Sunday, May 28, 2017

YNP Fishing Season Opening Day

I'm usually busy with something else at this time of year, and have never fished the Yellowstone Park opening day, always Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. However, this year, I somehow had a blank schedule. Then my lovely bride was willing to go & fish, as she had a great time last year on the opening day.

My own YNP opening day is usually sometime in June, sometimes even in July. By then there are more waters available to choose from and people are scattering all over. And I deliberately choose somewhere minor. I like this perverseness of mine..........

Traditional opening day fishing is done on Firehole River, which is typically only one available to fish at that point. Furthermore ideally with dry-flies. I knew that's where most people are heading. I was sure I was able to sneak in somewhere and enjoy some. However, due to my perverseness, I wanted to do something different from traditions or conventions. Then the river check from the previous weekend gave me confidence to go ahead. My choice was to stick with the Madison. I persuaded Renee that we would catch some trout, even bigger than those in the Firehole. Then the most important factor to me was: after all I've been guiding clients at spring creek with match-the-hatch flies. I wanted to fish Big, Heavy, and Deep for some changes馃槑.

Where would we start from? Now my perverseness worked in the other way. Starting from Madison Junction, we can theoretically fish Firehole, Gibbon, and Madison all at once馃榿. So here we were at the Junction Pool at around 9:00am. As we walked, I spotted something bright.
馃槓馃槕馃槖馃様馃槙馃槚
Several thoughts conjured up in my mind quickly.......
Has this been abandoned since last year or from the same morning rig before we arrived?
I doubt the latter as it's been cold nights and mornings. It's dark and YNP regulations stipulate "no fishing is allowed with artificial lights".
Over all, Madison is designated as "Fly Fishing Only" (I understand one can cast out flies with the spinning rod). Is this even legal to possess and throw into the river?
UNLESS!! this ornery red hook is a simple Wire Worm馃槰

Now back to the real topic.......
First we had to decode this high water with volume. Then we had to go heavy and deep. It was somewhat struggling at the beginning, but, just as I assumed, it was doable.
I nailed the opening fish 2017馃帀
I immediately this trout had such a plump belly for its size so I did stomach-pump. I see馃槻
So the Wire Worm could've been what the owner of that rig was doing..........
Renee's opener came in a sudden.
A massive whitie was her opening fish馃帄

After this I think she netted more than I did.
We made some of the best lunches to celebrate the opening day and the big weekend. Unlockwise from top; Japanese rice-ball (with seaweed), seafood salad, special mac-n-cheese, supreme cheese burger with grilled tomatoes, and grilled zucchini (in place of pickles).
We moved to another promising spot of the Madison.

Stomach pump result was impressive. This brown was feeding on PMD Duns and this told us insect hatches happened on the Madison too and trout were feeding on perhaps when and where we didn't know.........馃槑
A future generation..........

I like the seasonal changes of Park rivers. One by one a river or a lake comes into shape during the early weeks. Then the summer arrives and the season ends as the fall deepens. For the last several years, I seem to have lost the sentiments of opening/closing as I've been busy with guide schedules. So I take it's a good opportunity that I was able to fish the opening day.
May it be a good fishing season in YNP馃槝馃檱馃檹

Thursday, May 25, 2017

More Spring Creek Fishing in May

After three wonderful sunny days in a row, now it's down to 30s馃槕.....again.......... this patterns seems to go on again. Then finally the real runoff started. Also Yellowstone National Park fishing season is about to kick off on this coming Saturday馃槈(will definitely make the next post).

I had great pleasure to guide my repeating client during aforementioned sunny days on Livingston's spring creeks. Like I've been reporting, May seems to be becoming a new "prime spring" month. Certainly weather is milder (most of the time!) than in March or April. Then spring hatches continue. Also all sizes of trout are holding in creeks since spring. By observing and learning what's going on with trout in the creek, one can come up with methods and flies that can connect him to trout.

On the first day, we fished DePuy's Spring Creek. His first spring creek expedition kicked off very well馃槑馃榿

Learning
We had several nice ones!

Then in the evening.........
We had very intriguing yet challenging midge hatch and rise actions at one particular spot of the creek.
 We observed and decoded.
The wrap馃槒

We then plied Nelson's Spring Creek.  Entire Valley was windy but Nelson's offered us some protection (location, trees, etc) so we kept fishing under another nice day! My client's first trout was this skinny yet definitely a good size brown馃憤
Action went on!
 Ahhhhhhhh another super-sized 馃槗
As the day went on, we were required to understand and match trout feeds and behavior more precisely馃槵
It was rewarding



We also had surprisingly yet good baetis hatches and were able to raise trout and net some. We knew it would be short and intense so we didn't spend too much a time to take pictures. The first batch lasted from just before noon to 1pm. Then we had lunch馃崝. Back to creek, another batch was hatching till almost all till 4pm. Boy, that was much better than we ever expect for this time of year!!

After that, trout seemed somewhat full. They seemed to feed only when they felt like and when midge larvae were passing through right toward their mouths........
It was very patient fishing but we managed several and each one was rewarding馃憣馃憤

If you can't afford or book rods during summer time, or can't plan fishing trips in summer, spring is the best alternative. Though there might be some cold weathers, days are already getting longer. On both days, we fished till 8pm馃寽.

So I keep fishing spring creeks......... then Yellowstone Park season starts.........
For next several months, we may run out of particular flies but never run out of waters/places to fish馃檶

Sunday, May 21, 2017

YNP Pre-Season River Check & Wildlife

Wednesday May 17th, it was rainy all day, and eventually turned out to be wet snow. In the evening and overnight, we have had several inches of snow on the ground, vehicles, anywhere!! It seems Livingston got hit the heaviest in the entire area. Since then it has been a series of cool weather. This subsided runoffs of rivers around here.

Also it's just a week before Yellowstone National Park fishing season open on Saturday May 27th. So we planned a round trip to check major rivers in the Park.

Soda Butte Creek was surprisingly almost all "fishable green". Really. It's only "As of now". Repeat: it has been cool days, once day-time temp reaches back to around 70F, it will change. So is Lamar River.
Slough Creek below campground. This lovely creek doesn't get really muddy during summer storms. It's certainly running very high.
Very much the same story on the west side. We checked Gibbon, Firehole, and Madison Rivers. These rivers had good clarity. But then again, we shouldn't be too optimistic for the opening day. Keep our eyes on weather patterns and changes on hydrographs through week.
It also turned out to be one of the best wildlife spotting days we've ever experienced in the Park馃槑馃悅馃惢馃惥(apparently there aren't enough Emoji's to cover all馃槗). This is the time of year when I can do something other than actual fishing. Also the summer tourism has not begun yet and lots of wildlife still remain in lower elevation.

Starting with a coyote.
 A regular one
We, along with many other people, were supposedly looking at a bear behind Lamar buffalo馃槗
 It looked like a relatively large black bear along the road.
Then we observed a large traffic congestion (it's nowhere close to what we have during the summer months馃槕馃槓) at around Norris Campground. It was a pair of mother-cub grizzly bear馃槻 ❗❗
Up until this day, we've never seen "Griz" in the Park.



One more 'Yote.
 As we drove along Firehole River, we stopped by Fountain Hot Paint Access
And Midway Geyser Access (here's Grand Prismatic Spring).  These sightseeing spots will be oblivion once the fishing season kicks off........ It was quite fun!! - actually the very first time for me!!

Yellow Belly Mormot  (common name around here Rock Chuck)
As we got out of the Park from West Gate, headed north, and re-entered a short section of the Park along Gallatin River. We spotted another rare kind - Moose馃槻❗

Bye馃憢
What a great day to check both rivers and wildlife!! Especially for the wildlife part, we've done very well for a while馃槑!! Now high hopes for the fishing season 2017馃榿

Monday, May 15, 2017

Spring Group Trip

I had quite a big job for me last week. One of my clients came back with his friends and we planned a 3-day trip. To accommodate 6 anglers, I called some of the best outfitters/guides available in Paradise Valley, Tucker & Jacquie with Nelson's Guides & Flies. I also booked rods at private waters and spent a day for grocery shopping for 3 lunches for 9 people.

On Day 1, we headed to Burns' Ranch Lake in Big Timber. Our day kicked off just as we expected!
The usual
All the boats and anglers had good actions in the morning!

Another usual.
This was the largest Kamloop Rainbow to my boat!
On Day 2, our destination was Nelson's Spring Creek in Livingston. Anglers were required some "attitude & technical adjustments" compared to the day before. Nelson's is some of the most challenging waters in the entire state of Montana. We actually spot lots of trout in the gin-clear water but how we could get to them is the challenge (sometimes conundrum馃槰).
We had a good start!!
Checking the menu for the day馃槑
Sight-nymphing was the name of the game in the morning.

Just around noon we had short but very active baetis hatch. Then after late lunch馃崝馃構, we suddenly had cloud-covers. We were super lucky to have some extended baetis hatches for some more!

The last cast! Just as we started heading back........

On Day 3, we fished DePuy's Spring Creek.  Under another beautiful weather we could wish for, we had one stretch to ourselves.


All the pictures here are from my camera, which are only a tiny portion of our actions. Each guide and angler captured lots of trout, scenery, and action pictures or videos.

The group photo at Eva's Hut of DePuy's, with Absarokee Mountains in the back



It was one of my busiest and most enjoyable trips I ever organized and conducted. Good group of people to fish with and guide for, then I can't thank enough for Tucker & Jacquie's inputs and services.
Fly-fishing oftentimes could be a solo activity. But just like any other group activities, it can be fun and enjoyed with good group of friends. All through three days, we were blessed with beautiful Montana May weather, private settings, and lots fine trout.
Thank you all the crews馃檱馃檰馃檹馃憤