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.