Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Year in Review & Season's Greeting - Part 2

Wish all of you had a great Christmas weekend. Here's the review of latter half of 2010 as I'd like to say "Happy New Year!!" to every one. Again, there are too many memories & trout to pick one or a few for making a card. This year would better be like this.
July: I resumed serious camping and fishing in eastern WA again since 2007.
My objective and enjoyment were to catch 12 to 16-inch Westslope Cutthroat in my secret mountain stream.

August: There are more times for camping and fishing in August also. I prepared hearty meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I hope there will be more opportunities like this in the next year right here in Montana.

After the lunch above, I caught a nice Brookie. I really enjoyed their colorings.

September: It ended up the highlight of this year that made me feel I was done in WA State and leave to Montana. September 2nd, I landed a huge Chinook Salmon while I was hunting for 16 to18-inch Westslope Cutthroat with my 6-wt rig.
It was so heavy and satisfying that I still feel back on my arms.

Two weeks later, I caught the best Westslope so far at the same spot where I landed the Chinook above. I really felt I fished enough and accumulated enough experience to go back to Montana.

October: While I was looking for a place to live in Livingston, I could manage some fishing during the short trip. I caught the tie record of rainbow at Madison, 19-inch. And that became the last trout caught as "non-resident angler" in Montana.
Right after I moved into Livingston, I enjoyed to fish around Yellowstone River around Livingston. Also I could make out to Madison River within Yellowstone Park on the second last weekend from closing (Oct 31st).

November: As the cold weather was coming in, I went to O'Hair Ranch to fish Armstrong Spring Creek on November 3rd. This huge brown was caught at the end of the day and became the 2nd last trout for 2010.

On November 6th, I made another day-trip to Yellowstone Park as my Park entrance from Oct 31st allowed me. It was a very slow day with bright weather and too many people all along Madison in the Park. But finally at the very end of my day, I swung my Coyote and caught a respectable rainbow as the last catch of 2010...............

Next year, I will do my best for breeding beef cows all around in Montana and then becoming a fly-fishing guide around Livingston. I'm working on to "import" Japanese anglers into Livingston or at least guide in general around here.

Thank you for dropping by my blog and wish all of you will have great New Year Eve & Day and then after. All of your reviews and comments have been what keep me going and keen to fish & write at this blog. Please keep them coming and we will fish together whenever we meet up at the river!! Thank you again!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Year in Review & Season's Greeting - Part 1

I decided not to make a greeting card this year like I had been doing for the past three years. One is because of nothing but the big change in my life: bagged the job in WA State and moved to Livingston. And this year, though 10 more days still left, I fished the most in my life. I counted with my fishing log and picture-folders by days in my computer. It was "55-days" plus several more days for driving between WA and Montana. I also counted what I did in 2009 and it was "only 29 days". It was inevitable that I moved to Montana. Hence too many pictures and stories to pick one or a few to make into a greeting card.

For this week, as I'd like to say "Merry Christmas!!" to everyone, I'd like to review from January to June. Then next week, I will review the rest of the year for "Happy New Year!!".

January: This little one was the first trout for this year at Rocky Ford. This was the second day of fishing, I recall, and the first day for this year was "skunk". So it was a slow start for this big fishing year but it was lucky enough to go out fishing from January.

February: Debut at Yakima River was welcome by a handsome Westslope Cutty. From this day, I fished Yakima once a week till the end of March.

March: Northern pike minnow (aka squaw fish) at Yakima. One of the native fish in the area. These guys are known as predators but it's so funny that they don't fight at all once hooked.
April: I made a big trip to Livingston in early April. I caught a potential state record breaking whitefish caught on fly at Yellowstone River.

Also, from April trip, I caught a nice brown at Nelson's.

May: Rocky Ford turned out to be in a good shape this year.

June: Another big trip to Yellowstone National Park. Dry fly fishing turned out to be one of the best experience ever. First here's grayling on midge,

brown on PMD,

and nice brown during the complicated caddis hatch at Firehole.

There were some tough periods on the job but fishing never let me down during the first half of this year. In other words, fishing was becoming my life............

Wish Merry Xmas to everyone!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Fat Albert

My tying list is growing and shrinking back and force. I was working on a terrestrial pattern which utilizes lots of foam. Fortunately, the art & craft shop Michaels' is in Bozeman. I'd like to say if you need foam in various colors, DO NOT go to fly-shops but to Michaels', period. I bought 3 huge foam as you can see which are 99-cent each!! while the little bag on the top is the one typically sold at fly-shops with $2. I've purchased a life-time supply for each color.

The pattern I was working on was called Fat Albert. I just like the name. Because it's really fat!! and then fun to tie. I heard that this is originally developed for Argentina or Patagonia trout. Fat trout down there must eat fat meals, I guess. Using tri-color of foam along with an indicator and realistic legs, Fat Albert must be a great imitation for hopper, ant, and beetle. Legs are supposed to be barred by a marker but my marker came off during tying process. I should get a better one yet I still like what I came up with.

This is the top view. Making a knot with a single string of round rubber legs is difficult if not impossible as it doesn't stay. That's why rear pairs consist two strings and a touch of cement on knots.

For gloss appearance on the belly, cement can be applied as much as one wants to!!

Here are color variations I could think of. Top one is meant to be a cricket and bottom one is meant to be a relatively large beetle or ant with touch of black foam.

Trout can't count number of legs as their IQ is 6 (Dr. Gary Borger) so they don't care whether my flies have 8 legs while ants, beetles, and hoppers actually have only 6 legs.

Well, this pattern will be counted on my favorite list but then again, I'm short of fly-boxes......

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Too Many Flies & Short of Boxes

Great news first!! Everyone is enjoying mild weather with no winds here in Livingston, especially after the hazardous & brutal snow storm around Thanksgiving. Furthermore, today I really felt I became a Montanan again (I was a student at Montana State in Bozeman and worked at a ranch in Sidney) because I felt hot when it was only above 40F outside!!!! I opened up windows and door for fresh air instead of smoking & ash like smell inside caused by wood stove. Also it almost all made me go fishing........but calm down and analyze first. I thought about Yellowstone around town and Lower Madison but snow piles haven't melted yet and I doubted if those public accesses had been cleared. I would get stuck and possibly further worse accidents could happen. Maybe I would go either one of spring creeks right here then.
At least, this weather break motivated me to post one. Assuming and hoping I will be guiding next year, I'm tying lots of lots of flies. Most of them are generic patterns for Paradise Valley Spring Creeks. I'm confident of my tying so I'd like to sell them to clients rather than just give them.

Counter-clockwise from the top, shown are Sparkle Dun, Foam Nymph, Improved Sparkle Dun, Soft-hackle (all these are meant for Sulphur mayfly or smaller PMD), and small olive-black X Caddis.

I'm working on how to organize and store all of these flies and I'm getting short of boxes. But there should be a smart way or two to organize, so just buying more boxes doesn't solve my dilemma.

I could think of one solution off the top of my head...............some of you readers out there may be interested in purchasing my flies?? That will reduce my inventory and give more spaces among my current boxes. And then I will have a bit of funding to buy boxes if needed......
I'm just being funny and "fishy" about money-making idea but there's NO JOKE about my fly tying and products so if some of you happen to be interested in my flies, just let me know!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Weather Hazard - No-Joke

I don't keep track of when and how much we had snow any more. But yesterday and today, I experienced the most brutal and unbelievable weather in my life. I have lived in Bozeman and Sidney and I did have some nasty winter days in northwest Nevada and eastern WA. But weather in Livingston is.......

Yesterday afternoon, I thought I might want to grab fried chickens and snacks in a grocery store. To go to highway (main street), I have two routes. I wanted to go south but there was a guy pouring gas tank to his car in the middle of road, not sure if he was stuck or not. So I turned north. As I saw my neighborhood couldn't get their car out right in front of their house (their car is a regular sedan), I got stuck too right in front of them. My F-150 in 4WD wouldn't do but they gave up their car and helped me get out and I gave up to go to town and just backed up to my house. They decided to walk to highway then their folks would pick them up for family gathering and I promised them that I would help their car when they got back.

This afternoon, we worked on their car under this kind of weather. It was reported actual temperature was about 20 above but how we would feel with 30 to 40mph, occasionally 50mph, of blizzard. I can't express in my words so I shot a little video with my camera and for the first time, I'd like to post here. See how it looks and works.

We dug and cleaned snow under front wheels as much as we could. Then we tried to slide in boards for the grip and hopefully car could go backward. First, tires didn't even spin!! We dug more and tires started to move but couldn't get on boards. We found that just too much snow under-car, almost lifting the car so to speak. So we gave up.....

Those ice, powder, or snow, whatever you call, turn into water right after they hit our face (eventually back into ice). I got too much on my right eye, which essentially caused a running tear and suddenly my vision went blur........ my contact lense was blown off from my right eye!!!!

With those wet hair and underwear, I might have experienced minor case of hypothermia?? With coffee and wood stove, I feel better now but gust continues outside.......

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Winter Has Come

Winter, actually snow, has settled in earlier than I expected. I mean, last winter I spent in Montana was almost 8 years ago. I just can't remember the average. Last Tuesday, it was a snow storm. Then from Wednesday night to all through Thursday, we had 50mph of gust which dried out all the snow on the ground. Then on Friday, it started to snow. I was gonna do some yard chores on Saturday but snow didn't seem to stop for a while so I did on Friday afternoon. It was all through snow on Saturday also. Probably about 2pm, which is supposed to be the warmest of the day, I got this temperature with my truck thermo as I went to town quickly.

Just about the same time, my firewood were already like this.

This morning, they looked like this. Snow stopped and the Sun came out lightly but it is estimated a couple of inches of accumulation over night.
But I was ready for the cold weather. My landlord gave me bags of elk burger. Last night, I set up my crock-pot filled with one of bags and other ingredients and cooked all night. It turned out to be the best chili I ever made. Even Lieutenant Columbo would be satisfied. "It's the crackers that make the dish" (quote from Lieutenant). I actually like to eat in his style; little a bit of salt and ketchup and then the ritual of crashing fistfull of crackers!!

Maybe a bit too many homey stuffs for my fly-fishing blog?
I am tying lots of flies as it's the perfect time of the year. Whenever it warms up around 30s, I can go to spring creeks. So I tied up my secret weapon dudes!!

While I was getting comfortable with heat from the wood stove and mellow by liquor, I was dizzy and dozing. But suddenly another idea was born in that condition of my brain. Here's another color variation of T&A. I combined the all time effective white and black, naming it "T&A Integration". It should work. I'll find out once weather cooperate probably at Lower Madison and Yellowstone just around here.

I have more flies to tie and have some do-it-yourself projects.

Hopefully I can get out fishing soon and post trout pictures.....

Wish everybody have a great Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Buff Thought

As I was buying a present for my brother, I got one for me. To make it a surprise for my bro, I don't show the present, but I'd like to post this!!

I went to a trading-post kind shop only several miles south from Livingston. The owner and his shop are really cool!! The shop is filled with lots of cool and artistic stuffs which capture my eyes and interests. He showed me wildlife feet that were freeze-drying outside. And he showed me one which used to belong to a buffalo. I had an urge to get it!!

I got it and now am hanging on my wall. Spending with lots of cows, this is one of the ugliest hooves I've ever seen. But uglier, the better. I love and hate buffaloes. First I love their meat and as a Western icon. Then I hate them because they cause jams in Yellowstone Park and they scare me while I'm fishing. These are why I consume buff meat at least once a year to be immune to them. Now I've got one of their feet!! I may even be able to use it as a club to whack them!!

Coincidentally, the back page of the recent issue of my favorite fly-fishing magazine is the picture of buffs from the Park............

Is it gross to hang a buff hoof on the wall? So far it doesn't lure any house-flies. Instead, it makes me know that I have to toughen up in Montana!! Oh, I love and hate buffs.........

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Greek - Roman Equivalent? Actually English - Japanese Bros

I was reading The Lost Hero. It's another great read after Percy Jackson seriese.
Percy Jackson and his friends are demigods whose parents are Greek gods and human.
New characters in The Lost Hero are demigod kids whose parents are "Roman Equivalent" and human. I don't lecture mythology but here's a couple of examples.

Zeus = Jupiter
Poseidon = Neptune
Aphrodite = Venus

This gave me an idea to make an equivalent of my blog in Japanese!!

I have just started an extension of my blog in Japanese.

Japanese Edition brother. I really wanted to show Japanese people what about fly-fishing in Montana or American West in a big picture.

This is especially because I really try to host Japanese flyfishers to Montana as a fishing guide and a tour guide in general. I soon will be one & only lonely Japanese fishing guide in Montana as I have been one & only lonely Japanese cowboy & cattle breeder all through US!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Debut as a Commecial Tyer

Snow and cold fronts are coming in. I'm learning how to make a fire quickly in a wood stove in my house without smoking entire house. I'm getting better day by day.

Today, I made money (just little a bit) for the first time with my fly tying. As I was looking for what to do for the rest of the year other than breeding cows in spring and early summer, I have been knocking on doors of fly-shops in Livingston, Bozeman, and West Yellowstone to see if I can tie flies for them and sell my own designs.
Reading magazines and being a good customer, I kind of already know about fly-tying industry. Some shops tie their own flies and promote them, other shops simply rely on flies that are tied cheaply in foreign countries. The latter is getting stronger and American tyers are losing the competition. But there are always people and shops who appreciate enthusiasm and new designs.
I sold my own Coyote (full name: Coyoted Pheasant Soft-Hackle) as the debut of me being a commercial tyer at a shop in Bozeman. The fact that my own design was the first one to sell made me really happy.
Here's the top view of my Coyote.
I have a tying order like this for next year.

I will have more orders for 2011 soon. Fly tying can't sustain me to make living but it's quite fun so little a bit of money is really enough and it keeps me busy during the winter.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Last Day of the Park: Swinging Large Soft-Hackles.

Almost all 5pm, I drove into Barns Pool #1. OMG.........there were still too many people. It's been a while that I saw this many people. Even at Cable Car Run.

Well, my objective was to swing my large soft-hackles so I wouldn't regret conducting my obsession. I have known that not many people go down below Barns Pool #1. There are several nice riffles to swing soft-hackles. And I noticed that people were sticking there without making any steps and just catching whitefish on nymphs.

I didn't like the situation but I interpreted as my advantage to swing my soft-hackles. First I tied on a white then later on I tied on a black Soft Hackle Streamer.

Beneath that I trailed my own Coyote.

Just about the limit of darkness, I took off my sunglasses and tucked into my wader, as I did last year while swinging my Coyote. Coincidentally, I felt a big tug and trout set the hook itself. It was a nice 18-inch rainbow.

But to confess, it was foul-hooked on her pectoral fin.

But then again, how lucky I was. She fought very hard because of a foul hook. Another minute or two, she would have been gone by snapping off her own fin. And then again, she was on my own Coyote. Also coincidentally my new scarf was orange as my Coyote. Orange will be my lucky color from now on.

Thank you for the memorable catch of the year. I revived her and she was ready to go as splashing waters to my face.

To summarize my fishing in Yellowstone National Park this year, I had my own satisfaction though trout were not as large as last year. Instead, I have caught more numbers and gained my own experience about spots, reading waters, hatches, flies, etc. June trip was a great success. From now on, I have to figure out ways to visit the Park economically from Livingston.

Last but not least, as ending the season, I caught my last trout with my own designed fly while fishing it with my favorite way = swinging large soft-hackles. I was more like relieved and confident rather than just being happy. My flies, theories, and observations worked.

Also, she may even be not the last fish of this year as there are more waters to fish anywhere around Livingston!!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Last Day of the Park: baetis hatch!!

Due to the fine weather, I didn't expect much about baetis hatch en masse and rising trout, both of which were usually predictable from 1 to 3pm on overcast days = cloudy, rainy snowy, sleet, etc. I just pulled in one of upper sections of Madison. While I was eating my lunch in my truck, I saw lots of rising trout but people by the river didn't see at all and left.

Though it was not as strong and dramatic as last year, it was a baetis hatch. I like ICU Baetis.

With this tiny size, I can't see it all the time but I'm learning to "pop" it when casting. I saw a rise on the top of my fly line and I was sure that was where my fly would be!!
Next, I tied on a Knocked Down Baetis.

I saw a rise and set a hook. A little one flew toward me!! Another smallest one ever in Madison.

I moved to Muleshoe Bend of Firehole River, hoping lots of people are fishing Madison and more reliable hatch of baetis. Nobody was fishing the Bend but no risers or strong hatches either. I swung soft-hackles at least. I started to see a few rises here and there. I tied on 6X Emerger behind ICU.
There's no way to see 6X Emerger on the surface but the position of ICU and the constant cast let me guess where it would be and the rise. Just a tiny rainbow but I did fish for it.

Regardless of fish sizes and condition, I consider I did much better than last year and 6 days ago. No accidental catches but positive rises and positive hook sets.

Now I was heading back to the Madison.