|.............................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.
Firehole River - Part 9:
As mentioned previously, there is two basic types of water in the Firehole
Meadows, including the Biscuit Basin area. That is the smooth flowing but strong
current areas that usually have a lot of vegetation, and the fast water deeper
areas with runs and short rifles.
The smooth water is very difficult to fish because the vegetation varies the
current speed and direction, especially later in the year when it is near the
surface. This type of fishing takes excellent presentations. The fish have ample
opportunity to closely examine your fly. Long, light leaders are usually required.
Often, downstream presentations are necessary. It may require fishing to
specific trout that are rising to certain insects. If there is no hatch or spinner fall
occurring, the smooth sections can become extremely difficult to fish.
The fast water areas usually have a varying bottom and sometimes rather deep
holes. They have undercut banks on the outside of the curves in the stream.
They are usually smaller in width than the wider, areas of slick water. The water
has a broken surface in certain areas from sudden declines in the elevation of
the stream. This water is much easier to fish than the meadows. I usually fish it
in an upstream direction making short cast in the fast runs and short riffles or
near the undercut banks. You still need to stay out of sight of the fish, but they
are not so selective in what they eat.
When the stream leaves the meadows, it usually flows over longer stretches of
riffles with some shallower water pools in between. There are some fish in these
areas but usually in isolated locations within the long riffles and the trout are
usually not as large as those found in the meadows. Finding the fish in these
long areas of riffles is not easy. You can waste a lot of cast. On the other hand,
we have found a few places where the water changed or was deeper and was
able to catch a lot of trout, but the action was never consistent. The fish seem to
move around a lot in the long areas of riffles. Some of these areas are a mile or
There are also some deep water areas with larger pools and lot of big rocks and
boulders. These areas normally requires some form of nymph fishing. Even
there, the Firehole demands excellent presentations and long, light leaders. If
there is any grass in the area, it makes it even that much more difficult, although
there is usually not any grass in the deeper holes.
Finally, there is the Firehole Canyon. It is completely different from the rest of
the river. It has a variety of water, some of which is pocket water. There is some
deeper pools, with fast runs and even cascades in certain areas. I always fish it
in an upstream direction making a lot of short cast. I always catch a lot of trout
but they are usually much smaller than the ones in the upper Firehole River.
The exception to this is when fish from the
Madison run up the river to spawn.
Copyright 2009 James Marsh