• Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Thursday, August 29, 2013

    Cherry Pickin'

    Enjoy The Sights
    like visitors from new zealand

    WALLPAPER: Hot Pot And Visiting Gawker.
    .. During these last days of the summer doldrums we occasionally visit Yellowstone National Park for the wonders that other folks come to see.
    .. We generally enter the park early, drive to a place where there will be a fish or two. Catch the fish and then tour. The neighbors call it ""Cherry Pickin'"
    .. We all have our favorite spots. We gather up some snapshots. We enjoy the gawkers, the traffic jams, the stupid driving, the elbows from around the world, and the chaos that is summer in Yellowstone.
    .. We get some ice cream at Old Faithful. Sometimes we wait the 90 minutes or so for the next eruption. We revel in the fact that we live where so many others want to visit.
    .. When it's time to leave wonderland we stop on the way out for another fish or two and call it a day. Usually we get home in time for a late lunch - or - early dinner and visit a place where the visitors have abandoned. It's an occasional ritual that we indulge in a few times each summer. Crowds and elbows grow old very quickly. That's just us. 3,000,000+ folks seem to enjoy it every year.
    .. Is it October yet?
    Wallpaper: View from above Canyon Village.

    Wednesday, August 28, 2013

    Sorry We Missed This


    Date: August 19, 2013

    National Park Service
    U.S. Department of the Interior

    Yellowstone National Park
    P.O. Box 168
    Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190

    August 19, 2013 13-066

    Al Nash or Dan Hottle
    (307) 344-2015


    Yellowstone Begins Native Fish Restoration in Grayling Creek

    Yellowstone is taking another step forward this week in efforts to restore native westslope cutthroat trout and Arctic grayling in park waters.

    Grayling Creek and its tributaries are located north of West Yellowstone in the Madison River drainage.

    Decades ago, the streams were invaded by non-native brown and rainbow trout. Their presence has contributed to a decline in native cutthroat trout in park lakes, rivers and streams.

    This week an interagency team of biologists will introduce a fish toxin into the streams to remove the non-native trout as part of Yellowstone's Native Fish Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment, which was approved in May 2011. Only waters within Yellowstone National Park will be treated. The project will not impact downstream reaches.

    While the chemical Rotenone will be introduced in small quantities, visitors are advised not to swim in or drink from the streams now through August 30. Warning signs will be posted at all treated areas.

    This year's treatment is the first in a series that is expected to continue over the next two to three years. Treatments will be conducted until nonnative trout have been completely removed from the streams. The park will then reintroduce genetically pure native Arctic grayling and westslope cutthroat trout to the streams. The long term plan is not only to support native species restoration, but also for these streams to provide a brood stock population for future restoration efforts in the region.

    More information on the park's Native Fish Conservation Plan can be found online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectID=30504.

    - www.nps.gov/yell -



    Tuesday, August 27, 2013

    Green Up High

    At Least By Us
    probably worth the walk
    It's not a real big lake. It has fish. It has scuds. It's worth the walk.
    .. It takes just a bit of time and a bit of effort to reach Trout Lake in Yellowstone National Park. It's not far for most folks. We take it slow and get there by-'n'-by.
    .. We've not been there in quite a few years. We took the walk over the weekend. We caught a fish or three.  May never get back there - our loss.
    A Bit Of Trout Candy - Sort Of Like M&M's.
    .. The grass is still green, (not yellow like in the river valleys.) The trout are active and eager. Fishers are well rewarded for their efforts. We suggest that you get there quickly. We also suggest that you fish early.
    .. This is where you can hunt the trout. Little nymphs on long leaders, cast from a crouch or when lying down, to fish that can see you, is great fun.
    .. Sometimes you'll catch a fish rather than scare the poop out of them. You can do this all day and into the evening. Come down the trail while it's still light out - there are bears.
    .. There are surface feeding fish near the shore in the calm of early morning. Hoppers, beetles, moths,  butterflies, ants, and other sundry stuff plops into the water and fish will eat it. Sneaky is the word.
    .. The fishers who visit the lake frequently cast way, way, way, out into the lake. They then wait and move the line only a little bit. There are scuds in the lake. Cruising fish eat scuds. The scuds are pregnant now: will be for a few more weeks. You may get lucky. You need patience.
    Bridge is nicer than we remember.   In fact we don't remember a bridge.

    Sunday, August 25, 2013

    Downturn ?

    Watch The  River And Weather
    some foolish folks greet the sun
    When The Thin Fog Burns Off The River; Fishing And Catching Is Done.
    .. There are those fishers that understand the morning. They understand about the false dawn. They understand about hatching and dying. They can function with very little coffee or sleep. Bless them all.
    Yellowstone Morning Glory
    ..By nature, nurture, tradition, and training, we usually arise long after the sun has broken the day. Infrequently we see the sun rise.
    .. The neighborhood kids don't need coffee. They beat on my window and destroy a perfectly deep slumber. They bring coffee. They watch the river far more closely than the village pros. They explain that it's time to get gone and get on the river.
    .. There was rain last night. Real rain, not the piddly drizzle of the last few days; it cooled the rivers. The clouds were thick and persistent. The clouds would shield the rivers from the early morning sun. It was time to get along to the river. The coffee was cold, (bought at a gas station while they had a breakfast of Mountain Dew and chocolate doughnuts - they saved me one.)
    Mid Day Catching - Gibbon River
    .. There was indeed a heavy spinner fall. There was indeed an early hatch of wondrously small and mysterious bugs. We caught fish in the thin fog of the early morning.  The kids dragged me to the good spots.
    .. It's an interesting sensation when one comes fully awake to the thrashing of a bit of silver and rose on the end of a line that you don't remember casting. Works better than cold coffee.
    .. There's no frost on the pumpkin yet. The top leaves of the potato plants have withered a bit from some near frosty conditions. It's not Fall by a good stretch - the fires have just hit their stride. But there are signs " . . . for them that knows."  And, the neighborhood kids know - school is about to start.
    .. The rivers are finally approaching seasonal, (low,) flows. The Firehole River has shown three days of less than 80° F, and is cooling. The grass in the meadows is as yellow as it is green. The sun is lower in the sky and the color of the sky has changed from it's milky teal color of high Summer.
    .. There are even, not too surprising really, reports of visitors taking fish in the Gibbon River at Madison Junction. One truism that soothsayers often forget is that fish gotta' eat. Even in high summer.
    .. We're not going to abandon the cool waters of the upper Gallatin River quite yet. We're not ready to give up precious sleep for dalliances in the scant morning fogs of the Madison River - not yet!
    .. But, rest assured, that we're going to pay close attention to night time temperatures, cloud cover, rain, and river temperatures. We're going to tie up some Yellowstone Morning Glory flies to go with our bead head Feather Duster flies.
    .. We'll keep you informed. Now it's time for a restful nap. We'll be awake in time for the evening caddis on the Gallatin River. Yawn!
    Evening On The Gallatin River Comes Early This Time Of Year - So Too The Caddis

    Wednesday, August 21, 2013

    Secluded Nooks

    Just Good Food
    a relaxed atmosphere - sigh
    Atypical Airport Restaurant - Quiet, Good Food, Secluded.
    .. Summer is a hectic time in our little village. Crowds from all over the world invade the town on their way to Yellowstone National Park.
    Shop 'Til You Drop - YEE HAW!
    .. This little hamlet is built on service, (the Chamber of Commerce calls it World Tourism.)
    .. Our local population is comprised of a congenial bunch of folks - it has to be.
    .. At times the physical and psychological turmoil and the demands of constant congeniality can wear a person down.
    .. Save for a brief sleep at night there is very little time to pause and escape the hectic rush of the season. When it's time to escape to a gentle lunch we have our hideouts.
    .. One such hideout is the SmokeJumper Cafe.  It's in a secluded nook of our airport terminal. The neighbors are more than happy to drive the quick 2 miles to this little restaurant.
    Correct Temp. + Clean Oil = Perfect Gold
    .. They get away from the madness of summer tourism. They can carry on a conversation in normal tones.
    .. There is an excellent menu to choose from. The chef, (correct word,) is also a great cook. And the food is always delivered with a smile. Reasonably priced too!
    .. This is not an invitation; just a mention of a place you've driven past and not even thought about. Fantastic rib-eye sandwich, perfectly palatable burgers, and great French Fries too!
    .. Most restaurants in town are crowded at dinner time. Lines and long waits are the norm.
    .. When the neighbors are fishing they leave the river early and have an early supper, (call it a real late lunch if you like!) They then return to the river: perfect timing for the neighborhood bugs.
    .. Bullwinkle's Saloon & Eatery caters to this peculiar schedule and opens for dinner at 4:00 PM. It gets busy around 6:00 PM and the lines run out the front door.
    .. Hidden in the back of the dining room is a little known pub with an ancient horseshoe bar.
    .. It's quiet. The booths are spacious. The booths are comfortable.
    .. On Friday's and Saturday's the prime rib is ready to go when the doors open.
    .. The secret to this bit of solitude is to arrive early on Friday afternoon. Seek out the quiet booths in the little pub.
    .. Order the prime rib. Indulge yourself with sumptuous food, salubrious surroundings, relaxed quietude, and gird thy loins for some exceptional fishing when the rivers empty of those fishers with a conventional dinner schedule.
    .. Why, you may ask, on Friday? Many visitors are traveling and are dashing to their next destination on Friday afternoon. They are gone and you are here.
    .. More importantly, the special prime rib is prepared just for the neighbors, and only on Friday's. There is a secret marinade and rub that is applied, (yes, the night before.)
    .. The specially selected roasts are treated very lovingly and, one of the secret ingredients is a rare, specially ground coffee. Sounds strange. Just a hint. Hardly noticeable unless you enjoy great beef. Perfection.
    .. We like it with some butter, a little pepper, and some of the real drippings, (call it Au Jus if you like.) Rare or medium rare.
    Cut with a fork, dip in drippings, melt in your mouth.

    Tuesday, August 20, 2013

    A Commercial Ploy ?

    It'll Make A Lot Of Money
    who knows the difference ?
    Size 14 hook. Same pattern? Three sizes? Sell 'em, who cares?
    .. Fly patterns are funny things. Depending on the tyer and the fisher and the fish - some are just right and others are all wrong.
    Light Color Variety -  Original Pattern
    .. Through time, (and for various reasons,) the recipe for any pattern can change: the skill of the tyer, the available materials, the experience with fishing different patterns, and countless other factors enter into the equation.
    .. In time the resulting flies can come to be so divergent from the originals that they are, in fact, something entirely different.
    Yellow Variety by Jeff Kennedy
    .. One variable, in this pecuniary and avaricious time, is the economic factor. "Let's sell it and we'll get rich."
    .. Profit is a common reason for innovation and change among feather merchants. After all, they are in "business" to make "money."
    .. 'Latest and Greatest' is a surefire appeal to fly fishers of the affluent and egotistical sort. 'New and Different' comes in a very close second.
    .. Well, sports fans, you can now get the "Newest and Latest, and Greatest, and Most Different Feather Duster of all time!"
    Original by Wally Eagle
    .. It's being tied by hungry folks and sold in local feather merchant bins.
    .. It has a bead head, (WOWIE!,) is tied with orange thread, (YIPPEE SHIT!,) the ribbing is obscured by the dense plumage, (SUBTLE, DONTCHYAKNOW!,) it's silhouette is highly variable, (IF AT FIRST . . .,) the pheasant tail caripace, (thorax cover, pronotum, mesonotum, or whatever,) is of just three or four fibres, (ECONOMY FOR SURE!,) various size flies occur on the same size hook in the bins, (EXPEDITIOUS CAPRICE!,) and the seasonal help has told us that they are "Killer Flies." They then asked us what pattern they were!
    Yellow Variety. By The Neighbor Kids.
    .. This is not a rant against innovation. In fact we think that a Bead Head Feather Duster is a good idea. Wish we'd thought of it first.
    .. But the idea that putting a bead head on a highly variable, nondescript, (fluffy and fuzzy,) fly, no matter what the recipe, (if poorly tied, and sold as a killer fly,) borders on the criminal. Ah America.
    Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear
    .. We've fished feather duster patterns for decades. The ones that work the best are the ones that are shaped like the original.
    .. The rule of thirds seems to hold here. Forward third a bit greater in diameter and  fuzzy. Middle third smaller in diameter and less fuzzy, (clearly segmented.) Final third a substantial tail that can be individuated if necessary
    Lovely Thirds
    .. The size, shape, proportions, and general appearance of successful Feather Duster flies is very similar to the Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear fly, (which has made a successful transformation to bead heads.)
    .. In fact most nymphoidal imitations seem to follow the proportions of insects - by-and-large. Whether this is a function of tradition or considered imitation is open to debate - but there you have it.

    ½ & ½  Good Idea. What is it?

    .. We're usually not too anal about exactitude in fly patterns; yet, if there is so much difference that the patterns in a single bin don't seem to be the same we get a bit antsy.
    .. Some color varieties work better at some times and not at others. The key factors for this particular pattern to gall fish with regularity seem to be size, proportions, silhouette, and presentation.
    At least a dozen fish lurk here - probably more.
    .. Nothing too scientific here but: over the weekend, (on the Gallatin River in Yellowstone National Park,) we fished some commercial bead heads in tandem with the traditional ones.
    .. In about an hour and a half we caught one fish on the bead head fly and better than 12 on the traditional one. We broke-off and re-tied twice; who knows which fly was taken, (damn knots.)
    Madison Mauler
    .. Now, heaven knows that we fish some pretty nondescript patterns that don't follow many rules. They are sometimes strange or wierd looking - certainly not like any bug that we know of.
    .. The Madison Mauler is one that is a consistent winner.  It's recognizable as what it is, and the kid that ties them is particular that they look the same and work the same.
    .. It would seem that the folks selling and tying the bead head feather duster should have them resemble their namesake.
    .. They may eventually fish pretty good and catch some fish but they need a bit more pattern consistency for them to carry a  name as recognized as the feather duster for it to stick.
    Ought To Work - Right?  Sell It!
    .. We're going to tie up some of the bead head variety with the appropriate materials.
    .. We're going to adhere to the original proportions and fibre lengths.
    .. We're going to try some colors with the bead head too. We think the whole innovation is a good idea.
    .. Right now, however, we think it's a very poor idea for visitors to expect the locally available, commercial renditions to measure up to the original pattern.
    .. Maybe some professionals will pick up the idea and bring us a consistent pattern that we can count on, (conditions being conducive to it's use.) Money will surely be made and the fly will be the inheritor of a grand tradition.
    Multiple fly type testing facility

    Sunday, August 18, 2013

    Know Your Foe

    Callibaetis Notes
    get thee to hebgen lake
    Confused Female Callibaetis Ovipositing On A Rock.
    .. When the smoke from wildfires makes the moon red and the sun is a giant orange blob in the hazy sky, it's callibaetis time at the old homestead.
    Art Deco Kodak
    .. Take your camera along and celebrate photography. It seems that every fly fisher is a closet shutterbug. August 19, is World Photography Day, so unmask the Ansel Adams child inside of you, limber up the old Kodak, and take a few snaps.
    .. Out on Hebgen Lake, (and a few other lesser known stillwaters,) the bugs have been popping for some time. Some of the neighbors have been on the reservoir for weeks. Most of them wait until it's just sheer masochism on the rivers before they migrate to the reservoir.
    Wading for Gulpers
    .. The migration is on. Drift boats, float tubes, rubber rafts, john boats, ski boats, and various other sundry craft have taken to the weed beds.
    .. There are quite a few places along the shore of the reservoir where wading will  get you into the noses as well.
    Gulper Getters
    .. Out of tradition we refer to this part of the fishing calendar as 'Gulper Time.'  It's a truism for sure. But the bugs are the stars. The callibaetis mayfly goes through several hatches during the year, (mostly summer.)
    .. Each successive hatch produces a smaller insect. There are always a few million bugs that are out of synch with the general population - so - there are bugs on the water all the time.
    .. By this time of year the flies emerging, and on the surface, can be of different generations. This means different sizes.
    .. Fishers often don't notice the difference. Fish always seem to notice the difference.
    Visiting Male Callibaetis
    .. As Matilda once said: "SIZE MATTERS."
    .. The pattern of the fly is, in this instance, truly far less important than the size and silhouette of the pattern.
    .. The season usually starts with a size 10 or 12. By this time of year the bugs can range from 10 to 16, (some bigger and some smaller.)
    .. Frequently the scenario is confused by a massive Trico hatch as well. Fish, being what they are; and trout being what they are wont to be, this can be confounding to the fly fisher.
    .. Occasionally the fish will bump floating fishers as they rise, (can you cast that short?)
    .. Sometimes the noses surround the boat just a few feet away, (photo-op, anyone?)
    .. Frequently a cast of 25' or so will place the fly in the right place, (good for the mere mortals among us.)
    .. All too often it takes a perfectly placed fly at a distance of 50' or 60'. This requires that your shorts be ripped as you perform wild gyrating motions and strain to get your fly in position with that fancy new four weight rod that was so appealing in the catalog.
    Gulpers In The Weeds
    .. As Snagglepuss is often heard to exclaim: "Heavens to Mergatroid, the bug is the enemy - not the fish!"
    .. So then, hie thee to thine own favorite stillwater. Start early when the breeze is just a whisper.
    .. Use a stick and line combination that gets the fly to where it belongs and the noses are thick.
    .. Pick a pattern that matches the size and shape of what you think the capricious fish are gulping.
    .. Fling it in front of a 'patterned riser.' And hang on. The big fish ascend from the depths to enjoy the feast.
    .. We're off to the fire.
    To Quote Sun Tzu:
    不知彼而 知己,一勝一負;
    不知彼,不知己,每 戰必殆。
    So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself,
     you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.
    If you only know yourself, but not your opponent,
     you may win or may lose.
    If you know neither yourself nor your enemy,
     you will always endanger yourself.
    Good Calibaetis Stuff:
    ==> Ralph & Lisa Cutter,
    ==> Trout Nut,
    ==> Bug Guide,
    ==> Fly Fishing Traditions,
    ==> Dennis P. Collier,
    ==> Aquatic Insects, Gunnison County, Colorado.

    Saturday, August 17, 2013

    EUREKA !!

    Attention West Fork Anglers
    follow on InciWeb
    WALLPAPER: Leland Air Tanker, AT 800F, & Eureka Plume.
    .. As is usual this time of year we watch the fires as much as the rivers. Right now we're watching a couple of them.
    .. There are 30 incidents in Montana at the moment. Check the Montana InciWeb page for all the Montana locations.
    .. The Eureka Fire is on the radar because of it's fuel content and location. Check the Eureka InciWeb page for further information on this fire just south of Ennis, Montana.
    WALLPAPER: New Interagency Fire Center Sign.

    Thursday, August 15, 2013

    Saturday, August 10, 2013

    Nocturnal Brown

    Quiet On Shore,
    Splash In Water
    wallpaper if you choose

    .. The mice have made babies. The ground squirrels have made babies. The voles have made babies. The hoppers are big and cranky. The nocturnal bugs are still around.
    .. The days have been hot. The days have been bright. The streams are warm.  The nights are cool. Some mornings are even more cool.
    .. Both the fish and the mammals forage in the cool. The mice scurry. The hoppers are sluggish. The bugs are active. The ground squirrels are darting. The voles are scampering.
    .. At the interface between darting, scurrying, scampering, and cool is the gobbler.
    .. The gobbler has avoided activity through the warm and bright day.
    .. The gobbler has ignored the miniscule tidbits of a spinner fall. The gobbler has been indifferent to the rising nymphs of the morning mayflies and the evening caddisflies.
    .. The gobbler had a snack when a wayward hopper plopped in front of its panting maw as it worked to get oxygen-poor water through it's gills. It was not enough.
    .. Very, very cold and very, very warm induce torpor in the gobbler. Cool and cold are where the action is. The nights are cool or occasionally cold.
    .. This is action time and after a light and early dinner the fisher should be on the water fishing the shadows in the diminishing daylight.
    .. Ignore the remaining caddisflies, prolific though they may be.
     Fish a mouse or fish a bomber or rapidly strip a giant streamer on the surface. Bass poppers are great if they are large enough.
    .. The gobbler has senses that we are oblivious to. They are large fish. They have well developed lateral lines. They use them to find prey and avoid danger.
    .. If the fisher goes galumphing along the shore the gobbler will not rise to the commotion in the water.
    .. The fisher must be quiet. The fisher must be sneaky. The fisher need not cast too far. The fisher need not see the fly. The gobbler need not see the fly. Make sure that the hook is sharp and the leader is strong.
    .. Green grass is fading to yellow. It's time for mice.