• Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Visit: Montana Cowgirl
  • Monday, October 17, 2016

    River Report - plus

    A Retail Report
    the laureate knows
    .. The snow may melt off one more time. It will only affect the catching for the better. All three of our major west side rivers are in great shape and full of fish.
    .. Before we get to the fishing and catching of it all we digress into the social morass of contemporary America. It's only fit given the contemporary tenor of the season.
    .. With our nation rushing to follow the trend, set by Russia, toward oligarchy we have observed the same in the fly fishing world as well as in the political campaigns. More moneyed folks and fewer poor folks participate. Few would deny this in the political arena.
    ..  Hardly any would admit of it in the small world of fly fishing. Yet the designs, trends, styles, mores, behaviors, dress, vocabulary, and so many other elements within the pastime are dictated more and more by fewer and fewer people and companies.
    .. Euro-Anglo-American fly fishing, per se, has it's roots in elitist and exclusive behavior. Initially this was overt and acknowledged. It was in no way a democratic pastime. The whole fly fishing milieu was set by the premier tackle makers and the plutocrats that patronized them.
    .. The beginnings of popularization was noted in the early twentieth century. Tackle from around the world and from manufacturers in the good ol' U.S.A. enjoyed a boom in gear sales to the common man.
    .. But by the late 1960's and early 1970's gear got more expensive with the advent of new materials and manufacturing techniques. Today we are approaching the the same situation that the 19th century enjoyed.
    .. This plays out locally as well as nationally. Just as some folks bemoaned the passing of the 'family farm' so too did some folks bemoan the passing of the 'local fly shop.'
    ..Plutocracy leads to oligarchy. It's acknowledged by various names such as: progress, job creation, economic growth, competition, the capitalist way, etc.
    .. We are a bit different here in West Yellowstone. This little village thrives on the plutocratic mentality. As a destination village, folks come predisposed to spending money.
    .. Our local feather merchants are highly specialized in exploiting that mentality. They are also stricken with tunnel vision when it comes to fishing in general and trout fishing elsewhere. After all this is "Yellowstone Country."
    .. They have slipped into the mold of the earliest fishers in Yellowstone National Park.
    .. Rich easterners saw all that lovely water with no fish in it. "Hell man, we'll just put some proper fish in the water." Being good anglophiles it was just natural that the trouts of Europe should be planted in the water. Being good plutocrats from the eastern seaboard it was only fitting that the Brook Trout should come west too. The history is there to read; should you care to.
    .. Today we have elitist has-been movie actors on the radio touting the local fishing. We have exclusive lodges and outfitters cajoling customers with the possibility of fishing with entertainment celebrity's. We have plutocrats celebrating their association with other plutocrats.
    .. Of course would be elitists are sucked in by the potential opportunity to rub elbows with such celebrity. Even if a sighting isn't actualized there is the status of shopping where the plutocrats have shopped. Or, being guided by guides to the stars. Or, fishing with gear sold to the feather merchants by plutocrats.
    .. We are greatly amused by the trends in our society: the trend from a republic to populism, to democratic socialism, to oligarchy. The pendulum swing in fly fishing from plutocratic oligarchy through populism and back to plutocratic oligarchy.
    .. We do glance askance as a Perkins dictates styles in gear and behavior. We wonder at the awe created by a Chouinard and labor abuse in third world countries.
    .. It is a niggling bother. It's nothing we can do much about. The rank and file fly fisher is so trapped in a march toward elitist conformity that the rush is overwhelming. We do wonder, however about needing to enter a trout stream with $5,000 worth of gear and a celebrity guide at $600/day
    >> America is an Oligarchy
    >> America devolving to Plutocracy
    >> Message from a rich Plutocrat to little people
    >> Exploited labor and labor abuse

    .. Catching has slowed on the Madison River. It's not the fault of the fish. Fishers have avoided the perfect fishing weather. It snowed last night and will snow off and on for the rest of the year.
    .. There are grotesque numbers of fish in the river. Both the residents and the runners are sex crazed, territorial, and hungry. If you explore the water you will catch fish: maybe many fish.
    .. There are no secrets. Fish the obvious 'fishy' water, keep the offerings down low, watch for dark water, watch for slick windows, watch for undercut banks in the shade.
    .. We took a healthy kype yesterday on a giant spider left over from Scotland, We're indebted to Yorkshire farmer John Swarbrick for the design.
    .. The Firehole River has some intermittent hatches for those fishers that enjoy the top of the water. Both baetids and caddis infrequently pop to the top.
    .. Every feather merchant in our village has a recommendation for the hatches: pick one or two. We use the copper tail caddis. We can sink it or float it. The whimsy of the fish can be just as easily matched by the fisher.
    .. We struck out this morning and only caught some feisty 16" residents and even a small flying fish - not really our fault. Time for some lunch.