Saturday, July 22, 2017

YNP Dawn Treaders 2017

It's that time of year. A section of Yellowstone River in Yellowstone National Park, below Yellowstone Lake to above Falls has been opened for fishing on July 15th. I've been trying to make it there in between my guide schedules to meet the Native and feel & learn the history & legacy. This section has been one of reasons and destinations that my YNP Dawn Treader series was born. In addition, from this year, I have a lovely companion who goes anywhere with me, hence it's become "plural" from now on馃槉.

However, just like anything else in life, sometimes things wouldn't turn out as we plan or expect馃槓. On July 17th,  we fished a couple of promising spots/sections and encountered short yet very doable pods of hatches and rises but it wasn't our day馃槖馃槙.

Not much to report except the prolific insect hatches, which is the most known and discussed subject of this section. There were several different species of insects flying and number of each species was tremendous馃槻.
Here's the list of observation.
Green Drake (picture, that I believe)
Gray Drake
Western Red Quill

Hydropsyche (tan & gray patterns)

Giant Salmonfly
Golden Stone

It's amazing to see so many "big bugs" were flying and on the water = Green Drake and two species of stoneflies.
Then I had to feel and realize couple of my gears have been worn out pretty much at the same time馃槥. Long story short for each: wader, 6-wt rod, and reel.............. These notches on my reel are proud scars of endurance and hauling in so many big fish for me (up to 34-inch 25-pound King Salmon), but it will damage the line.............. Time to get retired and hung on the wall馃槍

We reviewed and analyzed this unproductive day of fishing (it wasn't pleasant) and discussed how we could improve.  Three days later, July 20th, we hit the road again. This time, my brain was composed and I was able to "think like fish" and we had strategies. We did "prospect" (meaning to search the likely spots with nymphs and streamers) but our focus was hatch and rise. We waited patiently. Cutthroat in this section & at this time year are totally different from other trout in further down the river (Cutt included). We have only a very short window to get to them (whatever fishing method we employ) and their behavioral patterns (or strategies for our perspective) may change every year. This time we did it right. We started to see insect hatches so I rigged dry-flies on Renee's rod. The moment we were ready, so were they. They were rising right in front of us馃槻. Renee made the first cast and a huge head came up on her #16 caddis dry-fly.
She worked on the fish very carefully and I netted for her馃槈
 Photo session was equally a careful operation.
It was 22-inch long, her record trout 馃槞馃槑馃帀馃帄馃槀

Insects hatches were tremendous again. Here I seined Green Drake spinner (right) and Red Quill (might be Gray Drake) at the same time.

By the way, I caught two 14-inch Cutt on a caddis dry-fly too馃槄
Then we spotted some more rises of BIIIIIIIIIIIG ones but couldn't really get to. Then weather turned out be frequent lightning plus occasional pouring rain - I wouldn't expect too many hatches & rises - so we headed out.

I believe the high water of this season is affecting Cutt's activities and contributing conundrums on our fishing (well, so was the last year = historically one of the lowest flow).
I have observed and learned from the River then gained from the unpleasant day - another classroom experience of fly-fishing.
As majority of you already know, this Lake-River section, Yellowstone Cutthroat, and, I wouldn't mind mentioning, Lake Trout have been hot topics for the past 20 years. Oftentimes it can be politic. Regardless of what's said and done by or among human being, Cutthroat still exist and fishing this section is something very special. I'd like to say, come & fish (while you can - by that I "might" imply one's physical limitations or perhaps some political moves) and meet the true native of North American trout. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Salmonfly & YNP

Just like PMD at Livingston's spring creeks, salmonfly hatch on Madison was phenomenal this year. As of this typing, perhaps hatch is reaching way Upper Madison and almost over. But goldenstone, midnight stone, caddis, and misc mayfly hatches are following right behind over there. 

In between my guide trips, we were able to hit The Madison at right timing! Salmonfly was peaking at Lyons Bridge. 
A hefty rainbow violently took Renee's big dry-fly馃槵
But also these bugs are getting very important and indeed we got some good bites!
Oh so pretty馃槝
This one too馃槏
Yellowstone Park waters have gone through transition. West side, namely Firehole, Gibbon, (both below geysers), and Madison reached very warm water temperature for the season. We'll check back these later in September.

Beginner trip at a cold-running brookie stretch.

Then the home waters of these natives turned out just ready馃槑馃槒
They are ready to look up too馃槑馃槒
I had a series of pleasant and successful trips over here.
This skilled fisher kept hauling in good ones馃槻

A family trip was very enjoyable as well. This lady outfished menfolks馃檰

Son was catching up!

Towards end, father emphasized his skill - after all he tied all the flies for his family.
 Good one on his own mayfly pattern from Japan (I figured the size-shape-silhouette match and will do the job馃槒)

However that wasn't the end.... As the dusk approached, he made the very last cast........ a light yet sure rise followed.........
Long enough but also see the shoulder馃槻

Season started to sizzle馃挜馃敟 Come and experience yourself馃槢馃槑

Saturday, July 8, 2017

PMD on Spring Creeks

I finally found a little time to catch up with here after a series of guiding.
Pale Morning Dun hatch has been great at Livingston's spring creeks馃榿馃槃❗❗❗ Reports below are from end of June. However this year, even during early July days, PMD are still going on. So hopefully it's not too late!

This is definitely the prime time of fly-fishing and anglers' dream & paradise. Thanks to my repeating clients, I've been able to be involved in the circle.

We fished at DePuy's Spring Creek on 6/27, 28, and 29. Keyword of these 3 days was: storm⛆⛈馃槵We typically expect nice sunny days with some light breezes with near 90F temp by the end of June, after some typical rainy season in May and early June. This unexpected storm changed "our usual", but in an unexpectedly good way.
On 27th, we picked up some actions in the morning but the real hatch didn't start until 12:30pm and lasted very well. Trout responded accordingly.

See it suddenly got sunny........
And this was one of the largest during the trip!!

What we experienced on 28th is some of the most phenomenal (if not crazy!) in our fishing life that we wouldn't forget. On this day, besides clouds like the day before, lightning seemed closer and rained more often. In the morning, we picked up a few actions between pouring rain. Then after lunch as we decided to change the stretch, we encountered some of the best PMD hatches and tremendous number of rising trout馃槻馃槑
We kept casting and casting..............until lightnings chased us away...... We retreated to one of the huts along the creek. The nearest and loudest lightning seemed to hit on Yellowstone River or its island馃樀馃槺

Then again, after the storm we had another PMD hatch and trout rose with delights!!

29th was somewhat calmer but still mixed with rain, clouds, and sunny.
One of stomach-pumps I conducted surprised us馃槻 There must have been the dislodge of soil/bank and trout took advantage of it馃槒
Hatch and rise kept on, longer than we expected, that changed my regular lunch program馃崝馃尳. My angler kept fishing, surrounded by rises. Then he hooked into another memorable trout of the trip馃榿.
 We had good spinner falls, followed by midge hatches.

On 30th at Armstrong's, we finally had a "normal" day. Air temp reached around 90F and above (it continues till this day) and PMD hatch started from around 10am and lasted till nearly 2pm.
Here's a Father-&-Son Double Hookup馃槈馃槈

We did enjoy unusual conditions but a nice summer day with big blue sky and clear view of mountains is equally good!!

What a glorious fishing we had馃帄
Besides my clients, I have come to know "regulars" who come back to creeks repeatedly this time of year and I enjoy greeting and sharing words with them.

Hope to see you coming back next year馃槂

Monday, June 26, 2017

Pteronarcys californica (Giant Salmonfly)

Things are rolling around here. Many rivers in the area are clearing and settling from runoffs, while there are still some that are experiencing runoff effects. Over all it's been a series of such nice weathers!

As much as I want to hit streams and lakes that offer good fishing, I have to go out for scouting.
Yellowstone Park waters, especially Yellowstone River system/drainage, is the one that needs special attentions.

What are these animals? We guess something going on with rangers...........
Yellowstone Cutthroat are in their annual spawning season. One has to be super careful about regulation regarding fishing season and closed area........this tiny stream is one of those....... They are all colorful and fun to observe.
 We barely salvaged the day with a high note馃槄
Now let's go to the title topic.
Salmonfly is hatching on Madison River!!
This is perhaps one of those events around here that's worth being crazy about, locals or visitors. I guess the unpredictability and yearly variance (one can anticipate but no certain patterns could be set) make this event intriguing馃槻!!

We made a short float upstream of Ennis. Hoping to have some actions but also I wanted Renee to see and feel that giant bug. We hit it just right馃槑

She likes to have one on her new hat馃槝
As for fishing actions, we did see some huge trout coming up to our big flies!!!!............ We both missed馃槚
Then I ended up catching a little one that fit nicely in my vest pocket馃槄
See the oversized fly on its mouth馃槕
Now hatch must be progressing upstream toward Earthquake Lake outlet. We don't know how long hatch will last or how thick hatch can be...........until it ends. Again, it's the once-a-year-event that's worth chasing............. If you can't make this year, plan for the next year from now!!

Speaking of which, PMD is going on strong on Livingston's spring creeks.
Stay tuned!!

Monday, June 12, 2017

PMD 2017

Just a week ago, June 5th & 6th, Yellowstone River hit the peak of this year's runoff, reaching 30,000 cfs 馃槻. With that, the outlet culvert of DePuy's Spring Creek was submerged. This is one the highest in the history and we can have high hopes for good cold summer flows & good constant fishing馃榾!! It will definitely wipe off PKD and following nightmares of last year馃槵!!

One of my most favorite and busiest times of the year, Pale Morning Dun hatch is just coming in a week (or so) at Livingston's spring creeks.

I just came up with the new pattern for this season; Thumb Down Emerger.
How I developed and how I came up with the name will be announced on my fly catalog in winter, along with the tying instruction video on YouTube.
Here's an emerger hook version
And on the straight hook - this is the very original intention.
Bottom view馃槒
My imagination and creativity extended a bit too far...........馃槄
Here's my rendition of PMD with the Atlantic Salmon Fly style馃槑

Besides with PMD on spring creeks, Giant Salmonfly (Pteronarcys californica - do not mix up with Salmon Fly like above!) is about to come. I will fish/guide/scout around. I will keep you updated.