Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Guide Gears 2012

Last week I said it's just right time to stock up/organize flies. But also it's just right time to replace/examine gears for the up-coming season.

My biggest concern was the pair of "FELT" boots........ I myself have never tried Vibram or any other Non-felt souls but for what I've been hearing, I don't think I would like them or trust them. I do understand the invasive species acts/concerns but.......as a guide/angler, I can't get out to rivers when I'm feeling insecure on my footing. I have been with Simms Guide Boots that has just been wearing out over 2 years of hard works. What should I do???? Luckily and coincidentally Simms re-introduced felt lineups again. It FITS!! and I feel SAFE again, period!!

Believe or not, my vest got worn out too. With some tears, rips, and lots of fishy history, if I had put in a washer, it would come out as a rag-ball, maybe......Nowadays there are lots of guides and anglers who don't use vests any more, but I'm still the one. I got Simms Guide Vest, which has the most pockets among their products. First of all, the best feature/design is that it's light in the weight and short in vertical length. I could transfer all of my gears, tools, fly boxes, and other gadgets at exactly the same spots. You see my Finsport Fly Keeper, C&F Rubycell Fly Dryer, Dr. Slick Clipper (these are super useful tools so Google for shopping if your are interested.) and a hooked watch (as I don't like wrist-watches).

Another purchase I'm happy to introduce is the Long Bill hat. See the difference from regular hats. This makes a huge difference for sun-protection and to create larger shadow for your fishy eyes. Not all manufactures or fly-shops carry this type of hat. I'm ready for Dog Days of summer any time!! Not to mention with my lucky color ORANGE!!

Now, I've gotta replace a wader too!! I'm waiting for...........you know when if you are guides who appreciate Simms products.......
More new flies are filling my boxes. And that's what I'm gonna post next!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Patience & Observation

Today, it turned out to be a real winter-like day. WSW wind was blowing over 35mph. However, I had to go fishing to DePuy's in order to pursue my mission. Like last week's report, I was into nymphing with trial flies but it was very slow. I'd say trout's behavior & lies have been very finicky. Almost 1pm, when I was eating a Snicker's Bar for lunch, snow started to fall steadily.  Now that reminded me of typical fall-fishing situation for aggressive brown trout. These are hearsay but nobody can deny; 1. trout become less shy on cloudy & overcast days, 2. nasty weather causes some internal aggression within trout. I started to pitch a sculpin trailed with an egg. Yet my fishing tactics was dead-drift, slow retrieve, and slow swing. Rainbows haven't actively started spawning yet so I was looking for resting lies, which I already knew from fall-run brown trout. At the very end of drift, I finally felt a huge tug since when?...........

 Gotcha!! You see what he took......

 A Nice 18-inch buck was safely released.......

Regardless of its size, I always enjoy when browns bite aggressively on sculpin!! At the very end........

I also had two relatively large hook-ups but gone in a few seconds.
My patience & observation & versatility paid off today. I'm positive the creek is getting hotter day by day, playing along with weather. I will keep my eyes & mind open and report spring hatches (baetis & midges) and spring-run rainbows!!

However, tomorrow will be a designated sleep-in & DVD-watching day away from jobs......The second complete day-off of February as I had the same in January.........Very busy winter! Cheers!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I'll Show You My Junk

CAUTION: Today's post contains hazardous materials for those who claim to be "dry-fly enthusiasts" or "minimalist" (whatever defined in magazines.....). I can be one of those when time is right but also, I have a different side.

It's just about time to get ready about anything for up-coming season 2012. Besides tying flies to sell and to fill my own boxes, I got to the point that I had to do something with my streamers, a.k.a. JUNKS. Those recently popular articulated streamers are hard to store and keep track of inventory in conventional boxes. Besides streamers, I'm getting more flies in each category. I had to do something for my whole inventory of my boat bag. I found a solution. I might as well move those JUNKS to somewhere and create more room for other boxes. This is it!! (Click for detail.)

Are you ready to see inside??

I felt MUCH MUCH better when I finished organizing!! With this, I can see what I have and what I need to fill at a glance. Most of shown here are articulated ones or single-hook with long-bodies. So the smaller ones  (2 to 3-inch long) are kept in other boxes and fit in my boat bag!! BTW, as you can see, for each pattern, I usually tie in White, Black, Tan, Olive, & Yellow.
Right off the bat, I learned a new pattern and I had to tie it. This is Wiese's Love Bunny, created by Walter Wiese at Parks Flyshop in Gardiner, MT. This is a 5-inch long Jerky with tremendous movement!!
As said above, I tie one pattern in different colors. Here's olive,


and chinchilla/white.

I love them all! These are for sale at my sales catalogue.

I don't think it's only these streamers but flies in all categories are progressing every minute. So I'd like to be open-minded for new patterns. Even though I may not tie that fly, some particular techniques and materials can be useful in my near future, you know.........

Well, now I need one more BEAST then!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Fly Experiments

Apparently I headed to DePuy's Spring Creek today. Temperature was low but NO WINDS!!
Fishing result first, well, it was super slow today. There are some reasons and theories that I don't discuss here. However, I'm visiting for observation, regardless of catching trout or not. It was a good time to experiment a couple of new flies. In other words, thanks to Winter Pass, I can afford time and days just for experiments!!
This is "Tri-Color San Juan Worm" tied in a small size.


This was a legitimate catch!

And this is the one I was just playing around on my bench night before and then at the creek today.

What's this joke? Well, I hooked two nice trout with this fly but gone before netting and pictures. Both might have been foul-hooked somewhere. What does this imitate?? Let me do some more trials as I've got some feelings on this.
See what I observe next weekend!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Cutty Rise 2012

In Japan, the first Sunrise on the New Year's Day is worshiped as a lucky sign for the brandnew year. I have another "RISE" that I worship and love all the time. That's the rise of Yellowstone Cutthroat in our Greater Yellowstone Country.

Today, I visited the town of Gardiner to see if I can the first rise of Cutty for 2012. Beautiful scenery that I will never get bored to be and to fish around.

Just around 1pm, I started to see some rising trout on midges. As I wished, I could observe and enjoy Cutty's slow & deliberate rise forms one after another on my flies!! This was actually the 2nd Cutty, as I missed a picture for the first one.

Rainbow rose aggressively!!

Today's hot flies. Besides Griffith's Gnat Emerger,

these two skinny silhouette patterns worked very well.

I didn't actually take insect samples but by observing trout rises and what was visible on the surface, I was pretty sure these flies should work. I didn't see too many bugs, hence clustered ones either, but trout were rising one at a time.
Well, I made sure with my eyes and hands that Yellowstone Cutty are doing well in this winter and ready to rise as we always hope and enjoy.

You know where I'm heading tomorrow then........Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

S.C.ANT Featured Online

Another original pattern of mine S.C.ANT is featured in Fly Anglers OnLine (www.flyanglersonline.com) again. You can scroll down a bit or click FOTW (Fly Of The Week) for February 13th, 2012. I can see editors painstaking effort to put basically two flies. I really appreciate Editor Neil for his hard work. I have already created some patterns and one of them, the first one COYOTE made a nation-wide attention (maybe, LOL!!). I love them all and can show anyone with confidence, whether they make to manufacture level or not.  However S.C.ANT stands out for the special reason and experience.
I haven't really decided how it's read either SU-KU-Ant or su-can't (as "scant"). Please try a poll on the right. S.C. apparently stands for Slough Creek and "without these two, rises will be scant"!!  That's the catch-phrase of these two pairing flies. Let me review why it's so significant for me.
(Actual Queen)

(S.C.Ant Queen on my fingers)

(Actual little black male on my finger)

(S.C.Ant Black on my finger)

It was a battle between "Man" vs "Nature" for 4 days. Man included me armed with fly-fishing skills & knowledge. Nature to be challenged rostered season, creek, insect, and trout. On September 7th (click here for the post), Team Nature defeated me completely. Actually it was more like "total ignorance" as if I didn't exist in their dimension. Incident almost all sucked my soul. I was about to commit a suicide and be done with fly-fishing. Retreated to my home, I got some tactics from my mentors and I noticed other weapons I had forgotten to use; Observation & Patience, and Creativity at my bench. First my mentors told me the swarm could last for a couple of days, even could be seen in October. Second, looking at these two insect pictures and repeating scenes in my head over and over, I believed there should be specific fly patterns for these two special insects. I had a day or two then. I went through catalogues for ant patterns and they didn't help me much, however some idea occurred to me and I came up with these two, one for each gender.
September 10th (click here for the post), I went back to Lower Slough. Even though I had had some preparation this time, Swarm might not happen as that what Nature could do any time!! It sounded too cruel for me to wait till next year to get my soul back and to try my new flies. However Swarm did happen at 6:00pm at the very last Sun light of late summer. This time, I used another tool called Observation along with brandnew flies. This time, I got a response from Team Nature. And I decoded characters and complications of Lower Slough and trout there.
I don't say I defeated Team Nature of Lower Slough as I got more homework to do. Yet, I did get my soul and confidence back. I was not conceited at all, instead I felt I could be a further better angler and guide if I keep observing and learning and being creative to produce new flies.

I will see you boys & girls (I'm talking to ants as well......)at Lower Slough!!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Some Actions

We had several inches of snow, truly the first winter-like-weather one, but the same pattern repeated; nice weather came back today! I was half-hoping a reason or two not to go fishing and instead wishing to sleep in and watching DVDs.........I have a mission in my mind. I had to visit DePuy's Spring Creek.

Today was another observation day with some positive notes. First, at a spot I always check for "sight-fishing", I saw a group of trout, including a couple of large ones, were gathering up. I was positive some River-Trout were coming in. Next surprise was that I got a solid streamer bite while stripping and retrieving slowly.

Hit fly was again Doug's Home Invader.

Next I moved to what's called, "PHD Pool". Is it so-called because the spot requires "PhD in trout fishing"? That I don't know. I have known there always are trout gathering but ultra hard to approach and cast. Today, I saw a real dark back who wouldn't get spooked with my several unsuccessful drifts. Suddenly the shadow darted and I felt a tag!! I did my best so the fish wouldn't go through the culvert. Got him!! As I saw from the top, he was dark indeed!

Have I completed a super technical sight-fishing at the world famous spring creek and attained a "PhD in Fly-Fishing, majoring in Trout"?

Not really..............
Truth is............see where my "Royal Ray Charles" was.......... Also the reason he wouldn't move and that I could pull him out from the culvert was, I think, he was sick. He was infested by a couple of blood sucking leech....YUCK!! I got rid of them!! He will feel better!! In a way I helped him then!!

(Royal Ray Charles)
Then I have a good report for those of you who want to know more about bugs and hatches. I have observed Spring Baetis on the water. I actually have seen a few for the last couple of visits but today I saw more.
So were trout rising? Not yet........ trout were still hanging low and slow. Water temperature and intensity of hatch may have not reached trout's comfortable level.
It was really fun. I will be back next week and see what will happen!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Yesterday (30) & Today (31)

Today made  The 31st day at DePuy Spring Creek with the Winter Pass. My target it to hit more than 50 days by April 14th. I'm sure I will make it!!
Well, actually that's all I want to say and get done with the post but I feel obligated to report and talk about fishing, I guess.........
Yesterday and today turned out to be simply nice winter days. Sunny sky and no winds!! There were several anglers for the weekend. I haven' seen this many anglers since early November.
Fishing result first, super slow......... Yesterday, I caught only one Whitefish. Today, I hooked but lost two nice rainbows and rest were........

Furthermore, midge hatch didn't occur...............weird. I saw only a few rise-rings each day. What happened to midges? And where are all the fish gone? I first became competitive to fix the days and catch some big ones. But, wait, I'm here for "learning & observation".
First, I can't explain that why midge are hatching Yellowstone River below but not at the creek. I don't know. We have to ask water scientists, entomologist, and then bugs themselves.
As for trout, they are there for sure. I stopped fishing and observed what trout were doing. Most of trout were sitting on the bottom and hiding in the aquatic weed. Or trying to dig in, as weedbeds are so low now. Skinny water and bright weather didn't help either. They seem totally dormant or resting. They would bite if scud or midge larva would pass right in front of their mouths but wouldn't chase. That was why take was weak and I lost several trout.
As for spawning rainbows, most likely what I have been catching would be those following browns in the fall and staying in the creek. Run is not strong yet, maybe a few at a time, as I spotted (and caught) a few at most likely spots.
Then probably the biggest observation I made during two days is actually a human observation: People keep moving around the creek when fishing are slow!!, including myself!! This is typical at DePuy as it's 3-mile long. In my vicinity, I didn't see anyone catching fish, including myself. I saw a couple of cars I recognize that tells me they are with Winter Pass like myself and different cars meant they were visiting by the day. Probably all of them were nymphing to take a chance for huge spawners and didn't pay any attention to midge hatches & rising trout.
I felt relieved, not competitive any more, when I observed all. I was not beaten by trout or by the creek. I guess it was how Mother-Nature goes. I could still try to catch trout under the condition but also I could wait and let them rest.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Midge Hatch at 'Stone

It was sunny & calm today. I said "CALM", not "not cold or warm". Wind was pretty much none but a light breeze from north chilled my bones. I was expecting midge hatches and rising trout that I encountered in the afternoon of January 13th. Since then I kept close watch at Yellowstone, but I believe there hadn't been much going on. Even on those days I didn't actually fish, I drove by the stretch after work in the mid afternoon. Also winds have been blowing hard. Then, as I've been reporting, I didn't see any midge surface actions at DePuy either.

After some errands in town, I dressed up and rigged up, and was at the 'Stone by 1pm. I walked slowly and carefully and saw rises at the same run!! It was not as strong as January 13th but at least a good enough situation. I observed two different sizes of midges on the water; sizes 16 & 20.
These are 16s adult,

and the shuck.

I observed size 20s were dominant on the surface and trout were rising on them. My favorites were ready this time! Griffith's Gnat Emerger and

Zelon Midge, both in sizes 20 & 22 worked as always.

I first targeted some tough risers. I knew they were there and definitely looking up and I did read their feeding lane but I couldn't get any attention. Norther made things tough for "down-cross" presentations too. "Up" or "up-cross" presentations should work too but.....
I decided to swing soft-hackles from up-stream and I thought I would even add a split-shot to get some depth if needed. BUT!! I found a pod of risers!! I hooked many but lost except for this one. I finally enjoyed the first dry-fly actions of 2012 on 34th day.

Even these little ones are developing kypes or what?

Size really didn't matter to me. I want to give myself (perseverance, patience, and observation) a little credit that I accomplished the winter dry-fly fishing at Mighty 'Stone, rather than at spring creeks. That doesn't mean creeks are easier but we all know creeks have more consistency and possibility for catching trout than the 'Stone (may I remind you that they all share same hatches!!??).  Legendary Don Williams' words still ringers in my ears, that I learned from my guide mentor Tom Travis, "If you can read the waters of Yellowstone River and consistently take trout, you can travel the world and consistently a successful fly angler".   
With all of those in my mind, I will visit DePuy tomorrow!