.............................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.
Gibbon River - Part 2
The Norris meadow is not very different from the Virginia meadow section in terms of fish except that you may find a few browns there. It is still brook trout water. Downstream of Norris, the river makes a half circle around the Norris Geyser Basin. This is another area of the river we have not fished.
Below Norris Geyser Basin is Elk Park, the next large meadow area. It is easy to access from the Grand Loop Road. The fish in this section changes to mostly brown trout. You will find that you must fish this section completely different from the upper two meadows. You can't simply toss an attractor fly out and catch trout. The brown trout in this meadow, as well as the ones in the Gibbons Meadow farther downstream, are not easy to catch.
These two meandering meadow sections, and the one at the end of the Gibbon River near its confluence with the Firehole River, are much wider. They probably average from twenty to forty feet in width. One side of the stream will be shallow, using consisting of sand bars, and the other side deep right up against the undercut banks. The area against the undercut banks can be two or three feet deeper than the water that is just five or six feet out from the bank. In other words, the deepest water areas is not very wide. It will slope from the shallow side to the deep side at a fairly even slope. The banks are grassy and no trees are present along the stream.
My "Small Stream Brown Trout" DVD has a scene in it where I hook a large brown and it goes under the bank. I follow it into the deep water wading and try to reach under the undercut bank to get it out. I found out the area under the bank went back much farther than I thought. I couldn't reach the brown trout. It ended up breaking my tippet. That is not easy to take after you have fought the fish and watched it swim back and forth across the river in the clear water for a few minutes. You know you have a big fish and you try to do everything you can to keep it from doing just what it did - go under the bank. That brown was at least 18 inches, probably larger than that.
There is only three ways I have found to fish these three large meadows. One is to fish from the undercut bank side, from the bank, and make fairly long cast against the undercut banks. The second way is to fish the short riffles between the long sections of pools which usually results in small fish. The third way is to fish a hatch. Fishing a hatch offers the best opportunity to catch trout in these meadows.
The aquatic insects in the meadow sections vary in terms of species from those in the fast water sections and include some burrowing mayflies. I will discuss some of the hatches we have successfully fished in the meadows tomorrow.