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

03/16/09

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 the Lamar River - Part 5

I have mentioned in a couple of previous articles that Angie caught a lot of
cutthroat trout from this one particular section of the Lamar River. It occurred to
me that I may have inferred that the fish tend to located in certain spots in the
river or remain in certain areas throughout the season. Right the opposite of
that is probably a better description of what goes on with the trout. It is different
than many streams in that the trout seem to move around a lot. You may catch
some in one area of the stream on one day and not be able to on the next day.
This one location I have referred to is an exception. It is the only place we have
ever been able to consistently catch them and that may have just been a long
string of luck.  

The best way to fish the river is to search for the fish. I am assuming it has its
normal slightly off colored water and that you cannot easily spot the trout. We
always work upstream trying to cover the water from the banks. Wading will slow
you down and isn't necessary in most cases. You can normally cast far enough
to get the fly in the areas of the stream you want to check or at least most of
them. We often use a tandem fly rig doing this. We will drop a nymph from a
hopper, for example. It is a good idea to cover the water fairly quickly because
you may fish a stretch a hundred yards long and not catch a trout and then hit
any area where you can catch several. I am not sure what seems to move these
trout. Maybe it is just the environment they live in and the changes the water
undergoes during the year. It is a very harsh environment. They must find water
with enough depth not to freeze during the long, cold winters and they must find
food during the short season the water is warm. Of course the spawn occurs
during this short season and that is a factor that moves them from one location
to another. Out of the twelve months of the year, the fish in the Lamar Valley
probably only spend three to four months in water warm enough for them to
need to eat a lot of food. The other eight to nine months of the years is spent in
very cold water when the need for food is minimal. They have a very short
growing season.

During the spawning cycle, the cutthroats are also part of the food chain for
birds and animals in the park. I have read and talked to park officials about the
lack of cutthroats in the Yellowstone Lake area which is causing a problem with
the food supply for the bears and other animals and birds in the area. That is a
big factor in the park's concern with the low number of cutthroats in Yellowstone
Lake. In case you are not familiar, the Yellowstone Lake cutthroat population,
and upper Yellowstone River and other tributary streams of the lake population
during the spawning migration, has been depleted to a dangerous point by the
non-native lake trout. That problem doesn't exist in the Lamar Valley, of course,
but it does illustrate that the trout are an important food supply for other
animals. This fact they are may have something to do with their seemingly
constant movement in the Lamar River. What seems to be the hot spot one day
usually isn't the next day.


Copyright 2009 James Marsh
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