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  • Friday, July 31, 2015

    The Other Park

    There's Different Scenery
    the fish are similar
    .. Expect the Lamar River to be smaller than you remember it. It's still plenty big but, the sparse snow pack, capricious rainfall patterns and warm, (except for the last two weeks,) weather have conspired to keep the flows down low.
    ..  In fact all the famous waters of the great northeast of Yellowstone National Park are down just a bit. The fishing ranges from good to very good. And as usual, in this corner of Yellowstone National Park, the fishing is every bit as good as the fisher.
    .. The ground-dwelling bugs are further along than in the west side river valleys. Hoppers are a skosh larger and have wings. Ants are on your feet and little black beetles are easy to see in the dust.
    Clearing Lamar waters demand probing the structure and covering lots of water.
    .. Temperatures in the high 70's through the mid 80's will persist through the middle of next week and the waters should be clear and cool. This is an open  secret. The fishers are as thick as the buffalo and it's strange to have to plan for alternate parking spots.
    .. There are some "No Stopping" zones and the bison are active in the morning and evening - they usually take a mid-day nap. Watch for them.
    No Room At The Inn.
    .. The campgrounds are fully booked and this has caused additional crowding, both on the road and on the rivers.
    .. The mayfly hatches have been adequate and sporadic. Be prepared with the surface box but exercise the terrestrial box if the little fliers are not readily visible. A hopper dropper combination is what those in-the-know fishers start with. Use small hoppers, (or even a stimulator as the top fly.) The point fly can be an ant or beetle or even a bead head something - keep it on the small side too.
    Fish where the fish are - just find them.
    .. The braided stream channels at the confluence of the Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek look like gravel pits. There are, (indeed,) fishy nooks and crannies in this low water wasteland. There are even fish here.
    .. Look for little streams of quick water dumping into - or - skirting around dark mini-pools, The shadows are friends of fishes in this section of the valley. Mid day is tough but, still crowded. Carry and use sun block.
    .. Soda Butte Creek is both on fire and a popular elbow watching venue. The famous water, (from Trout Lake to the confluence meadows,) is a display of gear and license plates from near and far. This is for good reason. The creek has moved away from it's banks and is providing novel catching opportunities.
    Welcome to Slough Creek.
    .. Use your best small hoppers with beetles or ants. The caddis have been kind of shy but, a small caddis imitation will bring noses to the hook - if you see the noses first.
    .. If you have the right fishing license you can gather up some dance partners in beautiful downtown Silver Gate. There are even occasionally available rooms to let in both Silver Gate and Cooke City.
    .. The welcome sign is out on the road to Slough Creek. The celebrity  and spooky trout are beginning to be closed mouth when it comes to artificial flies. Catching, from the sagebrush through the second meadow, requires hunting skills as well as fishing skills.
    .. Gentle strolling along the bank and keen observation are keys to galling a fish. This is one place where it is most important to fish the fish rather than the water. The trout don't have lock jaw yet but it's getting to be that time of year. Fish wise and fish slow.
    Grunt in - Slide out.
    .. Even little  Trout Lake, (with trout the size of watermelons,) is crowded. This little destination requires a small grunt to get to.
    .. Coming out, down the hill, should be a breeze - unless you are exhausted from catching all those willing, yet shy fish.
    .. There is an abundance of damsel flies on the water right now. Don't forget the weeds - use your best larval imitation.
    Pebble Creek classroom.
    .. Pebble Creek, from the camp ground to the Soda Butte Creek confluence has some fish of the willing variety. Practice your stalking skills in the brambles that the other fishers avoid and walk around.
    .. There are some gently undercut banks that hold large and lazy fish. These critters can feel you coming. They are just hangin' out and waiting for some groceries. Don't telegraph your presence and you will fill your dance card. Try a pair of nymphs with a bobber. You shouldn't have to cast far.
    .. If you are brave enough to negotiate the campground at Pebble Creek, (avoiding the educational seminars, creative parking, and family fun,) you will find some excellent catching opportunities in the willow meadows.
    .. This is one of those places that has few fishers: lots of hikers, photographers, and families, but few fishers.
    .. What's happening on the Gardner River? How about Obsidian Creek or Winter Creek? Could there be fish in the Yellowstone River?
    .. What a place !!