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  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
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  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014

    Headed Out

    Bare Minimum
    .. Some fishers take the kitchen sink, (vests today will hold 'em.) Some of our neighbors leave the sink, (and the pile of dirty dishes it holds.)
    .. All they grab is the important stuff: rod, reel, flies, camp food. utensils, Pocket knife, kit bag, sleeping bag, poncho, TP, other shoes, spare undies, other jacket, hats, polarized specs, beverages, knowledge, determination, buddy, bankroll, road food.
    .. Perhaps the most important bit is the "Universal Field Box." It's an assemblage of flies that, from experience, can handle most situations in Yellowstone National Park.
     .. This is the time of year when a day can make the difference between catching and crying. The neighbors head to those places where the hatches bloom and then rapidly disappear. They search out the little streams in Yellowstone National Park where Summer is shorter than elsewhere. They need to hike and walk and run.
    .. These places are not in the guide books. They are not secret places they are just not popular. These are places beyond where the road ends and the trail begins.
    .. Our neighborhood fishers are funny folk. Their networks for information reach into other neighborhoods across the region. They seldom hit the feather merchants for conventional wisdom. They form a loose fraternity of fishers rather than talkers. They are cooks and servers and housekeepers and mechanics and clerks and other normal folks. They meet in pubs in the wee small hours after work. They listen to the woods and the waters. The local jungle drums from near and far relate intelligence that is seldom over eight hours old. Off they go - gainful employment be damned.

    .. Their food is sparse and basic. Their accommodations are rocks and dust and dirt and ants and beetles, and sage and quiet. Morning comes early and night comes late. Fishing days are crammed full of exploration, observation, speculation, and meditation. More often than not each day is full of anything but the fish. The fish and the fishing become excuses for exploring a neighborhood park that is larger than most.
    .. The assemblage of local fishers has little in common with new cars and destination fishing. This is an assemblage of folks that have time for only work, family, friends, fish and food. They are here because of the place. They could do what they do anywhere. They love the park. They love the town and live in it. They fish: they catch. They work hard and play hard. Bless their hearts, they share some hard won insights with us. They don't write books. They seldom take hero photos. They think a blog is something akin to an ink blot. They smirk at us and go about their lives.
    .. Right now they are catching in a variety of places around the neighborhood. Gulpers in Hebgen Lake. Cutties on Cache Creek.
    .. A mixed bag above the closure in the canyon on the Firehole River. Brookies on the Gibbon River in the little meadows at the end of the road by Virginia Cascade. Beaver pond fish down the trail on Duck Creek. Evening caddis hatches on the Gallatin River. Straight Creek baby fish. and of course those big Rainbow Trout that hide in the cold water of the deep cut banks at Baker's Hole.
    .. We can't fish all those places. We envy the youth and exuberance of the neighbor kids. We appreciate the information that they share with us. We share it here in the hope that more than just famous waters gain new friends among the visitors to our neighborhood. Waters without friends become lost and subject to depredation by the non fisher.
    .. Tonight we're headed to a small tributary of the drowned Madison River. It's only about 100 yards long. It dumps into the monstrous Hebgen Reservoir.  It could have been nearly a mile long. It will be there again after the inevitable removal of Hebgen Dam: long in the future. It's cold and spring fed. It holds enormous fish and small fish. They eat well and only get molested by their friends and the friends of the creek It will soon be developed and canalized. It has had few friends; that's why it has no name.
    .. Off to our favorite culvert.