• Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Visit: Montana Cowgirl
  • 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.