After The Hail.....

I made an impromptu stop along the Firehole River a few weeks ago.  I'd spent the morning fruitlessly poking around the Henry's Fork.  Outside of seeing one good fish porpoise a couple of times, there was nothing doing.  So, rather than wait out the day and hope for some sort of a hatch, I pulled out and headed home.  I was driving through West Yellowstone around 4 p.m. and decided "what the heck" and detoured through the Park gate.

The Madison, as advertised, was running a bit high and off color.  I continued on to the Firehole.  I pulled over, made a sandwich and commenced to watch the water.  A few fish rose sporadically.

What the heck?  Might as well fish I thought.  After all, I felt obligated.  You see, I'd tied up a dozen soft hackles a couple of days earlier.

So, I rigged up and went for a little walk.   I found a spot with fish rising in nice soft bank water.  A few white miller caddis buzzed along the surface.  Just as I was about to step into the water the sky opened up.  An errant black cloud decided right then to settle over my fishing spot.  Luckily, there was a small group of trees nearby.  I made a run for it and cozied up to the base of one.  It's a good thing that I'm skinny because the tree offered scant cover. Soon, marble sized hail bounced off the ground and pocked the surface of the river.  A little thunder and lightning added to the ambience.  "Oh sure", I thought, "I haven't even fished yet and I'm going to get fried by lightning in a meadow full of soggy buffalo turds."

Fifteen minutes later, the sun came out and acted as if it had never left.  The caddis alas, must not have survived the hailstorm as they never came back.  No matter, the fish still were in the mood to grab soft hackles.  


  1. Les, a neat little story about a quick stop at the Firehole. That river is full of surprises. Also, love the photo of your net with a cutthroat.

    1. Thanks Walt, the Firehole is a unique experience. Even the brief encounters can be memorable, with or without fish.

      As for the cutthroat photo, it's a favorite of mine as well. Those westslope cutthroats as quite striking with the red belly.

    2. Les...beautiful soft hackles on previous post.

      Yes, Hail! We also get our fair share and could identify with fleeing for cover and worry about lightening. Nice photo and day got to get to the firehole.

    3. Lightning is an occupational hazard for us fisherman isn't it? If we spend enough time outdoors we'll eventually get caught.

      Bob, I think that you would appreciate the Firehole. Small, spunky fish in a one of a kind setting..

  2. Lester
    Dangerous stuff for share, especially standing under a tree with a fly rod in hand.
    I tried the hackle Tuesday on the Caney with no success. What size hackle were you using? I was using a size 14 drifting it in the slow runs. I'm thinking a size smaller than a 14 would have been better for me Tuesday on the Caney. Stay safe on those trips, thanks for sharing

    1. Dangerous for sure Bill. But, I wasn't about to run through a half mile of squishy buffalo turds in a driving hailstorm either. In this case I opted for tree hugging. Interestingly, just the other day the Weather Channel reported that fisherman are the most susceptible doofuses when it comes to lightning caused mortality. Didn't anyone ever see CaddyShack?

      i was using a size 16 peacock and partridge, pretty standard stuff.


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