• Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Tuesday, May 30, 2017


    Oh So Simple
    so late to the party
    .. While strolling along the path to LONE STAR GEYSER on  opening day we stopped to watch a youngster jerking in Brook Trout by the bushel.
    .. We squinted our peepers to see the magic fly that was being used with such deadly success. Failed.
    .. It's not in our nature to leave simple problems unsolved. We watched and waited for an appropriate moment.
    .. Eventually the fisher could no longer lift his arms. The reel was smoking and the line was frayed. He reeled in and began to make his way back to the trail.
    .. With our best, (unpracticed,) humility we approached this mighty fly fisher and smiled our most friendly toothless grin. He paused, smiled back and said 'Howdy.'
    .. We posed the query foremost between our ears. He smiled more broadly and showed us the RED WIRE WORM. We blinked twice.
    .. We asked for no recipe. We asked for no tying instructions. We asked nothing and thanked him.
    .. Saturday evening marked the first of the season pub-postmortems. We hesitated to mention our discovery.
    .. When we did we were told that the worm was not all that new. In fact it was pretty standard fare in the Spring fly boxes of hipsters, (whatever that is.) Who knew? Not us!
    ..Apparently the worm is now making it's way into our insular village. It's not a big seller in the local feather merchant bins, (no feathers.)
    Courtesy BIGHORN FLIES
    .. So then, a couple of year's ago Field and Stream ran a brief article about Spring flies: there it was, [LINK-FS.]
    .. It is a worm that falls into the San Juan category of worms.
    .. It is featured by the Avant-garde fly fishers in Billings at Bighorn Flies, [LINK-BF.]
    .. Use your imagination. Enjoy the colors. Tie up a couple of gross and thumb your nose at the purists. This thing catches fish.
    .. It's not too early and not too late. There is time for another pot of coffee. There is a rock hard doughnut from the weekend. It'll soften up in the coffee. Sustenance!

    Monday, May 29, 2017

    Sacrifice And Service

    .. How can the recent generations of our nation greet each other with "HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY?"
    .. Why do we have retail sales and such on a solemn day or remembrance?
    .. Why is the conflict in Afghanistan so far from our conscious thought and verbiage?
    .. Is the aftermath and present situation in Korea a forgotten bit of history?
    .. And the debacle of the stupidity in Vietnam?
    .. Pardon the preachment but, we're a little sad, a little pleased, and very thankful - not happy.
    .. We remember.

    Sunday, May 28, 2017

    Our Own Nostalgia

    In Our History
    very strange anomaly

    .. Through the years we've noticed an interesting bit of trivia.
    .. It seems, for the most part, that fly fisher folk are not motorheads in the classic sense.
    In The Mind's Eye
    .. They do appreciate the "Fish Truck,"  {We've had a few.}
    .. They do extol the virtues of the "Fish Car." They even admire modern technology in contemporary vehicles.
    .. But they don't seem able to sunder their minds from a preoccupation with fluff and fur on safety pins, (are there still safety pins?)
    .. Stream-side topics of conversation are contemporary sports, finance, real estate, politics, fishing, etc.
    .. Never have we heard a discussion about the pros and cons of on-plug-coils vs. crank-triggered magnetos. So be it.
    .. We are schizoid - or worse. Way long ago and far, far away, we listened to the Indianapolis 500 on the radio. We relived it when the paper came out the next day. We were in the garage or the living room or the beach or the track or wherever. We didn't miss it.
    First At 150 mph
    .. Those were the days of the "Indy Roadster." The vehicle was primitive compared to today's cars. We remember the transition from the flathead ford V-8 to the Meyer Drake Offenhauser.
    .. We remember the transition to rear-engined racers.
    .. We remember some milestones like 150 miles per hour. Like 200 miles per hour. Like women racing. And all the other bits that stick in our head.
    .. Today the engines are smaller, the cars are lighter, the speeds are double where they were when we were first captivated by the spectacle.
    Jim Clark Team Lotus
    .. We grew up in that part of town where jalopies, hot rods, cruising, and  dragging the main were integral to our world.
    .. Indy roadsters were just grown up midgets. Some were built in garages near where we lived.
    .. So were cars for the drag strip, Bonneville, El Mirage, Muroc, Riverside, and Daytona: just a couple of blocks away.
    Team, Pippa Mann
    .. Each year we peeked in the draped windows of new car dealerships to see new models.
    .. They appeared as if by magic on the appointed day. The commercial jingles on the radio echoed through the garage.
    .. To this day we fiddle with cars. We admire them. We watch and marvel at the technology.
    .. There is a quirk in our soul. We've had many more cars than girlfriends. We have caught more fish than cars though.

    Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
    .. Each year at this moment we split our loyalty. We fish the park and then "LISTEN" to the Indy 500.
    .. We're going to watch the Monte Carlo F-1 Grand Prix at the same - or similar time.
    .. We marvel at the technology of the Formula One cars.
    .. Races held on road courses that are decided by tenths and hundredths of a second. Like airplanes
    Fernando Alonso, Skipping Monte Carlo
    .. Some neighbors will be doing similar things, (this is rural Montana after all.) Most will not be fisher folks.
    .. After today we will settle into the gentility of trout fishing in the neighborhood.
    .. We've taken our sailfish on a fly. We've lost our tuna on a fly. We've fished the surf and the depths. {Even had a 'beach fishing car.'}
    .. We've fished in Europe, Africa, India, Japan, and across the United States. We've used rattlesnakes for bait in Texas and in Hell's Canyon of the Snake River. We think we hooked a sturgeon on a fly - it might have been a submarine.
    .. Why do these things spring to mind at this time of year? It must be MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND!
    Bigger Than A BWO
    .. Sunfish, Bass, Sharks, Perch, Salmon, Catfish, Carp, Chevy, Jaguar, Dodge, Cadillac, Ford, Oakland, Mazda, Jeep, Croaker, Albacore, Wipers, Stripers, Oldsmobile - and so on. What a mix confusing the neurons between our ears.
    .. If we would have kept the cars that we destroyed racing we could add more millions to our net worth. That stuff and much more is long gone.
    .. Now we splash the water and call it good. Sometimes we catch a fish.

    Saturday, May 27, 2017

    Gone Fishing

    Partly Cloudy All Day
    bring the whole box
    .. Brief pre-post: you want it - you get it.
    .. Save for a bit of color in the water and, some not too high discharge; you can find your favorite sort of fishing in Yellowstone National Park.
    .. Right now it's late on Friday. We're hitting the hay early and intend to get up earlier and beat the rush.
    .. We're taking two lunches and intend to find some gentle bits of lonely water. We may even catch some fish.
    .. May you too!

    Friday, May 26, 2017

    New Weather Arrives

    Opening Looks Good
    bring your "A" game
    .. Last night brought us a skiff of snow. The nitrogen concentration is good for the Rhubarb.
    .. We're in an 'unsettled' weather pattern with no major systems dominating our local weather. We are therefore, at the whim of the capricious behavior of Mom.
    .. The best guess is that there will be variable weather for the next few days. Nothing too warm and nothing too cold. The west side rivers in Yellowstone National Park should respond accordingly.

    .. The Madison River has risen considerably over the last couple of days and is at or near record flows for this date. This is not as bad as it might seem as the in-water visibility is at about three feet.
    .. Save for a few select spots this should be a "LARGE DARK NYMPH" game on opening day.
    .. The Firehole River is running a little high but is cooler than the last four or five days. Gone are the temperature spikes of the high 60's. Mid to low 50's looks to be the trend for the next few days.
    .. The color is off a little but in-water visibility is good and may give the faithful opportunities for catching fish at the surface.
    .. For the current PMD hatch you will need to find some water with long gentle glides and persistent coherent foam lines. Right now the rise form is soft and gentle - even to pre-emergent fly forms. This suggests a unusual abundance of bugs. May it persist for a few more days.
    .. There are some Baetids around and during those grumpy weather periods it would be good to have a few cripples in the box.
    .. If you are not into the aesthetics of a messy looking cripple then a floating nymph is also a good choice.
    .. Be prepared for a large number of lookee-loo's on the roads and in the pull outs. Visitation is up and the mobile condominium hatch is well underway.
    .. Tour buses are seemingly bigger and apparently more prolific. Many are painted all white with simple stenciled names - an indication of newly minted tour companies.
    .. The Gibbon River in National Park Meadows as well as the Firehole River below the falls should both yield good fish to large soft hackles and stonefly nymphs of various ilks.
    .. Overall the best bet for catching is any of our local soft or stiff hackle flies.
    .. It's not too early for breakfast. We'll try something to fortify the soul. We need to get the rest of the garden in and hope the late freeze cycle misses us this year.

    Wednesday, May 24, 2017

    Just Maybe

    Madison Is Marginal
    weather looks perfect
    .. In just three days the faithful will return to torment the trout of Yellowstone National Park.
    .. The start of another fishing season in the park is upon us. The traffic and the visitation is already at another new record pace.
    .. Hero shots and cell phone images will cloud the interwebs as intrepid fishers sully the waters and dip their wick in the storied rivers of our neighborhood.
    .. It's an annual ritual full of sound and fury, signifying  . . . . . .
    .. As of today it looks like the weather will be perfect for the opener.
    .. Friday May 26 will be drizzly, (on and off,) into the night.
    .. Saturday May 27, (the opener,) will dawn to light ground fog and light mist. It should clear early to broken clouds and light overcast.
    .. Sunshine should prevail for a few hours between 11:00 AM and 4:00 PM. Light rain should begin in the afternoon between 3:00 and 5:00 PM.
    .. Depending on the caprice of the bugs this is generally a perfect sort of weather pattern.
    .. Little bugs in the morning and caddis in the afternoon. The late rain should be light enough to allow exceptional soft hackle catching until dark thirty.
    .. The Firehole River is flowing at a little above 500cfs. In the ballpark for seasonal norms. It is plenty clear enough to fish and provide good catching opportunities.
    .. Sunday should see late afternoon water temperature spike to between 67° & 70° F.
    .. Sunshine should grace the west side of park for most of the day.
    .. The Gibbon River is high but clear. The big meadows are very wet and slogging through them will provide stories but few catching opportunities.
    .. Below Gibbon Falls and to the junction pool the water is clear enough and there are noses of gigantic proportion - holdovers from the spawn.
    .. These snakes will eat willingly but should be played quickly and released gently.
    .. The meadows around Norris are saturated but the small water above the campground is only lightly colored.
    .. It might be worth a look at the meadow above the cascades for the eager  brookies. This is the last year for these friendly fish. They will be poisoned in order to protect the invasive grayling. Such a deal.
    .. The Madison River has dropped very quickly back within it's banks and is flowing at around 900cfs - dead on for the seasonal norm. It's still lightly colored but clearing rapidly.
    .. Barring any significant deluge from the predicted drizzles on Thursday or Friday it might be worth a go.
    .. There are some nice holes opened up in the big riffles. Depending on sun and shadow there could be some hold over fish.
    .. The resident noses are poking up in some new places this Spring.
    .. Riverside Drive is now one-way from east to west. There must be a reason?
    .. The Gallatin River is rumored to be too cold to fish. We'll probably be there.
    [For catching prognostications to the east and north of Norris click on over to PARKS' Fly Shop.]
    .. It's too early for breakfast. It's too late for dinner. Must be perfect for a midnight snack.

    Monday, May 22, 2017

    Stand With The Best

    Montana Preserved ?
    worth your time

    .. Thanks to the sharp eyes of Riffles and Slicks we have quickly learned about an impassioned response from our neighbors to a major threat to our way of life.
    .. The threat is to our values, history, heritage, and our pride.
    .. The threat is about the theft, sale, and give away of our public lands. Local, State, or, Federal: they are ours. It's time to TAKE A STAND!
    .. Now, 40 of Montana's best loved and cherished writers have joined forces to take a stand to preserve our public lands and values.
    .. It's worth your time to see this and read it. Here is a small sample:

    "Ryan Zinke knows better, has seen the glaciers shrink with his own eyes,  but he has entered a world where pandering is the coin of the realm, serving an administration virtually at war with the natural world."  . . .  Tom McGuane

     "In Montana, our right to step into a river or stream at all depends on access. Publicly owned and managed land provides most of that access." . . .  David Brooks 

     "I don’t worry so much about losing our wilderness areas and national parks. I don’t think the takers could stand up to the fight if they tried to grab those jewels. It’s the smaller chunks of land that I fear for, the places with scars and without fame or constituency." . . .  Scott McMillion

     "Our tea among secretive
    Rocks — soak away the meanness
    Of a year’s duplicity — no one can reach
    Us here — no human noise — A river will gentle the cruelest voice" . . .  Sandra Alcosser

     "Word has reached me from a number of reliable sources, men and women who would sacrifice their lives for the right causes, that our illustrious chief executive is hatching some evil plans to sell off our birthright, that of public open spaces still pristine, to the highest bidders." . . .  Russell Chatham

     "It’s that kind of sneak attack that always gets us in the end. It’s the way they tell you what you want to hear, offer a few tokens while they’re drawing these lines behind your back. They’re clever that way, being able to create such beautiful lines. Lines you’d never think were possible." . . .  Russell Rowland

    THIS LAND WAS MADE FOR YOU AND ME . . . Woody Guthrie

    Sunday, May 21, 2017

    Whimsy Rules

    This Needs An EIA
    the web foot fiend
    .. We mentioned it a few weeks back, [LINK-A.]
    .. Yellowstone National Park was then considering the possibility of outlawing felt soles on wading shoes, waders, sandals and other bits of fly fishing impedimenta.
    ..  At that meeting we asked if all means of transport of Invasive species would be banned. To wit: laces on boots, buckles on sandals, cleats and lugs on boots, neoprene spats and socks, etc.
    .. The answer we received was, "Yes there are many ways to transport invasive species."
    NOT BANNED  ??
    .. Talk to the birds. Rough webbed feet even carry fish eggs from place to place.
    .. Mud pack between the toes of bears, lions, coyotes, wolves, and foxes distribute spores and other organisms across the landscape and from watershed to watershed.
    .. Holes in fishing nets, eroded cork on rods, wet vests, double seamed cuffs, and a myriad other places can hide bits of protoplasm. Ban them all?
    .. It's not the "STUFF" that moves the organisms around it's human behavior. Failure to correctly clean the "STUFF" is the problem. Soaking felt soles in a tub with appropriate disinfectant will do the job - after a thorough rinsing.
    .. Six or seven years ago the folks down under were worried about Didymo Geminata {'rock snot'/Didymo.}
    .. We were a bit worried ourselves, [LINK-B.] Then, come to find out it is an indigenous goo that has been around since the terminal Pleistocene, (at least,)[LINK-C.]
    .. For some time great hay was made by folks damning this aquatic invasive species in our waters.
    .. The rush was on to stop it and get rid of it. Even though much of it was native to the area. Blooms seem to be temperature and flow related.
    .. Interestingly, quixotic solutions were explored. Some fly shops even had cleaning stations, (which were quickly abandoned because competitors sent customers their way.)
    .. Despite any definitive scientific information that banning felt soles would prove effective in eliminating the threat of invasion; the thought continues. It's not the stuff it's our behavior.
    .. Do you suppose that banning tablespoons from the dinner table will stop the obese from overeating?
    .. Several states have enacted laws banning, (or even manufacturing,) felt soles. Several have also reversed the ban in light of continuing research.
    ..  Dare we suggest that the micro pores of neoprene are both conducive and advantageous to transportation of organisms?
    .. Dare we point out that these self same pores are excellent water traps? How long is it before your $400 neoprene waders are truly dry? Seams too?
    .. Are there seams in your breathable waders? Are the feet neoprene? Neoprene socks? Do we need to ban all of these or just behave appropriately.
    .. Does wearing rubber soles mean that you don't have to clean your boot laces? Will a change in regulations give anglers an excuse to not clean correctly.
    .. We are pretty sure that felt soles provide a perfect environment for preserving life of unwanted organisms. Felt can stay wet or damp for days. Soaking in disinfectant is far better than just spraying.
    .. We are also pretty sure that banning felt will not change angler behavior with regard to cleaning and disinfecting gear.
    .. Thanks to a note in MOLDY CHUM we now know that the ban on felt is under very serious consideration. They refer us to East Idaho News Dot Com, [LINK-D.]
    .. If this consideration is very serious there are several important things that need to be clearly elucidated:
    1) What invasive species are currently being transported by felt soles? Evidence? Opinion?
    2) What invasive species could be transported by felt soles? Evidence? Opinion?
    3) What are the types of prevention that alternate soles can provide? How effective? Evidence? Opinion?
    4) Are there better and worse alternative soles available? Evidence? Opinion?
    5) Is public safety at risk by banning felt soles? Evidence? Opinion?
    6) Is the preservation or, elimination or, restriction of in situ aquatic invasive species justifiable as a rationale for a park wide regulation?  Evidence? Opinion?
    7) What is being done - OR - can be done to eliminate the current aquatic invasive species in the park?
    8) Why is there not an EIA for this action?
    9) Will there be additional law enforcement staff added to enforce the regulation? Why or why not?
    .. Yellowstone National Park has a history of promulgating regulations and behaviors in the fish arena that smell like dead fish.
    .. They have introduced four invasive species on purpose! They continue to encourage the invasive species in waters where they never were. They have done nothing to preserve or restore pristine water where they could and it was feasible.
    .. The imperious staff runs willy nilly through watersheds and regulations with gay abandon. On the one hand they provide no written rationale for spurious actions and on the other they provide opinion instead of fact when questioned.
    .. Of course there is no public input for the proposed ban on felt soles. There is no scientific justification that banning felt soles changes angler behavior. There is not even a rationale for the change from safe to treacherous wading systems.
    .. We know that this blurb will fall on deaf ears. Fly fishers in Yellowstone National Park just want to catch big invasive trout and deliver a hero shot for the folks back home.
    .. The guides and feather merchants like it too. Besides now they can sell more waders, boots, sandals, and not worry about muddy lugs or shoe laces.
    >> Felt Soles And Dirty Feet
    >> More Eyesore Than Despoiler Of Watersheds
    >> Simms And Felt
    >> The Science Of Felt (PDF)
    >> Transported Species And State Bans
    >> Fly Fishing Forum Discussion
    >> GOOGLE SEARCH (Felt Soles And Invasive Species)
    .. The slow recession of our west side rivers leaves some doubt about the good fishing and catching prospects for the opener in Yellowstone National Park.
    .. The Firehole River looks to be O.K. Get on it early it's warmer than usual and the bugs are already popping.
    .. The Madison River is still over bank but surprisingly clear. We'll watch it for you. Remember MAY 27 is just 6 days from now.