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  • Sunday, May 22, 2011

    Double Dealin' Mother

    ICE GONE - RIVERS UP
    What's A Fisher To Do?
    the worst is just around the corner
    THERE'S LAWN CHAIRS ON THE POINT
    AND 300' OF ICE AT THE DAM
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    .. Mom has been both loving and cruel this Spring. First she gives us a good snow year that promises to have our rivers running cold well into the summer. Then she throws us a warm spike that takes away a goodly amount of the snow pack. Then just as the ice begins to leave the shores Hebgen Lake she presents us with a rare east wind that pushes the thin ice out of the estuaries.
    .. Lately she's been toying with us in a new and wonderfully sadistic manner. The diurnal temperatures have been in the high 40's, while the nocturnal degrees have not dipped much past the mid 30's. Afternoon on Saturday reached 50° F. So the rivers continue to flow freely and the clouds keep the sun from encouraging the bugs, (no it's not quite dreary enough for those other bugs either!)
    .. The rivers were so high on Saturday that several roads were closed. The most significant was Highway 191 going to Bozeman. Greek Creek expanded to the point that it was not only out of bank, but out of control as well. It flooded the road and caused a road closure for most of the day and well into the evening.
    .. The Madison River is running at a high seasonal average. The Firehole River has slowed to seasonal discharge. The Gibbon River, on the other hand, is being frisky and flows are all over the place.
    It's not a fly but it's hot right now
    .. So is there a place to fish? Certainly not down-canyon where the Gallatin River is hitting 3,000 cfs and growing. How about using a boat on the lake? It's still good near the ice, and just normal where you find the fish. Trolling a small Kastmaster has galled a couple of reported 24" Brown Trout, (cell phone picture verified.)
    .. How's the fishing between the lakes? Glad you asked!
    .. It's fair right now, (and crowded,) - BUT - Hebgen Reservoir's Flood Control Pool is full. Discharge is a moderate but fishable 1,250 cfs.
    .. The "BUT" is that inflow is 2,200 cfs, and there's only 7 feet left to the spillway. Things are looking pretty bleak for the near future.
    .. The only good news to be had is that with the rising lake levels the junction of tributary streams and the lake receeds upstream. Technically some places where the neighbors are fishing are illegal. Practically, if you wade the muddy willow bottoms of Grayling Creek, Duck Creek, Cougar Creek, or the South Fork, you deserve the catching - if there is any.
    .. The lowland Madison River is fishing good. The catching is fair. The color is O.K. and bugs are available. Nymphs and streamers are still in play and shoreline catching is as good as drift boat catching.
    .. Everything will go to hell quickly if they pull the plug at the dam. It could happen. Or, with current repair crews still working on the intake structure they may just let it fill to the spillway. That could happen about the time the Madison River discharge hits it's maximum: this year projected to be near 2,000+ cfs. That's double what it is now.
    .. We're headed to a little stretch of the Gallatin River that is way too cold to fish. It's that little bit of water between the Yellowstone park-line and Taylor Fork Creek. It's so cold the fish are having trouble holding on to the flies. It's so cold that they are eating anything that seems eatable: sticks, leaves, flies, bare hooks, etc. It's so cold that everyone that fishes there tells you it's too cold to fish!
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    THE VORTEX IN HEBGEN RESERVOIR IS CAUSED WHEN THEY PULL THE PLUG
    .