30 March 2009
YELLOWSTONE RIVER FISHING REPORT-Pre Run-off
The Snowpack is 106% in our neck of the woods here for the Yellowstone River, and since Len and I returned from Matlacha, it seems to have snowed a little down here and a whole lot more in the high country. Water is already running from Sheep Creek into Thelma’s Lake, elk cows are seeking out fresh, green grass, things are happening, spring is slowly arriving with budding trees, greening grasses and somewhat more “frolickier” wildlife.
I have heard some reports of the bulls beginning to drop their sheds, and a few may have, yet I have not personally seen this in our area which might be a bit behind some other parts of the state. There is currently a snowdrift on the front porch of the Alpine House that allowed me to get up there and clean the windows. It’s all about resourcefulness here in Yellowstone country.
CURRENT YELLOWSTONE RIVER FISHING REPORT- (APRIL 1st, 2009)
The Yelowstone river is still running clear with only a few signs of run off. Some areas of the river still hold some mini-glaciers along the banks, but the river is more than open. Thus far my first official float with some great return clients (10 years!) is only a few weeks off, we will see if the river holds until then. The mid-day sun has been offering some incredible midge fishing. Those size #22’s may get harder to tie on, however they seem just as easy to break off on 7x tippet.
Fishing the upper Yellowstone River during this time of year involves patience and mobility. Since I always have a pair of binoculars in my truck (and a strung up fly rod) I look for flat, glassy areas in tails of long pools at the heads of the next beginning riffle. I use the added sight of the bino’s to look for fish actively feeding. The tiny midge/baetis hatches coming off right now are fairly evident, especially if you get one in the corner of your eye (now you know what kind of bugs I’m talking about). The “no-see-ums” are coming off mostly in mid-afternoon on, so there isn’t much hurry to get to the river at sunrise. Besides the forementioned, it’s also about 30 degrees colder at 7 a.m. than it is at 2′oclock in the afternoon.
Even if I don’t see fish rising, that doesn’t stop me from fishing. I might tie on a brassie and black bugger with a bobber for starters and run it through a likely looking spot above or below the flat water in a deep riffle. The Rainbows are definitely getting more active, perhaps beginning to spawn. I try to leave inlet streams alone, and if I catch 2 Rainbows in a row, I’m outta there-I don’t like to interrupt the very process that pursues me to continue to delve into fly fishing. As if 30 years isn’t enough!
Floating the river during this time of year can be fun as well, but BE PREPARED for changing weather patterns, weird winds, snow, rain and hot sun. Hows that for a weather warning? It can change quick here and the water is icey cold. Falling in, even “falling in a little bit” (hat didn’t get wet), can make for not so enjoyable fishing and offer a quick introduction to fishing pals like Hypo and Thermia.
As the run off approaches, it seems many folks have started booking days on our lower trophy trout lake. Flow to both the lakes is excellent. The ice is off and the surface action has been unbelieveable. Vanessa’s Lake is really beginning to mature after our work 2 seasons ago. Good insect life combined with increased depth, better oxygen and limited fishers could well mean a pound or more per fish since the last 8 pounder broke you off! That’s one nice thing about having a back up plan or two-even if the Yellowstone River does get a little muddy, there are lots of options.
MONTANA ELK HUNTING REPORT
If the weather continues a gradual warm up with some weekly moisture the elk will expand in numbers and health-better than they have for the past 7 years. A green and extended spring is important for food and cover. Over 7,000 elk were counted in our northern herd a few weeks ago with more than 3,000 elk on or north of Dome Mountain. Half the elk didn’t even leave the park this year. Once again, it’s all about “habitat". Of course, as a hunter this excites me for the coming season. With the consistency of last season and more elk in 2009, one has to ask themselves if it can get any better? And, don’t worry, the elk aren’t getting dumber, so don’t think any of the above will be any easier for certain!
A personal thanks to all of you who call, write, email and comment on my blog. Had my “web consultant-designer/astonaut” friend told me 1,000 viewers a month would be reading this, I’d of laughed. However, it’s been an incredible journey and without all of your support and interest, suggestions, comments-quite simply just knowing you care really matters to me. We’re thinking about all of you!
For those of you who are devout readers of “Bugle Magazine", there’s another good story about “close encounters” coming soon, hopefully in the next issue!
“Tight Lines & Smiles”
Jim “JB” Klyap