|.............................Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park
I am calling this series Yellowstone Journals and Additional Information. It is a collection of a
rambling mixture of experiences on the streams with some notes, tips and additional information
thrown in. Some of this comes from my video tape logs (record of video shot) and notes made on
my daily note books.
I guess I should have started with the Firehole River instead of the Blacktail Deer
Creek. I just thought about the fact that the Firehole is the first stream in the park
that becomes fishable when the season first opens. It is the first place most anglers
go to on opening day. The reason is simple. When the season opens the water is still
very cold in most streams in the park. The Firehole has its own built in heating
system called geysers. The added warm water turns the trout in the Firehole River on
long before those in the other streams.
Now it is not my intentions to start with this article at the beginning of the season. I will
have another complete section on that near the time the fishing season starts. For
now I am rambling through notes taken on various trip to the Firehole. That happens
to be lot of trips. We have fished this river as many as fifteen or twenty days in a
season. It is one of our favorite streams for sure.
The first time we ever fished the Firehole was quite an experience. It was the first
week of July and the air temperatures were very warm during the afternoons. The
water in the river was already too warm for good fishing in most of the river. The local
fly shops had already stopped sending people to the Firehole River. There were few
anglers along the river when drove up the stream from the Madison River all the way
to the Old Faithful Area. We turned around and went back downstream for about 4
miles and parked along the stream. It was very late in the date, not long before dark.
We meet a man in the parking lot putting his waders up who told us that he had
caught about a dozen trout on a small black ant. The guy proceeded to give us one
of his ant flies.
We walked down to the stream to the same area he had fished and I caught a 12
inch brown trout about my tenth cast. Angie didn't even have the camera setup. A
few minutes later I caught another smaller brown trout. The next thing I did was loose
the fly. I searched through our boxes and ants but could not find one close to the one
he gave us. All of our ants were far to large compared to his which I would guess was
about a size 20. I changed flies until dark and never got another take.
The next morning at Bud and Lilly's Fly Shop in West Yellowstone, I purchased the
closest thing I could find to the guys fly I had lost. That next day we fished the
Madison outside the park and returned to the park at about 5:00 P.M. It was much
earlier in the day than the day before. I didn't get a take until about 8:00. We had
arrived too early in the day. The thing that was confusing that I noticed in particular
the second day on the Firehole River was that the trout were feeding heavy on the
caddisflies. The temperature would drop a lot near dark and get cold enough for a
light jacket. That drop in temperature when the sun went down seemed to turn the
I swapped to various caddisfly patterns. It was clear the main caddisflies on the water
was one of the Spotted Sedge species. There were others there but not in the
quantities of the Spotted Sedges. I managed to catch two more brown trout neither of
which were over 12 inches that second day. It seemed the problem was the large
number of caddisflies on the water. The water was covered with them by dark. I
couldn't figure out why the ant worked the day before and for the guy we meet the
first day. Ok, I will guess it was because it was different from the hundreds of
caddisflies but if that is the reason, why wouldn't they take my other ant patterns.
Copyright 2009 James Marsh