• Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Monday, September 26, 2011

    At Our Door

    Affliction is a treasure,
    and scarce any man hath enough of it.
    . . . John Donne
    .. Our afflictions are commonplace and numerous: dim vision, shaking hands, wobbly legs, drooping girth, fallen arches, hair migrating from head to ears and nose and shoulders, poor digestion, occasional evacuation, addled memory, fondness for Mozart - Dorsey - Morrison, and eternal optimism. EGAD, what a mess. Still we continue to flail away at mysterious waters as if we would succeed at the game.
    .. Success now is just getting there and doing it. We did it yesterday. We succeed. And we walked just 15 feet from the car door to the water and caught some fish. There were no other fishers. There were a couple of teenaged kids on horses. We chatted.
    .. They galloped across our favorite bridge and sent the fish scurrying to new hides and holes. We watched and stalked and caught - blessed be the exuberance of youth.
    .. The midday sun drove us from the water and we sought solace in a cool dim pub. We gathered information about the best places and the best flies. All has been appropriately filed. It's impertinent. We seldom tread in others footfalls.
    .. Big fish are in the Madison River System. Hmmm, happens every year about this time.  Terrestrials are working wonders on the Gallatin River. Hmmm, ditto. The cooling Firehole River is belching forth prodigious quantities of caddis and other aquatic flies. Hmmm, ditto. Nez Perce Creek is now open along the riverside trail for 5 miles. Fish are following the cooling water both up and down it's length. Hmmm, ditto.
    .. There are no less than two dozen tributaries to the Madison River System above Hebgen Dam that have "Ghost Runs" of spawning fish. They seldom see a fisher. Hmmm, ditto.
    .. By the way, took a 22" buck brown trout on an isolated stretch of an unnamed tributary. The water was, at best, 14" deep. Our afflictions demanded we fish here. Hmmm!
    ..Didn't bother to squeeze it's guts for the camera.

    Sunday, September 25, 2011

    A Different Drum

    There's A Lot Of It
    mostly it's very small
    .. We are headed out to avoid big fish fishers. The visitors are still thick as . . . .
    .. The weather is too warm for fishers but the visitors are loving the bright days, cool nights, and the missing thunderstorms of Autumn. We're not too disappointed either. And, some a few big fish are being caught.
    .. Just up the road there's a bit of water that's infested with small fish, weed beds, cool temperatures, and bears & berries.
    .. We're armed and ready for a bit of non-congenial, anti-social, cell-phone-less, fishing. Perhaps the catching will be good too.
    .. The neighborhood kids tied a bunch of minuscule scraps of fluff on some tippet material for me and suggested that it would work if I  could see well enough to get the knots right. We'll see! Report to follow.

    Monday, September 19, 2011

    Sbmarine Sightings


    On This
    .. Try this at home! A standard Woolly Bugger with a two-toned tail and a two-toned hackle over a fuzzy mustard colored chenille that is under-weighted with fat copper wire and scrubbed to within an inch of it's life with a stiff toothbrush, size 4 streamer hook or 6 2xl will do.

    Sunday, September 18, 2011

    Go Low

    Down In The Valley
    hoppers & droppers reign
    .. Up toward Mammoth in the lower elevations of  rivers, that we seldom visit, there are eager fish waiting for adventurous anglers willing to wander among cobbles and boulders in order to dance with trout.
    .. The Trout Whisperers of the civilized corner of Yellowstone National Park are dragging in fish with conventional rigs and no secret flies.
    .. By avoiding the big fish syndrome and fishing on the Gardner River or Yellowstone River anglers are having great catching success.
    .. Depending on the locale, it's hopper-dropper or attractor or big-n-ugly. Fish are moving around and upstream. They eat and run and it is useful to cover a lot of water and fish all the apparent and less apparent places. The little darlings are very active right now.
    .. Closer to home, the Madison River is seeing an influx of head hunters and submarine chasers. There are even folks with huge Spey Rods seeking the denizens from Hebgen Lake.
    .. Some of these fishers are just getting an aerobic workout - others are catching a few fish. One thing for sure, they move the elbows out of the way with their flailing on the river.
    .. The resident fish are taking some of the big flies and disappointed expletives are ringing through the incised stream courses as fishers set themselves up for disappointment by targeting the very few runners in the system. They'll be here in numbers soon enough.
    .. Big-n-ugly seems to be on the end of most rods along the Madison right now. The mindset seems to be that it can do no harm.
    .. Meanwhile the caddis have fired up on the Firehole River and also on the Gallatin River. Neither of these two rivers require a Spey Rod and neither is crowded right now.
    ..It's time for huevos rancheros and some hot chocolate - the second pot of coffee is gone. The neighbors make a killer salsa and we're invited.

    Friday, September 16, 2011

    Like So . . .



    .. Gotta go!

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    Return To Fall

    Colors Are Fine
    nights are getting cooler
    .. Despite the salubrious daytime temperatures it's Fall in Yellowstone Country.
    .. The golden meadows and cool evenings summon us to bits of water not visited for a couple of months. The Firehole River has, again, become a catching destination.
    .. There are fewer elbows on the river right now. There are, however, massive numbers of voyeurs encircling the meadows as the testosterone laden elk begin their Autumn shenanigans. There are also creative parking geniuses along all the roads: and all is well with the world.
    .. Evening caddis fishing truncates the mid day terrestrial frenzy at about 6:00 PM. A few Baetids have been spotted after the brief but intensive thundershowers.
    .. Zipper-legged pants, pastel shirts, and $200 fishing vests are sprouting like winter wheat along the banks of the river. Fisher density will increase for the next week or so as word spreads.
    .. We'll let you know when the density of mayflies hits a level that allows even us to fish a dry.
    .. More later.

    Saturday, September 10, 2011

    Coming 'Round

    Maybe Yes, Maybe No
    lovely days for fishing - and catching
    .. The weather is perfect. For most folks a thundershower is a nuisance. For the Fall visitors to our neighborhood the overcast days and cool evenings come as a surprise. For fisher folks it's a beautiful blessing. We're loving it.
    .. The rumors and verification of lake-run fish in the rivers and streams around Hebgen Reservoir are pregnant with anticipation. There are big fish being caught, (a few.) There are brightly colored fish being caught, (god bless PhotoShop.) Fisher folks want giant fish: it's a disease.
    ..  There's no doubt that anticipation and desire often trump actualization and fulfillment in the game of fishing for runners on the Madison River. Fishing is one thing. Fishing for runners is another. The mindset often destroys a lovely day on the water.
    .. Right now the fishing and catching in the neighborhood is very good. The fall feeding frenzy is on. Waters have cooled, flows have been maintained, rains bring oxygen and nitrogen to the rivers, and the fish are exuberant and frisky. What's not to like?
    .. A few of the neighbors are happy to take 5 - 10 fish an hour - no matter what their size. A few of the neighbors take 40 - 50 small Brookies in an evening and fry them up for dinner. They are happy and content.
    .. Others with the same experiences feel disappointed because they could not exhaust & molest a giant fish; then remove it's slime by holding it out of the water for a photo, while squeezing it's guts into it's gullet, and then bring home a bit of fish porn to impress someone with their prowess. Different strokes!
    .. It's early Fall. We may have an Indian Summer. We may not have an Indian Summer. Whatever the case, a few elk are bugling, the bow hunters are stalking the woods and meadows, and vest-pocket prairies, the migrants are migrating and catching is happening all around the neighborhood.
    ==> Gulpers are still going strong!
    ==> Hoppers are hopping!
    ==> Caddis are hatching!
    ==> Fall mayflies are abundant!
    ==> Terrestrials are doing the backstroke!
    ==> Fishing on all Yellowstone waters is as good as it gets!
    ==> Should you choose to scare a lot of fish on the off chance of catching an early runner use the fly below.

    Thursday, September 08, 2011

    Tuesday, September 06, 2011


    They're Dangerous
    .. These videos speak to the native intelligence of two distinctly different species. We could go on . . . . .
    .. Read about the bears in:

    Monday, September 05, 2011


    We Visit
    the fish hide
    .. It's not really a contest. There's no real competition involved. The chatter in the pubs tries to avoid the topic. A nod in the direction of the river is granted.
    .. And, the neighbors all have the thought in the back of their minds. Big fish will be in the rivers soon: maybe as we speak, and someone will catch the first one.
    .. It is really too early, (by a couple of weeks,) but the cool nights and amber meadows demand that the topic of Fall-Run fish be addressed. So it is.
    .. Talk centers on the big holes and hides: the flies, the water levels, the water temperature, the news from lake fishers and worm-dunkers.
    .. It's a conversation that is inevitable, starting with the invasion of visitors for this long weekend. It's a conversation that won't die with the first snows. It won't die even with the catch of the first submarine of Fall.
    .. The pleasant and eager anticipation of the season is throbbing in the souls of fishers next door, down the block, in the surrounding countryside, and in foreign lands such as Idaho and Utah. There are even folks on distant planets such as Los Angeles and Cincinnati and Philadelphia, that feel the pull of the big fish.
    .. So be it! Many of the eager neighbors have been practicing with streamers, (and taking good-sized resident fish.) The big holes and undercut banks are being scrutinized with renewed interest.
    .. The rivers are rearranged from the prolonged high water of this year. They have been renewed and revitalized. Boulders and cobbles have been rearranged. Traditional holes and hides are different to varying degrees, (some have disappeared or been greatly rearranged.)
    .. We speak of Spring as the season of renewal. It may be. Fall is the season of verification of that renewal.
    .. So what's the story? The Madison River is still running at about 200 cfs above it's seasonal norm. Undercut banks are deeper and wider. The grass at the river's edge is long and still green - and shows signs of drooping into the water.
    .. Fishers on Hebgen Lake are still enjoying gulper fishing. The worm and gear guys report that there are concentrations of large fish in the major arms of the lake. Nothing giant has been reported from the estuaries yet. Stay tuned.