Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Summer's Last Dance

The Indian summer held out as long as it could, but Ma Nature has finally hit us with a dose of reality, the snow is flying in SW Montana today and the highs are half of what they were just a day or two ago. Personally I feel that the shift in weather couldn't have come at a better time. I'd been hoping for a break from the steady pattern of bright, warm days. I'm leaving for an exploratory trout fishing trip to a remote portion of MT this weekend and welcome an assist from the weather.

That said, I'm glad I got in one last blast of summer fishing before the sudden transition hit. A few days ago I had a chance to spend some time on the Yellowstone River under bright, blue skies fishing terrestrial and attractor dries. For all intents and purposes that was the last chance to do so for a good 10 months, unless a trip to the southern hemisphere is in the cards.

I longed to hike into the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone, and the Gardner River looked awfully tempting as I made my way to and from a soak in the Boiling River, but I was too cheap to buy a fishing license for the park this year. I got as close as possible, starting my day's fishing just outside of the national park on a nice little stretch of water below the mouth of the Gardner River. Here I found good numbers of rainbows in the 10- to 14-inch range, fish that rocketed from deep runs and holes to slam PMX and Grand Hopper patterns. I had opportunities at larger fish, but apparently they'd become connoisseurs of foam flies over the course of the summer, rudely refusing my offerings on this day. Had I been willing to send a tandem of nymphs deep into the river I would likely have found her larger denizens, but there are plenty of long months ahead to use such tactics; this day was all about the rise.

Over the course of the day I worked my way down river, sight-fishing for a couple of nice cutts along the rocky edges of Yankee Jim Canyon, getting skunked at Emigrant and finally picking up a few rainbows above Pine Creek. I couldn't have scripted a better way to close out a great summer season on an amazing freestone river.

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