FISH MORE!!!! Check! A March/April Fishing Report

Posted in Fishing on April 15th, 2013 by admin – Be the first to comment

So I know each year we say a lot of things when it comes to making New Year’s Resolutions or making mental or physical achievement goals. But when it comes down to it we either fail to even make an attempt at these goals or they just fade to the bottom of the list based on level of importance. Well not this year. This spring, as always, I made a list of things to do by the time I landed at the Firehole Ranch for the summer. Just below “losing a little winter weight”, “FISH MORE!!!” was literally near the top of my list. I know most of you probably think that I fish enough as it is, but that is what you think. Since I live in what I consider the “meat and potatoes” of Montana there is a lot of water that receives little to zero attention from fly fishing “experts”, blogs, fishing reports, and magazines. (I say “meat and potatoes” because if you even mention fruit or vegetables in this area, you are probably a sissy.) I wanted to take advantage of my location and time to explore. Living in an undesirable fly fishing location comes with its pros and cons. Cons being that there isn’t much for documented information, lack of designated public fishing access, and the fact that I haven’t fished with anybody else in Montana since like November starts to get lonely. Pros being that there isn’t really any competition. If you are creative, like to explore, and have a GPS depicting public and private land, you can find hidden gems with gullible fish all over this state.  It really doesn’t get much more satisfying.

Now as for the fishing itself, it has been awesome! We couldn’t be having better weather for spring fishing and antler hunting. I mention antler hunting because it is motivation to climb seriously steep hills to achieve one of my other goals above. Lose a little winter weight? Check. Rivers have bumped and warmed but still haven’t blown out completely. There are hatches of midges, mayflies, and stoneflies already with March browns and caddis right around the corner. My favorite and probably most productive set up lately has been a dry-dropper system containing a #10 Foam Skwala Stonefly with a nymph imitating whatever other dominant hatch that might be occurring, hung below.  Aside from a little streamer and bobber fishing here and there, no matter what state, stream or river I have fished lately, I haven’t changed my set up for over a month. Fish more? Check!


Josh Duchateau

Head Guide and Outfitter

Sweet Sixteen Fishing Tournament – Montana Region First Round Winners

Posted in Uncategorized on April 10th, 2013 by admin – Be the first to comment

The Montana Region results of Firehole Ranch’s great fishing rivers tournament are in. The games went mostly as expected for the most part in 3 of the 4 games, but once again, we have an upset.

A quick recap:

#1 Henry’s Fork vs #8 Taylor’s Fork
#2 Slough Creek vs. #7 Yellowstone Lake

#3 Firehole River vs. #6 Soda Butte Creek
#4 Gallatin River vs. #5 Gardner River

Winner #1  Henry’s Fork

No surprise here as Taylor’s Fork was massively outmatched by the multitude of strengths that the Henry’s Fork brings each and every game. Taylors Fork held its water at first with its surprisingly good dry fly fishing, but soon the diversity and intensity of the hatches that the H-Fork brings overwhelmed its competitor. From here on throughout the tournament the “Fork” has deserved its highly sought after shortened nickname. All hail to the mighty “Fork”.

Winner #2  Slough Creek

A once mighty has fallen, but to a long and steady rival that has continued, year after year, to provide one of the best angling experiences that can be found. Yellowstone Lake provided moments of clarity last night, but the visual aspects of its fishery, paled in comparison to Sloughs relentless meadow water. Every twist and turn of Slough’s character, stifled the deep game of the Yellowstone Lake. Right from the opening, Slough hit the ground running with a plethora of insect hatches, and miles upon miles, of some of the most scenic water that an angler can be standing in. Throughout the thoughtful and deliberate game of the Slough has this bracket nervous!

Winner #6  Soda Butte Creek

Another water from the Northeast has made a run into the second round, beating a local favorite, but only just barely. As usual the Firehole played its usual game with a quick start of caddis and PMD’s, putting it up early. But Soda Butte dominated the middle of the game with outstanding Green Drakes, Heptagenia, Eperous, PMD’s, Beetle, and Hoppers, to set up the final quarter. Soda Butte held a big lead, but as is tradition of the Firehole, it made a run, with Baetis from downtown to tighten the game in the final seconds. The howling of wolves, some downtown Baetis of its own, and a slightly larger native born game, Soda Butte came out the upset winner with a last second buzzer beater.

Winner #4  Gallatin River

Two classic trout rivers went fin to fin in this one, but in the end the relentless and consistent game of the Gallatin held off the pesky and eclectic Gardner River. Both teams brought steadiness to the forefront, and no match-up might have better emphasized what the pure pleasure of the sport can mean to its participants. This was a throwback game, where attractors and fish where they should be, doing what they should, was put on for all to see. The Gallatin came away the winner in the end but it had the scrappiness to go the distance.

Celebrating Bruno and Kris Georgeton!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 9th, 2013 by admin – Be the first to comment

A letter from Lyndy Caine, Firehole Ranch Owner

Dear Friends,

Please join me in celebrating Bruno and Kris’ 25th year at Firehole! Words cannot adequately express how blessed and fortunate we are to have them and their family as part of the Firehole community. They are such a huge part of the Firehole experience and an integral part of Firehole’s success! Kris and Bruno, thank you for spoiling us, for your many years of amazing meals and great comraderie!

Twenty five years, that kind of tenure in the culinary world is absolutely unheard of and when asked why they’ve stayed, Bruno and Kris are quick to point to the unheard of freedom they have in the kitchen; from shopping at the market to planning original, creative menus that require them to use constant innovation. They both agree that the personal nature of the Firehole experience has made their job unusually rewarding. Here, our chefs are as much a part of the Firehole experience and family as the guides or anyone else on our team. It is a combination of appreciation, the memories, the place, and the freedom they enjoy at the Ranch that brings them back each year. “We’ve watched our children grow up here,” Kris says, and when asked what her fondest memory will be when she’s old, responds: “The picture I’ll have is of my kids tubing on the lake, running around at the barbeque and dancing with the band.” Chloe, 22, and son Remy, 18, now spend their summers working at the Ranch. Bruno agrees, adding that he was surprised when his children became teenagers that they still wanted to come to the Ranch. “I had always worried about that,” he says, “But each year they are excited to come back.”

We are all excited to be back at the Ranch for another spectacular season on the lake! We look forward to enjoying Bruno and Kris’ innovative culinary creations and to spending time with many of you, our fabulous guests!

Warmest wishes,
Owner, Firehole Ranch

Sweet Sixteen Fishing Tournament – Yellowstone Region First Round Winners

Posted in Uncategorized on April 4th, 2013 by admin – Be the first to comment

Post courtesy of Rowan Nyman, Senior Firehole Ranch Guide

The Firehole Ranch Fishing Tournament enters its second round, with the results from the Yellowstone Region coming at you. The first round had some great match-ups.

A quick recap:

#1 seed Madison River vs #8 seed Grayling Creek
#2 seed Yellowstone River vs. #7 seed Gibbon River
#3 seed Lamar River vs. #6 Ruby River
#4 seed Hebgen Lake vs. #5 seed Quake Lake

WINNER #1   Madison River
As expected the Madison River breezed through the first round with a dominating performance over the feisty and diminutive Grayling Creek. Despite offering many strengths, such as a soul cleansing isolation game, Grayling Creek couldn’t hold its ground versus the all around game that the Madison brings to the table. The Madison had a strong season and brought that to the matchup. Float and wade, browns and rainbows, riffle and rock, mayfly and caddis, stonefly and midge, dry fly and nymphs, streamers or soft hackle, the Madison threw every play out there and ran away with it!

WINNER #2   Yellowstone River
The whole tournament was put on notice after this game was over. The Yellowstone came to play big time. With over 400 miles of free flowing river, the Yellowstone brought a diversity of style to the floor that overmatched the quaint and sneaky game of the Gibbon. The star for the Yellowstone was the brilliant play of the Yellowstone Cutthroat that would inspect every offering the Gibbon had with professorial intent. Slice and dice every aspect of the Yellowstone and you come up with a winner.

WINNER #6   Ruby River
Our first bracket busting upset occurred in this intense match-up. The Lamar came in cruising with a beautiful game of unparalleled scenery, native Cutties, and world class dry fly fishing that really could match up against any other river or lake in the tournament. But the Ruby snuck up on the Lamar with its bigs; nice size Rainbows and Browns, and good hatches, and overpowered the Lamar down the stretch in the final minutes.

WINNER #5   Quake Lake
Wow, what a game. We really hope you didn’t miss it. Two heavy weights went at it for the full 40, never letting down for one moment, but in the end Quake Lake came out on top. Despite the legendary “Gulpers” of Hebgen and their 12 weeks of consistent dry fly fishing, Quake Lake grinded out the win. This one could have gone either way, but Quake Lake had a ringer in the game named Spruce Moth, and it overpowered the star player for Hebgen, Callibaetis. Quake Lake’s game is just plain spooky, not for the faint of heart, but simply reel screaming fun!

Fly Fishing Tournament – Sweet 16 Bios

Posted in Fishing, Uncategorized on March 20th, 2013 by admin – Be the first to comment

Rowan Nyman’s Sweet Sixteen Fishing Tournament, featuring world class contenders in the Greater Yellowstone area

Yellowstone Region

#1  Madison River: The 50 mile riffle, this number 1 seed deserves its ranking based on legend alone. Dry flies, nymphs, or streamers, all day any day of the year, an angler will have a chance at 14″-18″ rainbows and browns. Classic Montana scenery greets both the wade and the float angler. This river brings the full game to the table and has stood the test of time. Multiple championship winner means championship pedigree and caliber. The Madison is a longtime favorite, a workhorse that brings its own style to the tournament.

#2  Yellowstone River: History might deem that the Yellowstone maintain a number 1 overall seed, period. The longest undammed river in the lower 48, the Yellowstone has numerous strengths – unparalleled scenery, native Yellowstone cutthroat, diversity of water and angling experience. Why is the Yellowstone not a number 1? It might be a conspiracy of the selection committee, maybe there can be only one number one, or maybe it is the randomness of the universe. A scary matchup for any challenger, and a legendary winner that can match up with any river or lake anywhere and anytime!

#3  Lamar River: America’s Serengeti (Yellowstone Park) is bisected by this high meadow river that is home to native Yellowstone cutthroat. The Lamar’s strength is its ability to provide great dry fly fishing with large foam and rubber leg patterns in the middle of some of the most wildlife infested gorgeous scenery in the U.S.. The Lamar brings a strong game as long as it didn’t rain the night before. Hint: don’t be too quick on the draw here. You decide what that might mean!

#4  Hebgen Lake: Home of the “gulper”, Hebgen’s challenging rainbows and browns can get under your skin. Large trout sipping dry flies off glass smooth water every morning in July, August and into September can be incredibly addicting. Hebgen is detailed oriented and brings grit and preparedness to the ultimate level. Look out for Hebgen, it has a long history of bracket busting the more infamous blue ribbon rivers.

#5  Quake Lake: Some may consider this fishery too highly ranked, others might consider it too low. Quake is hard to figure out. Rainbows and browns up to 22″ can be enticed to both the dry and nymph. An all summer fishery that shines when the wind is down, tough when it is up. Which Quake is going to show up, might just determine how far into the tourney this fishery can go.

#6  Ruby River: When the Ruby River shows up in the tournament, look out. Capable of producing good numbers of nice size Browns and Rainbows, this little sleeper of a stream has been know, for those in the know, to become a favorite to go all the way. Inconsistency of conditions is the river’s only weakness, as some seasons it wants to underperform, other seasons it shines. A doppleganger of the tournament, this one is going to make it fun!

#7  Gibbon River: A hidden gem in the Park, the Gibbon winds its way under the radar, giving up some nice browns and rainbows down low, and a combination of rainbows, browns, brookies, and even a few grayling in the sneaky upper meadow stretches. Often overlooked, the Gibbon can put a challenge on any river in Yellowstone National Park. This one can surprise you.

#8  Grayling Creek: Blow by this river on your way to Bozeman and you might be missing out on this 8 seed’s ability to provide a day of solitude and dry fly fishing, both characteristics of an upset in the early rounds.


Montana Region

#1  Henry’s Fork: A much deserved number one seeding, no other river or lake in the field can match its diversity.  Box Canyon, the Ranch, Mesa Falls, the lower. From canyon deep water nymphing hogs to highly selective spring creek professors, the Fork has all the angles covered. With no apparent weakness historically in its game it will be a tough match up for any prospective competitor. But in all tourneys, you have to show up for every game, is the Fork going to live up to its fabled reputation?

#2  Slough Creek: America’s most infamous backcountry river, Slough is legendary among anglers who want to strap on a pair of hiking boots, a can of bear spray, and a desire to catch Yellowstone cutties that love to inspect every nuance of your presentation. Slough Creek is unassuming yet crafty. Be prepared to bring your “A” game here if you are match upped against the agile Slough.

#3  Firehole River: The most unique river in the whole tourney, the features of the Firehole make this a tough matchup for any seeded fishery this year. Lined by the world’s largest collection of geothermal features, mixed with fantastic hatches, and an abundance of wildlife, the Firehole River is always a favorite among experts. Although its members, Rainbows and Browns, are a bit undersized, they have more hops than just about anyone else in the tourney. The Firehole’s weakness is that it might be a little lethargic during the heat of the summer, but it shows up big, early and late, and the Firehole can be expected to do some moving and grooving!

#4  Gallatin River: If you are thinking classic Montana fishery, the Gallatin plays this game with perfection. Gorgeous mountain scenery, spunky diverse fish that eat year round, and a plethora of rocks, chutes, runs and pools. The Gallatin is a rough and tumble competitor. The Gallatin may be the hardest matchup for any round. Why? Because it plays hard, for the full length of the game, and brings a consistently tough character. But it maintains its joyful youthfulness that make it a delight to be a part of. Watch out for this overlooked favorite.

#5  Gardner River: The Gardner has something unique it brings to the tournament – 6 different species of fish provide the Gardner the ability to shift its game in numerous directions. A nice rainbow on a green drake, a spunky brook trout on a royal Wolff cripple, or stripping a bugger for big browns in the fall. The Gardner brings surprises and unpredictability to the table. Shifty, sly, and quick, the Gardner can become a bracket buster favorite.

#6  Soda Butte Creek: History overlooked this little meadow stream, until the past 10 years, otherwise the Soda Butte would have a better seed. But have no doubts the Soda Butte brings a strong game. From July through October, the native Yellowstone cutties that call this river home love the diversity of aquatic and terrestrial bugs that line its grassy banks. Plenty of holding water, bountiful food sources, and stunning scenery. The Soda Butte brings a delightful and underrated game to the tourney.

#7  Yellowstone Lake: One of the long time greats has fallen. The largest lake in the U.S. over 7000 feet used to boast unparalleled fishing from opening day through August, but the introduction of Lake Trout a few years back has decimated this program. But the lake still has some game left. Gutty and fierce, the tenacity of this selection can still provide the angler some fun and exciting times and make it a tough game in the first round.

#8  Taylor’s Fork: A moody entry into the field of sixteen, Taylor’s Fork can be overlooked easily, but don’t be fooled by its diminutive size, it brings a fun and beautiful game to the tourney. Chock full of rainbows and cutthroat that love to rise, the Taylor’s high rising game plays above the rim. Look for excitement in this selection, and you never know when it might shine above all others!