Saturday, January 30, 2010

New Gears for 2010

Right after I found that I need a new line and reel, I made a quick move with some thoughts. Line was broken but my Scierra XDP (X-treme Drag Performance) reel is still great as it has been. As long as it works why would I abondon it? By the way, this Scierra made in Sweden is extremely tough. (A big) However the company and its distributers left US. So there is probably from no more to only a few left in the market. Fortunately I own two!! I will use this to my future 5wt rig. Here's a close look of Scierra XDP along with a Salmonfly at Madison River.

Now about the new gears that I have just received. For the line, I chose RIO's Grand. There were a couple of RIO lines in my mind but I finally decided to buy the Grand. It seems to fit my style: first it claims to go with the fast action rods as my Sage 6wt and then the versatility I can expect in any situation. From tiny baetis or midge flies, heavily weighted nymph rig, and to large streamers.

As for the reel, for the first time, I got out of my limit. I generally look for reels somewhere between $100 to $150 with fancy lookings. Scierra XDP above is the perfect example. This time, I spent a bit more than that. I decided to go with Lamson Waterworks' Guru model. I confess here that this is the first time that I own a large arbor reel.........

I might as well have purchased a spare spool for full-sinking line. This line is Kelly Galloups's design for extream streamer fishing.

I bought these from Creekside Fly-Fishing in Salem, OR. Though I haven't been to the shop, mostly because I have to pass Portland area......, Rich and Kathy have been very kind to me through all of my purchases via online and emails.

Actually, the biggest reason I have been dealing with Creekside is that they don't have sales tax in Oregon and the shipping/handling is only a few to none........

I am laughing at myself and/or any other fly-fishers that we'd like to spend a copuple to several hundred $$ for our gears yet we are trying to be cheap on those taxes and shipping rates.......

Anyways, I will test these new gears pretty soon.

Monday, January 25, 2010

First Few Trout for 2010

I went back to Rocky Ford last Thursday, 21st. Though my previous attempt was failed two weeks ago, I didn't feel some sort of bloody revenge or anything. I just wanted to get out. Rocky Ford is one of a few options around here in winter. Now it might be a time for me to explore Yakima River for another option........

I got out with my 4wt, which is always fun to fish with. I consider this rig as a classic and an all-rounder for me. 4wt & 8-foot with a so-so reel and a double taper floating line (both from Cortland). This handles most of situation for smaller dry flies and nymphs at smaller streams. Here's my rig with a brown trout from Armstrong's.

I didn't get any action in the morning with dry flies and soft-hackles for Baetis and midges. Well, I couldn't get knocked out twice in a row, so I moved to the upper end of creek and tried to salvage the day. And I did. In the afternoon, midge hatching was very strong. This tiny soft-hackle "peacock herl & yellow larva style" that i learned from sylvester Nemes' book seems to be a regular of my blog.

I caught a 12-incher as the first one for this year with this fly. But I failed to take a picuture or two. I kept going. I caught 3 more small trout!!
Trout here is triploids from the hatchery so in a way, it is pretty rare that I was catching this small fish. Maybe in other words, within a year or so there would be more large trout.

The very last fish was the typical of Rocky Ford, 18-19" & 3lb, again on swinging this tiny soft-hackle of mine. I felt a really big tug. It leaped several times and I felt I was relly "ON" since last November. I thought it leaped more than I expected for trout I ever caught at here or maybe I might have fought on it as if with my 6wt and larger tippet. It snapped off my 6X...... But I was really satisfied and might as well go home.

While at the parking lot, an old gentleman talked to me. He happenned to be the same gentleman from Seattle who asked me what fly I was using when I had the best day at Rocky Ford in last September. This Mini San Juan Worm was a hit on that day, so Mr. Duane remembered me as a "Mini SJ Worm" guy!!!???

Thank you, sir!! But that's not really what I am!! I am a soft-hackle enthusiast who loves to swing, sir!! Please look at my older post for my soft-hackles and great success at Madison River in Yellowstone Park section!! (I'm pleading "not guilty" for being simple or being almost like a bait-fisherman with a SJ Worm ..........just kidding \("_")/ ).

Mr. Duane is a Montana origin. We talked about rivers and shops in common.

Rocky Ford is always crowded and sometimes several people are a bit annoying. But also there always are some good people like him. It is always nice to make friends at the river.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ring Finger Rejuvenating

Nothing to do with fly-fishing but a personal matter. Last October, my left ring finger was smashed very badly during the job. It was a combination of an uncoorperative cow and facility.

It was so touchy and miserable for a few days. My co-workers and people at the dairy farm asked me if it got broken (I knew it was not) and suggested me lots of things such as to apply some ointment, drain blood, etc. Then they even laughed at my finger because it looked like a typical cartoon-like bump!! It was not funny at all!!

My finger was healing well, almost all no pain as days went by. A month later, it still looked like this. It was the last day of my fall trip at Depuy's. I was afraid that the blood clot would not be gone.

Well, the healing process seems slow. As of today, it has finally become like this. Within a week or two, I must be cutting the last appearance of blood clot.

I was so happy that I was wearing a ring?

It's a "reversed" egg fly with a golden chenille ring!! Notice my effort that I even tied in the embryo.........

I couldn't help but posting these to show how happy I am. When I was a kid, this kind of process seemed took only a few weeks after, say, hitting my fingers with a hammer instead of nails.

Whatsoever, this mild winter here in eastern WA seems to keep me going without getting bored. My recent fishing report will be posted soon.

If anybody wants to see more creative(?) and artistic(?) flies of mine, let me know. I have a couple of pictures already and I am always thinking about to make more.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dutch Box

I think I just finished my little project during the winter. At least to the certain point. It's been in my mind and is still going on.

I've read this article at MidCurrent. I have visited Blue Ribbon Flies in my every trip, met Craig in person, but have never looked at prices of Dutch boxes at the counter because I could tell it's a bit too fancy for me. But last December, I finally decided to get two (one for my brother) within my budget. Yet I ordered online so buying without actually seeing them for the prices was a bit gamble to me. But I was very happy when they were shipped. I wanted to have a "lucky box with all good luck flies".
All Dutch boxes are hand-crafted, numbered, and dated. Each one is only one of its kind. Mine is read as below, crafted with cherry tree.
On the top (lid side), I tied and set (from top row) mayfly, caddis, midge, special ones, terrestrials, and nymph. One color and one pattern for each pattern or insect imitation.

On the bottom, I set larger flies, mostly large soft-hackles. Of course including my Coyote.

Furthermore, this box fits in the left-upper pocket of my vest (right at my heart). As said above, I had not seen it bacause I ordered online. Amazing! I just felt that was meant for me!

Somehow, I don't feel its weight or something square from inside. It does make me feel I am well equipped and gives me some confidence. As long as I keep this box in my vest, I know I always have right flies in any situation even when I forget or leave other boxes in my truck or motel room. I am not sure if this is going to protect me from bears or buffaloes though........

Somehow when I tried to tie one fly only for each pattern, I felt they came out a bit inferior for my eyes to the same patterns that are already in my other boxes. I am not sure. Maybe. I may have to re-do some, would add several more patterns, or arrange rows. This is why I feel there's something constantly going on with this lovely item. I'll update later. And I will find out my trout luck for this year soon!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Worn-out Line

After I came home from my first fishing day for 2010, which was not succesful (2 posts below), I cleaned my line. When I go fishing clean waters in Yellowstone area for several days, I don't clean every day. But whenever I fish around here in eastern WA or practice some casting spontaneously, I have to wash, clean, and coat the line with line dressing.

This time I felt some unsmoothness while I was coating. I had to see a couple of cracks on my line.

This is a 6wt Western Drifter from Cortland. For the past two years, this has been working for me very hard. It was basically with 0X leader/tippet. I could tapered down to anything; 0X to 2X for large streamers, 1X to 3X for nymph fishing (with an indicator), 3X to 5X for dry fly fishing in Madison, swinging soft-hackles, and down to 6X for midge/baetis fishing when I needed to.

I will both thank and appologize to it that it had to deal with some tree branches above and rocks in the river bottom.

I haven't broken my rods yet, which is a good thing!, yet I am thinking about to replace reels/spools along with matching lines before the season starts.

I have several products that I am looking into, but this line served me very hard......Thanks, pal.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Advanced Practice with Micro Practice Rod

Though I failed to catch the first and more trout for 2010 the other day, I am not sulked at all. It seems my "fishy" positive attitude seems real!!
I am busy with cows all through this month. But I will visit Rocky Ford again in February. Though I didn't do good on 6th, I've got a new idea and spots to fish. And I am finalizing the schedule for my up-coming spring trip to Livingston in April. All I've gotta do is make some calls.

What can I do by then? I've done most of tying that I can think of. So I'll practice casting with a Micro Practice Rod (MPR)!! I can't emphasize how fun it is to play with this. From one of my favorite fly-fishing authors, Jason Borger, I've learned a more realistic way to practice with MPR (along with more fun!!). It's the use of tiny velcro fastners both on the tip of MPR yarn and the object(s) you prefer so you can aim and hook it like real fly-casting and -fishing situations.

First I look for the tape. I found in a Wal Mart and attached the less stickier side to the tip of MPR yarn. I adjusted the size during the practice because I felt some weight than before. The smaller, the less effect (the more original).
Second, as for the objects, I used foam trays. I've been using this tray with a real rig with de-hooked flies. This really makes a good target but when I practice with a real rig, I need more space than my backyard and the fly line picks more dirt than MPR yarn, which clogs the rod guides, then ends the practice in 30 minutes. After that I have to clean the whole thing.

But this time, with the fun and practicality of MPR that I have already experienced, I did some visual enhancement and then attached other side of velcro. It seems to be a rainbow. And if I cast right and well, theoreticaly MPR yarn is attached to the fish-on-the-tray like this??
I saw 4 rising trout in my backyard.
Within 15 to 20 feet distance, after lots of refusals (on the tray, but not really on velcro), I made a pin-point cast!

Set the hook and fish ooooooooonnn!!
My first catch was 5-inch brookie!

Other rosters of risers are browny

and Cutty (I meant Westslope in my area).

Believe or not, this set-up really put me into real fishing situation. My mind was really on!! Most of the time, I can cast onto the tray or around an inch or two on the ground.

But targetting exactly to the velcro (or to my lovely art!!) requires finess and concentration. It reminds me of fall baetis hatch in Madison and Firehole River. Tremendous rising fish (in this case lost of visual effects and targets) but lots of refusals (on tray but not on velcro).

As a fact, when I practice just with MPR, I feel good and enough in 20 minutes. This time, I was casting over 1 hour!! And I recognized my mind-set was different from "practice to cast" to "cast to rising trout".

I will keep on going! This way, hopefully my casting is improved and then I hope this will help me develop my mind-set at the real fishing situation. Oftentimes, I have to see my casting would be messed up when I feel the urge to make it right. Practice with MPR will help me develop solid casting and mental foundation, I bet.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

First Fishing 2010 - Rocky Ford

As I announced in my last post, I did go to first fishing for this year to Rocky Ford Creek in Ephrata, WA. Simple report: nada, I didn't net anything. I think it's mostly bacause of my mental status. While fishing, even as of now typing, I didn't get any emotion such as: angry, sorry, urgent, pushing myself, etc. I was sure I was happy to get out and my body and mind were in good shape to go. But I think there must have been a relaxing late X'mas/New Year syndrome (since I was busy with cows) and my love & hate to Rocky Ford very deep in my mind.
I was not a bloody pursuer today (so I am not tired instead typing). I am not even planning some sort of revenge or re-match soon either.

These do sound like excuses. But I did have reasons that made me feel that way stronger.
First, I was the third customer though I pulled in 7:30am on Wednesday morning?? In spring and fall, I myself show up much earlier. But hey, it's January now. It's my day off. What are these people doing? Retired or weekend workers like me? Whatever. I get used to.
Second, I was definitely distracted by noises. A group of two anglers were talking so loud. They were in my sight but fishing faraway spots. No bother at all but why was I hearing all of their conversation from that far and why did they have to shout to chat? Also a couple of workers at hatchery were playing radio so loud. I can sing and drive along "Layla" but I can't cast and fish with that rythm. Give me a 4-count rythm (A river runs through it!).
Third, though wind was not bad at all, 10mph in a favorable direction, it screwed up what I wanted to see. When Rocky Ford is calm or just with a light breeze, I can really observe what trout are doing. I'd say I can speculate their faces and feelings!! (This is one of why some people consider here as technical.) I expected to see how they respond to my small midge patterns in the water. I don't this can be refered as "sight-fishing" as in bonefish or tarpon that I hear, but surely I am seeing what's going on. But winds caused continuous waves, which made tough for me to locate fish even at my usual spots. I tandem-rigged either two of scud/worm/midge with a Thingamabobber. It's a usual method so I could expect to catch fish but not quite fun to me. I thought about swinging midge soft-hackles by using waves but I did not see any adults in the air during morning.

Those two vocal anglers were actually catching some. I could easily see they were casting leeches blindly by their action and, of course, conversation. I know it works here and can be the first choise especially in this condition. But how boring it is to cast leeches blindly and strip-strip in stillwater. I am not being a poor loser. I like my worm and bobber better at here.

Since both action and my mental were slow, I changed my tactics or more like experimented another idea in my mind. Last time, I saw crawfish here in Rocky Ford. I observed a mama and a boy were playing in shallow. I was thinking this could be interesting to try because I knew the right-on-the-spot strategy. The fly will be Twin Tail Madonna in crawfish orange (deer-hair and rabbit strip). This is one of my recent ties.

I saw trout got really crazy and chased around in two different spot though they really didn't get to bite. This type of fly usually either scares off trout or gets eaten. That was actually fun enough. But then again, I used this with my floating line. I did not switch a spool with Kelly Galloup's full-sink line in order to fish harder and more effectively with this kind of streamer. I felt why bother to clean up one more line when fishing was predictable....... This really explains my mental status. Further worse, I don't even regret or nothing.......just numb.

Morning was like this all through. Now I moved up to the upper reach. Finally as I expected, midges were hatching. And winds were getting weaker. This upper end is probably the only one spot to swing soft-hackles among hatches without winds and waves.

Yet I did not have an urgent and desperate feeling to salvage the day. I did my regular fare with my soft-hackles. But I do admit this was the last resort or final weapon.

I tandemed a combo of these three.
Syl's Midge,

Mighty Midget Emerger,

and Percock Herl & Yellow Larva style.

I did hook one!! Please trust me!! I am not lying!! Look at the point of my fly. There's a tiny piece from trout's mouth, a size of scale!! Well, it was a 12-incher. It rose on swing, which told me it would be a small fish because larger fish don't come up all the was instead they slice the surface film.

At the very end of the day, 4pm, I finally had good taps while swinging the same fly. But now the fly was bitten and gone.....what a lovely day!!

This one was a feet away from where I was standing. Let's leave rod and flies behind!! All you need is net and spear!! Or you can snag it with #2 or 4 leech patterns!! Sorry.... bad joke. It may be debatable, certainly not technical, but I personally like to get close like this and dap my flies and to see how they react. These heavily-fished trout here seem aware of our presence. They do know how to get away from our shadows and flies. But also oftentimes they just act like normal trout and bite (it just didn't happen today.....). This is why I can speculate their faces and feelings!!

So I was numb and dumb all through today, but I did concern this fishery and felt sorry and pity for trout here. Every time I visit here, the water level seems getting lower that limits trout population and habitat and I see less trout in same spots I've been fishing (for today, it could be because of the day and season). And regular amount of garbages left by bad-mannered people.

I wonder if there's anybody around here in eastern WA who would feel the same. Probably not many.....or maybe nobody really cares. That's why there's nothing going on in Trout Unlimited and WA Dept of Wildlife & Fish that I expect to do something......

Monday, January 4, 2010

Midge Flies

Here in eastern WA, we are having a wet winter (some snow = not so extreme, lots of rain, and some bad fog). I'd say it's a mild winter. Nobody here in eastern WA wants to recall the last brutal winter. So as the very new year has come, I feel happy and positive already. Since my mind-set is like that, I also feel "fishy" already for this year. Past two years, I didn't go out fishing till March. Why this year? Besides two reasons above, it's because of flies I have just tied. Since my tying level has got to a certain point (well, I catch trout with my own ties and I buy flies only when I fish with a guide or learn new patterns) and these days I don't snag or tangle much, this winter, I could focus on one category = midges. As I mentioned before, this book is quite an effort. I had to tie several patterns from here. I chose what I want to and need to tie.

Then talking about midges, I know one of the best places to experiment midge patterns right here in eastern WA without going to the blizzard of Montana, Rocky Ford Creek in Ephrata. Oh, yes, scud patterns and San Juan Worm will do most of the time, but I came to like fishing these fat triploids with tiny midge patterns with 6X. Also, some sight-fishing can be expected. Whether I use a Thingamabobber or not, oftentimes, I set the hook to a tiny twitch on my leader/tippet. I don't consider all of these as technical (because I always manage to catch some at here whatsoever!) but I really think the subtlety in RFC is one of a kind: stalking and eye-to-eye situation. Also experimenting these midge patterns will be a great asset at sprign creeks in Livingston, that I am planning to get out in spring.

OK, here's the list of midge patterns that I'd love to tie on!! All came from the book above. I'll go from bottom to top, i.e., larva, pupa, emerger, and adult/cluster.

Thread Body Larva in cream: this is the simplest tie I've ever seen, yet very fishy!! It's done by thread and cement (to coat the body). Notice the segmantation/ribbing done by twisted thread. I tied in red too.

Miracle Midge: this was introduced to me at Yellowstone Angler when I first visited Armstrong's spring creek. I found it in this book also.

Disco Midge: it's tied with red flashbou & peacock herl. I really like its whole style; silhouette, simplicity, and right amount of flash.

Blood Midge Pupa: another simple tie, done by thread and zelon.

Rojo Midge: sounds like a very popular pattern in Colorado or there about. Combination of materials and color and its proportion look just right. Very fishy!!

Zebra Midge in black: since this is beadhead, it is more likely used in freestone waters like Madison. Indeed I have already known this. I didn't know exact materials to make it right.

CDC Emerger: this is another simple tie. I believe this is what midges would look like in a surface film.

Griffith's Gnat Emerger: a Blur Ribbon Flies' creation. It seems to be a concoction of their own Zelon Midge and the famous Griffith's Gnat. Right on the spot!!

Hi-Vis Griffith's Gnat: I hadn't thought about that Griffith's gnat could be visible till I read the book. This itself will be a great fly but also it can be an indicator fly when tandemed with less visible patterns on the surface or larva/pupa patterns in the water.

Hi-Vis Midge: same goes for this pattern.

I have tied these in size 20 and 22 with occasional 18.

I intend to go to Rocky Ford on 6th. That's why I am posting today. On the night of 5th, let me sleep.......

Hopefully I can catch the first and second ones for this year and more, I wish!

I am sure I can. I do carry several scuds and San Juan Worms for sure!! (pictures omitted)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Additional 3

After I posted my favorite 10 flies, I simply felt my boxes have more than that.
I want to show 3 more flies that couldn't make the list due to the limiting factor of the game.

I know I did not include terrestrial patterns in my top 10 list becacuse they are seasonal and not really hatching. Contemporary foam patterns are fun to tie.
Here's Chaos Hopper. Square rubber leg is one of a kind.

Tiger Beetle is very visible for anglers while trout is looking the juicy dubbing body and pairs of legs!!

I personally like to tandem and cast these to grassy cutbanks of Gallatin River in Yellowstone National Park section. It is very exciting to aim calm waters of the far side bank over the fast riffle of Gallatin by calculating the distance and mending some.

For the universal effect of $3 Serendipity (I mean it works anywhere for rainbow, brown, and whitefish from small to large), this Rubber Leg Stonefly nymph was omitted from the top 10 list. That does not mean this is less effective than Serendipity patterns. I just followed the rule of the game.

In my experience, I have had very good action and large brown in Madison with this black & brown tie. Size from 4 to 8 work well. I don't have to discuss the abundance of Salmonflies of Madison River. This must be one of the top 10 Madison flies if one tries to think of.....

Of course, I always carry worm and egg patterns secretly as most of guides do!!
(pictures omitted)