.............................Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park

02/12/09

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.

Fly Fishing Nez Perce Ford

Although it has nothing to do with it, It occurred to me that while I was writing
about Nez Perce, that I may as well write about Nez Perce Ford on the
Yellowstone River. Nez Perce Ford Picnic area used to be called Buffalo Ford. It
is possible to ford the river there. Sand and gravel bars are very shallow in the
area.

This one area of the Yellowstone River has probably seen more anglers than
any area in Yellowstone National Park. The first time we were there was on
opening day for the Yellowstone River, July 15, several years ago. It was our
first time to fish the river. When we got there, early in the morning, there was
already a very large crowd gathered around the parking areas and in the river
fishing. I remember standing in one place and counting over forty people fishing
in sight and there were many more.

I didn't know what to do. It looked like there was no place to fish. Angie and I got
our video equipment and fly gear together and started downstream but as soon
as we got to where we could see a ways down the river, we discovered it didn't
get any better. Finally a gentlemen walked up and started talking to us about
our video equipment. He was a local guy. When I say local, I mean a guy from
Livingston. He had caught two cutthroats just after daybreak but had not caught
another one during his last couple of hours of fishing. We were discussing the
crowd and asking his advice on what to do. The basic answer he gave was for
us to just join the others. I felt very uncomfortable in doing that, so we moved
over to a clear area on the river bank and just sit and watched. Every once in a
while we would see someone hooked up to a fish but it was rare.

Within a hour or so, we managed to find an area clear enough that I felt like I
wasn't intruding on someone else's water and I waded out into the stream to
make a few cast. I had been advised as to how to fish the river at that particular
location. The only problem was, I could not find a fish. I could see a rather large
area around me quite clearly but I didn't see a fish. I came back out of the water
and we packed up and moved to a different location.

I have been back to the same area many times. I have not been back on
opening day though. One time is enough of that experience. I have caught some
nice trout fishing the same area everyone was fishing that day. After about a
week, the crowds thin out. By September there are few anglers around. Of
course, there are usually only a few fish around but at least you can cast without
hooking someone.

Copyright 2009 James Marsh
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