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

03/30/09

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 Gallatin River - Part 6

The fishing season for Yellowstone National Park is a very short one. The
fishing season for the Gallatin River is even shorter. It is a very cold river. The
entire month of June is usually lost to the runoff. Normally it is about the first of
July before the Gallatin becomes very fishable. For some reason I have yet to
figure out, the fishing activity slows down drastically during the month of
September. At least it seems that way to us and we have tried many times to fish
the Gallatin during September. Come October, the water again becomes almost
to cold to fish. Often melting snow cools the water to temperatures in the forties.
The bottom line is that, in our opinion, is that July and August are the only two
months that provide real productive fishing activity. I am not saying that you
cannot catch trout at other times because you can. I am saying that the activity
slows down to the point that many other streams in the park offer better fishing.

During July and August, there will be several hatches that occur. I outlined most
of them in the article done yesterday. There are usually multiple hatches
occurring during the first of July. By the end of July, the hatches cease
drastically. This is probably one reason the fishing begins to slow down. All
things considered, we think the most reliable food to imitate are the terrestrial
insects. There are other reasons for this. One is the amount of available food.
The Gallatin River is not a meadow stream as such, meaning it doesn't meander
and slow down like most meadow streams. It is a fast, pool and riffle stream with
some long runs. However, the stream does run through meadows. The
meadows are just not as flat as many other meadows in the western U. S. The
banks of the stream are lined with grass and short, scrub willows. The banks are
home to many species of grass hoppers, beetles and ants.

In general the water in the river is about two and sometimes as much as three
feet below the elevation of the banks. There are numerous undercut banks and
a many areas where the grass and brush hangs out over the water. A lot of the
insects get into the water, especially when the wind blows. High winds are very
common during most of the summer afternoons. The valley is narrow and that
seems to affect the velocity of the wind. The bottom line to everything I am
contending is that one of the best ways to fish the Gallatin River is with
imitations of the terrestrials.

As I mentioned in one of the other articles, I like to walk the banks fishing in an
upstream direction. There is little need to wade the Gallatin. It isn't wide enough
anywhere in the park to require wading to cover the water. You can cast to both
banks from either bank. I normally catch up stream and allow the hopper, ant or
beetle to come back down very close to the bank if the deeper water is on the
same side of the stream I am fishing. If not, I cast up and across and let the fly
drift down along the far side bank. This requires mending the line as necessary
to prevent the cross currents from dragging the fly away from the bank. In my
opinion, this is a very productive way to fish the Gallatin River.

Copyright 2009 James Marsh
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