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  • Tuesday, August 31, 2010

    Cold Water

    FIREHOLE DIPS DOWN
    Frost On The Pumpkin
    there go the tomatoes

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    .. The Official temperature dip for last night on the Firehole River was 59° F. The rain and clouds have brought us a fine September eve.
    .. Air temperatures will warm toward the weekend and the water temperatures will follow. We're keeping an eye on the river and the fish activity. It won't be long before the feather merchants begin to push the match-hatchers in their fly bins. Soft hackles are always a good bet.
    .. The Lamar River is too thin to plow, but just barely. It'll be 2-4 days before it clears. Pebble Creek is clearing quickly, however rain is in the forecast until the weekend.
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    Lamar River Is A Lovely Shade Of Brown
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    Firehole River Currently Running Cold & Clear
    .

    Monday, August 30, 2010

    Hot Water

    A SURE SIGN OF FALL
    Firehole Fever Starting
    check your box

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    .. It's not really Fall. It's just close. Our neighbors, (the ones that seem to know,) are still telling us not to try any catching of fish on the Firehole River. They continue to warn about hot water and piscine exhaustion. Pretty much, that's a true story.
    .. BUT, and it's a very big but, the water is cooling rapidly and the fish are cavorting with gay abandon due to the many local anglers that have avoided the stream and let the fish enjoy the summer.
    .. Day before yesterday the highest temperature officially recorded for the Firehole River was a cool 19°C, that's just 66°F, yesterday it was just about 72°F.
    .. This is just what the "Firehole Fanatics" have been waiting for! The flurry of activity that is associated with Fall fishing on the west side of Yellowstone National Park is starting.
    .. Plan for the runners from the lake, plan for cool days on the Firehole River, check the gear, explore your fly boxes, make dates with old and new buddies, scout locations, tie some 'special' flies, share secrets, toast the coming frenzy.
    .. Soft hackles, both on the surface and below are the mainstay of the coming elbow clutter on the river. Then too, there's always the chance of a baetis hatch, some midges, and the caddis in the evening. The 'old-timers' chant - "COOL, NO CADDIS - WARM NO BAETIS." God bless 'em, it's mostly true.
    .. The wildly fluctuating air temperatures and cloud cover at this time of year demand that planning and 'river savvy' be employed for successful catching. The best river information comes from a quick phone call to a local fly shop. Most written reports are way out of date by the time their are written, (even, or perhaps especially,) this one.
    .. We can see 4-season days this time of year. Check our weather page for real-time radar maps and temperature fluctuations, or use your favorite source, Plan for anything, carry the kitchen sink to the river's edge. Join the frenzy, it's nearly upon us.
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    P.S. The water in the Little Firehole River and Iron Spring Creek is on the verge of  'cold.' The fish around the confluence of these two creeks and the Firehole River near the foot bridge in Biscuit Basin are happy and hungry. The fishers and elbows are there too.

    Saturday, August 28, 2010

    The Rotten Pot

    JUST SOME POTPOURRI
    A Few Blogs & The Haps
    small fishing report too

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    .. Ol' TC at the TROUT UNDERGROUND has a nifty way to suck you into reading previous blog posts. The two current posts are in large type at the top of the content section, then a mountain of earlier posts are down below in small type. He's obviously trying to entice young readers into the fold. The aged and mature variety couldn't read the small stuff even if they could remember where in hell the trifocals are. Click on over and check it out, if you can hit this [LINK].

    .. If you really want to catch fish instead of just fishing click on over to FISHING JONES for a bag full of guaranteed poop. It'll grab you where it hurts.

    .. The fish are beginning to look up more than down over in Rooster's Neighborhood. Check out ROOSTER'S RAMBLINGS - the new site.

    .. From Montana to New York is a mighty big transplantation. The NEW HEATHENS are making it work and haven't forgotten their roots. They are back east after a concert in Helena. Caught some nice trout in Nevada too.

    .. FISHING FURY continues it's rapid evolution and expansion. Now you can enter their first ever contributor contest - Schwag and Rewards await the successful entrant.

    .. A note from WILL FISH FOR WORK comments on the condition of the hopper population. Shows a couple of videos for tying the little pogo sticks if you have them in your neighborhood. We have some but not the hoards that are happening on the Great Plains.

    .. The new design and page layout for ROSE RIVER FARMS is very nice, indeed. This jewel of a fishing destination, with picture-postcard-rainbows, will grab you by your epitome -- and it's just an hour and a half from Tyson's Corner, (D.C. area for them that know!) The second CASTING FOR RECOVERY event will be held at the farm on October 23, 2010. For information contact: margaret.konkel@yahoo.com, space is limited.

    .. John Montana has gathered up some fine carp and great memories from his recent excursion. First-timers beware; it's addicting! [LINK]

    .. For those of you that are enjoying the challenge and simple beauty of Tenkara techniques,Yoshikazu Fujioka has added some new flies to his website. There are three pages full, all keyed to locations that he has fished. [LINK]

    .. Hilary is now a stripper! Egad, just look what Montana can do to a nice girl. What would mom say? [LINK]

    .. Mark Powell, from his new location and blog, lets us know about the state of Salmon and the current boom in the endangered species. [LINK]

    .. Should you be able to afford PHOTOSHOP and the computer to run it, and should you need to enhance your fish - or other photographs - check the tutorial at SIMPLYPSD. An interesting way to spend two hours. [LINK]
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    .. The FFF Fair & Trade Show is in West Yellowstone. Affluent fisher folks from around the world are in town and busy learning, spending, and hobnobbing.

    .. Music In The Park is happening this evening in the city park in WEST YELLOWSTONE. It's free so bring your blankets and a BBQ grill. The rain should be over by show time at 6:30 PM - or thereabouts. [LINK]

    .. September 25, 2010 brings a couple of events to Yellowstone National Park.
    1} Public Lands Day = free admission to Yellowstone,
    2}  the West Yellowstone - Old Faithful Bicycle Tour.
    ==> Now there's a pair to draw to.

    .. September 4-6, 2010; ANNUAL KNOTHEAD JAMBOREE - square dance festival in West Yellowstone, Montana.

    .. September 16-18, 2010; Cessna 190/195 Club Fly-In at West Yellowstone Airport. Little airplanes, high altitude: fun.
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    .. It's hard to explain just how good the Gallatin River is fishing. It's not slow, it's on the slow side of great! There are little flies, big flies, terrestrial bugs, hoppers, and bird droppings all being gobbled up by the trout.
    .. You still need to cover some ground but the fish are very cooperative. Mid-day catching is astonishingly fine with the recent bulge in the spruce moth population. Hoppers are present in just enough numbers to get you through to the evening caddis.
    .. Catching on the Lamar River, (particularly in the short canyon stretch,) has picked up to good! It's still a terrestrial game but the fish in the shadows are willing to dash to the sun for a meal. Beetles and ants are the ticket right now. The big parts of the river will find fish in the dark water - looking up for a good sized Adams or even a Yellow Humpy.Where do those bugs come from?
    .. The Gibbon River canyon, (above and below the construction zone,) has slowed just a little, attractors in the late afternoon and hoppers or a sparse hatch in the evening will keep your rod bent. Bears are still around the upper end of the canyon & in the meadows, so carry a large canister of bear spray.
    .. The Firehole River had a low temperature spike of 72° F on Monday, and just 70° F this afternoon. It's still just a mite warm for exercising fish on a leash - but the cool evenings are taking their toll on the water temperature, as are cloudy days with drizzle and hail like this one: good for cooling things down.
    .. We're making no predictions - BUT, September is just around the corner.
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    Straight from Chicago's
    CHECKERBOARD LOUNGE
    ..

    Thursday, August 26, 2010

    Hot Group Sex

    GUIDES GET FACIALS
    Fish Get Stuffed
    gulping is great
    {fish porn too}

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    .. There is a local, (and growing more popular by the year,) tradition of still water fishing that is attracting a hoard of "XXX Rated" fishers to our gentle sport.
    .. On the right day it provides everything that marketeers and advertising agencies dream of. It excites fishers to the point of ecstasy and exclamation!
    Chris Herpin From
    Bud Lilly's Trout Shop 
    Gets A Facial At Hebgen Lake.
    .. Tens of thousands of highly sexed bugs merrily fornicating in plain view, guides with more naturals in their hat and face than artificials, blistering action, beautiful scenery, fish so close to the boat that you could pet them, rise-rings so perfect in the mirror-smooth water that photographers drool, and catching beyond the wildest imagination of any wet dream are all present.
    .. When mother nature presents us with a perfectly still morning, and Hebgen Lake is so mirror smooth that not a ripple is present; when the lake is so flat that the ring of the rise can propagate for 100' or more, when the quiet is so pervasive you can hear the fish sucking in the bugs from a 200' away. when the chironomids have given way to callibaetis, and tricos: then and only then is the fabled "GULPER" fishing at it's picturesque and exhilarating best.
    .. Unless you've seen it, it's hard to believe that 905 square miles of lake can be mirror-smooth & the only disturbance on the surface is the ripples of thousands of fish rising to gulp down a bit of breakfast.
    .. A monster hatch of both mayfly species occasionally occurs on the serene and quiet mornings. When it happens, it's hard to see either the water or the sky.  It's spectacular and beautiful in it's fecundity!
    .. It's hard to explain this phenomenon to those that have not seen and experienced it. Giant trout abandon the depths and slowly porpoise on the surface of water in studied regularity. This is an easy feast and not many fish ignore it.
    .. Rise forms cover the silky water with exquisite precision and show the direction of the fish with bow waves pointed toward the next encounter with the surface.
    .. Some days the dance is so hypnotic that casting is abandoned in favor of watching. Some days it's just too easy to catch fish. Some days, on the other hand, there are so many bugs that your chance of catching is one in ten thousand. On those days it's nice to know that there are so many fish that you'll eventually hook up
    .. Catching is best from a boat but the bugs and fish are not too discriminating about the nearby shallows. Wade-fishers get their share of dances too. Right now the lake is alive with bugs following their biological imperative, and the fish are following theirs, and fishers' theirs as well.
    .. Depending on your disposition and predilections there are many ways to catch these noisy slurping and gulping fish.
    .. There are purists that use a single fly and target a single fish. These folks time the rises and anticipate the pattern. They cast in just the right place and  then peer intently at a little fly on the glassy surface over 50 feet away. Gentle recovery and perfect casts make this about as tense and exciting as any fishing can be. Seconds become minutes, minutes seem like hours and sometimes the fish takes the fly.
    .. Akin to the purist is the surface connoisseur. Their technique is nearly the same but a pair of flies is used. Two different patterns or two different sizes adorn the end of these fishers' tippet. The precision of the cast is nearly the same. The anticipation and tension is high. The concentration is intense. The lift must be timed to the downward ark of the fish. It must be perfect and gently increase it's pressure as the fish moves down and the tight line moves up. It sounds easy - try it!
    .. Other fishers will use a dry/dropper combination early in the hatch. Many of the gulpers will swirl and twirl on the surface eating both the emergers and the nymphs as they come to the surface, buoyed by their gas filled shucks.
    .. This technique is preferred by those that can lay down a gentle line in the approximate center of 10 or 12 giant spooky fish that otherwise would seldom come to the surface for food. There is only just a bit less tension as this is akin to still water bobber fishing. Many folks that employ this technique do use a bobber or an indicator. The lift and set is still studied and persistent.
    .. However it's done, "GULPER" fishing can be so good that catching seems routine. Save for the occasional 'monster hatchs' like those happening now, it's an exciting way to take very large fish in relative ease.
    .. During the monster hatches the tension and anticipation put an edge on the fishing that often overshadows the catching. Frustration with the caprice of the fish is common. They will take a natural right next to your offering, push it aside with their bow wave, nudge it with their dorsal fin, and sometimes come back and take it in a lightening swirl. There's just no accounting for a fishy psyche! Whatever the case, now is the time to be on Hebgen Lake.
    .. The still, warm, and salubrious mornings are becoming fewer as Fall approaches. Winds and breezes are stirring earlier and earlier as air temperature collides with water temperature. If you have a day or two - get here now!
    [Photo note: all photos and the video were taken with our new toy the Fuji FINEPIX-X10. We're still discovering  just what this little trinket can do. We've figured out how to increase the color saturation. Now all we need to do is figure out how to make movies and stills at the same time. You may have to reload this page - for some reason the video is a sticky one]
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    . .

    A Little Hint

    THE PARKING IS EASY
    The Walking Is Tough
    the catching is simple
    take a very long 4-weight

    Wednesday, August 25, 2010

    Follow The Crowd

    FISHER FOLKS - FISHIN' FRENZY
    Crowded Rivers Now The Norm
    they catch fish & they don't

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    .. 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.
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    Tuesday, August 24, 2010

    Durable & Dunkable




    JUST A NOTE ABOUT A TOY

    And A Low Cost Tool
    we may fish less
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    .. It's an "affordable" camera with just a bit better than average images and some features that may appeal to fly fishers. It's the Finepix XP10 by Fuji. You can search the web for the latest prices and reviews, (HERE'S ONE.) Ours was a gift and reportedly cost about $135.00.
    .. It's waterproof. (to about 10 feet!) It's dust proof. Impact resistant to about 3 feet or so. Good for temperatures down to 14° F. It will take stills and HD (720p) movies underwater & focus close enough to capture a mayfly.
    .. The little devil has features like digital image stabilization, movie editing, and quick blog posting software for YouTube and Facebook. When you're at home it also has face recognition and automatic red eye removal.
    .. It even has "target focus" which stays focused on moving targets as long as they stay visible on the 2.7" LCD screen. The 5x zoom is internal and covered by a tough optical glass cover, and the camera sports a 12-megapixel sensor.
    .. So, what's not to like? There's no optical viewfinder, marginal color saturation for still pictures & videos, noticeable noise at ISO 400 and above, very noticeable body colors such as: glistening green, (or blue, or black, or pink, or silver bodies - zowie!)
    .. For professional bloggers with as much advertising space as content this is not the tool of choice. It's really just an expensive toy.
    .. But if you're a fishing guide, a fisher, a family person, or just an average "Joe," this is not a bad gadget to throw into your shirt or jeans pocket and have at the ready for the snapshots that you need on the spur of the moment.
    .. We took it for a quick ride up the Gallatin River to a place where there are usually fish to be found. We found some dinkers but they were a bit skittish. We did capture one as we fiddled with the camera. And it does take some fiddling and experimentation.
    .. Most of the control buttons are under a waterproof membrane. They are small but not delicate and our fat fingers finally got adjusted to the feel of them.
    .. This is not a review, as such. We have neither the technical expertise, nor the experience for that sort of thing. We just grabbed the thing out of the box, (left the instructions at home in typical male fashion,) and dashed up the road to see if it worked. We saw menus that meant nothing to us. We poked buttons that seemed to do nothing. We plunged it into the water and chased fish, (very small fry - check the video below.) The pictures are fine with us, the video is usable for now, (we'll get better  - we hope!) There's a caddis bomber at about one minute.
    .. The original image above is enormous, (4,000 x 3,000,) and straight from the camera. Right click on it and open it in a new window. See if it meets your standards for snapshots. The little trout in the video was hiding by the bushes to the left under the trees.
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    Monday, August 23, 2010

    Brookie Heaven

    GRAY DAYS = DANCING FISH
    Forget It.  It's Just For Kids!
    we're an aging kid

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    .. It's known as a simple place to catch fish. It's right along the road. It's too easy to get to. It's not in the lore of glory waters for Yellowstone National Park. It's not worth the time of "serious" fly fishers. There are surprisingly few elbows. It's just our cup of tea.
    .. Indian Creek is currently providing tons of fun for fans of the colorful Brook Trout. The colors of the fish and the meadows are as bright as can be. The delights of catching are punctuated by both beautiful scenery and the occasional diesel tour bus.
    .. Sunday started with a thunderstorm and intermittent showers continued all day. There were holes in the clouds on occasion, and the bright sun was dazzling compared to the general gray of the day. The fish didn't seem to notice the difference.
    .. The flies used were a wonderfully eclectic assortment of attractors, cripples, nymphs, hoppers, and famous designs. We changed them periodically and whimsically: all were happily banged by the little, (and not so little,) fish in the river.
    .. Most fish that accepted our invitation to dance were in the 6" - 8" range. The biggest fish brought to hand was maybe 11". And we tangled with something a bit larger but must have stepped on it's toes during the ballet as it did a beautiful aerial 360° and flung the hook into the shoreline grasses.
    .. We also visited Obsidian Creek and found the fish there just as willing as their relatives in Indian Creek. They were of the "visit and slurp" clan unlike the "slam-it-now" behavior exhibited by the others.
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    .. The little grasshoppers are now in their final molt and creating quite a disturbance. There are about 10-12 per square meter from Roaring Mountain to Sheepeater Cliff. There are fewer in the trees.
    .. These small hoppers are the fly tiers prototype and their shades of yellow, amber, and brown are very spectacular.
    .. Another few days and the colors will fade as the exoskeletons harden. Right now these little dickens' are just about 3/4" long and stand out in the just beginning to dry grasses of the meadows.
    .. The colors are perfect camouflage for the meadows and provide a perfect target for the fish. Many a 3" Brookie slammed our small hoppers. Some even got them in their mouth.
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    .. The bridge over the Gibbon River is all but done. Paving on the road is proceeding at a fair clip. There are still delays. The length of time for the wait to use the single lane depends on the traffic.
    .. Going north from West Yellowstone before 10:00 AM the delay is about 15 minutes. Coming south at about 3:00 PM the wait can be 30 minutes. At dusk the traffic thins out and the wait can be as little as 10 minutes. The dancing fish are worth it all.
    .. We're habituated to the river stretches around Sheepeater Cliff Campground. The other river sections in the big willow meadows and around the Loop Road Bridge are also full of fish.
    .. We didn't stop at those places because the elbow count was fairly high. There seems, however, to be something about the numerous cars in the campground parking lot that keeps fisher folk from parking & walking the 45 feet to the water's edge. We don't mind if they stay away.
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    Friday, August 20, 2010

    Wednesday, August 18, 2010

    A Touch Of Warm

    MOM BRINGS ON THE HEAT
    Hoppers, Ants, Moths, Beetles
    dig out the "T" box

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    .. After some gray and wonderfully cool August days Mom has complied with the seasonal imperative and cranked some therms into the daytime temperatures.
    .. This coming week will see the thermometer climb toward 80 degrees and will have the hoppers hopping.
    .. Spruce moths have finally made their appearance in numbers sufficient to be noticed by the savvy trout. These along with a very large crop of beetles and ants are driving fisher folk nuts with the quandary of which terrestrial to use. After all it's hopper time!
    .. We've no sage advice or ultimate truth in this regard. There are literally hundreds of truth-tellers in West Yellowstone this time of year. They will give you the absolute, divinely inspired, inside scoop about the correct fly. Some of them fish on occasion.
    .. Hoppers of course are present in significant numbers as well. The high country has not yet seen the anticipated overwhelming numbers predicted for the rest of the western states. However there are reports of the invasion from not too far away LINK.
    .. There are at least 4 species, locally, that occur in numbers sufficient to garner the attention of fly fishers. Not a one of them is known by it's Latin name in the dusty corners of the feather merchants. Asemoplus montanus is our own species and has been studied the least.
    .. Adult grasshoppers in the neighborhood can be as large as two inches. Fisher folk seldom throw an imitation that large, (some of our more eccentric neighbors insist that trout won't eat anything that big on the surface.)
    .. On the Madison River, the Gallatin River, Duck Creek, Nez Perce Creek, Fan Creek, Bacon Rind Creek, Taylor Fork Creek, west fork Gallatin River, Slough Creek, Lamar River, Obsidian Creek, and even Specimen Creek, there are hoppers approaching the two inch mark. The poor dumb fish are missing a bet - or the fishers are.
    .. Ants, (including the flying variety,) are very apparent and very busy right now. They are a staple of the fishy diet in the slow moving foam lines near the shore. These critters are a necessary item in the current terrestrial box. None of them are reported to be as large as 2".
    .. Beetles are mostly black dots in the fly box. There are over 40 species of common beetles in Montana. The Mountain Pine Beetle, (Dendroctonus ponderosae,) is a black dot in real life and the usual prototype for fly patterns. They are just 5mm long as an adult and attractive for the fly fisher.
    .. However, the Blister Beetle (Meloidae sp.,) can be copper colored or even an oxidized copper-green. They can reach a length of over an inch. Locally they occur in numbers sufficient to fall in the water frequently. What patterns are used for these? Have you got one in your box?
    .. Tiger Beetles come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors: green, blue, red, yellow, orange & brown, etc. Seldom are they all black. They are not as common as the Pine Beetle but are more common than the Blister Beetle. The most prevalent one in the neighborhood is Cicindela nebraskana, a beautiful shiny reddish copper colored beetle that loves the open stream-side meadows in the woodlands of our high country. Not a one of them ever falls into the water and the trout ignore them in favor of black dots.
    .. All this by way of saying: if your favorite hopper imitation won't get the job done try a beetle pattern of your own creation. The fish will not have seen a unique imitation, and it should be better that the little black dots sold by the feather merchants.
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