Saturday, April 30, 2011

Maiden Voyage

Today made the first trip of my boat. Last night I came up with her name. Simms orange decal that I attached yesterday was somehow sticking in my head too. Orange is my lucky color (since my Coyote has been created). Then my boat is in sage and I like Sage rod and now I come to love RO too......With a hint of Canadian liquid, I godfathered SageORange.

I've been asking my outfitter Stuart to get out together, especially before I get busy with cows. Stuart brought his associate Robert and we floated from Mayors Landing in the town of Livingston. I took the oars as a role playing guide, and said "let's cast to the rip-rap" and Stuart caught the first ever trout to my boat!! It was a nice aggressive browny.

Robert landed a nice rainbow in spawning color while baetis and March Brown were on the water.

My choice of the day was streamers, which somehow didn't work well. Borrowing Robert's rig and with his guiding, I could fix the skunk of the day with a nice cutbow.

Then just above HWY89 pull-out, Stuart ended the day with a massive 22-inch brown!! Not to mention the biggest on my boat so far!!

It was a mix of cloudy and sunny but no hazardous winds at all. Day turned out to be very enjoyable. I'm glad that I didn't flip over the boat then I have too many things to learn from these experienced guides. But I shouldn't be discouraged as I'm a rookie guide.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I dropped by RO Drift Boat in Bozeman. I already made a deal last week and they've been working on it. Owner Robert and his people are friendly and hard working. I was so excited to see they are working on my boat. If I can wait one more day, they can finish up like brandnew so I'll wait. Can't sleep tonight!!

Another exciting gear I'd like to use soon is this Simms Dry Creek Guide Backpack. Apparently I bought at SUPERSALE. This is simply tough and roomy. I can carry anything I need whether I'm guiding or fishing myself. I can pack lunch and drink for clients or over-night & camping stuffs if I'm backpacking into mountain streams in summer.

Backside is super comfortable. Furthermore, these pads and straps are detachable, so one can use this as a bag. Amazing and exciting!! (so was the price too!!)

Just for a week, I was working on a project. That made me slightly unhealthy. I will update what was all about later on.
Yellowstone River's famous run-off has not been started yet, neither Mother's Day Caddis hatch. Maybe I might be able to float this weekend!?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ice Out Freebies

I guess it was not only me who appreciated anything free during Ice Out. Beer, food, and anything offered at each booth. My loots are following and these are not all as there are too many and they couldn't fit in one shot.
Montana Fly Company gave us away too many stuff. Besides my win, I can't help smiling on miscellaneous fly tying tools and materials.

No admission/entrance fee or anything like that, yet Simms gave us away all the good stuff.

And then drinking accessories. These are all practical as well as artistic for our eyes.

My own Coyote seems to get a world-wide attention. Believe or not, I'm working on an article. I'll update later when it's certain.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Simms Ice Out: Day 3 - Grand Finale

Third day was a bit quiet, I thought. I assumed lots of guides spent too much on SUPERSALE and booze. In the morning, we had a panel discussion about marketing our business. Hint: in this era, one cannot ignore online social networking. I think I'm on a right track. Some guides were arguing how detailed the fishing report should be. They say once they informed their hot flies or exact spots, lots of people got there, as a result they lost their spots for their clients, something like that. It was a bit non-sense to me. It maybe because of where I fish and guide. There are too many sections to cover in one day along Madison, Yellowstone, Gallatin, & other Rivers around here. Spring creeks can be high-pressured at times yet there's a limit of anglers per day.

Product overview about Simms products were very persuasive as I did a factory tour. They really work hard and stand behind each product.

I was away from the venue after lunch. This was because first I ate too much on pasta buffet, second afternoon programs seemed slow, and third I did some errands in Bozeman and took a nap in my truck. In the evening, we moved to The Ellen Theater in downtown Bozeman for the final program and awards. The last program of the event was called "Shoot Out". It was about which group can shoot the best video that represents Montana fishing during Ice Out = only 2.5 days. Also awards were given to champions at Guide Olympic.

Then, I'd like to announce my own Coyote (full name: Coyoted Pheasant Soft Hackle) won the first place in the tying competition held at the Montana Fly Company booth during the event.
Some of you who got my card may be familiar with this shot.

I made it fun to tie and beautiful for our eyes. Of course catching trout is the most important task. It became one of my best and most favorite flies to swing at Madison in the Park when trout run up from Hebgen Lake in the fall. But also Coyote has no bound or limit about how to fish. It can represent some sort of attractor, minnow, smolt, drowned stonefly, some sort of nymphs, etc.

And like this. This is why I always wear an orange scarf as my lucky color.

I actually didn't tie any at MFC booth as they didn't have exactly what I needed for my originals (yes, I have a few more other than Coyote). Instead, I submitted tying instructions that include all the stories, materials, tying instructions, and proof pics along with flies from my inventory. I had completed tying instructions for all of my originals long time ago and been waiting for the opportunity.......

This is why I left early after a little gathering at Rivers Edge on the first day. I assorted my flies to give to MFC people and printed out tying instruction at that night and that's why I was somehow exhausted on the second day. Here finally Opportunity Knocks!!

I was awarded with some benefit at MFC. 10 dozens flies for free, which I can sell to my clients as from my inventory. $150 allowance for MFC products will get me lots of fly tying materials and tools to expand my tying world. Best award to me is that my Coyote and a few other originals will be featured in MFC 2012 catalogue along with my bio as a "Fly Designer". MFC also gave me a reel as a top prize. Here's my grip-&-grin of my own Gold Medal.

It's one of MFC River Camo Products.

Coincidentally, what MFC gave me was named "MADISON" in "Rainbow" version.

I was called for the stage of theater. My name and Coyote were on the screen. Too bad that I forgot to ask people around my seat to take pictures with my camera while on the stage.

All through the event, I met and spoke with lots of good people. Then it meant too much as I got some publicity and attention by my flies in my first year in this industry.

If you look for Simms at Facebook, you can see a pic of me handling chop-sticks well to eat noodles!!

Next year, I will compete at Guide Olympics. I kept quiet this time as I was focusing on my flies. Especially at the casting competition, I'd really like to show how "lefty angler" can do differently from "righty".

I'd really like to see you all somewhere along Montana rivers soon if not at the next year Ice Out!!!!

Simms Ice Out: Day 2 - More Fun

Second day was filled with great programs. I was slightly exhausted for some reason (It will be revealed in next post). The day started with the seminar about the guide business & industry by Sweetwater Travel Company's, Dan Vermillion (as well as the commissioner of Montana FWP). In the afternoon, we moved to an inside area within a big horse ranch in Bozeman. Livingstone's Brant Oswald gave us a casting clinic. His clinic is very valuable for all level of casters with lots of laughs in the air as he acts like a total incompetent beginning caster and have his audience correct his flaws.
After the casting clinic, the first ever "GUIDE OLYMPIC" started. It contained casting, rigging, shot-put (shooting a boat anchor for the distance), and trailer back-up. This is the casting arena (the place is quite a big horse ranch I can tell).

Lots of guides competed. But for some reasons, I didn't try. I didn't even go outside for the shot-put and trailer back-up race as it was breezy outside.

This is the rigging race. When we are just fishing ourselves, we do without thinking. But in a competition, there are several criteria other than speed. It was fun to watch.


We came back to the venue in the evening. And now "SUPERSALE!", everyone was awaiting, started!! along with a cocktail party!! I first filled my belly with great foods and then started to think about shopping. "Pro Program" already offers us great discount but SUPERSALE was beyond......I sensibly scratched off the prices as some of you readers might get upset or offended on retail prices. I will post what I got later on.

Livingston's Derek DeYoung was painting live. His art can be seen anywhere but this was the first time that I saw him in person and, not to mention, his live work.

Another great day, having more fun and meeting more people, ended.

Simms Ice Out: Day 1 - Guide Society Debut

It was quite an event for a freshman guide. There are lots of great people and good food all three days. Event kicked off at Simms factory in Bozeman. This is the first time for me to visit. I already felt good atmosphere and high expectation from the beginning and they lasted all three days. The first agenda was a factory tour. I really wanted to see how our waders are made. The moment I stepped in, I lost my words but just "WOW!!". Workers were beyond busy. Never did I imagine there were this many procedures and steps to complete just one pair of wader. Each worker does his/her own routine through the shift with amazing concentration and accuracy. Followings are only a few steps. Cutting Gore-Tex sheet into parts. Depending on the model, one wader are made from 8 to 12 parts. Sewing.
Reinforcing seams by a special machine.

Bootie job....
All hand made. The last procedure consists "several steps" of inspection and finally after that, it's packed like this.

Simms waders are really about quality. In my opinion, it's nothing different from beef quality such as source and age verification for best quality and consumer satisfaction. Simms wader and other products are really worth the money, period. I'm so glad to be involved in their "Pro Guide Program".


After the tour, we had a gorgeous lunch. And then socializing time with Montana beer started.

We moved to a nearby fly-shop, The Rivers Edge, and had some more fun. Guides all over.

There was one more attraction at the theater in downtown but I left for some reason.
It was an awesome meeting from the beginning. I have visited Animal Science and Cattleman's meetings numerous times but I recall I felt I was left alone every now and then. Those were all good meetings with good people and it might have been just my problem. But it was hard for me to be around when some scientists debate statistics or researches over bottles of beer. Cattleman's meeting are typically much easier going but I'm just a breeder. I am not a blood-line geek.........

BUT!! all through this event, I never felt alone. There were lots of fishy conversation anywhere. All we talked was: fish, flies, waters, hatches, gears etc. Great thing about whoever I talked with was there was pretty much NO bragging (about how big the fish was, how good he is, etc) as we are guides. I think we all understand each one of us lives and guides different water with different species and has his/her own expertise.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Guide License

It is official now. I got a state certified guide license. Right now I am more like relieved rather than P.A.R.T.Y. = party!! I filled and sent the application on 4th. And for what I heard, the process usually takes 10 days (not sure 10 days from when the Board gets it or 10 business days). For whatever the reason, "what if I get rejected?" My worry ended up nothing. My endorsing outfitter told me he got it on 12th. That's only 8 days. Wherever I go in this country, I've been the one & only Japanese cowboy and cattle breeder. Now I added myself another title. THE FIRST EVER and one & only Japanese fly-fishing guide in Bozeman/Livingston. I hear several Japanese anglers tried to hang around in this area but they never made it for whatever their reasons were. I will be guiding Stuart Dominick's Renegade Outfitters and Sweetwater Flyshop, both of which have some strong connections to Japanese fly-fishers. Here's the boat tag.
And yes, I am happily registered at Simms "Pro Guide Program".

From today till Saturday, Simms is running a "GUIDES ONLY" event. I could sign up in the last minute. Today was already great and we have two more days. I will post about the event later on.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Midge Party at Lower Madison

We are experiencing very happy-fishy weather. Today, temperature was middle 30s, light sun, and no wind. As a resident and angler in Livingston, I thought I may be supposed to go this very meaningful volunteer action......... but I just recalled the event only yesterday and had nobody to ask details (for the first timer) in the area. Shops in the area were closing when I noticed. Should I bring my wader? or just Carhart and gloves? People with or without boats? This sounds excuses but I couldn't push myself into it. Then I admit the fact "gather at 8am on cold Saturday morning" sounded not much attractive. I would for fishing, breeding cows, and date but......just a volunteer with no information....... Hopefully by next year, I should be getting to know more people around here and make more friends and networks to go along.

So I told myself that I shouldn't feel guilty (After all I'm not dropping any garbage!!). As for fishing, I'm getting addicted to the spring hatches as I've been posting. As I wrote the very last post, both baetis and midges hatches were good along Yellowstone River. But I've been hearing mixed information about baetis hatch along Lower Madison. Some say it's started and others say not yet. According to one of the nearest shops to Lower, they haven't seen baetis at all yet. They say it's due to dam repair project at Ennis Lake. Dam was hit by a bus-size rock, I hear. Now it seems completed and a last couple of days and "they (I don't know who)" are changing water releases, which cause changes in water level, temperature, and color. Over all, people at the shop told me midge action would be actually pretty good and even better than baetis. I checked three parking lots along the river and OH YES!! Too many midges were on the water all along!! Now I forgot anything about baetis hatch and dam repair!! This entire foam (or scum) lane was covered like this!!!
They were having parties all along the river!!!

But...... a BIG HOWEVER here, I didn't see any rises at all, period. I observed all the good looking spots; pockets, eddies, slicks, and seams but no surface actions at all. It's not my style to cast dry-flies hoping for the best when I don't see any risers but I did considering the amount of hatch. Then again it seemed very hard to compete with naturals under the condition. I swung my favorite and trusting midge soft-hackles under the surface also but no actions either way.

Now I got back to the information about the current. If no trout are looking up or moving, most likely it's because water temperature is low. Water clarity might have some effect as well. All due to flow changes for the last couple of days.

As the Sun was setting behind me, I tried to avoid the shadow and move onto still bright spots. Then I recalled a little spring creek is coming in right by the parking lot, which is aptly named Warm Spring. By then other anglers were gone!!!!

I can't explain how excited and happy I was when all of my guesses turned out to be right. I finally saw pods of rises at the confluence where Warm Spring merges into Madison. I was on my knees to keep a low silhouette and finally fixed the "skunk" of the day!! Just a little one but I'm really proud of that my observation, perseverance, and theory finally worked!!

After that, I hooked and lost over 10 fish within less than 30 minutes all at the same spot. And all I needed was Griffith's Gnat Emerger.

Here are more commercial pictures for G Gnat Emerger!!

Little brown liked it too!!

Though fish were small, I can't emphasize how happy I was because all of my observation and theory came together at the end. Other anglers that I passed along the trail were with their nymph rigs with bobbers in spite of this heavy midge hatch. I was glad the last person who was getting back to his car (with his bobber rig) was sensible enough to control his dogs while I was kneeling for the midge rise situation.

And I was sure there must have been a couple of 15 to 16-inch trout in that little pod. I just couldn't get close to them or they might have detected my presence or drags on my flies in that shallow water.

I ended up fishing till 7pm and got back home at 9pm. My cattle breeding business will be kicking off in May so I have three more fishy weeks. I'll get out to Armstrong's next week while the rate is $40 a day. And weather seems to keep fishy next week too!! Then I keep my eyes and ears on baetis, midges, and Mother's Day caddis hatches along both Yellowstone and Lower Madison. But also when water temperature is going up, we all know huge streamers bring huge trout at this time of the year!!

I really love this mixed feelings and strategies of spring!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Stone Again

I woke up this morning, heard NO GUSTS, and saw about 2 inches of snow all over. I felt "WOW!! Perfect baetis weather!!" even before washing my face. Today there would probably have been better hatches at spring creeks than I had seen on Tuesday. But I was late to enjoy a day at either one of creeks (missed the morning streamer action) and I can't afford so often. So I decided to hit Yellowstone River even before my line gets dried from Tuesday fishing. My destination was one of upper sections Link showed me (two posts below). I chose a "Madison-look-like" section. When Link guided me last week, I saw a potential in this section when baetis would be on. And since it's Madison-like, I figured the hatch would start at 1pm and end around 3pm. When I dressed up my wader and walked down to river, it was 1pm. Perfect. But.......didn't see any hatches or rises as in my imagination. But, I myself did a year-worth of nymphing at Bighorn last month, I wanted to stick with dry-flies. Besides, I have to test and experiment the spots, reading water, flies, etc. rather than catching fish. My choice of the day was ICU Baetis. This black post makes a very visible parachute during increment weather under which baetis love to hatch. A couple of fish were looking up!! I am a happy-go-lucky guy regardless of trout size!
Then, just about heading back to where I started, about 2:30pm, I finally saw hatches and rises. Now really "I SEE YOU", baetis. Size 20.

And midges were abundant too. Size 24. Both photos were taken after trout stopped rising.

Perfect rise and hook set!!...............whitefish?? Believe me these guys (yes, I caught more later on) were rising like trout. Usually whities rise form is "kissing the surface", but this afternoon, these guys were "slicing the surface" with "dorsal fin to tail" rise forms. Anyway, the moment was exciting enough so I should feel better. But this one sucked my fly deep in its mouth......impossible to recover. As I noticed a wind-knot on a tippet, I let it go with the fly on and piece of tippet.

I kept on. Now is the time to experiment a new pattern I just designed myself. I forgot to use this on Tuesday at Nelson's. It's basically a mix of cripple patterns. I haven't named yet.

Gotcha!!...............Again!? I wasn't sure if I had to feel happy and if my fly was looking good.

Then I got a little rainbow!!......but does this count?

I caught a few more whitefish with my pattern till about 4pm. Regardless of size and species, it was fun and I did see a couple of huge flashes that came to the surface. I just couldn't get to them as whities were snacking on my fly ahead of them! That's how I interpret this afternoon.

Light snow was falling pretty much all day. There were lots of wildlife around Corwin Springs. Groups of buffalo, elk, and this bighorn sheep seemed to take turns who got close to the steam. I haven't seen these sheep in the Park yet.

It was quite fan and meaningful get out. For those of you who are reading this from other than Montana, Yellowstone River has similar insect hatches as in spring creeks in Livingston. So far, I confirmed midges, baetis, and sculpin!!