• Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Wednesday, August 31, 2011


    It's Hopper Time
    and other such
    .. We're enjoying the warm days. It's finally below 80° F and pleasant again.
    .. We, like so many other fishers, remember a day or two when any hopper imitation cast anywhere in a stream drew blinding strikes from eager trout. We remember spectacular splashes and refusals that caused the world to move.
    .. We remember days when hoppers fell from the sky like so many hail stones in the golden meadows of many rivers. There were so many fish noses that we wondered where they were on other days.
    .. What we have chosen to forget is that there is a wealth of fish food right now; hoppers are only the most apparent. Beetles and ants and caddis are more abundant. And that's what the trout are eating.
    Mountain Pine Beetle - Trout Food
    .. We fish the hoppers, occasionally during the late afternoon. We fish drowned caddis and beetles more frequently. They catch fish.
    .. The neighbors are still practicing with their streamers. There are no verified reports of big lake-run trout. Nice resident fish are willing to take the streamers: bless their pea brained souls.
    .. The Madison River is being shunned by the knowledgeable fisher folk. That is just fine with us. There are lots of hoppers and mountain pine beetles there. There are, also, still fish in the river despite the considered opinion that it's not fishable right now. Flows are above seasonal averages and mornings and evenings are providing fish for the few neighbors that know the river.
    .. Until things get sorted out about the bear attack the whole Mary Mountain Trail is closed and that rules out Nez Perce Creek, for now. However, the Firehole River above the cascades is tree lined, cool and full of nicely colored Brook Trout; still begging for dance partners. Both Iron Spring Creek and the Little Firehole River have very substantial numbers of willing fish. Walk a way and catch some fish!
    .. It's time to catch the spinner fall at 7-mile bridge. Maybe there will be a neighbor there to help eat our pie.

    Monday, August 29, 2011


    It Don't Mean A Thing
    it's just a capricious mom
    Empty Bridge Over The Firehole River
    .. The colors are Autumn: the temperature is Summer. Grasshoppers are loving the brief pause in the steady temperature decline into Fall.
    Funny How They Look Gray From A Distance
    .. They get to warm up earlier in the day. They get to display their surprising colors for all to see. They get to fly in squadrons around the amber meadows. They get to feed more birds and fish. They just know how to  live. The hot interlude is just mom being a sad comedian.
    .. Fishing is still good in Yellowstone National Park. Terrestrials are claiming most of the attention from feather merchants and experts alike. Hoppers, ants, beetles, spiders, and sundry attractors are doing their thing as they entice fish to the hand.
    Closed Means Closed
    .. We headed to Nez Perce Creek in an effort to enjoy some solitude and cool water.
    .. Surprise! The bear is being persistent and the trails along the river have been closed. The crowds are gathering along the road and over the bridge. The bear is nonchalantly providing entertainment as it enjoys the cool water, abundant ants, hoppers, berries and beetles.
    .. For us, it's not a photo-op but rather a grave disappointment. We had to walk about twice the same distance up the Firehole River to find the cool water of the Little Firehole River.
    .. It's a chore for our legs and the reward, (besides the dances with trout,) was a visit with a neighbor who was bitterly whining about the same things that we were.
    .. Not a single fisher nor photographer that we talked to had bear spray. None considered themselves in any danger. None had heard of the recent death by bear. None could, apparently, read.
    .. It's a sad state of affairs when the illiterate masses with $4,000 cameras and $12,000 lenses can't read, and believe that the National Park Service is just a cartoon force. Believe it or don't: this IS bear country.
    Safety Tip: Put The Kids Between You And The Bear !
    .. Soda Butte Creek is attracting anglers without bear spray and, of course, the meadow bear is still there. Catching is very good on both Slough Creek and the Lamar River. Bugs is the fare when hatching. Terrestrials and attractors when no hatch is present. Sneaky and closed-mouth fisher folk are drowning big Woolly Buggers and Silli-Legs in the meadows of Slough Creek. We wonder why?
    .. Up on the Gallatin River the same critters are being gobbled by the bears and fish alike. It seems, right now, that any old attractor, (size 8 or smaller,) will take fish.
    .. There are three active bears along the Gallatin River inside Yellowstone National Park. Combine this fact with the interesting notion that only one feather merchant in town carries large canisters of bear spray. We wonder at the marketing forces at work given this condition.
    .. Bear spray costs about the same as two days worth of commercially tied flies. Unless you lose less than 5 per day. It also costs much less than a ride in a medivac helicopter. Enough of that!
    ..The mosquitoes of Bechler seem to have taken a break during this warm spell. Boundary Creek, the Bechler River, and several not-to-be-named tributaries in the Cascade Corner are getting a fair amount of attention from fisher folk. Flying ants and beetles seem to be the predominant offerings that are taking fish. Bless 'em all: we hope bear spray is in attendance for the dances.

    Thursday, August 25, 2011

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011

    Comings And Goings

    Mimicked By Itinerant Reporter
    such a glorious odyssey - we're jealous
    (All images deserve a click to see in grand scale !!)

    .. Lets see now: how 'bout we take a few months and fish all the good spots in Yellowstone National Park? Lets gather up the local experts from all the feather merchants and guides and outfitters and local characters and research biologists and have them show us the way to fish their rivers.
    .. Maybe we could interview the experts and find out the various ways to catch the wiley fish of Yellowstone.
    .. I'll bet that they will take us to some of the lesser known places and give us some insight into fishing trout water with the most unusual and spectacular scenery in the world.
    .. We could go to the Thorofare, back country lakes in the Gallatin Mountains, the full length of Slough Creek, 7-mile Hole, and streams with names that are only whispered.
    GRIZ - Soda Butte Creek Meadow
    .. We could catch all the species in the park under the most diverse conditions and in the most popular and the least known areas. That would be just alright with us.
    .. It's being done right now as you read this. Montana native son, Nate Schweber is doing it and making it seem easy.
    .. When not performing as the lead singer of the NEW HEATHENS he's a New York Times Reporter. When not doing those things he's in the Rocky Mountains fishing, (unless he's writing a book about beer and breweries!)
    .. He's been to: Pelican Creek, Duck Creek, Firehole River, Lamar River, Gallatin River, Tower Creek, Trout Lake, Yellowstone River, High Lake, Fan Lake, Fan Creek, Grebe Lake, Yellowstone Lake, Solfaterra Creek, Snake River, Madison River, Gibbon River, Slough Creek, Gardner River, and all the others that you've read and dreamed about. Tough work, but somebody has to do it.
    SPLASH DANCE - Trout Lake
    .. He's caught monster fish and baby fish. He's seen Yellowstone National Park like very few ever will. He's doing it now and we've followed the adventures on his blog - LINK.
    .. We suggest that you click on over and scan the posts for the last few months - if you can stand fish porn, travelogue, and some "Roots Rock" news. You can check his daily progress HERE.
    .. He's been kind enough to let us post some images from his odyssey - thanks Nate.
    P.S. the big rainbow on the Gallatin River was taken on a Caddis with prince dropper. You'll need to check his blog for the gory details.
    FINE SPOTS ?  -- The Yellowstone SLAM ??

    Monday, August 22, 2011

    The Last Days

    Contrarians Of The High Country
    neighbors are using streamers again
    .. It's a well known fact that it takes something special to live where winter outlasts summer by 90 days. The neighbors enjoy their weird predilection for salmon-like behavior.
    .. Just when grasshoppers, microscopic midges, Tricorythodes, and small black beetles are being espoused by experts & peddled by the local feather merchants; they drag out the rubber-legs & streamers.
    .. Fish the little flies and terrestrials if you choose: they work fine. But casting, working, retrieving, and back-stripping of streamers is a skill that takes some re-acquaintance for most folks. The neighbors are just getting a jump on the seasons and honing their skills, (and catching fish as a byproduct.)
    .. The nights are cool, (an occasional 30° F is seen,) the afternoon storms are regular and the rain is cold.
    .. Yellow and brown colors are gobbling up the vegetation in our neighborhood and leafy plants are sprouting curled and drying leaves.
    .. The berries are ripe and ready; currently being savored by bears and brave neighbors alike, (the crop is early, huge, and juicy this year - spread your own old wife's tale.)
    .. For those that need direction we suggest a squashed caddis imitation for the Spruce Moths on the Gallatin River, Madison River, Gibbon River, Nez Perce Creek, and the Firehole River.
    .. The fish in Soda Butte Creek are eating their usual assortment of beetles, spruce moths, drakes, and big nymphs. A Green Beetle followed by a Shop Vac should provide more dances than is seamly! Avoid the elbow ridden meadow section and fish the pockets and pools of the little canyons and incised stream course. The bears need warning so sing songs.
    .. Drag out your "A" game for Slough Creek. Drag out the big bugger box too. The hybridization of the native cutthroats does not seem to have 'dumbed-down' the cutbows. Slow drifted submerged flies, (near the grassy banks,) will catch some large fish - or scare them to the next pool.
    .. When the Baetis are up, the fish are a bit less selective but still not a push over. The latest rage on Slough Creek is to squeeze a foam bobber over the first hook and follow it with a Bead Head Nymph, (your choice.)
    .. The thundershowers are keeping the Lamar River in flux. When there's no mud and a hatch it may be the best attractor dry fly fishing in the park.
    .. If there's a bit of color haul out the heavy artillery and sink a bugger and hang on. The continuous freshets have kept groceries at a high level in the river.
    .. The short canyon section is known for bruisers this time of year. Be congenial and swap ring tones with the other 2,000 fishers in this short stretch.
    .. The Notellum River, just outside of West Yellowstone has been getting very little attention this season. That's just fine with us. The Bridge Run, and the Esses are full of fish that are outsized for the little stream - they're lonely and need some company from the neighbors. Streamers and Snortle's are getting plenty of action near both the paved road and the county road. The recently closed USFS road has been mysteriously reopened, just in time for bow hunting season.
    .. Catching is good right now, and promises to get better as the cool weather persists. The timely thundershowers will only keep you and your lightening rod off the rivers for a few minutes each afternoon. Take the opportunity for a bit of Havana and some amber liquids before dinner.
    (Note: no foot path here.)

    Sunday, August 21, 2011

    A Word From Our Sponser

    LPFM Station Broadcasts Old Shows
    .. It's range is just a neighborhood thing, (most of the town,) but we like the novelty of it all. At 3 AM it's good company to the first cup of coffee.
    .. The fish are jumping into the neighbors' waders on the Gallatin River. More tonight.

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    Gone Wanting

    Unloved & Ignored
    we'll take 'em
    .. We've been told, (and we believe it,) that trout love water with a high oxygen content. We've also been told that trout like to wait in slow water adjacent to fast food-laden water, (we believe that too.)
    .. Culverts and bridges provide places for trout that like to wait in slow, oxygenated water, and nip some morsels from a smorgasbord sailing by their position. We believe that as well. So, we fish them.
    .. There are many culverts and several bridges in Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding neighborhood that we visit on a regular basis. Seldom do we not catch a fish or two, (or more.) It's almost too easy.
    .. The dark water is easily seen. The fast water is well defined. Sun and shadow changes throughout the day so we need to note that. Fish 'hides' are present in abundance.
    .. Because of the concentrated streams of water, channels from the high-water periods are persistent and regular. Talk about fish in a barrel. It's just too easy for the purist seeking to match wits with a pea-brained fish.
    .. Stream and river banks on both the upstream and downstream areas are usually stabilized with concrete or rip-rap.  This makes the hides and cover persistent. This is convenient for both the fish and the angler.
    .. The water columns present a variety of foodstuffs and the trout will gobble many different things in a feeding session. Beetles, ants, neotenous aquatic forms, adult aquatic forms, terrestrials of all sorts, sticks, twigs, clumps of sand grains, etc.
    .. Infrequently the trout will even rise to the surface and pluck lovely floating stuff from the surface. Sometimes it's digestible.
    .. Because of the diversity of waters and the concentration of food, there are fish of all sizes to be found. The bruisers are where you'd expect them to be. The dinkers are there too. Frequently there are monsters in 3" to 8" of water. Bless their little pea brains, they give us a fright when they take our errant casts.
    .. Cars, trucks, buses, motorpickles, bicycles, skateboards, and other sundry vehicles pass by these glorious catching places without a second thought. Probably without a first thought.
    .. This is not the "postcard fishing experience" touted by advocates of our region and the feather merchants. It's a real-life, loud noisy, occasionally stinky, catching extravaganza. It appeals to us because we can walk to the fish with little or no effort, and they reward us with dances.
    .. We mention these structures a couple of times each year. They are still abandoned when we visit them. The fish are lonely and forlorn because no one wants to play with them. We happily comply with their wishes: there's nothing so frustrating as a sulking fish!

    Monday, August 15, 2011

    It's In The Air

    Sleep With The Windows Open
    the rain is getting colder
    August 14, 2011 - TAKE THE HINT
    .. The signs are all around us. Bow hunters are checking strings, heads and fletching. Boom hunters are cleaning and loading. The grasshoppers have wings. The meadow grasses are drying and beginning their descent into straw. The neighbors are talking about good sleeping weather. This morning's shower was cold and refreshing. We're taking bets on the date of the first snowfall.
    .. Abbreviated warm and extended cold is the measure of the seasons in the high country. We're looking forward to the anticipated glorious Autumn. We've scouted the big holes and parking places for the fall-run submarines.
    .. We've noted the phenomenal density of ripening berries, (places to avoid in the upcoming weeks.) And we're using the last few warm days to catch some fish in all the familiar, (and less familiar,) places.
    .. Catching is still good. We've not much to add about it except that a venture to Winter Creek will prove rewarding. So too, will a stroll down the path at Tower Falls. The "other" gulpers, those at Grebe Lake and the Duck Creek estuary are making their appearance now. Oh, by the way, Soda Butte Creek is on fire with hoppers and beetles.
    .. We've not mentioned our idiosyncratic predilection for fishing some interesting structures in and around the neighborhood. We'll let you know about that in a day or two. Right now there is a Trico hatch on the cooling Madison River that the fish have finally discovered  --  SURPRISE!
    .. We're headed there instantly, now that the second pot of coffee is gone, the stomach is in rebellion.

    Saturday, August 13, 2011

    All's Well

    The Fish Are Ravenous
    catch 'em all day on the gallatin
    .. Better late than never is what the neighbors are chanting. The high and cold water is a memory. The bank-hugging fish have moved into mid-stream feeding lanes. It's now possible to wet your waders with a reason. Catching is good on all west side rivers, (even the hot one.)
    .. Flows persist above seasonal averages and temperatures of the waters are very cool in the mornings and evenings. The "perfect" weather includes a few afternoon thundershowers that punctuate the mid-day warming and the little freshets from the tributaries are keeping good grits flowing into the main streams.
    .. The neighbors have noted that the first signs of Fall include winged grasshoppers, enormous berry crops, wrinkled willow leaves, curled aspen leaves, and the reduction in numbers of the hoards of school children splashing in the streams. It's all good.
    .. The Gallatin River is the local magnet for catching oriented fishers. Generalized surface offerings of the "slightly too big" variety are dragging them in. Hopper / Dropper rigs are much in use, and even small streamers in the the dark water are galling some big fish between Snowflake Springs and Black Butte.
    .. Experts have abandoned the Firehole River because "it's too hot." Just six weeks ago they were praising the 64° F water as perfect. Well now Ethel, it's 64° for a few hours in the morning and evenings. Caddis are busting out all over.
    .. The same story holds true on the Madison River. If you must catch a fish on the surface take a size 10 Adams and aim at the noses in the foam lines. Should your purist tendencies be lagging a double nymph rig will suffice. Try a size 10 or 12 Prince Nymph followed by a size 16 Shop Vac.
    .. Nez Perce Creek, Iron Spring Creek, and the Little Firehole are all full of fish just begging to be caught with such mundane flies as Scarlet Humpy, Royal Coachman, Adams, and Hendrickson. Fish the local exotics if you choose, but the neighbors are fishing the old stand-by's.
    .. A pleasant surprise in this high water year is the population of catchable fish in the waters of Solfaterra Creek above the Norris Campground. The moose and the bears are not too much of a problem right now but well-armed anglers have a canister of bear spray in their hand anyway!
    .. We should point out that the upper Gibbon River meadows (both big and little,) are finally fishing just fine. Catching is the reward for stealth anglers in the big meadows. Numbers is the name of the game in the small meadows and the tangle along the way to Grebe Lake. We usually take the long way in and the short way out.
    .. We finally made it to Obsidian Creek. The residents were so glad to see us that they ate anything we offered - up to a size 8 Renegade, on the surface. Small San Juan Worms along with sparsely tied Pheasant Tail Nymphs were dyn-o-mite in the water column,
    .. Well, the mid-day warm is about over and it's back to the water for us. The gulpers of Hebgen Lake are finally about everywhere. It's taken an extra week or so this year. The faithful have been chasing the bugs and fish from weed bed to weed bed. Now just about all weeds are giving up the bug feast we've been waiting for.

    Sunday, August 07, 2011

    GO FAAAST !!!

    12 Cylinder Lincoln Zephyr
    In A Chopped, Channeled, Hammered Deuce Coupe

    .. It's all over. Report Tomorrow.

    Saturday, August 06, 2011

    The Good Life

    Prancing Horse Fly Fisher
    Visits West Yellowstone

    Friday, August 05, 2011

    Wee Paws 4 Kawz

    Beautiful Cartoons
    yesterday is always best
    {brief fishing report too}
    .. For 41 years straight auto enthusiasts have made West Yellowstone the terminal destination for a mid summer migration. Fishing is in the rumble seat for a couple of days as we participate in the ritual.
    .. The contemporary migrants with these beauties are of the same geriatric generation that tends to dominate the demographics of contemporary fly fishing. They are filthy rich very affluent well to do aging males with a passion for capturing a dream.
    .. The vehicles are no longer the HOT RODS of bygone days. They are cartoons, nay, caricatures of a real or imagined ideal. They are beautiful and perfect in their own right.
    .. The initial American Hot Rod Era was a very brief post WWII phenomenon that was truncated when Detroit discovered the popular passion for street speed and performance. For a very short time the amateur ruled in creativity, imagination, and performance.
    .. The vehicles that are descending on our little town recall, but do not recreate that era. They are built or bought to fulfill some vision of a bygone time. They are full of modern technology. They are contemporary products that could never have been imagined in 1946. They are used for a myriad of social purposes never dreamed of in 1951.
    .. These are vehicles that are owned and driven by an age-grade of citizens that was shunned by the current members when they themselves were young.
    .. There is a lovely pathos present in this ritual. It evokes memories, dreams, situations and times that have become dim with the passage of decades. It is a ritual that is part recreation and part reenactment of an era that lives in American folklore.
    .. The participants gather together. They no longer are vibrant teenagers seeking speed and performance from their daily drivers. They are not young combatants from a recently terminated world war that invented or innovated a better manifold, front axle, or muffler.
    .. Today they wear designer togs and eschew tattered work clothing for contemporary imported styles. They buy pieces and parts from specialty manufacturers and assemble them into dream machines; painted with paint and in colors that have come straight from their long gone wet dreams.
    .. The vehicles, in and of themselves, are works of art. They are beautiful, sleek, slick, perfect, and tuned with money that was not available for such things during those decades long past. They are a celebration of what should have been - OR - what could only have been dreamed of. They are what we thought we wanted. They are what we pretended was an ideal to be achieved.
    .. They are brought together in a fashion that would never have happened 60 years ago. They are pampered, polished, fondled, and stroked, rather than driven. Many are towed on trailers to the appointed destination and then babied into the correctness of stance for admiration.
    .. Ah, such is the state of these beautiful beasts. Their function has metamorphosed along with their owners. No longer do they rumble and roar and instill fear in a sane public. No longer do they get driven on a daily basis. No longer are they constantly changing and being "tinkered with." No longer are they used to embarrass the local constabulary in a high-speed chase.
    .. Now they are reminders of a recent past that becomes embellished and augmented with the retelling of tales that never were and probably never could have been.
    .. The HOT ROD of today is a "TUNER." It's built in Asia or America has far too few cylinders, whines instead of roars, and is driven by youngsters that one day, themselves, may become portly, pudgy, and ponderous. Their cars are nimble, quick, full of contemporary technology and serve the dual purpose of daily transportation and occasional reckless recreation. Perhaps their drivers will recreate their dreams 60 years hence. Perhaps not.
    .. Should you choose to fish rather than admire the sculptures, there are great possibilities in the neighborhood.
    ==> Obsidian Creek will yield eager Brookies to any properly presented attractor on the surface and most nymphs dangled below a bobber,
    ==> The lowland Madison River is fishing as it should have last month. Little nymphs such as the Shop Vac will be just fine,
    ==> The Gallatin River is a dream fishery right now. Use an Elk Hair Caddis followed by a Prince Nymph everywhere,
    ==> The Firehole River is a marginal bet for great catching but fish it if you must,
    ==> Nez Perce Creek above the first thermal area is going like gang busters right now, attractors of any sort on or in the water will suffice,
    ==> The big meadows on the Gibbon River are still productive for the accomplished fish stalker, the little meadows above the cascades are a better bet for fun catching,
    ==> Slough Creek is dead-nuts ripe and will provide good catching all day on nymphs and on the surface for those that need to see their fly,
    ==> Ignore the experts and fish the colored water of Soda Butte Creek you'll be the first to be bragging about the size of the fish. Avoid the confluence meadows and wander in the narrow sections seeking bears and brutish fish.