Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fall Color

Although my own fishing in Yellowstone Park and Montana waters goes on, my guide business is coming to end for the season. It's been a great summer with Parks' Fly Shop in Gardiner and clients who visited us. I will summarize a "season review" with a mix of both guiding and my own fishing later on.

So here in this post, I post up-to-date fishing reports as usual. I still see several anglers, especially on the boat, without waders but I am comfortable in my G4. I gladly welcome the fall. I myself haven't really been chasing "fall-run" brown trout yet. Just the other morning, I tried a few hours in "G" River before a PM guiding........... Handsome enough but not quite large to be defined as "runners".........?

What's in your mouth? It will show more as the fall goes by.........
Forget sizes, I can't emphasize how gorgeous brookies can be colored up!!

 His belly was purely art....

Kyped & blackened well in his own right........

And look at this mastery color & art!!

One of my recent stomach sample from a rainbow in Yellowstone River.
MIDGES & BWO (baetis) are hatching very well and trout are rising from noon to 3pm (if you are lucky and if you know what you are doing!!) in certain spots & stretches of Yellowstone River.
Right now I'm at the point that "I'd better take off from fishing.......". Let me stretch & restore my body after guiding and non-stop fishing from January. I love to fish in October but also October is the longest month of the year for me (it's a life-long story other than fishing....). So I know October won't be gone quickly. I would take a break with or without fishing in the first week or two of the month. Then I DO focus on very late fall fishing as always............which goes on till November!!

We'll still see at the river. If not, wait till my next post!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Yellowstone Synonymous = Dry-Fly & Cutthroat!!

We are still enjoying some of the best fishing of the year. Yes, it's not summer any more. Days are getting short and we need waders. I just had wonderful "match-the-hatch" & "dry-fly" fishing with great clients two days in a row. Pictures tell whole story.

9/17 Monday, Client and I walked through meadow of Lamar River. We saw a critter moving. It was a badger who wasn't afraid of our presence.

Then we encountered a great Green Drake hatch and rises of Yellowstone Cutty!!

Our best buck Cutty was hooked (by Vince) and netted (by me) by SUPER UP-CLOSE & PERSONAL SIGHT-FISHING!! It can't be better or more exciting than this!!

9/18 Tuesday, I had a float trip with two experienced anglers from Vermont on board. Wind was brutal and we felt the day on the river could be miserable. However our perseverance (& my "guide" pray!) paid off; right after we switched into dry-flies, wind started to die.    

One of many stomach samples I did......See what's inside........

Our BEST Cutty was caught by Janie during BWO (fall baetis) hatch!! Indeed we stopped my boat at right stretch at right time, BWO hatch kept going all along our bank!! We over-stayed!!

Toothy Colorful Beauty!!

We still have about two more months (at least for me) of prime fishing! and we are still busy guiding at Parks' Fly Shop. Come and fish with us in Glorious Montana Fall!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Whitefish-of-The-Year Contest: Entry of Reigning Champion A.K.A. Return of Whitefish King

Conclusion first (adding some curses), it was a brutally windy day. Nothing is more "unreliable" than weather forecast around here. "Getting windy" is norm around here and we have to live with that. But it was not supposed to be that strong "against" us!!

Anyway I was able to conduct another "check-run" today with towns friend Hans. First we encountered pods of rising trout/whitefish on SPENT MIDGES @ 11:30AM!! Then winds changed the direction 180 to North (no more cussing please). However right after that, in spite of gusts, BWO popped ALL-OVER and fish were RISING like crazy all the way after 2PM!!  We had a couple of nice Cutty (and bunch of Whitie on dry too) and stomach sample confirmed we were using right bugs.
................We survived winds.........we made to a stretch where we felt we would be at a takeout before dark. So I started fishing. MY effort (I use MY instead of OUR in case Hans disagrees) was rewarded!! I brought in a massive Whitefish!!

It's been a while this level of IMPRESSIVE lips!!

I was almost.............Did I do it?

OK. Check-runs two days in a row were great success!! We are getting "fall-clients" and are still busy running around!! Send me your "Whitefish-of-The-Year" Contest pictures!! Contest runs till December 31st, 2012. I'm thinking a give-away for Winner (winners in case for tie).

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Time for "Woolly"........

My last 2 posts have been visited a lot! Thanks and indeed it was THE Greatest day! After that...... I just had a big operation on my F150.......(indeed that was the 3RD major one of a streak, which I'm not gonna discuss). So I was grounded.......
I still have more trips to come so I had to get back to the river with my boat. Water is getting low. Then we are in the middle of transitional period (cold, hot, hatch, no-hatch, etc....). So I had my friend Link hop on my boat and we did a "check-run"!
Yes dry-flies still work!!

This is their dinner.....go figure!!

Then we confirmed it's time for "Woolly"!!!!

Look at this massive 'Bow!!

What's in your belly? Link confirmed there must have been a minnow or sculpin or two.......

So it's somewhat different taste from July or August but still lots of things are going on around here!! Come & fish here!! Fall is just knocking on the door! Fishing WILL be better!!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

September 7th - Part 2: Flying Ant Mating Swarm at Lower Slough (Yes, I Timed Just Right!!)

So after Lamar, already after 3pm, I headed to Lower Meadow of Slough Creek. The biggest reason and objective was: Exactly on the same date last year, I was suddenly hit by mating swarms of flying ant. Please reminisce my past post. It was a biggest defeat in my fishing life but within a few days, I came up with new flies and conquered the puzzle (another post). So my object was: "am I going to see Ant Swarm again?" and "can I handle better this year?".

In my notes, swarms started in the evening (5 to 6pm). So I just fished along in a usual way and it was slow. Just around 5pm, I moved to down-stream for observation. And YES, it happened!!!
Queens like this, along with tiny males, were flying all over the meadow and trout were gulping all over!!

However.................This year they were size 14 or 16...........
This is from last year. You can tell the difference by comparing two.

So my S.C.Ant, developed based on my last year's experience, in size 10 or 12 were detected as FAKE!!! Trout were gulping but they did remain picky!!

I had a few bites with other generic patterns but not quite for my satisfaction. I didn't cry or become desperate like last year. It was just another homework. Queens were apparently thinned out by 6pm. Trout were still rising with quieter gulping sound. Lots of midges were in the air. Were they taking midges? But it didn't sound like midge feeding. I went close to the surface. I discovered  ONLY TINY MALES were abundant on the water!! That was what they were gulping on!!

Now generic black ant patterns size 20 or 22 were the key though those were hard to see. I focused on one spot and cruisers underneath. A huge nose came up and sipped my ant and I set the hook!! It was bigger than I expected!! With a very long leader ending with 6X tippet, fighting was very careful............

THE BEST CUTBOW!! I have caught this length of trout at Lower Slough but not as massive as this one!!

Rises continued way after dark, even after 8pm, with mix of midges and BWO. I had to go home as fishing with artificial light is prohibited in YNP and well, scary to be along in the meadow!!

I can't overstate my LOVE of Lower Slough and its technical & challenging water. I was sure that I grew up into a better angler, guide, and observer from experience at here. I caught a nice trout but at the same time I was assigned more homework. I want to be further better!

I might visit once or twice more before season ends..........

September 7th - Part 1: Green Drake at Lamar

Only day before yesterday, I wrote "summer mode is still lingering........." but I don't say something in the middle any more. I simply say "it's early fall mode" here in Yellowstone Country. It's definitely cool to cold in the morning. I still wet-wade but ready for G4 PRO any time.

Yesterday I left my house in Livingston for Yellowstone Park. It was late on purpose (mostly for Part 2!!). I chatted some at Parks' Fly Shop and headed to, deciding while driving, Lamar River. It's just about time for Green Drake!! (Photo from last year).

I started with Green Drake imitation along with Foam Attractors and ants. I caught a so-so one and pumped its stomach. I was guessing just right.............

My favorite is Furimsky's Extended Body Foam Green Drake (click for tying video by Hopper Juan!) that I modified some for my own intention. I wanted it to be more slender and sparser. Yet my tie is unsinkable as tied with foam and synthetic wing!!

Then I hit a JACKPOT and earned a top score!!

This is THE BEST Yellowstone Cutty for me!! Solid, massive, and heavy!!

Only several minutes later, I caught the second best!!

A bit tired and sore from summer bites.........

Lamar can be very popular = crowded. However, as a guide and an angler, I can navigate through the river and crowds and get into fish!! This was very satisfying but it was not all for yesterday....... To be continued to Part 2.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Half-Day Floats & "After Work"

I'm still busy guiding in September here and there. Labor Day weekend was not as busy in fishing industry as in city traffic. I just had two half-day float trips.

Half-Day float is actually fun. We can stop and fish certain holes and runs intensely. Also, we guides know wind direction can be totally different in the afternoon from that of morning over Yellowstone River. So for half-day floats, we usually have to deal with either one!

So, after I completed my morning duty, I was free! Summer mode is still lingering around here but also we are hearing and feeling of touch of the fall. I had to go while I can! After I escorted my clients to Parks' Fly Shop in Gardiner, I entered Yellowstone National Park to my favorite section = Lower Meadow of Slough Creek. Trout here can take great advantages to inspect our flies!! They indeed seem to know our fly patterns and materials!! After a couple of refusals and "near-kisses", I finally hooked one. Small but feisty.

This is my brandnew ant pattern. I will post more about this later. I fooled one really big one but it slipped away like this!!

Another favorite ant pattern is this simple and classic Parachute Ant.

I finally got hooked into a sizable fish!! Look how wide he is!! Typical Lower Slough 'Bow!!

Self-timer Grip-&-Grin!!..................slipped away again!!

I had a hunch midge would work in the evening from my spring creek experience. This Quill Body Midge that I often use at Livingston's Spring Creeks is a must.

 Trout did recognize my midge dry-fly and came up to surface in the dark!

Then, with the cooperation of either one of trout, I conducted a stomach sample. I found something amusing and had to shoot video. Hope you enjoy!!

Here are two noteworthy individuals. Winged Ant size 14 or 16.

Then October Caddis size 10 or 12!! I will get back to the creek and fish with my new pattern for this!! Soon! even tomorrow?
So it's been very fruitful guiding days. Just don't ask me "why are you catching bigger fish than your clients?" nor tell me "you are supposed to get clients into bigger fish".........
That can be true but I don't have any clients who are eager to challenge technicality and complication of Lower Slough with frustration and even some tears. Besides, I did my jobs! So I can do my own stuff!

Out fishing and guiding season is still going on. Come and fish with us!!