Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fall Flies - 2

Here are other flies that I love to tie on. These should be "lighter" to our eyes than those in my last post. As said there, if I agree to the "big fly = big fish" theory, why don't I carry only those heavy ones? Well, I want be a versatile fisherman to answer what mother-nature is calling for. Match the hatch, weather of the day, time of the day, where I fish, the list goes on but don't forget tips (very important)!! After all of these situation and flies make fly-fishing addictive for any type of fly-fishermen out there. And I like to tie 'em all and want to improve my tying all the time.

I've been watching Craig Mathews and John Juracek's "Fly Fishing Yellowstone Hatches" probably for the 50th time. They call the fall baetis hatch as the "major league hatch". It 's the last hatch of the season, water is the thinnest, and trout can be very finicky.
I will try Firehole for this hatch. And then as they do, I hope I can see and encounter in Madison too before I would step into slow and soft water right in front of me to chuck nymphs to the seam. Here are my copycats from their shop.
Baetis Sparkle Dun size 22. This specific deer hair for this fly (and bleached one) that I picked up from Blue Ribbon Flies is unbelievable! It makes my tying look better (I hope!) and is very visible almost all in any light condition and casting length. I made a thread body rather than using dubbings for thinner silhouette.

This one is called ICU Baetis. I like all the character that Zelon shows on this fly. I tied with both white and black post so I hope this must be very visible.

For the same reason, I like Zelon Midges too. I might need this because the area sounds very cold and the situation might be "winter midging".......

I have several subsurface flies for both baetis and midge. I would use some nymphs and larvas but also just swing some soft-hackles among hatches. You can call it I am cheating the situation and dry-fly casting!!

Talking about soft-hackles, my true obcession, now is the time to swing big soft-hackles in Madison both in and out of the Yellowstone Park.

My tie of Shakey Beeley from Blue Ribbon Flies looks "postable" in public, I hope!
The story of Shakey Beeley is one of the Western folklores to me. That's a big enough reason for me to tie this fly and keep in my fly box.

I came to know Jack Gartside. He is also obcessed, NO!, interested in soft-hackles. His description for the whole pheasant skin makes me shakey from excitement by just reading it. During my June trip to West Yellowstone, I ran into Blue Ribbon Flies and picked up the best in the market. I've been playing with it since then........Ooops, sorry I was about to get off the rail and into my soft-hackle stories.

Anyway here's the Soft-Hackle Streamer that I learned from Jack Gartside. Soft-hackle with marabou and phesant feathers and some flash as seen in most of streamer patterns. I bet this is the one that I swing then also strip it!! I think I would use this floating line but also I think it would be also interesting to trail this behind a huge streamer with a full-sinking line.

This is the same Soft-hackle Streamer but as for the color, it's my own idea. Yellow + brown and a touch of grizzly saddle hackle. Well, I confess I copied this from BRF's Baker's Hole Bugger, as seen on my previous post.

And finally, I'd like to introduce my own design briefly. There are some stories behind it and several flies I based on. I spent lots time on my bench (holding a whole pheasant skin!!). I felt I came up with something, at least neat enough to show others. All I need is approval from trout.

As of now, I am slightly nervous to run into the harsh weather. But typing these two posts, I've got my mind-set get ready for the trip. As always my trips have to be fun. Then do the best and all I can. I will enjoy whatever will happen, ideally with 6-pounder or 25-incher (practically 4--pounder and 20-incher!!??). Now I am gonna start to pack things to my truck.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fall Flies - 1

Here in eastern WA, we had several chilly mornings last week but now it warms up again. But from what I hear, southwestern MT is experiencing a really cold weather. That's where I am heading in a week.......I suddenly feel I might be insane. Well, I have to.

I am starting to pack my stuff. Of course all the Long-John (tops and bottoms) are already packed. Then flies. Right after I came back from my Aug/Sep trip, I tied a lot for what I would be needing in the fall. I even accumulated some of them till I ran out of hooks. Two of "go-to" & "must" flies are $3 Serendipity and Beadhead Crystal Serendipity. I don't have to explain the effectiveness of these two as in my fishing report from my last trip. I know I will have to deal with lots of whitefish but on slow days or times of the day, these two nymphs will keep me busy. I have made a "Dipity Box" exclusively. I have tied sizes 14, 16, 18 (from left to right). This is a "storage box". From here, as I lose them or they get chewed up by fish, I pick some to a box in my vest. I will also trail these with streamers too.

Then the rest is about heavy "artilleries". "Meat & Eggs", I call.

Last year, rubber-legs was the best ticket for larger trout. Besides, whitefish doesn't seem to be able to bite on these biggies with their small mouth. Also, I learned that nothing wrong with using egg-flies as long as that's what fish want.

I recall I tied some rubber-legs quickly in my motel room. Then these hungry trout liked them.
Since rubber-legs and eggs are easy & quick to tie, I can fix some quickly in my motel room if I have to. But hopefully not.....

Of course, I like to "chuck & duck" streamers too. First, I enjoy spending time to tie big flies on my bench. It's fun to play with marabou feathers and trim & shape up deer hair. I like anything from classic to modern patterns. I ended up having several streamer boxes and wallets for these big-&-uglys. Below is only two of them.
I agree to "big fly = big fish" theory. When I go with streamers, I personally follow Kelly Galloup's "Predatory Theory" along with his own rigging and styles he does. I bought his streamer fishing VHS for ONLY $5 the other day!!

Here are my own ties of Kelly's signature flies; Zoo Couger and Heifer Groomer, along with a classic Marabou Muddler and Scott Sanchez's famous Double Bunny in two colors.

Another box here contains Blue Ribbon Flies' Baker's Hole Bugger and Doug McKnight's Home Invader. Can you recognize Doug's Home Invader was somewhere in one of my previous posts?? If you can, we might see somewhere at the same spots with same flies......

Are you full with all these biggies and uglies? I am. I will post a "softer" one next. And that will be the last one before I hit the road.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

About Comments

Here's a quick note.

I have just changed the setting for comments. My friend CJ let me know a problem that I did not notice. The original setting had been only for people with Gmail accounts or live-ID sites. Now it should show "Name/URL" and "Anonymous". With either one of this anyone who happennes to see my blog should be able to leave comments. And please do!!

By the way, Gmail is really interesting. I have a Hotmail account too that has been serving me pretty well. But Gmail offers something new such as; keeping track of swapping emails, skimming the potetial spams, Picasa to share photos, and obviously this free blog.

As of now, I haven't learned the monetizing gain through a blog, so this post is never meant to be an advertizement!! As my previous post for my favorite rivers and gears, this is just what I think.

Thank you for visiting my blog so far. I am still learning to keep this blog going.
I will post one or two before I hit the road to Yellowstone.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Favorite River - Armstrong Spring Creek

Armstrong Spring Creek in Livingston, MT is such a lovely place. To me, what Montana offers is all in one place. First, it's running through a true Montana working ranch. O'Hair Ranch runs a herd of really good looking Angus cows (I am a cattle breeder, so I am picky and observant about cows too!). They are very friendly people too for visitng anglers. Their office is actually their boots-room. And a couple of friendly cow-dogs also welcome anglers.

There are also famous Depuy's (fished only one afternoon) and Nelson's (haven't been) spring creeks in the area but for the reason above and some tips from locals, I like Armstrong's the best. To me ranching and fly-fishing are always some of the biggest Western icons.

Then the scenary is so gourgeous along with lots of wildlife, birds, and insect hatches. I can't emphasize how lunch tastes better when eaten at the picnic tables or at the very top of the creek (where not so many people step in) on sunny days. By the way, Livingston is a nice little town and has lots of great eateries in only several miles away. So far this is the only one place that I don't pack my sandwiches on purpose!!

This cute little fawn was taking a nap on the grass in a warm sunny afternoon. I never meant to but I was sorry that I woke her up.

This was my first trout at Armstrong's. When I visited for the first time in early June 2008, I was totally green. I walked around almost all entire section without fishing. I didn't see rises or hatches either. I was not getting any actions. So I ran into Yellowstone Angler who keeps a good tab. They told me it was the time when baetis hatch was over and PMD and caddis might come off so better odds with nymphs, larvas, and scud patterns. Well, I finally netted one on a Sparkle Scud. It measured 15-inch and quite a fight with 6X tippet. I was so amazed with beauty and healthy condition of trout here. I hooked several more in that afternoon and I felt the "touch" of this water and started to enjoy.

Then this year in late April and early May, I booked three days. This time I did some homework. Though it's not a secret at all but since this post is never meant to be how-to & where-to, I keep my mouth shut about spots and flies \(*_*)/
These fighters went WHAM!! x WHAM!!

So far this is the largest rainbow I caught. I really like this over-spotted 'bows here. They are so unique.

Then this is the largest at Armstrong's and one of the best browns I ever caught. It measured 20-inch and it was so "toothy" and left some punctures on my fingers. I love this picture-perfect (or drawing) vivid red spots of browny's here too. This one has some even up on its adipose fin.

You sucker!! Actually it didn't suck but got snagged on the back. I first thought of a whitefish, which is pain the back when snagged, but this one came up effortlessly. And its skin was not coarse like whitefish but oh well.......gross

One thing I kind of don't like or understand is that visitng anglers are required Montana State license (extra cost for us) also though we are paying directly to O'Hair family to fish in their private land. I was told that it is because the fish is from the river or belongs to the state, something like that.

Also, I have to mention some bad-mannered people in this lovely place as I have noticed in my area (like Rocky Ford). O'Hair Ranch keeps a nice fishermen's hut with picnic benches and a bathroom but some people leave cigar butts, cans of beer and pop, lunch packs, etc right there on the benches. Also there's a courtesy garbage box in the bathroom to dump ONLY paper towles that the Ranch supplies. But some people dump everything they don't need. I'd like to say loudly here; please NEVER do it, not only for O'Hair people but also for the visiting anglers who love and respect this place.

I really respect and admire what O'Hair people do to keep their tradition going in this tough time. I belong to agricultural producing side too so I totally recognize how hard it is. For me, rod fee at Armstrong's is one of the best things that money can buy (summer rate is a bit too high for me, I admit!!). As said above, I enjoy a whole "Montana package" in one stop and then if what I am paying helps them preserve their land, which they open for us in public, I really feel I am making a good investment.

I am not sure yet, but I might be able to swing by Armstrong's in early November after I fish Madison and Yellowstone Park in late Oct. If I catch a few (I don't say a lot!!) of 19-inch or above in Madison, I might have reason to leave the harsh weather.......

What entices me is: winter rate at the creek and good food in Livingston!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Rocky Ford Fishing Report (I forgot my camera!!)

I went fishing to Rocky Ford Creek on Sep 30th. I was thinking about going to Naches also, but now it's a hunting season here in eastern WA, which attracts more crowds than at Madison River! Declined. But also I was not very eager to go to Rocky Ford either. It is a long way for me and I would be doing the same thing......please see my previous post below (Favorite River - Rocky Ford Creek ).

Well, I just couldn't sit in my house and I had to feel fish before my next trip to Yellowstone just in a month. So I made up my mind, yet my mind seemed slightly off or relaxed because I could imagine what I would be doing (and I did). I just gathered flies I would use (and I used). With that attitude, I noticed that I forgot my camera in my truck half an hour later I left my house. Then I had had the best (actually the easiest) day ever in Rocky Ford!!

It is interesting that this reminds me what Dan from Blue Ribbon Flies told me when he guided me in late October last year. Following his guiding and instructions, I hooked a big brown, 20-inch class. We did see its body. We had talked "no pictures for below 20-inches". Dan instructed me to cast large Royal Wulff trailed with an egg to the cutbank. At mighty Madison, it was suddenly a springcreek situation to spooky spawners. Regardless of the size, I liked the way we did. So with excitements I said,
"I've gotta have a picutre of this!!"
Dan: "Don't talk about pictures now!!"
Then the fish was off the fly......Dan told me "don't talk about pictures until you land the fish" and also"usually we forget either camera or net when we catch big fish".
This day, I did remember and packed my net but the camera......very funny
As a remenisce, at the very end of the day, we finally hooked another nice brown and landed it to make up my mistake. Dan took nice pictures for me. Here's one.

But I already know trout in Rocky Ford so it really didn't matter to me to take pictures. They were just the same as in my previous post. Yet two things I slightly regreted are: I was with some kind neighborhood fishermen around me who could have taken pictures of me holding nice fish and the coloration of trout in the fall.

So no pictures for trout and scenaries, all I can do is to show my flies.

Here is the "advanced" tie of San Juan Worm. It sinks pretty well. I admit I accidentally hooked one. It ran, jumped, and snapped my fly off. Just a typical 16-incher at Rocky Ford but I really liked its typical Rainbow actions.

Then this size #20 San Juan Worm was killing. I guessed it might also look like midge pupa, chronomids, and even tiny red/orange scud. Since I was catching, people around me asked me what fly I was using. I was embarrased but show them this......

I recall I tied this at the Fishermen's hut of Armstrong Springcreek last June. It was when there was not so much insect actions. People at Yellowstone Angler suggested me but obviously I didn't want to buy it. So I quickly spread my travel kit and tied some. I also recall I burned the ends with matches from my camping stuffs. Anyway, I hadn't used them till now!!

As always scud worked too. Sparkle Scud is always good. My Deer-hair Scud didn't get any attention on that day.

Then I believe this is the method that few people do at Rocky Ford. Whenever I am fishing, I always look for opportunity to swing flies, which is very rare at stillwaters like Rocky Ford. Two exceptions are: when it's windy that causes lots of waves and at the head of the creek, an outlet from hatchery boundary. That outlet is the only one riffle. Though forming a little pond, the movement goes on enough for me to swing flies. Not to mention, midges are very important for trout at Rocky Ford. I think it works all day and any days. But at least for my eyes, trout start rising to surface film or to rolling at subsurface on warm days or in the afternoon.

This is the one I copied from Blue Ribbon Flies, named Mighty Midget Emerger. Obviously this was invented for Yellowstone waters by them but hey, it works anywhere.

The last trout I caught was on this tiny soft-hackle that I learned from Sylvester Nemes' book, called Peacock Herl and Yellow larva style. Can you imagine an over 20-inch & 5lb trout was hooked on this tiny fly along with 6X tippet?? Now I really miss my camera!!

Here's one controversial and ethic/moral thing in Rocky Ford. Is it an unfair and un-flyfishing action to dap our flies in front of trout right at the bank?? Is it even cheating?? Certainly it's not technical at all. But considering the fishing situations and my experience at Rocky Ford, I am sure not everybody can catch fish by doing it (unless trying to snag on purpose with leech pattern, that's a bad thing). Also I am sure trout know what we are doing and oftentimes they just get away or never respond. But it's a very up-close and personal fishing in my opinion. Though you are not making fly-casts, can you stalk that close to trout in clear and heavily fished water then make a light action dapping?

This day, I saw one big fish at the bank who hadn't see the shadows of me, my rod, and line. I dapped Sparkle Scud with Mini SJ Worm right in front of it. It did recognize the scud pattern that they have and will have been seeing through their lives at Rocky Ford. Then I twitched my rod and showed him the Mini SJ Worm, and it went for it. I confidentially set the hook by streatching my body upward. That was some of the biggest in Rocky Ford, 25-inch and 6-lb class. I can't express all about actions and emotions of trout in that so-close fishing.

Typing all through, I think I regret that I forgot my camera!!