Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Quick Report: Back to Naches -H.I. on Fire!!

Some work-days in between, I went back to Naches exactly in a week since last. I wanted to see more large cutthroat if I could.
I was somehow hyper this morning. I went to bed probably 9:30pm the night before. By 3:30am, I couldn't go back to sleep and I felt great so I might as well have woken up and fixed breakfast.

My first stop was in the middle of Yakima city. In the middle of commuting time around 7:00am, I was stepping into my wader, sipping coffee, and get my gears ready. What a privilege!! This section is much broader than above as Naches is getting closer to Yakima River. It's a mix of everything. Steve at Worley Bugger told me that he had caught 22-inch rainbow in this section. As I got closer to the river, I thought nymphs might do well along deep runs and troughs. But my objective was again to fish with streamers.
I did try and tie on all kinds of patterns and colors in my selection of the day, but today all the hook-ups I got was on only Doug's Home Invader (tan & olive).
My first catch of the day, at least to prove that I wasn't skunked, was well, guess what??
Getting larger............

All I got in the morning was Northern Pikeminnow (a.k.a. Squaw Fish). According to my study, Pikeminnow is as native as Westslope, Steelhead, and Salmon in the Columbia Basin. They are known to be very vicious predators but once they get hooked they move less than dolls do.

As I waded into the middle of the river and fished the bank toward the highway, I caught the biggest......OMG. But then again, I kind of simulated myself. This section reminds me of Yellowstone River around Livingston. As you can see, there's man-made rip-raps. And chasing brown trout in Montana, they often swim where we least expect such as back-eddy, little channel, etc. Also, fishing in Montana, I do have to face with Whitefish. In this case, it was Pikeminnows which are less pain than Whitie........

I prepared another gourmet sandwich and salad for lunch and went to the section where I fished a week earlier. I actually didn't want to because I might sound like a guy with less imagination and effort to explore more spots. But due to the fishing regulation for Naches River, this Catch-&-Release (no baits) is the cleanest and the rest of public accesses are filled with..... I don't mention.

But today, it was slow and I felt I may have to face the "trout-skunk". Yet I had found a section where I can ford to the other side!!! I had been looking for this over 3 years!! Then I fished probably the most promising spot from the other side. I finally felt a tug of trout!!

Little but a beautiful cutty who loves to bite on streamer.

I was hoping a bigger tug and got in a few minutes. Not as big as last week, yet it was pushing to 16-inch.

And with much more gorgeous coloring!!!!! Along the gills,

Then the belly.

I could go on but I needed to go to Worley Bugger in Ellensburg before they close at 5pm so I headed back to my truck around 3pm. I again cast some at the promising spots as I went back. I felt a really big tug!! With a huge golden under-side of head and belly leaped, it was gone.................. I thought my leader/tippet connection was poor but it was actually that flies came off, not really snapped off. Just before this I had tangled my Home Invader, trailed with Conehead JJ, with dead branches above me. I got them back but I hadn't inspect hooks or knots because I was leaving the river. I believe it was as big as or potentially bigger than the one from last week. But I couldn't even curse because it was due to my poor judgement.

I actually head back on Thursday. But with this transitional time of the year for weather and season, I may have to be flexible to plan things.....

I just want to see one more huge cutty!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Materials Not From Fly-shops

Is Michael's a nation-wide art- &-craft store chain?

In my area, Michael's is in a relatively large mall along with an outdoors/sports store. The outdoors/sports store is OK and so-so for fly tying materials, gears, and tools every now and then but once in a while Michael's surprises me. Here are two of my old posts about flies and materials that I got from Michael's; Piece of Foam and Bunyan Bug.

Today, I went to Michael's, looking for a couple of specific materials. I actually had some fun looking around. Then I found probably a life supply of beads and thin wire to go with.

What am I gonna do with them? These will make articulated flies.

I can't emphasize that these materials are sold way much more at fly-shops.

25 beads might be $3 at fly-shops, which some have and others don't. And I have to drive around. Now I've got a 3-oz supply with only $7.

I am tying lots of articulated streamers and fishing with them.
For each pattern, I will post as time goes by along with fishing results here in eastern WA and Yellowstone in the fall.

I actually go fishing tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Trophy Hunting in Naches

I am back to my 6wt and wader. I was originally to get back in September but I had a day-off from work and it's getting cooler here in eastern WA. Why wait? My idea for this late summer till the fall settles in is to get ready for the fall trip to Yellowstone. What I mean is to keep my body in good shape for wading so I won't fall in and get washed away in swift Madison and so I can cast streamers well. But that doesn't mean I don't expect to catch big trout around here.

Naches River is the "big sister" of my secret mountain stream (wet-wading & camping as posted below) and one of the big tributaries for Yakima River. I don't mind telling in public that this is an underrated fishery due to the fame of Yakima. It just looks good and lovely to me and certain sections really resemble Madison. But it does not hold as many trout as in Madison..............I hadn't caught any trout over 10-inches until last week. But also, I have been hearing that there do exist some big Westslope Cutthroat in Naches. Mountains around Naches are also very popular for hunting, hence the title. See what I can do.

I first went to Ellensburg and dropped by Worley Bugger for tying materials. I bought and ordered all the materials and tools with Steve. He has told me that huge cutthroat and rainbow have been caught on nymphs and streamers most of the time. Talking about aggressive fishing with streamers, I might as well have rigged up Kelly Galloup's style. 6wt, full-sink line, and non-weighted or lightly-weighted streamers along with jerk-strip retrieve. And this is what I will be doing to target a handful of humongous (not the number) trout in the fall in Yellowstone. So whether I catch or not today, I had nothing to lose.

As I fished down the most promising section. I didn't have any bites or snags at all. I headed back to my truck to try next section. Yet, I tried one more before I climb up the cliff. Probably the third cast, I finally got a big tug!! Nice 17-inch Westslope Cutthroat came on Conehead JJ's Special (tied in black in my imagination).

Gotcha, big fella!!!
There was no shallow water to lay trout still so I tried to self-timer with me and the trout at the same time.

This one might be better? (I got my hair cut by the way.) This Cutty is the biggest Westslope I ever caught so far. Considering the trout population and fishing regulation in Naches, I believe this size of true native Westslope must be the top of food chain, hence some of the trophy class.

Today was the first time that I fished Naches so aggressively, so I drove down to lower sections and accesses. Some looked very fishy. As I was working with my streamer, I saw a so-so trout chasing it and I stopped stripping on purpose. Nano-second later, I felt WHAM!! Though it was only 13-incher, I love native Westslope all the time.

Another gotcha!!

Streamer used was Doug's Home Invader in custom color that has to be counted on spring creek fishing in Livingston. It works here too as a baby trout/sculpin!!

Anyway the 17-inch Cutty was quite a surprise in many ways. I wondered if I was using up my fishing luck before fall. No, I don't think so. Today, it just happened and more should happen during next several weeks. As kids go back to school and other recreational people stop swimming, there must be more big trout in Naches and Yakima. There might be accidental catch for salmon and steelhead.......

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Breakfast for Trout??

I like to flip around several fly-fishing magazines at book stores every now and then. As of now, I subscribe only Northwest Fly-Fishing. This is the region specific magazine. Not just information and articles, editing is really good. Through my experience, other magazines sound and look same and similar to me also most of them have websites with their major articles in full lengths. Why buy? I like to conduct my book store visit every other month or so. Without buying, I learn some once in a while. Mostly about fly tying and patterns.

Here's one that I couldn't resist to tie. It's called, with great imagination for us and probably for trout too, "Bacon & Egg"!! It's from Montana Fly Co, using their own Otter's soft egg material. Worm and egg patterns are known to be deadly at times. This is truly a cross-dresser.

Materials and tying sequence are probably not as exactly as they do, especially about the worm (bacon) part, but I couldn't resist to try myself. At least I have Otter's eggs.

To simplify with similar appearance, I also tied with an egg yarn.

I am a great fan of cross-dresser flies, i.e., that represent multi trout food organism at the same time. So this can be a gourmet breakfast for trout? I really think this fly should work at times.

Though I've done my camping plan for this summer, as posted below, I really miss breakfast at my camp. Eggs on ham and Cowboy coffee boiled to perfection......

This is one of flies I have tied for the fall in Yellowstone. More going on at my bench. I'll post more for next two months till I hit the road at the end of October. And I will find out if they catch trout.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Day 2: River Told Me What to Do

Aug 18th, Day 2.
Before that, I have to report the night before.
9:00pm, I went to sleep.
10:30pm, I woke up with sweat!! It was really hot in my truck cab!!
Last week and four weeks ago, I camped at the same spot that was about several more miles to the top of mountains. And both nights were freezing. It was not exactly several miles up vertically............, you know. Also I cursed some because the day was supposed to be cool down. Instead it ended up 95F in the mountain and 99F when I got back to my house......OMG

A bit of tired and uncomfortable morning to get started but I didn't compromise my toasts along with my cowboy coffee and eggs & hams.

Then another ascending problem happened!! The day before was with my feet and walks but this morning, I experienced a hard time to drive up to the road from the campground. My little GM Sonoma (GM = Gallatin-Madison) barely made it........ I'll be careful next time where to drive in and back.

Then I stepped into my secret holes, packing a gourmet lunch in my backpack.

Since I had been puzzled last week, I was wondering which fly to trail behind Royal Wulff Cripple (no more picture here). I was wondering, whether midges or tiny mayflies, Sparkle Duns have been always great.

Indeed trout preferred Sparkle Dun to Royal Wulff Cripple = 2 : 1.

I caught one Westslope Cutty with a Royal Wulff Cripple. And that turned out to be the last Cutty in this lovely little mountain stream for this summer.

Isn't this really a gourmet lunch? From the top to bottom, Pringles, wheat bread, salad (with folk), ranch dressing (dip), turkey breast ham with cheese, and roast beef.

As I headed back to my truck, I broke my record of my catch from the smallest. This was about 2-inch long, yet it still bit on my fly. Can anyone do this??

Also, as I was heading down, I did my little trick; tying on a size 10 Woolly Bugger in black. Just about to quit for the season, I got hooked into one. I bet it was a rainbow, ranging 13-14-incher. It really fought for the best I ever experienced. At the last moment, as I was ready to land and to take a pic or two, it spat out my fly and was gone..................

It surely had been cool if I had landed and taken a pictures or two.

I actually smiled as my potential best had been gone. Of course, I must have screamed more if I had landed it. But this summer, I felt that "river" and "fishing god" were giving me some fits on purpose.

Along with the 2-, 3-, 4-inchers that love to rise on my dry-flies, I think my secret holes' future is bright!!! Get rested for the season and I will see you boys and girls next summer.

Last Camp for This Summer: Day 1

Aug 17th, I crossed the White Pass for the first time to the west side of WA state. My main focus was to fish Naches area (east side) but there were a couple of waters within a reach in a map and WA fishing regulation for my eyes. I just wanted to drive around and see what would be there. My first try was a seemed to be a little mountain stream, named "OHANAPECOSH RIVER" (can you pronounce it? Don't make me say what).

As I drove following the map, I knew I was right and heard the river running below the steep hills but there seemed to be no access to get down. Then I drove into "Mount Rainer National Park". I really didn't know it was there.

Furthermore there was a huge campground with a ranger station as ones in Yellowstone National Park. According to a ranger, Ohanapecosh is not really a great fishery: access is pretty much none except around campgrounds and trout are small (but there are lots of recreating people so it sounded a good place).

OK........ I really wondered what I would do. I drove north just a bit from the campground and I found a trail down to "Silver Fall",

and a section just below!!

I'd say Japanese fly-fishermen like this kind of stream. But I also have to add only if there are lots of nice trout. It was a very good stretch of mountain stream but trout seemed very scarce and very small as a ranger said. Water was really cold too!! My legs were shaking and got sored eventually. Yet I did manged to catch one. Is this a Cut-bow?? I couldn't ignore the orange slashes though it just looked like a regular rainbow.

Hey, getting larger. This one seemed a regular rainbow without any orange slashes.

This one again had orange slashes though it didn't look like Cut-bows I have caught in Yellowstone area..... Is there any difference between Westslope and Yellowstone Cutts to make a hybrid with rainbow????
It was a poor fishing, considering all, but it was still OK because I was around here for the first time. I am not sure if this was because the water is too cold and/or fishery management. Either way, I ended up with having a trouble. On the way up to my truck, I lost the trail to get back!!! It was an opposite situation from a cat that has climbed up the tree but doesn't know how to get down, really. I had followed an obvious footpath but when looking up from the bottom, what had I done??? I decided to hike up as much as I could, not much crawling, then I started to see campers passing above me. They pointed out the trail head I lost.............. It was very deceiving to me and I realized again that "DO NOT overlook mountains".

Anyway, I got back to my truck and had some decent lunch. On my way back to east side, I dropped by a scenic pullout. As you already know, I usually pay NO attention to sightseeing spots while I am driving for fishing. But I had to stop for this one because I do respect great mountains. It's Mount Rainer. I haven't researched how high she is and how many people have been to the top. Anyway she's gorgeous.
Now I got back to lower side of Naches. It was really hot that was supposedly cool down. It was a bit too early to make a camp and wash out sun-screen from my face, so I fished Naches River at a section just above swimming people. Dry-flies did OK but I might as well tie on a streamer (little one since I was with my 4wt). Some trout really liked it!!

After this, I caught 11-inch rainbow and then 12-inch Cutthroat!! I just lost the picture battle so no pictures here. He really chased my Woolly Bugger and was well-colored along with biting attitude. This was the first time that I caught a trout over 12-inch at Naches, really.
Tired and dehydrated, I drove up to my intended spot and made a camp. Fishing and camping aside, my other focus was to finish the last 60 pages of Percy Jackson Book 5. (Little can on the right was my dinner!!)
I really wanted to see the ending but also I didn't want it to end. This series kept me really going for the past four weeks. It could have been that my Canadian whiskey was kicking in but anyway I kind of cried at certain pages toward the end. Really great series.
Maniacally speaking, Aug 18th is Percy's birthday, so I just finished his "prophecy" just a day before!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hello, I'm.....................

I have become a huge Johnny Cash fan. I confess here that I came to know him and got interested in his life and songs only after I watched "Walk the Line" sometime last year. Quite a shame that I hadn't known him well. But I think I can blame my blindness on this casual reference about him as "country singer". In modern male country singers, I only like George Strait. Rest, just guys with cowboy hats to me. I'd rather listen to female singers (yeah, like June Carter-Cash!!) because they really use their voices rather than showing off dancing or using heavy music behind them.

Anyway, I don't have to explain that Johnny Cash is truly one of the biggest American icons. If you want to dig in more, like I did, you can drop by here. Little did I knew, he worked with Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Bob Dylan (just to name a few) who were respected by The Beatles (I'm a Beatlemania also!!). His songs are out of genres, in other words, all kinds of genres. He is not a "country singer in white hat". He is a "Man in Black". I personally came to very fond of his "WH" pronunciation as heard in when, why, what, where, etc. It is so distinctive.

As I was more into his life and songs, I finally bought two "Prison Concert" box sets that I think probably one of the tops of his career.

First of all, the third discs in both box sets are the priceless DVDs. Then one in "At Folsom" is a documentary (not the concert film) but the one in "At San Quentin" can be seen at you-tube in various clips.
Type in "johnny cash san quentin".

My best line is; after he blasted "San Quentin, I hate every inch of you". Inmates called for one more time. Then Johnny said "if any of the guards are still speaking to me, can I have a glass of water?"

Why am I posting this kind of personal interest at my fly-fishing blog? Well, since I often hike into mountains by myself here in eastern WA and Yellowstone National Park, I have to sing to let bears know that I am there and sometimes to encourage myself to go on the trails. I found Johnny Cash songs fit the best.

As I am walking, the first song comes to my mouth is obviously "I walk the line". Since nobody is around me, I often try to make a chorus for "Daddy sang bass", just to name a few!!

Tomorrow I will make probably the last camp for this summer. I kind of feel the touch of fall very soon. My kind of easy car-camp will be cold soon.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Little Getaway Day 2: PM - Leech Lake

I went back to my truck at about 11:00am, way to early for lunch and to end the day. I drove around the area. I wanted to explore the area I hadn't been to. Whether driving or fishing, I hadn't driven cross the pass to the west side of WA State. Just at White Pass, I had heard about one of popular fly-fishing water, Leech Lake. As I pulled in and parked, I thought "it looks easy to get along the bank all the way".

Before I started fishing, it was right time to have a lunch. I really think I did a very good job for a gourmet lunch, maybe better than any other fishing-guides do. I prepared a nice tuna salad and very meaty sandwich along with Gatorade, coffee, salt & pepper, olive oil, and ranch dressing. I kept them cool enough for two days.

This was the first time to visit here and I was not well-equipped for the lake fishing. Furthermore, I was with my 4wt and 8-foot rod and no floating crafts. Yet, I believed there should be a way to sneak around from the banks. At least, I had good selections of flies in my vest. But, I noticed that the lake was deeper than I thought with lots of fallen trees, moss, weeds, and potentially muggy spots. Within 10-foot wading, it was crotch-deep and I didn't have enough casting distance. I walked around whatever I could. As I was doing that, I saw lots of rising trout. Though I am not a stillwater enthusiast, I had some good guesses. Besides midges, there was Callibaeties. I picked up a nymphal shuck and I believed this was Callibaetis.
I finally walked into the spot where I could wade and cast. A nice 12-inch Brookie came out!!!

Gotcha, new friend!
I like vermiculations, then fine spots like Brown Trout, along with orange belly like Cutthroat.

I tried to fish till my limit (5 a day here though I am not interested in killing and eating them). Though it was a fine day at the lake, I started to feel some chill by wet-wading to my waste without wader. So I quit.

On my way back, I stopped at a scenic spot, called Clear Creek Fall. It is very steep fall I have ever seen. I wish I could express more with my own words and pictures, but this all I could take.

I think I can make a little camping again next week. And I am planning my fishing plans for September around here. Before I hit the road to Yellowstone at the end of October, there will be lots of explore and adventure around here in eastern WA.

Little Getaway Day 2: AM - Draw

1:40am, I woke up in my truck cab because it was cold but managed to fall back in sleep.
2:30am, I woke up again. It was really cold and I felt there would be no way to go back in sleep. And this is the modern camping technique, I guess; I started my truck with the heater onto max.
Probably before 3:30am, I woke up again because now I felt I was being cooked. I shut off my truck and slept well till 6:00am.
I believe breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I cooked probably the best breakfast at camping. I kept eggs and ham cool enough and I didn't burn them either. As seen on the right, whole wheat bread were ready to be toasted next.
To solve the puzzle that I encountered on the previous day, I made a hike again to my favorite hole. Midges were hatching all over again. But this time, I didn't see any risers before and after 10:00am............... My dry-flies were not bitten at all. This is the first time that the river didn't tell me anything to catch fish. All I heard was "it's not your day, dude". I again had to do a little trick to fix the "skunk". I hooked into one and only one for the morning. I could tell it wasn't 15 or 16-inch, but it fought more than its size. As I landed, my first word that came out from my mouth was "FAT!!". Just a 13-incher. She must have been gorging on large stonefly nymphs.

Now my trick is revealed. I tied on a little Woolly Bugger in black, size 10. Not always a favorite way to catch trout in small moutain streams, but since I saw lots of stonefly nymphs' shucks, I bet something meaty should work when dry-flies wouldn't bring up trout.
In a way, this size of Woolly Bugger is a special tie to cast with my 4wt rod. I usually tie my streamers way way larger, you know.

I couldn't bring up any large Westslope on my dry-flies, yet I didn't get "skunked" either. So I'd like to call it a draw. I've been on top of the game in this mountain stream but this time, it fought me back pretty well. Then, I enjoyed this sadistic and frustrating situation in order to be a better observer.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Little Getaway Day 1: Theories broken

I just got home from my little getaway to the mountains. It was over all good especially after too many times spent with cows. I made myself a great camping. But fishing in my secret holes turned out to be a little different from what I had expected, which had been based on my fishing experience here for the past three summers. I don't discuss which fly pattern worked when but the rule of thumb I had developed was "nice cutthroat have been caught from 10am to noon". By "nice", I mean 13 to 16-inch in this small mountain stream. Then in the afternoon, all I would catch is rainbow. Lucky if I get a 12-incher. This theory of mine was broken and I was puzzled a bit.

I am going to follow my log and memory with pictures.
I first noticed water level went way down from three weeks ago. As I walked upstream, I saw lots of stonefly nymphal shuck (outer skeleton). I didn't see these three weeks ago. So it must have been after water level dropped. I can't say when but I had some imagination and hallucination that large cutthroat would have been rising and gorging on large stonelfies on surface......

Next, I saw lots of midges hatching. Probably much more than I had ever seen. At the most productive hole, I observed trout (large ones) were feeding just below the surface. I can't emphasize or express the flash I saw under the water. So I trailed midge patterns behind a Royal Wulff Cripple as an indicator for tiny flies.

But I ended up only two so-so cutthroat caught on RWC. Not bad but I wanted larger individuals.

Furthermore, this happened and ended before 10:00am. There were any more risers at all. As mentioned above, I have experienced great fishing from 10am to noon, not before and not after, regardless of hatches and flies I use........
Just for a consolation, I caught lots of native rainbows.
I even broke my record for the smallest catch!! 3-incher!!??

I walked probably three miles or longer and stopped at here. I did this hike on my birthday last year. But this year, I think my body seemed to be in much better shape though I am supposed to be older.

On the way down, I did catch a nice leaping 12-inch rainbow but there was a battle to take a picture or two and I lost. So no pictures here. Then I did a little trick at my favorite hole and I finally landed a nice cutthroat that kept my self-esteem (just a bit).

Exhausted, now time to make a camp. I camped at the same spot as I did three weeks ago. But this time, I obtained an insect repellent based on bad experience with mosquitoes. It worked well but I think I simply camped at a bad spot. Good for solitude but it's right above the swamp.
Whatsoever, I stayed there. I had a good salad and warmed up a canned soup because I hiked and fished a lot all day. Here are rest of "camping essentials".

I wrote my diary and fishing log for the day. Then I decided where to go and what to do for the next day. My companion book for the night was Percy Jackson Book 4. This series is really good, as good as Harry Potter.
As I was reading, I saw two tiny midges were mating on my thumb!!! If I would express their sizes in fly-fishing, I'd say they were #32 each......... Most of us would be needing microscopes to tie and magnifying glasses to tie on tippet.

I'll post about the Day 2 tomorrow.
AM and PM separately.