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  • Wednesday, May 25, 2016

    A Most Beautiful Bluster

    Wind Blew Down A Tree
    snowed some last night

    ..As the INDY 500 draws near, some folks instead, think of the opening day for fishing in Yellowstone National Park.
    .. For them it's not a battle between Chevrolet and Honda - it's the battle of traffic and elbows on the Firehole River.
    .. Come Saturday we'll be there with a camera. We'll take the rod out of the back seat after we leave the park to catch some fish.
    .. Many folks from foreign countries like Idaho and Utah and Oregon and Washington and California anticipate the opener with 'bated breath.
    ..Feather merchants have waited six long months for the next six short months. It's not easy to make a killing living in only half a year.
    .. Visiting fishers arrive with travel poster images in their heads. They want to experience how it was. It's not that way now.
    .. Parking is already tight. The tour buses have tried to avoid the mid summer rush by jamming up the Spring visitation times.
    .. The entrance stations have long lines due to heavy visitation and the wait for seasonal ticket takers to get hired and oriented and trained.
    .. The bison are streaming both in to and out of the park. It's a surprisingly entertaining spectacle.
    .. Some of the neighbors visit the park rivers on Memorial Day Weekend. Most go elsewhere to catch fish. Some visit the cemetery.

    ..The fish have wintered well in the rivers and streams of Yellowstone National Park.
    .. The spawn and recruitment may be adversely affected by the low and warm discharge during the "Runoff Season."
    .. This last week did, and the upcoming week will deliver a bit of more seasonal weather.
    .. Those folks that need to see their fly in order to catch a trout will be mightily pleased by the amount of gray days for the weekend.
    .. There will even be some snow flurries to discourage fair weather fishers and travel poster photographers.
    .. The Gibbon River is at about what we would call a mild post runoff stage. There is a little color, the banks are being lapped at but not drowned. There are bugs in the air and standing water in the meadows. Looks to be an early and prolific mosquito season.
    .. This is the year that Grebe Lake will be poisoned so get your fishing in early. The trails are surprisingly passable. Not easy mind you but, not all snow and grizzly bears. There is standing water, mud, slush, and other debris to keep the poison crew out of there until it gets gentle.
    .. Below the Gibbon Falls we saw a couple of submarines in the meadow near the bridge at Madison Junction. These are probably hold over runners. This stretch is seldom fished during opening weekend. My my.
    .. The glory waters of the Firehole River between Biscuit Basin and the brink of Firehole Falls looks about as it ought to. It's been a little low and warm. The last 10 days of coolness have brought it around just a little.
    .. Over the last three days there have been many real small 4-winged, two tailed flies, (sizes 18 - 22,) in the air. Check with some erudite Latin speaker to figure out what they are.
    .. The water  seems a bit low, even judging by the USGS reports. It approached near record low flows over the last weekend but the recent rain has melted some snow and cooled the river. Discharge is up a tic.
    .. The river has run warm all Spring and, as usual, responds to cool showers, overcast, and snow. Right now it's about perfect for catching.
    .. Flows are low: fish are concentrated, temperature is in the high 50's to mid 60's. It's going to be dicey planning a trip. Watch the USGS and the weather.
    .. The Madison River has a bit of color left over from the brief input of silts from the Gibbon River. It's settling out nicely and in-water visibility is at least five or six feet.
    .. Old books and counter help ignore the Madison River for the first few weeks of the season. Bless their hearts.
    .. Right now the river is running very low. The temperature is perfect, (54° to 60° F,) You can see the fish near the bank in the dark water and silt free pools.
    .. We'll check out Nez Perce Creek this afternoon. The bear warning signs are up and the water looks pretty clear.
    .. Rumors and tradition combine to form the magnificent advice dispensed so freely over the counter at our feather merchant emporiums.
    .. There are some bits to remember as you shop for the latest and greatest:
    1] No one has legally caught a fish in Yellowstone National Park since last fall,
    2] Not a single person has legally fished this Spring,
    3] Tradition to the contrary; rivers change over a 12 month period of time,
    4] Nine-mile hole is about to become eight-mile hole,
    5] Low and warm water fishes far more different than high and cold water,
    6] Visitation to look at rivers is not a cherished pastime of recently hired seasonal help,
    7] Visitation to look at rivers is not a cherished pastime of feather merchants or permanent employees,
    8] Only the fish in romantic fish stories come like lightning to the fly and inhale it with gusto,
    9] Most flies work most of the time - have for centuries.
    .. There are some simple questions to ask as you gather up those $3.00 flies:
    1] When did you last fish where you are sending me?
    2] Did you fish the flies that you just sold me?
    3] If they are so good why are there so many in the bin?
    4] Who told you that?
    5] How many days a year do you fish?
    .. Tradition, fishing lore, fly selection, and river location are the stuff of this pastime. Gobble it up. Enjoy it. Just don't forego the opportunity to see new water and fish in a manner that is less combative and more contemplative. There is more to Yellowstone National Park than the fishing.
    .. Rumor of the day: big bugs in Firehole Canyon!
    .. See you Saturday.