HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY
I hope this works. I’m sweltering in the hopper-laden meadows of Slough Creek. This post should appear at noon on July 4, 2007. I’ll find out when I get back. Have a safe and joyous celebration of our independence.
I CAUGHT THEM ALL
The weekend was a shameless retreat from the new project and the occasionally dreary task of reading resumes. My normal “shooting session” was abandoned, the computer was mostly turned off, (is that bad for them?) and all food was commercial, overpriced, palatable, but quick and convenient.
The weather was just too nice and the park is beautiful, but drying out very fast. I visited the Firehole and the Madison. There were some hatches of caddis flies and I managed to catch a bunch of fish with my caddis fly imitations. Both the fish and the flies were small. The biggest fish I caught on Saturday was a 12″ whitefish. It even jumped as I was pulling it in. Steve says that they don’t jump – oh well.
Late on Saturday there was a hatch of small mayflies near the picnic area on the Firehole. I used my little trico flies and caught about a dozen fish – all about 8″ – 10″ and very lively. Steve took a picture of my brown trout. It’s a shame that these fish are not native, they sure are wild though.
Sunday morning I called mom and we talked about Dad and how he always wanted to fish in Yellowstone. I told her about the fish and she said that I should have a good time and enjoy the weather. She may come up again in the Fall and we can go on one of our “Pack Trips.” I pack and she trips, (see last year’s trip to Joffee Lake – 1 – 2.)
Sunday was very bright and warm. I drove all the way to the pullout for the Kepler Cascades and walked along the trail to Lone Star Geyser. It’s shady and pleasant. There are not many fishermen, but there are a lot of tourists. There was a stupid couple with a black lab that kept running and barking and jumping in the upper Firehole. There was one fisherman that really chewed them out because they were ignoring the leash law of Yellowstone. Where’s a cop when you need one?
The upper Firehole is very cold here and the fish are small, but there sure are a lot of them. I just ignored the screaming kids and the loud bikers and fished. It’s easy to get to the river and there is a bridge so you don’t have to wade if you don’t want to. There are a lot of flies in the air and they look like good fish food. There were some caddis and some mayflies. I used all five of the patterns that I brought and they all worked. I’d like to say that the ’52 Buick was the best but it was just the same as the bead head fly nymph.
The foot and bicycle traffic along the trail are easily as heavy as when I was fishing at lake Cachuma back in Santa Barbara. It feels just like fishing in a city park; the fish are more cooperative in Yellowstone though. The tourists stopped during the little hail storm about one O’clock, but the came back soon after – just like the flies.
It was about five O’clock when I left and drove down to the pull out at seven mile bridge. The only bison that I saw was near the National Park Meadows. I stopped because there were a lot of flies smashing into my window, and there was no one fishing there. I caught one little rainbow and then the mosquitoes started to bite.
I got home about nine O’clock and hit the shower. I was tired but did not feel like I’d exercised much. So, it’s early and I can run some before breakfast.
I’M TAKING HIS ’52 BUICK AND FLY ROD FISHING
Steve tells me that the fishing has been great in Yellowstone. I’m going to spend two days fishing. I only know how to tie one fly, and it’s kind of messy. But it catches fish. It’s called a ’52 Buick. It looks like a lot of the nymphs used around here, and I have a bunch of them.
My new camera is on the fritz again – operator error. So I searched the web for a picture of the ’52 Buick. The only one that looks like the one that Dad tied is from British Columbia.
I found it at “THE FLYSHOP” site. It’s a place where they make custom fly rods and flies. There are some other sites that have flies that look similar, (STS Guiding Service in British Columbia, and Washington State University TV, they have a page showing all the flies on the Open Media Network (OMN) – it’s kind of interesting.
I’m also taking some of “John’s Old Flies“ they worked in the early Spring and he says they work everywhere. I don’t know if they have a name, so I just call them John’s Old Flies. He did say that they are the Nation’s Sedge, whatever that means.
I went to the fly shop to buy some flies so I could see what the real ones looked like. When I asked for a ’52 Buick they all giggled at the silly girl. Of course they never heard of the fly so it didn’t exist. It’s funny how a “professional” in the fly fishing industry deals with women. Silly ego’s and new-found expertise greeted me from the pimply faced youths that arrived here three weeks ago. They spoke gibberish, tried to sell me other flies, and failed to hear what I was saying. I’m not going back to that shop: there’s plenty to choose from here.
Now, I’m not an expert fly fishing person. But I’ve spent more time on the rivers that they were telling me all about – and they’d never even seen them. I pity the tourists that come here and expect to get some good information. Folklore at best – third hand! Bah, Humbug.
I’m also taking some of my favorite bead head nymphs because they look so cute and work real good. I’m going to try to catch some fish on the dry flies that everybody around here uses.
The guys at the bar gave me some Elk Hair Caddis and some Trico Spinners. The caddis are good because they float for a long time. The trico flies are used for the little bugs – they said it didn’t much matter what kind they were, just that they were about the right size – these are real small; hook size 18 and 20.
My fly box is full of the flies that I’ve collected from California. They don’t look much like the flies around here. Here the fish seem to prefer very small flies. I guess it’s a matter of how long the winter lasts. The only big flies are the stone fly types, and some of them are giant. I guess if you’re a trout it’s feast or famine. So, I’m getting a box for just Yellowstone flies.
Dad’s rods are bamboo, (I have a few of them,) but this was his favorite. I use it most of the time. It’s an eight weight and they tell me it’s too heavy for the fishing around here – works fine. It doesn’t have many chips in it and the colors of the silk thread are just beautiful. It’s turning dark orange and Steve says that it ought to be refinished. I’ll probably just get me a new one when this one wears out.
Dad would be proud that I got dressed first thing. I’m going to run a bit, have a late – late lunch and then go to the park for this evening’s fishing. The weather has been very gentle for this time of year. The rains and thundershowers have not materialized like they ought to and the drought is getting worse. The rivers look low, even to me, and I’ve only been here for about a year.
Dad always said that low water was the hardest to fish; the folks around here don’t seem to think so – I’ll find out: with Dad’s ’52 Buick and bamboo rod.
AN UNHOLY ALLIANCE
I wonder how many people are going to get sucked into the pie-in-the-sky promises that are being spewed by Secretary Kempthorne and Director Bomar. You can read about the great things promised at National Parks Traveler (Here and Here and Here.) The rhetoric is splendid.
If there is anything that is apparent from the great and glorious promises being made, it is that these guys know nothing about that which they are talking. If they believe that the parks are going to be known as “America’s best classrooms” then they better start concentrating on the ecology and not the critters. Fat Chance Sister.
If they intend to restore native habitats they are going to have to remove all the fish above Firehole Falls and all but the grayling above Gibbon Falls, FATTER CHANCE! You can bet that their rhetoric is as hollow as the interior of a balloon. Neither Corporate America, nor the American Public, nor the NPS want to restore native habitats. What they all want is a picture postcard to retreat into: SCIENCE BE DAMNED!
I’ll bet a nickel that they will never address the problems caused by introduced trout in the Firehole River, the Gibbon River, and Slough Creek; including the destruction of native fauna that these fish cause. I’ll bet another nickel that they will find a project funded by “sportsmen & other interested parties” to enhance the fishing for introduced fish in many National Parks – especially Yellowstone. I’ll bet a third nickel that Dirk Kempthorne and Mary Bomar will avoid any effort to follow scientific inquiry. I’ll even bet a fourth nickel that a pile of supposedly concerned individuals and organizations will be seduced by the money. While I’m at it, I’ll make it an even quarter that there is no money or project that deals with global warming and the inevitable changes in the next century – ‘Centennial Initiative’ – BAH HUMBUG!
Go ahead Ms. Bomar, count the birds and thermophiles. Go ahead and remove the boardwalks that inhibit thermal feature discharge. Go ahead and follow science that says that the Firehole River would be better off without the introduced and invasive trout that sustain the multi million dollar tourist fishing industry. Go ahead and cull the bison herd to save the range. Go ahead and remove the dam that is preventing the calcification of Suzanne’s house. Go Ahead and re-align the road [again] so that the discharge from Beryl Spring is natural. Go ahead and restrict the geyser gazers from tromping around in restricted thermal areas. Go ahead and follow science to the detriment of visitation and tourist dollars – I dare you!
Go ahead and talk about snowmobiles and ignore the enormous and gaseous clouds of summertime diesel tour buses. Go ahead and ignore pollution in favor of winter whiners and increased visitation. Go ahead and celebrate the birthday of the NPS, maybe another 100 years and you’ll get it right.
Girlfriend, I promise that we are about to see the dashing of principles against the overwhelming flood of private money.
At least one thing is true: private money will line up to get a piece of this pie. Well, another thing is also true, park administrations across the land will eagerly line up, flat hat in hand, to get the money to increase visitation – no matter what they have to do. And, it’ll be worse by far than turning the parks over to DISNEY.
THOU SHALT NOT SPEAK EVIL OF THESE
When it comes to reporting about Yellowstone National Park they have a long list of topics that they cannot report about. They have, after all, advertising and public sentiment to deal with. The scribes, either through fear or ignorance refuse to address the problems caused by the Sacred Cows of Yellowstone.
Reporting about Yellowstone is also fraught with pitfalls propagated by the NPS. The NPS has fostered a picture of perfection to be projected about the park – after all, it’s their job as chief cheerleader. But a few honest remarks about the problems in Yellowstone would go a long way toward correcting them. Horror of horrors – tell the truth.
Currently it’s the Sacred Bison that these sages of the press are skating around. They have not addressed the bison policy, overpopulation, or the destruction that the bison do to the Yellowstone prairies or the environment in general.
Worry not about the poor little babies. Worry about Yellowstone National Park. Reduce the herd to a size that is in keeping with honest preservation of the environment and the ecology of Yellowstone.
However, you can bet that many local reporters will continue to use unprofessional inflammatory language when protecting this sacred cow – it generates readership and advertising. After all, Shakespeare played to the crowd, [For some sane and non-inflammatory reporting read Glenn Hockett.]
The SACRED ELK is another scourge of the Yellowstone incubation mentality. They are raised on invasive grasses in Mammoth. They are so habituated that they lounge on the lawns and the old parade grounds. The park administration does not ticket visitors, (see Sacred Rules and Sacred Rangers below,) nor do they consider the plight of these critters that are rapidly losing their wild nature. (See 2004 video of elk charging and goring visitor.)
Another is the SACRED DIESEL TOUR BUS; a conveyance that does nothing to enhance the visitor experience that the NPS is always talking about. It slows traffic, crowds roads, blocks vistas, and spews carcinogens and other pollution into the atmosphere of the park. It is far worse for Yellowstone and its visitors than a few snowmobiles. This sacred cow should never be attacked because it generates enormous amounts of revenue and concurrently herds humans into manageable groups.
Too, the SACRED MOTOR HOME; with four wealthy humans taking up the space that 40 less affluent humans use in the tour bus. These $200,000 – or much more behemoths, are usually pulling a $50,000 Hummer [or some such.] This travesty of the roadway has double immunity because it is also the preferred mode of transportation for the seasonal help that Xanterra & Delaware North hire. These monsters are also allowed preferred parking in the park campgrounds, denying visitors space. Mention it not!
Then, the SACRED EMPLOYEE PUB, is verboten. This is akin to the military providing slot machines to the troops and fostering gambling addictions. Could this be happening with alcohol in Yellowstone? Heaven forbid. Don’t let the public know about this.
And mention not the SACRED GEYSER GAZERS that are allowed special access to off-trail areas and thermal features. Sign up and you too can leave your footprints and ball caps in the mud.
Don’t dare to explore the activities of the SACRED SKIERS. These bota-totin’, off-trail-shoutin’, skinny-dipping denizens that supposedly are much nicer to the park than the average winter visitor are the darlings of journalists and bloggers alike. Gimme a break. The SACRED BICYCLISTS are also saints and never go off trail or stress the fauna by getting too close. Both of these groups of saints are protected by the Sacred Rules and Sacred Rangers, (see below.) Fear the wrath of ‘greenies’ if you tell the truth about either of these two cows.
By no means investigate the SACRED RULES that allow visitors to move closer to bison and elk than to bears; despite the fact that more visitors [in their stupidity] are harmed by bison and elk than bears. And certainly don’t mention the SACRED RANGERS that refuse, (by order,) to issue tickets for these infractions against the bison and the elk. This is law enforcement tempered by the almighty tourist dollar.
The SACRED BOMBARDIER is a genuine offense to reason, environmental sanity, fiscal responsibility, and public safety. Don’t honestly report on these cows of the winter landscape – you’ll incur the wrath of moneyed visitor interests and motorized recreationists across the country.
The most egregious sin of the Yellowstone Hacks is their failure to recognize the travesty of the SACRED FLY FISHERMAN. These ‘sportsmen’ are backed by both park personnel and the giant fly fishing industry. The park has rules to enable the destruction of streams in order to placate this cow. The ‘incubator mentality’ is best viewed in the realm of fishing and the stocking history of the NPS. It’s time to fix this!
Without the SACRED FLY FISHERMAN, and his commercial lobby, the New Zealand Mud Snail would not be in Yellowstone. Without the SACRED FLY FISHERMAN the previously pristine Firehole River would be allowed to produce its native mayflies, stone flies, midges, and caddis flies in a natural fashion; without the depredation of non-native species. But these creatures have no cheerleaders, (nor does Yellowstone’s ecology.) So, the fly fisherman is allowed to keep his invasive trout, introduced from afar. Enhance the visitor experience at the expense of the native species.
The Yellowstone fishing regulations encourage; nay, facilitate destruction of park resources by mandating “torture and release” of invasive species. This is blatant disregard for the intent of preservation of the park resources. But, without the SACRED FLY FISHERMAN many dollars would be lost by the preservation and restoration of a once beautiful stream. Hacks don’t dare address this – they fish. And so does Brad Pitt – bring on the rationalizations for avoiding this topic.
There are many others of course. But there is far too little jaundice in the eyes of the regional hacks. They too have bought into the Picture-Perfect-Yellowstone myth. Conventional wisdom always wins – no matter how wrong – just look at the political and environmental mess our parks are in.
Other Sacred Cows that are running rampant in Yellowstone include: the SACRED TOUR GUIDE, the SACRED PARKING VIOLATOR, the SACRED SEASONAL RANGER, the SACRED WOMAN SUPERINTENDENT, the SACRED BUILDING CLUTTER, the SACRED SLUMS OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, the SACRED BUILDING BOOM AND THE ATTENDANT WASTE DISPOSAL PROBLEMS INCLUDING SEWAGE, and many, many, more.
Just what has happened to investigative journalism in our National Parks? Or do the American Public not want to know? This is worse than Fantasy Land.
BREED PROTECTED ANIMALS & DAMN THE CONSEQUENCES
I knew it would come to this. I just didn’t want to say it for fear that I would be accused of being an alarmist – which I’m not.
The breeding factory that is Yellowstone has finally produced results that are making the cheerleaders and whiners very happy. Now that the park has produced too many bison for the forage, it is trucking them back into the park to destroy what little grass is left. These bison no more belong in Yellowstone than they do in your back yard – or do they? Bless the whiners and bless the cheerleaders.
Soon the migratory Bison of Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho will join the Welfare Elk of Jackson in a perfect charade of stupidity.
The cheerleaders have taken giant steps toward diluting wild genes in the Bison Herd – three cheers for them!
If the “managers” want ‘wild’ bison they should look to Wind Cave National Park for a sane model. The park was established to protect a cave, (Yellowstone for the geological curiosities,) then it was expanded to preserve and restore prairie, (Yellowstone devoted its prairies to the incubator,) then the ecosystem was evaluated and a few bison, (disease-free from Yellowstone,) were added.
Wind Cave National Park looks to the ecological intricacies required to manage a system. It culls Bison. It culls Prairie Dogs. It is conscious of the fact that visitors don’t always get to see the bison – so what? It is managing an ecosystem to the best of it’s ability – can Yellowstone and it’s incubator mentality say the same?
The USFWS recognized just how good an incubator Yellowstone was when they introduced wolves. They had an end game in mind and it is being played out now as surrounding human populations are beginning to take responsibility for these migratory animals.
Yellowstone has allowed the incubator to pump out elk, (laden with brucellosis,) and the surrounding humans love it – hunting dollars are big in Montana and Wyoming and Idaho – the cattlemen aren’t screaming about the elk; now are they? [But perhaps they should be!]
Grizzly bears have taken a bit longer, but the Craighead’s predictions of the 60’s and 70’s (Review,) have come true. They are finding habitat in Grand Teton Park, (and becoming habituated to vehicles and humans in the process.)
The Greater Yellowstone Coalition suggests a sensible plan to deal with migratory bison — don’t just pretend the bison are wild and keep pumping them out and trucking them back to eat the rapidly disappearing forage. Treat them like the critter we would like them to be. In their own words:
In Montana, big game species such as elk, moose, big horn sheep, mountain goats, mountain lions, and bears thrive because their habitat and conservation is supported by hunting. We can enjoy similar success with bison.
Boy oh boy, watch the whiners and cheerleaders scream about this.
And, while we’re at it, let’s remind the “managers” in Yellowstone that they are encouraging the destruction of streams by invasive and introduced fish such as The German Brown Trout, The Loch Leven Brown Trout, The McCloud River Rainbow Trout, and other fish that the commercial interests want to remain in the rivers.
There is a catastrophe brewing in streams such as The Firehole, The Gibbon, The Madison, The Lamar, Soda Butte, and Slough Creek.
The Yellowstone River and Yellowstone Lake are already badly, if not fatally, degraded. There is not a fly shop within 500 miles of Yellowstone National Park that cares one whit about preservation and restoration of native species. They care about $$$$ and the fish incubator that the American Public maintains.
Did you know that Yellowstone National Park protects destructive, introduced, invasive species with it’s catch and release regulations on the Firehole River. How does that protect our natural heritage? It just protects and subsidizes the private fishing industry and a group of snobs that would rather catch foreign fish than American fish.
Do You Really think that it’s the fish or the fishing that the fishermen care about? Let’s see a meaningful alliance between Fly Fishermen, Suzanne Lewis, Mary Bomar and Dirk Kempthorne to; as Kempthorne said:
“By the Park Service’s 100th birthday, the President’s Centennial Initiative will have provided significant resources to restore and better protect the parks’ natural, cultural and historic resources.”
Let’s restore the Firehole River and it’s tributaries, above Firehole Falls, to the way they were before there was a National Park. We have the technology, it would cost less than a new visitor center, it would be “natural.”
Now there is a meaningful bit of work for the National Park Service. Far better than trucking bison back to a rapidly changing and degraded forage base. But the fly fishing cheerleaders and whiners are just as blind as the others.
Sisters, if the American public wants Tame Bison, Denuded Prairies, Sick Elk, Habituated Wolves and Grizzles, along with Artificial Streams and Foreign Pet Fish – so be it. Just don’t run to me when your children ask you what Yellowstone used to be like before global warming.
After all these are National Parks, and the cheerleaders and whiners are always talking about public opinion as if it were right.
THERE’S SO MUCH MORE THAN FISH
There were buffalo and elk and tourists and fishermen and rangers and smog and honking horns and tour buses and all of the good things that make Memorial Day Weekend such a joy in Yellowstone.
I talked to some women who felt that the crowds detracted from their experience, but they went along because their husband’s just wouldn’t miss the chance to be first on the river.
I suppose that’s important. I was about number 200. I caught some fish and I enjoyed the beautiful weather. The temperature was just perfect if you found the right patch of shade.
A nice fisherman in pretty blue waders told me that the Blue Wing Olives and March Browns were hatching and that I needed to use his special fly. I asked him what it was and he said it was a Midge imitation that he invented himself. It was so small that I had trouble getting it on the tippet.
I didn’t catch any fish with it. It didn’t float too well. I did catch a real nice trout on a Prince Nymph that was about 1/2 inch long – size eight or ten; I’m not real good at this yet. I found a neat web page that is written by a local kid that has good information about the Firehole River. It’s called “Firehole River” at Yellowstone National Park.com.
The baby trout were very hungry and I caught a bunch of them. After a bit, I went to the car to get my camera so I could take a picture. What a jinx that was. But I did get a nice baby trout picture of a fish caught by a fisherman from Utah.
I’m going to wait until the end of the week before I go back. There are just too many cars, and the kid at the fly shop said that we should have a slow week starting about Friday.
There’s been a lot of talk about the “grizzly bear expert” that was mauled by mom while defending her cub. And gee, he was only three miles from the road and alone and in the Springtime, and in bear country, and he’d been mauled before – a genuine expert at getting mauled!
There’s an article that I wish I’d written: An Open Letter To Jim Cole, Grizzly Expert. (Once He Gets Out Of The Hospital.)