• Visit: Moldy Chum
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  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Sunday, June 30, 2013

    This Bug's For You

    Caddis In The Rain ?
    4th of July in Yellowstone
    The Full Meal Deal: Vitamin B For Us, Bugs For Them
    .. As you read this the fishing and catching in our region is about as good as it gets - for Summer.
    Famous Sign
    .. The Salmonfly bloom is extensive but not yet too intensive on the lowland Madison River. Fish are eating them in the water and on the water. They are also eating Caddis Flies, Golden Stone Flies, and each other.
    .. The cooling afternoon showers have not deterred the caddis from hatching if the day is bright to begin with. Spectacular evening fishing to the enormous caddis hatches should continue for another month or so - even in the rain.
    .. If you like 'em small there are also PMD's, BWO's and even a mysterious greenish mayfly - it seems larger than the others.
    .. Hebgan Lake is very productive in the early morning with both midges and Trico's. By mid morning, (on still days,) the gulpers are beginning. The bugs will get more dense and more ear-filling as the month grinds on. Evening on the lake can be spectacular with leaches and streamers in the Calibaetis weeds, (particularly around Rainbow Point and Whiskey Bay.)
    .. The tributary estuaries on the lake are holding cruising pods of trout that are very willing to take a properly presented, (trolled or stripped,) streamer. Herky-Jerky is the name of the game here. Dances will test your footwork and legerdemain.
    .. If you're not a lake fisher - perhaps now is the time to try it. Success not guaranteed.
    .. Nez Perce Creek has received an influx of early migrating fish from the Firehole River. Fans of the latter already know that mid-day temps are stifling, (80° F, spikes,) for the fish.
    .. Given the cooling showers it may be fishable for another week or so in the mornings - we're leaving it alone after 9:00 AM.
    Get Here Early
    .. Nez Perce Creek, on the other hand, will reward folks that are willing to walk and carry bear spray. The sort of reward? Catching active fish seeking the cold springs and dark hides of the cooler water. Get thee to the bridge and catching shall be delightful. Evening is good. Morning  is better. Mid-day sucks.
    .. The Gibbon River is exhibiting it's typical Summer schizoid nature. Above the cascades is still a great place for kids and leisurely fishing for eager Brookies. The big and little upland meadows require some small measure of stealth. Streamers are still a viable option.
    .. If there is a couple of cool nights the canyon and lower meadows may produce a few dances. Temperatures have risen rapidly this year below Norris Geyser Basin and have curtailed some of the catching opportunities.
    Gallatin Access
    .. We're stupefied at the lack of fishing pressure on the Gallatin River in Yellowstone National Park. Not disappointed at all, just stupefied.
    .. Catching is great with caddis in the evening. Catching is plumb crazy all day long with nymphs in the clear pools and soft hackles in the riffles. Parking is easy. Walking is simple. What more is there? The stonefly parade is beginning to invade the northern boundary of the park and there's not often any elbows. Just fine with us.
    .. The walk to Wolf Lake is gentle; so to the continuation to Grebe Lake. The bugs are emerging and the multi-winged monsters just now becoming available. Saunter through the woods early, (with bear spray in hand,) and enjoy catching Grayling on just about anything you choose to use.
    Grayling Gumdrop - Yum
    .. Leaches, (small please,) around the weeds and soft water. Sight fishing is possible if you take care to watch the sun. Use a San Juan Worm if you must - pink is nice, so is dark brown.
    .. We suggest that your Fourth Of July fishing adventures be centered around the northeast corner of Yellowstone National Park. Check the link in the sidebar to Parks' Fly Shop for the best information. Things are well underway up that way.

    Wednesday, June 26, 2013

    Lack Of Creativity

    Our Wallpapers Not Commercial
    enjoy the caper

    .. Can You believe that a commercial venture would steal one of our pictures without asking? And, without a thank you?
    .. Sure you would. It's in the nature of merchants without conscience. Click on over to the site that tries to tell you all about fly fishing gear. Would you buy a used car from these folks? Can you follow their advice? Why would they do it?
    .. At least they are reading the straight poop from an ad-free blog. We are designed to tell you about what is. What is their message?
    .. The original from October, 2010.

    Good Tool

    Monday, June 24, 2013

    Breakfast, Lunch, And Dinner

    Fish Hard All Day
    a long lunch & early dinner
    .. The first rhubarb pies of the year are entering the gastronomic stream of our neighborhood fishers.
    .. Of course we gobble them up as rapidly as they are presented to us. The fish on the Gibbon River and Madison River have set the precedent. They are gobbling the surface offerings of fishers with gay abandon. Also, there are some big bugs in and around the water. My, my, my.
    .. National Park Meadow and the confluence marsh are seeing some heavy pressure from the fly flingers. The fish are in a very cooperative mood.
    .. Not only the big bugs, but the little bugs, are feeding the ravenous trout. Caddis, Golden Ones, PMD's, Big Ones, and White Ones are on the water all day.
    .. Some piscine psychologists  have opined that the floating smorgasbord must confuse the trout into a catatonic state that leads to indecision about which morsel to eat. Other mind readers believe that the trout eat the bug most available to their current hiding place. Some even think that the trout behave toward bugs the way that fishers approach a giant slice of freshly baked rhubarb pie: gobble it before your neighbor does.
    .. Whatever the state of the trout mind, (in these two rivers,) may be, one thing is certain: fish looking skyward are available all day. So too, are those that don't like rhubarb pie and hide in the dark caves under the bank.
    .. Now is the time to fish. Catch some too. We're having another piece of pie.

    Sunday, June 23, 2013

    Crowded ?

    Bison Enjoy Lounging
    fishers enjoy catching
    .. The "HIGH SEASON" in Yellowstone National Park is upon us. A major spike in visitation is just two weeks away.
    .. By the Fourth Of July behavior patterns of fish and people in the park will have reached maturity.
    .. Right now motor home owners have learned to park on the double yellow line. Fish have learned to look up.
    .. Bicyclists have already learned to ignore the bicycle lane. Fish learned to follow the shadows two weeks ago.
    .. Photographers are learning  to scorn the life-giving rains. Fish have remembered to use the current in a tussle with upright featherless bipeds.
    .. Changes in the learning process and park conditions will soon begin to take place. These changes should increase the maturation level of visitors, fish, and fishers. Lines at entrance stations will reach astronomical lengths. Fish will begin to avoid the warming waters. Fishers will need to fish at different times on different days with different weather conditions.
    .. Sadly visitors will not learn to enter the park earlier or later. Interestingly fishers will gripe and grouse about the weather - rather than take advantage of it.
    .. Fish, of course, will be in the most advantageous water for feeding and keeping cool: The fish mature faster than humans.
    .. The Firehole River has provided excellent catching over the past four or five days. Air temperatures have been below seasonal averages.
    .. Along with a couple of decent showers, our cloud cover has been fortuitously conspicuous and has encouraged the hatches of Mayflies, Caddis, and other aquatic bugs and such.
    .. The next few weeks will demand rapid maturation of the fishers if they intend to become successful catchers:  A WARMING TREND LOOMS.
    .. The Madison River has become slow, cool, and crystal clear. It is spewing forth little winged creatures that seem to be unappreciated by many visiting fishers: perhaps it's the combined vehicular and bicycle traffic.
    .. Grebe Lake is experiencing some heavy pressure. The early disappearance of the snow and the rapid drying of the trails has allowed happy anglers to spread the word about this normally moderately fished destination.
    .. Pistol packing fishers have been encountered on the Mary Mountain Trail. They had no bear spray. Apparently they have lost their light bulbs.
    .. They were disappointed with the catching as well. Search the deep riffles and dark pools with drab nymphs and you'll do better than they did on Nez Perce Creek.
    Tough Casting On Grayling Creek
    .. The larger fish seem to have backed down from Grayling Creek. This leaves the creek with an exuberant population of 8 to 10 inch fish and lots of elbow room - for both the bears and the fishers. There is even a small caddis hatch happening late on warm days.
    .. The best catching is beginning to move from the rapid bits of water in the park to the lower willow thickets of the lower creek and the upper ends of the estuary at Hebgen Reservoir.
    Do It Yourself
    .. The Upper Gallatin River is still being ignored by experts and feather merchants alike. Sparse hatches of mayflies have been reported. Sparse sightings of caddis are problematic. Big fish are being taken on giant nymphs, small streamers, and both soft and stiff hackles. Some of the deep holes along about mile-post 26 are clear and it's possible to to see the gentle inhalation of the nymphs: if you're sneaky.

    Saturday, June 22, 2013

    The Generals

    Too Few Flies
    make 'em do double duty
    .. So it's come to catching time at the O. K. Corral.
    .. All of the wealthy visitors and other sorts of technical fishers currently in Yellowstone National Park have each bought a hundred dozen flies in eight different sizes and 27 patterns.
    .. They have listened to the professionals. They have read all the books. Now, flies in vest, they have it all covered. Good on them.
    .. We're not strong enough to carry that many flies, nor can we change them quick enough to keep up with the different bugs that pack our ears and nose, and radiator.
    .. The neighborhood kids, on the other hand, are poor; they cover acres and acres of water - and - are true artists at devising flies for matching our local hatches: real and imagined! They tie exceptional flies. You can't buy their flies: at any price.
    .. They are also masters at destroying perfectly good flies given the exigences of changing conditions, luck, or whim, or whatever.
    .. One of their favorite flies, (ours too,) is, (for want of a better handle,) the "Triple Threat Caddis."
    .. It's just a standard elk hair caddis pattern. It's a bit lighter than most of the commercial patterns.
    .. The wing is a little sparse for catalog pictures. And, Horror of horrors, the hackle is the premium dry fly sort and way too big for the fly.
    .. It is usually tied on a gold-toned hook that they have scrounged up from some undisclosed Bass Pro Shop or Wal Mart.
    .. With deft manipulations of their fingernails, (or whatever,) they transform the fly into a floating something-or-other, and with a smidgen more plucking they end up with a sinking thing-a-majig.
    .. We've tried it. You should too - or not, depending on your creativity, desperation, or pocketbook.
    .. The lowly and ubiquitous Muddler Minnow is subjected to a similar, but slightly different treatment. It is usually tied with colors that could imitate either a small fish or a local grasshopper.
    .. It is usually fished with gusto,  (appropriate to the conditions and imagined imitation,) and can be swung, stripped, floated, jerked, or plopped. The wing is often split side-to-side and pulled down below the body and supposedly imitates a hopper. If nothing else it is a good bobber for a hopper-dropper combo.
    .. Great stuff if you can't afford a 97 pocket vest and the heavy boxes to fill all those pockets.
    .. A Montana legend is the Sandy Mite.
    .. The neighborhood kids have a variation that dispenses with the woven body and can be rapidly tied with simple, cheap, and common materials. They sometimes call it the Local Mite - when they call it anything at all. Sometimes just the Mite - or - Mighty Mite.
    ..This little darlin' is subjected to the same depredations and humiliations as the caddis. Plucked naked or with just a few shortened fibers it becomes anything your heart and imagination desires.
    .. We own a few fly boxes. We use them. The kids have a few, or many, as their whims demand. We usually take our boxes with us. They fit in a lunch sack with pepperoni and a baguette of French bread.
    .. The kids pack an old 35mm film canister with a bunch of flies and jump in the river. Travelin' lite and catching many. Not the stuff of slick videos, product endorsements, or webbyzeeens - aw shucks! Catch fish by the bucket though.
    RECRUITS: 100+ strong. Fish Near Here In The Evening. YUM!

    Wednesday, June 19, 2013

    As Suspected

    Up The Hot Staircase
    closure may be early this year
    .. We're watching the spikes on the Firehole River:

    ==> JUNE 15 = 75° F,
    ==> JUNE 16 = 76° F,
    ==> JUNE 17 = 77° F,
    ==> JUNE 18 = 76° F.

    .. Them's a bit warm for this part of June. The extended forecast is for continued warming. The near term outlook is for moderating temperatures in the mid- to high 60's.
    .. Fish now is the consensus.

    Sunday, June 16, 2013

    The Incubator

    Nicely Sorted Gravels
    a magnificent nursery
    ..The well sorted sands and gravels of the Gallatin River above it's confluence with Fan Creek are absolutely perfect.
    .. Right now they are dotted with the disappearing evidence of the redds of spawning trout. They are the perfect subtrate for the complacent willow thickets that choke the river's course and both give and get nutrients to the oxygen-rich waters flowing at grade in this outwash meadow.
    .. They are perfect for holding the gently riffled stream in moderately stable channels. The distributary channels are braided and with the willow roots provide deeply undercut banks.
    .. The rocky soils of the uplands are mostly comprised of large and coarse sediments. Thus the color of the stream in this meadow is seldom too brown or dense to fish. The gravels trap the sands and the fine fraction is nearly absent.
    .. There are shallows. There are holes. There are occasional, (but rare,) glacial erratics.
    .. In truth; the meadow, the stream, the willows, the gradient, the oxygenation, and the many micro environments are perfect for spawning and raising trout.
    .. As long as food is available the large fish from down below hang out in this part of the river. There is sparse insect life available right now.
    .. There are, however itty bitty fishes doing their best to make it to bigger stages in their short life. The big fish eat them. Sad, but true.
    .. Those of us that bother with this "Too Cold" water enjoy the quietude and the catching. No long, (underwear-ripping,) casts are necessary. No fancy flies from exotic natural or synthetic materials are needed. A bit of stealth goes a long way. A bit of stealth is necessary in the willow thickets.
    .. Dapping and stripping the local streamers is a simple and easy to way to gall a fish and satisfy the blood urge of fly fishing. Killing is not necessary.
    .. The rain has abated: the clouds remain. They are leaving fast. We're headed back to this unrecommended water in our neighborhood.

    Saturday, June 15, 2013

    Don't Bother

    "It'll Fish Better Later"
    muck, mud, bears, and such
    .. Onward to the other fishing opportunities in Yellowstone National Park.
    .. The gabfest and elbow convention on the Firehole River is in Full swing. The park and toddle crowd is playing bumper tag along the Madison River. The Gibbon River clique is hooting about soft water and big fish. All good fun for the roadside angler in the park.
    .. With buckets of cool water escaping the clouds, and with a dusting of fresh snow in the mountains,  and with ground fog in the morning it's time to visit the places that we're told not to fish.
    .. It would be a genuine sacrilege to question the sages that tell us that the water is too cold. It would be downright impertinent to ask the sages if they ever, or even recently, fished where they say, " . . . thou shalt not."
    .. It's a funny thing how conventional wisdom is propagated among the mass conformists of the fly fishing world. It doesn't take much for myth to become truth among the listeners to the word.
    .. Like most organized religions, orthodox fly fishing has it's saviors, prophets, soothsayers, and holy books. The orthodoxy of the religion is reinforced by repetitive visitations to sacred sites for penance and inspiration.
    .. Sheep in the fold of this orthodoxy follow their shepherds advice. They bleat the cant of prophets and soothsayers to the point that it's a solemn mantra of belief.
    .. We enjoy this local belief system. It shuns waters with willing fish. The water that is shunned is usually full of fish. Fish that are gullible enough to eat bits of debris nailed to iron or steel hooks.
    These Are Here
    .. But - someone - at some time - said that those waters were verboten at this time of year. It must be true. They said so.
    .. Weird how some things a fisher says are taken as gospel and other things are called exaggerations or even pure prevarication.
    .. So, contrarian that we are, we're off to catch the giant fish of the upper Gallatin River.
    .. These are fish that are in water that is just "TOO COLD." But not too cold for spawning - eh? Not too cold for swimming, (if you are a fish.)
    Cold Water Wonder
    .. It is water that is guarded by signs warning us about the bears. It is water guarded by muddy trails and quagmire stream crossings.
    .. It is water that requires parking in a muddy gravel lot, (not the ideal place for your BMW, Mercedes, Touareg, or Escalade.)
    .. It is water where some local fishing guru got a nick in their paint and mud above the ankles of their $400 waders.
    .. We suggest that the orthodox fishers stay with the glory waters where elbows and inspiration combine to reinforce the notion that there is only a couple of places to catch fish this time of year.
    .. Mud is the friend of the fisher that likes to catch.

    Thursday, June 13, 2013

    On Time - & - On Target

    Pick A Place - Pick A Stick
    it's better late than never
    .. June, our historically wettest month, has arrived late this year. It's here now and bits of wetness and coolness are showing up. Both are appreciated by fish and fishers. Of course they bring a scowl to the faces of visitors in Hawaiian shirts, shorts, and sandals with black socks.
    .. It would seem that there will be no chocolate runoff this year, (barring a deluge of biblical proportions.) That being the case, it's time to get serious about the place and manner for catching on the rivers of the west side of Yellowstone National Park.
    .. We're going to fish them all with a single fly: the Big-Wing Sparkle Caddis. Small, Medium, Large, and VERY BIG. Drown it or float it: it's the simple road to catching success.
    ..The rivers are cooperating. The fish are cooperating. We hope that mom will show some understanding and cooperate as well.
     Here's the current situation:
    Madison River - still about 300 cfs below the seasonal mean. Cool, clear enough, bank full, fish with your normal early summer fly assortment.
    Gibbon River - about 150 cfs below the seasonal mean. Warmer than usual and fishing very well in all river sections. Streamers in the big meadows. Soft hackles in the canyon, Anything small in the pretty stretches above the cascades and all the way to Grebe Lake.
    Gallatin River - about normal for this time of year. Cold: clear in the park. Fan Creek is low and the willows are full of bears and moose. Swing a small streamer under the banks of the big bends in the slow sections. Soft hackles in the riffles. A few noses in the afternoon.
    .. Firehole River - about 100 cfs below the seasonal norm. Rising a little toward the norm. The 76 degree spikes have abated for the moment. Cooling to perfection in temperature and flow characteristics. Bugs on the rise. Rubber legs in the canyon above the falls. Soft hackles in all riffles. Flies that float in the gentility of elbow central.
    .. According to the mom watchers this coming weekend should be perfect for catching on all of the west side waters. Don't bother with Nez Perce Creek, it's full of bears and bear spray is more than useful. The big fish that have run up from the Firehole River are rested from their sexual shenanigans, rambunctious, hungry, and willing to dance. It's hardly sporting to take advantage of their compliance - even if we will