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  • Visit: Moldy Chum
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  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Visit: Montana Cowgirl
  • Tuesday, September 27, 2016

    Sunny Runner Notes

    KEEP IT DOWN
    Always Avoid DFM
    enjoy the brightness
    WALLPAPER:  HEAVY HOOK STREAMER
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    .. Just a quick note as fishers bask in the salubrious sunshine of this gentile week. Even the rains are warm.
    .. Many fishers, (and most counter help,) suffer from a syndrome that inhibits very successful catching of the annual run of spawners out of Hebgen Reservoir and into the Madison River and its truncated tributaries.
    16 & 18
    .. The syndrome is referred to by the neighbors as "DRY FLY MENTALITY."
    .. This DFM is a grand and successful mental exercise for the fish of Slough Creek or late season Firehole River fish or in the midst of apparent surface activity.
    .. The syndrome begets a group of habits that can be successful for some fishing situations. It produces a series of behaviors that, similar to muscle memory, are automatic and unthinking.
    20
    .. These behaviors include the automatic selection of terminal tackle and rigging: LONG LEADERS, LIGHT TIPPETS, DAINTY FLIES, INDICATORS OR BOBBERS, etc.
    .. These selections and the behaviors that engender them become more than second nature. They are the "correct" way and are employed mostly without thinking.
    .. Habit, peer pressure, and tradition reinforce this DFM syndrome. These factors, interestingly, mitigate against catching in many situations and reinforce a stringent conformity toward disappointment. But, make good stories of long unproductive hours on the river in the face of 'difficult' fish.
    .. We humbly suggest that situational fishing is a more successful approach to catching. Unless it's just fishing that you are after.
    AN APPROPRIATE SELECTION
    .. For the Autumn run of fish from Hebgen Reservoir you should fish to the situation and conditions.
    .. This does not mean radical changes. Rather it requires that appropriate gear selections must be made.
    .. Neither a two handed twelve foot cannon nor a seven foot four weight are needed. Your regular seven or eight weight will do just fine. The reel matched to the rod is fine. A sink tip line might be useful.
    .. Leaders need to be shorter and much stronger than dictated by the DFM. Leaders can, (perhaps even should,) be cut back and fished without a tippet. One less knot is a good thing.
    .. Many neighbors use a bowline on a bight for hook attachment. It is simple, quick, strong, and allows the hook and fly added movement.
    WHAT'S YOUR COMPENSATION ?
    .. Getting down to the fish especially in bright conditions is mandatory. It is important that the fly, not just the weight, gets into the 'strike zone.'
    .. Compensation for depth or current with weight can help. Long years of drifting a real live worm can aid your technique in this situation.
    .. Hook manufacturers, commercial fly tiers, and counter help usually promote flies with very light hooks, (it's what they sell.) We doubt that this is a conspiracy. It's probably just the byproduct of mass marketing to the DFM syndrome folks.
    GO ON,  TIE A FEW
    .. Heavy very heavy  hooks put weight where it counts. Of course this demands that a modicum of fly tying be undertaken by the deep water fisher.
    .. These are hooks that are seldom found in destination fly shops - unless the shop is on the coast or on very big (non-trout,) water.
    .. A better compensation than heavy weight on the leader is a sharp, heavy hook. Despite "acid sharpening" there is always a need to sharpen your hooks: and, not just once. If you are fishing to big, top predator fish, in shallow and bright water your hook will have point-dulling-encounters. These fish are in an environment that does not favor their deep reservoir behavior.
    .. Hit them in the nose, cover all the dark water, fish to the likely and unlikely spots. Think like a reclusive predator in a foreign environment AND, have the appropriate terminal tackle to avoid just fishing.
    .. It's early. The sun is low in the morning. The fish move during low light or no light. Our second cup is cold and we're out the door.
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    WALLPAPER:   IN AMONG THEM

    Sunday, September 25, 2016

    We Digress

     INTERESTING  LINES
    Have You Ever Sung Them ?
    did you know they existed ?
    O say can you see by the dawn's early light,
    What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming,
    Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
    O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
    And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
    Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
    O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
    O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

    On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
    Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
    What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
    As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
    Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
    In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
    'Tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave
    O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

    And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
    That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
    A home and a country, should leave us no more?
    Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
    No refuge could save the hireling and slave
    From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:

    And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
    O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

    O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
    Between their loved home and the war's desolation.
    Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the Heav'n rescued land
    Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
    Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
    And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."

    And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
    O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.


    RESOURCES:
    >> Beyond Colin Kaepernnick (NY TIMES)
    >> Historic Musicology View (CNN
    >> Banner Mythconceptions (Star Spangled Music)
    >> Contact Mark Clague (University Of Michigan)
    >> War Of 1812 (Wikipedia)
    >> Battle Of Baltimore (Wikipedia
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    Good  Ol' British Drinking Song
    .

    Friday, September 23, 2016

    In The Twinkling Of An Eye

    REAL FALL WEATHER
    Real Fall Fishing
    lots of eager fish
    WALLPAPER:  AUTUMN STORM ON THE DIVIDE
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    .. From anticipation to actualization has taken about three days. The lazy warmth has passed rapidly into some cool and stormy weather just in time for the best catching of the season in Yellowstone National Park.
    .. We've had some glorious rain, mixed with a bit of sloppy snow and hints of hail, with a few thunder boomers: lovely!
    BRINDLE AND HEN
    .. The bugs, fish, fishers, and counter help have all responded with seasonal enthusiasm.
    .. The big topic in the dark corners of the pubs is how quickly the Madison River has filled with submarines.
    THE FUZZY STONE
    .. Not only are the tributary estuaries full of plump and fairly stout fish; so too the parking places all the way to National Park Meadows.
    .. Very large streamers chugged downstream through the dark holes have landed some heroic runners over the last two days.
    .. Even the resident small black stonefly nymphs have taken a few larger fish, (residents or precocious males - who knows?)
    .. The key to success seems to be movement. Movement of fishers - not fish. Some folks love to spend hours in the same run with the same fly - great pastime.
    A YELLOW SOFTY
    .. However the formula seems to be: several flies + several techniques + lots of different water = good catching. Try it you'll like it.
    .. Leave us not forget the faithful as they return to the Firehole River. That whole population of fish has come alive with raucous abandon.
    A SPARKLY SOFTY
    .. Soft hackles are being slammed like no tomorrow and there has even been a small hatch of caddis in the breaks between thunder storms.
    .. We've inherited a fresh supply of "pretty flies" from the neighbors and, we are doing our best to wrinkle them. The trout are loving it.
    .. Residents on the Madison River and rambunctious Firehole River fish are enamored with the yellow ones and the sparkly ones that our kind neighbors have given to us.
    .. Check with your favorite counter help for locations of greatest fish density and activity. Be sure to ask the telling questions:
    >> How do you know? Who told you?
    >> Got a cell phone picture? With a date stamp?
    .. It's coming on dark and we've missed both of our naps today. Time for a snack.
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    WALLPAPER:  Tacos: Carnitas de Puerco

    Wednesday, September 14, 2016

    Grab A Streamer

    COOL AND DAMP
    Sort'a Like Fall
    head to the madison
    ..
    -------
    .. Well it finally happened. Not an extinguishing event but, enough moisture to greatly slow the fires. The perimeter of the Maple Fire is secure and it has gained some area due to more precise mapping. It's now about 45,000 acres.
    DINKERS
    .. Enough moisture to allow the road to the Barns Holes to open.
    .. Enough moisture and cool weather to jiggle some life into the wee bugs of the Firehole River.
    .. Of course the neighbors are less excited than the counter help and visiting fisher folk.
    STIFFY
    ..For the dry fly folks this is the time for White Miller Caddis, (Nectopsyche exquisita - or some such,) on the Firehole River.
    .. Some of the dries guys will hope to anticipate the baetid emergence on these cool overcast days.
    .. Certainly a box or two of dinky imitations will be necessary. Let the counter help at your favorite feather emporium select a few dozen for you.
    SOFTY
    .. For the less obsessive fishers the soft hackle or stiff hackle flies will gather up dance partners.
    .. We've run out of winter rejects so it's into the pretty flies.
    .. They work no better than the scruffy ones but they show off better when someone asks.
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    PRETTY GOOD FLY
    ..
    -----
    .. A couple of neighbors have trundled down to the Barns Holes on the Madison River. It was a scouting trip for the runner run. A streamer of gigantic proportions caught some rocks, a cased caddis, and an heroic fish.
    TOO SOON TOO BIG
    .. The critter was all of 14" and fought like a slug in winter. It may have , even, come from Hebgen Reservoir.
    .. It's head was small compared to its' plump body. Cell phones are sterling implements for grabbing snaps of noses.
    .. In a few days our pleasant warmth will return and the possibility for road and track closures is still in the offing.
    .. Fire behavior is a capricious thing and it's best to be alert. Check the Yellowstone National Park information pages for either road or fire details.
    .. Well it's time to have some vittles. Something light and quick, need to tend the garden, dontchaknow.
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    WALLPAPER:  CHICKEN CORDON BLEU

    Monday, September 12, 2016

    Some Fish - Some Fire

    WEST SIDE BURNOUTS
    Runners Present
    please plan carefully
    WALLPAPER:  BARNS HOLES BURNOUT
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    .. We used to call them 'backfires' and 'backburns.' Now they are called "BURNOUTS."
    BAKERS' HOLE BURNOUT
    .. These are controlled fires that are set to burn out areas where major wildfires may use fuel to spread in unwanted directions.
    .. The most recent burnouts in our area were near the Barns Holes and the Bakers' Hole Campground.
    .. The road access to the Barns Holes is closed. Currently it is still possible to access the Madison River through the Bakers' Hole Campground.
     .. These actions were taken in advance of forecast cooler weather and light rain. Duration of the closures is dependent on local conditions at the southwestern corner of the MAPLE FIRE.
    HIGHWAY 89, BERRY FIRE
    .. Additionally, the South Entrance Road is closed due to increased activity of the BERRY FIRE.
    .. Now that the spawn has started it is important to carefully plan your fishing access in the pursuit of the wily runners from Hebgen Reservoir.
    .. Use the following resources to be informed about fire activity, area closures, and road closures:
    >> INCIWEB MAPLE FIRE,
    >> INCIWEB BERRY FIRE,
    >> NPS CURRENT FIRE ACTIVITY,
    >> YNP ROAD INFORMATION PHONE;  307-344-2117,
    >> YNP INTERACTIVE FIRE MAP,
    >> YNP FACEBOOK PAGE,
    >> YNP TWITTER.
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    .. The Gallatin River is where many of the neighbors are hanging out nowadays. There is a large assemblage of trout food in the offing.
    .. Terrestrials include ants, flying ants, hoppers, beetles, and small sticks.
    .. There are spruce moths along with some white miller caddis. There are other caddis flies and an occasional mayfly.
    .. The lovely nymphic zoo includes big and little stoneflies, caddis, and the occasional small fry. The trout are loving it.
    TRAIL CLOSURES: FAWN PASS BIGHORN PASS
    .. The higher elevations of both the Fawn Pass Trail and the Bighorn Pass Trail are closed. For the moment fishing access to the Gallatin River and Fan Creek is available. It's smoky up there but the fish are ravenous: especially the ones in the willows and meadow of the upper Gallatin River.
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    NEIGHBORHOOD FALL FLIES
    .. We'll only whisper this once: fish in their current sex-crazed state ascend creeks other than the Madison River.
    .. The neighbors will ostracize me for a week or so but, there are some giant fish in the Duck Creek Estuary, Cougar Creek Estuary, Grayling Creek, Bacon Rind Creek, and some other bits of water leading into Hebgen Reservoir. Of course a map is required.
    FIREHOLE ABOVE OLD FAITHFUL
    .. The Firehole River above Old Faithful is attracting quite a bit of attention from foreign visitors. It's amazing what the local counter help ignores.
    .. Water temperatures up there are hanging out in the 50's with lows overnight in the mid 40's. At least some fishers are dancing with the brightly colored and feisty Brook Trout on this inviting stretch of water. JEEZE, even the grass is still green!
    NEON WHAMME
    .. The glory waters of the famous Firehole River are still spiking to the 70's by noon.
    .. A few of our neighbors arise early and catch the fish while the water is cool, the fog is low,  and the shadows are long.
    .. It's still mostly a soft hackle game but large green nymph patterns are also galling some of the  larger fish.
    .. It's late and time for a midnight snack. Something light will do.
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    WALLPAPER:   MIDNIGHT SNACK

    Friday, September 09, 2016

    The Real Best Breakfast

    IN THE WEST
    Your Palate Counts
    not hype: just great !
    EVER BEEN TO HELENA ?
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    .. We refuse to believe that fly fisher folk are as gullible and susceptible to hyperbole in radio advertising as some local merchants seem to believe.  Then again . . .
    .. We've eaten at all of these joints below. They are miles above anything locally.
    .. And, they are reasonably priced. Try them next time you are out and about and need The Best Breakfast West Of The Mississippi, (unless you have indiscriminate and plebeian tastes and, believe everything you hear.)

    SO HERE THEY ARE:
    >> LITTLE GOAT DINER
    >> AMAZING CREPES
    >> STEVE'S CAFE
    >> 5 SPOT
    >> GLO'S CAFE
    >> ORIGINAL HOTCAKE HOUSE
    >> MOTHER'S BISTRO & BAR
    >> LUNCH BOX DELI & BBQ, (#1, #2,)
    >> PEG's GLORIFIED HAM & EGGS
    >> MAMA'S
    >> CAFE DE LA FLOR
    >> BRIAN'S 24
    >> CAFE 222, (#1, #2,)
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    .. The cool down has slowed and it looks like some softer and warmer weather is coming this way.
    .. Nights will be slightly cool and there may be some light showers and scattered thunderstorms in the next few days forecast. Fish now!
    .. There are widely scattered temporary and permanent road closures throughout Yellowstone National Park. These will impact some fishing access. Check the YNP CURRENT CONDITIONS page for alerts and road closures.
    LITTLE BROWN TROUT
    .. There are still hoppers park wide. On sunny afternoons the Lamar River is crowded and the fish still like their hoppers, (or beetles, or small streamers.)
    .. The smoke comes and goes up on the Gallatin River in the park.
    .. Deepest Fan Creek is inaccessible due to trail closures and fire crew activity.
    WORKS AS AN INDICATOR TOO
    .. The junction meadow is running slow and the water is not holding much other than the nursery fish.
    .. Up high on the Gallatin River the willow meadows in the far 'n' away sections are smoky, tangled, and holding some nice fish. They are taking mostly ants and beetles, (float 'em or sink em - don't seem to matter.)
    .. Don't plan on too much action with the runners on the Madison River. The rumors are true but, the biggest fish are still staging in the estuaries of Hebgen Reservoir.
    .. The gulpers are petering out and the winds have been early in the day for a week or so. Work, instead, the weed beds with big ugly flies or leeches - unless, of course you are addicted to watching your fly bob around in the breeze.
    MASHED CADDIS
    .. We don't often say it but, the best catching right now is the easy morning fishing on the Firehole River.
    .. If you can forego the second cup of coffee and get to the river to follow the edges of the morning shadows you could wear out your reel hand.
    .. Stick with the easy stuff: a mashed caddis on the surface, small hoppers or ants, hopper dropper with a flymph and you're in the groove. Don't catch them all. Have brunch about 11:00 AM and call it a day.
    .. Or, trundle over to Baker's Hole and fish where the folks aren't. We're headed there now.
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    WALLPAPER:  PASTA e FAGIOLI

    Thursday, September 08, 2016

    And, So It Begins

    FIRE WINDING DOWN
    Grass Yellowing Up
    fish lips pricked
    CURRENT MAPLE FIRE MAP
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    .. What a difference a few cool nights and a bit of rain will make.
    .. Both the fire crews and the fishers have responded to the early Fall weather - albeit in quite different ways.
    INFORMATION BOARD
    .. Although not "under control," the MAPLE FIRE has moved further into Yellowstone National Park.
    .. The southwestern periphery is being stabilized to protect dwellings and the West Entrance administrative center.
    .. Crews are actively monitoring the established fire lines and preparing access routes.
    CREW PLATE
    .. Hoses and sprinklers have been set in the government area. Fire crews have a bit less beat-up look and a few are wearing clean clothes. Thanks to them and their quick action the town and suburban residences have been maintained intact.
    .. Some fishing access is still closed and it behooves the visiting fishers to check with park personnel prior to planning fishing activities. These links will help: YNP FIRE ACTIVITY, YNP CURRENT CONDITIONS , BLOG.
    SINKEM STICKEM
    .. The Firehole River is running at historic low discharge rates.
    .. Temperatures above Old Faithful are holding in the 50's (+ or -) and in the lower river showing brief mid day spikes to 70° F.
    .. Morning catching has been about as good as it gets. Of course enormous amounts of fishers will have little luck with their surface offerings.
    .. This is the time to catch many fish with precise presentation and submerged flies. It's mostly a nymph fishers game right now.
    KNOW THE WATER - CATCH THE FISH
    .. Large imitations are excellent for retrieving larger fish if you have any river sense at all. Dark holes, bolder pillows, boulder slicks, foam lines, seams, topographic breaks will all hold fish.
    .. If you don't walk through the fish you can catch them. Long casts that rip your shorts and strain your waders are not necessary. Even folks on the Madison River are taking fish with casts as short as two feet.
    .. The Madison River is holding in the mid 60's and this should continue for the next few days. Access to the Barns Holes should be open as soon as the burnouts to stabilize the southern periphery of the Maple Fire are complete.
    WINTER REJECT  -  CATCHER
    .. There is no secret about the flies for catching on either river right now. 
    .. Use your favorite soft or stiff hackle flies on either river for the average resident trout. A full day of catching can be accomplished with a properly sized soft hackle, (we're of the bigger is a bit better school,) so size 10 or 12 for us - seems to work.
    GROCERIES
    .. The Fall feeding frenzy is akin to the one in the Spring. This one must fuel both the food for the sparse pickings in Winter and the sexual orgy about to commence.
    .. Fish do like groceries presented to them. They will take a snack if pushed into their personal space. They will move a bit for a cheese burger. They will slam a bag of donuts, chocolate milk, apple pies, and Neapolitan Ice Cream. Give 'em groceries.
    .. It is mostly against our nature to arise with the sun at this time of year. The offsetting compensation is that the fish eat an early breakfast and we enjoy the foolery that goes with pricking a couple of dozen before lunch. Now to tend the garden.
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    WALLPAPER:  MY GUIDE IS MY FRIEND