Memorial Day on the Firehole

Dawn on the Firehole
Dawn on the Firehole

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, MT

For the last seven years, I’ve fished the Firehole River on the third day of the Yellowstone National Park fishing season. That day is always Memorial Day. I will continue to do so as long as I am able, eschewing parades and other celebrations as I much prefer to appreciate Memorial Day in solitude. The first weeks of the Yellowstone season see a lot pressure put on the Firehole because it comes into shape early, is easily accessible and is full of hungry fish feeding on great caddis and blue wing hatches. On Saturday and Sunday of the opening weekend finding some solitude can be challenging. Such is not the case in the early hours of Memorial Day. For some reason, the crowds just don’t materialize on Monday morning.

Continue reading → Memorial Day on the Firehole

Firehole Fly Box – Part II – Fishing the River

Heavy grass beds abound in the Firehole
Heavy grass beds abound in the Firehole

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, MT

Firehole Fly Box (discussed in my previous post) in hand, what’s my approach to this storied river. The Firehole is unusual in the sense that for the most part, it is a river that runs over solid volcanic bedrock and doesn’t have large concentrations of loose rock or cobble and few large boulders. From Biscuit Basin all the way to Firehole Canyon, long sections of the river contain extensive mounds of aquatic weeds rooted in muddy soil. Those weeds and their long flowing tops provide cover for trout from one side of the river to the other and make traditional nymphing with an indicator nearly impossible. I am always surprised by how many anglers try anyway.

In the more wooded areas of the river, deadfall provides a lot of streamside cover for trout.

Continue reading → Firehole Fly Box – Part II – Fishing the River

Firehole Fly Box – Part I – The Flies

My Firehole Fly Box
My Firehole Fly Box

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, MT

When I started this little piece, the Yellowstone National Park fishing season for 2013 had just concluded. My visit to the Firehole on the last day of season was preempted by an un-expected foot of snow in the park that closed all the roads for the most of the day. Even though I didn’t fish the last day, every season I manage about a dozen days on the Firehole in June, September and October (July and August are poor times to fish the Firehole for a variety of reasons.) For the most part I find the fishing easy, with lots of fish caught, in an utterly beautiful setting. Yet when I talk to other anglers here in Bozeman, and the occasional visiting angler on an airplane as they arrive or leave Montana, they invariably tell stories how they were skunked or otherwise disappointed by the Firehole experience. Even decades of literature and writings about the Firehole tout the difficulty of this river.

“Fishing the smooth stretches of the Firehole, dry or wet, still requires such subtlety. Biscuit Basin, Muleshoe Bend, Goose Lake Meadows, Ojo Caliente Bend, the Broads-all these pieces of difficult water require every skill one can muster because these are wild fish that have been fished over for ninety years, and they have learned much in that time”-Charles Brooks-Fishing Yellowstone Waters (1984)

Continue reading → Firehole Fly Box – Part I – The Flies