• Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Monday, October 27, 2014

    Fish By Geodetic Survey

    Good For One Week More
    beats cell phone accuracy
    .. Yesterday's snow has driven the fair weather fishers from the neighborhood. Visitors from surrounding countries are streaming in as the catching conditions promise to be spectacular for this last week of the season in Yellowstone National PARK.
    .. Bring clothing for all possible weather - including bright overcast.

    Sunday, October 26, 2014

    Tie A Few Right Now

    These Things Really Work
    indulge the ephemeral
    HALLOWEEN LEECH by Marv  Taylor
    .. At one time in the distant past the Celtic peoples traveled and lived across most of what we call today, Europe.
    .. They were far more attuned to the world around them than we are today. They celebrated seasons with festivals and ascribed social behaviors to the festivals - some were pretty juicy.
    .. In the modern popular mind Celtic and Gaelic are synonyms and limited to contemporary Irish peoples. This is far from the reality: one is a language dialect the other is widespread cultural tradition embracing large populations of prehistoric Europe.
    .. The Celts observed the end of Summer and the beginning of Winter with a grand festival: Samhain (pronounced Sah-ween in Gaelic) = the dead among us, (loosely derived.)
    .. Since the Celtic tribes reckoned time by counting nights rather than days this is the approximate equivalent of our New Year's Eve. Pretty big stuff indeed as the year became darker than lighter.
    .. In 601 A.D. Pope Gregory The First issued a now famous edict to his missionaries concerning the native beliefs and customs of the peoples he hoped to convert.
    .. Rather than try to obliterate native peoples' customs and beliefs, the pope instructed his missionaries to use them: if a group of people worshiped a tree, rather than cut it down, he advised them to consecrate it to Christ and allow its continued worship.
    .. Quickly Samhain became the church holiday of All Hallows' Eve. Not a bad job of interpolation by the early Christian missionaries.
    .. Many great events happen during the transition from Summer to Winter: the harvest is gathered, firewood is gathered, fields are prepared and fertilized for the fallow winter, laying bye winter stores, repairing dwellings, and of course pregnancy origination so that birthing could be accompanied by plenty during the light and warm part of the year.
    .. Just imagine the rituals that could accompany these situations - boy were they fine and full of fundamental essentials.
    .. And for the fly fisher?  Here it signals the end of fishing in Yellowstone National Park. The days are very short, the fishing map will die, trout will be left to spawn in peace, and the fish caught during this past year will grow with each retelling of the tales.
    .. The catching of fertile trout at this time of year is something we all do. Some of us are reminded of ancient traditions and symbologies. Some of us just catch the fish and call it good. There is today, a growing group of fishers and fly tiers who consciously make the effort to create and fish "Halloween Flies."
    .. Happily these offerings capture fish as good or better than the staid exotics offered by feather merchants and whip-finish gurus.
    .. Tie them now and fish them on the appropriate days and a certain magic will ensue. At least you will feel part of something ancient. Not as ancient as trout but more ancient than the modern pretenders to the traditions of Halloween.
    .. The Halloween Muddler appears quite often in the writings of sensitive iconoclasts of the season. One of the finest examples was pictured last year by Home Waters: A fly Fishing Life. Drop by for both insight and inspiration.
    .. One of the many favorites that we drag out each year is the Speckled Girdle Bug - Halloween. It fits our mindset for what a trout should like to eat this time of year. It employs wiggly things, contrasting colors, and has size enough to be attractive or threatening - both either good or bad. It is well illustrated by the Frying Pan Anglers site: a site with both exquisite traditional patterns and innovative fish foolers.
    . Both ourselves and many of the neighbors will stick with a rubber legs fly for much of the fall runner fishing in the Madison River.
    .. Long tailed streamers are in vogue right now; both across the fly fishing world and in our neighborhood. We use them and like them. They even take their fair share of fish.
    .. One that has burst upon the scene in the last year is the Halloween Bugger Leech from Fly Fish Food. It's an impressionistic style with colors that can vary from one tyer to another. Sometimes it's a sparsely tied fly and other times it's a full bodied bruiser. Pick your poison and fling away - you'll catch a few.
    .. The names of these derivative flies are usually indicative of the base origin of the flies for Halloween fishing.
    .. For instance it's not too hard to imagine what a Halloween Bugger looks like without even seeing it. The colors are automatic, (of course,) and the size is one that local knowledge will dictate.
    .. On the other hand a name like Autumn Splendor leaves the mind to run wild in the fields of imagination without an image to direct it's path
    ..  Happily Lance Egan has provided us with a fine image and tying instructions. We haven't used many cone head flies but this one is getting a workout this year for sure.
    B  R  L  B  T  F  H
    .. A Halloween fly that incorporates all the nifty and goofy tricks of large rubber legs and woolly bugger flies is offered for sale by the California Fly Shop: the Beldar Rubber Leg Bugger Trout Fly Halloween.
    .. A long two-toned tail is nailed to a multicolored Woolly Bugger. The Yellow, Orange, and black buggerness is augmented with some yellow rubber legs and just a bit of twinkle in the form of flash in the tail. It may look like a nightmare or it may look like trout food. The cone head should get it down to where the submarines are berthed.
    .. Those folks that choose to use a rod that is one third the width of the creek that they are fishing should complete their outfit with a spey style fly.
    .. Our language is dynamic and quirky. It is complicated and muddled by marketeers and glad handed sales forces across the nation. They have turned two handed rods in to spey rods and ignored spey casting. They have turned spey style flies into spey flies. Bless the contemporary fly fisher for encouraging this bit of retail legerdemain.
    .. The Halloween Spey is a modern derivative of an old style that is tied by using techniques from the Scottish and Dee patterns.
    .. This particular fly is found on a remaining fragment of the Speyfly Primer. The recipe is given on the page and there are other similar patterns for this time of year - or any time of year. It uses modern substitutes and traditional techniques that should send the psyche back in time.
    .. Certainly for those that demand the use of a two handed rod and believe that the rod makes the man on 40' wide streams; there is a Spey Fly to match the affectations of the big rod envious.
    .. Of course it's called the Jack O'Lantern Spey. It is a less formalized pattern than many others and allows for personal interpretation by the fisher as tying and materials allow.
    .. Jeff Kennedy rendered an image of that fly that is far finer than many being used today. This fly will collapse into a simple two-toned streamer when fished - if correctly tied.
    .. The name is justly famous on both the left and right coasts of North America. Tied in small sizes it is an excellent Brook Trout fly that is held in the dark and secret corners of fly vests and folded envelopes.
    .. Images of actual flies are available from real life specimens since the neighbors use this fly all year.
    .. For years, (a couple anyway,) we've fished a hybrid fly developed by Ralph Cutter for use on the East Walker River. It's a tough fly with a good silhouette and has both internal and external action.
    .. It's called simply: Goblin. The pattern may be found HERE. This is a tough fly that will stand up to many a jagged edge mouth if you find a pod of them in the dark depths of the Madison River.
    .. Unless you are the perfect streamer fisher there is an excellent and instructive note about streamer fishing by Ralph that can be found RIGHT HERE. We mere mortals read it periodically to refresh the gray matter about the vagaries of this kind of fly fishing.
    .. Just as waves of Celts washed over Europe from east to west so too do waves of trout move from west to east into Yellowstone National Park.
    .. They travel along the stream beds even as the Celts followed the river valleys. The fish have some primeval sexual rituals as did the Celts. The fish may be galled by bright and attractive charmers that wiggle and waggle their stuff across their field of vision. Bonfires lit the night as the year entered it's dark period across Europe. All the better to see you my dear.

    Saturday, October 25, 2014

    Two Favorites

    Time Is Getting Short
    november 3 is the key
    .. Over this last week Fall has finally kicked the Madison River and the Firehole River into their famous behavior for catching. The fish are abundant, the fishers are nestled in like sardines, the days are crisp, weather ranges from snow to sun and all is right with the world.
    .. These are the days to pick your poison and launch yourself into the fray. Big bugs, little bugs, floating bugs, sunken bugs, and streamers of all stripes are viable offerings to the eager trout of Yellowstone National Park.
    .. The confluence pool at the foot of National Park Mountain has been inhabited by quite a few large fish and the accompanying hoards of fisher folk. Every fly in the box is a potential winner. The neighbors like to swing streamers of the olive variety in this water.
    ..  Up the Gibbon River they use the same flies but strip them rather than swing them. It's a difference lost on most fishers this time of year and accounts for much disappointment where it shouldn't be.
    .. In the Firehole Canyon, a short "Herky Jerky" strip, close on the heels of short precise casts is the ticket. A prodigious amount of river debris is concentrated in the narrow confines of this canyon water and much of the lifeless flotsam does a grand job of imitating the simple drift of a streamer.
    .. Although the fishers are concentrated in the traditional runs of the Barns Holes on the Madison River, it's good to remember that the fish are parked in these places for a rest. There are good resting places not being fished by the elbow aficionados.
    .. Recently scoured depressions, newly undercut banks, old "Pump Wells" left over from bygone days are all deep and dark - the runners like these places - even if they are not where the counter help has directed you to go. Of course if social fishing and a conga line is your main interest just join the crowd.
    .. The sinuous river meanders along the park line in the vicinity of Baker's Hole. This water has been exceptionally productive this year. The neighbors have even conceded that it's O.K. to fish with several friends along this bit of water - there's fish for all and they are 22" and better - if you're into sizes.
    .. Out of the park, and near the highway bridge over the Madison River some fine fish are resting in mid river, These fish have found the perfect place for the worm fishers and gear gals to catch them.
    .. Fly folks don't have much of a chance to stick these fish. Wading, precision casting, and deep presentations are necessary. Some of the neighbors rig with a sinking line and a short length of lead core in front of a short stout leader to bonk the fish. Nothing succeeds like success. Otherwise get some gear and worms and join that fraternity.
    .. A couple of the neighbors have taken to tying some really fluffy Casual Dress flies. These have been spread among the neighborhood like rice at a wedding. Of course courtesy demands that they be fished. Lo and behold, they've been taking some nice fish this Fall season. We have one or two and will do our neighborly duty this evening.
    .. Should the fair Brook Trout tickle your fancy, there are many willing and eager specimens above the cascades on the Firehole River. They are in colors to make a peacock envious and are far more willing to dance with fishers presenting either floating or sinking flies. A Mashed Caddis will float or sink at your behest and can be the only fly necessary in these congenial waters.
    .. There are trout in the Firehole River to rival the size of the submarines currently cruising the Madison River. Most Firehole fishers are not much interested in size. A fish per cast in a twinkly riffle will satisfy them and their wiggly soft hackles.
    .. It does take some energy, good legs, and patience to hook into a prize of the larger variety on the Firehole River. Should you care to shun the giggling fishers on the popular parts of the river it would behoove you to trundle down the steep slopes of the canyon between Old Faithful and the deep pools at the foot of Keppler Cascades. There are spawning gravels in this reach of the river - and some fish too.
    .. These fish are piscivorous and appreciate the opportunity to eat a small fish rapidly stripped downstream in front of their nose. Try it, you'll like it.
    .. The little canyon beneath the bridge is an easy 400 feet down and a real grunt of two miles back up - or so it seems. It's well worth it for some.

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014

    Enjoy The Snow

    .. The hoped for bluster has arrived. It's snowing right now. A few cool days are called for in most forecasts.
    .. Unless you absolutely have a very deep-seated need for catching fish of the outlandishly big variety -- fish the FIREHOLE RIVER right now. The faithful have already had their second cup of coffee.
    .. We're out the door.

    Sunday, October 19, 2014

    Visitor-Weather Weekend

    Visitors Parading Through Park
    fishers praying for bluster

    .. Our gentle and salubrious Fall weather continues to be a drawing card for visitors to Yellowstone National Park.
    .. The discharge of the west side rivers is slowing apace with the rapidly diminishing snowpack and the fish are bewildered by the shallowness of the dark holes and the bright orb in the sky. Catching is good but not up to snuff for Fall.
    .. The Madison River is just below seasonal discharge rates and is holding temperatures in the mid to high 50's. The Firehole River is also a smidge below seasonal discharge norms and temperatures are spiking to the high 60's. The Gallatin River is running above mean discharge levels outside of the park thanks to snow melt from both the Gallatin Range and the Madison Range, catching in the park, (and down-canyon,) is still an attractive proposition for the moment.
    .. Baetids have popped nicely on the Firehole River and even the "OFF" water on the Madison River has produced some surface action. Most of the fish figure it out - most fishers , however, are in a streamer trance.
    .. Neighborhood streamer success comes in the form of traditional streamers of a smaller size than typical for this time of year. The bright days make small prey attractive to the predatory adult trout.
    .. Fish can be, will be, and have been, caught during the mid day sun. It requires a bit of stealth, knowing where the hides are liable to be, covering lots of water, and putting the enticer right in front of the fish. They won't move far from shelter in the bright sun. This is shelter from strong stream flows, overhead attack, and the blinding sun. Dark water, undercut banks, snags and sweepers, shade from trees and grass, are all good places to hide - if you are a fish. Think like a fish - catch a fish.
    .. Flies get tangled, trapped, swallowed up and lost in mid day fishing spots. That's just fine and it is to be expected. If you're using fancy patterns from a feather merchant it could cost you upwards of $20.00 before you gall a brutish fish. From a fishy perspective it seems that proximity is more attractive than pattern: hit 'em in the nose.
    .. Along the Madison River large nymphs are taking as many submarines as the streamers. Then again these are fished by the neighbors in well known, (if less than popular,) hides.
    .. During mid day many visiting fishers retire to the parking lot and slouch in the chairs that they carry for show and tell and lie sessions while enjoying a protracted escape from the water.
    .. To many of the visiting anglers, "COVERING A LOT OF WATER" means driving to the next pull-out and wetting a line for 20 minutes. This is a great way to get to know other visitors and test your parking skills. It sometimes produces fish as well as anxiety.  Might there be fish hiding between pull-outs? Darens't one walk too far from the car?
    .. On a friendlier note; the pools immediately below the falls on the Gibbon River have gathered up a pod of sizeable fish working the shallows for both spawning gravels and the concentrated food debris that cascades down from the waters above. The trees in the new parking area deprive fishers of the security of seeing their car. The brave will be rewarded.
    .. We've got some lies to share - now where is that folding chair?

    Monday, October 13, 2014


    Confused Tech Weenies
    we sorted it out for them - sigh
    .. A little lightning storm plunked some voltage down in West Yellowstone. No apparent damage was done and the neighbors loved the light show. We called our ISP and reported the lack of connectivity. They spent an hour on the phone with us and diagnosed the problem as a dead 2-Wire modem that we've had for 6 years. We suggested that the problem was their hardware, and that the lightning was not benign.
    .. They sent us a new router, (delay) and said they were sorry for the trouble. We installed the router and had the same lack of connectivity and the same router symptoms, (more delay.) Followup calls consumed over three hours over several days and additional delay. Finally, a tech weenie was sent to our little remote village and found a single, (JUST ONE _ours,) fried card in the server / router farm in the black building.
    .. Apologies all around from the ISP, (more delay.) Now we're up and connected. We did fish during the outage. We caught some too. Reports of long passed adventures are not our style. Self aggrandizing posts are not in the offing. There is still good fishing and catching in the neighborhood.
    .. We'll let you know.