Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dark, Cold, And Productive

Simple Stuff Works
.. There have been days when the snow came and went in a moment. There have been days when the roads have been pure ice.
.. There have been days with fog so thick it obscures your line. There have been days so bright that sunglasses don't work. There have been days when It was so gray that the trees looked like nothing at all.
.. Happily, most of the recent days have been temperate and the fish have been willing.
..Snow flies, midge clusters, nymphs, and small streamers are the usual choices for the Gallatin River right now. A few folks are using the perennial winter wonder the small stonefly nymph.
.. The most productive, (if you're into catching,) seems to be various Copper John iterations.
.. Some have red tails, some have a bead for both the head and thorax. Some have legs, Some are funny colors. And so it goes!
.. The story being told is simple and direct: 'GET DOWN AND FISH SLOW.' The water temperature has dropped significantly with our cold nights. The lack of snowfall and the sparse cloud cover makes the nighttime temperatures fall rapidly. The plus side is that the days warm quickly and mid 40's or better are still possible, (but not today in the canyon section.)
.. Don't rush your second, (or third,) pot of coffee. The rocks are slippery, bits of anchor ice are starting in the upper reaches near the Yellowstone National Park boundary, and safety is a major consideration. Right now the flow is still pretty swift and just a bit above average, (depending on the nighttime temps.)
.. Most of the neighbors are on the river around noon. There have been some noses in the air but it's anyone's guess as to what they are eating and what flies to use. Midge clusters with no floatant beneath the surface can take fish - if you're willing to pester a cold nose long enough. It's tedious but rewarding for surface fishers.
.. Unverified reports from obscure sources indicate that a fish or two has been moved to small streamers. Good Luck!
.. Short leaders, sink tips, deep drifts in the darkest and slowest waters combined with nymphs in the size 8 - 12 range seems the way to get a dance or two.
.. This is the time of year when a few boxes of "weird" patterns come to the fore. Have you ever seen a 'Bead Head Flymph?' How about a Triple Bead Hare's Ear Streamer? Even the rare and unmentionable Double Bead San Juan Worm has made it's appearance.
.. All are ways to get down and stay down. All are ways to catch rocks, snags, weeds, and the occasional fish. Have at it. It's better than a poke in the ass by a sled runner.
Winter Water