Archive for July, 2010

July 28th-August here we come.

Posted in Uncategorized on July 28th, 2010 by rowannyman – Be the first to comment

Good Morning Folks,

I cannot believe how fast this summer is moving along, July is almost over and the and it feels like it just begun. I swear yesterday we were chasing Salmonflies on the Madison and talking Green Drakes on the Henry’s Fork. A great month of fishing is wrapping up, but by all accounts I expect another great month is ahead of us.

So what can we look forward to in August fishing wise. Well, first and forenmost, are the bugs and the rise of the terrestrial. Hoppers, ant, and beetles become strong competitors for  the trout’s attention. As the heat of August burns the grasses to a beautiful golden yellow, the terrestrial begin to migrate towards greener pastures along the area’s riparian zones. Afternoon winds blown these land born insects into the watery confines of the rivers and lakes of Yellowstone. Wise anglers take advantage of this situation, and you can bet we will be looking for this action here at the Firehole. The recent Spruce Moth revolution takes hold in August as well, so look for this action to heat up soon. On top of the terrestrials, many stream born insects are still available to trout. Look for increased Callibaetis action of the area’s lakes and slower moving rivers such as the Ranch section of the Fork. Morning egg laying flights of caddis will still be present on the Madison, and lesser known Mayflies such as Epeorus and Heptagenia can pop in a variety of river systems. As the month wanes look for Baetis to appear on both the Gallatin and Madison River.

August is a great month for the angler who likes to wade fish. Warm, sunny days are a perfect recipe for wet wading the smaller, cold water streams of Yellowstone. For example, the Lamar, Slough, and Soda Butte are excellent fisheries in August and are personal favorites. Grab a beetle and a Flip Em’ Floppy and have it. Cover water and wait for those Cutties to consume the fly. The Gallatin is a fun river in August as well, it’s cold waters playing suit to the heat of August. Float fisherman are in luck to, as the Yellowstone is in prime shape this month and can be a ton of fun. If good numbers of flying ant, spruce moths, and hoppers are present, the Madison will continue to shine brightly. Nymphomaniacs will love the Box, especially towards the end of the month.

Only a few days left on July, so we better get done with the typing and start with the casting.

Fish On everyone.

Rowan

“The Last Best Place in The Last Best Place”

Posted in Guests on July 22nd, 2010 by blakelyjam – Be the first to comment

An interview with Ron & Carol

I recently sat down with Ron and Carol Kurtz and a cocktail before dinner to ask them a few questions about their 25-year history as guests of the Firehole Ranch.  Ron laughed aloud when asked about his most memorable fishing story, which was only a few years into the couple’s 25-year legacy.  Ron had been using a poorly-secured Coca-Cola crate as a seat in the guide’s boat that day.  On one particularly choppy bend in the river, the seat broke free from its screws and Ron collided with the side of the boat.  He didn’t think much of it; in those days fishing was perhaps more of a “contact sport” and he took it in stride.  After he righted himself (and presumably gave his guide a few choice words for upsetting his cast), Ron landed the biggest fish he has ever caught.  A magnificent 23” brown trout was his prize fish that day, and he returned to the Ranch a happy man.  Later that night, after the euphoria had worn off a bit, he realized he’d broken a few ribs in the boat resulting from the toppling Coca-Cola crate.  According to Ron, the broken bones were well worth that beautiful brown.  (To be clear, Coca-Cola brand seating is no longer used in any of our guides’ crafts.)

Carol started the first years of her Firehole experience not fishing, but reading.  She came to the Ranch for the peace and quiet that allowed her to enjoy innumerable books while her husband fished.  In 1996, she attended the Orvis Fly Fishing School, and from then on she’s been out on the river with her husband, feeding a comparable addiction to the sport.  Her most memorable time at the Ranch was in 1991, when the entire Kurtz family came, including their one year-old granddaughter.  She describes the Firehole Ranch as “adult summer camp”, citing all the wonderful people they’ve met over the years and the friendships that grow through reuniting with the other guests at the end of the day in the Firehole dining room.

Ah, the dining room.  When asked about their favorite meals, there was no hesitation from Ron.  His all-time favorite is Roasted Long Island Duck, with fresh cherry and thyme Madeira.  Bruno served the meal only a few days before, and as a server in the dining room, I can attest to Ron’s preference.  Not a speck of duck was left on his plate.  Carol’s favorite meal was slightly more difficult to pinpoint.  “All of them!” she said at first.  After a little thinking, she listed her current favorites.  Baked Fresh Atlantic Monkfish was among them, as was Bruno’s cedar plank salmon, which he serves weekly at the Ranch BBQ.  In the end, she added the Roasted New Zealand Rack of Lamb with Flageolet Beans and Roasted Garlic Jus.

So, what keeps them coming back?  For them, it’s the sum of many wonderful parts.  Ron affectionately quoted Montana’s nickname as he said, “The Firehole Ranch is the last best place in The Last Best Place.”  They cited their primary reason for coming back each year is the fishing.  Ron & Carol have always been pleased that the Firehole can cater to more than just “entry-level fishermen”, and the two continue to find new & challenging waters in the area, as well as return to their time-tested favorites.  Carol was quick to add that the friendliness and integration between guests creates a unique sense of warmth that is the heart and soul of the Ranch.

I would like to thank Ron and Carol for sharing with me some of their favorite memories from their many years as Firehole guests.  It is truly a pleasure to see their faces each year and try to make their current vacation the best one yet.

A Walk With The Wild

Posted in Scenery on July 21st, 2010 by ryanturner – Be the first to comment


Every sound is new. Every breath drawn is deep and free and full of meaning. There is only the present, and it’s what serene strives to be.  There are many kinds of magic at the Firehole Ranch, but the enchantment that ensnares me most happens when exploring alone in the forest. Most days I escape just after lunch, setting sail on animal trails that cut and cross between Watkins Creek and Coffin Lake.  When I am in this wild and natural place searching for exotic animals and flowers,  joy just bubbles up and out of me.  Think Grandpa Joe in Wonka’s first factory of chocolate. I effervesce.

Today I was treated twice, first by this pretty patch of yellow columbine flowers, a  buttercup, that are  in bloom only a dozen weeks a year. Then by a big cinnamon colored black bear running away from me through a meadow. She was aware of me before I was her, as the funny sound I couldn’t quite place was her going from a distance of 20 yards to 50 yards through tall grass and into a thick part of the woods. I kept my distance, but changed my angle by sidestepping in, what I was now thinking of as her meadow, and was able to see a dark colored cub coursing over a log and evacuating quickly out of site. No chance for photo, but one big grin, and an experience that will carry for years.

Somewhere between exalted and exhilarated, and another day on the Firehole Ranch.

July 21st-The Summer is Flying By

Posted in Fishing on July 21st, 2010 by rowannyman – Be the first to comment

Good Morning Yellowstone,

Holy Cow is the summer just sailing by. I looked up from my flip em floppy yesterday only to notice that we are three weeks into July. The fishing this month has been very good throughout the greater Yellowstone area. The Madison has been steady with Caddis taking over the river as the Salmonflies and Goldens become a memory for another season. Nymphing remains solid with the “usual suspects”, especially with a good drag free drift along the seams and edges of the Madison’s many boulders. The Park is quickly becoming the go to place for the dry fly addict. Lamar, Soda Butte, and Slough are all producing good hatches of Yellow Sallies, PMD’s, caddis, and even a few Drakes. The wildflower show going over Dunraven Pass to get to the NE corner of YNP might just be worth the drive alone. Despite a little road construction in there, and higher than normal water, a float down the Yellowstone in the upper reaches near Gardiner can be fast and furious. Can anyone say Flip em Floppy! A few chubby chernobyl’s, royal wullf cripples, and royal trude cripples would be nice additions to the flop em’ brigade. The Gallatin is a fun choice just about anytime, but right now an dry fly angler can do well in the afternoons with a small selection of high riding dry flies, trialed by a beadhead prince. Even the Fork continues to fish well, and the load of water  down there might be a contributing factor. Die hard nymphers will do well tangling with large Rainbows and Whitieys in the Box. Savy anglers will enjoy a morning stalking large risers in the Ranch, and floaters in the lower river will enjoy all day action with both dries and nymphs.

Summer is in full swing. Time to fish like Mad!

Rowan

Sleigh Bells Jingle In July

Posted in Food on July 10th, 2010 by ryanturner – Be the first to comment
Firehole Ranch Moon

Firehole Ranch Moon by guest Pat Wheat

Some days feel like Christmas.  There is an eagerness to get going and an anticipation that by presents-opening time, has rolled into one big ball of excitement.  Tonight felt exactly that way, like Christmas in July.  Let me explain.  Fresh pacific snapper en papillote is fish steamed in parchment paper with white wine, shallot, mushrooms, fingerling potatoes, baby orange peppers and lemon preserved in salt.  The sound of paper being torn from treasure filled the air and guests gleefully unwrapped, then ate, their present.

While everyone walked home sort of sideways,  their double sized wedges of  mud pie still settling, we were all treated to two more amazing gifts.  A six foot moose was grazing a meadow just a few feet off the path to the right and the most amazing moon rise I have ever seen on the left.  Take our moon and swell it to three times it’s normal size and rub it orange and dark dusty red, put on two or three black splotches, get some silver to shine through, and let it creep over a horizon still stained purple from the sunset.

My time with the pie.  It is alternating layers of  homemade coffee and chocolate ice creams, encrusted in dark chocolate cookie crumbles, slicked over slowly with ganache, with sliced almonds suspended between the ganache below and fresh coffee whipped cream on top.  The whole piece floats gently in a pond of white chocolate sauce.

Somewhere between surreal and otherworldly, and another day on the Firehole Ranch.