Archive for May, 2011

May 27th-Number 10 and Opening Day

Posted in Uncategorized on May 27th, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment


Tomorrow is opening day for the fishing season in both Yellowstone National Park and Idaho. Unfortunately high water will probably severely limit fishing opportunities throughout the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. The best bet for some fishing will be the Henry’s Fork. Although it is very high, and the lower river has reduced visibility, large nymphs close to the banks ought to bring some angler success. I would stick with SJW’s, black woolly buggers, and rubberleg stonefly nymphs. Keep an eye out for a few salmonflies in the lower river as well.

Let’s continue with some flies that we could be tying this holiday weekend.

Number 10- Green Drake cripple #12. Similar to the gray drake, green drakes are critically important when they are present, but the window of fishing opportunity can be short lived. However, green drakes are more widely distributed throughout the Greater Yellowstone region, with good and dependable hatches every season. My favorite rivers for finding these large bugs are: the Lower henry’s Fork in mid June, Yellowstone in the Park in mid-July, Lamar River in early to mid-July, the Gallatin River in the Park in July, and ranch section of the H-Fork in late june. When these large mayflies are on the water, every trout in the river can be found sipping in these morsels. Although I tie this pattern for every mayfly in the Yellowstone area, and it is the first one I reach for, I decided that the Green Drake version was the single most important one to imitate with regards to our Top 10 list.

Start with a short tail(shuck) of brown/amber zelon. Follow this up with a body of olive rabbit dubbing, reverse wrapped with evenly spaced ribbing of yellow sewing thread or floss. A wing of gray to dark gray poly yarn or EP fiber, extending 45 degrees forward over the eye of the hook, gives this the imitation its distinctive “cripple” look. The wing is supported by 3 turns of dyed olive grizzly hackle in back of the wing and 2 turns in front. I then trim the hackle flat, even with the point of the hook, and you are ready to fish.

Green Drakes are my favorite insect emergence to find in the greater Yellowstone region. It can bring up some of the largest fish, and you cannot beat the size.

Good luck and tying.


May 14th-A month to go. Dry Fly Countdown

Posted in Uncategorized on May 14th, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment

Good Morning Everyone,

Well, we are a month out from having the first guests at the Firehole Ranch, and we are furiously getting the Ranch ready for opening week. Those of us on the fishing side of things are, well.., uh,… we are fishing, tying flies, cleaning boats, and well,…uh…, fishing some more. On the tying end of things, we should all have full boxes of nymphs now, ¬†and should be ready to tackle the dry flies. So hear we go the top 10 dry flies I would have if I was fishing the greater Yellowstone region this summer. In typical fishing guide fashion, I am going to break the rules for the top 10 flies right off the bat, and give you the top 10 + 1. The reason for this is, the specific nature of dry fly fishing. Many of our dry flies are very hatch specific, meaning that a fly is tied to imitate a particular insect at a particular stage of its life cycle. If you encounter these hatches, dry fly enthusiasts typically have boxes and boxes of flies to match all the possible situations one might encounter. Throw in the fact that there is more fishable water in the greater Yellowstone area than one fisherman could fish in a lifetime, and you have a lot of possibilities to tie flies for. This is our best effort to wrap all of that up in 10 patterns you should not be without, but in compiling this list I had to go with 10 + 1. So here we go.

Number 10 + 1 (or number 11): Gray Drake Spinner #12-If you encounter Gray Drakes you better have this pattern. Funny thing is that there is a very narrow window for this bug, and they are only important on a few rivers in the Yellowstone region. But, and this a big but, if you see gray drakes, you can count on the fact that you better have some of these spinners in your box. Fish eat gray drake spinners without hesitation, period! So where are they important. Slough Creek in early July, Yellowstone river throughout July and August, Lamar and Soda Butte rivers in July and September, the lower Henrys Fork in June, and in high water years (like this year), the Madison in the Park. So if you see yourself out here at any of those times, your obligation to the vise starts at number 11.

What comprises this large mayfly spinner pattern. Start with a tail of stiff dun, or grizzly spade hackle fibers. A body of tan rabbit dubbing, ribbed with brown sewing thread. Next a wingcase of gray foam, pulled over a classic spinner style of grizzly or dun hackle trimmed flat on the bottom. Tie it all off and you are prepared for this spinner fall.

Just as a side note, one might be asking why we are tying a spinner instead of a dun. Good question. The duns actually usually emerge when the nymphs migrate to shallow margins of the river and crawl out on grass and logs, thereby not often making themselves available to the trout as duns. But later they molt into spinners and land on the rivers surface in mass. Yippee for us and the trout!

Good tying,