Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sightseeing and Fish Catching

Today we drove through the northern part of the park.  We went by Canyon Village and then on to Artist Point.  This is considered the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and is amazing.  The picture below doesn't really show how high we were or how majestic it really is.  In years past we have been there at just the right time to see a rainbow in the mist of the falls - a real privilege.  We also stopped at a little known hidden mud pot and you can see a few second video below.  They are cool things but smell of sulphur.  It is surprising how much elk sign you see around them but maybe they don't mind the odor.
We also fished this morning at Cascade Creek and caught some fish there.  Many of them were fairly small but we both caught many nice cutthroats.    


One of God's wonders - Artist Point.  We actually saw several artists trying to capture the beauty.

The first catch of the day - a little cutthroat.

Doug's first catch on this tight little stretch of the stream.

The cutthroat are beautiful in this little stream.

Here are 3-4 seconds of the mud pot action that we saw today.  These things are bubbling 24/7 - as Doug always says.


Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Sunny Saturday

No fishing today!  Doug worked in the shop tying flies and I went for a walk.  I found a shady spot right on the Yellowstone River and sat with the intention of reading my latest book.  I sat with my feet in the river and did not get much reading done.  Just a few yards up river was the site where rafts were put in for white water rafting trips.  I sat and watched these go out and bobble down the fast water.  I actually have no desire to do this.  It looks like fun is some ways but I am not interested in holding on to a boat for dear life while bobbing up and down in a river moving faster than my car.  I think I will stick to walking the shores of the rivers and getting a slow and close up look at the scenery.
After supper we met our new camping neighbors who are from Oswego.  What a small world!  Tomorrow we are going down near Canyon Village and to Artist Point - the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.  We will have lunch along the way and then hit a favorite fishing spot.


My view from my "reading" spot.

Got "Split Tails"?

Korn's Split Tail Hoppers, Crickets, Salmon & Golden Stones
Olive Hoppers? Yep the fish love them when the hoppers are on...

Folks, here are a couple of examples of the "Split Tail" fly...  We have really been doing well the last couple of days with this fly...  I really like the design as it has simple materials and a light weight body.  The fly always lands right side up and the split tails allow for a stable float.

I am sorry that I don't have a photo of the Salmon or Golden version but you can find the instructions for them below.  Good Luck and tie some up!

Hopper and Cricket


Hook: Daiichi #1720 3XL size 8-12
Thread: 6/0 to contrast with foam
Body/Head: 2mm foam cut wide as hook gap, tied in on top of hook, then wing deer hair applied and then the foam is folded over or applied separately (pink in photo)..
Options: cut/split the foam tail extending over hook bend, add a foam wrapped body (salmon fly orange body).
Wing: natural or dyed deer
Indicator: bright foam strip
Legs: Centipede Legs.


Note:
For Salmon flies: dark brown foam with an orange foam wrapped body with a mix of orange and natural deer hair.  For Goldens, yellow foam and olive, yellow or natural deer hair..... Both with split tails.

The Gardner River at the High Bridge

Our fishing trip today was on the Gardner River near the High Bridge.  We walked in on a game trail to an area a little farther in than most people go.  Walking on a game trail - elk, buffalo, wolves, and yes, bear - is not always easy.  The elk may be able to walk up and down steep hills and along steep cliffs but I am not an elk!  There were some places along the trail where we had to walk right along the edge of a steep cliff and it was a long way down.  I kept my eyes on the path to make sure of my footing and tried not to think about how high we were.  We trudged through mud that almost pulled my shoes off, waded through knee deep water and climbed over wobbly river rocks.  In the end it was worth it to see some beautiful scenes and to catch some nice fish.  I caught a very nice cutbow using a Korn's Split-tail Golden Stone dry fly.  Doug spent a lot of his time guiding me and untangling my line in some pretty heavy brush.  He did catch an awesome cutthroat toward the end of our afternoon which made it all worth while.  It was a good fishing day and I know that I will sleep well tonight! ~Michelle


The start of the game trail near High Bridge over the Gardner River.

One of the runs that proved to be a favorite for the fish and for me.

Here is the cutbow that I caught.  He is the biggest fish that I have caught so far in my fly fishing experience.

Doug pulled in a beauty of a cutthroat just at the end of our afternoon.

What a beautiful place!  There is a new vista around every turn, one more amazing than the last.

The Elk Show

We have been doing more than just fly fishing here in Gardiner.  The last couple of nights we have been sitting outside watching the "Elk Show".  We have seen at least 20 elk come strolling into the adjacent churchyard and then making their way over to the campground.  They are not afraid of people or vehicles or little white dogs that yip at them.  We just sit back, sip on a beer, and watch the show.  Many of the other campers are out too and we have met some nice people.  Friday night we went to Arch Park to see the Dead Winter Carpenters - a bluegrass band.  The weather was perfect as you can see by the blue sky.  The band was very good and the combination of good music, beautiful surroundings and good company made for a memorable night. ~Michelle


Bluegrass band playing just outside YNP.  It was a beautiful night and the music just made it even better!
This elk was right next door to our campsite.  She was eating the leaves off of the tree.

This bull elk had a harem with him all night.  They walked around the campground and the churchyard next door.

Here is our campsite and a visiting elk.  Stella was brave until one came too close and then she tried to take cover under the camper.

Here Stella got a little braver and actually acted like she wanted to play.  The elk totally ignored her and kept on eating.

The pet walk is for the campground's visiting pets but it has been full of elk the past few nights.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pocket Water...

Michelle had Yoga class this morning and I had to tie some hoppers at the shop...  But boy the weather was perfect for fishing, no wind, sunny and in the 80's.  I was chomping at the bit to get out and wet a line...

I met Chelle back at the camper for lunch.  After lunch she said she was going to take our dog, Stella for a walk thru town and then over to the high school to throw the ball for her and then find a shady spot and read her book...  She asked me if I'd like to go along or was I going to go fishing?

I hesitated, that sounded like a trick question... But she assured me that she wanted to take it easy today and that I should go if I wanted... So, I went... Am I'm a lucky guy or what?

I had great fishing in the Gardner River this afternoon.  I hiked in below Osprey Falls and had classic pocket water fishing, my favorite.  High fast water makes for tiny pockets and demands accurate casting, great fun...  I managed to catch the "Gardner Trout Slam" as we call it, consisting of a; rainbow, cutthroat, cutbow, brown and brook trout.  All-in-all the fishing and the catching was outstanding. With lots of golden stone flies flying around it didn't surprise me that the  fly of the day was a Korn's Split Tail Golden Stone.  Yeah, the fish  are look'in up!  ~ Doug

A fat Brown Trout

This Rainbow was just one of many.

My only Cutthroat of the day.

For dinner -  pizza on the grill... Does it get any better than this?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fishing Gardner's Hole

Today we fished at one of Doug's favorite places - Gardner's Hole.  It is a beautiful valley with the Gardner River winding through it.  The wind was fairly strong but we managed to catch quite a few brook trout on a coachman's trude fly.  We walked in about one and a half miles and left all of the Yellowstone traffic behind. ~ Michelle
Here is the first fish of the day - a bit small but still worth reeling in.



Doug's first catch of the day.
Fishing from the bank of the winding Gardner River.

Here is the view in just one direction while fishing today.  Notice the snow still up on the mountains.


Yeah - This is why we carry bear spray!  If bear claws can do this to tree bark just think...no- let's not!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Gardner River take... 2...

Today I fished the same stretch of the Gardner River as yesterday...
Gardner River - towards the confluence with the Yellowstone River
Gardner River - near Rescue Creek TH
But today the fish were looking up for salmon flies.  After two fish tried to eat my orange indicator on my nymphing rig I quickly changed over to a dry dropper set up with a Korn's Split Tailed Salmon Fly and a Korn's TNT Black Stone Nymph trailing about 12 inches back.  Game on, with 16 fish brought to hand in 3 hours of rock hopping and difficult casting in high winds.  Most of the fish were caught on the Split Tailed Salmon Fly including; Cutthroats, Browns, Rainbows and Cutt-bows. 

First Cutthroat of the trip.
A dandy Brown Trout
Cutt-Bow
Also, I saw a beaver on the Gardner today.  It stopped on a rock about 10 feet in front of me, then swam and floated 3 feet from the rock I was standing on heading downstream towards the Yellowstone River...  It was a smaller beaver about 2 feet long counting his flat tail.  I wish I could have gotten a photo...  I can only guess he was displaced from the upper stretches of the river and was pushed along by the very fast currents.  You just never know what you are going to see in Yellowstone Country. ~ Doug.



Locals

Here are some of the local critters that are around camp from time to time..... They are not even afraid of the dog!

Mule Deer
Elk
The End... for now...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Fishing the lower Gardner today...

This morning I checked in at the shop (Parks Fly Shop) and then got my truck over to the Tire Iron garage here in town for an oil change.  Richard Parks and head guide Walter Wiese asked me if I would do a little guiding for them while I'm out here for the next month.  I said I would.... one day a week.

Michelle was going to walk down into town later on after lunch and do some shopping.  So after getting the truck back, grabbing a quick lunch with Chelle and gearing up, I headed for the lower Gardner River to give it a go...

The Salmon flies and Golden Stones are flying about but the fish are not looking up yet.  My fellow guides told me that nymphs were working well.  I also had a short conversation with Matt Minch, our local fly fishing guru. He said to go with the "action nymphs" that's a "Matt's Golden Stone" and a "Matt's Bead Hare and Copper", so that's what I started with and stayed with for the two hours of fishing I did.  Two hours was enough to take me up my local beat.  Over the last three years I have been fishing this stretch of river after work from 6-8 pm. or so and I know every hole very well.

It was HOT ~ 94 degrees and very windy.  As I started fishing I could tell that someone had recently fished ahead of me, no matter I pressed on.  Even with the high fast water I was able to land 7 of 11 fish.  I had several fish on but only for a couple of seconds with the wind, fast currents and two heavy nymphs as-well-as an indicator my line control was a bit rusty.

All in all a nice outing - but the heat, Jerry the heat!  ~ that's for you Seinfeld fans ~ Doug.

Here are a couple of photos:
A nice brown trout was the first fish of the day... also the first catch on my new Orvis Hydros 6 wt. fly rod.
Later on I picked up this nice rainbow on a bead-hare-copper nymph. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

First Fishing Day

Our first day of fishing was beautiful!  We hiked in to a spot that Doug calls Soldier Rock Canyon.  He didn't tell me that it was down a huge, steep, tree littered hill.  The walk in was worth the vista!  We had the whole river to ourselves.  The water was running very fast and high with a difficult casting wind which was not in our favor since we were casting upstream.  Even so, we each caught 5 fish - rainbows and brookies. We had a great day even with the grueling climb back out of this canyon - but hey, I did it! ~Michelle 
Doug found this elk antler at the top of Soldier Rock Canyon.  He is clearly leading the Antler Roundup competition!

Soldier Rock guarding the river.  Notice how steep this is!!

First fish of the day - a little rainbow - he took a Coachman Trude.

Lunch time next to the river - gorgeous!

55 Dougie with his first catch of our YNP trip.

Doug gave me lesson in nymphing (which is a different kind of fly fishing) the deep pools using an indicator rig.  I caught a brook trout and had a large rainbow on that was about 12 inches that got away (of course).  Bummer!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Our Last Leg to Gardiner, Montana.

Yesterday we left Rapid City, SD and drove through part of Wyoming and then through Montana to Gardiner.  We had great weather for the entire day except for the last hour.  Montana is big sky country and you can see several different weather systems around you at the same time.  This rain system had some powerful lightning with it.  Luckily it stopped in time for us to set up camp.
Today is laundry day and time to get some food in the pantry.  Doug is getting all our gear ready for the first fishing trip tomorrow.  It is so nice to have my own personal guide ~ Michelle



Here is our campsite for the next month.  We are just up on the side of a small mountain in Gardiner, MT.

Here is a view of the thriving metropolis of Gardiner from our campground.  We will be doing a lot of walking up and down hills to town and back.

Another view from our campground including the Yellowstone River below us.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mount Rushmore

It was a perfect day today!  Blue sky, less than 100 degrees, lots of beautiful scenery, and tours of interesting monuments.  We started out at Mount Rushmore and spent time there on a Ranger's walk.  We walked along and listened to the interesting story of the monument and the artist behind it all.  This thing is huge and I can't imagine working up there all day hanging from a rope.  It took 14 years to complete and was only stopped because of the death of Gutzon Bolgar - the sculptor.

A perfect day for a visit with the presidents.


We also visited the Crazy Horse monument which is still in progress after 60 plus years.  It is essentially being done by a handful of people from the artist's family.  It is much bigger than Mt. Rushmore.  There is a great facility there dedicated to Native Americans and their cultures.  We had a great day and we are ready for the final leg of our journey to Gardiner, MT tomorrow.

This is the Crazy Horse Monument in progress.

Doug is in front of the sculptor's model and you can see the actual one in the background.