• PARTNER: PROTECT YOUR WATERS
  • Go To: THE FLIES OF YELLOWSTONE
  • Go To: YELLOWSTONE FISHING WEATHER
  • Go To: YELLOWSTONE FLY FISHING MAPS
  • Visit: The Trout Underground
  • Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: Buster Wants To Fish
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Visit: Montana Cowgirl
  • Thursday, November 29, 2012

    . . . But You Can't Hide

    BIG WIND - BIG RAIN
    Big Flood ?
    all in a day's work
    MUD OUT  -- WEATHER IN
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    .. So, it's supposed to be wet when you're chasing steelhead. It's supposed to be dreary and damp and dank and miserable. It's supposed to be thankless, tedious, exhausting, and frustrating. But, is it supposed to be dangerous?
    .. Slick roads, trees down, flooded roads, and Sasquatch are thrown into the current mix. Not high adventure but it keeps one alert.
    ..Well, so it's been. But, at least it's a warm deluge and the snow level is staying at about the point where the upstream fish should be. Roads will be on the dampish side. Small creeks will be "out-of-bank." The Chetco river will be full of whitecaps and mud. Glad we're here to see it.
    .. We're constantly checking the NOAA river watch sites. Try THIS LINK for current conditions and predictions. There is also a high surf warning. The kids are loving it. Maybe we should try it.
    .. A day or two away from the fish is standard this time of year. It looks to be a little more than that. we'll see. Rumors abound about sea-run cutts in the harbor. Maybe tonight.
    .. The crabbing has been good and the neighbors are going to burn a few. This is a rare pleasure and you can bet that we'll need some cold one's to get it all down.
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    THE STORM COMETH

    Let's Go To The Bar

    YOU GOT IT !!

    ALONG WITH EVERYONE ELSE !!

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

    Wet, Wild, Windy

    MOM ON RAMPAGE
    Warm Rain, Melting Snow
    damn the squals full fling ahead
    A COMELY BRIDGE INDEED
    -------
    .. Well she's everywhere and kind of grumpy right now. MOM, that's who. She's kicking up a storm, as it were. The last of the color is about to be blown off of the trees. The muddy rivers will get more muddy. Higher too. It's only a certainty that the upper reaches of the drainages will clear at all.
    .. There's some well hidden roads. There's some dripping ferns and giant trees. There's even fish if you can find them. We're off to try and figure it out. The neighbors are laughing, (some are also fising anyway!) It's not perfect but it's fishing.
    130 TEARS OF GOSSIP - YUM
    .. The Chetco River is about to be blown sky high. There are other rivers. Some even better if you don't mind gobs of hatchery fish amongst your rare wild steelhead. We don't. It's just a short drive up the road to the four forks of a lovely little stream with fish just dying to be caught. They don't get fished over very much. After all they are only 10 - 15 pounds each, (usually.)
    .. There's good pizza, friendly folks, and a few fishers that we know that will be on the gravel trails. Heck, the river flows through the county seat - what more could a gypsy fisher ask. They haven't shot at us yet, and they have quit throwing axes too.
    .. The big and famous waters around here have so many guide boats that it looks like an Interstate interchange in downtown Los Angeles. Expensive too.
    .. The snow hasn't come down too low and despite the published wisdom there may even be some Coho scattered amongst the home running hatchery fish.
    .. We're on the water as you read this. Dripping and giggling. Our trusty horse is being used as a pack mule for a couple of neighbors and their gear. It's up to it. Seen mud and rain and snow before. It's a courtesy exchanged for the local knowledge.
    .. Pizza tonight - can't wait, it'll be dry.
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    HOPEFULLY THEY'LL BE OPEN - ONE NEVER KNOWS

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

    NEW LINK

    A GENUINE TREASURE
    It Needs It's Friends
    friends save rivers
    These Folks Released This Wild 20# Chetco Steelhead  -- Good On 'Em !!

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    .. Some fishers think that keeping a stream or river secret will protect it. Such a fantasy. The more friends a river has the better protected it will be. If no one knows about it then mining, de-watering, polluting, etc. go unnoticed and despoiling takes place.
    .. The Chetco River has friends. It has good friends. It has good friends that care - not just about the fish - but the river itself and it's wonderful scenic, recreational, and primative beauty.
    .. As far from home as the river is, we consider ourselves a friend. We suggest that you investigate this lovely river. The place to start is the SAVE OUR CHETCO RIVER website. Personal or public complacency is an exploiters best friend. End of pitch.
    .. This may be the last wild western river where it's legal to keep a wild native fish. We don't advocate it, but it can be, and is done. Gear, flies, etc. the fish are superlative specimens of the breed. They deserve respect and admiration. That's why we visit.
    ..There is sun between the clouds and mud in the water. Bottom bouncers and plunkers have taken a few fish. Drizzle and real rain should keep us dancing for the next few days. Generally, high water signals a good time for bank fishing - but not with the amount of color the river has right now.
    .. The upper reaches will clear first and we'll head up to see how the "ghost run" fish are doing.
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    IT MUST BE OREGON - RARE SUNSET FOR THE SEASON

    Mighty Big Water

    THERE'S A FUNNY TASTE
    Salty Sort Of
    perhaps fish defecate in it
    There's this long pile of rocks . . .
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    .. Had a nap. Saw the ocean. It's bigger than the whole Missouri River. Got to think about this. Fish actually leave it and change their water purification and elimination system just to swim in confined rivers. There's a lesson here somewhere.
    .. Rumors abound. Fish are here. Not a seal to be seen. Chrome is following Royalty up the creek. Only a week or so early but not too unusual. We'll let you know.
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    Just a little heavy for a 9 weight. Pretty though!

    Monday, November 26, 2012

    A Fine Soft Day

    WHAT?  FOG?  DUH!
    Touchdown
    just like it should be

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    .. Such quiet and gentility that one is gulled into thinking all will be just fine forever. The costal fog will both put you to sleep and awaken your soul with it's all pervasive chill. Some folks thrive on it.
    .. Just a few more miles and then a short nap. Maybe a long nap. Maybe some pizza and a nap. The fish can wait - for now.

    Saturday, November 24, 2012

    To The Choir

    OMEGA 3 4 U ?
    Don't Watch This
    it takes too long to know !
    ..
    -------
    .. It's a long, long, way west. We gathered this up during a bit of self indulgent surfing.
    .. Probably preaching to the choir - BUT - it's more than just a passing concern.

    Westward Ho!


    Thursday, November 22, 2012

    THANKS

    A PAUSE FOR US ALL
    Thanks Be . . . .
    amen

    -------
    .. We've too much to be thankful for. Passing 14 lustrums and heading for another is the big one. Freedom to fish or not to fish. Friends - family - neighbors - etc. you know it all. It's more poignant as the years pass.
    .. About 1,000,000 hits on this little family and friends notepad. And the big one: fishing this afternoon on a stream that is un-named and seldom fished even by the neighbors.
    .. Enjoy the day. Trite as is seems counting blessings is soothing at our age.
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    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

    M.O.A.L.

    SEEMS FASHIONABLE
    Here's A Video For Big Fishers
    finesse for the left coast

    ..
    ..
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    .. We can only hope!
    .. For the past two or three years the MOTHER OF ALL LEACHES, (MOAL Leach,) has become the go-to fly on the left coast -- for fish of the large and chrome variety, (and others as well.)
    -- Fished with gear or fly tackle, (one, two, or three-handed,) it has an especially seductive bit of action. Across and down, up and across, stripped, bottom bounced from a drift boat, slung beneath a bobber, etc, // it just works.
    .. It comes in all sizes, (mostly big,) and has sprouted a rainbow of color combinations. The colors seem to be personal and idiosyncratic.
    .. The key to a successful execution of the fly is the string and the judicious application of a bunny strip with Cyanoacrylate glue. Done right this fly seems to be the wonder drug for catching. We'll see.
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    .. This can be a raging river if given the chance. High surf warning, high wind warning, heavy wind warning. The system is in for a flushing. The neighbors are pissed. The fish, on the other hand, will have some fresh smells to follow. It's all good.

    Monday, November 19, 2012

    The Joys Of Rain

    SNOW VACATES THE ROADS
    Mud Deters Fancy SUV's
    fish come up to see the show
    'TIS THE SEASON
    -------
    .. Unlike the postcards depicting snow in Winter - OR - placid streams in Summer, our transition seasons are messy!
    .. We've lost about 14" of snow to the rain over the last couple of days. It's not a driving rain. It's a drip and drizzle, on and off kind of rain. It's perfect for mud pies. And it also slows down the grouse.
    .. There's not much to report. Snow has been forecast for today and the last few days. It's been sparse and wet. The visitors arriving here for "Ski Week" have brought their roller blades and their roller skis, (never knew there was such a thing.)
    .. The  South Fork of the Madison River has become a regular coffee klatch of neighbors. We seem to have driven the wolves, elk, and elk hunters away from several roads and woods in the process.
    Raffia-Backed Hare's Ear Nymph
    .. The large, lake residing, sex crazed trout are still arriving in waves. The resident fish are in an agitated state. The water is colored. The fish are on the bite.
    .. The conditions dictate the tactics. Resident fish are up high in the water column and holding tight to the bank. They are relatively less selective than a single man at closing time. They've been eating midge clusters, raffia-backed Hare's Ear nymphs, and "LEGGY" Royal Coachmen with foam wings. Other weirdness, (think caddis,) has also been reported.
    .. The migrant submarines are a bit more recalcitrant during the gray and drippy parts of the day, (most of the time,) Those fish seem to be sleeping and need a nudge to bring some fight to the fore. Deep-dredged bright and colorful streamers are the ticket. "Hit 'em in the nose," is the preferred attack plan.
    .. We'll hang in for another day or so. Then some rat killin' needs be done. Time now to fill the thermos with some coffee and amber liquid - it helps!
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    Do Trout Really Eat This Stuff - Only The Shadow Knows

    Sunday, November 18, 2012

    Thick Or Thin ?

    RAIN FOR A WEEK: CHETCO
    60# Kings
    steelies sighted - crowds aplenty

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    .. After a good opening week, the water on the Chetco River has slowed - and so has the catching.
    .. A week of rain should provide the needed bump to bring in some more fish. It looks like MOM is going to cooperate.
    .. This brief report brought to you by the anticipatory weather scan.
    .. Pray for drearyness and increased, (but not catastrophic,) river flows. Beware the winds. Trees are falling.
    .. Fly folks on the Chetco River are a distinct minority. The gear folks tolerate us with a smirk and a smile. They cheer when we hook up. We hope to be there in a week or so. The river has one of the highest recruitment of Wild King Salmon of any river. The steelies like this because they follow and gorge themselves on the roe. YUM!
    .. Some of the folks around the harbor in Brookings, Oregon - and further inland are connoisseurs of the traditional. They, (and we as well,) tie RAT's, GP's, Durham Rangers, and so forth. Instead of putting them on the wall in a shadow box they rip lips with them.
    .. The current debate is just how THICK  --  OR  --  THIN should the wing be? And, is a hair wing acceptable? Squirrel, or elk, or calf. This is the sort of thing that wars are fought over.
    .. We'll update you.
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    Friday, November 16, 2012

    Hola Midges

    FLY FOR ALL SEASONS
    Especially Now
    runners be damned
    BUGS & SNOW & SUN & DRY ROADS & EAGER FISH -- AH, PARADISE

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    .. We took a break from dragging the submarines to dry dock and visited with some resident fish. As the giants enter the South Fork system they displace the resident fish. The poor put-upon "Homies," seek secondary and tertiary hides. We know where they are.
    .. Happily for both us and the fish the midges have been cooperative. The weather too! The paved roads are clear and dry. We get there quick. Smash some bugs on the way. Satisfy our wanton urges to torture the poor little critters, and get back before the cows come home.
    .. Tis the season for rejoicing: soft days, bright days, midges, elbow room, grizzle bears on gut piles steaming in the woods. What more could one ask?
    .. We're going back for more!
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    A BIT OF SPINDRIFT FOR LUNCH

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

    Adios Visitors

    TIME FOR THE NEIGHBORS
    Snow Is Not A 4-Letter Word
    very and cold are 4-letter words
    View Toward The South Fork Last Night.
    -------
    .. Minus 15° F is on the border between cold and very cold in our neighborhood. Happily we are not sleeping outside.
    .. The weather mavins missed this one! We're hoping they are correct about the coming warm up and the chance for some continued productive fishing.
    .. As the pubs empty of visitors and their chatter about "too-cold-to-fish" and their comments about Siberia, the neighbors are geared-up for some spectacular catching.
    The Evil Eye Of The South Fork
    .. There are still 19 days of catching to be had among the forgotten haunts and holes of the South Fork of the Madison River. Here the fish are far larger than those that run up the Madison River into Yellowstone National Park.
    .. The fish are mostly untutored in the ways of fly fishers and seem to be willing to grab any thing with a hook in it = even nightcrawlers and Mepps.
    Easy Access
    .. Many of the motels in our village are closed as the staff gets laid off and mom and pop head to Jamaica or Hawaii or Belize, or some such place. Visitors flee from town when there is snow and the temperature reaches single digits.
    .. The neighbors feel blessed that they have this glorious time & water all to themselves. With the recent snow, access is easy on a snowmachine and the elk hunters can hear you coming.
    .. The old adage about keeping your fly in the water is most appropriate when the air temperatures get below -10° F. Half a chicken worth of feathers becomes a colorful icicle very quickly with more than just a couple of false casts.
    .. Most of the neighbors fish close and roll cast, (a forgotten art form among the testosterone laden Spey flingers.)
    .. The neighborhood fly box is quite a bit different from the one that the feather merchants sell for the Madison River in Yellowstone National Park.
    Hornberg For Now
    .. Small and medium sized flies with gobs of "internal action" are the favored offerings of those that have fished the Fall run for decades.
    .. As we've mentioned before, the old and dowdy Hornberg is a local favorite. So too, the small wet flies of bygone days. Flies like the Scarlet Ibis, Lead Wing Coachman, and Whitt's White Wing.
    .. Mash them up good and separate the feather parts into individual strands. Not too pretty but very effective.
    #4 / 2xl Soft Hackle
    .. This year we've seen some giant soft hackles and some imitation salmon flies that seem to be working just fine. Most of the sizes are tied on extra long hooks of the 4 and 6 variety. Occasionally there will be a 4 / 2xl thrown into the mix.
    .. The Fall run on the South Fork is a bit later, (by weeks,) than that on the main stem of the Madison River. It started just a little early this year, (to the surprise and delight of a few savvy kids in the neighborhood.)
    .. Usually the catching heats up to mercurial dimensions about the last week of the season. The biggest fish are in the system by the second week in December and they draw some fish watchers, (the riverine equivalent of bird watchers.)
    .. Well, it's up to 1° F on this sunny and balmy Fall morning. We've finished the huckleberry flapjacks and the second pot of coffee. There's a stale dozen "grocery store" donuts on the front seat of the car and the neighbor kids are tugging at our epitome to get there before the other old farts in the neighborhood do.
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    The Glorious And Unmolested South Fork Of The Madison River.

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

    UP_n_DOWN

    CATCHING RATE UP
    Degrees Down
    it was warm last week

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    And so it goes.

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    Wednesday, November 07, 2012

    Winter May Arrive

    IT JUST MIGHT HAPPEN
    We're Mostly Ready
    giant fish in the south fork
    THE FUTURE IS UPON US
    -------
    .. Here's what the NWS thinks is about to happen:
    ....WINTER STORM WATCH NOW IN EFFECT FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING... THE WINTER STORM WATCH IS NOW IN EFFECT FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING.
    * TIMING: SNOW IS EXPECTED DEVELOP OVER THE MOUNTAINS OF SOUTHWEST MONTANA WEDNESDAY NIGHT. FOR THE SOUTHWEST VALLEYS...PRECIPITATION WILL BEGIN AS A RAIN/SNOW MIX THEN CHANGE TO ALL SNOW BY MIDDAY THURSDAY. SNOW COULD BECOME HEAVY AT TIMES ON THURSDAY AND FRIDAY.
    * SNOW ACCUMULATIONS: ONE TO TWO FEET IS POSSIBLE IN THE MOUNTAINS WITH 5 TO 10 INCHES POSSIBLE IN THE VALLEYS.
    * WINDS: NORTH WINDS 10 TO 20 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 25 MPH ARE POSSIBLE ACROSS SOUTHWEST MONTANA. THESE WINDS COULD RESULT IN AREAS OF BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW...ESPECIALLY IN OPEN AREAS.
    * VISIBILITY: VISIBILITIES OF LESS THAN ONE MILE ARE POSSIBLE IN HEAVY SNOW AND BLOWING SNOW.
    * OTHER IMPACTS: HAZARDOUS TRAVEL CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE. MOUNTAIN PASSES WILL BECOME SNOW-COVERED AND ICY AT THE ONSET OF SNOWFALL. LOWER ELEVATION ROADWAYS COULD BECOME ICY AND SNOW- COVERED AFTER SUNSET THURSDAY. THOSE SPENDING TIME OUTDOORS NEED TO BE PREPARED FOR RAPIDLY CHANGING AND WINTER CONDITIONS. COLD TEMPERATURES AND WIND CHILL VALUES AROUND 0 CAN CAUSE FROSTBITE IN LITTLE TIME.
    * LOCATIONS AFFECTED INCLUDE: BATTLE RIDGE PASS...BOZEMAN... BOZEMAN PASS...TARGHEE PASS...WEST YELLOWSTONE...BOULDER... BOULDER HILL...ELK PARK PASS...HOMESTAKE PASS...WHITEHALL... TOWNSEND...BIG HOLE PASS...CHIEF JOSEPH PASS...DILLON... MONIDA PASS...ENNIS...NORRIS HILL...RAYNOLDS PASS... TWIN BRIDGES
    .. We'll let you know on Monday.
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    .. Can't pass up this opportunity to mention that the Fall run of giant Brown and Rainbow Trout is headed up the South Fork of the Madison River. It's a wee bit early this year and the access has been by wheeled vehicle rather than by snowmachine. A rare treat that may be truncated by the impending storm.
    .. Standard streamers are the fare being offered by the neighbors. A few of the adventurous are throwing mashed-up Hornberg flies in sizes up to 6-2xl. Works for them.
    .. We'll have a full report after the storm -- or during it if the fish are jumping into the nets; sans hooks.
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    Last Sunset Of Fall ??

    Monday, November 05, 2012

    Au Revoir Yellowstone

    IT'S RESTING NOW
    Let The Fish Grow
    let the lies begin
    Looking Back: It Was A Very Fine Year.
    -------
    .. What a wonderful last week of the legal fishing season in Yellowstone National Park. The predicted blustery weather has died with a whimper and some thin clouds. Sunshine drenched the afternoons on most days and the bugs continued to hatch.
    .. As we look back over the year it seems that this was a year of many fish and healthy fish. Of course during this coming Winter the fish will grow in the retelling of tales in the dim pubs of town.
    .. There's still plenty of fishing in the neighborhood. Rest assured that we will manage to get to it and to the other not-quite-so-neighborly waters as well.
    .. Now that we've stopped saving our daylight it's time to make use of what little there is left. There are things to do, places to go, people to see. We're practicing using words like: Chetco, Umpqua, Grande Rond, Clearwater, and Snake. More to come.
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    View Of The Chetco River From The Front Porch.