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  • Saturday, March 31, 2012

    Pour la Pêche Du Jour

    THE FLY OF THE HOUR
    For All Open Water
    swift or still

    -------
    .. The neighbors are smarter than we are. They are also way smarter than the trout in our neighborhood. They are even a wee tad more intelligent than the itinerant guides and feather merchants that will soon show up for their share of the pie, (just a few weeks from now.)
    .. As we speak read write this, the catchers of fish are using one fly; to the near-exclusion of all others.
    .. It's a simple fly. It's easy to tie. It has no fancy name. It's not in any catalog. AND, it's catching fish in all the open water around the neighborhood.
    .. You won't see it in any fly shops: it uses no exotic bits of fluff, it is a standard nymph form, it is not "innovative," it's not designed to catch fishers, and it is very pedestrian in appearance - bless it's metallic soul.
    .. Unless you see it here, you will never know about this fly. There is no drum and bugle corps touting it as the wonder of the moment. There are no high priced celebrities endorsing it as a miracle of invention for the exotic fish of the exotic waters nearby.
    .. It is tied in just about all sizes. The larger ones are cast with ultralight spinning rigs and 4# test line. [[40' of fresh 4# test mono is an exceptionally good shock absorber.]]
    .. The little ones are chucked to the edge of the ice and pulled into the water and sink slowly to the gaping maws of submerged trout.
    .. The others are greased and floated like a dry fly. Some are fished just like a nymph ought to be fished. Such a delightful bit of fish foolery.
    .. Right now, in the runs, and riffles, and pools, and glides, and cavitation sinks, between the lakes on the Madison River it is a "KILLER FLY."
    .. In the legal bits of the extended tongues of various estuarine waters poking into Hebgen Lake, it is a "MURDEROUS FLY."
    .. At both the inlet and outlet of Earthquake Lake it is a "DEVASTATING FLY."  It is even in competition with the garden hackle for take rates. Now that's an endorsement for ya'.
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    Tuesday, March 27, 2012

    A Touch Of Spring

    BEARS WAKING UP
    Bicycles On Roads
    angling fees raised

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    .. The Public Affairs Office at Yellowstone National Park has been more active, lately, than usual. That's a sure sign that they're waking up along with the bears.
    .. The following news releases and information sources may be germane to your early Spring visitation.

    1] Bears are awake, hungry, and dangerous, LINK,
    2] Seasonal bear closures, LINK,
    3] Bicycle travel prior to motorized travel, LINK,
    4] Angling fees raised, LINK,
    5] General Information page, LINK,
    6] Child porn case prosecuted, LINK,
    7] Yellowstone tweets, LINK,
    8]  News releases, LINK,
    9] Current road conditions, LINK.
    -----
    ..  Since the instigation of a fee structure for fishing in 1993, charges for fishing in Yellowstone National Park have continually escalated to keep pace with inflation and caprice as time has passed.
    .. The current $5.00 increase is justified as a way to raise additional funds to ". . . help enhance the park's fisheries management program and to begin implementing conservation actions that were outlined in the 2011 Native Fish Conservation Plan."
    .. We support the Native Fish Conservation Plan; but, taxing only fisher folk is a terribly inefficient way to raise a bit of cash. How much money will be raised by the $5.00 increase, ($200,000/year?)
    .. If the thrust of the plan is ". . . primarily focused on the recovery of the Yellowstone Lake Ecosystem through the restoration of the native Yellowstone cutthroat trout."  then, the burden of ecosystem management should be shared by all visitors.
    .. A simple $1.00 tax, (call it surcharge if you like,) on entrance fees, for the duration of the project, would raise a lot more cash and spread the burden to all visitors who enjoy the Yellowstone Lake Ecosystem. How much money would be raised by this method of taxation, ($1,000,000/year - $2,000,000/year?)
    .. How about a boating tax? Back country tax? Sales tax increase for the duration of the project? Concessionaire levy? Donation boxes? Just who does benefit from the Yellowstone Lake Ecosystem?
    .. We doubt that fishing permit fees will be reduced when the project is completed: what a silly thought! Such duplicity is a standard bit of linguistic legerdemain that is used when justifying  actions detrimental to one group and to the advantage of another group. Such is life!
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    Monday, March 26, 2012

    HOMECOMING

    ..
    Read the back story HERE.
    Legal reaction HERE.

    Monday, March 19, 2012

    Just The Thing

    A BIT MORE SNOW
    On Top Of Slush
    on top of rotten snow
    OPEN WATER AT LAST
    -------
    .. Mom is doing her best to slide gently into Spring. We are treated to heavy wet snow, rain, sleet, sun, thunder, warm and cold temperatures - sometimes all in the same hour. Just the way it always is.
    .. Visitors, (very few, now that Yellowstone National Park is closed,) comment on the variety of weather in the most colorful of verbiage. The neighbors smile, shake their heads, and wonder how it is that lowlanders think that water gets into rivers.
    .. Took a quick jaunt down to _____ Creek. It's a scrumptious sight for eyes too long glazed by frozen water. It's being fished at it's estuary and lo, the fish managed to survive the winter once again. We watched. laughed, kibitzed, cajoled, and encouraged the kids that did us a turn and took us along.
    .. The capricious Springtime mix of precipitation is being called for during the next couple of weeks. It's a good thing: keeps the idiots gentry down low. We'll be there soon to see how it's done. Rumor is; that the Missouri River is getting hot early. The pre-runoff season is upon us.
    .. More to come from the lowlands.
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    Friday, March 16, 2012

    We're Loving It

    GRAY, DRIZZLE, PAVEMENT
    HUZZAH !!! - The Big Melt
    gotta go now

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    .. The streets are really and truly paved in West Yellowstone, Montana. For just over four months a 10" - 14" snow pack has been maintained on our streets. It has been groomed and manicured by our dedicated town road crews. This facilitates travel through the village by snow machines.
    .. When the bottom falls out & the slush becomes an obstacle course of frozen tank-traps at night, the city crews spend 18-hour days removing the tons of melting snow to keep the roads safe. Those folks now have the majority of the streets down to the pavement - bless 'em all!
    .. Rumors have just hit our ears of sizable and gallant  fighting trout in the heavily pounded stretch of water between the lakes. We're about to don our elbow pads and wade into the silliness. The rumors demanded our attention especially since they contained a cherished bit of wisdom: "FISH NYMPHS!!"  We'll let you know.
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    Tuesday, March 13, 2012

    Native Fish Get Boost

    $1,000,000 = $2,000,000
    Grant Matched By NPS
    just a start
    SEE THE LAKE TROUT?  SEE THE CUTTHROAT?  YUM, YUM !!
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    ..The Yellowstone Park NATIVE FISH CONSERVATION PROGRAM has been given a boost by the finalization of the $1,000,000 grant from the Yellowstone Park Foundation.
    .. Last December we noted that Yellowstone Park was embarking on a comprehensive program to protect and preserve native fish stocks. That program is now underway with the infusion of funds and the implementation of the plan.
    .. The recognition that the native fish and their abundance and distribution and behavior constitute a vital link in the ecology of the park has led to this action. As a food source for grizzly bears, birds, coyotes, otters, and other animals the native species are vital to the health of the ecosystem.
    .. This effort is designed to address all aspects of the concerns about the dwindling populations of native fish and will guide management for the next two decades and beyond.
    .. A major concern, of course, is the impact of Lake Trout on the native cutthroat population. Efforts to ameliorate this impact will include stepped-up gill netting efforts, research, and plans to create a resiliency in the native fish population.
    .. It will probably take six years to accomplish the major goals of the project. During this time future strategies and management plans will also be developed to insure that the native fish population can be successfully managed in the face of:
    ** Predation by non-native fish such as Lake Trout and Brown Trout,
    ** Hybridization with non native Rainbow Trout,
    ** Drought, climate change and fishing pressure.
    .. The top priority of this action is to decrease the number of Lake Trout in Yellowstone Lake.
    .. Additionally the project aims to:
    + Restore Yellowstone cutthroat trout to waters within the northern portion of the park;
    + Develop a westslope cutthroat trout brood source;
    + Continue long-term restoration efforts of westslope cutthroat trout; and
    + Begin to restore Arctic grayling within the Gallatin and Madison drainages.
    .. Information Resources:
    -- Yellowstone Park Foundation Announcement,
    -- Yellowstone Park Information Document (PDF),
    -- FONSI Native Fish Conservation Plan (PDF),
    -- Native Fish Conservation Plan EA (PDF),
    -- Native Fish Conservation Plan EA;  Chapters 1-5 (PDF),
    -- Native Fish Conservation Plan EA; Appendices A-F (PDF),
    -- Native Fish Conservation Plan EA; Appendix G (PDF).
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    Monday, March 12, 2012

    Not Quite . . .

    IT ONLY GOT TO 47° F
    Winds Were Manageable
    neighbors vacate town
    THE NEIGHBORS PAUSE IN THEIR LABORS TO QUAFF A BREW OR TWO
    -------
    ..Sunday was another pleasant and unseasonably warm day. The thermometers in town ran to 47° F and not a bit more. We were hoping for another 50° F. The day was "Squinty Bright," and sun block was a definite must.
    .. Some of the brave neighbors probed the estuaries along the shore of Hebgen Lake for legal open water: it's a sport for the young and thick of body. Rumors of open water at the mouth of Grayling Creek persist - SO?
    Size 20 winged midge with outriggers
    .. Ice fishing is still in full swing and, (depending on expertise,) some fine trout dinners are being gathered up.
    .. Smokies, (whitefish,) as well, are running to 3# and seem eager as the ice-out approaches.
    .. The water around Campfire Lodge is getting a pounding - all the way down to Quake Lake. Fish are being taken on just about any subsurface offering in the size 10 to 14 range. Pheasant Tail Nymphs, Prince Nymphs, Feather Duster Nymphs, Shop Vac Nymphs, and winged midges, (size 20 - 24,) are getting drowned in abundance.
    .. The extended forecast calls for a few more gentle days with some mixed rain and snow about to show up in the neighborhood.
    .. There is a steady stream of cars running from town to the little bits of legal open water. There are quite a few non-recreational snowmobilers headed to the major estuaries as well.
    .. The fisher folk of our village have abandoned their 'stool-warming' at the pubs during mid day and can only be found with their prehensile cheeks squoze down after dark - - SPRING FEVER HAS ARRIVED !
    -------
    With the last few weeks of salubrious weather the Madison River is already bank-full
    .

    Sunday, March 11, 2012

    . . . And Then Some !

    50° F FOR TWO DAYS
    The Bottom Falls Out
    the neighbors rejoice
    FISHERS OF THE FLY  --  Between The Lakes
    -------
    .. It happened. The thermometers in town hit the magic number:  50° F. The neighbors are sanguine enough to understand that it means nothing of great significance at this point in March - but they chortle and giggle at the prospect of our impending Spring.
    .. During the daytime hours our town's roads become a rutted mush. As the sub-zero nights blanket our basin the roads become icy tank traps waiting to devour the undercarriages of unsuspecting visitors in their low-slung $50,000 chariots. Even the granola skiers have trouble with their "Super Subaru's."
    .. The very thin skim of ice that was left on several neighborhood small streams has evaporated with the bright sun and high temperatures. A few shaded small streams, (like Cabin Creek,) are still ice and snow covered.
    Sierra Bright Dot
    .. Surprisingly, (and happily,) Friday and Saturday were not only bright and warm, - BUT -  without any significant winds. The midge fishers jumped on it!
    .. It may hit 55° F today but the winds have already started. The "snow-eater" arrives!
    .. A couple of months ago we extolled the virtues of the Sierra Bright Dot as a fly for taking trout when the midges were hatching.
    .. Of course the fly-shop-groupies poo-pooed it and stuck with the sanctioned offerings of their respective feather merchants. It's understandable given the economic and social competition between the elitist fly shop gangs, (whose hat do you wear?)
    Olive Double Midge
    .. We would like to highlight a very, very, similar fly from RiverBum; used in exactly the fashion that we've touted. On occasion even the feather merchants get it right.
    .. Between The Lakes on the Madison River the neighbors, and a few visitors from states in the deep south like Utah and Wyoming, are taking fish on San Juan Worms, Sierra Bright Dots, floating Shop Vac's, and small streamers of various sorts.
    Worms du jur between the lakes
    .. The combined effects of warm sunny days and top-of-lake-discharge have made the Hebgen Tailwater very productive for the winter hatching fauna.
    .. According to the glitterati literati folks that know, there may be three species of midges and their associated worms in the tailwater.
    .. We have no idea. We do know that the traditional San Juan Worm in a glorious red color is the preference for the fishers that like to catch fish.
    .. We're headed down that way, (sort of,) to a bit of open, legal, water without a trampled footpath. We suggest that you fish Between The Lakes now. It's hard to tell when the Montana DFWP will figure out that there is genteel recreation occurring there and regulate it.
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    HEY GUYS, LOOK WHAT'S OPEN

    Friday, March 09, 2012

    Of Fishers & Photographers

    IN THE MIND'S EYE
    The G.A.S. Attack
    just do it
    WET SEASON
    by Marco Adamczewski
    See it on Flickr:

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    ..  It's called Gear Acquisition Syndrome. We all have it to a greater or lessor extent.
    .. Fly fishers and photographers seem to be constantly coveting the latest, or oldest, or greatest, or shiniest, or heaviest, or lightest, or spiffiest, or what-ever-est gadget.
    .. We just saw an interesting note from Blood Knot, (thanks Tom,) about preserving things and a wonderfully snide bit of humor = "89% of U.S. Anglers Can't Afford Fly Fishing Gear." My, my!
    .. The image above was taken with a camera that uses no batteries, requires film, demands waiting for the film to be processed, probably cost in the neighborhood of $30.00, and hasn't been produced since 1984.
    .. The image has very little to do with the camera - it's about the vision. That image speaks volumes without saying a word. It tells a tale. It engages the eye and conjures up feelings in our experience. We like it very much, indeed.
    Leica's in Yellowstone.
    .. Please don't be deceived, we certainly do enjoy our Leica's and Ed Payne bamboo rods - sure do! But we enjoy taking pictures and fishing more.
    .. We're not an expert at either endeavor by a long shot. We are, however, entertained and engulfed by both.
    .. Being a fly fishing "Duffer" is probably akin to being a "Snap-Shooter." The implication is that there is something wrong with not being a professional or an expert. Truth be told - most of us are neither experts or professionals.
    .. We, now, speaking from both experience and criticism, in fact, certainly are not.
    Payne in motel in Oregon.
    .. And that's the rub. Many of us, while seeking to avoid snapshooting, or dufferdom, retreat to G.A.S. How human.
    .. We retreat from the task at hand. We avoid mastering the tools at hand. We retreat to the conceit that better tools make better craftsmen! 'Taint so.
    .. From many years of experience, and several G.A.S attacks we, ourselves, have discovered that the gear never made us any better.
    .. Just watch and see how pretty our tailing loop becomes when tossed with a $900.00 fly rod - the wind knots are so much more symmetrical!
    .. Just admire the blown highlights from our $4,568.00 digital masterpiece - the empty spaces are interesting!
    .. There's a lesson here somewhere. Perhaps it's the doing rather than the being that satisfies.
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    Olympus Trip 35 and a fine book about doing.

    Thursday, March 08, 2012

    It's A Neighborhood Thing

    LITTLE BLESSINGS
    Full Moon Skiing
    cold clear skies await
    -------
    .. We enjoy the exuberance of the young of heart and leg. Off they go into  the twenty below evening, (it was -18° last night.) Good on 'em!
    ..For 3 or 4 nights: when the sky is clear, when the moon is big, when the spirit moves them, when the forest is full of shimmering light and eerie shadows, the neighbors celebrate our place in the universe.
    .. Read about the big doings HERE.
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    Wednesday, March 07, 2012

    Of Snowballs and Trout

    AN AUTHENTIC SPRING SNOW
    Heavy - Wet - Warm - Sticky
    make some snowballs
    Sodium lights from many of the businesses
    give the town an eerie glow at midnight.
    -------
    .. Our snow is usually of the powder variety. It's highly prized by skiers, sledheads, and other adults of the mature variety. The neighborhood kids aren't much impressed most of the time.
    .. Last night the kids got their snow. It was, (and is,) perfect for snowballs and snowmen.
    .. As our Springtime inches closer, the snow becomes more to the liking of the kids and the informed fishers. It's moisture content is higher. It's heavy. It packs tight. It lasts through the upcoming rains of Spring. And, though they don't know it, the trout like it too.
    .. The storm dropped only about eight inches here. It was widely scattered around the region. But it's a blessing and appreciated by all. The nighttime was cool: -15° F. This is even better for the snowballs and the fish. Amen.
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    Tuesday, March 06, 2012

    Ask & It Shall Be . . .

    NEED SNOW ??
    Got Some

    -----
    .. We are blessed. More snow, wet snow, heavy snow, warm snow. Hallelujah!
    -------

    .Advertencia de Tiempo Invernal
    No se encuentra la traducción al español en este momento.

    URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
    NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GREAT FALLS MT
    944 AM MST TUE MAR 6 2012

    MTZ008-015-055-070000-
    /O.CON.KTFX.WW.Y.0016.000000T0000Z-120307T0000Z/
    BEAVERHEAD-MADISON-GALLATIN-
    INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS...BIG HOLE PASS...
    CHIEF JOSEPH PASS...DILLON...MONIDA PASS...ENNIS...NORRIS HILL...
    RAYNOLDS PASS...TWIN BRIDGES...BATTLE RIDGE PASS...BOZEMAN...
    BOZEMAN PASS...TARGHEE PASS...WEST YELLOWSTONE
    944 AM MST TUE MAR 6 2012

    ...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 5 PM MST THIS
    AFTERNOON...

    A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 5 PM MST THIS
    AFTERNOON.

    * TIMING AND MAIN IMPACT: SNOW...HEAVY AT TIMES...WILL CONTINUE
    THROUGH THIS MORNING. SNOWFALL RATES AROUND 1 INCH PER HOUR
    CAN BE EXPECTED AT TIMES THIS MORNING. EXPECT THE SNOW TO
    GRADUALLY DECREASE IN INTENSITY DURING THE AFTERNOON HOURS.

    * SNOW ACCUMULATIONS: SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 4 TO 8 INCHES ARE
    EXPECTED IN THE HIGHER TERRAIN...WITH 3 TO 6 INCHES IN THE
    BOZEMAN VALLEY...WHILE 1 TO 3 INCHES CAN BE EXPECTED AT
    LOWER ELEVATIONS OVER THE REMAINDER OF GALLATIN...MADISON...
    AND BEAVERHEAD COUNTIES.

    * VISIBILITY: SNOW AND BLOWING SNOW WILL REDUCE VISIBILITIES TO
    LESS THAN ONE QUARTER MILE AT TIMES.

    * OTHER IMPACTS: EXPECT ROADS TO BE SNOW COVERED AND SLIPPERY...
    COMBINING WITH REDUCED VISIBILITIES TO MAKE FOR HAZARDOUS
    TRAVEL CONDITIONS.

    * LOCATIONS AFFECTED INCLUDE: BATTLE RIDGE PASS...BOZEMAN...
    BOZEMAN PASS...TARGHEE PASS...WEST YELLOWSTONE...ENNIS...
    NORRIS HILL...RAYNOLDS PASS...TWIN BRIDGES...BIG HOLE PASS...
    CHIEF JOSEPH PASS...DILLON...MONIDA PASS

    PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

    A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW AND BLOWING SNOW MEANS THAT
    VISIBILITIES WILL BE LIMITED DUE TO A COMBINATION OF FALLING AND
    BLOWING SNOW. USE CAUTION WHEN TRAVELING...ESPECIALLY IN OPEN
    AREAS.

    FOR SPECIFIC ROAD AND TRAVEL CONDITIONS IN MONTANA...DIAL 5 1 1.

    --------
    .

    Sunday, March 04, 2012

    Nothing Spectacular

    GOT SOME SNOW
    Water Content Up
    a whisper of spring

    -------
    .. Well now; Yellowstone National Park will be closed to over-the-snow vehicular travel at the end of the week. The Snowmobile Expo will take place on the following weekend.
    .. These two events signal a few realities for the neighbors. There will soon be places to park downtown. Seasonal employment will disappear for about two months. The heaviest snowfalls of the season are in the offing. Muck, mush, and melting will dominate the town snow piles. Winter fishing will be the best it's been since Adam was a rib, or thereabouts.
    .. Our snow depth is approaching the 100% mark. That's the good news. The snow water content is lagging on the Madison River and the Gallatin River by about 20% over both drainage's. That's the O.K. news. Spring will tell the tale.
    .. If the current warm-up persists to the point of rain we're done for the year and that's not all bad. If we get a few more snow storms with some wet spring snow that's not all bad either. If we get a few storms and pile up the snow to above average depths and spring warms up rapidly the runoff could be excessive and persistent, and that's not necessarily bad. Obsessing fails to comfort the soul.
    .. The mid-range forecast suggests that we may see 50° F by next Sunday or Monday. That is what the folks next door call " . . a whisper of Spring . . " It's has been a gentle winter by historical standards and we're pleased to let the upper prairie states be the coldest in the lower 48 for a change.
    .. Fishing has been good, catching has been better - probably because access has been easy with the soft snow and mild weather. We've been fishing our usual assortment of flies plus an additional newcomer to the boxes. Along with our worms, shop vacs, winter grub & Yellowstone Spruce fly, we've added the winter caddis.
    .. The winter caddis is nothing spectacular. It's just a large, bright, overly-dressed soft hackle. It has a lead core for the body, no friggin' bead head, and is made from chartreuse hare's mask and partridge breast. It is a simple, quick, effective fly. So we use it. It can be tied without the lead and greased to float. That works too.
    .. With the lowland Madison River closed, (where it's economical for us to fish it,) we're stuck with the Hebgen Tailwater, (and that's not all bad - high as it is.) There are still midges and as the days get brighter and warmer they will play a role in the theater of the fly as well.
    .. We'll let you know if it gets to 50° F over the coming weekend.
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