February 8th 2011-Old Man Winter

Good Morning Firehole Junkies,

I would like to say we are knee deep in snow, but in fact we are waist deep in snow, and it just keeps coming. Good news for summer streamflows, but regardless the fish are in the rivers and they will be hungry, and it is our humble duty to joyfully participate in the regulation of their diets.

As I sit behind vise and lamp, tying up bugs for the summer, my thoughts drift from the snow that is flying, to days warmer where water is flowing and fish are rising. One of the pure joys of tying for me is the memories that a particular fly pattern evokes as I tie it up. Take this #14 Royal Wullf Cripple that I am whipping up right now. A brown zelon tail-and my mind immediately goes to the third week of June on the Firehole and PMD mayflies pepper the geyser soaked currents of the Firehole, and 10 inch browns and rainbows sip this tempting pattern with early season gullability. Two humps of peacock herl and red floss to form the body-and my mind shifts to a day on the Soda Butte as Green Drakes rolled off, and Yellowstone Cutties moved into the shallows to eat the emerging duns.  A white wing of poly and a couple turns of brown hackle and my mind drifts to mid September and fish on the Fork sipping down baeits on a cloudy day, taking this same fly with an eager and reckless abandon. Each fly goes into its properly marked container to end up in the bins and boxes of Firehole Ranch guides and guests. I can only hope that each fly brings as much joy this summer as they hopefully have in the past.

A great thing about flyfishing is that you can flyfish in your mind even when you are days, weeks, or miles from a blue ribbon trout stream.

Good fish dreams!


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