Category Archives: Mike Cline, Bozeman MT

Fly of the Month – The Firehole Demon

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

Fishing the rise and fall of the Firehole successfully in early June has always been a challenge. Having talked with many anglers who are disappointed with the lack of hatches and failure to catch decent fish on a regular basis, I became convinced that traditional methods were fruitless. Anglers waiting for hatches waited in vain. Anglers drifting small nymphs in deep waters were frustrated for the lack of takes. Anglers swinging small buggers and soft-hackles on floating lines (a commonly recommended approach) never get those flies in front of fish. When the water is high on the Firehole, the fish, especially the browns, are taken close to the bank where they shelter in deeply submerged undercuts. You have put a fly inches from the bank and down quickly in the swift water. The take may come immediately or as the fly swings out into the current. If you are fishing along a deep bank letting the fly swing all the way to the bank and slowly retrieved may lure a fish out of an undercut you are standing near. After several years of perfecting this technique, it was time to devise a fly that would excel in the deep, tea colored waters of the Firehole. more…

The Rise and Fall of the Firehole

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

What goes up must come down! Like clockwork, the June cycles of the Firehole River in Yellowstone provide for a challenging angling experience. A light work schedule (thankfully nothing since late March) allowed me to string a series of seven day-trips between May 28 and June 12 to the Firehole during the opening salvo of the 2018 Yellowstone National Park season. Each year, the park season opens on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. Despite having outstanding fisheries throughout the park, it is rare that any water other than the Firehole is fishable on the opener. It always attracts a lot of anglers, especially those that can make the easy trip from Utah, Idaho, Colorado and Montana for the weekend. However, by Monday, Memorial Day itself, the initial pressure subsides quite a bit. That’s when I make my first foray to the Firehole, always hoping for decent, fishable conditions.

We had a big snow year in Montana and a warmer than normal May had the big rivers in runoff early. That first trip of the season to the Firehole was always fraught with the odds that the river would be swollen and unfishable (if not just very difficult to fish). One of the big draws to the Firehole is the dry fly fishing (not my gig, but a lot of anglers live for it). Unfortunately, early season hatches can be sporadic if not absent completely if the river is cold and high. But that does not mean there isn’t decent fishing (catching I mean) if you get to the river at the right time in the right places. more…

León’s Rooster – Old World Versatility

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

Tucked away in the foothills of the Cantabrian Mountains in northern Spain is the provincial town of León, Spain. Not large by any standard, at approximately 130,000 people, Leon isn’t on many radars outside of Spain. However, for the fly tier, the Leon region is the origin of one of fly tying’s most ancient and versatile materials—the Coq de Leon hackle.

Gallos de Leon as they are called in Spanish (why the French spelling–Coq de Leon– is preferred outside Spain is unknown) are reared in the Curueño Valley along the Curueño river. The villages of La Candana de Curueño and La Vecilla are the origin of this rare breed.

The feathers of the ‘gallos’ (cockerels / roosters) have been famous for their fly tying qualities for centuries and references can be found in the earliest of fly fishing books. more…