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  • Friday, August 21, 2015

    Political Wildfires

    IS YOUR WATERSHED BURNING ?
    Should We Let Them All Burn ?
    small stream report too
    MARSTON FIRE SENDING SMOKE TO MISSOULA 
     inciweb photo
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    .. As we write this; in the Northern Rockies Geographic Area, there are 58 new fires, of which 15 are considered large incidents.
    .. There are 23 fires in Montana, only three of which are considered large incidents, (LINK-1.)
    ..  Gov. Steve Bullock issued an executive order Sunday declaring a fire emergency for the state of Montana. The declaration allows Bullock to mobilize more state resources and the Montana National Guard for firefighting, and to draw state funds to meet the costs associated with additional resources, (LINK-2.)
    GO TEAM !!
    ..  Of the 14 wildfires caused by lightning strikes in northwestern Montana only 10 are staffed by USFS personnel - or any one else, according to the Dillon, Montana dispatch center.
    .. In 1995, fire fighting and management made up 16% of the forest service’s annual appropriated budget. This year for the first time, more than 50% of the Forest Service’s annual budget will be dedicated to fire.
    .. With congress continuing to cut USFS budgets we need to ask the question: "will there be enough money to fight any fires, and what management practices will have to be cut or eliminated?"
    ..There is an informative post, (and attendant diverse comments,) about the trend in reduced USFS funding and services in the MONTANA COWGIRL (LINK-3).
    .. We all know the impact on headwater tributaries caused by wildfires. We also know that there are policy questions and ecological arguments about how to deal with wildfires - as well as lumbering practices in the headwater areas.
    .. The stress on USFS resources and personnel, the concomitant burden placed on the states, and the current political climate demand that fishers of all stripes be informed. Does your watershed deserve federal, state, or no protection when it comes to fighting fires?
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    WALLPAPER: BACON RIND CREEK; THIN WATER, THICK FISH

    .. Yellowstone National Park has dodged the bullet these last three fire seasons. The headwater tributaries of some of our most cherished fishing streams are not burning and are still accessible.
    SIERRA BRIGHT DOT
    ..The road to the parking lot at Bacon Rind Creek is dry, rough, and dusty. Happily it's short. Hoppers are plentiful, as are spruce moths, beetles, ants, and caddis. Access is congenial, (save for a few willow thickets,) and the fishing pressure has been low so far this season.
    .. The upper Gallatin River, (above the confluence meadow,) is seeing frequent visitation by neighbors and visitors alike. Bear spray sales in town are reaching their Summer peak - good idea!
    .. Just a few flies will bring fish to hook and hand in the meadow and willow brambles. The bugs here are the same as Bacon Rind Creek, except that there are fewer, (if any,) spruce moths. Some of the neighbors ran out of beetle imitations and used sow bugs instead - worked fine.
    RED ASS BUMBLER
    .. The parking lot at Specimen Creek has been crowded lately. It's been populated by photographers and hikers. Fishers seem to have avoided this little creek lately because access requires some thought and planning to get to the deep and sheltered water. That's a good thing for the stout and surprising fish in those places.
    .. This is a genuine "attractor stream." It's a good place to try your latest 'off-the-wall' creations. The fish are as unsophisticated as the wayward fishers that visit this water. We go often. We like Sierra Bright Dot variations and smashed caddis for our forays.
    .. Snowslide Creek and Daly Creek have been plumb forgotten - or so it seems. The streamside trails are still green and the local counter help have never seen them. Grab a few Prince Nymphs and a couple of Humpy flies and bushwack your way through some lovely country -- with bear spray in hand. You may even catch a dozen, or so, fish.
    SIERRA GREEN DOT
    .. It seems that even the neighbors have forgotten about Black Butte Creek. We've not seen a cell phone photo nor a whisper of any expeditions into this bit of tributary water. Sorry 'bout that.
    .. The Firehole River above Old Faithful is still a popular destination for folks, (neighbors and others,) that enjoy the delights of Brook Trout dances. We visited with some fisher folks from Pennsylvania last week, as we paused to look at the diversion dam. They said that the Brookies were more willing here than in the Poconos. My my.
    .. We note with some amusement that there is near panic among the folks that experienced the recent snow flurries in Arkansas and Tennessee.
    .. Up here it's been in the 20's and 30's overnight for the last week or so. We've had some snow flurries, hail, wind gusts to 40 mph, and heavy low clouds in the evening. The neighborhood kids are still wearing baggy shorts and swimming in the rivers and lakes. No one has mentioned that.
    .. It's supposed to be a blistering 60° tomorrow: rain and other stuff mixed in as well. We're headed back to Sourdough Riffles on  Notellum Creek. The trout are so lonely that they are hanging on to hooks with both hands.
    .. We've got the seven deadly sins in our custom fly box and know that the fish will enjoy our visit.
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    WALLPAPER:  SEVEN DEADLY SINS