Last Call…. 2022

Not for alcohol, but rather the fishing or more specifically, the catching. It seems our amazing fall is about to end, abruptly. The local weather guessers suggest significant snow and single digit temps next week. Oh boy?

But man oh man, what a fall it has been. Fishing and catching hasn’t been to bad, but the colors and our air temperatures have been off the chart. Best fall ever? Maybe/Maybe not …. but this I can tell you, I’d damn sure take a couple more moths of what we’ve had. In conversation with the “old timers” from this area, no one has ever seen a year with a later killing frost than what we experienced this year (Oct 24). Warm memories to sustain us thru January and February, I’m sure we’ll need it.

As would be anticipated this time of year, the browns have been on the prowl. Last week, RFO’s CFO, Staff Photographer, and yours’ truly took a float on a cloudy but warm day, perfect conditions. Streamers were the bug de jour, deep twitched with a tight lines and although we didn’t catch any monsters we did catch some darn nice colored up fish. All fat, all heathy and certainly all very feisty. Lots of bent rods, laughs and good times all around. Not much more to say about that.

And the best part? No one else around. No summertime bumper boat regatta, no parade of folks floating thru the hole that you are fishing. Nobody, no where, at no time. A throwback to 30 years ago, just us and the eagles …. life has been pretty good during September and October.

Actually I’m BS-ing you ….. It’s been better than that. Hope you soaked it up.

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It’s About Time

Yes, I know …. I’ve been tardy, absent, a putz and I heard about it. It’s been a funky summer and my thoughts, observations or ramblings have been jelling. Our June floods created challenges (new channels, downed trees, the occasional house in the river) and provided a new river once the waters finally dropped in mid-July. It took awhile to decipher the changes and implication and I’m still trying to put things together, but here are a few observations….

Some days were pretty darn good with reasonable numbers and decent sized fish, but the hot sunny dog days, were slow and at times I had to wonder if the fish were still there. But fear not, apparently FWP has been running shocking/population surveys on the Stillwater and the initial reports indicate, that the overall fish population is unchanged. I’d love to see the data. A buddy who happen to be in the right place at the right time when the shocking crew floated through, said the fish were boiling in the largest holes as the electricity was applied. Well that’s hopeful news and I suspect that as goes the Stillwater, so goes Rock Creek and the Jellystone. Time shall tell.

Throughout the summer, I’ve been turning rocks as a means of informal survey to gauge the flood effect to the macroinvertebrates. My observations indicate that a lot if not most of the bugs got flushed downriver and may now reside in North Dakota. Darn few bugs on the river rocks did I see. Mostly caddis with some or occasional mayfly or stonefly nymphs seems to be the outcome. The summer dry fly fishing validated the theory. However, this fall, I’ve seen a variety of mayfly spinners on the water and I’ve also observed a few stonefly nymphs clinging to the shore rocks. Bottom line is that nature and her bugs will find a way, or as a good friend likes to say, “nature arbores a vacuum”. Truer words were never spoken.

And now it’s fall, that time of the year when even the locals can’t ignore the drop dead beauty of the area. Leaves are turning, brown trout are colored up and beginning to spawn, snow in the high country and the only thing wrong with this time of year, is that it is too damn short in duration. So to that end, I’m heading out the door and to the river. We are allotted only so many days and wasting even one is just wrong …. so …. waste not want not.

Recent Rock Creek Fall Fattie
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Happy Fathers Day and more ….

A glorious Father’s Day to all the Dads out there. Go do something that brings you joy, the world can always use more joy! It’s not unusual for many Dads and youngsters to go fishing on this day, but unfortunately I don’t see that happening this year, at least not in this neighborhood.

As many of you are aware, the northern portions of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem received a significant rain on snow event last weekend. Without going into all the graphic details, suffice it to say that all area streams and rivers were running at historic highs with substantial flooding throughout the region. Many roads, bridges, homes and other infrastructure were essentially flushed down the waterways….. but no one is really sure where all that stuff is going or getting hung up on.

Currently MFWP and the Stillwater County Commissioners have the Yellowstone and Stillwater Rivers closed to all recreation. These restrictions are to continue until further notice. I’d guess that the powers to be are still in the recon/evaluation phase, just trying to get a handle on how good/bad things are. The FWP website indicates that exposed power lines are a real possibility. I had a dream just the other night were I rounded a bend on the Stillwater only to find a house sitting in the middle of the river with no way around it….. then I woke up a little sweaty.

Thus far there has been no information related to restrictions for waters in Carbon County (Rock Creek and the Clark’s Fork) …. but really? Does there need to be restrictions? Do the right and smart thing, stay the hell away from the rivers for now. Currently we are seeing rising waters thru out the region with some waters again approaching flood stage.

Bottom line is that at this point not much information is known as it pertains to access and floating/fishing. There have been a number of helicopters flying about, up and down the rivers trying to collect information and recue the stranded. That’s a good thing. So stay tuned. As information is developed I’ll pass it along.

Again, Happy Fathers Day, might be time to take up golf for awhile.

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