Sunday, October 8, 2017

Fall Bites

It's been quite a water year on Yellowstone River. The River is running way above average through summer and even now in the fall. Also, this year, we are all seeing the infamous mud-plugs (due to Lamar River and/or Soda Butte Creek "spikes" caused by storms over there) come and run through quick then the River is back to the "Fishable Green" quickly. Oftentimes, in spite of spikes seen on Hydrographs of those tributaries, we may not see muddy waters in Montana sections. My simpleton guess is Yellowstone River in Park section would be absorbing or diluting the muddy water even before reaching Montana, due to the massive flow of this year.

So if you are a boater, still keep your good eyes on waves and rapids. They can be swift.

Fall weather has been settled in since the middle of September (sorry for the blank of update😓). We are having more cloudy and rainy days with cooler temperature. Our first choice of favorite method is the streamer to hunt the aggressive fall browns, hoping some of the best for the season!

This was on Madison River.
Then on the Yellowstone.

As always, nymphing works. My favorite is the tandem rig with stonefly nymph and a beadhead nymph.
Then there are still great opportunities for dry-fly fishing. Fall baetis and midges are hatching through mid-morning to mid-afternoon = warmer part of the day.  As we float, we spot the pods of rising fish. Oftentimes, small trout and whitefish seem to be the most active however, if you observe before you even make casting, there always are a few to several huge trout mixed in.
There are a few scenarios to fish this situation. These pods are spotted right along the bank, even just the edge of super deep pools with moving surface. In this case, there's no way to securely stop the boat. We have to fish as we float. We have to choose either to set up two rods, one for dry-flies and the other for heavy stuffs, or tie on dry-flies and wait patiently till opportunities arise if you have only one rod.
If we can stop the boat just at the right distance from pods, go ahead and cast! Most likely this scenario occurs when the bank is too steep and then it's hard to impossible to scoot around the pods.
Another scenario is to stop below the pods, right along the bank, and get out of the boat and cast from the bank. Super ideal situation is it's easy to walk and has enough room for back-cast........ Usually the latter is challenged by willows or hills....... If that's case, try to make the best angle of casting and presentation!
Over all have fun!

It's about time for me to shift into the next cycle of the year: dressing Atlantic Salmon Flies and many other fly-tying projects. As for trout flies, I try to update videos and catalog as much as I can. I start to take framed salmon fly orders from now on, along with a few of my own projects.

The first one for the season is Charlies (Geo. M. Kelson) on a Harrison-Bartleet 4/0.
This is one of a few patterns that doesn't have a topping (Golden Pheasant crest) over the married wings. I'm satisfied with the entire silhouette, finished with the most ideal head I can wish for.

Enjoy the fall fishing before totally into tying mode😁! - like I am😉

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Bighorn Trico - When The Legend Becomes The Reality

I came back from a week-long guide trip on the legendary Bighorn River. I brought back so many good memories, experiences, observational notes, and homework for next season on my sore body. My clients and I fished literally from dawn to dusk. We hit the legendary Trico hatch & spinner falls just at right period. My experience on Yellowstone River = rowing the drift-boat and reading water = and Livingston's spring creeks = match-the-hatch and all the fine techniques and adjustments = help myself adjust quickly to this river: of course fishing methods and fly selection to catch trout, but also what other anglers/guides do on this particular river during this particular period of year. Over all we fished for hatches & spinner falls with dry-flies all day long and all through the trip, then we caught so many trout. Without exaggeration, no other rivers in the world produce this much insect hatches and number of rising trout. And those trout are in very good sizes and conditions.

Below, pictures will tell you stories & scenes. I may insert technical comments here and there.

September 3rd, as I checked in the area, I wade-fished for a few hours in the afternoon. I didn't catch anything but insect observation was interesting as always and the anticipation for next several days was getting high.
From the next day, the official trip kicked off!
Oh yeah, on this river and for this hatch, everyone was early risers😪!!
Trico female.

Million bugs occupied the sky at the height of spinner flight & falls😲

Eastern Montana sky was smoky because of wildfires all over the state😿.
Bighorn Tarpon😂
 We must have some of few anglers/boats on the river who constantly picked up dry-fly actions in the afternoon😏

Evening Black Caddis was very exciting😎

Each morning was new beginning🌅

My highlight of the trip: Trico Double 😎😁👏👏
 Evening again.
My wader was infested by caddis eggs😨
That was the moon over Afterbay Dam😴🙀

 We had some neighborhood fishers😲😉

 Can you spot a beaver?

It was not just Trico or caddis that were mating, flying ants were also making their mating flight.

 Every morning my boat etc were covered by Trico.

Sep 10th, our last day was the most productive!
I was able to capture the scene😎, starting at 6:58AM
In this slightly less than 3 minutes footage, how many rises can you count?
We caught some nice ones.

The last evening.......

The last trout of the trip, well-done😎👌👏

Oh what a trip😌
Bighorn - where the legend still remains and the dreams come true.
Bighorn is my go-to destination, along with Livingston's spring creeks, Yellowstone River, and Yellowstone National Park. All the fly-fishers who are thinking of future trips should consider the Bighorn (there will be a more detailed information page coming up soon!).

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Mid Summer Report

As August proceeds, another heat waves have picked up. Yet, majority of Montana and Yellowstone Park are running cold with median or slightly above average flows. Just know where to go and what to do. In mid summer, massive hatch of one particular insect subsides (say, PMD on Livingston's spring creeks) instead so many other insects hatch all together in modest amount, along with terrestrials join as "seasonal special" for trout. In a way, enjoyable or challenging, it's the "dry-fly month".

One of my favorite streams in YNP is particularly good for my clients and I. It's been producing large trout constantly this season. That being said, they don't come easy😏

Then Bighorn dry-fly paradise in ON👍😎 
In this river, any time of the year can be a prime time for fly-fishers. After huge flows of abnormal cycles earlier this season, river flow has become the shape we know of. That being said, river is not gin-clear due to turnovers up in reservoirs. Water temp is higher for this river, 60s not 50s. And aquatic weeds have grown tall while water level was high, now those are left protruding over the surface...............Sounds disastrous? NOT AT ALL😬❗❗
Trout over there actually don't mind at all, rather seem enjoying new surroundings. Think: the water temp is lower 60s in the middle of summer and broom of aquatic weeds means broom of food sources. Again, it comes to the point: know where to go and what to do. 

We went to a scouting trip and our focus were hatch & rise. 
Insect activities are tremendous😲❗❗ 
Starting off with Trico spinner fall early in the morning, Pseudocloeon (tiny Blue Wing Olive) follows right after. Trout sip on these tiny mayflies voraciously yet very picky. 

Black caddis hatches in the afternoon and trout go one more round of all-you-can-eat-buffet.

I caught a stranger; Goldeye on the dry-fly😅
Trico spinner shuck.
From the boat, terrestrial is the way to go!
Morning lights
 And their breakfast
 Afternoon snack
Once in a while, I may be lucky😏
 This was feisty and strong,
And the best one for the trip👍❗
Cows were cooling down in the river with the snack of aquatic weeds😂

If you haven't fished Bighorn River, better think about it and plan for it. It is such a unique fishery. I put the same amount of fondness and fishing interests & intensities to this river as I do to Yellowstone River, YNP waters, and Livingston's spring creeks.

I will head back to Bighorn River for official guide trips as the next month arrives. Hope to come back with so many memories and pictures. Till then👋