.............................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.

Fly Fishing the Lamar River - Part 4

The Lamar River rarely get extremely clear. It tends to be slightly off color most
of the time. I guess that is actually good. It probably makes the cutthroat less
spooky. In fact, we have caught fish in the Lamar River when it was stained to
the point there was less than a foot of visibility. It seems the trout are used to
the off-colored water to the degree that it doesn't affect them like it would affect
trout in most streams.

One one fairly recent trip to the Lamar Valley in September, we found it just the
opposite. It was very clear and low. There is an area very close to where Soda
Butte Creek enters the Lamar where there are some slow moving areas of
water. Walking the banks and scanning the water, I begin to spot several
cutthroat trout. I knew if I was to walk up to the edge of the bank, I would spook
them, so I stayed back a ways. I went upstream and moved the tripod and
camera back down to the point Angie could video my approach. I went
completely around the area of calm water, crossed the stream below the fish
about fifty yards, and proceeded up the far bank. I got about as close as I could
without spooking any of them and cast slightly upstream beyond a point I had
marked directly adjacent to the largest fish. Everything worked to perfection.
The trout sucked the dry fly in and cut out across the shallow water spooking all
the others. This is beginning to sound like a big fish story and I guess it is, so
please excuse me. It measured seventeen and one-half inches. I can remember
almost every detail of the entire event. I guess this is a story of "things that went
right on the Lamar River".

My intension with this story was to point out that when the water does get real
clear in the Lamar River, or the lower end of Soda Butte for that matter, it is a
great time to be there. You can stalk the trout like bonefish. It is usually possible
to see them to some extent but when it gets very clear, it is a real delight to cast
only fish you have preselected. We have found it that clear only on that one
occasion. The river stayed that way for several days and even though the fish
had been pounded with flies all summer long, they could still be stalked and
caught fairly easily.

The only bad part of what I am describing is that it occurred year before last (or
maybe the year before, I'm not sure off hand) when Yellowstone Park was
experiencing drought conditions. Some of the streams had to be closed during
certain hours of the day due to the low water and heat. The Northwest corner of
the park maintained cooler temperatures than most of the park. That is about
the only good thing from a fishing standpoint or any other consideration I can
think of. The weather provided Slough Creek conditions on the Lamar River. I
am certain the water levels and temperature was not good for the trout. It was
probably better for the predators that eat them during the spawn. I certainly
don't wish for those conditions to occur again.  

Copyright 2009 James Marsh
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