Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Terrestrial Time!!

I seem to be repeating but it's been an odd summer. One spell of hot summer, followed by a few freezing days, now smokes of wildfire from surrounding states/areas dominate the air!! Regardless of what we have to deal with, fishing has been good!! It's been hit and miss but now it's finally & officially The Terrestrial Time in Yellowstone Country!

As I introduced in the previous post, Jack Gartside's Pheasant Hopper has become my ultimate hopper pattern.
The best companion floatant, that I have just found out, is this one. In my area, Dan Bailey's supplies. Indeed this one works for any types of dry-flies. To me, it's perfect for deer-hair patterns (wings, heads, etc.) as I don't have to rub it among hairs, rather just dip it!! By the way, shown is the olive & small Pheasant Hopper - a perfect leaf-hopper imitation!!
With these items, I hit Gallatin River. It was one of "a few cold days" between hot spells......... Overall fishing was slow (I could have nymphed all day and I did for a short while in the morning and caught two massive Whitefish!!). Toward the end of the day, along the grassy cutbank, I finally got a quiet rise on my hopper. I thought it would be a so-so size brown, considering the way it took. Then it ran and fought like a rainbow in a nice size. I really couldn't tell till I net it.........
 It was some of the nicest Westslope Cutt I ever caught. You see it's Westslope once I drive over one hill to the west from Livingston. It's interesting, isn't it? Yet, in Gallatin, the seemingly very pure one in this size would be very rare nowadays.
Then I have so many sweet memories from my days in Eastern Washington (Yakima Valley). I just love Westslope as much as I do Yellowstone!!
The olive Pheasant Hopper was inhaled by Yellowstone Cutthroat at DePuy's Spring Creek!! This will tell you that Pheasant Hopper will work at many different types of water!

Back to Lamar River in YNP, it was somewhat smokey but not as bad as before or Bozeman area (including the part of Gallatin where I fished). It was not much going on (or I was lazy?) till mid-day. Before I took a break for lunch, I dropped a Green Drake nymph under a dun pattern, I got a nice one! - actually this dinosaur-looking one seems somewhat familiar..........
Then the real objective of my visit began. Do you remember this tiny cicada pumped out of a big Cutt? I've been thinking to imitate somehow........... It was rusty orange and very hard shell. I have noted it must have been crunchy.........
After some trials & errors, on the bench and rivers, Micro Crunchy Cicada was born!!
 Actually it was already tested on the Gallatin. In spite of slow fishing, I did get several rises and look-ups. That let me know I was on the right path.
Since then I improved a few more (reinforcement!).
This day on the Lamar, Yellowstone Cutt went nuts!! They were definitely looking up at my new cicada pattern!! It started with this one, plus a couple of near-misses before.
From the same spot where I caught a nice one on a Pheasant Hopper the other day, another great Cutt came up and aimed the new cicada!!
 
 A proud catch!

Actions went on. My laughter was echoing in the meadow as I was fishing all by myself. This one took it, fought hard, then kindly sat still underwater for the ultimate proof pic!!
Happily broken! A couple more were ruined by Cutt and the other one was broken off!!
There will be a tying instruction video at my YouTube channel sometime during this coming winter.

Though my cicada was all I needed, it's always important to check trout's stomachs!
See!! There's another cicada!!


Weather depending, terrestrial actions will continue for the couple more weeks!! Hit it while you can!!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Mid-Summer Spring Creek Report (& YNP)

I had a day of guiding at Armstrong Spring Creek (www.armstrongspringcreek.com). As I keep mentioning, and I don't think that's redundant, Livingston's spring creeks run and remain cool all through summer WITHOUT mud-plug!! Not to mention, fishing is superb and always challenging that we learn from.

As a guide, I face a lots of conditions and situations: trout habitat & attitude, changes on creeks, seasonal changes, and so on. Over all, trout are not where they used to be during PMD time almost two months ago.

Right now the most prevalent hatch is midges. Long story short, "summer midge" can be as challenging as brain surgeries!!
PMD is still around. Fair to sparse on sunny/windy day. But there have been reports of good numbers on insects in conjunction with according rising trout on wet/overcast conditions.
Baetis = small mayflies in general = have been observed.
Caddis is fluttering.
Another reliable hatch is Sulphur mayfly in the evening! In my lengths of career, I have been seeing them for a past couple of seasons. But this is the first season that I see trout are keying on the hatch for a short period in the evening but very intensely.

These gents fished hard for very challenging midge feeding trout!!



Then, this time of year is the Terrestrial Time!! Ants, Beetles, Cricket, Hoppers, etc (in alphabetical order) are abundant along the creek banks!! Especially at a certain stretch of Armstrong's, hoppers are more abundant than other stretches or creeks among tall grasses of ranch land!!
That being said, never underestimate smaller ones = ants, beetles, leaf-hoppers, etc. Always trail behind large hopper patterns........ Also look for trout at along what would be special for this time of year............. = moss patch for one............
Pump contents were as interesting as chuckling. This big one seemed to prefer "small meals" all day.


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After the storm and muddy water of last weekend, Yellowstone River system is back in shape. Somehow I developed an itch to visit a certain stretch of Lamar River. Small Cutthroat kept attacking my dry-flies for the first thing in the morning and it went on. Fun just as I hoped.
Then just around mid-day, it was a Hopper Time!! I tied on Gartside Pheasant Hopper that I had stocked up this spring.

I knew this one would work but results were beyond description!
After the first cast and within a very short drift, something huge emerged quietly yet surely.
Pump result was another interesting one!! This is a little cicada, isn't it? It must have been very crunchy!!
That wasn't all.........
Within a short period, I had two more big ones in the same manner!!!!


"Yeah! Pheasant Hopper works!!"..........
That's a good review but I'd like to go more details.
I noticed Pheasant Hopper sits very low and quietly on the surface (I greased very well with oil type floatant) - that I think, no offence, modern foam patterns have forgotten!! Yet it remains very visible and buoyant.
Yellowstone Cutthroat are known to rise slowly and deliberately to our flies and examine very carefully, especially big flies such as hoppers. Every now and then, they literally "kiss" but turn away without biting it. These three big Cutt did rise slowly and quietly. But they all "sipped", as if sipping mayfly emergers, size 6 Pheasant Hopper without any hesitations!!!

Just one more sample from the later Cutt. Again, lots of interesting contents to note!

See you along the stream!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

August Rolls

River Report: As of this typing, Yellowstone drainage is blown and brown caused by storms over last week. Soda Butte Creek and Lamar River CFS went sky-high over the weekend! Then weather forecast says another set of storms coming toward the weekend again........ Hmmmmm....... Though this can be a relief for this low-water season, temporarily our favorite destinations, including river float, are out of fishing options. We all keep our eyes and ears open till waters are back in shape. Meanwhile, look for other fishing options if you are in the area!! Contact me and I can point you to right directions.
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Here in Paradise Valley, and most part of SW Montana, we are still having cool nights/mornings. Water temperature on area rivers are not as high as some are worrying. Though we have over 90F days here and there, that kind of condition is needed for Hopper fishing!

Apparently before the storm, I conducted a solo-float on the Yellowstone.
My new dry-fly was approved immediately!?
From my secret side-channel............ Happy!
Oh, this new little arsenal to my fly-box is super effective! More details for these flies later in the year.

And then other side of Yellowstone Park is even much cooler! On Aug 7th, a day after my birthday, wader and my favorite Patagonia fleece were gladly needed! And the catch!!?? I seem to be winning another "Whitefish of The Year" contest again........
I knew there were much more in it!!!
 This must be the first time under-water Whitie!
We caught lots of trout. But sizes didn't get any closer to the one above.........
 One particular rainbow (no picture) contained........ We should have bait-fished!? I would imagine a portion of river-bank must have been dislodged, caused by storms......

So, over all fishing has been very good around here.
Not just recalling, but my journal notes say, making long & many entries short, "it was much hotter and there were more slow fishing days in 2012 season" and "In 2013, water was as low as or even lower yet fishing was very good". So I have positive outlooks at the beginning of August. Certainly we all hope we are fishing rivers we want to fish as we plan. However, don't stick with them when those waters are not fishing well or unfishable. Instead, open up and change your plans accordingly.
See you in Yellowstone Country!!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Rest of July Fishing Report

I'm not complaining or being pessimistic but it's been a very odd summer. I haven't figured out what would come by mixing "low water" and "cool weather"......yet. Oh, we had one cold-hypothermia-threatening storm!..........Now we are expecting over 90F weathers............. Interesting, isn't it?

All we can do is........ going fishing anyway! I don't believe all the trout in the area rivers have gone to Icelandic Sea, looking for cold waters. We just have to figure out how to get to them along with understanding of river systems. I haven't figured out perfectly but I'm always learning and experimenting (along with some slow times that we have to face.........). Let's look.

I had a very good couple clients and we hit Northeast side of Yellowstone Park. After some quiet and patient morning, we got good actions in the afternoon!
Seriously, these Cutties are very strong. They must have been recovering very well from spawning. This was the best underwater pic I could manage.
Little did we know, there would be snow falls next day at where we were.........really...........

Here's the scene of glorious start of the morning on Yellowstone River!!


Hard fishing can pay off!

I seem to have come up with a brandnew Green Drake pattern. This will be flying all summer!!

Into August!! Better or worse, summer goes on. Well, going out fishing is always good anyway!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

YNP Opener & Voyager

It's about time. I've been busy and chasing hatches at Livingston's spring creeks over 3 weeks. Now I started to float rivers and walk along streams in Yellowstone National Park.

Usually, my own Opener of YNP happens sometime in June. This year, for miscellaneous reasons, it was July 15th.

Last year, if you may recall, I conducted a series of "Dawn Treader" trips. This year, I don't have much time but for scouting..........Hence, "voyager" as I still am voyaging from one side to the other.

One thing that's kind of me is: I usually set my YNP Opener at a slightly low-key minor spot (though may not be secret). I liked what I got!
Chubby & Cutty!
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Then I ventured to Gallatin River (YNP section, of course). Believe or not, it was COLD!! that you can see in my attire below.

Checking their breakfast........
Typical Gallatin 'Bow!
My new caddis pupa works!!
Then I encountered something unusual and amazing!
Oh, then, this is not from previous falls or springs. Yes, I'm wearing a wader (all day) and my favorite Patagonia Snap-T (till 2pm)!!! Dress accordingly!!
Anyways, this Whitie measured 15-inch long (nothing remarkable) but had an impressive 10-inch girth!!!! Definitely the top candidate of my annual "Whitefish of The Year" contest!!!
Then hatches.....
Learning  
and checking........

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Next day, I drove to other side of the Park. My first destination was Slough Creek below campground, which seems "minor" compared to Lamar and Soda Butte for most visitors....... my kinda place. I was really surprised with thickness of stoneflies that have hatched this year!!
 Even found from the stomach of small trout!
Then here it came!!!!! On what? Of course on an insect imitating dry-fly!!
Also, note how I was dressed now: wet-wading (no wader) and very comfortable!
In the afternoon, I found a good stretch of Lamar all by myself. Happy!
 
Checking and learning



Yes, this year, most area rivers are running lower than usual years. But summer turns to be cool and moderate (so far). Streams are running cool and fine. So, don't worry, folks, and don't be fed up with gossips. As I just experienced, there are plenty of eager trout!! Done right, they can be at the end of your lines too!!

Then again, I repeat, bring your clothes and dress accordingly!!