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  • Tuesday, July 30, 2013

    SURPRISE OF THE CENTURY

    WELL, NOT REALLY
    Gibbon Hoppers Hopping
    ohmygawd it's august
    AND THEN THIS HOPPER LEITZ ON MY CAMERA
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    .. We'll take it. Hoppers excite fish and fishers in different ways, Fisher folk soil their waders in anticipation of slashing and splashing takes by torpedo-sized trout.
    .. Fish on the other hand take 'em where they find them. Sometimes violently. Sometimes not so violently. It takes a very large population of wayward hoppers to convince the fish that they should look for them continuously.
    .. So far, based on nymph counts and casual observation, this year is shaping up to be an average hopper year.
    .. Hopper density will vary with river segment depending on the stream-side vegetation and soil type. It is, however, a pleasant surprise to see the little Arthropods in the big meadows of the Gibbon River.
    .. For now, don't neglect the aquatic hatches by tying on a hopper first thing. Or, Dap the banks with a long rod and short line. Then go fishing. In a week or two we'll know just what the population is like and where they are concentrated.
     .. We'll let you know.
    .. In the meantime:
    3/4 oz green creme de menthe
    3/4 oz white creme de cacao
    3/4 oz light cream
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    Monday, July 29, 2013

    Flutterbugs At The Concert

    SUCH A SIGHT TO SEE
    Wings Dancing To Music
    very strange stuff indeed
    ..
    THE VIEW FROM THE CHEAP SEATS
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    .. We took a day off from the river to attend a concert in the park. A group of local business leaders provide the long green and a couple of local producers donate their time, energy, equipment and stage. It's a wonderful tradition for the community.
    .. The opening act was Galanis.
    .. The headliner was Hot Day At The Zoo.
    .. Both were spot on and the large crowd of neighbors and visitors had a lovely time.
    .. The moths evacuated the premises as soon as the sun went down and we grabbed some snapshots.
    HOT DAY AT THE ZOO
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    GALANIS
    SONGS WRITTEN IN A CABIN ON HEBGEN LAKE
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    WALLPAPERS

    Sunday, July 28, 2013

    Final Molt In Progress

    HOPPERS ON HORIZON
    Nymphal Transformation Now
    got your foamies ready ?

    ..

    -------
    .. They are not leaping into many streams yet. There are several species that are molting. They will delight the fish and the fishers soon enough.
    .. Get your hopper box in order. Read your journal and plan your attack.
    .. Low and hot is the key for early hoppers. Low oxygen levels seem to trigger molting:  Less oxygen = shorter time between molts = shorter life-span = fewer hungry grasshoppers.{LINK}
    .. Sightings have been sparse but widely distributed. The lowland Madison River has reported a few. Slough Creek fishers have been surprised by late stage grasshopper nymphs around the campground and in the sagebrush flats downstream. There are adults on the lowland Gallatin River near Norris Road not far from Bozeman, Montana.
    .. Speaking of the Gallatin River; it's the best water in the neighborhood right now, (other than Hebgen Reservoir.) It's clear, cold, and just a smidgen low.
    .. This is the time of year to pick your poison on the Gallatin River. In the park it's any attractor fly floating or drowned. The evening caddis are available and prolific.
    .. Down canyon the spruce moths and PMD's are working. In the lowlands along with ants, beetles, and caddis nymph imitations, there are still some small stoneflies. The rumors of nocturnal stoneflies should not be ignored.
    -------
    .. We're taking today off in preparation for the newly reconfigured quintet  "HOT DAY AT THE ZOO." 
    .. They are making an appearance tonight at 7:00 PM at our Music In The Park concert series.
    .. We've never heard "ZOOGRASS MUSIC"  live, up close, and personal,  - Could be akin to fish grass?
    ..  Galanis is the opening act. Smoke on.
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    GENUINE ZOOGRASS
    BOOM BOOM BOOM
    ..
    At Frogtown
    ..

    Saturday, July 27, 2013

    Madison Doldrums

    SUPREME STAGNATION
    Good For Casting Practice
    like the Central Pacific Ocean
    WALLPAPER: HOT AND WITHOUT A CLOUD
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    .. Right now, and for most folks, the Madison River in Yellowstone National Park is "UNFISHABLE."
    .. You will hear the feather merchants, expert guides, and seasonal counter help parroting this when asked about the river.
    .. And, while this may be true in their minds, (ahem,) they are really saying that catching fish is hard because they don't know where they are.
    .. Or, they feel sorry for all those poor overheated fish and don't think it's good to add to their stress and anxiety and pain.
    .. Or, (pardon the contrairian view,) they don't know the river well enough to have ferreted out the submerged cold water springs where fish are active, healthy, not stressed, and willing to dance if you properly present your fly.
    .. OR, horror of horrors, they just won't tell you.
    ..Fish do, indeed, become stressed at the temperatures that are in most parts of the Madison River right now. Additionally, the flows are at least 20% below seasonal norms and projected to stay that way for at least two weeks - or more.
    .. Most of the trout will either migrate locally to cool and shady parts of the stream - or - be displaced to new and different locations.
    .. It is absolutely maladaptive, (as well as maladjustive,) to stay in one place and be parboiled by the water temperatures and suffocate for lack of dissolved oxygen.
    .. Some fish find their way into cool tributaries. Some, in fact, do become lethally stressed by not being able to find water that has oxygen enough and temperatures cool enough to sustain their lives.

    .. Many fish are lucky enough, (cagy enough?) to congregate in the cold springs that percolate through the sediments as groundwater and issue forth in the Madison River at various places: quite a few places in actuality.
    .. These lucky fish hang out around the colder water and are doing quite nicely: heat-be-damned.
    .. As the Summer drags on and the groundwater table sinks to lower, (or different strata,) the quality of the aquatic springs changes: usually for the worse from a piscine point of view.
    .. Parts of the Madison River in Yellowstone National Park encounter bed rock undulations which affect the groundwater, (by damming, redirecting, or channelling.)
    .. We need not get into the vagaries of the differences of perched water tables and other kinds - BUT - the bedrock can have an enormous affect on where the springs are erupting.
    .. Should you be foolish enough to fish the Madison River right now, and with it's diminished regimen so very apparent, it might behove you to think in more dimensions than just those dimensions dealing with the flowing water.
    .. Good luck with your casting practice.
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    WALLPAPER: 
    Summer Casting Practice - Madison River

    Slightly Off Topic

    NOT OUR LOCAL CRISIS
    Chetco Deadline Looms
    really big fish at risk
     These Good Folks Released This Wild 20# Chetco Steelhead  
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    .. We have a long association, (from our youth,) with the sea-run salmonids of the Southern Oregon Coast and the Northern California Coast.
    .. One of the great Pacific Salmon, (and pretty good Steelhead,) rivers has recently been threatened by dredge mining activities.
    .. A small group of friends of the Chetco River has brought about an administrative action that may soon be enacted.
    .. The deadline for a signature by the United States Secretary of Interior is about a week away: July 31, 2013. The signature will place a five year withdrawal from new mining claims on this wild and scenic river.
    .. You may want to read about the good folks that have worked hard to bring this about: HERE.  The link is always in our sidebar.
    .. Just sayin'.
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    BROOKINGS SUNSET
    THE CHETCO EFFECT FROM THE FRONT PORCH

    Thursday, July 25, 2013

    Yellowstone River Report, ('13)

    PLEASANT SURPRISES
    Arise Earliest - Get Gone
    the new recruits are eager
    STANDING IN LAST YEAR'S DEEP HOLE - FISHING THE MIDDLE
    -------
    .. Now then: the reports of the death of the Yellowstone River's catching are true - for last year. This year seems to be a different story.
    .. The river is extremely low and warm for this time of year and the fish are where they ought to be,  just not where they used to be.
    WE LIKE THIS ONE
    .. If you fish here often you will recognize the new opportunities; certainly the fish have. Many undercut banks are exposed and some are dry. Many holes and hides that were normally available for the opener are now a good place to stand and fish.
    .. Mid stream fishing, (and catching,) is accessible - if you are a strong wader. This is a rare treat for the adventurous fisher folk.
    WE REALLY DO !
    .. Please be advised that the river is still a strong bit of water and that deep wading is still a dangerous proposition.
    {{Note the tragic death of a Montana Angler in the river: HERE & HERE.}}
    .. There are bugs aplenty. There are noses in the air. Mid day fishing is grand but the catching sucks.
    .. Get on the river early and enjoy the quietude and slashing action of the big fish that the river is famous for.
    .. There is also a large class of fresh recruits being caught this year. Small fish in the one foot class are abundant. This may be due to the combination of eradication of Lake Trout in Yellowstone Lake, and the last few mild winters. Whatever the reason you will catch more than a few of these youngsters in your day on the water.
    .. Stalking is highly recommended. A small pair of binoculars is an excellent tool. Cover the water. Walk the banks. Pick your quarry. Stick 'em in the lip.
    THIS ONE TOO
    .. Right now the fish are highly selective. They are keyed on any properly presented fly: surface or submerged!
    .. We watched one giant Cutthroat zig-zagging to bits of food in the water column and rising to sticks, spinners, and Drakes - all in a period of about 20 minutes. They are hungry and they are eating. Baby binoculars are a wonderful thing, indeed.
    EVEN A HORNBERG
    .. The experts will tell you exactly when bugs are available and exactly what fly to use. We can't afford that many of those flies.
    .. We grab our old standby flies. Chuck them in the right place and hold on.
    .. Catching "LIKE IT USED TO BE," ain’t quite like it is now but it has improved greatly for the moment.
    THE KING PRINCE
    .. The King Prince is a winner at this point in time. It should be the fly for all occasions for another week or ten days. Get or tie some big ones.
    .. Size two, size four, size six, should do the trick. Check out StevenOjai's page for California Dreamin'.
    .. The Prince Nymph page is full of very good stuff. You will need to tie them yourself. Seldom do you see this fly tied in the "GRANDE FASHION."
    THE FUZZY ADAMS
    .. For those of you that must see the fly floating along on the surface there are many choices.
    .. We mostly use Fuzzy Adams flies for generalized surface action. They are gobbled and slammed, and sipped.
    .. We have taken to omitting the niceties of perfectly paired baby hackle points. Maybe it's not an Adams. It certainly is fuzzy though.
    .. The days have been bright and hot. The caddis were everywhere: they were not too dense. We did leave before 8:00 PM and may have missed the bulk of them.
    SENTIMENTAL FAVORITE
    .. We remember the rising popularity of the Goddard Caddis from our days in Pocatello, Idaho: better than a half century ago.
    .. The fly was new and exciting, and the buzz coincided with one of our trips to the Yellowstone River.
    .. We took a handful of poorly tied examples to the park. We caught buckets of fish all day with just that one pattern.
    .. We take them every year at this time. Nostalgia demands it. Haven't caught a bucket of fish on it since that first time.
    .. See you on the Gallatin River.
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    WAY BACK WHEN . . .

    Wallpapper (WWS-9eb)


    Wednesday, July 24, 2013

    You Think You Know It

    VIEW TO THE SSW
    You've Fished This River
    just not here
    IF YOU HAVE THE TIME AND THE LEGS
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    .. The kids in the neighborhood walk farther than we do. They carry enormous packs. They ignore mosquitoes. They welcome rain and wet sleeping bags.
    .. They fish hard and long. They fish where few have fished. They keep a few to eat and relish the skin charred by an open fire. They tell the stories and we are jealous.
    .. They don't carry cameras, (weight is important and a second canister of bear spray is more important.) They aren't interested in fish porn. They just like it "out there" and enjoy the adventure.
    .. They taunt us with the lure and lore of the backcountry. They retell the tales of isolation and fish far larger than expected in gentle streams of pristine beauty and clarity. They even let us post this report because they know we can't get there. They suspect that you won't either. If you do, the stories will last a lifetime.
    .. Just what river is pictured above? Just how familiar is the name? If you fish Yellowstone you know it well - just not here. Of course it's the Firehole River. The meadow is lush, wet, and oozing life. The fish frequently are 13" long. They are ravenous and willing.
    .. You think that 13" is not too big? You think that 13" is just a good fish, not a great fish? When was the last time you caught a 13" Brook Trout? Did it sparkle in the sun? We're jealous!
    .. Last week the fish were eating a wonderful assortment of artificial flies. Royal Wulff, Royal Coachman, Adams, Mosquito, Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear, (of the wet variety,) Prince Nymph: nothing exotic was gobbled up. There were no secret or proprietary flies. There were no fancy presentations with the 5 or 6 piece pack rods.
    .. The wind blew the flies to just the right place - almost all the time. All the hype and pseudo-sophistication of the fraternity was ignored - nay, not even known. Fishing and catching, to say the least, was as good as it gets.
    .. It's just about five miles from the nearest road to this sweet little meadow. The trail goes up and around it and day hikers leave it alone. If you've legs that can handle it - fish it. If you don't know where it is. Just ask the kids - they'll be back from another spot in a week.
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    WOULD YOU FISH HERE ???

    Tuesday, July 23, 2013

    Gifted By The Neighbors

    KEEPS OUR KITCHEN COOL
    Fills Our Belly Full
    much enjoyed and appreciated
    SIMPLE FARE: MOST DELICIOUS !!
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    .. The very best is often the most simple:

    ===> So it was 90° F yesterday. The neighbors decided to avoid the heat of kitchen cooking and grace the neighborhood with a bit of home cooking and hot-smoke BBQ. They asked if we could forgo our early trip to the catching waters. We heartily agreed.
    .. Hot-smoked "Country Pork Ribs:" simply garnished with homemade sauce and basted in sweet red Port Wine during the smoking.
    .. Sliced fresh tomatoes from a garden greenhouse in the lowlands: garnished with crushed dill seeds and just a pinch of salt and pepper.
    .. Sweet and sour smokehouse BBQ bean salad: made yesterday and kept refrigerated to meld the flavors to perfection. We can go fishing later - for sure.

    Monday, July 22, 2013

    Forgotten But Not Gone

    IGNORED BY MOST
    Very Very Very Effective
    plebeian, mundane, sexless

    COACHMAN
    -------
    .. It's just not sexy. It's just not full of fancy high tech proprietary material. It did not spring full blown from the wet dreams of world famous guides or feather merchants.
    IN THE BEGINING
    .. It is simply too simple to tie to be attractive to aficionados of the esoteric fly. It's a pattern that has roots deep in the past, and that can't be good.
    .. It has caught so many fish that it's a sin to use it. Catching becomes almost automatic.
    .. Maybe that's why most contemporary masochistic anglers ignore it in favor of the latest and greatest.
     .. The original recipe is plain vanilla: peacock herl body, furnace hen hackle. End of story.
    .. Later iterations became the lead wing coachman and various other modifications including: the fan wing, royal, and Wulff variants.
    THE ROYAL SORT
    .. The original English fly most probably had no tail. When a tail is added today it is usually Golden Pheasant tips, as in the conventional American invention, the Royal Coachman.
    .. Interestingly the original commercial Royal Coachman of the 1870's, (thank you Mary,) had a barred wood duck sprig.
    .. We just happen to have a couple of Scarlet Ibis skins left over from the Herter's days and personally really like the red tail.
    .. What-so-ever is modified, there is one constant: the peacock herl body . . . hmmm!
    .. All this by way of saying a few of these in appropriate sizes and presentations can suffice for almost all of your catching needs in mid Summer.
    ==> Float it and it can be a beetle, or ant, or midge, or . . .
    ==> Sink it and who knows what it is but it catches trout.
    FOAM FAN WING SORT
    .. We only mention this now because, over the weekend, we took a fish on nearly every cast for the better part of two hours.
    .. It was on our favorite small water that is easily accessed by a trail head with a parking lot and just happens to be full of eager Brook Trout.
    .. It's a cool and shady place where the trail is level. The river is seldom more than a short cast from the trail. The fish will leap into your waders if you are foolish enough to bother getting into the water. We like it.
    .. We know we won't see you there. It fishes best with old fashioned flies that are easy to tie and don't cost $40.00 a dozen.
    .. It doesn't require a two hour hike to famous and scenic meadows. It's trail is full of friendly bicycle riders, roller blade speeders, mothers with strollers, and children without adult supervision.
    .. It's not post card Yellowstone and certainly not attractive to the elite fishers seeking something other than catching.
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    UPPER NOTELLUM RIVER - SEEN FROM ABOVE