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

05/03/09


Fly Fishing the Gardner River - Fishing Tales - Part  3

We have caught the salmonfly hatch on the Gardner only a few times. Our video
tape logs don't reveal what was hatching unless we happen to tape some of the
bugs that are hatching. The times we didn't, we were fishing the hatch at other
places such as the Madison River outside the park or other streams in the
nearby general area. As I said in a previous article, the Gardner River provides
a perfect habitat for stoneflies.

One particular trip I remember was on an occasion when we were staying at
West Yellowstone and just drove over to the Gardner to check it out. The local
fly shops were reporting salmonflies hatching there. They were dead on track
that time. Not only salmonflies but a host of other insects were hatching,
including Golden Stoneflies. We stopped at the parking lot at the 45 parallel
sign on the North Entrance Road and proceeded to fish upstream. First we
started just downstream of the parking lot. Between the starting point and the
bridge we managed to catch several nice trout on the surface using a salmonfly
imitation. That is a short section of water so we decided to work on upstream
past the bridge. The walkway was very crowded with tourist. We were asked a
lot of questions by various people. We were the only ones with a fly rod and
waders on. One lady even asked it there were fish in the stream. Trout were
crashing salmonflies and probably Golden Stoneflies too, all the way up the river.

We went quite a ways just to get away from the crowds. Again, it was instant
results. The fishing was fantastic. The only thing about it that some may not like
is the fact the average fish isn't but about 12 inches or so. We caught some that
reached 14 inches but not many. All in all Angie and I probably caught about
thirty trout (fishing one at a time) in about three hours of fishing. That is not bad
especially when they were all taken on the surface.

It also isn't bad considering that a couple of years before that, fishing the same
exact stretches of water, we only managed to catch three or four in about the
same time. The fish drove us crazy that day. It wasn't that the salmonflies were
not laying eggs because they were. The fish would just smack at the flies.
Sometimes they would actually knock them out of the water. We just couldn't
hook them. That is not an unusual occurrence. It happens when the fish are full
of salmonflies, not from the adults but from the nymphs. Usually when this
happens it is early in the egg laying process and you can return to the same
water a day or two later and catch plenty of trout.

Copyright 2009 James Marsh
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