Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Kansas Plain

(UPDATED: one photo is added at the end on 6/27 Wednesday)
Howdy folks. As predicted in my last post, blog title may temporarily be "Plains, Highways, & Cows". I'm very busy for breeding cows in Garden City, KS. I'm trying to take a short document video of "how cattle breeding goes" but it's too busy. I may be able to take one or two before I head back to Montana. So here are some "on the road" pics. Follow "time" that appears in each pic!! I left my house in Livingston, MT at the night of Tuesday 19th. Drove all night and I saw Sunrise somewhere in Wyoming.

From Wyoming, I entered Nebraska and was cutting through southwest corner into south.

I was finally driving straight south and just entered Kansas Plain.

It's not as humid as I was afraid of. Indeed it's simply hot & dry!!
Total, I drove almost 1000 miles over a night!!
Hard works keep me in shape and in quiet life. I have started to miss 50MPH gusts of Livingston.....really. Don't worry, I'm catching up up-to-minute fishing information so I can start guiding right after. Follow fishing report from Parks' Fly Shop. Besides, judging from USGS Water Flows, I don't think any guided float trips are on Yellowstone River yet. 
I will be back in Montana in a couple of days. So wait for my usual fishing reports and hot flies, and see you along the river this summer!

(UPDATED 6/27)
When a cow acts dumb funny, breeders go like this........... No restraints but corning and muscling!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sunday Part 2 - Firehole, Caddis, & Soft-Hackle

Just around noon when I was fishing Madison, it became very windy like Livingston. I moved to Firehole River. "Fountain Flats" was completely open but somewhat unhappy to be standing in the middle of gust without any protective structures. I saw only several anglers along the way to my favorite and probably the most technical spot "Muleshoe Bend". There was no fisherman at where I intended to fish but........it was occupied by a group of buffaloes. Hence, some wildlife watchers at the parking too.

HINT: I'm not insane by getting close like this. You see they are top of cutbanks, which essentially work and look like "cattle guards" in any Western ranches. These animal can see it's steep and don't know how high or deep it can be. So, unless they were chased by a pack of wolf or a group of horseback riders, they don't bother to get off steep cutbanks to charge me. Remember I'm cattle breeder and scientist? These buffaloes and domestic cattle developed from the same ancestral root.

I did see occasional rises that I can strongly guess for caddis. But due to the gusts, it reminded me of typical situation in Paradise Valley spring creeks = gusts blow away insect hatches. I fished for White Miller hatch and experimented my brandnew caddis soft-hackle in White Miller version.

BINGO!! Little brown took it right after dead-drifting, i.e., swinging.

Then this nice 13-inch rainbow took it while "dead-drifting under the surface". After it got wet, I didn't dry it on purpose. Trailing behind visible adult pattern, I can see it's taken while "dead-drifting subsurface"!!

Again nice big rainbow for Firehole!!

So I did enjoy both Madison and Firehole in a single day.
I will be out of Montana till the end of month. Before guide season really kicks off, I've got a breeding job in Kansas. If I ever post a new one from the road, my blog title may become Plains, Highways, & Cows..........Maybe see you somewhere along the highway!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sunday Part 1 - Madison in the Park

Yesterday, I finally made a drive to West side of Yellowstone National Park. Fishing Madison and Firehole in late June has become my favorite over last several years. Everything (water level, temp, weather pattern, hatches) seems to settle down and shape up for summer. There aren't numbers of summer tourists yet. But at the same time rivers on this side may not be attractive in summer due to geothermal feature (too high water temp!) so late June is the short but best time for me to fish.

When I drove along Madison, surprisingly there was NOBODY fishing!! Let me guess......everyone went home after a week-long vacation. Or they head to Madison in Montana, chasing Salmofly craziness. 
I was expecting PMD and White Miller Caddis. When I pulled in "Upper Haynes" almost 11AM, I didn't see apparent hatches and rising trout so I rigged up my 6wt with nymphs. Right after that, I started to see a few to several risers. So I grabbed my 5wt for dry-flies. It was somewhat different from PMD in Madison that I remember. It was size 14 and wasn't really yellow-ish/light olive-ish. It could be some kind of "Drunella"? 

I had some bites on my dry-flies but didn't get into hook-ups. Eventually rises became slow. So I grabbed my nymph rig again. For some reasons, I'm recently into smaller stonefly nymphs. So again, Minch Stone from Parks' Fly Shop is the meal ticket.

Nice rainbow!

I took a liberty of sampling.........

I caught a huge whitie too!! What's wrong? It's a true native to both Montana and Yellowstone Park!!

Then I started to experiment my new pattern; Purple Nymphaze, trailed behind.

OH!!! Small whitie!!

I kept fishing the same rig around "Madison Junction". I hooked something HUGE!!!!!.....You see why it felt extra heavy..........

YES my Purply works!!?? Anyway this is one of the biggest Whitie I ever caught in Madison. I'm very proud of myself!!

To be continued to Part 2.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

YNP First Grip-&-Grin 2012

It was a nice and calm day. Yet it was cool in Yellowstone National Park. I decided to fish a different section of Gibbon River.
On my way, I first encountered a "Buff Jam".......

Then passed along muddy boiling spring/geyser. One can't be too cautious when passing these structures as there can be unpredictable and underestimated holes/bogs.

Now fishing. It was very slow till I hit here..........Guess where.

I started with small streamers. I got some chases and nibbles but no hook-ups. Then I tied on nymphs. This is "Minch Stone" from Parks Fly Shop in Gardiner, MT (click CUSTOM FLIES). I tied with a curved nymph hook (as I have plenty of them) but also in small. Why? Though this is meant for Stonefly Nymphs, I figured this should imitate large mayfly nymphs and dragonfly nymphs (that I observed last time!!) when tied smaller.

After all nothingness, suddenly I felt a huge tug!! Then I realized "I forgot my net in my truck!!" He was strong but cooperative and I could drag him to the shallow. GOTCHA!!

Quite a surprise and worth for "Grip n' Grin" for the first time in YNP this year!

With my restored camera, I tried some underwater pics.

Caddis started to hatch in the afternoon. They were size 14, 16, or 18.

In this kinda color.....

Most of standard patterns worked. Regardless of sizes, Gibbon trout were very fresh and strong!!

Nice colored rainbow.......

With this great success at Gibbon, now I'm heading to Firehole and Madison Rivers this weekend.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

YNP Guide

Fly-fishing in Yellowstone National Park has been a heavenly experience. Once I got familiar and decided to be a guide in SW Montana, guiding YNP waters has been my dream. Then I developed a passion to introduce this true wilderness & fly-fishing diversity to visiting anglers. Now both of my dream & passion have become a reality as an official duty.

I feel very honored to be a guide member at one of the oldest and the most famous shops in Montana (www.parksflyshop.com). But also at the same time, I feel responsible to provide greater fishing experience of YNP to any level of anglers and anyone from other parts of US or foreign countries.
See you somewhere in the Park!!

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Park

Here in Southwest Montana, "The Park" means simply "Yellowstone National Park". Though fishing (and tourist season) has started two weeks ago, Memorial Day weekend, today was my Opening Day. Although my original intention of today was somewhat different (another story), I ended up fishing. (What's wrong with that?) I chose much quieter water, Gibbon River, compared to Madison and Firehole Rivers. Fishing was OK. Size didn't cooperate but walking along the meadow (without any people and cars in my vicinity) always makes me feel I may be time-tripping to 19th century.

Winds were nothing compared to those around Livingston. However, due to higher elevation, I felt colder........

When I got home and opened my screen door, there was a parcel. It was from OLYMPUS and contained a repaired camera of mine!! I really appreciate their quick service!! I can't be happier!!

As I was already busy fishing during winter and spring (today marks 51st Day out fishing!!), I like this quiet kind of start for summer. I have made sure that I know what I'm doing and got my gears ready!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Guide Classroom at DePuy's

We had great weather yesterday (from evening storm started and now it's full of gust as of typing now.......). I asked my guide mentor Montana's Master Angler himself Tom Travis to see if we can visit DePuy's Spring Creek for more "learning & observation".

It's a transitional time. Hatch (insect emergence on the surface) and trout rise were sparse. That doesn't mean there was no food source in the creek nor we can't catch fish, especially with Master Angler. It was a Nymph Game with miscellaneous technique and understanding. Here, I am bringing in a nice brown. I go get my hair cut soon.......


Stomach pump! This is what I wanted to learn under supervision. I mastered it in a way that nobody gets hurt!

Also, I wanted to try my new gizmo. This is another thing that requires experience (along with lots of failures.....). Hope you get some idea of my intention.

We caught a nice Cutty. We did pumped his stomach and found only digested materials = he was not really in a eating mood. This told us Cuttys are coming into the creek for spawning.

We also saw bunch of suckers are coming into the creek for spawning too. So it's an "Egg Festival" for rainbows!! (we didn't use egg patterns though).

Am I smiling?  No..........reporting a belly snag (it didn't start that way, the first fly popped out from its mouth.....)

OK, I tried my "Underwater Film" again. This is viewable, I hope. I'll be better!!

After fishing, we did food sampling (seining). Then we had another classroom. There always are more to learn to be a better guide. Then there always will be more to learn for the rest of my fishing life. Prime fishing season is coming in my area. It was a very important classroom from my mentor.
(Except for the first one, all photos thanks to Tom)

Friday, June 1, 2012

New Gizmo Testing

Yesterday evening, right after I posted the last post below, I made a lightning decision to visit Bozeman, looking for a camera/alternative meanwhile. It was somewhat compulsive but also it was to sooth my feeling. I had very good materials needed to take pictures.

I found a very good deal for a camera (not water-proof) that was for a clearance deal. It would have suffice my immediate needs. But also in this digital world, there always are pros-&-cons...... It's something between complement & practicality, between immediate needs vs exploration, or between options and costs, and more for comparisons that you can name.....

I picked up a cheap-end camcorder for a trial (assuming I can return for refund!). I noticed it didn't any good jobs for micro pictures, say, my flies on the vise. But it's water-proof. So today I wanted to see how it works outside for videos and pictures. It's very light so I shot a quick video on my way to town with my bicycle. I'd say it does express my visions.

Regular pictures? It's supposed to be better than disposable cameras....

I believe letters are clear enough for reading, would you agree??

And I played some more with more livelier creature. That's YUKI, my outfitter Dean's pooch.

I'm waiting for response from OLYMPUS and I do believe in their cameras that have been working for me over 4 years as you have been seeing on my blog!!
But when tragedy happens (so far two years in a row), I just need a backup every now and then. And this camcorder seems to be an alternative. I will soon shoot some underwater videos. At least I have tested in my bathtub and it's indeed water-proof.
So I'm inclined to keep this.......I just can't have pictures of my flies and up-close trout faces and skins. That's the negative side. But instead I can shoot OK quality video much quicker. Then once new Olympus arrives, I will take both at the same time!
Do you think I made a good decision?