• Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Wednesday, December 31, 2014

    4 The New Year

    Good Luck
    did general sherman goof?

    .. As it's been a brisk -30° F for a couple of nights and the highs during the day have reached a blistering +9° F we've retreated to the  kitchen to warm our soul and belly.


    Saturday, December 27, 2014

    The Fish Truck

    Ever Ready - Loyal
    time to exercise all wheels

    Thursday, December 25, 2014

    Yule Tidings

    Ours Is The Eve Of . . . .
    spoil not the day with feasting

    .. Our feasting has finished. It was several days in the preparing. It was several hours in the enjoying. We're stuffed and will enjoy Christmas Day in a leisurely fashion while nibbling what ever is in the fridge or on the buffet.
    .. Imbibing, tempered with conversation and fellowship, is only a small part of our gentle festivities. It's hard to beat gentility and immersion in historic recollections - at our age. Observing the raucousness of the general population is a mildly entertaining part of our celebration. It's mostly old folks, out of touch with contemporary hustle enjoying each other. It's not all bad.
    .. We tickled the very early morning with our dopey conversations and reminiscences. We then slept in: to hell with Santa. We awakened to pick up where we left off. We'll nibble the day away and enjoy the fresh white blanket of snow that quiets the village and hides reality. It's sublime. It's way away from most of the neighbors who are out on the streams and river. It's all O.K.
    .. Just one of our more exciting traditions is a sinister place setting for dinner. It satisfies those amongst us that suffer all year with the right sorts of folks and presents the rest of us with a bit of gentle insight into the real meaning of Christmas Eve.
    .. We've been persuaded by the neighbors and friends who indulged to share the best part of it with you all. It isn't fishing so feel free to click away and find other vicarious satisfactions.




    Wednesday, December 24, 2014

    Soon To Be

    A Wee Bit Of Tradition
    indulgence comes in all sizes
    Dead Dry - Second Salt - Awaiting Slow Heat

    Sunday, December 21, 2014

    Fish Or Eat ?

    Decisions, Decisions
    there are many ways to sin



    Friday, December 19, 2014

    An Other World

    It's On The Cold Side
    midges = recipe for success
    .. Now that the fair weather fishers have left the room, and the part time fishing guides have found alternative employment, and the white stuff has finally arrived in earnest; fishing becomes a neighborhood activity.
    ..The neighbors relish this time of year. The pace of life and fishing in particular dwindles to a gentility that is a quiet joy.
    .. There is no rush to claim a beat. There is no frenzy to find and prick all the fish in the river. There is no need to fight for parking places or defend oneself from flailing elbows and gigantic phallic rods that are whipping the water to a froth with mega buggers and other mighty streamers.
    .. Our neighborhood midges invite our fish to gobble them up. They appear on warm bright days. They clump together in dark clusters on the water. They ride the gentle Merry-Go-Round's of the delicate swirling back eddies or the still froth puddles near the shore. They are mindless snacks waiting to be ingested.
    .. It's possible to just watch the slurping fish gently rise to the surface and suck in midge after midge after midge. Heroic, underwear-ripping, casts are not necessary for fly presentation. The stealthy fisher need not cast at all.
    .. With a long rod, keen eyes, and delicately smooth movements a fly may be placed on the eddy in synch with the trout's rhythm. The trout seldom miss on the first try. They will often spit the fly with lightning rapidity. No need to re-present the fly: just watch it make another circuit and be a bit more alert. Lifting is in terms of inches not feet.
    .. The fish cooperate and sink down after each inhalation. It's a dance of suavity. The cool waters bring a slowness that is missed by the typical trout slayer. The fight and struggle is just as strong as ever can be but the prelude is poetry incarnate.
    .. The neighbors know the shoreline. The little eddies are ephemeral phenomena. They vary in location with depth of water and speed of flow. Seldom  do our visitors understand that the viscosity of the water can also affect the little swirls. Slow and deliberate progress along the shore yields the best results. Sharp eyes aided by vest-pocket binoculars bring results that can be missed by the rapidly galumphing gonzo fisher.
    .. Observation, stealth, planning, and execution for this type of fishing is much akin to hunting big game. Sometimes the fish are large as well. Occasionally it's necessary to step in the water. Position and placement of flies are keys to this leisurely sort of endeavor. Although some of the kids in the neighborhood indulge themselves with this sort of pursuit, it's usually the fishers of a more mature demeanor and gait that indulge themselves. We do.
    .. We have no excuse for a cool brew to quell the sweat in the nether regions of our waders. We'll have one anyway and sip rather than quaff it as we watch the noses expose themselves to the early winter air. Mighty predators of the deep have come to the shore to partake of a seemingly endless single course meal. We are appreciative and enjoy the watching as much as the catching.
    .. We usually leave the barn around noon and catch the mid day warming. A few fish happily inhale our offering and we quietly gloat with glee. No one is around. No high five's. No blood curdling war whoops. No license plates from foreign countries clog the miniscule parking spaces. And, our track in the snow is the only one. It is an other world.
    .. We're back in time for tea.

    Sunday, December 14, 2014

    Little Sun - Little Snow - Little Warm - Not Cold

    Dusting Continues
    park opens to tires
    .. This is not the warmest mid December on record. It's getting close.
    .. Around town there may be six inches of snow on the ground. The plow piles are not too deep and there is some bare pavement on some streets and sidewalks. The neighbors are not planting tomatoes just yet. Overnight lows are in the mid teens and daytime highs nudge the low 30's on occasion.
    .. Fishing has been easy during this mini meltdown. Catching has been problematic as the sun and clouds have alternated in intensity.
    .. The early trails pounded through the snow have become icy and muddy and elbows have proliferated at an alarming rate on the Madison River between the lakes.
    .. Midges have made their appearance on a couple of occasions in the past weeks and the fish have discovered them. Little fish seem to be the order of the day when midge fishing. Nothing over 14" has yet been taken on a midge - it's early though.
    .. Just about any small bit of dark fluff will suffice for the current midge fishing activity. We've been using our supply of small ants from the invasion of tiny ants along the shores of Hebgen Reservoir last summer. They work just as good as anything: size 16 is what we have.
    .. Around our village winter activities are proceeding in their normal fashion as the neighbors pray for some substantial snowfall. We are getting intermittent  dustings of an inch or two when the moisture content of the air is adequate - nothing to write home about.
    .. Tomorrow Yellowstone National Park will open for over-the-snow-travel and visitation. Obsolete vehicles with skis or metal tracks will have to wait for additional snow before they enter. Snowmobile traffic will be limited and dependent on this evening's snowfall - if any.
    .. The ski festival was lucky to have some snow and managed to complete all events including the long races, ski camp, and biathlon courses.
    .. Our first sled dog race will be on the 18th and the dogs will run no matter what the conditions. The trails through the trees are snow covered and packed. There are a few patches of mud and slush in a couple of short open stretches but the dogs can handle it. Snow is predicted for the coming week and if it all comes true there could be 6 to 8 inches of dry powder by Friday, next. We'll see.
    .. On a related note: there is a quiet revolution taking place with winter travel in Yellowstone National Park. This is the second year of a trial for innovative vehicles with large low pressure tires for over-the-snow-travel. Large vans and small buses are being equipped with tires up to 48" in diameter with bead lock rims and air pressures of 4 to 8 pounds.
    .. Last year the trials were a success beyond any anticipated outcome. The snow covered roads were not badly rutted by the tires, as they are by other vehicles. The visitors experienced a quieter and smoother ride in the park. The vehicles are warm and well insulated, higher than others, and visibility is excellent.
    .. Winter use environmental standards for noise and emissions have been met or exceeded by the trial vehicles and the current Best Available Technology, (BAT,) standards for winter use are undergoing scrutiny in light of this trial program.
    .. The current BAT standards were developed over the last 15 years and depended on the previously available vehicles that were used in the winter in the park.
    .. As a result of the current standards the snowmobile manufacturers have produced sleds that are cleaner and quieter per passenger mile than any of the other modes of transportation. The trial vehicles with tires may result in a better solution for winter travel than all the other vehicles currently in use.
    .. There is also some talk of allowing sled dogs for limited travel in Yellowstone. And, of course, there is always a small but persistent cry for plowing and greater public access during the winter.

    Sunday, December 07, 2014

    No Gut -- No Glory

    Strange Patterns In The Water
    they work now as they did then

    .. It's as arcane as it can be. Playing with caterpillar guts during a Winter evening and assembling some galling devices to prick a critter with a brain the size of a split pea.
    .. Perhaps the device should have some bird and mammal parts as well as larval intestine. Pheasant tail cries out to be used at the aft end. Simple golden silk thread from mom's embroidery basket can work for the body and a bit of red wool from that old  Persian Balouch Rug will fit right in at the throat.
    .. Black hackle that is way too big for any self respecting trout fly ought to be densely palmered forward to hide mom's silk thread. A wee bit of elk fuzz from the inner hind leg of a small cow should make an excellent head and a pair of two-toned turkey feather segments will be a decent wing over it all.
    .. No cute and fancy loop eye for this device. The gut is tightly twisted in a solution of glycerine and warm water and tied with secret knots and incantations to the hook shank. It's sometimes called a self-leader. It gets coiled up while still damp and pliable. It'll take some warm water and some spit to bring it back to life when it comes time to use it. Usually forward thinking is necessary on the night before a winter adventure is anticipated. Soak 'em good.
    .. We didn't invent this configuration of dead fluff and feathers. It was devised even before Queen Victoria plunked her bottom down upon the throne. This is an old standard fly that has taken many a fish. Seldom do you see it listed as a "Classic Salmon Fly"  --  but it truly is: works for sea run Brown Trout and hold-over submarines in our neighborhood too.
    .. We like the old flies. They are simple, colorful, sturdy, and more effective than a double handful of offerings from the bins at the musty and popular stores in town.
    .. Many of the local feather merchants employ winter help that extol the virtues of a "run-n-gun gonzo approach"  to our neighborhood streams.
    .. Pound 'em with one and then another and then another and yet another fly. Cover a lot of water. Bust through the snow. Try three or four nymph patterns that we couldn't sell during the summer. If the nymphs don't work try our leftover streamers they might work if you have five or six patterns.
    .. Try all the places possible. Catch every fish in the stream and retire to the pub to tell some lies. Great exercise.
    .. From a relaxation point of view - it ain't our schtick. We gather up a slow buggy whip, a few seldom seen patterns and stroll between a couple of holes and hides and tickle a fish or two. Certainly not in keeping with most contemporary fishing behavior. But, that's just us.
    .. You will not find these flies in the spiffy synthetic fly boxes advertised in magazines, catalogs or blogs. A few will do just fine on a Winter's afternoon. Stick them in your hat or just stuff them in your pocket. They are made to be abused, (by fish and fishers.) They work just as good now as they ever have.
    .. These flies descend to us from a time  -- long gone  -- that needed less of just about everything. By the time Kelson published his tomb it was apparent that diversity and artifice were soaring. By 1895 fly fishing had finally reached a modern mentality.
    .. It had become elitist, (like today,) it had begun to glorify gear, (like today,) it emphasized both numbers and size of fish as part of a successful experience, (like today.) Hero photos were de rigueur, (like today,) territoriality and secrecy were employed to enhance one's supposed expertise, (like today.)
    .. We prefer gentility and relaxation to braggadocio and gear worship. We prefer intimate immersion in a few select places to sweeping visitations and mere casual acquaintanceship. We prefer a few old flies and other well worn gear to the latest and greatest of whatever the industry has to offer right now.
    .. We're out-of-step with contemporary fly fishing. We like it that way. For gonzo fishing and exuberant, albeit it brief, visitations check the blogs and feather merchants listed in the sidebar.
    .. We'll be sauntering - may fish a little too.

    Saturday, December 06, 2014

    It's Getting Sticky

    Cell Phone Or Otherwise ?
    and, just how are they used ?
    .. Dozens of images from this blog have been used across the web and in print media of various sorts. Each image is non-commercial and carries a Creative Commons License, (see bottom of sidebar.) Some have even been purloined by unscrupulous shagnasties in their pursuit of filthy lucre to line their pockets. It's in the nature of marketing and marketeers to do what ever they can to make a buck.
    .. Recently public lands managers have jumped on the permit process to enhance their revenue streams and regulate the use of images taken on public lands. A few years ago Yellowstone National Park implemented a permitting process for "Film, Photography, and Sound Recording."  We've mentioned it in passing a couple of times.
    .. Now, the United States Forest Service has initiated a rule-making process about commercial photography in wilderness areas of National Forests. It may seem like an insignificant bit of bureaucratic nonsense but; it could affect just about anyone that takes a snapshot on public lands of the National Park Service or the United States Forest Service.
    .. We've been informed that the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation are also considering rule-making and permitting procedures.
    .. Hatch Magazine recently ran a piece about the impending USFS rule-making procedure.
    .. Action was taken by the Outdoor Writers Association of America and Hatch Magazine to clarify the proposed rule and it's implications for photography and photographers.
    .. If you've read this far you probably think that this is just stuff and nonsense. It certainly can't affect your standard hero shot that you take of a gasping fish that is oxygen starved out of the water in the park or in the forest. That's true unless it's used in a commercial publication.
    .. That commercial publication can be a motion picture, a published print book, on-line-magazine, or blog that is monetized with advertising from commercial ventures such as tackle makers, apparel purveyors, or feather merchants, etc. Advertising posters, product catalogs, mailers, and leaflets are not exempt from the commercial standard.
    .. This is where the law gets as sticky as flypaper. It's going to take some court cases to sort it all out. Resolution may eventually center on the original intent and circumstances of the original image and it's original purpose. Lawyers are about to have a field day.
    .. Recent events in Missouri have shown how ignorant of the law some police officers appear to be. Photographers have rights that are constitutionally protected in the taking of pictures. It's the use of those pictures that bothers officials of all stripes. It is incumbent upon anyone that snaps a picture to understand the law regarding their actions and the use of the resulting image.
    .. A couple of interesting definitions come into play in this legal morass: Is the use of the image in the service of "NEWS" and the precept that "THE EYE CAN COMMIT NO TRESPASS."
    .. For example is it "news" when a monetized blog illustrates and extolls the virtues of an advertisers' new product? Is it news when an outdoor writer in the "newspaper" praises a travel trip to an exotic destination and uses images from the trip of a lifetime ??
    .. So then: where was it taken, for what purpose was it taken, how is it used?

    Some resources that you may find useful:
    >> Yellowstone National Park Permit and Process,
    >> Hatch Magazine Article,
    >> Smokey Says, Get A Permit, Shutterbugs,
    >> Know Your Rights: Photographers,
    >> You Have Every Right To Photograph That Cop,
    >> Go To Jail In Arizona For Linking To Photos,
    >> Photographers Rights,
    >> Discussion Of Cops, Rights, and Homeland Security.