• PARTNER: PROTECT YOUR WATERS
  • Go To: THE FLIES OF YELLOWSTONE
  • Go To: YELLOWSTONE FISHING WEATHER
  • Go To: YELLOWSTONE FLY FISHING MAPS
  • Visit: The Trout Underground (Back From The Dead)
  • Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: Buster Wants To Fish (off line)
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Visit: Montana Cowgirl
  • Tuesday, July 26, 2016

    Hopper Harvest

    VERY HOT AHEAD
    Fly Shop Bias ?
    you watch-we'll catch
    COURTESY USA TODAY
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    .. There is a single cloud in the sky and it's rapidly disappearing. It's becoming a symphony of long transparent white strings. It'll be gone soon.
    .. The forecast calls for some rare 90's over the weekend. The office pools and the pub pools are filling up. Get your number before Thursday.
    RIDING THERMALS
    .. It' not just us. The whole nation, (yes even Alaska,) will experience some interesting temperature ranges for the next couple of months.
    .. As an aside: the neighbors who plant corn may see some full ears, ever bearing strawberries may continue until October, Dairy Queen will make enormous profits, ice sales will skyrocket, model airplanes will be blessed with strong thermals, fishers will abandon mid day fishing early, and fishers may not get back to the rivers in the evenings.
    .. Contrary to popular belief and the extensive rumor factory in West Yellowstone; we do fish quite a bit.
    .. We even catch a few fish. Sometimes more than a few. We've learned not to offer unsolicited advice. We've learned to just watch as visitors dash to rivers and leap in to start fishing.
    .. We keep our thoughts quietly to our self as fishers are more eager to wet their pants waders rather than watch the river. We've learned not to giggle too loudly as we watch folks spend more time changing flies than fishing flies. We've learned quite a bit over the last 14 lustra or so.
    WON'T FLOAT
    .. When asked what we're using to catch so many fish while others are catching fewer, we tell the truth. They are sadly disappointed. The damn flies are usually subsurface offerings.
    .. They are old fashioned. And they are not in the fancy fly boxes of the fisher that asked the question. We off a couple of ours as gifts. They are usually refused. They don't float.
    .. We do our best to offer the trout of the neighborhood the food that they are probably eating. Most trout food is in the water rather than on the water - no matter what the newly arrived counter help tells you.
    .. Trout seldom stop hunting and eating. They don't wait for minuscule bugs to pop up to the surface before they eat. Sad but true!
    WILL FLOAT
    .. We get chastised for not fishing dry flies. For us catching a fish is an important part of fishing.
    .. To set the record straight we do fish the dry. We often hear the purist talk about blind casting and blind fishing. There is nothing blind about being able to read the water and catch a fish where they are hiding. Oh well.
    .. For many fishers it's how to fish for fish rather than catching fish. We've seen times when folks will spend $500.00 for a boat ride with a very competent guide and catch no fish. But they did it right. Dry or die. Catching seems very remote in their heads. To each his own.
    .. We've been told, (by visitors,) that (insert famous feather merchant name here) only reports the hatches of surface bugs. They do this because that's when you can catch the most fish! Really? Is this a bias against catching fish?
    From:  Andrew Heard
    .. Perhaps it is a bias toward a technique that attracts the big spenders. The elitist attitude engendered by Frederic Halford in the late 19th century has carried down to the contemporary anglophile of the modern stream.
    .. Americans seldom acknowledge their debt to jolly old England. Dry fly fishers deny that they are elitists. They do, however exhibit characteristics that hearken back to centuries old attitudes. Form over substance was the attitude of the chalk stream fisher - Skues be damned.
    .. The disdain of Halford echoes today in the attitudes of the dry or die crowd:
    Those of us who will not in any circumstances cast except over rising fish are sometimes called ultra purists and those who occasionally will try to tempt a fish in position but not actually rising are termed purists... and I would urge every dry fly fisher to follow the example of these purists and ultra purists.
    — From A History of Flyfishing, Bark, 1992
    .. It must only be sporting to catch fish while it is eating a minority part of it's diet - and on the surface - and exhaust them - only to release them. So be it.
    GALLATIN CONFLUENCE MEADOW
    .. Halford was a rich elitist, had little experience with sunken flies, arose late in the day, took winter vacations out of England to avoid the weather, and set the pattern for folks that dry fly fish today. Most of the modern feather merchants have adopted the same sort of predilection.
    .. As for catching fish; the Gallatin River is experiencing a massive influx of visiting fishers.
    HOPPER CLOSE UP
    .. Of course hoppers, caddis, ants, beetles, and other bits of fish food are plentiful.
    .. Catching can proceed all day, (even in an 80° F afternoon.)
    .. The hoppers are mature and plentiful. Fish will love them either on the surface or drowned.
    .. The Gallatin River demands that you fish to the food. There can be hatches of heroic proportions but there is not a good way to predict them.
    ALL PURPOSE FOOLER
    .. The warm bright days combined with the cool water of the river produce exceptional hatches.
    .. They are localized and dense. They sneak up on you, explode, and vanish quickly. Be quick to change a fly and you'll have an hour of frenetic catching.
    .. If you happen to be on the Gallatin River it might be worth your time to investigate Bacon Rind Creek.
    LOVE THE UNDERCUT BANKS
    .. It's a favorite of some of the neighbors. The hoppers seem larger. The water is thin with nice deep feeding holes. The meadow is handy for the fish because of the dense willow shade and the need for fishers to walk away from their car and through some dense vegetation. Short casts, short leaders, and long quiet stalking will pay off.
    THE UNVISITED FIREHOLE
    .. The upper Firehole River is a pleasant refuge if you find yourself in the Old Faithful area.
    .. There is an easy path. There is shade and sweepers. There is a giant population of eager Brook Trout that seem not to care if their food is on the surface or on the bottom or anywhere in between.
    FISH DA BOX
    .. For those fishers that want large fish and don't mind dredging the bottom for them we suggest that you visit a foreign country.
    .. The Box Canyon of the Henry's Fork River in Idaho is about in perfect shape and just full of giant fish.
    .. Gather up a good boat, (or walk a lot,) get a guide familiar with the subtleties of the "BOX" and have at it. This is a good place for big and ugly flies.
    REAL FISH EAT REAL FOOD
    .. Despite what you may have heard - trout appreciate groceries delivered in large packages.
    .. As bright as it's been the shade and boulder hides will deliver on their promises. Just be sure that your leader is strong and your fly is deep.
    .. We've seen some spiffy cell phone photos of fish from Slough Creek.
    Big Fish Food
    .. A couple of kids from Nebraska in a road weary Subaru provided the following. (second hand report:)
    "Took a couple of dozen good fish on streamers. Had to sleep in the car. Too dusty. Hot as Omaha. Not many hatches. Crowded. Used bass flies."
    It's A Green One
    .. We believe them. But, there have also been reports of the mighty Green Drake hatch starting. This is the holy grail for those that need to see their fly.
    .. The bugs are big and the fish can make fools of themselves at times. At other times it only looks like they are eating what you are seeing.
    ..With our heat the mornings are usually dead still. This draws the gulper crowd to Hebgen Reservoir. The most popular, (though not necessarily most catch friendly,) area is the weed beds in the Madison Arm of the reservoir. It is close to town. It's easy for boat launching. It's praised far and wide by famous gulper fishers.
    .. Interestingly most, if not all, weed beds of proper depth and exposure produce the sought after callibaetis flies. The ones at the end of Horse Butte have the flies and are also full of leeches and snails. Lots of fish there.
    .. The South Fork Estuary has some magnificent weeds and is a nursery fishery. That's why big fish fishers haunt that area - ask some counter help.
    .. The road along the "other shore" of Hebgen Reservoir is closer to the mountains, (by many miles.) It's in a wind shadow and gulper fishing over there can last way past noon - long after the other folks have been blown off the reservoir. Take your choice and decide what you want.
    .. It's approaching the hottest part of the day. Time to finish lunch and head to the empty water of the Gallatin River. The hoppers will be dancing nicely. The ants will be busy. The beetles will be rumbling. There will even be a few caddis around. We'll even take a dry fly or two in case we get tired of "blind casting."
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    WALLPAPER: SALAMI AND SWISS ON CARAWAY RYE



    Friday, July 22, 2016

    Better Than BMW

    BENTLEY BENTAYGA
    For The Park-n-Fisher
    any minute now
    CHOICES, CHOICES, CHOICES

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    .. So  then, this announcement comes at a time when we are seeing motorhomes that cost in excess of $1,000,000.00 at least every other day, (LINK 1.)
    EXPERIENCE WILD YELLOWSTONE
    .. There are several of these that enter Yellowstone National Park every day.
    .. Just down the road, (only 3 blocks away,) is an R.V. Park with at least a dozen in the $500,000.00 range. If you can abide a used one here's a fair assortment to check out, (LINK 2.)
    ---
    .. However, true class for fishing the Firehole River demands the new Bentley. The base price for the Bentayga is a mere $232,000.00. This bargain price is only for the vehicle before being outfitted for fly fishing by Mulliner, (Bentley's in house custom shop.)
    SIP AND DIP
    .. The announcement of the Fly Fishing Edition is just a few hours old so no pricing was revealed, (rumor = an extra $110,000.00.) If you hurry and place your order now you might get yours in time for some steelhead on the Skeena River or some salmon fishing on the River Spey.
    VERY TIDY
    .. Mechanical specifications for the top drawer S.U.V. go something like this:
    > 6.0-liter, twin-turbocharged W12.
    >  600 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque.
    >  0 to  to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds,
    >  top speed of 187 mph,
    >  eight off-road settings for different types of terrain.
    ---
    BY APPOINTMENT TO . . .
    .. That's mundane compared to the Fly Fishing accoutrements:
    >> Four fishing rods are stored in special leather-trimmed tubes that fit under the parcel shelf,
    >>  A pair of landing nets in matching leather bags stow in a carpet-trimmed space carved out of the side of the cargo area,
    ONLY THE BURL WILL DO
    >>  The interior includes three individual seats and a “master tackle station” for stowing fishing gear,
    >>  A separate trunk for beverages, (#1,)
    >>  A wooden trunk for waders and boots, (#2,)
    >>  Trunk #3 the beverage unit includes three metal flasks, fine-china tableware, and a separate storage compartment for food.
    SOMETHING FOR TENCH ?
    ..  The tackle box and refreshment case both slide out for easy accessibility, and if an owner is short on seating, the entire housing can serve as a small bench.
     .. There are even machined billet reel cases to keep your leather pouches from getting scuffed up.
    .. The waterproof storage compartment is removable, too, in case you need cargo space instead of pole storage. The best thing about this kit is that  the rear of the vehicle stays dry and fresh – the floor is waterproof and there's an electronic dehumidifier to keep things from smelling funky. Wouldn't want that!
    TWO DIAMONDS 'TIL TWO O'CLOCK
    .. Should you have some spare change you can also add a real clock. The "Mulliner Tourbillon by Breitling is the embodiment of luxury, performance and accuracy" (LINK 3.)
    .. It will only set you back between $65,000.00 and $95,000.00 depending on how many diamonds you need and which face you prefer.
    ---
    .. This offering is almost as good as an Orvis Jeep.
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    GRILLED PORK AND STRAWBERRY SALSA
    WADERS THAT STAY DRY ON THE OUTSIDE

    Wednesday, July 20, 2016

    Hot Fishing

    90° F at 7:00 PM
    Dead Fish Near Shore
    colorful hatches seen
    WALLPAPER: DATE WITH A 21 YEAR OLD SWEETHEART
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    .. Down low and far away there is a mighty and free flowing river.
    .. It's origin is high in the Absaroka Mountains' Yount Peak and it travels through the south central wilderness of the Thorohfare in Yellowstone National Park.
    .. It is the only undammed major river in the lower 48: all 692 miles of it.
    THE BLUE HATCH
    .. The Yellowstone River near the north boundary of Yellowstone National Park is a world famous trout fishery.
    .. The place names of Paradise Valley, Yankee Jim Canyon, Black Canyon, Point of Rocks, and Grey Owl are in the lexicon of fishers far and wide.
    .. Some of our neighbors will brave the journey through the park on a regular basis. Some others go the long way 'round to avoid the hassle. Some go frequently. We go infrequently and sporadically.
    THE YELLOW HATCH
    .. Right now the hoppers are dense and small. The fish are brooding and difficult. The bugs are everywhere and popping with gay abandon.
    .. The sky is nearly cloudless. The days are hot. The breeze becomes wind around 2:00 PM.
    .. The air temperature is in the range that Dante Alighieri would appreciate. The fish cooperate on an occasional basis. The water temperature is beginning to rise.
    THE PURPLE HATCH
    ..Fishing the river from a drift boat in these conditions can be a divine comedy or a sublime joy. We've experienced both.
    ..The river is still high enough that a strong and experienced captain is necessary.
    .. Fishy waters are nearly everywhere. Good fishy water is scattered variously along the river.
    THE ORANGE HATCH
    .. Exceptionally fishy water requires that the captains know the river and that they know how to get to it.
    .. Strength, cunning, river savvy, and experience all come into play.
    .. We're lucky that our neighbor still  has bulky shoulders and over a quarter century experience in matters of this river.
    GREEN DRAKE
    .. Dry fly fishing for the famous, free rising, cutthroat trout is a tradition we generally avoid.
    .. The necessary flies are way too small. The hooks are way too wee. The hook eyes are dinky and hard to see, (even with cheaters,) for aged human eyes and twitchy hands.
    .. On the other hand, when there are Green Drakes, Hoppers, Sizeable Caddis, and some pudgy PMD's, we'll take the plunge.
    ANOTHER GREEN ONE
    .. The river demands nothing special in terms of flies or techniques. Pick your favorite and fish it the way you would do so on your home waters.
    .. With a good boat captain you should not need to cast too often or too far.
    .. Long drifts over holding water are easily accomplished if the captain is doing his job.
    .. It's possible to plunk your fly down and have the captain steer the boat so the fly is drag free and hits the slicks, pillows, seams, and such without you having to do a thing. Good captains even see the fish coming to the fly before you do. What an easy day on the water!
    FISH THE BOULDER BARS
    .. The Yellowstone River has a vigorous runoff phase.  It produces gravel bars the size of Boeing 747's.
    .. It produces boulder bars the
    size of freight trains.
    .. The river has side channels that are the equivalent of main channels in other streams. The islands in the river are the size of many small countries and the fishing and catching is as varied as any.
    FISH THE BOULDER HIDES
    .. There are places where the fish pod up and enjoy an existence of such luxury that they all become fat.
    .. These places are deeply scoured channels, dark holes, undercut shore lines, and boulder fields with boulder hides large enough for Moby Dick.
    .. It behooves the fisher to park the boat and explore these wonderful places on foot. The rewards can be spectacular.
    LOCAL INFORMATION
    .. As we speak the weather is holding in a warm phase with minimal rain from the thunder boomers. This will change; of course.
    .. Local information from resident fishers is a must for successful catching that the river is famous for. It borders on stupidity to blindly tackle this glorious river.
    SCENIC WONDERS ABOUND
    .. Of course even the rare fishless day is full of spectacular scenery and many photo opportunities.
    .. The Kodak moment is a near constant entity. Some folks take a boat ride just to capture the valley with the pixilated electrons that can fill a book. Your choice.
    RED QUILL CRIPPLE
    .. We've returned: exhausted we are. Happy indeed.
    .. Brunch is going to fill the cavernous void that a couple of long days on the water have produced.
    .. Sleeping late is an added side benefit.
    .. Then maybe a nap.
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    WALLPAPER:  PASTRAMI DONE RIGHT

    Tuesday, July 19, 2016

    BACK FROM THE DEAD ??

    A NEW ITERATION
    Exigencies Of Living
    bye tom, we loved ya'
    WALLPAPER:  TOM AT REST
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    .. The TROUT UNDERGROUND is no longer a blog.
    .. Over the years it had transformed itself into a commercial website, (like so many that masquerade as blogs,) and then a fly fishing juggernaut, and then a consumer of time and talent that threatened to wreak havoc with a growing family.
    .. It then became a "paused" website. It is now in league with a marketing firm that is selling you 'stuff'.
    .. We congratulate Tom Chandler for turning a time consuming labor of love into a successful commercial venture. It's a truly American success story: invent it, grow it, sell it.
    .. You can read all about it below:
    >> What Tom has to say,
    >> What Yobi has to say,
    >> The reincarnation.

    .. We'll leave the link in the masthead for a short time.
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    WALLPAPER:  RIBS


    Saturday, July 16, 2016

    It's Here

    THE UP SIDE
    Cooling Rains Exit
    neighbors migrating
    WALLPAPER: OVER THE TOP
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    .. We traveled to the far reaches of interior Yellowstone National Park.
    .. It's a trek we make a couple of times each year. It's part of the neighborhood migration. As our west side rivers heat up and the fish need a break from the lather whipped froth of fly flingers we join the neighbors for brief forrays into the other bits of the park.
    .. The migration is a little late this year. We've been blessed with more cool days than we deserve and the exceptional catching has held on far longer than we anticipated.
    ..The weather forecast for the near term, however, suggests that a bit of warmness is blasting toward us. It's overdue.
    ANT COLONY
    .. 80's and maybe 90's are about to visit us. The ants like it. The hoppers like it. The beetles like it. Fish hide from it. Cloudless skies are tough on a fish looking to hide from the eagles and ospreys.
    .. This is the time of year we look toward the Lamar River and the Yellowstone River.
    .. Those drainage basins are currently full of cool water, many bugs, many fish and many tributaries that often go overlooked.
    FUN WATER
    .. A couple of our favorite small streams are on the way to the big rivers.
    .. We stopped and looked. They are still busy with friendly fish and eager fishers. Pass!
    .. The end of the salmon fly hatch is hanging on in the Lamar River Canyon.
    .. Nymph and soft hackle flies hold the day for the moment. Very soon now the mayflies will be everywhere, (just not all at once.) We smashed a couple with our predatory windshield wipers but not the density that should happen any day now.
    JUST FOR FUN
    .. The hoppers are mature and, on warm days, they will practice their breast stroke along the grassy parts of the rivers.
    .. Take a couple hopper imitations for bobbers and fish either a 'hopper dropper' or 'hopper dry' combination. You may be surprised with  a double up - it happens.
    GOOD BOBBER
    .. If you are into watching your fly swirl along the surface it would also be good to carry a box full of PMD imitations.
    .. If you're real lucky a giant Green Drake will tickle your ear and it's time to find them on the water.
    LAMAR RUN
    .. We spoke with some folks exiting the dusty Slough Creek Road. It seems that catching is picking up and that streamers, nymphs, and even some dry flies are fooling the famously wily trout.
    .. Jump on it now, (if you're so inclined,) because the campground still has open spaces and it's not too overly crowded.
    .. The sporadic rains have clouded both Soda Butte Creek and the Lamar River. No real mud plugs to speak of but it's still possible at any time.  Soda Butte Creek is getting crowded from Trout Lake to the confluence with the Lamar River.
    .. The small stretches between giant boulders above the lower meadow are full of fish. This is water that is a nuisance to reach and is often overlooked. Just about any ol' floater and quite a few sinkers will gather up a storied day of 10" to 12" fish. Try it you'll like it, (even if you have to walk through a tangle of vegetation.)
    LONELY STREAM
    .. We enjoyed Pebble Creek, (above the campground and the picnic tables.) The fish are smaller but the elbows are fewer.
    .. There are some deep meanders in this shallow stream that hold monster, (up to 15",) fish. This is bragging size for this little wonder of a stream.
    WORKS GOOD
    .. Generally guides and visiting fishers concentrate on the water below the road and into Soda Butte Creek. Have at it.
    .. Right now there are plenty of fish to be fooled and the little stream is clear as crystal and cold.
    ..  There are some reports of bears and even wolves, (my my,) so carry your bear spray and sing silly songs in chorus with your fishing partners. It lets the bears know you are coming!
    .. Big water Yellowstone River report coming up. Stay tuned. It's coming on daylight and we're still digesting last night's dinner.
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    WALLPAPER:  SEARED AND READY
    WALLPAPER:  BOILED IN REAL LARD
    WALLPAPER:  CRISP AND TENDER CARNITAS
    WALLPAPER:  CARNITAS TACOS