• Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Thursday, June 30, 2011

    Are You Ready ?

    The Visitors Are Here
    the bugs are here
    .. So, you're going to make it a four day weekend  --  are you? You're late. There's a pile of folks that are making it a six day weekend, and they are already here.
    Claytonia lanceolata
    .. Yellowstone National Park is in full bloom. The protracted cool Spring and the wet meadows of just two weeks ago have given us an early summer riot of color that is at least three weeks late. The fishing and catching has followed suit. Everything is in a gloriously verdant state. The temperatures are warming rapidly and 80's should be seen by Monday-next.
    .. The Gibbon River has finally settled down and hatches may be persistent for the weekend. We expect that it's still a soft hackle proposition.
    .. We're headed up there tomorrow to see if there are any parking spaces left and if the fish will be cooperative.
    .. Conventional and simplified fishing has finally come into it's own on the Firehole River. Visitors with guide books tucked into their kit bags should have no trouble catching fish in the manner prescribed and described by the authors of those books.
    .. Hatches, for the purist, are on time. Set your clock and clean your windshield - the bugs are here. We suggest that you scan the reports from the feather merchants in the sidebar.
    .. Finding the fish to catch will be a bit different this year. The river has been rearranged from the high flows of the last four years and the cute little names of perfect fishing areas are, at best, misleading. How-to books tend to be static entities, rivers are dynamic.
    .. The Madison River has been greatly rearranged. For instance; 9-mile Hole is either 9 1/2-mile hole or 8-mile hole, now. Yet the visiting angler can be easily spotted following the footsteps of authors that describe the very rock to fish near, (the rock is still there on the shore.)
    .. Recent accurate information should be available at our local tackle emporia, from guides that actually fish. Stop and visit, it will enhance your catching chances.
    .. The 'correct' fly choice is always a point for heated discussion this time of year. There are so many bugs, in so many stages, and so many flies, in so many variations, that the discussions continue ad nauseum.
    .. We tend to agree with that sage fisher, Mortimer Snerd, "The fly that catches the most fish is the one that is in the water."
    .. The fish are frisky, hungry, plentiful, and eager to please; just give them a chance. The 'soft water' is still the key right now. Dark holes, gentle bubble and foam lines, undercut banks, mid-river bars, and pillows in front of boulders are all places where the fish are.
    .. There have been a few neighbors testing the waters of the Gallatin River. It's a river connoisseurs game. There are some fish to be caught, (and bears to be avoided.)
    .. If you like to make fishing into a competition rather than a 'by-the-numbers' exercise, the Gallatin River should be your choice this coming weekend. Should you want to avoid elbows, test your river-reading skills, and walk to cover a lot of water: have at it.
    .. Some of our younger neighbors, (they visit us for feigned conversation and a quick snort,) like to "explore" [their word.] They seem to think that they should pound every inch of all water in the neighborhood. We did that once - maybe?
    .. Some of those same kids who enjoy combat fishing have brought back a fly from the far northern reaches of Montana. It's the "X-Stimulator" from the Grizzly Hackle Fly Shop in Missoula. This hybrid monster has taken on a bit of local mystic. The kids mash it and twist it and pull the wing forward and drown it. To each, his own: takes fish!
    .. The traffic in the park is already horrendous. We suggest that you give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination and that you park where it's safe rather than where it seems to be convenient.
    .. We'll provide some documentary posts over the next few days, (time and traffic permitting.) The fishing is glorious, the catching is nearly the same!

    Wednesday, June 29, 2011


    Anticipated Visitation
    some interesting places to fish

    .. Well folks, it's just about as good as it gets. Although the rivers on the west side of Yellowstone National Park are above their seasonal discharge averages, they are rapidly clearing and the catching is getting better by the day. You, (and 150,000 others,) will not want to miss this opportunity.
    .. The big bugs are on the Firehole River and the fish have found them. There are Yellow Sallies as big as bananas, the Salmon Flies are like giant zucchinis and the Golden Stone Flies will dwarf a Mazda Miata. This co-emergence is not unheard of, but to happen for the Fourth Of July is a rare occurrence.
    .. If you like to fish in the morning on the Firehole River you will find a cool light fog and a spinner fall, (PMD's,) from about 7:30 AM onward. BWO's, Baetids of a couple sorts, and drowned nymphs can gather up fish all day.
    .. For the folks that want to catch a lot of fish a rig with a small, (size 12 or less,) dark, floating Woolly Worm followed by a Caddis Nymph, (Rock Worm, Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear, or even a Prince Nymph) imitation will take 10" to 14" fish all day in the deep riffles.
    .. We like to use a drowned, green, stiff-hackle in these high water conditions. Sizes 10 through 14 are good depending on what your rock-turning indicates.
    .. The forecast for the weekend is a few scattered clouds and a few thundershowers. If you're blessed with overcast at the right time a mid-day mayfly hatch will clog your orifices. You'll need perfect presentation to fool a fish because of the fantastic cloud of the little devils.
    .. The caddis have begun to appear in numbers that the fish enjoy. Sunshine in the afternoon is not a cruse right now. A two-fly rig with a large elk hair caddis, (size 10 - 12, or even 8,) followed by either an emerger or nymph will get the attention of even the most wary of trout as dusk covers the valley.
    .. The Madison River at this time of year is touted as a streamer fishery: and that's true, but there are some heavy White Miller hatches happening now that will continue for another week or two.
    .. The deep undercut bank, (on the far side of the river from the parking at Barns #1,) has grown to enormous proportions during this high runoff episode. There are fish in there that will suck the cleats from your boots.
    .. Take the long way around and sneak up on the bank, (getting your knees dirty is a good idea.) A short line and short, heavy leader with a marabou leech or dark green Wooly Bugger will wake you and the fish. Be prepared.
    ..  Nez Perce Creek, (poor neglected sister,) is providing catching so good in all the riffles that should make the legal stretches a designated children's fishery. It's too easy right now. That's probably why it's being ignored.
    .. The wade-deep crowd just can't stand to have anything too easy. Drowned and mangled dry flies, big nymphs, or bright yellow Woolly Worms will take more fish that your story can convey.
    .. Of course, it requires a walk of about 700 yards to get to the water that provides exceptional catching. That may be too far for the wader-laden visitor.
    .. Visitation is heavy now and will be astronomically high for the Fourth. Caution is highly recommended in driving, gawking, parking and walking.
    .. Some of the best fishing in this post-high-water period is reached by parking in a narrow spot, crossing the road, and then a meadow with downfall and bears. Please be careful: restrict your posing for the tourists to the crowded parking lots.
    .. The bison are busy re-paving the road from the west entrance station to Madison Junction. This early summer maintenance is a Yellowstone ritual. It has been made an even greater attraction this year because of the wet meadows. The bison don't like to lounge in a wet puddle any more that do the picnickers.
    .. If you can handle not fishing in crowded waters we suggest the Firehole River above the cascades along the Lone Star Geyser Trail. There are just a few Brook Trout in the water, but most of them are eager to dance with you.
    .. We'll mention the Gibbon River tomorrow . . . we promise. But for now, we commiserate with you if you haven't found lodging. This little burg in the woods has been full for a week. There are a few camping places left, but driving from Bozeman is not too far if you need to fish in Yellowstone National Park over this coming weekend.

    Tuesday, June 28, 2011


    giant stoneflies on the Firehole right now!
    {{This is our post from last year. It's still the same with a couple of interesting changes. The weather will be pleasant instead of hot. The rivers will be a bit higher. The hike to Grebe Lake will be a bit more sloppy. The stoneflies of three types will all be active. Thunderstorms and overcast will improve the fishing. Updates coming!}}

    .. It's an absolutely wonderful thing.
    .. Fishing in Yellowstone National Park on the Fourth Of July is an epic endeavor for all. Everyone in the world will be in the park - and, they will all be fishing.
    .. For those that still don't know where they will be wetting their line, here's some thoughts:
    ==> You might catch a fish on the Firehole River if you fish in the morning,
    ==> You will catch a fish on the Madison River  if you use a Bead Head Caddis,
    ==> You will catch a fish on Trout Lake,
    ==>  You will catch a fish on Obsidian Creek,
    ==> You will Catch a fish on Joffee Lake,
    ==> You will catch a fish on Grebe Lake.


    .. This weekend will be a bit warm. The crowds will be a bit dense. The rivers will be a bit crowded. The fish stories will be a bit exaggerated. And, a good time will be had by all.
    .. By all accounts, there will be enormous visitation numbers for this weekend.
    .. In addition to the attractions and beauty of Yellowstone in early July, West Yellowstone is planning the largest fireworks display in Montana.
    .. The West Yellowstone "WILD WEST RODEO" has grown to the point that it's not just a 'show' rodeo - but it's become a stop on the rodeo circuit. The bulls usually win!
    .. The Dairy Queen has added 45 extra staff persons for the weekend.
    .. The police department has given all officers the day off.


    .. Places where fishing will be good  --  AND crowded:
    -- Firehole River,
    -- Madison River,
    -- Gardiner River,
    -- Gibbon River, (below Norris Campground, the road construction will have no closures for the weekend!,)
    -- Trout Lake,
    -- Solfaterra Creek,
    .. Places where fishing will be good  --  AND less crowded:
    -- Firehole River, (along the Lone Star Geyser trail,)
    -- Firehole River, (between Firehole Falls & Madison River,)
    -- Little Firehole River,
    -- Iron Spring Creek,
    -- Nez Perce Creek,
    -- Gibbon River, (between Norris Campground and Virginia Cascade,)
    -- Obsidian Creek.
    .. Places where fishing will be good  --  AND nearly empty:
    -- Gibbon River, (along the Grebe  Lake trail,)
    -- Fan Creek, (above the beaver pond,)
    -- Duck Creek, (observe the bear closures,)
    -- Grayling Creek, (please park  safely,)
    -- Bacon Rind Creek, (beware of the moose,)
    -- Gallatin River, (above the Fan Creek Confluence,)
    -- Bechler River, (it's a banner year for mosquitoes,)
    -- Boundary Creek, (if you walk more than 300 yards,)
    -- Heart Lake,
    -- Snake River, (in the Thorofare,)
    -- Hellroaring Creek,
    -- Trail Creek,
    -- Mountain Creek.



    .. The weather is going to cooperate for the long weekend, (sorta - kinda.) Clouds, thunder storms, wind, and hot temperatures are predicted for the weekend.


    .. There are some distinct advantages to fishing in Yellowstone on the Fourth of July:
    ==> Compare ring tones while exercising your waders,
    ==> Meet folks with pink fishing vests,
    ==> Catch flies with flies, (under water,)
    ==> Observe casting form worse than your own,
    ==> Delight in fishers festooned in gear worth the price of your BMW,
    ==> Practice creative parking & master rapid rigging,
    ==> Exchange insurance information with celebrity chauffeur's,
    ==> Find and explore alternate fishing locations 'cause the good ones are full of turons,
    ==> Enjoy bathing beauties in your favorite riffles,
    ==> Discover the many and varied paint jobs on tour buses,
    ==> Pose for pictures taken by 90,000 digital cameras.
    .. Time to kiss a fish!

    .. P.S. If you's scanned this far you deserve a reward: There is a wonderful site about bugs that is making waves in the "BUGOLOGY WORLD" and the "FLY FLAILING WORLD." CHECK IT OUR HERE. (There is an English version for the non-Francorphhile.)

    Sunday, June 26, 2011

    Very Brief Report

    FISH HERE !!
    .. Just in time for the biggest weekend of the summer all rivers on the west side of Yellowstone National Park are fishing well. They are high, and colored, and productive.
    .. Fish the hatch when you see it. Fish anything else when you don't. We heard that in a local pub from a fishing guide. It must be gospel!
    .. Secret places with few elbows for the Fourth Of July will be posted during the coming week. It might not be gospel.


    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    The Yo - Yo

    Pick Your Time
    enjoy the variety

    .. The annual spring yo-yo is here. The west side rivers are bouncing up and down like so many Duncan's that it's hard to be precise about where the best catching opportunities will be.
    .. River levels are fluctuating through the day and from day to day. As the levels change some opportunities are opened up and others are closed off. The cagey angler will scan the river charts to anticipate this subtle rhythm of each river.
    .. The changes throughout the day are very much like the heartbeat of a person; regular and predictable. The subtle rise and fall corresponds to the warming and cooling of the air that melts the snow.
    .. Superimposed on this rhythm is the local variation in rainfall and cloud cover and discharge from tributary streams. We love the yo-yo. It gives variety and opportunity to the otherwise simple catching available on the Firehole River.
    .. Daily records are still being set for discharge rates as our protracted runoff pushes water through the stream channels. It won't be long and good fishing water will be high and then again, low.
    .. Now is the time to break old habits and fish some different water or, perish the thought, different rivers.
    .. As the river water laps at and covers the banks of some areas, new environments are available for fish to exploit. Fishers should exploit these areas too. Walk the bank. Scan the edges. Peer into the shallows of mid-river bars. The fish will be there. You should be there. This is the time to explore: enjoy it.
    .. We have an aversion to elbows. Many fishers, on the other hand, enjoy meeting new friends and exchanging cell phone numbers in lieu of fishing. If you are one of the gregarious types, now is the time for Firehole Fishing.

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Better By The Day

    Fishing Is Good
    gawking is best

    .. This will be the week for glorious fishing stories. The near-term weather is predicted to be perfect for visiting Yellowstone National Park. There will finally be a day or two with 70° F temperature.
    .. The west side rivers are still setting daily discharge records but are clearing rapidly. The meadows are getting dry, the bison are laying in the sun, the mobile condominiums are belching fumes, and tour buses are thick as the spinners falling onto the water.
    .. Catching is now possible from sunup to sundown. And the next few days will give us the longest catching opportunities of the year. Sunrise is now about 5:10 AM. Sunset is about 9:15 PM. The watchword now is to use your summer solstice well. Starting next week the days will begin their noticeable shortening - all too rapidly.
    .. The Gallatin River is high, cold and clear above Taylor Fork. It's a big nymph and streamer proposition. The local naysayers would have you believe that it's too cold to fish. Best believe them, it leaves more room for the neighbors.
    .. The last mile of Duck Creek is at grade and surprisingly clear, It too is a subsurface paradise. Be careful and stay in the legal zone by the water. The bears are congregating in this area. Evening caddis have been spotted around 4:00 PM in this stretch.
    .. The Madison River is back within it's banks but the previously flooded meadows are spongy. Discharge is high but not near daily records and there are bugs apparent in the early afternoon. Streamers, big ugly unconventional flies, and drowned flies & nymphs are producing well in the gentle stretches.
    .. The snow on Mary Mountain is rapidly melting and Nez Perce Creek is at it's banks. Catching is only fair in the bear infested waters and meadow about 1/2 mile above the bridge. The wildflowers are spectacular though.
    .. The Firehole River above the cascades is very clear, cold, swift, and beginning to produce beautiful, hungry, eager, Brook Trout.
    .. Below Old Faithful, in it's elbow-ridden stretches it's beginning to show it's summer pattern:
    ===> Spinners early,
    ===> Nymphs and emergers at mid day, (all day if you like,)
    ===> Caddis in the evening,
    ===> BWO & PMD when you see them,
    ===> Stonefly & Yellow Sally nymphs, all day,  starting now,
    ===> Salmon Flies soon, listen to rumors in the pubs.
    .. We're headed to the big esses around Baker's Hole. This Madison River water requires a Montana Fishing License and a Yellowstone Park Permit. The water is high, the trails and tracks are muddy, the willows eat your body and gear, and the fish are near the bank and unmolested. It's just too much work for visitors. The fish are way too big for their small rods and dinky nets.

    Sunday, June 19, 2011

    Beautiful Gray

    Fish Eat Them
    people use them
    .. The days are gray and the Fish are loving it. The Bugs are loving it. The Fisher Folk are loving it. The Tourons are cursing it. And so it goes.
    .. It's almost time to abandon fishing on the Firehole River in Yellowstone National Park. The waters are "Coming Into Shape," which means it's easy for guides to find fish and easy for visitors to catch them.
    There Are Bugs Like This.
    .. The weather is "Settling Down," which means fishing is enjoyed in tropical-weight $105.00 pastel-colored fishing shirts. It also means that there's not a big worry about getting too much mud or wet bison poo on the $48,000 BMW X3. A few sprinkles will wash off the dust.
    .. The west entrance station has "All Lanes Open," which means traffic is backed up almost to town. It also means that there are about 700 bison repaving the road to Madison Junction. It took us over an hour and a half to traverse the first 11 miles in Yellowstone on Saturday. Of course there was not a ranger in site. They know better than to try to unsnarl a traffic jam where there are no drivers in motor-homes parked on the double yellow line.
    A Raised Tail Means "Charge" or "Discharge"
    .. The bugs are hatching to their "Anticipated Timing," which means that the feather merchants can peddle "The Correct Fly" to visitors who have never heard of it.
    .. The one truism in fly fishing is that the reason there are so many flies is that they all work; despite all the hype surrounding this years "Hot Bugger."
    .. "Nez Perce Creek Is Open," which means that it is being totally ignored as fishers fill the parking lots, wide spots in the road, and not so wide spots in the road with an assortment of vacation vehicles.
    Phlox multiflora; Happening Right Now.
    .. Ringing cell phones are frequently heard above the cat-calls of photographers, ground squirrel spotters, and raven devotees. There are more elbows on the Firehole River than in line at a Walmart at Christmas Time.
    .. The "Religious Fisher Folk," are arriving by the truckload: having heard that the record runoff is beginning it's precipitous fall to below normal discharge.
    .. They are getting, while the getting is good. The wader-friendly lodging is all booked for the next 30 days. Madison Campground was full by 1:00 PM on Friday and 2:00 PM on Saturday.
    Fish Here:
    Easy Parking, Many Fish, No Cell Phones.
    .. Tarry not! Soon all the parking places and every inch of water will be infested with the "Angler Hatch." It's more amusing to watch than to participate in.
    .. Should you choose to do it by the numbers we recommend that you read the reports of the local and area feather merchants. They will tell you exactly where and when to fish. They will also tell you just the exact fly to use. They will even provide you with a friendly guide, (just freshly arrived from Andros Island, Belize, or the Green River,) so that you don't fish the wrong 100 square feet that's still available when you arrive on the Firehole River.
    .. Should you care to experience the wonders of Yellowstone National Park, and catch a few fish as well. we suggest that you explore the soft water, seams, undercuts & back eddies of places other than the "Holiest Of Waters."
    .. Grab a handful of generalized nymphs, dry flies, beetles, ants and attractors. Take them to a place where you can cast without removing the rug from the head of the fisher next to you. There are no secrets about fishing in Yellowstone. Just do what you would on any trout stream - you will catch fish. And, you will do it without the latest fly from some imaginative salesman.
    .. If you see bugs use something that looks like them. If you don't see bugs drown any fly and the fish will eat it. Most of the time!
    Midway Geyser Basin is always a fun place to watch wader-wetters flail away.