Posted in Uncategorized on December 28th, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment
Good Fall Firehole Fanatics,
We are now officially into winter and the reality fall is over has sunk in. All good things must end I guess. I reflect while I sit here sipping a cup of piping hot coffee as it gently snows outside. It was another good one as I recall. Just enough warm weather to be able to squeeze in a couple of camping trips and just enough snowy and cold weather to bring the elk down out of the high country into my freezer. It was a fall of many firsts. It was Lamar’s (my lab/springer mix) first hunting season, my dad’s first bull elk, and my first time getting my truck really stuck in the mountains. Failure is always an option when it comes to first times. All events went well even though they didn’t happen as I might have imagined them.
Since it was my first fall in Deer Lodge, I spent a lot of my time on Google Earth and studying many other maps. This is one of my favorite things about fall. A chance to ride new roads, climb new hills, and fish new streams. New inspiration is on top of every mountain and around every bend of the river. This is a chance to have another first time. After all you never know where your next first time will take you.
Fall is a great time to be a fishing guide, especially if we’re not guiding. Even if we are guiding, at least the water is much less crowded. It gives us a chance to explore and expand our resume. It gives us a chance to hopper fish that one bank, streamer fish that back eddy where “Walter” lives, or knock the dust off the spey rod and swing brightly colored flies through that particular run that haunted our thoughts all summer long. Chasing our sporting dogs through golden fields chuck full with coveys of birds is always an option. As a guide, fall is also a great time to visit our neglected families and reconnect with reality. These are just a few reasons why fall is my favorite season of the year.
If it wasn’t for summer and winter, we wouldn’t have fall. The leaves are all but gone now. The days are very short, hardly nine hours long. Old man winter is on our doorstep. This is a great time of year to refill fly boxes, replace old fly line, or plug holes in our waders. Still it isn’t an excuse not to go outside. Even though winter fishing isn’t nearly as romantic as it is the rest of the year, I’m still passionate enough to get out at least once a week. I can’t believe it’s the middle of December already. My holiday shopping sprees are basically over…I hope everybody gets what they want. I know I already got what I want, a winter full of memories made this past fall.
Posted in Uncategorized on September 3rd, 2011 by admin – 1 Comment
Happy Labor Day weekend to everybody. I cannot believe it is already September. I am completely flabbergasted that the summer is winding down and we have only 2 weeks left at the Firehole Ranch. I sincerely hope that most of you made it out to Montana and the Firehole Ranch this summer. It has been one of the most beautiful summers in recent memory. Just this past 2 weeks have been gloriously warm, blue bird skies, and I hesitate to mention in case it is a curse for the next 2 weeks, but very little wind relatively speaking. So what have we been up to for the past little while (since it has been way to long since I last relayed what the fishing has been all about here in Yellowstone country). Well, we have been on the Yellowstone River a lot, the Box Canyon and Warm River stretches of the Henry’s Fork, local lakes, and of course the Madison River. The spruce moths this year showed up in great numbers and provided some fantastic dry fly fishing. It still amazes me that before 5 years ago, we never even mentioned spruce moths in our area. Now they are a staple of August fishing and similar to this year, can provide some of the best dry fly fishing of the season. So what is happening now. Well the Yellowstone River over by Gardiner is still providing some of our best dry fly fishing. Foam and rubber flies are the rulers of the roost, with chilly dawns, morrish hoppers, and other late night wiggly creations fooling most of our best trout from over here. As we dip into September make sure to have a good supply of Parachute Adams, and Royal Wullf Criplles in #12 and #14, because our September drakes are showing in the rivers of the Lamar valley as well as the Yellowstone. As for the Madison it is flying ant time, and just about any day where the weather is like it is forecasted to be for the next week, could land you in the middle of some serious trout gorging. Red and black ants, black ants, cinnamon ants, and honey colored ants are all possible ant du jours. Be armed and ready. In between ant sightings hoppers, beetles and resurgent caddis and Baetis will provide the bulk of the best fishing the Madison offer for the next couple of weeks. Expect to see us on the Fork the next couple of weeks as well, especially in the Box as the baetis begin to wiggle up the twisted currents of this nymph fishing extravaganza. This is my favorite time of the year to fish the Box as the crowds are super thin, and the fish are super fat. If you haven’t made it the greater Yellowstone fishing paradise yet, i would strongly encourage you to drop everything and get here quick.
Hope to see you casting flies on the river.
Posted in Uncategorized on July 12th, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment
Good Morning Folks,
Officially this is the latest date that I can remember that the Madison has finally come into what can be reasonably considered fishable shape. Clear water is pushing down from Quake Lake, and the West Fork has also mostly cleared. A few other tributary streams further downstream, like Indian creek, are still carrying a little color, but for the most part clear water rules the channel, and it is well past time to be fishing the Madison. Not to say that we haven’t been doing the ol’ Montana chuck and duck for the past month or so, but now dry flies and small nymphs will be adorning our fly rods for the rest of the summer. Salmonflies are working their way up from Varney, and some of the trout are showing their frustration with their lack of vision and attacking these large bugs with gusto. It will be bug soup here for the next couple of weeks as Goldenstones, Yellow Sallies, PMD’s, Epeorus, Green Drakes, Hydropsyche Caddis, all will be riding the salmonflies coattails. The Madison is higher than normal still, so good cast in close to the bank are going to bring more willing risers to the dry fly. The Madison says it is game time!!!
Meanwhile, the Henry’s Fork is in the middle of bug soup, up and down its entire length. The Box Canyon has great flows and the nymphs in this water are on the prowl. Small nymphs such as Shop Vac, Serendipities and Pheasant Tails are the way to go in this boulder strewn obstacle course. Big rainbows lie inn wait for the angler willing to go nymphing hardcore. Game on here as well. The lower fork around Ashton has been producing great dry fly fishing with Green and Gray Drakes, caddis, and PMD’s. In between hatches go with the standard nymphing fare here and you will stayed tied to fish all day. Game is on and in overtime in this water.
Sad to say, but it is not game time in the Park,…yet. But it is coming and it could be very soon. Look for some fishing opportunities to open up this week, and just continue to get better as the month progresses. More on the Park fishing pops later this week.
For now, it is time for this fisherman to return to the 50 mile riffle and throw some of the big bugs. Game on.
Tight lines and Jumping Trout
Posted in Uncategorized on July 5th, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment
Looks like we have finally turned the corner with regards to this years run-off. Most of the area’s rivers peaked last week and careful observation shows that the rivers are on a downward trend in volume. The Madison is still off color, but its clarity has improved daily this weekend and I hope we see enough clarity by the time the Salmonflies arrive. A few shucks have been observed down by Ennis, but as of yet no bugs, and that is good as I think we might still be up to a week away for prime conditions. We are fishing the Madison however, and the nymphing has been solid. We have started to transition from the big ugly stuff (San Juan Worms, Rubber Legs, and Woolly Buggers) to patterns that will imitate caddis and craneflies. Can you say Serendipities?
I have found myself mostly on the Henry’s Fork lately, as the great conditions there have been producing outstanding fishing. Goldenstones, Green Drakes, Grey Drakes, Brown Drakes, PMD’s, Yellow Sallies, and caddis galore have the fish fattening up. The whole river is fishing good from the Box to Fun Farm. The heat the past few days has slowed the action somewhat in the late afternoons, but only somewhat! Royal Wulff Cripple #12, #8 Chubby Chernobyl and BBB PT Emerger in a #16 may well be the only patterns required for some fish filled action.
The Firehole and Madison in the Park continue to fish well, with the best action in the mornings. Look for good spinner falls around 9am. Variable PMD emergences can be found somewhat later, but it can be short and sweet. Some caddis and yellow sallies are also producing.
For an interesting read, check out John Juracek’s blog entry over at Blue Ribbon Flies for June 29th. An incredible fisherman and student of the sport, John has an interesting perspective on some fishing related news in Yellowstone National Park.
Belated Happy 4th of July. Once again Bruno and Kris put on quite a spread for our annual 4th of July BBQ, despite a passion rain shower.
Posted in Uncategorized on June 27th, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment
A beautiful summer day greeted us this morning and it looks like we have finally settled into our typical summer weather pattern, lots of blue sky and warm sunshine. Run-off has been the talk of the town in Yellowstone country as many of our area’s rivers have just reached peak run-off. up to 3 weeks later than most years. For example the Madison below Quake is as muddy today as I have ever seen it, and the mud continues to roll in from Cabin, Beaver, West Fork and Indian creeks. It could be a week or more before we see fishable water in the float stretches. The wade water around the slide, $3 dollar and Pine Butte has about 6-12 inches of visibility. The good news is that trout like the following have been caught on a regular basis for those dedicated to the worm.
Further good news is that both the Henry’s Fork and the Firehole are in great shape and are fishing very well. Daily PMD spinner falls and emergences are occurring from biscuit basin to fountain flats. Be on the lookout for a variety of caddis species as well. I also keep a few yellow sallies on hand especially if I am concentrating on the upper Firehole. The Henry’s Fork is fishing good in the Box with nymphs as usual, but both salmonflies and goldenstones are gracing the boulder strewn runs of this fabled stretch. The lower fork is shingin bright with good catches from Warm River to the Fall river. be on the lookout for green drakes, goldenstones, PMD’s and a bunch of caddis. A goldenstone trailed by a beadhead nymph such as a shop vac, lightning bug, or BBB PT emerged in #14-#16 can keep you smiling from ear to ear right now.
Despite higher than normal water flows and lots of muddy water, the Yellowstone area is unique in its variety and scope of available fishing, and its many blue ribbon trout streams can be fished under almost any conditions. So while other areas are completely blown out, rivers such as the henry’s Fork and the Firehole provide a clear option for anglers looking for a little dry fly heaven.
Tight lines and Jumping Trout