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  • Thursday, January 21, 2016

    Data Time

    Maybe More To Come
    not el niño's fault
    .. NOAA has been uncharacteristically quick with the previous year's summary this time.  
    .. Rightly so, it seems, since el niño was being watched with such ardor.
    .. Last year was the second warmest year on record for the United States of America. It was the warmest year on record for the planet as a whole.
    .. For the last several years the neighborhood weather gossip and conversation has centered, (primarily,) on the gentility of our winters. Not many national cold record days. Not too many plumber's winters. Not too deep has been the snow. Heating bills have approached the reasonable level. More wood left over in April and May. And so it goes.
    .. Our Fall weather has been extended and this has reduced the quick cold snaps that yield frozen sugar in the leaves of trees - hence more muted fall colors.

    .. Summers have yielded lower stream and river levels with water temperatures spiking earlier than the fishers would like. More of the neighbors are migrating to Hebgen Reservoir earlier and more often than in the recent past.
    .. The outlook for the coming calendar year seems to be more of the same. Change is slow. Recent arrivals to our village still complain about the snow and the cold. They should have been here 20 years ago. Oh well.
    ..The Hebgen Tailwater is finally attracting visitors from foreign countries such as Idaho, Utah, and even California. It must be some sort of winter pilgrimage. Who knows. The midges have appeared sporadically but in good numbers when they fly. The Griffith's Gnat is back in favor this year with the neighbors. Small dark streamers and large nymphs continue to score as well.
    .. Down canyon on the Gallatin River there is less anchor ice for this time of year than usual. There are some midges near the lower exposed gravel bars and adjacent to the eddy's at tributary confluences. Most of the best catching has occurred with slow drifted ugly flies and streamers. Rubber legs of various sorts and stonefly foolers of any ilk seem to be in the greatest numbers.
    .. Those fishers with the patience to stalk the good hides will score with classic upstream presentations and a nymph or drowned mosquito in the film. Watch the shadows and fish the edges - good on ya'.
    .. Just over the hill at Reynolds Pass on the Madison River the stalk and walk neighbors have been catching the far out of the big fish in the runs and riffles.
    .. It's hard to say what works all the time. Be prepared with a good assortment of big _n_little nymphs, bright-n_dark rubber legs, and many midge patterns for the boulder eddy's where the foam and giant fish are to be found.
    .. We're headed to the lowlands.

    Saturday, January 16, 2016

    $14,000 Up For Grabs

    National Qualifier Here
    seminars + kids 
    + good ice
    .. It's back! Last night kicked off the NAIFC (North American Ice Fishing Circuit) National Qualifier, (LINK 1.) You social types can follow it all on Facebook, (LINK 2.) The official West Yellowstone Page is HERE.
    .. This has been one of the neighborhood's premier events of the ice fishing season on Hebgen Reservoir.
    .. The intro and social hour started at 5:00 PM with seminars and pro tips at 7:00 PM.
    .. The Rocky Mountain Ice Fishing Product Fair is set up at the Holiday Inn and is open to the public.
    .. Today is pre-fishing and kids ice camp day out at Hebgen Reservoir.
    .. Tonight in town is the kids and ice programs featuring an evening of ice skating, sledding on the kid's hill, hot chocolate and make-your-own S'mores. (Ice skates are available at no charge.)
    .. More information on the Kids'N'Snow is available on their website, (LINK 3.)
    .. On Sunday, (tomorrow,) the NAIFC Hebgen Lake Qualifier comences with two-person teams fishing from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM for up to $14,000 in cash and prizes.
    .. At 2:00 PM the NAIFC Tournament weigh-in will be conducted at the Holiday Inn Conference Center.
    .. The top ten finishing teams also receive an invitation to the 2015 NAIFC National/North American Championship to be held in December in Minnesota.
    .. We'll let you know the results.

    Friday, January 15, 2016


    Scan Some Other Views
    expand your vision

    .. All too infrequently do we get the time and opportunity to surf a bit and wander about the web.
    .. A couple of years ago we bumped into a site that was attractive, diverse, and engaged our interest.
    .. Lately we've been loath to post about blogs because they seem to come and go with the rapidity of a nose in the foam line.
    .. Although not a blog per se; this site is fresh, vigorous, well maintained, full of good information, and has persisted in a dynamic state for over three years.
    .. As shown above WASHINGTON FLY FISHING is partitioned into five segments.
    .. We return frequently to the GALLERY and reminisce about our time in that foreign country. The images include gear, flies, hero shots, and miscellaneous snaps. Good stuff.
    .. Hidden amongst the forums is a gem of fly tying innovation and instruction. The STEP BY STEP FORUM is well worth burning a few electrons and clicking through.
    .. Our local village fly fishers clique is wonderfully inbred and staid when it comes to vocabulary, ideology, and fly selections. This situation obtains because of personality cults, and supposed pragmatism.
    .. The "because it works" syndrome is most probably geographically localized and regionalized across the world. It leads to stifled creativity and parochialism.
    .. Seldom is the question asked: "can something work better?" Infrequently a creation from fly tying vises makes it's way into the lexicon of localisms. All to seldom does it persist.
    .. We too, are guilty of hanging on to old flies that have served us well for decades. The parochial mentality is a hard one to break. We've slowly come to appreciate the reason why there are so many and diverse flies: they all work.
    .. Blessed are the fly tiers for they shall be rewarded in the kingdom of innovation. Remember: “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.” 
    .. Please pardon the strong suggestion.

    Sunday, January 10, 2016

    Idaho's Own

    A New Foreign Mystery
    fisher's beware
    ".. A mountain lion killed in the US state of Idaho had a set of fully formed teeth growing out of its forehead, wildlife officials say.
    ..The lion was legally shot dead by a hunter on 30 December. The teeth could be the remnants of a conjoined twin which died in the womb, or possibly a kind of tumor.
    .. Biologists in the region have never seen anything like this particular deformity before, it says.
    .. The lion was hunted after it attacked a dog near the town of Weston, Idaho. The dog survived, but a hunter set off in pursuit and killed the big cat a few hours later.
    .. A conservation officer checked the lion's body, as required by law, and found the set of teeth, as well as what appeared to be a set of whiskers on the left side of the animal's forehead.
    .. Mountain lions, a native species of big cat, are relatively common in Idaho. They are elusive animals which seldom come into contact with humans.
    .. They are territorial and require large swathes of wilderness to thrive. In winter, their prey species, such as deer and turkeys, move down from the mountains to escape colder temperatures, often gathering at the edges of villages or towns. This can put predatory mountain lions into conflict with people, livestock and pets, says the Idaho Department of Fish and Game."

    {courtesy BBC} 

    Saturday, January 09, 2016

    Busy Times

    Neighborhood Stuff
    if the world only knew
    .. Wintertime in this neck of the woods is frequently as busy as summertime.
    .. Traffic jams of snowmobiles, long lines of pushy tour coaches headed into and out of Yellowstone National Park, queues at the grocery for BBQ supplies, skiers in the middle of the street doing combat with slednecks, contractor trucks whizzing around between the hardware store and all the interior remodels: all just in a days work.
    .. Then there's the truck plows clearing driveways and sidewalks, as well as biathletes skiing around with rifles strapped to their backs. Of course we should not fail to mention the sled dog rides and the wildlife photographers chasing rare winter birds both in and out of town.
    .. By the way quite a few fishers mull about when the temperatures climb above -5°F. We do that occasionally too. Day after day this continues apace with the fun times of winter.
    .. There's a weird misconception among those poor folks trapped in the warmer climes of the nation that we all live in igloos and that there's nothing to do in the winter time - poor folks.
    .. We don't want to dissuade them of their cloistered attitudes; it's crowded and busy enough already.
    .. So then, the sun has recently come out for a couple of days and, some foehn winds blew down the mountain and, the midges did frolic between the lakes.
    .. Quite a few of the neighbors rushed to the water's edge and slammed 'em during the first black speck hatch of the winter. Damn if it didn't top 20° F yesterday!
    .. Great catching success is usually celebrated in the neighborhood with a gathering and some tale-telling. It's always better at home than it is in the pubs, (that happens too.)
    .. Therefore, a grand time was had by all yesterday evening. The pre-spawn fish in the Hebgen Dam Tailwater are both earlier and larger than usual - judging by the stories.
    .. Flank steak fajitas, burgers, dogs, and what ever you brung were charred to perfection and the revelry lasted, (mostly indoors,) until the wee hours - as we post this.
    .. Catching down canyon on the Gallatin River has been spotty but not too dismal. Large streamers drifted rather than stripped have been working well, as have large, (size 8 - 10,) non-bead head nymphs.
    .. Streamers of the black or olive persuasion are usually preferred by the neighbors, and nymphs of the hare's ear sort are being used, (and lost,) in abundance.
    .. We, up here in the dreary and sullen north woods, will do it again tomorrow. And, the weekends, so be it,  are much more busy than the weekdays.
    .. The lowlanders from Bozeman, Ennis, Idaho  Falls, Pocatello, and other foreign venues will be up here for their immersion in the igloo culture of boredom and depression.
    .. We enjoy the winter. Unlike the folks who enjoy shorts, cutoffs, bikini garb, and the uniform weather sameness of the beach, we take pleasure in the seasons.
    .. Besides that, El Niño has dampened many of the snowbirds destinations this year. Warm and wet is not our idea of escape in wintertime.

    Wednesday, January 06, 2016

    The W.Y. Sour

    An Annual Event
    a very unique kick
    .. We have a large contingent of Russian workers in our village. Many enjoy our local fly fishing opportunities.
    .. Some have become U.S. citizens, some are ex-patriots, some are established here on long term work visas.
    .. Each year, around the entrance of the New Year, a fresh supply of genuine Russian vodka arrives. It is combined with a couple of strictly local spirits into a festive cocktail. It's similar to traditional "sour" cocktails - but has a kick all of it's own.
    .. It is excellent in a flask for the cold weather midge fishing that is enjoyed by the most hearty of neighbors.
    THE W.Y. SOUR Directions: Mix everything with ice in a shaker. Strain into a whiskey sour glass, (or your fishing flask.) Garnish with cherry if you choose - hah!

    1/3 Klashnikov Vodka,
    1/3 Yellowstone Bourbon Whiskey,
    1/3 Christian Brothers Brandy,
    Lime juice kicker, (to taste,)
    Simple Syrup to taste. 



    Monday, January 04, 2016

    Your Salty Nose

    Your Filthy Rod Sack
    a nasty business . .

    .. We don't quit fishing this time of year. However, -30° F does slightly inhibit our resolve. There are, in fact, things to do besides shoveling snow, dodging snowmobiles, and baking bread.
    .. Many neighborhood fishers call this the 'fly tying time' and that's a perfectly productive thing to do. We'll tie a few gross as well but first it's time to pay attention to the rods and their accouterments. 
    .. Long, long before today we picked up some bad habits. We have since learned some lessons, as we were corrected, and we try to do our duty by the tools of the pastime: rods and reels and flies and lines and other stuff. This is a good time of year for us to do it.
    .. For instance: when was the last time you washed your rod sacks? Most fishers never do. This accounts for the dilapidated state of many vintage rod sacks that would fall apart today if washed. If you love your rod, save the old sack for historical or pecuniary reasons but put your rod in a new clean sack and keep it clean. Grime collects - it's a law of the universe - get rid of it.
    .. All fly rods are vulnerable to nicks. Nicks in the gel coat, nicks in the micro fibers, nicks in the varnish. Fix the nicks. A bit, (very little bit,) of 5-minute epoxy for synthetic rods and a tap of varnish for bamboo. Unless you view your rods as museum pieces they need this kind of careful attention. If you fish them - fix them.
    .. Over 50 years ago we received careful instruction how to massage our nose with the male ferrules on a fly rod. The little crease where the nose joins the face was the prime area for lubricant, (and where zits developed in profusion.) We persisted in this practice for years, (decades,) until it was pointed out that the salt and grime in our skin would corrode the metal. We've stopped doing that but find a strong impulse to repeat it each time we rig up.
    .. Ferrules, (male and female,) need maintenance. Just keep them clean. Q-Tips and a dab of Vodka should do the job for the female ones. A scrap of clean  T-Shirt and some tight rubbing with clean hands should do it for the male ferrules.
    .. Should you not have shiny male, (or female,) ferrules, they have suffered from micro oxidation, (it's really rust.) Use newspaper with the slightest amount of wet tooth paste to shine them. If the tooth paste feels gritty don't use it. If you want your chrome female ferrules to shine be sure to use some painter tape to keep the goo  off of the wraps and rod surface.
    .. Since you never put your rod away wet, and since you hang it from the tip-top, it should only need some cleaning and waxing.
    .. Wonder of wonders some custom rod makers recommend Turtle Wax. There are other waxes as well. The great god GOOGLE will bring forth many tips on wax for bamboo fly rods. 
    .. We're rather pragmatic. We wash the rod, (fibreglass, steel, graphite, bamboo,) with Murphy's Soap.
    .. We rinse it off with warm water and dry it with a Turkish wash rag. We air dry it for a day and then wax it twice with pure carnuba wax: two coats, each a day apart. The old T-Shirt comes into play here. We wax it all: guides, reel seat, tip-top, external ferrule surface, but NOT THE CORK. If the cork needs attention, (it usually does,) it gets washed too - not waxed.
    .. We hang the rods for a week or two to allow complete drying. Some of the "oldies and goodies" stay hung up until their next use. The rest are put in the clean sack, (with ferrule plugs - or - female ferrules down,) and slid into their tube. No cap on the tube. No tying tight with the stupid strings that the sack makers provide, (they can dent varnish, make the bag stick to the varnish, and worst of all put a bend in the small sections - cut them off.)  Many are hung in the sack and out of the tube.
    .. It takes any where from 15 minutes to an hour per rod. So what? Tradesmen often remark that you can tell the quality of the work produced by looking at the condition of the tools used. Telling observation.
    .. Opinions can and do vary about maintenance. Follow the ones that make the most sense to you. But, at least, do something.
    -- Straight Forward Do's and Don'ts = FALL RIVER FLY RODS
    -- The Straight Poop = GINK & GASOLINE
    -- 35 Years Of Experience = RICK ROBBINS
    -- Orvis Tips = RON WHITE
    -- From The Mouth Of Brandin = BRANDIN SPLIT-CANE RODS
    -- Spinoza Rod Company = MARC ARONER
    -- Schliske Bamboo = MATT SCHLISKE