Took a boat ride on Hebgen Lake this afternoon. The wind was light, the sun was high and our fishing kinda sucked…..but….it was so fun to be on the lake. At one point, while running back across to another spot, where we caught a trout, several immature bald eagles were trying their luck with this floating dead trout. This eagle missed, then set up one more time and grabbed it perfect.
Headed up Mnt Washburn a few days ago, this Grizzly was just off the road browsing the hillside. It was early in the day, so we narrowly avoided the inevitable Bear Jam. The rivers throughout the NE side of Yellowstone are dropping, clearing and fishing pretty damn well. The Lamar is still high and crossing it in waders is probably not the best descison one could make. The Yellowstone is also high, a bit chalky green but it’s trout are hungry. With most hatches in full swing, it is not hard to find rising Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout. They have yet to get picky, but don’t worry, that’ll come soon enough. Traffic in the park is not too bad, if traveling early or late. Otherwise, one must take their patience pill and realize that most of these tourists have never, ever, ever, ever seen wildlife outside of a zoo. I must say that parking your RVs on Dunraven Pass, 3 deep on a narrow turn, is rather stupid and inconsiderate when th pull off is right behind you.
August on the Madison is shaping up to be pretty sweet. The water is cool and the flows are just above normal. Salmonflies can still be found in very specific places (think needle in a haystack), but they are on the outs. Caddis are thick river wide. PMDs and Epeorus are beginning to show up as well. Nymphing is working and the Mtn Whitefish are biting – but big trout are hooked everyday on the nymphs as well. Thus far, the small dry fly game hasn’t worked all day long just yet. Mornings have been cold – 35 to 40 degrees – and that makes life hard when your a half inch long insect, clinging to that willow branch trying hard to have sex and then die…..rough life. Once things warm up, the dry fly is worth sticking to. There are some nice trout rising this season in the Madison, but the little trout are fast to the fly and beat them to it quite often. Like I’ve mentioned before – this river rewards skill. The big fish are really wild right now, appear out of no where and eat the fly coming down stream. Will you hook that fish coming down? You will if you wait just two more seconds and let him turn into the current……after he has eaten your fly and gone under water.
For just a short few hours, three of us hit the lake looking for rising fish in a spot which has not yet been producing all that well. It was busy with boaters, jet skiis, water skiers and a few anglers, luckily there were just enough fish up to make it interesting. Getting out to fish once in awhile, during a crazy busy season like this one, recharges the batteries for the many hours spent behind the oars in the days to come.
A long day it is. The sun will set at 9:15 this evening and with this sunshiney day, there will be light in the sky well after 10 o’clock. Today has been a shade bit windy and the warmest thus far…….The first day of Summer has come in with a bang………about flippin’ time, if I don’t say so myself. Our ecosystem feels about a month behind most of springs I have witnessed in the Hebgen Basin. While walking the shores of Hebgen Lake this afternoon, with the dogs and my sister in law, we glassed the mountains for avalanches. Almost every drainage had fresh snow slides – more white shit tumbling down is exactly what we need right now. Cornices are falling too. The mountains are melting out.
Hope you got out to enjoy the longest day of the year – Summer Solistice. I am off to the Missouri once again……see ya soon.
It might take a few years to dry out from all the rain which keeps falling. I saw Noah’s Ark yesterday on the Firehole. There were moose, bears, wolves, bison, deer and elk hanging out on the bow. I think they were drinking Budweiser cans out of an ice cold Yeti Cooler which they probably stole from Headhunter’s front porch. The rain is coming down right now as hard as it can, pounding the roof of the cabin as lightning erupts in the sky.
I spent the past two days on the Firehole River looking for Salmonflies and swinging soft hackles with Tim & Grey Willis from Texas. Spending most of the time with Grey made me think about growing up and all my experiences fishing with my own father. Do your kid a favor – take him or her fishing. It doesn’t have to be fly fishing, the point is to kids outside and experience the out of doors.
Our snowpack is finally melting. Cabin Creek was dirty yesterday afternoon and while I did not see Beaver Creek, I would assume it was muddy too. The yard around the house melted out and bison have been using the much needed bare ground for browsing. A year ago, all of the snow had melted off the level and Hebgen Lake was free of snow and ice. Currently, the main body of Hebgen is still iced over, but there is open water in Grayling Arm, the Madison Arm and South Fork Estuary. Quake Lake is still under ice, but getting closer to the boat ramp everyday.
We fished streamers for the most part yesterday, but ended up switching to a bobber and nymphs for more productive fishing. Midges poured off the river, but not one fish was witnessed rising. Chalk that up to the wind. The fish above ate a rubber leg stonefly, as did most of the trout. We experimented with firebead flies and found them to work quite well down in between the lakes. The Rubber Eggs, is killer. Swinging olive streamers in Quake took a few trout, but it was a little slow. The rainbow spawn seems to be running a little later this season. We saw a few redds, but not see that many trout on them. There was one spot, up high, that did have quite a few rainbows around it – we left those alone – so should you. Access, down between the lakes, is still pretty tough. The road is full of snow and driving a car down to the bathroom is not even thinkable yet.