Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Great Debate

Some Think It's Just Starting
is the early season really screwed up?
.. There is an old adage about fishing in Yellowstone National Park. It goes something like this: "FISHING IN THE PARK IS JUST AS GOOD AS THE FISHERMAN."
.. Right now the fisher folks are grumbling - OR - rejoicing about the stonefly hatch on the Firehole River. Empty shucks have been seen. Does this mean the hatch is over? Bugs have been seen. Does this mean the hatch is starting? Ask the fish.
.. We infrequently chase the big bugs in the Firehole River Canyon  below Firehole Falls. It's hard on the pins. We've learned that it's about 300 feet down the canyon and about six miles back up.
.. There are boulders and deep holes in the water. All the good spots are always on the other side of the river. It's a nuisance. There are some pretty fish to be had. There are some big fish to be had. Bark your shins - have at it.
.. Yesterday we looked at the canyon. Reminiscence is a tough mistress. We got out of the car at several familiar places. We looked at some old trails and some new trails. We saw the tiny green shoots and red-stemmed beginnings of the wild strawberry plants. We thought long and hard about the descent, and the ascent. Pass!  Took a few pictures.
.. Up top, out of the canyon, we paused at a nearby familiar pull out. We thought about what we ought to tie on. Made the decision. And as we were about to leap into action, (or some such,) a winged monster landed gently on the windshield. It whispered to us in a very soft voice, "There are just as many of us above the falls as below." We knew that.
.. We, as we so often are wont to do, ignored the invitation and tied on a gawdawfulbig yellow thing and went about our catching. We were chastised soundly for our fly selection, (it did gather up an insufferably large amount of fish though,) as the shunned arthropods slammed into our exposed body parts. There were quite a few dive-bomber kamikaze attacks that found our head and face.
.. Moral: Pteronarcys californica  is a sensitive creature with easily hurt feelings. By our reckoning the big bugs are hatching right now. This is just a guess on our part. Being battered by the flying monsters is not a definitive indicator. However, it will have to do for the moment.
.. The Firehole River is attracting all of the attention right now. Go figure. There are PMD's, Baetis, Caddis, and some funny little white winged beasties along the length of the river. The fish are enjoying it.
.. The fish in the Madison River are enjoying being neglected. They are eating lots of good food and they can see it very well, thank you.
.. It's, for sure, not going to last much longer - BUT - there is a good 6' or more visibility in the river right now. It's not gin-clear but it's awfully pretty, nevertheless. Even the warm days have not turned the river to mud.
GAWDAWFULBIG YELLOW THING - catched sum fishes too
.. This year's mid-elevation snow pack was dry, dry, dry. The snow moisture content has been rung out of the small snow fields in the mid-elevations and it's going to be a few days, (maybe 10,) before this runoff event kicks up a notch or two.
.. The Madison River is running at about 350 cfs  below the seasonal median discharge rate. It's cool but not cold. The Gibbon River is running at about 110 cfs  below it's seasonal discharge.
.. The Firehole River is very low and heating up again. Current discharge is about 200 cfs below seasonal median. Temperatures have spiked again to 72° F on June 1. That's enough to put the fish off their feed. Start looking at Nez Perce Creek and bears should you delay your visit much longer.
.. We're headed to the Gallatin River. It's cold, clear, low and full of fish that are avoiding the mud further down the canyon. Hell's bells, it's even running about 800 cfs below where it usually is at this time of year - a bit dirty down low though.
.. More to come  - - - - soon.