• Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Wednesday, October 31, 2012

    Montana For Sale ??

    So, You Think Stream Access Is Important?
    what about political access ?
    try this link:


    .. Unless, of course, you happen to believe that PBS is a communist, pinko, stupid bit of wasteful, government fluff.
    .. Do you know what a 501 (c) (4) is? Is Montana being bought. Get in on the bandwagon.
    .. Quickly send lots of money to the newly incorporated, independent, issue oriented, 501 (c) (4), organization entitled:


    .. This organization is designed to provide issue oriented information about the secret workings of fly fishing - - - among other things.
    .. All donations are exempt from reporting to any governmental agency, (local, state, federal,) and are confidential and may be used anywhere at any time for whatever issue is at hand. You can just sit back and watch your money at work  - view the results with impunity and anonymity.
    .. Yea team !!

    Tuesday, October 30, 2012

    Do It Right Now

    Little Fish Fishing
    it's all good for five more days
    Fishing With Bobber & Spinning Rig Is legal If There Is A Fly At The End Of Your Line.

    .. Join  the fun. Drive in the slush, and ice, and sleet, and rain, and snow, and enjoy the clouds and sun and wind and everything about the next few days. Soon we'll be counting down the 200+ days until we enter the fray of swollen rivers, mud, and potholes. All too soon this year will fade. All too soon the fish will grow and the pain subside.

    .. The bite is on like in days of yore and even the Chamber of Commerce can't find words glowing enough.
    .. The snows have come: wet, intermittent, slushy, and warm. This is typical for the Fall to Winter transition. It's a bit late this year but not out of the window.
    .. The good thing is that the roads in Yellowstone National Park are mostly clear of the white stuff for propitious amounts of time. BUT: be prepared with tire chains and/or snow tires. A couple of more days of balmy 40's and 50's then some grunge for the weekend. How usual.
    .. We're in the standard "Late Fishing Frenzy" mode. Folks are anxious and antsy about getting in a few more days of fishing. The fish are agitated and vigorously perusing their sexual mandate.
    .. Park staff is eager to leave their summer posts and get gone to warmer climes.
    .. Seasonal counter clerks, some on commission, are busy selling wash tubs for nets in an effort get the necessary gas money for a quick getaway on November 6. The scene is hardly that of the post cards portraying the idyllic fishing behavior that is rumored to exist in Yellowstone National Park.
    .. There are places where fish are easy to catch. There are places where big fish can be caught. The two are seldom the same. Plan on wearing your cocoon outfit. Plan on cold fingers and the occasional frozen guide, (of the human and chrome and tungsten variety.)
    .. There is fantastic surface action on the Firehole River with the Baetis imitation of your choice, (when the little darlings hatch in the dreary overcast fog.) Try BWO and CDC patterns in the smaller sizes = 16 - 20. We like the dinkers tied for the guys at Buzz Basini's shop.
    .. When the bugs are not on the top the fish are still eating at a glutinously rate. Use a drowned Baetis and a Prince Nymph of the appropriate size, (= small!)
    .. Of course the head hunters of the Madison River are out in force. Many are sporting double fisted Spey Rods that are useful for casting to the pools a full 30 and 40 feet away. It's not a herculean effort since the rod usually covers half the distance to the fish.
    .. Most of these fishers have perfected the art of walking right through the deep dark water and kicking the fish in their belly. This is a technique rumored to produce greater spunk and fight in the submarines hiding in the deep spots.
    .. Many of the neighbors are seeking fish away from the crowds. Up on the Gallatin River, (which is way too cold to fish,) there are places where only the bears and fishers go. The bears run from the boisterous neighbors and their raunchy limericks. The fish seem to run toward the screaming noises.
    .. Try it: "There once was a bear from I stuck it . . ." etc. Best sung in a loud and lilting contralto.
    .. Or, the neighborhood favorite: "Here bear! Hear Bear!" it seems that the bears do things opposite from folks.
    .. We've been fishing and catching in none of the above mentioned places in Yellowstone National Park. They are not places worth mentioning because folks just don't fish there. So we do.
    .. We like the idea of catching several dozen brightly-colored feisty Brook Trout that willingly come to whatever bits of fluff we happen to have. We like the idea of being shielded from the biting winds by a tunnel in the Lodgepole Pines. We enjoy getting in the car with no waders and no cold, wet boots. We enjoy getting home and popping a cold one without the hassle of undressing and re-dressing. We seem to have weird priorities. It must come with age and decrepitude.

    Sunday, October 28, 2012

    By Request

    Rare Ingredients
    bring those earth-shattering appetites


    So, O.K., guys and gals here it is:

    * Very fresh ground, freshly-butchered and larded beef;
      -- 4# of sirloin is our base,
    * Wild Huckleberry Syrup,
      -- 1/8 cup per pound,
    * Wild Huckleberry Barbeque sauce,
      -- For basting while grilling & dressing,
    * One extra large egg,
      -- Beaten with a dash of warm water,
    * Worcestershire Sauce,
      -- Add to taste, (about one teaspoon per pound.)
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    .. With all ingredients at room temperature: in a great big bowl mix the ingredients with your hands. Squeeze the goo through your fingers until it is well mixed and of a uniform consistency. Form patties by hand, roughly 1/2 pound each. Lay patties on waxed paper, (or foil if you must,) for 10 - 15 minutes, (or longer,) until a soft dry rind is formed.
    .. Carefully salt and pepper top. Softly place seasoned side down on the grill over embers of dying wood fire. Baste lightly with Wild Huckleberry Barbeque Sauce. When the fat hits the fire with regularity gently turn the patties.
    .. Salt and pepper and baste again. When the fat hits the fire again, carefully turn & move the patties to the edge of the heating circle. Peek inside with a pair of forks to see how red and juicy they are. Serve with lightly toasted premium buns and Wild Huckleberry Barbeque Sauce as garnish. (add lettuce, tomato, sweet onions, or beets, to your own personal taste.) Added ingredients tend to mask the delicate flavors of the Wild Huckleberries.
    .. Beer is a great accompaniment to any and all burgers. We use cold black coffee with a dram or two of: Galliano, or Sweet Vermouth, or Jameson Irish Whiskey or Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey, or a fine Scotch Whiskey. Some folks even add clotted cream and sugar . . . .
    .. Believe it or don't: this breakfast guarantees phenomenal success during a full day of fishing. Catching is optional.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
    .. There's a bit of snow on the ground and the fish are frisky. Baetis of some mysterious sort are still popping on the Firehole River and a new wave of submarines has entered the Madison River in flotilla force and is rapidly moving up stream at flank speed!

    Friday, October 26, 2012


    Have A Huckleburger
    it's our own silly tradition
    .. It's not mainstream. It's not fancy, exotic, elitist, or designed to "WOW" our visitors. It is, nevertheless, a damn good hamburger - even if we do eat it at the crack of dawn - in the snow.
    .. One of our neighbors owns a little spread just west of town. His annual gift to the neighbors is a bit of freshly butchered choice Angus beef. We always select the hamburger because it's ground together with enough fat to be tasty and produce little fire-popping explosions - you heart healthy folks can cast aspersions as you wish.
    LOOK !!!  A wood fire.
    .. Juicy, not crispy, is the way we still cook the meat. Pinkish and with lots of carcinogenic wood smoke from the embers that were a fire, not some sort of pressed dung and mastic in little marshmallow shaped turds.
    .. In celebration of the Last Week of Fishing in Yellowstone National Park we get up before the dawn cracks. Have some coffee, stomp our feet in the snow, talk about the balmy weather, and start the fire, (we do use gasoline instead of "fire starter" - for shame.)
    .. By the time the coals are ready we've become warm and hungry and, have added some "juice" to the coffee - it's another bit of silliness we've concocted.
    .. The burgers are served with plebeian accouterments such as salt and pepper and WILD HUCKLEBERRY BARBEQUE SAUCE. This morning we also had some home made french fries and sliced tomatoes. {{Wonder of wonders, there were decent tomatoes at one of the markets in the village.}}
    .. Now it's time to load the caravan. We've decided to fish at the same spot this year. That should raise some eyebrows among the traveling hoards that are not visiting the park to fish. We'll monopolize the good water, commandeer the best pull-outs, and become, (for one glorious day,) the absolute asses that we despise and deride for most of the year.
    .. Film at eleven.
    Today's Lovely Fall Colors - (as seen at breakfast.)

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

    End Of The Line

    Welcome Fishy Days
    bring your "A" game
    .. It's finally hit! What would be called winter in much of our country is now fall in the high country. The neighbors are dancing with glee. Fishing is spectacular in the snow and rain and sleet and grappel and hail. We finally get to wear long pants again.
    My What Big Eyes You Have.
    .. Some very large streamers and other monstrosities are sprouting on the short, heavy tippets of the fly fishers around here.
    .. There are some peculiar habits and attitudes that come to light when the fishers seek the submarines of Fall. One of the most peculiar is the need to tie half of a chicken to the end of the line and call it finesse.
    "Cute" little fly.
    .. Interestingly the same attitude is called forth when presenting itsey-bitsey flies to the same fish. Right now the fish are eating both extremes and everything in between.
    .. We suspect that almost all fishers on the west side rivers in Yellowstone National Park believe, in their innermost being, that they are finessing the fish to hand - no matter what fly they have chosen. We'll let them have it.
    .. As is usually the case for this time of year, the neighborhood kids are preparing their Halloween costumes. Most of the costumes are designed to fit comfortably underneath a snow suit. Fishers should take note.
    .. There's just a couple weeks left for legal fishing in Yellowstone National Park. Make the most of it. There are surface bugs galore, there are nymphing opportunities everywhere, there are the famous runners of the Madison River, (and other places for those that know,) and there are sheltered roadside pull-outs for telling lies and warming fingers.
    .. Grab a double handful of the high country Fall and wade right in. Displace as many fish as possible - it's the social thing to do. Bring a hip flask if you're driving a BMW. Bring a thermos of amber liquid if you're not. If you are serious about this circus you should bring at least an 18-pack per person. Some jerky and stale bread will distinguish the dedicated from the counter crawlers.
    .. Remember to fish the shadows. Remember to fish the dark water. Remember to fish the shallows. Remember to fish the seams. Remember to fish the pillow and the cavity. Remember to fish the rocks and downfalls. As a matter of fact - fish it all, you may just stick a fish that hasn't been walked on.
    The Gallatin River is low and the trout are in the dark water. Mostly!

    Sunday, October 21, 2012


    2 Weeks Left For Catching
    some snow has spit at us - no stickeee
    .. As the peaks around Hebgen Basin can attest - some snow has fallen in the neighborhood. It even made it to the ground here in town. It melted as soon as it hit the ground. There's none here now. The fish near are here and loving it.
    Tradition Will Out  !!
    .. It's an interesting thing that's going on right here and right now. The neighbors are smacking the fish in the tributaries and shallow parts of the lakes.
    .. The visitors are smacking the low water on the main stem of the Madison River, Gallatin River, Firehole River, and even the Mighty MO!
    .. Although the Madison River and the Firehole River are at - OR - just a smidgen below seasonal flows; the Gallatin River is off by quite a bit.
    .. Of course the neighbors are clustered around Specimen Creek, Bacon Rind Creek, the West Fork, and other secret debouches along the course of the river.
    .. Bears be damned, (carry the spray and sing and dance and fish with a friend,) this is the time of year that Campanula Creek, Grayling Creek, and Duck Creek are visited by sturdy and adventurous souls. Bless them all and the bushels of fish that they catch.
    Right Form, Wrong Color, Works Guud !!
    .. Despite all of the myriad flies available for catching the migrating submarines of our waters, the Woolly Bugger continues as a favorite fly of the neighbors and visitors alike. We prefer the Snortle or a simple Woolly Worm ourselves.
    .. The Curmudgeon Corps in the neighborhood is busy with the entertainment of the hour.
    .. Enjoyment, for them, comes in the form of gently poking fun at both the neighbors and visitors who catch enough fish to feed Wyoming - and keep none of them. [[Curmudgeon defined below*]]
    .. They, themselves, are busy catching and smoking fish at a rapid pace. Some have even gone to the trouble of seeking the lowland hardwoods for their smoking chores. Alder and Apple are this year's choice.
    .. We usually give them a wide berth at this time of year. We will nod if we pass them at the grocery store. We do smile as we wait in line at the post office. We wave to the familiar vehicles on the street.
    .. Engaging conversation, however, is reserved for those times, (coming soon,) when they accost us and offer a fish or two - YUM!
    .. Well, with just a couple of weeks left for legal fishing in Yellowstone National Park, we're headed up to a shady, undercut bank, on the low-water Gallatin River. Rumor has it there's a flotilla of giant fish engaged in some sort of sexual shenanigans in the adjacent waters.
    .. Finally, with a gentle whisper, we do say: "confluence of Nez Perce Creek and Firehole River."
    Afternoon Sunshine + An Undercut Bank + Pea Gravel + Aerated Water = FISH
    [[*   ".. A curmudgeon's reputation for malevolence is undeserved. They're neither warped nor evil at heart. They don't hate mankind, just mankind's absurdities. They're just as sensitive and soft-hearted as the next guy, but they hide their vulnerability beneath a crust of misanthropy.
    .. They ease the pain by turning hurt into humor.
    .. They attack maudlinism because it devalues genuine sentiment.
    .. Nature, having failed to equip them with a serviceable denial mechanism, has endowed them with astute perception and sly wit.
    .. Curmudgeons are mockers and debunkers whose bitterness is a symptom rather than a disease. They can't compromise their standards and can't manage the suspension of disbelief necessary for feigned cheerfulness. Their awareness is a curse.
    .. Perhaps curmudgeons have gotten a bad rap in the same way that the messenger is blamed for the message: they have the temerity to comment on the human condition without apology. They not only refuse to applaud senseless mediocrity, they howl it down with morose glee. Their versions of the truth unsettle us, and we hold it against them, even though they soften it with humor."
    - - - JON WINOKUR ]]

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

    A Blessed Deluge

    Fish Now
    bring layers

    .. It couldn't be more welcome - - OR - - timely.

    Monday, October 15, 2012

    Bluster At Last

    Catching Good
    weather colder and grunger
    .. It's been cool for a couple of nights. The low clouds have spit a bit and the sparse electric colors of our gentle and dry Fall are gone.
    .. Mustard, brown, rust, amber, gray, leaden, and other late fall descriptors should be in your vocabulary if you visit here. You should also practice words like monster, pretty, giant, kype, streamer, rubber legs, woollywhatever, favorite Baetis, etc.
    .. It's popcorn time on the Firehole River. Noses are everywhere and Baetis-Sipping can be heard for yards and yards. Splashing is the order of the day when the afternoon sun is just right and the Caddis take wing in frenzied flight to avoid the airborne trout.
    .. The Madison River has been great, even in the sunlight, for the Fall-run fish from Hebgen Reservoir. Fishers have found the dark water in places never before fished. The books are obsolete right now. Some of the giant fish that have been pulled from the Madison River have left holes in the water that took hours to fill in.
    .. Of course, if you are like us - and had your fill of the conga line, the upper Firehole River is yielding about 20 neon Brook Trout per hour to any competently presented fly, (above or below the surface:) fewer elbows and shielding from the wind by the dense lodgepole desert, are a Fall delight indeed.
    .. The open secret of the week is the Gallatin River. A rig with two nymphs of the Prince variety, (different sizes - mind you,) is the current neighborhood choice. Surprisingly this also coincides with the advice from the counter help at many feather merchants.
    .. Again this year, the neighbors are tying the KING PRINCE NYMPH. Runners seem to enjoy large nymphs as much as streamers and Woolly Worms Buggers.
    .. The big bends of the Madison River in Yellowstone National Park in the now closed Bakers Hole Campground are being visited by folks willing to walk for their fish - there are many in the deep pools and undercut banks of this "fishy" bit of water.
    .. Many of the neighbors believe that the biggest fish from the reservoir will not show until the snow arrives. That could be tonight, tomorrow, or as late as Wednesday. So be it.
    .. The poor sister of Fall fishing is showing great form right now. The Gibbon River is nearly devoid of elbows above the falls. There are many unmolested fish eager for a dance partner. Drowned Caddis or Baetis cripples should accompany your standard Adams in the big meadows. Cute little bead head nymphs could yield a Grayling above Norris Campground on either Solfatara Creek or the Gibbon River's skinny, but dark, water. Of course the eager Brookies above Virginia Cascade will dance with any thing they can get in their mouth.
    Forgotten Riffles And Runs Of The Gibbon River Are Solace To Trout

    Friday, October 12, 2012

    Wader Friendly Lodging

    Stay For A Spell
    torment a fish or two
    Built in wader hangers.
    .. 'Tis a real pleasure, (and just a mite entertaining,) to have visitors from around the globe in town to catch some fish. These are single-minded folks with a pleasant and determined attitude. "Serious" does not go far enough toward describing those involved in the Fall Fishing Frenzy.
    .. Of course, (this year anyway,) the salubrious weather has made them just a bit grouchy. They seem to prefer sleet, rain, snow, wind, and fog. Hang on, you'll soon have to dry your waders inside!

    Thursday, October 11, 2012

    A Quandary

    Or The Presentation?
    or is it the damn fish ?

    .. The kid behind the counter at the fly shop said to try one of these if the other seven didn't work! He said we needed a dozen of each!
    .. One of the absolute pleasures of fly fishing is being unsuccessful with many flies.

    Tuesday, October 09, 2012

    As Good As It Gets

    Crisp, Bright, Still, Fall Afternoon;
    hatching caddis and rising fish.


    Sunday, October 07, 2012


    Fishing Great
    catching slowed a bit
    .. The neighbors ditched their rods for a full three days. We succumbed to only a single day with rod in hand. The cause? JUNE IN OCTOBER.
    .. Bright sun, gentle breezes, wispy clouds, short pants and thongs. What more could one ask? Temperatures in the 50' & 60's? You got it.
    .. Plans for the weekend were hastily arranged around outdoor meals, football at the school and in the city park. Bicycles were dragged out of storage and roller blades received an unexpected late season round of exercise.
    .. The weather gurus are calling for a full week of spectacular visitation weather. Crisp nights in the 20's and days continuing in the 50's and 60's. A few clouds should buzz through the neighborhood and the ever-so-slight chance of a bit of precipitation may visit us.
    .. Submarine sightings on the Madison River have been regular but fewer than expected. On the other hand the caddis on the Firehole River have erupted into clouds of afternoon dive bombers starting about 3:30 or so. There are even a few hoppers still gamely fluttering around in the afternoon rays. SUCH A DEAL!
    .. Several Conga Lines have formed in the usual places and fishing has become a more social event than sporting event. Conversation, stories, lies and jokes are the fly of choice at the Barns Holes now and for the foreseeable future. It's all good.
    Conga Line etiquette: carefully fish through the pool, stroll back to it's head, get in line, tell stories!

    Friday, October 05, 2012

    Looking Beyond The Runners

    Not For Pansies
    size does matter
    .. While some of the neighbors and many of the visitors in our neighborhood are currently preoccupied with the big fish Fall Fishing Frenzy, others have gotten over it. For the latter it's time to be serious about midge fishing.
    .. Winter midge fishing is, indeed, for: THE FEW, THE PROUD, THE PERSPICACIOUS. It is not your average cup of tea. It happens in still and slow water. It happens all year, but especially in the Winter, (at least around here.) It takes some special skills, tackle, techniques, and attitudes.
    .. It's a very special and dear sort of fishing to us since we're on the verge of losing the physical prowess and visual acumen to carry it off.
    .. Most fly fishers are familiar with midge clusters like Griffith's Gnat. Many are familiar with the spartan little upright midge pupa like the Blood Nymph. Very few are familiar with the Skittering Midge.
    .. We, unlike some others, have very little insight into what goes on in the trout brain. We do, on the other hand, have a pretty fair approximation of what will stick a trout in the lip.
    .. This Skittering Midge is a miniscule fly pattern that may be viewed by a trout as a midge - who knows? Ask an expert.
    .. It will catch trout in the small, still bits of water during Winter. It will take fish of all sizes. The itty-bitty hooks will hold a slab if you are patient and skillful - we've not lost our patience yet!
    .. It is tied with grossly outsized hackle and elongated tails. It usually floats, (thanks to surface tension,) with it's body at or above the surface of the water. It's difficult for us to see, (but the rise of the trout isn't.)
    .. We get a few of the indulgent neighbor kids to tie some tippet to these things and we use the tag end to tie them to our leader. It pains us to depend on a 12-year-old for our tackle preparation but we love the catching.
    .. Technique and tackle are important to success. We need to be close to the fly, (and the fish.) We need to present the little specks with more than a modicum of precision. We need to be patient and persistent.
    .. We use a five-foot tip section from a ten-foot 4 weight fly rod. It's an old bit of Lamiglass architecture to which we've added a grip and reel seat. We fish it with a 6 weight level line and a two foot leader, (plus about 18" of 6x tippet.) An exceptionally long cast is 9 or 10 feet, usually half that distance is fine. The heavy line serves to load the rod while we cast mostly just the leader and tippet.
    .. Folks with better eyesight and casting skills than we have use conventional gear and do just fine. Better than fine most of the time.
    .. Trout hover near the water's surface when they are gobbling the midges. Their noses are just below the surface film. Often their backs and fin will cause small little wakes.
    .. They can hardly see objects that are out of the water because they are so close to the surface. Because of this they are easier to approach, (with stealth and care,) than fish rising from the depths.
    .. It's not Winter yet. It is close though, and psychological preparation is necessary. Gear preparation is also necessary. That's what we're about right now.
    .. We enjoy the fishing and catching in the Winter. Very few elbows, very many fish. After all, midges hatch all year in our neighborhood. They get ignored by the elite but are treasured by the hoi paloi. We love 'em.
    .. A dry fly midge is fun, especially if trailed by a pupa imitation. We like the Skittering Midge pattern shown above because of it's tiny white "sail." Trout will take either the dry or the nymph with the same regularity and gusto.
    .. The rise form, in the quiet waters, is smooth, gentle, deliberate, and almost poetic. We're not much into poesy but, we often just watch the fish as they smoothly glide from  morsel to morsel. The midge is a very prolific and very small bit of nourishment; the energy expended by a fish to consume it must be used efficiently. It is most like a ballet when seemingly every fish in the river is nibbling midges.
    .. We shouldn't be writing about this. The neighbors will gag at these revelations. Most fly fishers shy away from the small patterns. They have the mistaken impression that midge fishing is complicated, complex, and hard. In fact, it's simple and easy and fraught with the perils of catching too many fish. All that is necessary is that you do it.
    .. If you've read this far you will be greatly rewarded by reading and watching the following bits of midge wisdom:

    Tom Rosenbauer on midges,
    Jason Aki on Winter midge fishing,

    Simms Fishing Video,
    Craig Mathews Winter Midge Video.