on the Madison River.
.. These folks have recently imported a secret fly from England and wanted to try it out, far away from the prying eyes of river spies.
.. The controversial fly is called a "flexi-bug" and is of the same family lineage as the San Juan Worm and the Gob O' Worms and the Flexi Girdle Bug.
.. It's mere presence causes some fishers to foam at the mouth, and roll on the ground with either demonic laughter or spastic horror.
.. Initial reports were whispered in the dark corners of local pubs just a few minutes ago: "slayed 'em," "destroyed the drag on my reel," "broke 'em off on 2x," "landed one that left a hole in the water," "don't tell John."
.. We'll have better information on this, 2010, opening day tomorrow or Monday. By then we will have recovered from our arm weary day on the Notellum River.
-------.. We're not here. We're in Yellowstone National Park at a favorite slick on the NOTELLUM RIVER.
.. A couple of the neighbors were kind enough to drive and provide breakfast.
.. They've also rented a sedan chair for the occasion. They promise to place it at each and every riffle that we choose to fish. They are good neighbors!
.. The bugs are here, the elbows are here, the mobile condominiums are here, the dogs off-leash are here, and a good time is being had by all.
.. Film after the Indy 500!
Friday, May 28, 2010
TOMORROW WILL COME
Fish Will Be Caught
-------.. There will be more opening day fishable water on the west side of Yellowstone National Park tomorrow than in recent memory.
.. Mom has defied the opening day odds and kept discharge down on our west side rivers.
-----.. There's a smattering of mayflies around and you may get lucky and bump into them. Midges are frequent but not concentrated.
.. Caddis will probably not show. Yet, there are good opportunities for both big and little nymphs, (from stones, to yellows, to caddis.)
.. Soft hackles will probably be the best bet for all 'round catching.
.. Slick areas near Pocket Basin, and Goose Lake on the Firehole River may have surface action by 12:30 or 1:00 PM. The bears will be out for sure.
.. On the trail to Lone Star Geyser there is ample opportunity to dance with enthusiastic Brook Trout. If you fish the stretch by the path be sure not to catch a cyclist with your back cast.
.. Remember about the parking problems at Biscuit Basin and the one mile limit on Nez Perce Creek.
.. There's a good stretch of water just above Firehole Falls near Elk Island and Dipper Cliff. The glides between the riffles in these bits of water should be full of nymphing fish and birds.
.. Bring snacks and liquids for the wait at Gibbon Falls. The big meadows, on the Gibbon River, (Elk & Gibbon,) are wet and spongy.
.. There are bears and poor fishing - BUT - a well drifted Woolly Bugger under the banks may bring a fish.
.. The nymph water at the picnic area is a good bet if you can avoid the other visitors and the downfall.
.. The little meadows near Solfaterra Creek on the Gibbon River should bring eager Brook Trout to just about any fly, (sunk or not.)
.. The one cast water above the road to Canyon will be fine if the giant bison leave you alone.
.. The meadows above Virginia Cascade are wet and cold and inviting. The willows haven't gotten too tall and the Brookies are hungry.
.. The big surprise, and we're pleased about it, is the Madison River. It's not quite bank full; only slightly colored, and in places has visibility to 4'.
.. There are bits of "park water" that are accessible from the Baker's Hole Campground. The park boundary is well marked and the deep holes in the big bends hold some nice resident fish. The riffled water in the shallows can be prospected in the afternoon for cruising fish of the submarine variety.
.. The Barns Holes, too, are surprisingly fishable and should draw attention from serious head hunters of the giant fly variety.
.. The usual 'summer spots' on the Madison River should provide oodles of fish for those willing to use a double fly rig with their favorite big nymphs.
.. On the long shallow riffles next to Riverside Drive there are spots with a stray boulder and an occasional deep hole that will provide fair to good catching.
.. Fishing, on the other hand, is always rewarding here.
.. From Taylor Fork To Bacon Rind the Gallatin River is also in surprisingly good shape.
.. Believe the local advice that it's too cold to fish if you choose.
.. We don't expect this early season gift to persist. By the end of the first week in June there should be mud, frustration, and fewer places to park on the Firehole River. But for now we just might have 10 days of surprisingly good fishing in some less frequented places.
.. All fly shops have Yellowstone fishing permits. The West Entrance Visitor Center also has the permits. Be sure to read the regulations: no lead and barbless hooks are key restrictions.
.. AND: if you're staying at Baker's Hole Campground you might want to take advantage of the new on-line forum that the Gallatin National Forest has put on their website.
.. Post messages, post pictures, critique camping areas, provide suggestions, and other participation opportunities exist. Check it out HERE. Are you listening NPS?
Thursday, May 27, 2010
GET FLIES, INFO, SECRETS
-------.. On your way through town, day after tomorrow, you'll get the best current information at one of the local fly shops.
.. These folks are just as eager as you and will have the most up-to-date information on closures, water conditions, fly selections, and local gossip.
.. Nearly current update posted here tomorrow!
.. Click on the map for a large printable version.
Monday, May 24, 2010
ANOTHER ROAD LESS TAKEN
The Greeks & Romans Knew
some neighbors know.. "How do you know where the fish are?" We get that question quite often. We try to be congenial as we talk around the point that we really don't know. It's a mystery to us. But less so to some of our neighbors.
.. After all it's not as simple as placing your fly in front of a fish whose nose is in the air. It's not as simple as targeting a gulper. It's certainly not as simple as plunking down an imitation that matches the live flies on the surface. In fact it's not simple at all.
.. An enormous amount of time and effort has been expended by fishers in the emulation and imitation of the floating fly.
.. This has produced a plethora of perfect 'hatch matchers.' "The Truth" abounds in fishing to the rise. Just ask any dry fly fisher. There is a right answer.
.. For us, on the other hand, there is always mystery. Where are the fish? Why are they there? What are they eating down there - out of our sight? Why are they eating it? The mysteries explode in our head. We're intrigued by the mystery.
.. Just where is the mystery in flinging the correct imitation, to the fish that's eating the imitated?
.. Plenty of anticipation, excitement, and visceral enjoyment - for sure. But, mystery? Hardly.
.. Dry fly fishing is an exercise in technical achievement: perfection in fly tying, precision casting, delicate presentation, squinty-eyed concentration, appropriately quick responses, and studied lifting are required.
.. Once the technicalities are mastered the fish is caught. The fish that you knew was there has been stabbed in the lip, (or elsewhere.) It's like novice hunting. See it - stick it. Not much mystery.
.. The best hunters, per contra, know the terrain. The best hunters know the subtleties of the hunting ground. The best hunters have intimate knowledge of the game and it's environment. They explore the mysteries. So too the best fishers.
.. For many fishers there is seldom a thought about the nature of the water, it's color, it's subtle subsurface currents and up-wellings, its bottom, it's fertility or sterility. There is infrequent concern about where the fish is before the rise and strike.
.. Where is the sun, where are the shadows, where are the fish? Who cares? There's the nose. No mystery at all.
.. The technical achievements of dry fly fishers are wonderful. Time, practice and patience all play their part. The formula is well known and espoused by the sage minds of the pastime. Not much mystery but a lot of technical mastery.
.. Our feet are our eyes. Our legs and ankles, (old and wobbly,) still feel the swirling currents that we disturb as we gingerly wet wade the little waters of the neighborhood. Little dents in the stream bottom are remembered. Out sized rocks or fine sands in unusual places are remembered. These are clues to the mystery of where a fish may be.
.. Clues only: no ring of the rise, no splashy rise-form, no exposed noses. No certainty of technique here. The mysteries can be explored though.
.. Familiarity with the water brings an intimacy that goes beyond technical mastery. It's neither better nor worse. It is, by comparison, substantially different.
.. Many nymphomaniacs, (not a term of endearment in any of it's meanings,) cast all over the water. They walk and wander and fling and flail away. Eventually they poke a fish in the nose and catch one. No technical mastery here. Not much mystery either.
.. Notwithstanding this a few of our nymphomaniac neighbors are on such intimate terms with some of our waters that they can predict the topography of the river bottom as it changes during the various stream-flow stages that come our way. This removes some of the mystery but not all of it.
.. They know when a pillow, (in front of, or to the side of a boulder,) will hold a fish - and why. They know what side of the bolder to explore even when they can't see the boulder. Again, the removal of a bit more of the mystery.
.. Very slight differences in water level or discharge rates send these masters of the nymph to different places on different days.
.. They catch piles and piles and piles of fish. They don't talk much about the fish. They do talk about the light, the weather, the water, and the many and varied streams flowing within their rivers.
.. These folks ponder the questions of micro debris in the water column. They quizzically concern themselves about the chthonic nature of neotenous life forms of the benthic deeps. They have a hard time carrying on a conversation with 'real' fly fishers. Their concerns are vastly different.
.. They see these minuscule life forms as wraiths and monsters. They wonder about their essences and appearances.
.. They know that their comings and goings are in many ways dictated by the streams and currents. What mysteries do they partake of?
.. They worry about the bug. They worry about the bottom. They worry about so many silly things that they have long forgotten about what color floss will catch an angler.
.. They tie flies that will never adorn the pages of slick catalogs. They put bits of stuff on hooks and call them stage-mimics. To us their devices look so much like crud from under the bed that we seldom comment.
.. We just nod and accept the gifts when offered. Each is a one time-place-space creation. Used and discarded after the moment is gone. We'd sure like to know. The damn things catch fish . . . when the time-place-space is right.
.. We've posted pictures of some of the dandruff that is used by our neighbors Here.
.. The ones that are usually in our box this time of year are HERE. Take a look and rejoice in the silliness of it all.
.. The neighbors know. We follow. Come opening day in Yellowstone National Park we will tiptoe gently in the footsteps of a couple of these nymphomaniacs. We'll be on some small clear water, not worrying about the hatch or the noses. The neighbors will catch unseemly numbers of fish. We may catch a few too.