• Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Thursday, August 30, 2012

    Starting Tomorrow

    Enjoy Ennis On The Madison
    maybe win a very fine boat

    .. It's well worth punctuating the fishing season by going to the Labor Day shindig in Ennis, Montana.
    .. Celebrating 10 years is a major accomplishment for the MADISON RIVER FOUNDATION.
    .. This fund raiser and good time gathering is where the neighbors and friends of the Madison River will be this weekend. Good food, good speakers, good seminars, and just plain good time.
    .. Help out:
    ==> Home Page,
    ==> Tomorrow's Events,
    ==> Join.

    Wednesday, August 29, 2012

    The Big Smoke

    Your Eyes May Water
    preparations for fall
    .. The west side of Yellowstone National Park, including the adjacent Hebgen Basin is enjoying our annual eye watering smoke from fires near and far. It neither enhances nor hampers the fish bite.
    .. It does provide us with some interesting sunrises and sunsets. It does taste funny and certainly lets our eyes and lungs know what is going on around us.
    .. It seems to have a singular positive affect on the west-side rivers. It filters the sun just enough to allow some minor cooling of the rivers. Temperature spikes, however, continue into the dangerous range on the Firehole River.
    .. The closed rivers of the Madison River Drainage are showing a cooling trend that defies the air temperature trend. That's a good thing for the possible early re-opening of these rivers to fishing.
    .. We are under a RED-FLAG WARNING and will probably stay that way for some days to come, (if not weeks.) Today's break in the current record and near-record high temperatures may continue for at least another week. That's good.
    .. Significant cooling or precipitation may not occur until mid-September. That's not so good.
    .. Most of the neighbors continue to fish the Gallatin River with good results. The lessor known tributaries are getting more attention than usual.
    .. The upstream portions of the tributaries are still cool and serve some of our diehard neighbors the opportunity to try out their fall streamers.
    .. It's amazing how small a fish will attack a very large fly. Keep in mind that it is sometimes hard to tell if you have a small fry on the end of your heavy line when Spey Casting the mega flies that are so in fashion right now.
    .. The mama grizzly bear and her cub continue to visit with the visitors around Specimen Creek. You don't need to be in the backcountry to need bear spray. You do need to have it in hand when you exit your car.
    .. If you are interested in fires and weather we recommend the following links:
    => InciWeb for all fire information,
    => Yellowstone Park News Releases for fire, road, and fishing updates,
    => National Weather Service for national conditions, alerts, long range forecast,
    => Yellowstone Fishing Weather for current Yellowstone Park and West Yellowstone conditions and forecast.
    .. Our ever-optimistic neighbors are busy tying flies for the Fall Fishing Frenzy. We've tried to convince them that it's not a necessary activity in the heat of Summer - they chide us and promise retribution in the form of fish stick totals. We listen patiently.
    .. Some of the neighborhood fly masters are already tying streamers and other devices that are not available from the commercial feather merchants.
    .. We'll save the full fall fly rundown until the elk have quit pestering each other. Yes the rut is underway despite the heat - it seems weird - but that's the way it is.
    .. P.S. Gulpers still happening on Hebgen Reservoir.

    Monday, August 27, 2012

    The Insect Florescence

    overlap with
    .. It's no large secret that right now there are bugs aplenty for the trout and the fly fisher to enjoy.
    .. Whereas the earliest emergences of aquatic species are usually calculated by degree days for first appearance, those for terrestrial and arboreal species are generally subjected to the concepts of degree weeks or degree months.
    .. Temperature and photoperiod bring on the bugs. We are now at, (or just a wee bit past,) the peak density of said bugs for our neighborhood. There is no time like the present to use "just any old fly" and have a good chance of poking a fish in the lip, (so to speak.)
    .. As our neighbor Marybell has often said: "It takes not a trained observer to find out what bug to use, just check your car's grill." Thanks, gal.
    .. Our upland meadows, transitional steppes, and vest-pocket grasslands are all lined with conifers, (Spruce Moths anyone?,) and other herbaceous plants of one sort or another. Where the myriad streams of Yellowstone National Park transect these environments, and their consequent edges, the diversity of fish fodder is immense.
    .. It's all just another way of saying: pick your bug and pick your place, it's all good for now, (and a couple of more weeks.)
    .. Just check the many merchant reports and fishing blogs for our region. The reports go something like this: "The __________, (pick your favorite stream or river,) is fishing well to _________, (pick your favorite aquatic bug,) and good activity with ____________, (pick your favorite terrestrial bug,) if neither works use _______________, (pick your favorite, nymph or streamer or attractor.)
    .. This is not capricious reporting of what works. They all work. If anything it's capricious behavior of the fish with such a wonderful array of food to choose from.
    .. So then; the Gallatin River, Soda Butte Creek, Lamar River, and Firehole River, (above the falls,) are all fishing well to small hoppers. It is useful to trail a mayfly cripple or nymph on these rivers. Green and Gray Drakes are being eaten by fish on the Lamar River and on Slough Creek, you can also stick a good fish with a streamer or Prince Nymph if you choose.
    .. If you persist in your endeavors on the Yellowstone River, a small yellow hopper or very large caddis should reward you with a fish or two per hour, (if you cover a lot of ground and water.) Fishing the Yellowstone River is akin to playing 18 holes of golf: walk a lot - hit a few.
    .. Fishing Between the Lakes is always a good place to practice short casts between your friend's legs. Watch your backcast; the fedora you land may belong to a prized celebrity. Most terrestrials, aquatics, and attractors are catching the best fedoras.
    .. Gulper fishing is steady on Hebgen Reservoir. Conventional Callibaetis Cripples are doing the job. A big Parachute Adams will also work. Floating a very light colored Feather Duster is also successful. If you find the right weed bed a small leech or Woolly Bugger will gather in a fish.
    .. When in doubt tie on an Elk Hair Caddis followed by a Bead Head Nymph of your own choosing.

    Friday, August 24, 2012

    The Fall Festival

    Visit With The Neighbors
    invading rock star appearance

    .. It's mostly a neighborhood gig. But quite a few outlanders from far and away are increasingly present each passing year.
    .. International celebrities, local guides, feather merchants, boat builders, equipment peddlers, our neighbors, and just plain fisher folks will be in attendance.
    .. It's a celebration of Ennis on the Madison and the good works that the Madison River Foundation is involved with. It takes place in just one week - or so.
    .. Making a sneak appearance this year will be Montana native son Nate Schweber: fly fisher, author, and singer. Hot off of his appearance at the IFTD show in Reno he will make a brief appearance for his book signing in Ennis, {Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park: an insider's guide to the 50 best places.} Rumor has it that it will be on Saturday, September 1, 2012 - we'll see.
    .. The two day festival is a good chance to hob-nob with all the stars of our neighborhood fly fishing scene. It's a chance to attend mini seminars on topics as diverse as rod design and photography. It's also a chance to gorge yourself on some of the finest convention food that ever splattered a plate in our neighborhood.
    .. If you're in the neighborhood drop in and enjoy the doings.

    Friday, August 17, 2012

    . . . Into It's Own

    Elbows Diminishing
    catching is way too easy
    .. The sweet sister river on the west side of Yellowstone National Park is in perfect shape for catching.
    .. With flows about 100 CFS below seasonal averages, and temperatures at a fish loving perfection, the GALLATIN RIVER has become the choice destination for fishers of all stripes.
    .. The hoppers are going mad with delight at the very warm days. They awaken predictably after the Fall-like cool evenings. They swim poorly, much to the delight of fish and fishers alike.
    .. Some flying ants are present near the northern park line, and Spruce Moths have found their way to the river from the edges of the wooded meadows.
    .. The golden hues of Fall are invading the emerald rainbow of the valley floor at a rapid clip. Straw colored grasses are creeping toward the green's of the river's edge.
    .. Our sparse afternoon rains have allowed the beetles to mature at an astonishing pace. AND - lo, the predictable caddis are present in satisfyingly large numbers.
    .. GALLATIN RIVER tributaries, in the park, have begun to look too thin to hold fish of any appreciable size. Don't be fooled. The fish seem to know the season even before the calendar or the weather.
    .. It takes a bit of a walk to get there, but the tangled willow meadows of FAN CREEK are easily the second finest place to surprise yourself with an outsized fish.
    .. If you can bring yourself to brave the dusty road along the edge of BACON RIND CREEK, and if you can forego the urge to rush upstream from the parking lot, and if you are not in too big of a hurry to reach stream side - THEN - there are some pudgy resident fish not 40 yards from that selfsame dusty road.
    .. Should you care to brave the bears and brambles of the cloistered stretches of SPECIMEN CREEK, you will have found the third best chunk of water for surprises of the largish sort.
    .. The dinky little parking lot at the trailhead is almost constantly full of vehicles. Some of the invading $40,000 SUV's receive their first bit of parking lot rash in these environs.
    .. Our destination, this weekend, as usual, is the upper reaches of the GALLATIN RIVER. It's that lonely stretch along the Bighorn trail. We end up hoarse from singing to the bears and winded from the walk. We pledge, after each foray, to never torture ourselves again.
    .. Yet, back we go to the isolation, beauty, splendor, and gregarious fish of this bit of water. The bears miss us and it's easily the fourth best place to gather up a submarine in water so thin that they leap onto the bank and land themselves.
    .. On the other hand, we may end up at the first best place to catch the early run monster fish of the GALLATIN RIVER.
    .. It doesn't take a horse to get there but one would make it a lot easier. You'll know where as soon as you see the only rig in an unlikely pullout far from any named tributary. The one near the giant culvert.

    Tuesday, August 14, 2012

    A Research Project

    See it at the premier in Bozeman on Thursday night.

    Drive A Little . . . Catch A Lot

    Just A Pleasant Ride
    catch some fish too
    .. In addition to the many and various wild fishing opportunities in Yellowstone National Park. And, in addition to the elbow jungles of the glory waters. There exists some truly genteel recreational opportunities with congenial fish and congenial fishers.
    .. Some residents of our village actually enjoy a ride in the park. With a destination picnic in mind it's possible to time the traffic so that you are always going the wrong way.
    .. Enter way too early - beat the traffic. Have a picnic and saunter around, (some call it hiking,) the chosen location. Explore a gentle bit of water full of petit eager fish. Head home early - beat the traffic again.
    .. Most picnic destinations are near small streams and some are near campgrounds. If there are still visitors in camp they are probably just relaxing. They are enjoying the surrounding area and not in a big hurry to "see it all." They may even fish some and catch some.
    .. Social fishing takes place in these situations. It's not for the hard core. It is for the gregarious. Maybe there will even be a fish caught - so much the better.
    .. Gear is simple: inelegant by the snob standards of Yellowstone fishing. A simple 4 or 5 piece pack rod, reel & line, (any weight line less than 9.) A medicine jar full of flies. A couple of leaders, some tippets forceps, curiosity, and exuberance. Some good sunscreen. and bear spray, (YES EVEN IN AND AROUND CAMPGROUNDS!) Remember to saunter.
    .. Finally be sure to take a camera - or cell phone. Smile!

    Monday, August 13, 2012

    GULPER HO !!!

    It'll Only Get Better,
    cruel winds starting later

    .. The heat hath it's blessings. One notable blessing is that the zephyrs of the high country have been starting well into the afternoon. Who knows how long this will last - BUT - for now it's a small compensation for the poor showing of afternoon rains.
    .. Hebgen Reservoir produces Callibaetis at a prodigious rate. The fish have figured out this simple meal. The fishers are, of course not too far behind.
    .. The lore and lure of gulper fishing is varied, contradictory, and profuse - seldom is it profound, often it is profane. It's a simple thing, really. Get an attractive fly in front of a slurping submarine and chances are they will take it.
    .. The lake has been like glass. Get on it early. On many mornings Tricos will also hatch early. Midges are still around. The Callibaetis can pop early this year so take your second cup of coffee with you - better yet, take your your breakfast and coffee, and lunch with you as you leave the door.
    .. Conventional wisdom dictates a Callibaetis cripple for the floating fly. Almost all patterns work some of the time: go for it. Long precise casts are part of the tradition. Stealth should be too.
    .. Although there is a small "purist" tradition building over the last six or eight years, it hasn't reached the obnoxious level of some in the fly fishing world, yet:
    **Cast to only one fish.
    **Time it's nose appearances.
    **Lead it by five feet.
    **Cuss when it takes the natural right next to your perfectly presented, exquisitely tied, grotesquely expensive, designer fly.
    .. This ritual has a certain snob appeal befitting gurus, guides, feather merchants, and shop dogs. Enjoy the elite feeling and your new found ribald vocabulary.
    .. The truth is quite a bit different. There are many fish in the same area. Fish change directions without telling anglers. There are millions of targets for the fish. There are hundreds, (nay, thousands,) for the fisher. It's really just a statistical game.
    .. Maybe, just maybe, your fly's number is up! So then, put an appropriate fly in the appropriate area and wait for the appropriate signal to lift.
    .. Fishers in tubes take "gulpers" while trolling submerged flies. Maybe they are slurpers and not really gulpers.
    .. The double fly rig is popular with our most successful neighbors. Hackle Stacker, Shop Vac, Challenged Callibaetis, Feather Duster, and even PMD's in the right size take fish with surprising regularity.
    .. Try a small hopper as a bobber and dangle a very light colored $3 dip about 18" behind it. Hell, even Bill's Pisser accounted for over two dozen fish yesterday morning before a giant sea monster ran off with his last one.
    .. What ever your predilection - now is the time. It will get better by the day for the next two - three weeks. Enjoy some of the easiest, (or most challenging: snob-wise,) fishing that the neighborhood has to offer.
    . .

    Friday, August 10, 2012

    Just For The Neighbors

    Beer + Fly Fishing
    bedtime stories
    .. Fly fishing blogs are full of it: Beer & Fishing.
    .. Coming soon to a fly shop or book merchant near us is an expert on both.
    .. Montana author, acclaimed fly fisher, beer quaffer extraordinaire, journalist for the New York Times and Village Voice, and lead singer for The New Heathens will be skulking around the neighborhood soon.
    .. Nate Schweber, world renowned contortionist and author of "FLY FISHING YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK: An Insider's Guide To The Fifty Best Places" as well as "INDIANA BREWERIES" will be interrupting his field research and pub crawling to appear at a few book signings, readings and mini-concerts.
    Brew Guide
    .. This is our chance to pick the brains of a fly fisher that has the tough job of spending months at a time in Yellowstone - and calling it research.
    .. Mark your calendars for the dates and times listed below:
    **Reno, NV -- Friday, Aug. 17 at 1 p.m. at the International Fly Tackle Dealer Show (Signing)

     **Missoula, MT -- Saturday, Aug. 25 at 11 a.m. at Shakespeare & Co. (Reading plus little mini-concert at the end featuring Mr. Chip Whitson on guitar)
     **Jackson Hole, WY -- Tuesday, Aug. 28 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Valley Bookstore. (Signing)
    **Bozeman, MT -- Tuesday, Sept. 4 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Country Bookshelf. (Signing)
    **Livingston, MT -- Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 7 p.m. at Elk River Books (Reading)
    .. There may be a few other dates and places, depending on the author's tough schedule of fishing and imbibing. You can keep up to date on the latest schedule HERE.
    .. See what OUTSIDE BOZEMAN has to say HERE.
    .. Order on-line HERE or HERE.

    Thursday, August 09, 2012

    Gallatin Frenzy

    Some Stretches Still Available
    take a number or a tributary
    .. With the famous west-side rivers in Yellowstone National Park closed because of high water temperatures the neighbors are flocking to the Gallatin River. The visiting license plates are also proliferating.
    .. Right now love abounds on the Gallatin River in Yellowstone National Park.
    .. Feather merchants have begun to shift their vocabulary. Guides are re-learning the pull-outs and parking spots.
    .. The ever faithful caddis are making their daily appearances. Sometimes it seems like all day. Some days there is a curtain call about 7:30 PM.
    .. Love of caddis fishing is one of the staples of the Gallatin River. Floating, bottom bouncing, and skittering are all caddis behaviors and all are successful - at various times. Elk hair, deer hair, light, dark, green, brown, big and little flies have devotees along this river.
    .. Of course there are some other flies and other hatches. Of course there are people who wait for hours on end until they see a nose in the air. Of course there are fisher folk that must be able to see their fly in order to catch a fish. But - there is always some sort of caddis fishing available.
    .. Currently there is a smattering of PMD's, a few Flavs, (and or drakes,) and still, the wayward - but small, (mostly yellow,) stoneflies, and other assorted fluvial bugs.
    .. The terrestrial hatch is well underway and ants, beetles, bees, spruce moths, and hoppers are increasing their populations by the day.
    .. As the elbows crowd the easily accessible water near the highway it behooves the fisher with good legs, good lungs, and an appreciation of the remote to seek out the tributaries. [[ BEAR SPRAY IS MOST STRONGLY ADVISED.]]
    .. Already exuberant love is being spread up Specimen Creek (by both bears and fishers.)
    .. Gentle fondling is taking place along Fan Creek, (especially the lower reaches.)
    .. Penetration into the willow meadows of Bacon Rind Creek has been discovered. {{Hint: there are some large fish along the dusty road leading to the parking lot.}}
    .. Incursions up the Big Horn Trail are becoming nearly commonplace. Such love is seldom seen on this neighborhood river.
    .. As you most certainly know, the Gallatin River trends north/south; this means that the fish switch hides periodically during the day.
    .. The sun & the shifting shadows play a big part in fish location. It's important to keep this in mind as you caress the banks with your gentle strides.
    .. Should you bother to notice it, the fisher's trail is way too close to the bank. Your footfalls and shadow will telegraph your loving intent far before you get to where the fish were.
    .. Stealth techniques will reward the fisher, even on this most forgiving of our neighborhood streams.
    .. Remember that beneath the surface these high valleys are covered with glacial detritus of one sort or another.
    .. The Gallatin River cuts through a terminal moraine along the Big Horn Trail. Outwash gravels and boulders predominate in the subsurface strata for most of the park section of this river.
    .. These tightly compacted stones are amazingly efficient conductors of sound and vibration. Galumphing and brush busting will get you there quicker, but the fish may know it long before you arrive.
    .. Don't catch them all!