• 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
  • Saturday, December 29, 2012

    21 Weeks & Counting

    NOT TO RUSH THINGS - BUT
    Plan To Include Reservations
    off the road is good for the soul
    EARLY CATCHING SEASON ON THE FIREHOLE RIVER - A SOCIAL EVENT
     
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    .. Just a thought. There are some spectacular places to fish in Yellowstone National Park that are less than a mile from a paved road. Most fisher folks don't even think about them. That's fine with us.
    .. Some of the absolute best catching of trout in Yellowstone National Park is not on the Firehole River, or the Madison River, or the Gibbon River, or the Gallatin River.
    How many can you catch?
    .. It might be on Slough Creek, but not where the elbows are. It might be near the Lamar River, but not within sight of the road. It could even be in the mosquito ridden Bechler Region of the park.
    .. Most fly fishers are of a gregarious sort. Yet, they whine about too many folks on their water. They sob about the fact that there are even other folks on their water. They bemoan the fact that someone found their secret spot. Go figure.
    .. Then they return to the same holes on the same rivers and wonder why things have not changed.
    .. Most of the glory waters in Yellowstone National Park are about comfortable fishing. Do it the way you have read about it. Do it the way the counter help at a feather merchant's shop tells you to do it. Listen to the guides as they extoll the virtues of their successful outings and the grins on their client's face. It's comfortable. Go where you've been before - it's comfortable. Go where someone told you to go - it's comfortable.
    .. Most fly fishers measure their fishing experience in terms of the fish that were caught. A few in terms of the bugs or the rivers. Very few, (we plead guilty,) in terms of the place, the time, the surroundings, or the weather - fish be caught or not.
    RUNNERS IN THE FALL - UNFISHED PARADISE
    .. We encourage all fishers that come to Yellowstone National Park to engage in comfortable fishing.
    .. Measure your experience in terms of the size of the fish, the number of fish, the various species of fish, the beauty of the fish, the strength of the fish - enjoy the fish.
    .. You will have the memories of having fished and caught fish where millions of other fishers have fished and caught fish.
    .. You will be able to tell stories of the same parking places, rocks, runs and riffles and pools that others have experienced. It's fullfilling to be part of the club.
    .. We do not suggest that you spend any time in the winter looking at maps. We do not suggest that you plan to walk too far or explore the thousands of miles of streams and rivers in Yellowstone National Park. We do not, for an instant, suggest that the local, professional, experts are not omniscient or omnipotent - heaven forbid! After all, they make a good living by being the way that they are. It's comfortable.
    .. We, silly us, are spending many hours this winter looking at maps. We're looking at Google Earth. We, at the moment, are comfortable. But it's not fishing. We are planning a summer of distinctly uncomfortable fishing. Catching may accompany it: may not too.
    .. Resources for the uncomfortable fisher folks are wide and varied. Google Earth is good. Digital-Topo-Maps[dot]Com is exceptional and lets you print the maps you need - it's free! Searching the various "YELLOWSTONE FISHING" web sites gives many insights that even the local experts have not yet discovered. Most of this "research" is butt-time, in front of a computer, we hope it pays off.
    .. Last year, Many of the wader friendly lodgings in town were booked well in advance of the fishing season in the park. The owners of these establishments have developed a following of repeat customers and suggest that it's never too early to grab your place. Of course there are over 3,000 motel rooms in town - BUT - not many have facilities for drying waders, tying flies, and other things that gregarious fishers enjoy.
    .. Right now, by gum, the sun has made an appearance, so we're getting off our butt - for the moment.

    PRINTABLE TOPO MAPS FOR FREE
    ..
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    HOW BIG OF A BROWN TROUT DO YOU WANT?

    Wednesday, December 19, 2012

    Time To Burrow In

    IT'S GETTING DEEP
    That's A Good Thing
    more good news on the horizon
    [Montana DOJ administrative message below]

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    Urgent - Immediate Broadcast Requested
    Administrative Message
    Montana Department Of Justice
    Relayed By National Weather Service Great Falls MT
    1152 AM MST Tue Dec 18 2012

    The Following Message Is Transmitted At The Request Of The
    Montana Department Of Justice.

    The Sheridan County Sheriff Office Is Activating A Missing
    Endangered Person Advisory For Eric Zinke. He Is Described As A 17
    Year Old White Male...Who Is 5 Feet 11 Inches Tall...153
    Pounds...With Brown Hair And Blue Eyes.

    He Is Possibly Driving From Sheridan County To Livingston In A
    White 1999 Chevrolet Malibu Two Door...Bearing Montana License
    Plate Number: 34-3568a.

    Eric May Be In Possession Of A Gun.

    If Located...Contact The Sheridan County Sheriff Office At
    406-765-1200.

    A Missing Person Poster And Additional Information Can Be Found At
    The Department Of Justice Website: Doj.Mt.Gov
    .

    Sunday, December 16, 2012

    Auger In

    HEBGEN LAKE IS SOLID
    Thrumming is Rampant
    flies and pimples in use
    SCENIC HEBGEN LAKE IN WINTER DRESS
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    .. The neighbors are getting worked up about the ice fishing on Hebgen Lake. There's just 6 weeks until the NAIFC-sanctioned ice fishing tournament arrives. This year there will be a prize pool of at least $14,000 and it could go as high as $21,000. Two local teams took home giant chunks of change last year. They are hoping to do it again this year.
    .. The balmy days, frigid nights, and perpetual snows are exciting the neighbors beyond all rational behavior. Ten pound trout have already been landed on Swedish Pimples and giant Shop Vac flies. The tournament headquaters out at Kirkwood Resort and Marina is already gearing up with pre-fishing schedules and maps.
    .. This tournement has grown so fast that it has two pages on the official Montana State Travel Website:
    ===> HERE  &  HERE.
    .. The tournament is a three day affair: February 1, 2, 3, 2013. It includes free kids' camp, clinics and instruction, a pre fishing day, group tutorials, Rocky Mountain Ice Fishing Product Fair, and of course the tournament and weigh-in.
    .. The tournament is limited to 150 two-person teams so get your registration form in early. Like right now. Use the form on the OFFICIAL TOURNAMENT WEBSITE.
    .. We'll keep you informed.
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    THE SNOW HAS FINALLY ARRIVED IN WEST YELLOWSTONE

    Wednesday, December 12, 2012

    Arrival

    10" IS A GOOD START
    Sledheads Happy
    fishers hope it continues
    HOME SWEET HOME
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    .. Finally got a good base of snow. There's broken clouds right now - AND - more on the way.

    Tuesday, December 11, 2012

    THE ULTIMATE FISHING RIG

    NO STOPPING US NOW
    The Only Way To Fly Fish
    no pansy lowland rig for us

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    Monday, December 10, 2012

    Just A Bit Of Snow

    SNOWPACK ON THE RISE
    Temperatures Holding
    bits and pieces in the  forecast
    THE WHITE WINTER BLANKET HAS FINALLY COME TO TOWN
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    .. It's been a while since snow has stayed on the ground for more than 48 hours. It's here now and we're pleased.
    THE WHITE MIDGE - DEAD NUTS!
    .. The snow flies are easier to see. The water cools down. The fish eat whatever food that happens to bump them in the nose.
    .. The paths in the snow below Hebgen Dam are forming. Between the Lakes, on the Madison River, is becoming a favorite neighborhood destination. The neighbors are grabbing the "Bitty Boxes." Fishing flies are shrinking by the hour.
    .. The fish have already figgured it out. Midges and other small bits are on the menu. Slack water, backwater, shallow water and oxygenated water are keys to finding the fish. Making them eat is not a problem.
    .. A bunch of the neighbor kids, (with peepers like microscopes,) are tying up some spent wing patterns. These flies have a white floss body and white filiments for wings, (Antron, Zelon, or even wool.) They float high and, (to these eyes,) are easier to pick out in the dark water of the low light winter sun. The fish don't seem to mind that they are not the traditional black color. Sizes are the usual invisable sizes with double digits featuring 2's.
    Chironomid
    .. Sometimes two are tied on together. Sometimes both float, - OR - one floats and one sinks, - OR - both are drowned. Again, the fish seem delighted to gobble up the offerings. We would not go so far as to call it a feeding frenzy - but it is.
    .. A few of the more mature local residents are sticking with the the traditional chironomid imitations. These too can be on the surface, in the film, or down deep.
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    .. Locally we're below the 50% level of snow water contenet. Regionally we're at about 70%. There's a long winter's worth of fishing ahead but you know that we're going to be watching the snow pack.
    .. The near term forecast is calling for intermittent, but persistent snow.  Temperatures are in the seasonal range so the snow will stick around for a spell. The colder - the better.
    EGAD IT'S UGLY !!
    .. When it gets downright cold and the fish enjoy their fits of torpor all of us will form up into competing camps of surface fishing, (= little bits,) and deep fishing, (= big and ugly;) - one thing that is certain up here - the weather affects the fisher folks as much as the fish.
    .. Some heretics, and hypocrites will do both as the opportunity arises. We count ourself in the latter group.
    .. Bobbers and deep dredged ugly flies will certainly be available. We often favor a "HOOLIGAN RIG."  It places the bobber at river's depth above the big ugly fly. The floating fly is on a dropper above the bobber on a 12" to 15" loop. Cover all the bases!
    -- It's time to visit the pubs and gather up some early Winter lies. Most are full of truth with the standard embellishments full of bravado and deception. Even the neighbors' veracity needs be scrutinized on occasion.
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    THE VILLAGE LOOKS BEST WHEN DRESSED IN WHITE

    Friday, December 07, 2012

    It's Time For Crazy

    IT REALLY IS MONTANA
    Do Your Own Thing
    just as nutty as it can be
    ALL DRESSED UP AND NOWHERE TO GO
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    .. The entertainment value of living in Montana, especially West Yellowstone, is high on the totem pole of the capricious and bizarre.
    .. Aside from the normal wierdness that all of us exhibit, on occasion, we have a State Legislature that keeps us guessing about the future of our species.
    .. Happily they convene every other year. Don't know if we could survive a yearly encounter with the circus in Helena, Montana.
    .. For instance:
    ** There is now a 19 year-old in the legislature that is trained in the art of casting out demons,
    ** And, one who is concerned about the imminent collapse of society,
    ** And, one who wants to be paid in gold and silver,
    ** And, one that believes that civil war is imminent,
    ** And, . . . well there's more . . .
    READ ABOUT SOME OF THE ACTORS HERE
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    .. Winter is still waiting in the wings. It's not reached -20° yet, and there's less than a foot of snow on the ground. The warm days and rain have turned most of the bare pavement and the sidewalks into impromptu skating rinks.
    A GENTLE REMINDER - - PEOPLE LIVE HERE
    .. There are very few visitors, tour busses, fisher folks, sledheads, or seasonal interlopers around the village. It will happen. But for now, this sleepy villiage is left to it's own crazy behaviour. Building the ice rink is underway. The town Christmas tree is about to be erected. Iceball fights are commonplace. You know the drill.
    .. The ice is slow to form on Hebgen Reservoir. There's lots of parking for fisher folks nailing the eager trout Between The Lakes. The pubs are gentle places to discuss the non-happenings in town. There is no line at the Post Office. There are places to park at the market and, any place downtown, (both blocks of it.)
    .. The mail included a summons to jury duty. By the time we got there the case had been vacated by the lawyers in Bozeman. Seems that an icy drive up to this corner of the state was not in their best interests. Who knows about their clients?
    .. Well the chores that needed doing are done. The others can wait while we slide down the road to visit a fish or two. More to come.
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    TAKE SHORT STEPS, DO THE PENGUINE WADDLE, DRIVE SLOW, HANG ON

    Thursday, December 06, 2012

    Long Road - Done

    NOWATAHINSIGHT
    No Rain, For The Moment
    the sage looks very fine
    VIEW TOWARD THE HOME PLACE
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    .. We have this vision of a long nap on the couch with the T.V. turned down low and a gray drizzle turning to snow outside the front window. Paradise is different for different folks.
    .. There should be snow and cold and fish and midges and ice and fish and rain, and naps.
    .. AND, dirty clothes and tangled tackle and unpacking and mail and bills and the wild and woolly visitors from the lowlands. Such is life.
    .. More later if we wake up.
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    VIEW IN THE REAR VIEW MIRROR

    Tuesday, December 04, 2012

    The Rays Burst Forth

    TOO BRIGHT TO FISH
    Earthquakes And Landslides
    time to hit the road
    SO THAT'S WHERE THE MUD COMES FROM
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    .. The last few days have seen wet and more wet. The rains, or the earthquake, or the mudslides, must have kept Sasquatch in his den - we survived the Myrtle Point woods and caught a fish, (or so.)
    .. We were about drowned in the heavy surf as well, but managed to also catch a fish, (or so,) there.
    .. So then today, as we're counting our blessings and drying off and packing gear - the sun explodes like a SOCAL summer day. Go figure.
    
    Blueback At Dusk
    .. The town of Brookings, Oregon is reeling from back-to-back storms that did considerable property damage and taxed the city's drainage system. The totals are not in but millions of dollars will have to be spent to fix everything.
    .. The mud in the river has something to do with a pair of landslides and the runoff associated with the storms. The fish are loving it. The fishers are philosophical, ". . . "It is what it is. . .  "
    CRACK SOME
    .. The start of the crabbing season is just so-so. We ate some. Yum. The Bluebacks are all along the coast and in the surf. None reported from the rivers yet.
    .. Steelhead are in the rivers and scurring upstream under cover of mud. Can you say Spin and Glow? Very few fly-caught fish on the Chetco River. Some, however, in secret places on the Coquille River. Ghosts!
    .. The Chetco River is at historic high flows, {LINK.} and you'll have to get someone local to show you the ropes. It's a grand and glorious river. Check out THE MAP courtesy of WILD RIVERS FISHING.
    .. Should you like to see "What's Da Hap's?" around here just click on over to the WILD RIVERS FISHING report for a glimpse. They have the right stuff. Chaeck it out {LINK.} Those folks will even take you to the Smith River if you've a hankering for some Golden State Steelhead. As big and wild as they come!
    CAN YOU BELIEVE IT ?
    .. There are some very nice and placid pools on the upper reaches of some of the other rivers around here. Not what would normally be thought of as Steelhead water - that's the best part of local knowledge.
    .. We've been gifted with a visit to one. Looks like a city park in the middle of the deep forest. The fish are eager right now.
    .. So then, the clouds are rolling back in and we're trying to get gone before the passes get messy. There is a bit of snow up there: not too cold, lots of rain, and mudslides. We're told it's just a normal transition to Winter.
    .. Well, it's off to the pizza place. Then, a nap. Then, back to the other pizza place. Then, a nap. Then, a giant dinner at the ART ALLEY GRILL. We will have to see what the market price is for some local fish - OR - maybe a rack of lamb - OR - maybe both. Overnight, then hit the road.
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    IT'S SO WET THE BIRDS ARE STUCK IN THE MUD

    Saturday, December 01, 2012

    Coastal Wild (?) Life

    ALMOST BIG AS A DOBERMAN
    They Bark Too
    sasquatch sightings abound
    FROM THE WILD FRONT YARD - THE BARKING DEER OF BROOKINGS
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    .. The tail of the storm is breaking up. The sun peeked through the dark clouds this morning but there is more on the way. Perhaps clearing by Monday!
    .. We're headed to the headlands and the harbor for some searun cutthroat trout. Around here they call them Blueback Trout. They are hardly the same fish as the greenbacks of the upper Lochsa River. Same species, absolutely different fish.
    .. Unlike the salmon and steelhead from these local rivers, the bluebacks hang out around their home waters. In the estuaries, along the tidal flats, near kelp beds, and amongst rocky headlands. They are endangered and cannot be kept if taken in the sea. When the rivers are blown and the the weather is grungy the bluebacks are active and aggressive.
    "CHETCO CANDY" - for trout, bluebacks, steelhead
    .. We're geared up to go two ways over the next couple of days. To the coast and harbor and estuary and headlands for bluebacks and, to the wild interior of Sasquatch Country to visit some of the ghost run steelhead that sneak in early.
    .. Fishing for the inland steelhead is dangerous and life-threatening. People have been killed by the neighborhood Sasquatch.
    .. Curry County Oregon may just be the epicenter for this violent subspecies of Sasquatch. Sightings of the "Chetco Monster," (sometimes called the 'Chetco Indian Devil,') are frequent and documented. The sightings and reports go back to the turn of the century, (1899, not 1999.) We'll be in his lair tomorrow. If we survive the ordeal you can be sure that a report with all the frightening and lurid details will follow.
    .. Of course coastal fishing is no safer. We will probably avoid the tangles around Myrtle Point, just a few miles up the coast, and inland a ways. There is a tribe of Sasquatch up there that don't like their fish to be tormented by strangers. They have scared the poop out of miners near the Sixes River too.
    .. From Bandon, (on the coast,) up the Coquille River to the dark forest around Myrtle Point, lurks the ghosts of loggers, miners, and woodsmen that have run afoul of the seven-foot tall beasties. They rattle doors, howl in the night, and protect their territory with a selfish vengence unheard of over most of the known Sasquatch territory. These are not your typical shy and secretive beast.
    .. If you are at all interested in the early run of little, (8#,) steelhead, from the northern 2/3 of the state, you should click on over to "SMALL STREAM OUTFITTERS," they have just a wee bit of information and a few fish porn pictures to document the festivities.
    .. Time to go. The porters have about finished packing the horses. The neighbors and the gawkers have gathered. Some of the neighbors are going along as guides and lookouts. We've sharpened the hooks and are ready for any close encounter of the finny or furry kind.
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    A PAIR OF TRUSTY HORSES - LOADED TO THE GILLS FOR ADVENTURE