Without Dad


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. 52-buick.jpgIt 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.

nations sedgeI’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.

bead head prince

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. elk-hair-caddis.jpgThe trico flies are used for the little bugs – they said it didn’t much matter what kind they were, just that little-trico.jpgthey 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 bmbooo.jpgsilk 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.

Well, I slept in this morning, called mom and made a few other phone dad-00.jpgcalls, and sat at the computer for a while.

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.

How I Got Sucked Into The Monitor


After a brief and cold jog around town, and after a hearty breakfast I plopped in front of the computer and promised myself that the draft summary report would be completed by this evening.

Ahhhh the best laid . . . just a quick look at my Bloglines page, a couple of innocent clicks, BAM! What a site!

thundercloud-by-graham-owens.jpgGO SOLAR – the home page hints at little that is most fascinating at this location. In fact there is no mention of the beauty on the page. Stealth led me to some photographs. For me, the fascination was first awakened on that page: a beautiful thunderhead cloud viewed from the air.

macro-of-orange-firefly-by-graham-owen.jpgThen, there it was, the most amazing photos of flies: real, faux, decorative, artistic, and flying, and battling, and I was hooked. If you are at all interested in fantastic creativity visit the Photography and Fly pages of Graham Owen. {CLICK ON THE PHOTOS – IT’S WORTH IT!}

orange-dragonflies-interacting-2-by-graham-owens.jpgSome of the flies fool flies. An epic battle is illustrated between dragonflies. The faux fly, just anchored to the twig, is mercilessly pounded by the soaring bug, — I was sucked in.

9-three-flies-by-graham-owen.jpgThe real dragonfly even attacked a faux fly to remove an imitation fly for food – survival of the most aggressive. I was sucked even deeper into the monitor.

a-21-brookie-by-graham-owen.jpgThen I discovered my favorite picture, a 21″ Brook Trout. And a beautiful place: “Kirman Lake, California.” There is not a hint that the fish came from the lake, but it’s on my ‘mysteries to decipher’ list.

I clicked on every page and every photo. It didn’t hurt in the least. My eyes finally let me know that I had crept closer to the monitor than was sane or healthy.

Damn the report; just one more click.


Is Fly Fishing Sexist – You Bet!


Visit the site of the contemplative angler for poor perturbations on plumbing. May the mark IV push Pablum into your puttees, and may your piscalator petrify your William. Shame on you!


Honesty In Snowmobile Debate


snomobl-oa.jpgI truly believe that we’re finally seeing some honesty in the snowmobile debate. And it comes, from research, in the park – and is reported by Brodie Farquhar in NewWest. AND, yes, it will be hard for snowcoach advocates to swallow.

As the note reports:

“Although on average snowmobiles were audible for more time than snowcoaches, snowcoaches in general had higher sound levels, especially at higher speeds. The reduced sound and audibility in the report is largely explained by fewer snowmobiles in the park, the guided group requirements and the change from two to four-stroke engine technology.”

snoch-01.jpgThis then, finally, addresses noise. Not machines. This is a step forward and I’m glad to see it. The reduction of snowmobile numbers, however, and increase in snowcoach numbers will not solve the pollution and noise problems.

This is a classical problem in constraint. It is not possible to reduce the total by manipulating the contributors. In fact, with the current thinking, noise and emissions will probably increase as commercial interests expand their snowcoach fleets.

Yet, the normally reliable Helena Independent Record minimizes the noise made by snowcoaches. This is not an oversight. It is the continuing focus on preferred motorized transportation – not noise or emission pollution.

This is a subtle and insidious attempt to dictate the kind of commercial motorized experience that the visitor enjoys. It has nothing to do with the real problems. And, I’ll bet my Heddon Black Beauty that the Testosterone Bloggers take a similar stance.

snoch-02.jpgSnowcoaches come in several varieties and all of them are touted as the solution to the “snowmobile problem.” The truth of the matter is something far different. In their quest to rid the park of snowmobiles the Testosterone Bloggers have lumped together many bad actors and called it good. Shame on them.

snoch-03.jpgThis is not a semantic problem, it is a real perceptual problem. The perception that a “snowcoach” is better than a “snowmobile” probably started with the first major articles and news reports that brought the noise and pollution problem to the attention of the general public.

A brief diversion, if you’re interested in the semantic aspects, you will note that the antique varieties are usually spelled ‘snowcoaches,’ and the modern iterations ‘snow coaches.’ Use Google or Ask to verify your findings.

snoch-04.jpgSeveral CNN reports, (summary HERE,) ignored the vehicular noise & pollution caused by snowcoaches and concentrated on snowmobiles. These articles and news casts started the misperception that the only noise and pollution problems in winter-time Yellowstone were the fault of snowmobiles. This misperception has persisted because it’s easier to rant at a snowmobile than to take measures for all vehicles.

snoch-new-00.jpgThe National Park Service has not helped the matter with their introduction of their own version, (with the help of Ford Motor Company.)

There is a growing problem with the commercialisation of Yellowstone on all fronts. By advocating the confinement of visitors to buses, and dictating their experience through the agenda of guides and the constrains of time there is a “canned” experience that is stifling. This does not address the noise and pollution problem; but it does raise the oft-quoted phrase “best available technology.”

snoch-05.jpgThe criterion of best available technology has been applied to the snowmobiles in an effort to reduce noise and pollution. It should also be applied to the snowcoaches. And, safety issues should be addressed: they have not been!

snoch-06.jpgNow that Brodie and New West have opened the door to rational discussion by the mainstream participants it’s time to address the full spectrum of winter-time access.

The criteria of noise, pollution, safety, and ecological load must all be addressed in a comprehensive winter use plan. Ignoring all elements and focusing on just one merely perpetuates the NPS attitude of ad-hoc management rather than comprehensive planning.

xcountryski-oa.jpgWinter is a time of stress for the plants and animals in Yellowstone. Many ecological problems are also caused by skiers tromping on fragile thermophilic environments, yet this is rarely addressed. A guide with each ski group would reduce this negative impact.

Back country camping in winter is undertake by many visitors who enjoy an illegal dip in hot springs. A guide with each back country group would reduce this negative impact.

wintrcmpfire.JPGOf course adding a guide to each of these diverse groups would increase the environmental load, commercialisation, and would not solve the problems. A guide with snowmobiles is not the answer either, but is advocated as a way to do so – spurious reasoning at best!

I firmly believe that solutions and accommodations are possible so that safe, clean, quiet visitation in winter-time Yellowstone can be accomplished. I believe that standards for noise and pollution should be established and vigorously enforced.

If snow coaches meet the standards and snowmobiles do not, then do not let in the snowmobiles. If snowmobiles meet the standards and snowcoaches do not meet the standards then do not let in the the snowcoaches. Guided groups, ranting against a class of machines, ignoring impacts, and piecemeal management are all diversions. Please NPS – be comprehensive, rational, and fair.


Clean, safe, quiet, access is possible for all. There are solutions that have not been considered.

Please consider them.

– Plow roads, limit visitation, increase enforcement, alternate routes, etc.

– Imigination pays great dividends: The NPS NEEDS SOME!

Fishing In The Rain (& Snow)


ad-falsno.jpgI took some time off yesterday to visit Yellowstone and get in some fishing before the park closes for the transition to winter visitation. The snow is still light and most disappears in a day, except on the high peaks around the town.

ac-first-fall-snow.jpgFishing is still very good and there are very few people or cars on our side of the park. The usual crowd is clustered around the Barns Holes and in the meadows at Madison Junction. But there is plenty of elbow room on the Gibbon and on Nez Perce Creek. I spent about two hours fishing at the first parking area below the meadow, (I better learn the local names,) and enjoyed the snow and the fish.

belitesno.jpgThe snow was more like a mist, and it was very warm and stuck to the shady spots only. The day started out very nice with blue sky and big fluffy clouds and I felt very righteous as I continued to work and look out the window. It finally got to me & I packed up the computer grabbed my new camera and made fishing preparations. The sky was closing in when I left for the park.

I took dad’s bamboo rod and the old English reel. It’s about an eight weight, (according to the guy at the fly shop,) but it casts very nicely and the line just floats to the water. I spent about an hour without any encouragement and changed flies twice. Finally I put on a “Toad Bunny” – a big green rabbit fur strip with feathers on the side – and scared the fish. They splashed at it and refused it in a most spectacular fashion.

I went to the big bend where the unnamed tributary comes in and crawled up to the edge of the Madison and casted the fly way up stream and let it float and sink into the deep slick by the buffalo trail. I saw the line stop, and then felt the fish. It was a nice Brown Trout about 20″ long and it took some time to land. It was dark when I released the fish. I came home and had some artichokes with butter and mayonnaise. A sinful reward for that fishing adventure. Soon I’ll get a 22″ trout – I know it!

a-nude-hiker-bw.jpg ================

Speaking of big fish: my feed reader brought forth some more chicks in brief attire, courtesy of the fishing blogs. I can only respond with the simple fact that backpacking is much more fun with a good guide.


This morning I ordered the rifles for next year’s season. Hunter class benchrest is undergoing a revolution in cartridges at the moment, and a new contender is making a strong showing at the matches. The 30 BR is doing very well & I almost ordered one. However, conservative that I am, I ordered a well smithed Remington in .308, and a Tikka – also in .308. I’ve added some pages about the cartridge and will update them with the rifle specifications soon. If I get beat too badly by the new cartridge I’ll have to re-barrel the rifles.

Time for dinner and the news.



Just got back – fish were gently cooperative. No time to fiddle with this blog. Going to use it for the winter and tying flies and visiting the snowy park. Finally got the flicker stuff working, there are pictures in the right hand sidebar.

The software and the mechanics of this wordpress blog may or may not justify it’s use. It certainly is more versatile, and yet limited. Sure miss the nested pages of other skins.

The old Payne sure worked good today. A bit much for the fish, but I was anticipating a lake-run or two. It might be a bit early with the re-warming. This might be a long Indian Summer.

Walked in to Harlequin Lake. There are some sort of fish there – caught none.


Still having troubles with inserting photos in a seemly manner. More later, it may be cloudy tomorrow.


There is a good fly fishing site located at:

There is a good fly fishing commentary site at:



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