Firehole

11 January 2006 By Dan Bachman • Fishing-Spots • Comments (0)

The last 11 days have passed without a single moment spent near any water other than my bathroom. After a couple weeks off for the holidays I had to actually go back to work and re-introduce myself to my team. On my first day back I spent the first 30 minutes of the morning on the phone with our corporate help desk getting them to reset my network password. Apparently my brain had thrown out this critical bit of information because it hadn’t been used in some time and the “use-by” date stamped on the brain cell responsible for retaining my computer login had passed.

So anyway no fishing for almost two weeks. But after all—it is the middle of the winter so who could blame me? With all the snow and rain of the past few weeks I have begun to wax nostalgic for the great fishing of this past summer. While looking through my catalog of fishing photos I found a couple from the Firehole in Yellowstone. The pictures aren’t worth posting because the resolution is so 1999. When I took the pics apparently the batteries were nearly dead so the camera took it upon itself to save the batteries by recording the picture at the LOWEST POSSIBLE RESOLUTION rather than just going dead. In which case I would have just replaced the batteries and had hi-res images worthy of showing. Brilliant logic Mr. camera programmer guy! But back to the Firehole…

With my 2 oldest kids in tow, we are returning from Old Faithful to our campground near where the Firehole and Gibbon meet to form the Madison. The road follows along the twisting Firehole for miles as it works its way north. As we approach a large bend in the river I see 4 or 5 cars pulled off the side of the road and the water dotted with fisherman. I pull over and stop and see one of the most amazing caddis fly hatches I have ever seen. Fish are feeding everywhere. I quickly throw on my waders and by the time I get to the water several of the fisherman have left. The hatch has subsided quite a bit but there are still fish taking on the surface. Working my way downstream from the other anglers I cast to a few fish along the far bank.

Just as the sun begins to set I catch my first fish. A small 8 inch rainbow. The remaining fish along the bank that are still feeding all look to be about the same size. I scan upstream and down looking for something different, something bigger. At the far end of the pool next to a large protruding rock I see a subtle take. I watch for several minutes before the take repeats. The feeding is very subdued, very deliberate and not as noticeable as the smaller fish I have been casting to.

Carefully moving downstream I make sure not to send any waves into the glass top water where the fish is feeding. It takes me several minutes of careful foot placements to make my way to where I think I can best cast from. Slightly upstream and across from the rock. The broad nose emerges again and his impressive size makes me fight my urge to quickly cast. I swap the caddis for a bubble back emerger because I can’t see a single caddis natural on the water now. Counting to measure his feeding pattern I find he is only rising a little more than once a minute.

Timing my cast to match the next rise I cast across putting a few “S” bends in the line to avoid drag. On queue a nose pokes out barely breaking the surface and my fly dissappears. I wait an agonizing 2 seconds before lifting the pole straight up to set the hook. As I do the line goes tight and the violent charge of the fish slaps my pole into the water. The pull is one of the strongest fish I have ever felt. Only about 10 feet of line exits my reel before I hear a ‘pink’ sound that leaves me in disbelief of what just happened. I’m a toddler that just had his big lollipop taken by the neighborhood bully…

I’m going back next year to make things square.

 

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