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


Catching Yellowstone Trout in Cold Water - Part 11
Continued from yesterday....
The next day we picked out a new section of the river to fish where I wouldn't
have anyone looking at me like I was a greenhorn. Within the first hour, using
his flies and method of fishing, I caught two brown trout, both over fourteen
inches. Angie tied the flies on for me simply because I couldn't see them well
enough to tie them on even with my reading glasses on. Later, I found out they
were a hook size 24. We had to purchase 7X tippet material. We didn't even own
any at the time. Anything larger would not have gone through the eye of the
hooks in his flies.

Early in the afternoon, at the head of a long, slow moving pool, I begin to catch
more fish. The largest two went twenty-four and twenty-six inches respectively. I
lost two or three that were probably that large that same day. What I learned
during the next few days we fished the San Juan River, was that big fish will eat
tiny midges. Now, I must add, that if you pick up a double hand full of bottom
from the San Juan River, and examine it carefully, you will see hundreds of
midge larvae. The trout lie on, or very near the bottom, in slow to moderately
moving water, and apparently eat them like we eat popcorn. That is about all
there are for the trout to eat in the San Juan River. There are few hatches of
aquatic insects.

I have taken up a lot of time to tell a big fishing story, but I wanted to make a
point. Big trout will eat tiny midge larvae, pupae or adult midges. After that
experience, we begin to fish midges just about every where we fished for trout.
What we found was that it doesn't matter if you are fishing the San Juan River,
the Yellowstone River, or any other stream, trout will eat them. It also doesn't
matter what time of year you fish them. What we also discovered was that
landing a fish on 7x tippet and tiny midge flies was really not that difficult. The
biggest problem is just maintaining a constant, steady pressure on the fish. It
doesn't need to be any more than about two-thirds of the breaking strength of
the tippet. One important thing you must have is a good drag on your reel. It
needs to be adjustable in very fine increments. If it is rough, it won't maintain an
even, constant pressure. It will vary depending on the whelms of the reel. You
need as good of a fly reel as you can get, even for normal size trout. The other
important item is the fly rod itself. Flexible tips, or slow to moderate actions, help
protect the light tippets. You don't want to use a stiff tip rod such as you would
use for nymph fishing. The only other important point I need to make is that the
San Juan River generally doesn't have much of anything for the fish to hang
your line or leader on. Its a fairly clean bottom river. Fighting fish in heavy cover,
or in a stream with sharp rocks and such, would be a problem.

Copyright 2009 James Marsh