Sunday, July 31, 2011

It's Official!! 'Stone is ON!!

Hi everyone,
I seem to be the first guide (maybe one of a few) in the area who is reporting dry-fly actions along Yellowstone River. Yes, it's on!! Yellowstone Cutties are eager to come on surface!! Glad to see that they have survived the high water and stayed in great shape, and probably been waiting for our flies!! Cliche is only if you know the spot.........(Hire me!!)

"Was that just one lucky dog? How many did you catch?" you would ask. Well, my fresh Royal Wulff Cripple that I tied last night was chewed off.

I again dropped by "26". This is really a good place to measure (or guesstimate) the water level with our eyes. It did significantly drop,

compared to this picture taken on June 29th.

I'll go and row soon!! See you along the river!!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Georgetown Lake - Hidden Gulpers!!

From the cabin by Rock Creek, we went to Georgetown Lake. It turned out to be the great fishery. Little did I know this hidden gem though it's no secret at all. I used to have a prejudice about lake fishing such as stripping leeches and buggers blindly and may catch fish. And it comes back to my mind every now and then but this experience blew the idea away. First of all there are lots of trout in this lake that never bore us. Then lots of over 20-inch rainbows and 5-pound brookies are reported oftentimes (we didn't get close to them....).

Mike got started the day with an olive Woolly Bugger (damsel nymph and leech).
Toward noon, we started to see lots of trout rising and jumping all over the lake. Also we started to see lots of damsel adults in the air!!!! Trout were biting on them!!!

Mike was bending his rod again.

Dave caught some nice ones too.

Trout loved the damsel dry pattern!!!!

I was pretty much at the oars but I borrowed Mike's rig and caught a good one too!!

I haven't done "Gulper Fishing" at Hebgen Lake but I bet what Georgetown Lake offers must also be "Gulper" as well. As at Rock Creek, we didn't encounter too many people. Especially with the boat, we had our own spots after spots without batting anyone.


This is pretty much all about Missoula Trip. Food poisoning seems to be gone and I am finding a good deal for spare 6wt rod while my original one is being repaired. I rushed a bit for these two posts as I will be busy fishing again from tomorrow!!

Rock Creek

After I left John and his friends and family, I headed to Rock Creek to meet another group of friends. Mike and Dave have been making their annual trips to Montana to escape heat in Florida. They let me stay at their cabin.

Rock Creek was no exception of high-water treatment. At that point, it was more like "river" rather than "creek". It was a bit too cool for wet-wading and I needed my wader to fish the best out of it eventually.

Dry-fly actions are what everyone looks for at Rock!!

We were bothered by bunch of House Flies. So I might as well have tied on the pattern I had tied this spring.

It did work! !

A herd of Mountain Goat was hanging around the road every morning. They were much better road companions than buffaloes in Yellowstone Park!!

I still pursued bull trout by accident (??). This day, I wore my wader to fish hard into deeper runs and pools. I did my best to sink my streamers without my 6wt rod and full-sink line. I felt a big tug, with a natural Home Invader, that was felt like 18-inch or larger.

It was a fine fat rainbow,
just about 15-inch but ran and fought really hard. Over all trout here fight and run harder than trout with the same size in other rivers.

Then another wildlife encounter. I haven't heard from my hunting friends about ID but I bet this is Mountain Lion (cougar or bobcat). I spotted a pair of these maybe 150-yard downstream. I was eye-to-eye through the distance with the larger one that I thought a mother. I was without a bear spray or a big bowie knife. Florida guys didn't have guns either. When I made a move to grab a stick just in case, they ran away. But I felt a bit creepy to fish along so I was pretty much done that morning.

I'd been hearing and reading about Rock Creek but had never made it. So I was very happy to fish there with great fishing friends. I'm sure Rock is one of the most popular rivers in Montana but I didn't see crowds of people. And I heard that fishing goes all well till the end with dry-flies. It's in my favorite list now!!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Bitterroot River

I came home from the Missoula Trip with a broken 6wt rod and a light case of food poisoning. Well, the broken rod was sent to Sage and it will be replaced. But it will take 6 weeks minimum, which means no heavy nymph rigs and streamer fishing during the period. Then I seem to feel better from the food poisoning thanks to the pills that a Floridan physician/angler gave to me (another story).
I visited my fishing friend John at his uncle and aunt's place in Stevensville, south from Missoula. It's been a year since I last fished with John as in my post from last year. Time seems to have passed so quick since I crashed his boat to all the rocks in Madison a year ago (and I had such a long hair!!). Now I own my own boat and we floated with it. We floated Bitterroot. Bitterroot and other rivers in the region are also experiencing historical high-waters as in Madison and Yellowstone. My first impression for Bitterroot is that it looks like a bit smaller case of Yellowstone. Lots of braids and log-jams and then mix of deep pools, cutbanks, eddies, and foam pods that suit for either dry-flies, nymphs, and streamers. Then all through, it's one of the most scenic rivers in Montana.
I fished one of those braids and I caught a nice brown for the size of braid with a black Home Invader.
John's nephew caught a nice rainbow on dry too!!

We also floated the upper section. John said the section was really high for he recalled (flow was 1500 cfs or so? at least less than 2000, I recall) and a couple of boaters and shops warned us that two boats had gotten crashed/flipped over so far this year. Really?? Upper section has numerous boulders. But main concerns are choice of braids and log-jams. River seemed to offer any kind of flies and tactics of one's choice. I stuck with streamers in the morning with no luck then I switched into dry-flies. With this high-water and my observation (trout and insect hatches seemed more active in the afternoon), my best choice was this Royal Wulff Cripple.

It was truly a team work. First of all we forgot the landing net. John got me to the right spot and I made a perfect Reach Cast behind the huge boulder, a deep slick. Then this huge Westslope Cutty came up to snatch my Royal Wulff Cripple. I asked John to pull over the boat so I could bring the fish to the shallow. Then we made a perfect grip-&-grin pic!!

We took turns of rowing and we caught lots of brown, rainbow, and cutty on dry-flies. Though they were all small, it was a fun 16-mile float.

Some of deep pools and pockets of Bitterroot really seem to hold elusive Bull Trout. Since my 6wt got broken I couldn't even challenge (later on at Rock Creek either). But fishing with a good friend and those eager trout that came up to dry-flies made the days really memorable and enjoyable.

Rowing wise, Bitterroot is far easier than Madison or Yellowstone. I used only a quarter of my strength??

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Missoula Trip

Missoula trip started with a nice Westslope Cutty!!

And the broken 6wt rod of mine.............

More to go! and more details later!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I'm leaving for Missoula some time tomorrow morning. Two groups of fishing friends of mine are inviting me to their lodgings. Instead, I offer my boat. Sounds like Western Montana rivers are in good shape too. I expect lots of dry-fly actions but also I bring this...... You know what I'm after?? Coincidentally this fly is named "Barely Legal" (more about this fly later on).

I'm gonna play scenes of "A River Runs Through It"!! Shadow Casting?
No........crash my boat to rocks if not challenge the fall as in the movie!!!!!

I hope I can post some from the road.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Season of Bugs

It's been slow and then busy. Some fishing and then not. It's been summer but now it's transiting into middle of summer as rivers in our area are finally getting down (need some more time for Yellowstone and Gallatin, I guess). Madison is particularly in great shape!! Nice clear water and full of bugs!!

How about fishing? More pictures should follow later on.
Come and see these amazing hatches trout actions yourself. Then we all hope it goes the same in Yellowstone!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New Camera & Floating Strap (idea.....)

The day after I lost my camera (a week ago from now), I ordered a new camera. I just received it today. It's been surprising how fast the progress of modern technology is. I'm just a casual photographer but I know how fast new models have been developed in the same price (lower in a way compared to older models). For example, when I bought my last one (water & shock-proof with 8MP) in 2008 with $300, Olympus produced the same model in 10MP. Then mine had been reduced to $200 and eventually out of production. So I checked Olympus website first, before any retail stores, and I found this 14MP camera with water & shock proof. A week ago, it was $30 discount if I order directly from Olympus. I proceeded with my sleepy eyes... So I ordered in my lucky color, ORANGE.

Surprisingly I got a phone call from Olympus to make sure the order. I spoke with a nice person and explained to him that I had liked my last one and how I had lost it. He says "maybe someday someone can fish it for you, get it back to you, and still works!!" and "we also have floating straps if you are interested".

Floating straps or there anything I could think of?
I recalled huge bobbers that were handed during Simms Guide Event in April as for tests and promotions. I thought they might work when used at once. At least light and indestructible. So I made a ring with 30-lb mono with a blood knot, attached it to the camera, and then attached bobbers. Here's a shot taken on a mirror.

It might be heavier and bulkier than regular straps.......

I tested the whole set-up in salad bowl filled with water in my kitchen. It seems 4 bobbers can give some floating to the camera, better than nothing or better than my last experience. I will test at rivers next.

You may laugh at me or question me when this bobber strap is hanging out of my pockets. But I don't care!! You will understand when your favorite attachments are washed away in the river.

Anyway, I hope much more trout will be captured with this camera from now on!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

First Guiding Day Reminiscence

As I wrote the other day, I lost my camera on my first guiding day. My clients made home safe after their visit to Yellowstone Park and emailed me wonderful pictures. All the photos are courtesy of Otsu couple.

OK, here's the review of the day. I didn't post here but I did go fishing on 3rd (you can find two pictures in my Facebook). Not many crowds of people for weekend and I caught nice trout besides observing river and spots. So for the 5th, I didn't see any problem to get my clients into fish as long as I could convey my thoughts and techniques to my clients.
Things didn't go that way......when we pulled into Raynolds Pass, there were lots of anglers (with or without guides). Why on a weekday and not on the 4th weekend? I am making out of this as the reason for slow fishing but I just needed some elbow-room and quiet environment for my first day guiding. Due to high water below Lyons Bridge, what all guides do recently is to launch their boats from Raynolds, then stop at each spot, and fish till Lyons. Most of likely wade-spots were taken or pounded ahead of us.......

At both Raynolds and $3, nothing happened on nymphs.......Now I'm "not fishing" but "guiding", you will never know until you are in this position.

My lunch was favored and we were revitalized at least. I changed the section and tactics. This is the slightly overlooked wade-spot. Or not everybody knows how to fish there effectively. Finally our effort and patience are rewarded. Typical Madison rainbow came on my own TSUNAMI Bugger (no photo yet)!!

He was very pleased with Madison's native rainbow's fight and wild condition!!

Ladies & gentlemen, this is the landmark of Montana fly-fishing history that first ever Japanese guide is guiding Japanese clients along the bank of Madison.

I think I lost my camera somewhere along this process.......

We started to move couple more fish.

Later on, we saw another flash!! Kazutaka is on fight again!!

Bigger than average Madison rainbow!!

Pine Butte was also occupied in late afternoon (unbelievable....) so we drove back to $3 Bridge. I encouraged my clients that we catch brown trout. I guided three pockets in a row with nymphs. Weird but nothing on nymphs all day. So I showed Kazutaka deep water bottom dredging streamer technique. Within several casts, he got a huge tug!!

After several tug-of-wars, we won!!

It was a fine brown trout, as I promised, in a runoff color.

Kazutaka has fished many other places in the world but he was truly amazed by Madison and her wild trout.

There's not compliment, it was really good size and gave some weight on our hands.

I went through my first day.

I first thank Kazutaka & Miyuki for being patient under tough fishing condition. Then I thank Madison God for giving me both sweet and bitter tastes.

Then I felt I "worked" not "fished".

From now on I might face more tough fishing days or other kinds of troubles but when I saw my clients' pure happiness in their expression, I felt rewarded and saw some silver-lining for my future!!
Thank you all who wished good luck for me!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

First Day Guiding

Today was my first day guiding.
I did get my clients to some trout. Then I somehow dropped my camera in Madison.....
So no pictures or details about fishing for this post.
My clients will email me pictures from their camera later. Then I will post more.
We ended good under tough condition.
Madison God gave me the mix of sweet and bitter tastes on my first day guiding............
Then my friend Chris texted me, "you can replace your camera any time but not your clients".
That's all about for now.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

New Guide Gears

I'm getting ready for guiding and fishing myself for the season. With some funding made by cows, I did some shopping for gears.
First, I got a good deal from Costa Del Mar from Florida. As with Simms "Pro Program", I am supposed to promote Costa's products as a guide and I'm happy to do!! What I got is Hammerhead in copper lenses and silver teak frame. This is so comfy for my face and eyes. I even forget to take it off when I step into my house!! Not to mention, I can see waters much better. This is truly a guide gear.

Next, I got a Super Days Worth from Cliff Outdoors. To me, this is the dream box!! Here's a quote from CO.
"Midges, Meat and Mayflies all in one box! Like all of our boxes, this great box isn't made in B.F. Egypt by people who don't fish. No! It's made in Wyoming by angler for angler".

I just assembled flies for my upcoming guide trip. You could guess what I am planning and even what's going on along Montana rivers by these flies.

There's another storage underneath!! The bottom is the magnet board so flies are not blown away by winds!! At this point, I'm setting dry-flies in the lower compartment........

Then I decided to get a rod holding device. There's a long story till I decided to get this one. Mostly about my camper shell and camper shell shops in Bozeman, and of course the cost. This was supposed to be attached one on the hood and the other on the roof. BUT!! the hood of my F-150 turned out to be aluminum!!!! I could return it but I don't trust suction type. I put both on the roof. I actually think this is better than leaning on windshield. This way, bugs and rocks are away from the rod. I did experiment with my own rods by driving both gravel roads in slow and local highway in 55 to 60mph. It's so steady. It should be just fine during wading trips. Clients and friends, please trust me my rod holder is safe!!

The river in the back is Lower Madison by the way. With this sunny weather, lots of tributaries are pumping run-off waters to Upper Madison and Ennis Lake so Ennis Dam was loosened to release water....... It's chocolate blizzard again.......

Tomorrow I go and do further tests on these gears and leg-work for my guide trip!