Thursday, August 25, 2011

Cutthroat Paradise

Between fishing Yellowstone River and tying flies for the shop, I had to go fishing the Park again today. I only focused on Lamar today. It might have been a bit too cold for wet-wading but Montana guides/anglers have to wet-wade while we can, otherwise snow might fall in a couple of weeks. As I observed a run along grassy cutbank, I saw rises. It maybe too early for mayfly hatches? With this cool weather, fall baetis may be coming off now? I tied most of mayfly patterns but had no luck. Fish were rising just along the bank. With breeze from downstream, it was hard to make dead-drifts. As I got slightly frustrated, I noticed I was getting closer and closer to the target and getting butt deep. It was cold for the first thing in the morning. I decided to walk around downstream to see what was on the water. It seemed like a couple of different types of midges were on the surface at the same time..............

Meanwhile, a huge buff bull was bathing 50 yard upstream from me...........

I went through most of midge patterns but didn't have any actions. I ended up staying almost an hour at the same spot without catching any fish. I finally started to shiver with the fear of hypothermia........ I gave up and went to the top of the bank, knowing I would spook risers and I did. A couple of Cutthroat got away. Amazing how they can be so selective at times......

Indeed, it seemed entire population of buffs in the Park would be along Lamar today. I was way below "high-water mark" but this beast didn't move. I was almost "breeding distance"!!

As a professional cattle breeder, I can tell you the difference between domestic cattle and wild buffs and give you the following advise.

  • Yelling, whistling, throwing rocks won't do nothing to buffs.

  • Bear spray should work as I once tried to a Jersey bull but you don't want to waste your bullets in a real bear country.

Anyway, I couldn't help doing but I made a stunt. This buff was about 15 feet behind me!!

A couple of anglers were bragging at me "PMD this" and "PMD that". I actually saw huge Gray Drakes in the air as at Slough. Then I picked up an impaired PMD dun with its nymphal shuck still attached. A very rare photo for me.

So my fly selection was this slightly irregular Sparkle Dun.

A nice Yellowstone Cutty came and grabbed it!!

Winds picked up and all the calm water were waving. I was even afraid of a thunder storm might hit the river. Luckily weather turned out nice again and afternoon was a terrestrial time!! Hopper!! x Hopper!!

Here I confess how I landed it...............

I also saw a huge beetle too.

So a beetle pattern worked as well (no bait-fishing by using the one above!!)

All cutthroat came up to my flies were 14 to 16-inch class. I personally get most excited with their rise motion from the water to the surface. It maybe a second or even less, depending on spots, but the duration and movement are so beautiful and I tend to set the hook a bit too fast but I'm still satisfied with what I see, period.
There are some guides/anglers who say "cutthroat are stupid and easy to catch". They'd better be re-born with different brains, I guess.


  1. Great report and great photos. Those Buffs are awesome. Those cutty are awesome too. Tight Lines.

  2. Thanks a lot. "Buff steaks" are awesome but actual beast can be a big pain while fishing and driving in the Park.