• PARTNER: PROTECT YOUR WATERS
  • Go To: THE FLIES OF YELLOWSTONE
  • Go To: YELLOWSTONE FISHING WEATHER
  • Go To: YELLOWSTONE FLY FISHING MAPS
  • Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Visit: Montana Cowgirl
  • Saturday, November 30, 2013

    Strange Bedfellows

    80 YEAR OLD PAYNE
    Meets 8 Month Old Ballan
    not quite Will's tempest
    WALLPAPER: LIKE A GLOVE
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    .. Some folks hang 'em on the wall. Others lock them away for future recompense. A few are in museums and some are in bank vaults. We fish ours a few times each year.
    .. For this year's extravagance we've replaced the 110 year old, 3-screw,  St. George with a modern masterpiece. Even Prospero could not have conjured such a pairing, (unlike Ferdinand and Miranda.) Strange bedfellows indeed.
    .. Caught a fish or two and didn't break anything. In keeping with the tempest, (the neighbors revile my cavalier attitude toward ancient tools,) and in celebration of the rightful  Duke of Milan, we dipped most of a loaf of ciabatta bread in some olive oil and balsamic vinegar  --  and ate it  --  burp. As comfortable as old slippers - more strangeness.
    ..  The coldness has arrived and we're contemplating a brief migration to liquid moisture.
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    WALLPAPER (Loaf #1): CIABATTA BREAD

    Sunday, November 24, 2013

    Last Minute

    NEIGHBORS GONE WILD
    Less Than A Week Left
    you'll need a sled

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    .. There's been a bit of coldish weather lately, (it's warmer today.) The last gasp of "next door" fishing is taking place right now along the South Fork of the Madison River.
    .. We've bailed out of the fun and left the catching to the bucks and bulls of the neighborhood. Hunting is in it's last frenzied throes as well and it occasionally sounds like a war in the woods. The buzzing around our ears is not from flies or other bugs. Time out.
    .. If you're here in the next few days we suggest that you bundle up, leave home after the sun hits the water, stick to the bank in open areas, and use streamers of the dark and heavy-hued variety, (seems to be the neighborhood choice.)
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    Saturday, November 23, 2013

    As You Like It - (sorry WILL)

    BACK BY REQUEST
    the neighborhood eagle
     
    WALLPAPER:  EAGLE EYE
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    Thursday, November 21, 2013

    A Fine Tool

    MADE IN U.S.A.
    By Hand
    works well
    WALLPAPER:  POCKET KNIFE
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    Wednesday, November 20, 2013

    Up Close And . . .

    CREEPING IN THE SNOW
    Waders Work Good
    short casts for the fun of it
    YELLOWSTONE COACHMAN
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    .. Even as the snow visits us in dribs and drabs throughout the wonderfully gray days, we note that the days are bright and the shadows diffuse. The waters where the trout hang out have lost their stark shadows and contrasting shades of light and dark. Very large fish are surprisingly easy to see. They are the heavy darkness in the clear dim water of winter.
    THE DUCK'S ASS ANT
    .. Seeing them is the easy part. The current successful tactic, for catching, demands slithering like a snake through the soft  and cold white stuff. With good technique and a bit of luck it is possible to poke your nose to within a few short feet of the fish - inches at times.
    .. Just about any length rod is too long. Just about any length of line is too long. Leader lengths more than 5 or six feet defeat the purpose. All that is required is to drop a fly a few feet in front of the fish. Technique is far more important in this instance than is the pattern of the fly. Floating flies are the order of the day. Not just "dry fly patterns" but, any floating fly. Try floating a Serendipity in the slow shore side current.
    .. Save for the lack of sport, a hand line would do just as well as $2,300 worth of rod, reel, line, leader, and custom tied fly. Right now we're using the Yellowstone Coachman and Cul De Canard Ants, (from the feather not the excellent website.) Seems to catch fish.
    .. By the way, there's no long lines at the gas pumps either.
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    WALLPAPER:  SUPER SAVE CONOCO

    Monday, November 18, 2013

    Snow And Snow Flies

    FINALLY A DUMP
    Sleds Become Pertinent
    big fish and little flies
    big flies and big fish too
    WALLPAPER:  FEELING BLUE ?
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    .. And the snow arrived on little cat feet, (sorry Carl.) It was a gentle winter storm with far less wind than anticipated. Fully 16" is blanketing the village and more in the high country. The temperatures are moderate and the blanket of white is a nice addition to the trails and roads.
    DOWN WING MIDGE - SIZE 18
    .. Some bits of local water are now only accessible by snowmachine. The USFS has issued an advisory and mentioned some closures for our favorite tracks. Saddle up like the neighbors do. It's time for the sleds.
    .. As the winter matures we will be flinging smaller and smaller flies, (along with larger and larger ones as well.) The snow flies, or midges, or whatever they are, become an important adjunct to our winter arsenal.
    .. We rely on the neighbor kids to provide us with the miniscule flies that are needed. The patterns are familiar and consist of bits of debris affixed to hooks in the size range of match heads.
    .. Many of the flies are skillful renditions of recognized and named patterns. Others are just the right size - nothing more. A few are traditional black. Many are cream or white or brown. We use them and the fish eat them.
    .. The snow has driven the casual visitors from the village. The fair weather fishers have long gone. Hunters skulk about in the dark of dawn or dusk. A few religious neighbors and knowing visitors are plying the fishing discipline with dedication that belies the weather conditions. Catching is somewhere between spectacular and outrageous - snow be damned!
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    WALLPAPER:  GHOST TOWN WEST
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    NEED SALMON ?

    Friday, November 15, 2013

    Not Now -- Later

    PLAN AHEAD
    Real Chamois A Must
    as slithy as a tove
    WALLPAPER:  CHAMOIS LEECH
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    .. Right now leeches are gummy balls in the dense bottom-muck of lakes and still water stretches of the rivers. They are deep in torpor or dying. This is not the time to expect that trout will be looking for leeches. Folks fish them anyway but it's not the best choice.
    .. Come Spring the leeches will stir. By Summer they will be multiplying and wriggling their way into the hearts and minds of fishers. Now is the time to find a real chamois skin. Or some shreds of a well used chamois skin  - the thinner the better.
    .. Tie up a few and wait. Real chamois is a material that looks and acts alive. There is no good substitute. Make it a Winter quest.
    .. For now fish a RAT.
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    WALLPAPER:  GREEN RAT - (controversy be damned)

    Thursday, November 14, 2013

    Promise Kept

    THE BEAD HEAD AWESOME
    Nothing Too Special
    it was just hidden for the year
    WALLPAPER:  THE BEAD HEAD AWESOME
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    .. So, it has come to pass; we promised not to post this fly until fishing was closed in Yellowstone National Park and on the Firehole River.
    .. This little, (or big,) nymph was part of an exercise in frugality. The neighbor kids decided to clean up their tying benches and use the scraps cluttering up the dusty corners of the area. There were dozens of flies tied and joked about. They were winsome and serendipitous and cute and - in this case "AWESOME."
    .. As it turns out this fly was fished with amazing success on the Firehole River through the whole season and became a 'go-to' fly for a couple of the fishers. We were not privy to information about this fly or it's success until mid September and it was, even then, through a slip of the well lubricated tongue of one of the neighbors. Threats were made and believed and the promise extracted and kept.
    .. This fly is simple and resembles so many other peacock herl flies. The hackle is cheap bits of imported hen hackle. The thing that sets this little devil apart is the single small white feather, (cut from the distal center of a white turkey flat.)
    .. The AWESOME closely resembles a few of the neighbor's other favorite nymphs: the "$3 Dip," "Serendipity," and "Shop Vac." Those flies are of the smallish variety and usually tied on hooks of the size 16 and 18 variety. The bead head Awesome is a big brute, (the result of many hooks not used during the season.) It's a size 12, (or 10 - or - horror of horrors  --- size 8.)
    .. The neighbors are fishing this fly right now in the happily accessible waters of the South Fork of the Madison River. Muddy roads are no detriment to neighborhood fishers of the dedicated variety. A little snow in the forecast will not slow them down. Deep snow will  bring out the sleds. For now it's San Juan Worms,  Woolly Buggers, and the giant AWESOME.
    .. We've been offered a ride to the secret access to some deep pools where the runners are hiding. we'll give you the hint that we were given: "turn left at the dead elk."
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    WALLPAPER:  LEFTOVERS

    Wednesday, November 13, 2013

    Can It Be ?

    IT'S MID NOVEMBER
    It's 50° And Climbing
    neighbors are shaking their heads
    WALLPAPER:  THE FISH EYE
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    .. Time was when mid November signaled the time to hunker down.
    .. Time was when this time of year rolled around shoveling snow had become a routine task.
    .. Time was winter lasted for  seven long - cold - gray - slow months. It persisted. Not so anymore.
    .. The neighbors have enjoyed two mental health days in a row. Tomorrow may be gentle as well. It's the talk of the town and the fishers in it.
    .. There's just no getting around it:  ". . . the best angling is always a respite from burden." - thank you Thomas McGuane.
    .. The 'useful parts of living' have been put on hold for the last couple of days as the anglers around here are crowding the neighborhood waters in a final enjoyment of fair weather. The burden of preparation for winter has been shed in favor of some of the best angling of the year - several years in fact.
    IT'S HORNBERG TIME
    .. Even the bosses in the village are eager to bolt the doors and forego a bit of profit for fishing. Catching on days like these is really a secondary goal. 'Tis a rare occurrence when, for some, filthy lucre takes a back seat to mindless pleasure in the woods around the little village.
    .. Just about anything tied on the end of the line will catch a fish. It's time to grab those flies that were relegated to the dungeon and give 'em a whirl.
    .. Tie on the most mangled bits of fluff - they work. Drown the dries - fish on. Try the water that looks barren - look at the size of that one.
    .. Float the rubber legs - monster fish. Put the split shot way up the leader - Moby Dick!
    .. A quick glance at the weather forecast produces anxiety about the chores left undone. The anxiety dissolves as the first fish comes to hand. It's magic.
    .. Just thought you'd like to know
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    WALLPAPER:  GONE FISHING

    Tuesday, November 12, 2013

    New Snow -- Real Snow

    HERE TO STAY
    Anticipation Reigns
    it's a very busy time
    WALLPAPER: GRASS BE GONE
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    .. So now we have a couple of bright days and it looks to hold for some short time. It's time to finish the winter preparations for our neighborhood.
    .. From checking the fluids in the vehicles to gathering our winter gear it's a time of frenetic activity for some and a gentle cleanup for others. Wood for the stove, sleds for the trail, jigs for the lake, snow tires, etc.
    PISTON BULLY WORKING OUT
    .. It's colder than it feels. The sun is a real boon for the early winter preparations if you happen to be putting a roof on new construction or the greenhouse needs to be cleaned out.
    .. The tour operators are completing their vehicle preparations and attending meetings for final instruction from the NPS for the new winter visitation procedures. Right now it costs about $100.00/day, and the tour operators are receiving instructions about how to make it seem worth the tariff.
    .. Merchants are in warm vacation destinations or soon will be. Winter stock has been ordered, (or should have been,) and some will not return until next April or May.
    SLED FLEET GETTING READY
    .. Trail grooming crews are finalizing preparations for new trails. The grooming behemoths are getting their final tune-up and new tracks where necessary.
    .. Sled renters are removing sleds from their shipping crates and performing the final assembly procedures.  Tuning, adjustment, polishing, testing and display are all part of this operation. It's a major bit of the factory program.
    .. Our little village receives the first of the production for this model year. Most of the operators have mechanics and technicians that have spent time at the factories. The 1,500 or so new sleds get wrung out here. The best sleds from last year are kept in the fleets. There may be more than 2,000 snowmobiles for rent in town.
    .. The city crews are putting up winter road signs and clearing out the storm drains. The fire department is testing and clearing out the fire hydrants to make sure that the subterranean valves work and will withstand the deep frost penetration that comes with winter. A blanket of snow will help reduce frost penetration and aid in all water services in town.
    Scarlet Ibis - Oldie But Goodie
    .. Of course the staff at each motel and hotel is busy with the early visitors and sprucing up the facilities for the coming rush of winter visitors. New carpets, new mattresses, new televisions, and all the stuff broken by visitors needs to be replaced or repaired.
    .. Folks who are unaware of the activity in a tourist destination call this part of the year the "OFF SEASON" - those who know better refer to it as the "SHOULDER SEASON" or the "BUSY TIME." There really is no rest of any length in this part of the world.
    .. Wise fishers, on the other hand, are busy with the spectacular late Fall catching and watching for real winter to arrive.
    .. Then it will be time for ice augers, (need sharpening,) thrummin' rods, (fit new spring or seat,) and good clothing, (pac-liners and laces,) not Gucci knock-offs for styling on the river in the summer.
    .. We'll be on the ice as soon as it arrives - or shortly there after.
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    WALLPAPER: ANTICIPATION

    Sunday, November 10, 2013

    Take Five

    WARM DAY IN WEST
    Enjoy The Rays Now
    soon:  more than just cold
    WALLPAPER: THE BIG BAD WOLF

    Saturday, November 09, 2013

    After Catching On Saturday

    REAL BUTTER
    Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
    thick bacon four eggs salt pepper
    WALLPAPER:   THE CHOLESTEROL BOMB

    Thursday, November 07, 2013

    Way Off Center

    THE KIDS ARE NUTS
    They Tie Funny Flies
    they catch lots of fish
    WALLPAPER:  THE BLUE CHARM FOR TROUT
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    .. As the neighbor kids were rifling through some boxes of the still unsorted library they found a book with funny flies. They decided to tie a few and see if they worked on the local, untutored trout.
    .. Of course they worked. Fish eat flies. Fish eat sticks. Fish eat cigarette butts. Fish eat bits of moss. Fish eat strike indicators. Fish have synapses tuned to gobble anything that could be food. Some of it is.
    .. They went down to the Unbeenamed Stream and flung a few of the funny flies. They caught quite a few fish. They caught a couple of wall hangers. They had a snowball fight and threw some snowballs at the feeding trout.  They drank an adult beverage, or two, (some of the kids are of the mature variety.) Fishing must still be fun for some folks.
    .. The came back and blew through the door in a frenzied fit and announced, (snow dripping on the Oriental rugs,) that they had caught some European Fish on European Flies. Tourism extends to the fish.
    .. We celebrated with a fine imported Scotch. They carefully explained that there is no need for a two handed rod to accomplish a Spey cast, (despite the prevalent literature on the subject.)
    .. They also carefully detailed to us that it's even possible to accomplish a roll cast with a two handed rod. These folks are practical fishers of the fly - not gear junkies. They've lost the ability to obfuscate simple tasks with marketing jargon and FF-Phrases.
    .. They even lectured us on the need to have more fun and less self-aggrandizing seriousness in our outings. They took the 1983 oak -tempered spirit, bottle, and box with them. Let them eat snuff.
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    Monday, November 04, 2013

    A Fitting End

    SOME SNOW AND SUN
    Preview Of Coming Attractions
    catching excellent for the closing
    WALLPAPER:   CLOSING DAY YELLOWSTONE
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    .. And so it ends. About two inches and some bright periods were the scenario for the final day of the fishing season in Yellowstone National Park.
    .. The Firehole River saw BWO's all day. The Madison River saw elbows aplenty and runners being caught in great abundance.
    .. The snow will continue for a spell and then we'll do it all over again. We're starting the winter season with our favorite breakfast. Chorizo con huevos, some refried beans and rice. We'll nibble on some small peppers and head to the nearest secret stream. See you on Duck Creek.
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    WALLPAPER:    DAY AFTER BREAKFAST


    Sunday, November 03, 2013

    A Bit More Gentility

    ONE DAY TO GO
    Gentle Bluster In The Air
    gobbling fish in the waters
    WALLPAPER:  BISON HOLDING THE HOLDING WATER
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    .. Here's the quote from the official NPS website:
    Sunday November 3rd is the last full day of travel through most of Yellowstone — all park roads close to the public at 8 a.m., Monday November 4 to prepare for the oversnow, winter season, except from the North Entrance to Upper Mammoth Terrace Drive, and Mammoth via Tower Junction to the Northeast Entrance. Except for the roads between the North and Northeast entrances visitors must be off park roads and all through travel must be completed by 8 a.m. Monday November 4.
    .. This has always been a source of amusement for the neighbors. They laugh that the NPS touts Yellowstone as being open 24 hours a day, 365 days per year, (citation.)
    .. PARKSPEAK does not allow closing the park. Rather; some roads are closed and travel is restricted: giggle, giggle, giggle, they suck you in every way that they can!
    .. Fishing and catching was great yesterday, (the next-to-the-last-day before road closures and no traveling on roads through the open park - huh?) Sounds like the NPS is taking lessons from the U.S. Congress.
    DON'T BOTHER - THE EXPERTS DON'T EITHER
    .. What's the bet if a visitor decides to take a hike up Fan Creek, (walking, mind you,) and spend a casual 12 hours bird watching on the 5th of November; is the park open? Are trails closed? How about a little trip to Monument Mountain? If there was snow the skiers would be allowed - how about hikers? Is the park open ?
    .. That nonsense aside, there is just today left to dance with some fish in the park. If you are adventurous enough we suggest that The Biggest Brook Trout in the park may be holding an orgy up on the gravels of Solfatara Creek. A few big Brown Trout also engage in the spawing fun here too.
    .. There are a couple of unnamed, (and other named,) tributaries to the Madison River that attract runners for the milt and egg party. Right this moment they don't look like much. Most are ignored by the supercilious secret holders of the neighborhood. These are the real secrets, (if any,) in the Fall fishing frenzy.
    .. Trout buzz up these little rivulets when there is enough water and find gravel, food, sanctuary, and a cozy love nest for procreation. It's good that the self espoused experts don't bother to walk too far from the road.
    Eat Me Now You Big Brute
    .. The Gibbon River has been yielding some dandy fish for those that can tear themselves away from the Madison River. Hell's Bells, it's the only smart, (if anti social,) thing to do.
    .. You should have seen the crowd of cacklers at 9-mile Hole yesterday at 3:00 PM. There was nary a place to park and nary a fisher in the water. Social fly fishing is on a tear in Yellowstone National Park.
    .. The darkest clouds have come and gone in waves. Bright and dark patches of sky alternately grace the fishing day. This unsettled weather is a blessing for the fisher. Little bugs like the dark overcast. Big fish like the parading shadows that give them the opportunity to move to the next hide. The fish that are not engaged in sex are moving. Moving through all the obvious and less obvious places. They are bunched up for a spell and then strung out as they move. Catching is good.
    .. It's snowing a bit right now. We're headed back for some more. Right after another rasher of hickory smoked bacon, a gigantic chile relleno, and a couple jalapeƱo waffles.
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    WALLPAPER:   MADISON RIVER HERD BULL

    Saturday, November 02, 2013

    A Sun Day

    SURPRISE OF THE WEEK
    Rare Lazy Day
    catching in the sun
    WALLPAPER:    FISH THE BEND
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    .. On occasion The sun pokes through the bluster of early winter. It removes the skiff of snow dropped yesterday and recalls the more gentle days of Fall.
    .. It didn't last and, right now - in  the dark of dawn,  the clouds are spitting at us again as we finish our second cup of hot chocolate.
    Casual Dress
    .. Catching continues in Yellowstone National Park. A few of the faithful are still picking on fish in the Firehole River. Most fishers, however, are dotting the banks and shallows of the Madison River in the hopes of dancing with a trout of the brown persuasion.
    .. After some rat killin' and a smidgen more breakfast we're headed in to the park for a peek at the waters. We'll take some of the requisite accoutrements along: fish pole, fly or two, FWG*, cigar, flask, sack o' luck, and a highly knowledgeable neighbor kid. Anticipation is always in the kit.
    .. Full report tomorrow or Monday.
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    WALLPAPER:   GOOD TOOL

    * Foul Weather Gear