Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Winter - 2

Here in eastern Washington, we finally got a snowy weather. It seems a 4 - 6 inches of accumulation, quite a snow for this dry country!!
But this is also the great time to go outside with my Micro Practice Rod. In my backyard, I practiced some over the snow. My casting with my left arm is not so bad. Also my right arm is getting into some shape. Next year, when the situation calls, I won't hesitate to cast with my right arm.

Micro Practice Rod is very fun to play with!! Also so pretty & lovely that makes me to take it a little mountain stream to catch 5-7 inch trout!?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Season's Greeting

I am up to tying several midge patterns and organizing my fly boxes.
I am already excited for the next year. I am thinking to get out in January with these midge patterns to Rocky Ford.
As 2009 and fishing season end, I'd like to post my greeting.

Here's the greeting for 2008. So far this is my biggest Madison trout, 20.5-inch. Guide Dan from Blue Ribbon Flies captured the moment. Brown was well-colored and hook-jawed. And then I like its contrast with my hand.
Which pic should I use this year? Maybe this one?? Similar shot (by myself) at the Depuy's on my last day of the fall trip. But obviously it's much smaller and my ring-finger looked crushed. It was an accident caused by a cow and the facility. Now it's getting healed pretty well.
I thought about for a while and I finally decided to make greeting cards with this photo.
Here are my intentions and jokes:
Right now we are experiencing the world-wide bad economy. I'd like to shout out loud that we need to be positive especially at this tough time to get through. During the holiday season, we need to be happy and filled with good foods. I wanted to express that with the buttery belly of fat brown trout, caught at Cable Car Run with a large soft-hackle.

You know the butter is the "symbol of fatness".

Also, butter is one of dairy products that I am involved in by breeding milk cows.

Talking about milk cows, suddenly the famous phrase hit me.

"got milk?"

Well, how about "got butter"? Maybe you are developing a butter belly, like this brown, filled with happiness and feast?? That's what I wish to you all!!

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Merry X'mas and Happy "Fishy" New Year!!

I will be celebrating both X'mas and New Year weekends with cows.............

Friday, December 18, 2009

Gear Review 2010 (??)

I love and hate gear review articles in fly-fishing magazines most likely in the first issue for the year. Every time, right after we consumers get a new gear or two with our best allowance, they advertize the newer models. Maybe a 0.10oz lighter rod or a stronger life-long reel right after the previous life-long reel. Like cars, rods, reels, and lines last long as long as we take care of them. And fancy and new gears won't help you cast longer or catch bigger trout. I pretty much see (not read) these articles as collecters' items. But then again, I apprecate the beauty and art intended by designers for sure. Sometimes, some brands try to produce affordable new gears too.
Anyway, here's my own review for my own acquistions that will be used for 2010. Nothing serious. All in Christmas present level with Christmas sales price!!
My hiking shoes was getting worn out. While tires of my truck were fixed at a local Les Schwab, I picked up a local newpaper ad of outdoor shop. Coleman pair was 50% of regular price, so I jumped in! This is very comfortable.

From one of my favorite fly-fishing authors, Jason Borger, I purchased his own Yamame drawing t-shirt. His drawing is so vivid and cool so I had to get two! Yamame, Japanese native trout (roughly translated as Mountain Woman because its skin is the silkiest among trout family) hits the soft spot in me. This t-shirt will be a lucky item while fishing.

Then I got a bit technical stuff here. I purchased a Micro Practice Rod. It's packed in this small tube (pardon some mess on my bench).

It's a 4-feet rod with a fluffy ribbon line. As advertized and as experts say, this kit really represent the actual fly casting gear. I bought this to improve my casting and then train my off-hand when the situation calls it. My off-hand (right because I am lefty) is often used in cows. I know I am doing something technical so I believe I can get a hang of it!!
Besides, I can't practice casting without fishing in my backyard or nearby waters as much as I'd like to do due to the limited space, that the Lower Yakima River is very bushy at the banks, and that I have to clean the dirt from my rod and line after 30-minute in practice. So this kit will fit for what I want to do. It seems I can wash and clean up the ribbon quickly when it seems dirty.

This is the book I am reading, purchased from Amazon. It's entirely dedicated to midges. Two authors colaborated with lots of other famous anglers. It is quite an effort.

First reading, second choosing flies I want to tie, third looking for materials to see if I already have or have to buy, and fourth finally I can get tying on my bench..............

I am having a positive feeling that Micro Practice Rod and tying midge patterns will keep me busy all winter without spoiling myself with boredom till next spring.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cable Car Run & Soft Hackle Club??

There are not so many secret spots in Madison River even among visiting anglers like me. I think, among visiting anglers, it's whether you have once fished there or not or heard from someonce else. I myself pretty much get used to the wading section, above Lyons Bridge. I don't say I know every inch but I am getting familiar to it and most likely I can decode and do something.

But I have noticed there are a few "overlooked" spots. One is Pine Butte and the other is Cable Car Run in the Park section. In his book, Sylvester Nemes describes this section. First he mentions Barn's Pool #1 and 2 are ideal and productive waters for soft-hackles. Then he notes Cable Car Run just like as it is. This is "the" soft-hackle enthusists' mecca. It is tricky to fish from the near bank which is very high in your back and very fast and choppy that limits most of fishermen to wade in. I believe these two major reasons attract less people instead sending lots of people downstream for craziness (which helps me!!).

Here's a direction.
First you pull in Barn's Pool #1 parking area.
After you watch a deer calf wandering around in the opposite bank and get annoyed by over-crowding, walk upstream.

This is the "monument".

Just below here, I caught the fish of the year with a large soft-hackle (report here).

Above all, I have decided to found a soft-hackle club and the first meeting will be held at Cable Car Run Monument next year. It is called "Scientific Angling Team Of Soft Hackle Institution" (S.A.T.O.S.H.I.).
Object and pupose of this club are:
- Get shakey when finish tying nice soft-hackle flies with soft-hackle materials and catch nice trout with them, like Shakey Beeley (I mean him and the fly).
- We accept swinging streamers in our section but when we see someone catching whitefish with a bobber in our section, we will show our attitude.
For the schedule of the meeting and following events, please check at:
I will be sitting and waiting for you at cable Car Run Monument till I get sepia.

There are some fee and donation welcome when you want to join the club. All the funding will be used to enhance our soft-hackle fishing such as to get me a better SAGE rod so I can cast better and longer!!!


I am in the middle of mindset. Winter has set in eastern Washington. I am enjoying a slow season but also feeling that I am getting bored. To me, it's a transitional period for next season. I have purchased several books, CDs, DVDs, and fly tying materials to keep me entertained.

Well, here in Lower Yakima Velley, we had the first snow for this coming winter last Saturday 12th. Probably 8mm or so. Before more snow and ice come, I started my F-150 for the first time since I come back from my last trip to Yellowstone. 37 days exact. Last winter (this February or so), when I tried to start my F-150 after a few months of sitting, battery seemed totally gone and I had to jump and feed from my work car for over 30 minutes. So this winter, I am thinking to start and make sure once a month or so.

Last Saturday, I ran the engine for 30 minutes and drove to Prosser Hill. It was remodeled and paved so I wanted to see. Uhhhhh, quite a snow!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

10 Flies to Choose

I saw this article at Midcurrent. Experts picked their own top ten fly patterns. This is really a tough task, as the answer explains to the questioner. First it really depends on where (which states or countries), types of water, and season. Then how about sizes and colors? Do we need to consider personal enthusiasm such as dry fly purist, nympher, soft-hackle enthusist, and streamer man?? It is interesting for me to see that each expert has his own tendency, either more inclined to his own favorites or well-balanced..........

In my own level, I wanted to think about how my choice would be like. If I simply choose patterns I like to tie and keep in my boxes, my list would consist of lots of soft-hackles. That might do but I always wanted to be a versatile fly-fisherman. So I wanted to include dry, nymph, wet (soft-hackles), and then streamers. Then I had to think about insects; mayfly, caddis, and midge. As for sizes and colors within the pattern, I don't discuss. It's impossible without mentioning certain conditions (water, season, etc......). I just thought about one situation: I am at the river or creek (not lakes or ponds) with my 6wt and floating line. So my list has become more like "10 ultimate patterns" that I carry all the time with great confidence.
Sparkle Dun works anywhere I have fished. This happenned to be Epeorus color.

Royal Wulff Cripple is one of the most effective attractors, I bet!! It is fun and simple to tie.

As for caddis, I chose Improved X Caddis (X2). This is shaggier and more visible than original X Caddis.

These top 3 are pretty much what I need during the summer time, especially when I wet-wade to mountain streams.

Now it's down to wet flies.
Nick's Soft Hackle by Mr. Nick at Blue Ribbon Flies is an amazing and super effective emerging caddis pupa imitation!! During my June trip to Yellowstone, this out-fished famous Lafontain's patterns at Firehole and Gibbon during caddis hatch!! And as he intended, this is much simpler to tie.

I won't forget midges. Though I have more favorite patterns to show, Syl's Midge must be the all-time favorite. With the greased leader technique, this can be fished as dry and surface film, then swing it!!

I am getting to the bottom. $3 Serendipity is the must. This resembles everything or anything, mayfly nymph to midge larva (when tied with small curved hooks).

Beadhead Crystal Serendipity is always a brown trout fly to me.

Streamer time!! Not just because I did pretty well during my fall trip, I can't emphasize how lovely this fly is to tie and to fish with.

Nowadays, there are hundreds of streamer patterns. Yet my own and probably for most of anglers' all time favorite would be Scott Sanchez's Double Bunny. Here, I adapted this pattern with a barbell eye so it sinks upside down for less snagging.

The final 10th fly........... Well, I go with my Coyote (Coyoted Pheasant Soft Hackle). To me it's something among minnow, smolts, maybe an imitation, and an attractor in general.

These 10 flies are always with me along with other good patterns. Here is the glimpse of my project during the winter, related to these flies, besides watching DVD and reading books. I will up and post when it's done.

If you have your own idea and selection for 10 flies, let's share!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Camping Then and Now

I think fly-fishing oftentimes offers lots of fun things other than catching fish. One of the biggest difference from other ways of fishing would be fly-fishers often hike into mountains. I am one of them. I may not catch or even expect to see big fish but it's always fun. I can't emphasize what mother nature offers means to me. Besides beautiful trout, mountains and rivers are always in my heart (or vice versa). My favorite getaways are Yellowstone Park waters and my "secret holes" in my area that I keep my mouth shut!.

Whatever we do outside, camping would be one of the most basic and important concerns. But then again, to me, fly-fishing adds some tastes rather than just camping, hiking, or fishing with other ways. Besides preparations for foods and where to sleep, I always bring my journal (as used for this blog) and tying materials in case I need to ties flies that are not in my box.

I made several 3-day fishing camp to Tucannon River in eastern Washington. That meant two-night camping. The upper streatch offeres lots of free camping area, managed by state/rangers. It is such a nice place to enjoy camping though I never caught any fish over 11 inches. Since it's free in terms of fee and space, I have to curse some bad-mannered people who just come here and dump all of their garbages. This is the problem here in eastern WA that I shout loud!!

Anyway, here's one scene from Tucannon camp. I liked to sit and take a nap under the umbrella. I slept in the cab. I didn't encounter people who camped for parties so I enjoyed quietness at night.

This is some of the foods at that time. My favorites were Top-Ramen, Pork-&-Beans, Vienna sausages, corned beef & hash, and some breads or muffin along with some sorts of fluids as you can see.................

I camped at Madison Junction in Yellowstone National Park. It was OK and good in terms of camping. But it was a bit wiered to me because there were lots of groups and people, including myself, who were trying to make "man-made" quietness and solitude. It was like a refugee camp for me to be there. Besides, I went there for fishing. There were too many things to care other than fishing under the ciurcmustance and that made my days tough, not enough, and not busy for fishing.......

As day and year go by, I came to the point that I had to admit those high-caloried and easy-going camp foods above were getting too much for my metabolism.

These days, I would often pack sandwiches and chips for lunch but the night would be like this......simple and essential.

Furthermore, when I go to Yellowstone or Livingston area, I stay in motels with microwave and refrigerator. Ideally, a kitchen unit is the best as at Al's Westward Ho Motel in West Yellowstone (they are an old-style so they don't have a website. If you are curious, just call.) Here's a snap-shot during my last fall trip to Yellowstone at Gray Wolf Inn. It is called "Micro-Fridge"!!

I could be called that I am getting old and soft. Maybe. But by staying motel yet preparing most of my foods in ice-chests give me less times and things to care other than fishing, instead produces me more time to focus on fishing. And this is very effective to keep me healthy and doing as I do in my house. I can keep stuffs for my fresh sandwiches and in the evening after a long fishing day, I can barely sip a can of soup and eat veggies and salads. Yet I can cook some hearty eggs for breakfast with a microwave.

Some of you might suggest me own a motor-home, RV-car, or RV-trailer. This way, I could stay cheap or even free at camping sites. But I hate the competition for "first-come-first-serve". I'll do that for fishing spots but I don't want to do that for the rest. Besides, I know whatever kinds of vehicles I own, it costs a lot....... I'd rather be a good customer for each motel. So far those motels in Montana remember me every time I make calls and visit them. I belive this is why I am getting better fishing results every time I get back!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Soft-hackle Materials & Tools

After I completed my last & biggest trip, I have to admit myself that I am in a mix of loose, depressed, relaxed, that sort of mental condition. Besides, happy holiday season is coming. In a good way, I am a bit away from my tying bench, instead enjoying good DVDs and thinking about what I have experienced this year........

Whatsoever, what I am always thinking (actually obcessed with) is soft-hackle flies. I am still tying to fill my box whenever I've got an urge!! I'd like to post my favorite materials and tools here.

These two always go with my traveling tying bag, Whiting hen cape in dun and partridge. They are so versatile as tail, hackle, and wing materials. I think these two simply seem to represent something "fishy" to our and trout's eyes.

One of my best buys for this year from Blue Ribbon Flies, a whole pheasant skin. Both top and

rear side, there's nothing useless among these lovely feathers.

Grouse skin is another good one to tie large to medium size soft-hackles.

Here are starling and mallard shoulder. Starling is what I need to tie small soft-hackles for midge and baetis patterns. A paired mallard wings are oftentimes used as wings for dry flies but they are so fragile. I didn't know what to do with what I bought but I learned that shoulder feathers can be used for soft-hackles. Nice coloration!!!

And there it is, a hook exclusively for soft-hackle flies...... I picked up at Blue Ribbon Flies from #9 to 17. Manufactured in Japan by Daiichi, it is 1X-fine & 2X-short.

Then, most of lovely and fishy soft-hackles can never ever be tied without Pearsall's Gossamer silk threads, made in England. They have to go with Matarelli's Midge bobbin.
I always start and end my soft-hackles with applying Lagartun's beeswax on my silk threads. When I pack materials to my traveling bag, I don't carry Dave's Flexament or Zap-a-Gap in case they break or blow up. So instead of the cement, this beeswax always go with me.

Finally this is a recent acquisition that I came to like immensely. Hook & hackle plier from Hareline. This one simply grabs soft-hackle feathers without breaking, that regular hackle pilers can't do especially with smaller feathers (starling and partridge). Also, as the name says, this can hold hooks very well when I slip beads to hooks, most likely #16 and smaller.

I have just purchased white and black Gossamer spools from Blue Ribbon Flies. During the winter, I am thinking to tie several variations of my Coyote with those colors.

If you are one of bird hunters, please give me skins after you secure your meat!!

Wish you a happy Thanksgiving.

I am working on my greeting card for this year. I think I will post around or after Christmas.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Signature Flies

Most of all fly shops and famous fly-fishing authors have their own creation = signature flies that they promote or that have made them famous. Also, professional guides and those who work at fly-shops have their own "go-to" flies. I have tied those myself and fished with them. Those flies are simply great and work anywhere.

Here are the good list of my favorite authors and their flies, only just to name a few.
Craig Mathews: Sparkle Dun, Iris Caddis, X Caddis
Kelly Galloup: Zoo Couger, Heifer Groomer
Sylvester Nemes: Syl's Midge and misc soft-hackle patterns
Scott Sanchez: Double Bunny

I have tied these and fished with them. I have pictures for each but they have been anywhere. Here's just one. My own adoptation of Double Bunny. I tied a barbell eye on top of the hook so it will be upside-down in the water for less snagging the bottom. Shown is the "Integration" of black and white.
Been fishing and tying with my best, I was thinking "wouldn't it be nice if I creat my own fly, fish with it, and show it to others". I was not looking for specific "hatch-mathcers". That's pros' job in their own specific areas. I have been interested in more "free area to explore" such as streamers and soft-hackles, and maybe terrestrial patterns. Ideally, I wanted to see what I can do for my true obcession = soft-hackles.
It came to me out of sudden, truly unexpected, yet really restrained me at my tying bench to do something.
December 2008, my friends, a couple who reside by Jefferson River, Three Forks, MT, sent me a holiday greeting with some pheasant feathers so I can tie some flies with them. They say the hen pheasant (no tails) would have been killed by a coyote in their property. But who knows? They are avid good hunters who often shoot a bird or two for dinner with their bow & arrow!! I wasn't sure what I can do but as I opened a zip-lock bag, I saw nice soft hackles (probably from shoulders) and plumes of aftershaft...............!!!!

This meant more than a joke to me. I just felt I had to do something with these lovely feathers. Then I started to gather and combine all the knowledge and patterns in my head. At the same time, I read and read again Jack Gartiside's pheasant description. I clarified what was going on in my head. It would be a large soft-hackle. Talking about large soft-hackles, I had to think about Madison River in the fall, swinging large soft-hackles for run-up spawners. Then I had two beautiful patterns that I learned from Blue Ribbon Flies.

Here's "Shakey Beeley". I wanted to copy its whole silhoutte.

And here's "Lucky Bucky Soft Hackle". I love its pheasant use.

Along with BRF's foremost product, Zelon, that I though I could use for flash and color, I drew my idea with a pen on the paper. I came up with this. And I named it "Coyoted Phesant Soft Hackle", hoping I can hunt some big trout like coyotes attack their prey.

It didn't look bad all. But I couldn't ignore a little touch at the tying point of its tail; pheasnt fibers, Zelon under-tail, and ribbing gold wire were all in one spot. Also I had to see that I did some complication and over-dressing for thorax before I tie in and wrap pheasant hackle and aftershaft. Still look OK but too much labor and materials are not for my style nor for any other famous patterns. I wondered if there were any techniques or materials to improve it........

Then I learned another BRF creation, called September Song. It employs a built-up body of silk thread, which is nicely tapered.

This seemed to be the last piece I was missing. This way, I don't have to dub a body and it essentially forms a thorax. And then, rather than topping a tuft of Zelon on top of the shank, I made figure-eight wraps on a longer tuft of Zelon and then made it into a swept back style. This really seemed to combine everything in my head. Highly improved and perfect for my eyes!!

Spending lots of time on my tying bench, I figured shoulder feathers from cock is not soft enough for this fly. Then, not everybody has access to the hen feathers that killed by coyotes!! I came up with that cock's ramp feathers are perfect.

See what I have done from the top and rear.

Also, with its large silhoutte and color, I thought it might look like a drowned Salmonfly.
When it gets wet, it looks like this. With orange silk thread and color and flash of Zelon, I believe it dose look like a minnow/smolt.

I needed an answer to what I got along with theory and my tying techniques. This was what I brought to the Madison. For the rest of story, please take a look at my previous post about how I did with it. Here are two re-used pics from there.
The debut was with this 19-inch fat rainbow at Barn's Pool #1. It was a beautiful run-up trout.

It was dark into evening. This rainbow might have mistaken my Coyote as other proven patterns, who knows? But this picture shows the solid hook at the corner of trout's mouth, which is the typical spot while swinging. So this trout must have chased it, at least my Coyote would have enticed something.

I tried a self-timer as a proof. It looks like both me and trout are cut. But I had to let her go, anyway, it's mostly in my head.

Well, this is why I like my Coyote so much. I think I might as well post a few more about soft-hackles; materials, tools, and spots.