Monday, November 28, 2011

Let the winter nymphing....begin

Good start to the winter nymphing season yesterday. I should've had some firebeads, and the pink wasn't cooperating with me, but I stuck a few. Brady got a bunch. Here's to many fruitful winter days.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Winter activity that sucks #34: Rod building

A few years ago when I worked at Simms, they offered a rod-building class. Since the fly-tying class they offered was so good, I thought the rod-building would be too. Nope.

Fly tying offers the opportunity to use your experience and knowledge from time on the water to craft a tool that affects your fishing success. Rod building offers a chance for arts and crafts - my mom (the quilter) might like it. The rod, assuming it's fundamentally sound, has virtually no impact on the fishing. If a wrap ain't quite perfect, even spring-creek trout don't care. The colors you choose are for aesthetics only. It's a little cheaper, but it's not enjoyable like fly tying.
Since I've broken the Scott 3-wt I built at that class twice, I've been able to keep after this horrid hobby. Today, being 14F at 1:45pm, I finished the mid-tip section. It has character, and it will fish fine. It's certainly an original rod. I hope it stays in four pieces for the duration.

Next winter activity that sucks: Learning to tie the Humpy.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I saw a fly made with this stuff called UV Chewee Skin that struck me as a great cranefly imitation. I don't have any Chewee skin, so I made one with what I had.
There are two places that I really want to try this - two opposite fisheries. One, a smallish tailwater that is known for it's craneflies - the Beaverhead; the other, a rocky freestone at which I can't quite figure out why there are so many craneflies - the Gallatin in the valley. No matter, I am itching to wet this fly.
Craneflies are a lot like giant midges - they go through complete metamorphosis (larva, pupa, adult like caddis) - as opposed to incomplete metamorphosis (nymph, adult like mayflies and stoneflies). The larva looks like a grub or wax worm, don't know about the pupa, and the adult like a midge-daddy-long-legs hybrid.
I've never fished a cranefly dry, but I had a day this summer where skittered hoppers were working so well that I wondered if the trout were keyed on craneflies - I'd seen a few that day. I gather that fishing cranefly dries is quite the wing-ding - I can't wait.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The other Firehole

Yellowstone National Park's Gardner River does not have the reputation nor the number of springs (or anglers) of the Firehole River, but it, like the Firehole, is influenced by the warmth of the park's thermal features, keeping fishing excellent clear up to closing day (last Sunday).
One of the thermal inflows - the Boiling River - is the park's largest constant output of thermal discharge. People soak in the Boiling River where it meets the Gardner throughout the winter. Downstream of the Boiling River, the Gardner remains warmer than most YNP streams year round. It makes an especially big difference to anglers at the beginning and end of the park's fishing season, when temps tend to be a bit cold for great fishing elsewhere. Mayflies will hatch from May to November, which makes it a unique experience, not unlike the famous Firehole.

On Sunday (closing day), we fished it to an excellent baetis hatch and hot fish (instead of the usual Firehole-on-closing-day event). Even cutthroats were aggressive on streamers.

And with sundown on Sunday, the curtains drew nigh on another fishing season in Yellowstone. Here's to a mild but snowy winter and healthy fish next May.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Etiquette schmetiquette

These boaters can park and fish where ever they damn well please, no matter whose face their backcasts are almost hooking.

Poor etiquette is almost (but not) expected as some locations that get hammered, even with all of Montana's water, but this is a bit much. We happened to be fishing near the president of the Henry's Lake Foundation who fishes this stretch often (the Madison River in between Hebgen and Quake lakes), and he said he's never seen manners quite this bad. Myself and Ben, the prez, and the boat were the only folks around, but they needed to fish there.
We had fished that stretch for a couple hours and were about on our way out anyhow, but the boaters didn't know that. Maybe we should have started a knife fight (as apparently happens at some Eastern fisheries that get unbelievably pounded), and maybe we should have at least spoken up, but if they don't already understand common everyday manners about personal space, I don't know that we'd have helped.
Henry's Lake guy was sure it was a guided trip, but I cannot be sure as we didn't see any tags. We do know they were from Idaho.
Ultimately, I am glad I am able to fish in a place where breaches of etiquette rarely exist, but that doesn't excuse them when they do.
These hillbillies will get their comeuppance in due time if they keep it up.