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  • Wednesday, August 19, 2015

    It's Early But . . . .

    SCATTERED REPORTS
    From The Smallest Of Streams
    take a trail to surprises
    WALLPAPER:  THE TRAIL TO FAN CREEK
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    .. There are absolute jewels of information to be gleaned from the casual conversations emanating from the dark corners of our noisy pubs.
    .. Just last week we scoffed at a couple of the neighbors for tying some unseasonably large flies. Shows what we know!
    .. Just down the road, on the small tributaries of the upper Gallatin River in Yellowstone National Park, there are fish of generous proportions in water scarcely skinny enough to wet a diaper. (Overheard in the shadows.)
    DELICIOUS WHEN DONE RIGHT
    .. At the moment there are yellow leaves on many of the indicator trees around town. The neighbors' gardens are done with strawberries and the tops of onions are sagging.
    .. The sun is low enough to produce polarized light in the sky overhead and the wildfires are stinking up the air.
    .. There are roasted ears of corn to go with the charred beef and outdoor grilling has picked up a notch. Just some hints of Fall.
    .. Traffic has thinned in the village to a point that there are parking spaces left open and there's even occasional moments where the streets seem safe to cross.
    .. The Gallatin River is alive with elbows, hoppers, ants, spruce moths, and trout of the congenial kind. It's lesser known byways and tributaries have some interesting fish and some beautiful water.
    CARRY IT - IN YOUR HAND
    .. Then again, it's not park and cast fishing. Trails must be taken. Noisy groups must be marshaled together for alert strolling through bear country. But, you don't have to get your feet wet to gather up trout in crystal clear and seldom fished water.
    .. These are waters that can be fished with convenient tackle. Short, easily portable rods are the norm. Four and five weights are the numbers and some of the folks around here go up a line weight or two because of the needed control when casting to targets 10 feet away while lying prone in an ant hill.
    .. Short, stout leaders make things simple as do just a few flies. The trout in these waters aren't pounded into senseless and wary slugs. They don't have 'hook cysts' scattered around their proximal portions and, they enjoy a dance with fishers throwing garbage flies in their direction.
    .. Right now the neighbors are spending a lot of time around the confluence meadow where Fan Creek joins the Gallatin River.
    ENTER PREPARED
    .. A few have wandered deep into the thick willow bear-meadows of the upper Gallatin River, others are wandering the burned pines of Fan Creek.
    .. On your first time into the willows you will be surprised at the depth of some of the bends where point bars have stabilized the meander loops.
    .. There are game trails through the willows. They are tight and demand an alert angler - or hiker. They are used by the moose and the coyotes, and the occasional bear. They are the trails that feather merchants and counter help don't frequent. Don't even ask.
    .. Well armed neighbors sing to the bears and carry their spray in their gun hand with their rod in their 'off' hand. Reel first through the thickets to the grassy patches on the inside of the bends trudge the intrepid neighbors.
    .. As soon as it's feasible to do so, they get on their knees. They have seen the shadows in the water. The shadows have seen them. Just a two foot leader and four feet of line is all it takes. That's all there is room for.
    .. Stealth is important. Vocalize! Talk to the fish, sing to the bears, but tread softly lest the shadow feels you coming. Disabuse yourself of the notion that they don't see you. They do.
    .. Move slowly, cast deliberately. watch the maw open with rapid deliberation. There's no real need to "LIFT !" The shadow darts from hide to food with a rapidity that defies belief. The water is thin and they need to return to whence they came with all due haste. Just be sure to hold on. The hook will be set with authority.
    .. Scream with wild abandon - it will scare the bear in the bush. Fight the fish to the bank. Release with a quick twist and watch. They usually return to where you first saw them. They'll sulk and remember the dance - for just a short time. They've come for sex and found fishers.
    .. On the other hand, why bother? There are cell phone numbers to exchange, big rigs to listen to, easy footpaths to follow, and parking spaces aplenty along the road to Bozeman. That's the "Yellowstone Fishing" that you hear about.
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    WALLPAPER:   HENRY'S FORK WEATHER MAKER