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

    Thursday, July 28, 2011

    The Snortle Strikes

    Seek 'Em With A Snortle
    fish seem to eat when they can
    .. The gulpers are gulping. Not quite like Pac-Man yet but persistent and consistent. Hebgen Lake is drawing the faithful with increasing regularity.
    .. The Callibaetis are here and Trico clouds are small but regular. It's a bit different this year. The weed beds are covered by more water than in the recent past.
    .. Light is penetrating the water just fine but, the Pac-Fish action is just now becoming apparent. This is probably because weed beds are just a bit deep for the sensitive bugs that inhabit them to be awakened by the requisite photo-period for maximum intense activity.
    .. The wind has been coming on strong a skosh early too. So action is truncated by less than desirable conditions earlier in the mid morning than most fishers would like.
    .. All-in-all things are proceeding apace with near normality and should develop into the feeding frenzy we're familiar with in the next 5 - 10 days. If you should find a weed bed at the right depth, you will be blessed with gulping action that is superb. Right now the key is water depth. Gulping is not lake-wide - YET!
    .. All is not lost if the gulpers abandon the surface. Stay with your selected weed forest and go down. Traditionally, the neighbors use small buggers, leeches, and the local favorite the Snortle.
    --The Snortle, (spelling can vary,) is a typical silli-legs pattern that is tied variously by different artisans. The recipe for the one shown above is:
    Tail: 2 silli-legs about the length of the hook,
    Body: peach Antron ribbed with scarlet Antron twisted on top,
    Thorax: coarse hare's mask with two pair of silli-legs,
    Hook size: 8, (unusual,) to 14, (a tough proposition.)
    .. The most common variation is like the standard variety with black wool yarn substituted for the scarlet Antron. Some of the neighbors use a copper or lead wire under-body.
    .. The fly is fished on a short, (5 or 6 foot leader and counted down to the weed tops or sides of the subterranean forest. A slow herky-jerky retrieve is the common action used. Brave and intrepid fishers let it sink into the edge of a weed bed and retrieve with a 2" - 3" motion with a 5 or 6 second pause in between.

    Wednesday, July 27, 2011

    Tuesday, July 26, 2011


    ONLY 4" TO GO
    Only 2899.2 Acre Feet Left
    inflow = 1564.2 cfs
    outflow = 1170.7 cfs
    .. It's true. The pool of Hebgen Reservoir is just 4" from being full.
    .. Folks are skiing where they haven't skied in years. Fishers are fishing in wonderfully strange and unusual places. The weed beds are covered with more water than is usual for this time of year.
    .. What's that mean for gulpers? Stay tuned.

    Those Other Terrestrials

    For Now
    use these
    .. You saw them here first.
    .. The spruce moth and beetle invasion is on. All along the Madison River, and on the Gibbon River, and especially on the Gallatin River, it's time to use these other terrestrials.
    .. They're here in numbers that the fish understand. Even the large fish. Even in bright sun.
    .. These bugs are now on the diet of any self respecting trout. They are a bag of groceries just waiting to be ingested. Give the fish a chance with your best imitation. You will be rewarded.
    .. Gulper Report and Gallatin River secrets tomorrow; if we can fit it in. Where's Nate?

    Friday, July 22, 2011

    Say What ?

    It's Been Some Time
    the cicada visitation

    .. The neighbors and ever-alert guides from around here have noticed an increase in the cicada population. So? Fish eat them when they can. And, now they can!
    .. We were alerted to the increase in these hoary bugs by long-time fly fishing guide Chris Herpin, who hoarsely whispered in our ear - "I don't know that I should tell you this, BUT, there are more cicadas this year than even you have ever seen!"
    .. Often you won't see the big bugs but you will hear them. The launch ramps and lunch spots on the lowland Madison River are full of the song of the cicada.
    Click on the player to hear the song.
    Image of CicadasFromMontana CM020501
     .. The cicadas of Montana hatch every year. They sing and chirp and get eaten by fish with a gusto that would make a starving Pit Bull envious. You can read about the impending invasion HERE.
    .. Chris did not reveal the flies he was using to woo the big trout on the river. He did note that nary a fly shop in the area had any cicada imitations for sale. He did say that there are some patterns in the competent fisher's boxes that will do. But there is a secret pattern making the rounds in the musty dark corners of the local pubs.
    .. Should you see a group of dripping souls huddled together in out of the way places it might be a sagacious act to eavesdrop on their whispered conversation. If it's not about sex, or beer, or gas prices; it's probably about how to tie the lace-winged-wonder-pattern that takes big trout faster than a speeding minnow.
    .. The fly is large, (cicadas can be 2" long.) The fly is light and casts like a dream. The fly is easy to tie and is being banged out by the virtuoso fluff artisans in town. So far we've offered bribes of significant dimensions and substance but there's no headway being made on that front.
    .. Mr. Herpin suggested that there are some things that are best left unsaid and mysterious. We badgered him for a good 20 minutes but received no coherent responses. He left our presence muttering and mumbling about grizzled old farts and something called a "MEGAFUGLY." At least that's what it sounded like to our wax-laden ears.
    .. Local recipe and variations RIGHTCHERE.

    Deal Of The Century ?

    Yellowstone By Horse
    with real fishing guides
    .. Just a quick note: hit the leather for quietude & fish. We've noticed a genuine constipation of fisher folks on the streams and rivers of Yellowstone National Park.
    .. The high water this year has concentrated the fish and their followers into small knots of writhing and flailing masses, (both on shore and in the water.)
    .. One of our neighbors offers a chance to get away from the endless parade of drift boats, or the social morass of congenial fishing frenzy on our regional waters.
    .. Yellowstone Mountain Guides can get you away from the crowds and into the fish for less than the price of the waders you love so much. CLICK HERE TO SEE HOW.

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

    Worth The Walk ??

    You Need Young Legs
    camp with the grizzly

    .. The secret is out. There are big Yellowstone Cutthroat to be caught. You can walk to this fishing hole.
    .. You can cast from shore. And, you will release them swiftly. We won't tell, but you can read about it HERE.

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

    Gulpers & Gulpers

    Others Nearly Unknown
    it's heating up now
    .. The world famous gulper action of HEBGEN LAKE has started in earnest.The far less famous gulper action at the neighborhood's secret spot has also started.
    .. Calibaetis is the word on every pub-crawler's lips. It's whispered and shouted. It's the critter that's praised and cursed. They have been here for a couple of weeks, but their numbers have finally reached heroic proportions. They're everywhere.
    .. The weed beds and soft bottom areas of Hebgen Lake produce prodigious numbers of these big-eyed bugs.
    .. They appear at mid morning and the lake erupts with the dimples of fish noses. On the best mornings, (bright, still, warm, and the fog just cleared,) you can hear the slurping from all sides. Popcorn comes to mind, (but it's not nearly so prolific and is much louder.)
    .. Near shore and adjacent to some tributaries and springs there is frequently a second hatch of trico's. The males hatch in the evening and hang out in the weeds and trees until morning when the females hatch and take wing. The clouds of diminutive bugs are sometimes thick enough to obscure the trees and willows.
    .. Several times during the next few weeks these monster hatches will occur. When it happens, (and it's a spectacle to behold,) catching is hampered by the sheer quantity of bugs. The trout just rise and gulp and rise and gulp and the gulping of your fly is a statistical event.
    .. It's a little easier at the neighborhood hole. It's a smaller area. There's just a mite fewer bugs. Casting from shore is possible. The trout see your fly as an individual entity. Catching is glorious.
    .. Sometimes the fish are more or less selective during the monster hatches. Other times they seem to be very indiscriminate. Fly offerings are usually best presented on the surface. Sometimes, cagy anglers, will present both imitations.
    .. The feeding frenzy can last for up to four hours, but taking of fish can continue to the early afternoon over some weed beds. Bring your sunscreen and wide-brimmed hat.
    .. There are various local favorites for flies. There are standard patterns as well. We have a large selection of OPF's that we tie on. The small ones are kindly tied on 6x tippets by the dexterous neighbors whose eyes are better than ours.
    ..There are several places at Hebgen Lake where the weed beds are near enough to the shore that gulpers can be taken by wading into the lake.
    .. Mostly this is a tube or boat proposition. Gentle presentations, sharp eyes, patience, and a smattering of good luck are all rewarded with fish bigger than the net you wear while "stylin' " on the streams.
    .. Local knowledge is not necessary but a morning with a good guide will prepare you for a lifetime of spectacular catching. Get here now - or wait a week or two. It won't matter. They are here and it's worth the fishing -- if just for the catching.
    .. The image below is from a very interesting site "Harvey's Spiders N Stuff."  Click HERE for more great images and a bit of information as well.

    Tuesday, July 19, 2011

    Nifty Technology

    Better Than "Where's Waldo ?"
    jealously makes us droll

    .. There's a Montana born fly fisher wandering around Yellowstone National Park and fishing all the "good" places. He's taking two months and letting the devil take the hindmost.
    .. Attached to his person, (we did not ask where,) is a device called THE SPOT.  This nifty gizmo allows any smart phone to become a satellite transmitter. Use it for safety reasons, use it for social networking, use it for custom emails, use it for an S.O.S. signal, or use it to track progress of trekking and adventuring, (or even fly fishing.)
    .. You can track the progress of this famous intrepid fly fisher, (he's in the Thorofare Region right now,) by going to the map site with his latest location - HERE.
    .. We want one. It only costs $169.00. This is more than just a spiffy trinket; it's an honest-to-goodness safety device. More, we want the legs to get there and fish for the wonderful eager and willing trout that are off the beaten path. Lucky fellow, great technology.

    Monday, July 18, 2011

    Takin' It Easy

    Fish A Little
    play a lot
    Firehole Follies
    .. Despite the warped psyche of Yellowstone's visiting fly flayers, there's more to the park than trout. There are wonders to behold, adventures to partake of, and gentle lolling about to be done.
    .. There's wading without waders, there's sight seeing, there's picnicking, there's flower finding, there's animal gawking, there's photo taking and there's just plain relaxing in spectacular, (and very crowded,) scenery.
    Two-handed mid-air mend
    .. There's even kid fishing and kid swimming and kid frolicking. There's the beautiful roar of diesel buses and the staccato bark of big twin motorcycles.
    .. There's the the gentle giggle of picnicking teen-aged girls and roaring guffaws of the boys that are strutting and posing for them. This is a spectacle like none other on earth.
    .. All this is secondary, (or even a nuisance,) for those that see Yellowstone National Park as some sort of holy tabernacle for catch and torture fly fishing.
    .. The fishing is good, (but not 'the best',) and the surroundings are wondrous to behold. Sadly there are fishers who behold only water and bits of fluff.
    .. There's even fondling and smooching, (and not of fish.) There's cuddling, stroking, sharing, whispering, and commiserating. There's a world of activity that has more to do with the park than the fish.
    .. It's a place where words fail; when you think about it. Yet for a very small segment of the visiting public it's only a place to fish. So sad.
    .. It's finally "High Summer" in Yellowstone Park and time to take it easy. There is fishing and catching to be had. But there's so much more.
    .. Should you choose to fish to the exclusion of the rest of Yellowstone. Or should you choose to absorb the park through a 'windshield survey,' you've missed quite a bit.
    .. This is a place where thermophiles hint at the origin of life. This is a place sitting on top of one of the worlds largest active volcanoes.
    Picnic In The Park
    .. This is a place where grizzles roam, elk bugle, bison battle, and geysers erupt with amazing frequency and regularity.
    .. This is a place where mud boils, sulfur permeates the air, and boiling pools are colored with the vibrancy of a child's coloring book. It would be a shame to miss all that and more.
    .. Right now, fish in the west side streams can be caught with just a single fly. Or three if you're picky. Fish can be caught without getting in the water. Fish can be caught at midday, morning, afternoon, and evening. But if you spend all that time fishing and catching you will have missed Yellowstone.
    Fish Food
    .. Miss it if you must! Right now the Firehole River is at it's Summer tipping point. Temperatures are climbing and the fish are taking it easy. There's caddis around in the morning. The fish are eating them. We suggest that you just leave them be.
    .. The Madison River is providing excellent catching all day long. A caddis imitation of some sort will work for most situations.
    .. Put a dozen sinking and floating flies in a 35mm film canister and leave your waders at home. Walk around and enjoy the park - fish a little too. Wade wet, you won't shrink or melt.
    .. Nez Perce Creek provides thermal areas, bears, bison, marmots, and fish. It's a nice walk. Keep your eyes open and the bear spray in your hand. Caddis work here; particularly the sinking kind.
    One small corner of the park
    .. The Gibbon River is doing better than the glory waters of the western park. If you don't want to use a caddis imitation try any thing that looks like fish food.
    .. Nothing too small right now. Royal Coachman and Goofus Bugs are taking fish on the top. Prince Nymphs down and deep. There are some pretty good hatches of mayflies in the big meadows. They are big and sorta brownish. Fish are eating them when they are around.
    .. Fan Creek is finally coming around and is just the color of dirty dish water. Your favorite attractors will work here along with the caddis.
    .. The Gallatin River has finally bloomed. PMD's, little stoneflies, (nymphs,) and two or three kinds of caddis are all in the offing.
    .. Summer will be gone in little less than a month. Autumn will last for the five weeks after that.  Right now it's time to avoid the heatwave, enjoy the scenery and take your catching as it comes along.

    Sunday, July 17, 2011

    Monster Cutthroats

    Happening Right Now
    no wading necessary
    .. Should you care to walk about a 1/2 mile, there are some fine fish in a little hatchery pond in the northeast corner of Yellowstone National Park. The hatchery is gone but the fish are there and just waiting for dance partners.
    .. Spawning should be done but the action isn't. Enjoy the scenery and stroll around the lake. For more music from Nate Schweber, click HERE.
    .. For complete information about Nate's wonderful Yellowstone Fishing Adventures click HERE.

    Friday, July 15, 2011

    The Ides Of July

    But Much Of It Is
    seek and ye shall find
    .. It's impossible to see the fish under Fishing Bridge. We're not even sure that they are under the bridge. Boaters on the lake report that there is a silt plume that describes a river course through much of the lake. Pelican Island looks like several clumps of trees in the water.
    .. This is the time to NOT FISH the Yellowstone River. But folks will!
    .. The discharge from Yellowstone Lake is leveling at about 9,300 cfs. That's right at 5,000 cfs above the seasonal norm. It's nearly 2,000 cfs above historically record rates for the last week. That's a lot of water!
    .. Discharge on the Firehole River is descending toward it's seasonal flow. Temperatures are ascending toward their seasonal highs.  Mid day spikes are already at 74° F.
    .. The Gibbon River is a mere 120 cfs above seasonal rates and is clearing rapidly. There are still some large bugs around and some mid day caddis. The big meadows are drying, the bison are grazing, and the mosquitoes are buzzing. Stalking and crawling is better than wading --  but only if you want to catch fish.
    .. The Lamar River is at it's seasonal high and is continuing it's Jekyll & Hyde phase by responding to local thunderstorms with lovely colors of brown and puce mud. Soda Butte Creek is slowing just a tad but is still best fished above Ice Box Canyon.
    .. The Madison River is high, quick, and clear. 300 cfs above seasonal discharge is easily handled by the moderately incised channel of the river and fishing is good and some fishers report that it's as good as it gets.
    .. The Gallatin River is still a rampaging storm of water but is clearing. Some of the higher tributaries that we usually look to this time of year are still muddy - or worse. Above the Bighorn Trailhead there are some "Ant-Eating Fish." Bacon Rind Creek is still high and colored, but the first meadow is holding some hold-over spawners. We have it on good authority that it's a good seven mile walk to get out of the chocolate milk on Fan Creek.
    .. The Gardner River is high, roiling, & surprisingly clear below Boiling River: the catching is good. There are big bugs and hearty souls that fish among the boulders.
    .. Grebe Lake is doing nicely, thank you. Take a leech and find some Grayling. These pretty little fish are very willing right now. The mosquitoes are not too bad. If you weigh more than about 200 pounds they won't be able to carry you home to the kids for a snack.
    .. The Lewis River can be had. It's still big for this time of year but the bank-holding fish right at the plunge pool are starved for attention and for food. Help them out. Just above the falls is doing pretty well too.
    .. So, on the Ides of July, where's a fisher to go? What's a fisher to use? Fish the Madison River all day. Slow water and foam-line drift a spinner in the morning, fish big and ugly down deep in the noon day sun. Carry your caddis / miller / hopper-box for late afternoon and evening. The little hoppers have entered their second molt and don't fly real good yet.
    .. Fish the Firehole River from sun up 'til 11:00 AM, if you must. A double nymph rig with the upper floating and fuzzy will be all you need. In the evening the caddis are becoming overwhelming. You can get on the river about 5:00 PM and wander around. Watch the banks and sink one too.
    .. There's bears and moose all over Duck Creek. If they don't get you the mosquitoes will. There are fish. There are willing fish. There are easily caught fish. There are hazards. You should have two canisters of bear spray and sharp eyes. Please obey the closure rules if you try this.
    .. The bodacious and willing Brook Trout of the upper Firehole River have come alive. The are "getting air" as would a 14-year-old skateboard champ. They eat anything and everything that will fit in their mouth. They will strike at much bigger offerings. This section of the river should be banned for fishing - it's too easy. Just above the southern closure bridge, down in that little canyon that you said you'd fish someday, is a population of unmolested logs. Its only a 1/4 mile down to the fish. It's about 3 miles back up the steep sides. Legs are required to score here.
    .. We say this quietly: Nez Perce Creek is full of fish that have run away from the high water in the Firehole River. Walk just a bit, beware of bears, wolves, moose and mosquitoes. Stay on the trails and don't fall through the thin crust of the thermal areas. Catch a few fish on anything that floats, or sinks.
    .. The Little Firehole River, Iron Spring Creek, and the plunge pool at Fairy Falls all have fish waiting for your visitation. Treat them gently in this time of stress.