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  • Wednesday, May 11, 2011

    Fish In The Mud

    Pick Your Spot
    go east young man
    Pinhole image of Madison River in National Park Meadows
    .. Should you, like so many of our demented neighbors, demand some "water time" during the muddy season, you will need some local knowledge, a smidgen of luck, and good rain gear.
    .. There are fish to be caught. After all, fish got'ta eat! They are forced to the banks and undercuts in swollen rivers. They are even in the grass when the rivers get out of bank.
    Yellowstone Coachman [drowned and mangled]
    .. They are alert, hungry, and just a skosh indiscriminate in their feeding habits. This doesn't mean it's easy.
    .. They will respond to offerings just a bit larger and noisier than they normally would. They will not chase stuff too far. If you hit them in the nose they will grab your fly. The take can be violent or gentle. Of course you need to know where the fish are in order to pull this off.
    ..Slow water is the key. Back eddy's, snag swirls, boulder pockets & pillows, and grassy banks with undercuts are the main hunting areas.
    Quick 'n' Easy
    .. The neighbors prowl the banks very softly and slowly. The gelatinous nature of the river bank will transmit vibrations better than when dry.
    .. A long rod and a short heavy leader are terminal necessities. A fly that can be seen is important too. White or orange, (or both,) are the preferred colors of the neighborhood crazies.
    .. Casts are short and numerous. The action is akin to strolling along behind a recalcitrant sheep in the Pyrenees. Fishing is usually of the upstream variety although, a couple of the neighbors swear by the downstream drift with a fast sink tip. Seldom is more than 3 or 4 feet of line in the water.
    .. Recipes for flies on this page are given HERE. There's no guarantees but the neighbors are using these along with Woolly Buggers and San Juan Worms, (white and orange of course.)
    .. As the rivers fill and gather sediment they move in new and different courses from the ones during the summer. Often times the big meanders will show cavitation eddy's as they enter the bend. these places are usually dry most of the year. The water here is shallow and slow and often surprisingly clear.
    .. The lakes nearby are the recipients of the suspended load of the rivers, (in some deltaic areas the bed load is also carried to the lake.)
    .. As the sediment moves into the lake the fish gather and feed on the edges of the debris. This is going on right now in both Hebgen Lake and Quake Lake as Cabin Creek cranks up it's gritty mud. Presentation to edge of the sediment plume will bring results with very little effort.
    .. We, on rare occasion, are allowed to traipse along with the mud fishers of West Yellowstone. They smoke sodden cigars, wear wool, whisper in the rain, and pause frequently to warm their innards with amber liquids. It's not as grim as it may sound.
    ..  They are out there now. This is their kind of fun. You will see their rigs parked in some of the most unusual places. You may or may not see them. The fish don't.
    Return to my youth
    .. Should you chose to forgo the pleasures of mud fishing you may want to click on over to THE NEW HEATHENS site. (LINK)
    .. There you will find that you can take the boy out of Montana but not Montana out of the boy.
    .. Nate Schweber has taken his skills and Smurfette to the Delaware River with results to make you jealous. There is also an enlightening post about river etiquette. from last May. Read about that; HERE.
    .. Take a moment to click on a song or two. Even from New York there's a Montana soul in the vibe.
    Fog and rain and snow on the Madison River in Yellowstone Park