Thursday, June 27, 2013

Endless PMD & Rise (No Exaggeration!) - At Armstrong's

Howdy folks, I've been at Armstrong Spring Creek on O'Hair Ranch ( Starting early and coming home late, then I gotta go early again tomorrow. So this post will be the one with lots of pics and a few words....... Title says all. Then pictures and videos are worth than thousands words anyway!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Salmonfly Actions on Yellowstone River Too!!

We are enjoying great water conditions for this time of the year. As I reported and probably almost all fly-shops and guides along Madison are reporting, Salmonfly hatch and fishing sound great. It can be envious for business standpoint but I don't get jealous in terms of fishing. Some may catch really huge trout but I'm sure traffic is busy!!!!........not for me. Besides, I have Salmonfly waters right around here!!

This morning, I hit Gardner River with dry-fly expectation in mind!! See this little feisty Cut-bow is "wearing" my Two-Mix Salmonfly!!

And today, it was indeed SPARROW day!! I trailed Sparrow under Two-Mix. I can't emphasize how effective Sparrow can be!! It just sinks naturally and undulate naturally. Trout came up, chased, and inhaled my Sparrow one after another!!

I  walked to one long-walk stretch of Yellowstone River in the afternoon. Nice native Cutty on Sparrow!! This marked the first Cutty caught this year within YNP!!
Another one!!
 Nice rainbow too on Sparrow!! (somehow pic got screwed up......).
Followings are my favorite Sparrow. DO check Jack Gartside website ( for how to tie & fish and background story.

I had total 2 or 3 of these and I lost all by trout and tree. After that fishing slowed down, really!!

This is a simple orange body.

Body with peacock herls = "Evening Star"!!

And my own favorite "Brindle Sparrow"!!

Remember we usually have longer and later Salmonfly hatches on Yellowstone River than on other rivers around here. If you can't make it, we keep all actions to ourselves!!
See you later!.....maybe!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Salmonfly Action in YNP!! Flies & Flies!!

Before I go into Salmonfly fishing and flies, this is my recent "Salmon (space) Fly". Actually it may be cross-dressing of several aspects. It can be used for steelhead too. Also it's somewhere between practice, practicality, and artistic phase. Anyway, my guide season kicks off next week so I may not have any more time to play for "hobby-tie" a while. So I want to show it now!
I'd like to settle the last post of PMD hatch a while but I'd better post this on-going topic ASAP. Just after I visited DePuy's (, I went scouting to Yellowstone Park waters for near-future reference. Although hatches and effective flies may be different by then, I needed to know and make sure trout holding spots and accessible sections. In order to search trout, I thought about and followed the current condition and information. I started from very end of Gibbon = just above Madison Junction. I searched likely spots with Salmonfly dry-fly......... Out of sudden, my huge dry-fly was attacked from underwater!! A typical brown in Madison drainage came up to my brandnew Salmonfly!!

Then I checked several spots of Madison. It was even better!! Trout were eager for big meals floating above!!

This nice rainbow inhaled my brandnew pattern!!
So here it is. Ladies & Gentlemen, let me introduce you Two Mix Salmonfly!! I designed this based on two of my favorite and most trusted patterns from Parks' Fly Shop ( Those are Richard's Parks Salmonfly and Walter's Prom Queen. Check them out under "Custom Flies". I mixed up features and effectiveness of two; hence the name!! It will float well but sit low on the surface. It can be fished both dry (on top) and wet (drowned). For tying and hooking perspectives, extended yarn abdomen enables me tie on short shank hooks, which improves hooking rates on from small to big mouths. I didn't expect it could be this GOOD!!
There are lots of good looking Salmonfly dry patterns out there. Some are indeed "fluttering" and "crawling on your skin" types. I admire creativeness and effort on tying benches but fact is those flies catch human eyes first. For practical fishing for Salmonfly hatches, trout key mostly on females when they return to rivers for dropping eggs. Those return-females are worn out and doing their last jobs at the very end of their lives. So think accordingly!
Toward evening, I was at my most favorite spot on Madison in YNP; Cable Car Run to Barn's Pool #1. This is arguably the most fabled spot for swinging large soft-hackles. Once guiding kicks off, I can't be over here. Then in the fall, I'm not sure what I'm up to and this spot is over crowded by many. Regardless of season, I needed to swing large soft-hackles while I could. And my choice was THE Madison-born Sparrow by Jack Gartside (

It wasn't just for my ritual, but I actually had positive reason to fish here at this season. It wasn't the biggest but a nice browny by swinging to end the day!!
I'm happy!!

So, for those who pursue Salmonfly hatches in SW Montana, now is the time to try and we have high hope and expectation for the hatch right now. Contact fly-shops adjacent to your destined rivers. For Gardner and Yellowstone Rivers, definitely check with Parks' Fly Shop, period!!

Friday, June 21, 2013

PMD Time!! - Livingston's Spring Creeks

NEWS: Before I go on more about spring creeks, check out the recent update at Fly Anglers OnLine ( for the new chapter of my column. I'm getting into more specific technique and tactics for spring creeks.
Guide season and prime fishing season have just kicked off!! As shops and guides like myself have been reporting, we didn't experience heavy runoff this year. Each day, I start to see one or a few more boats on the way to rivers than the previous day. There are more tourists visiting Yellowstone National Park too! For Livingston guides, especially those who love to fish and guide spring creeks, our sign is THE PMD hatch!! YES!! They are here!!

I went out for scouting to DePuy's Spring Creek ( As I greet owners and Buzz & Max at the shop (, PMD were hatching and trout were rising for their heart content!! My season opener for spring creek was this typical DePuy's Brown!!

Now is the time for spawning time of Yellowstone Cutthroat. Although Cutty's run to DePuy's is not as heavy as browns' (fall) and rainbows' (spring), this is the period one can see big population of Yellowstone Cutty in the system. Which means, PLEASE BE CAREFUL WITH THEIR REDDS!! Most of Cutty are eager to rise!!, including this massive one!!
I caught a couple of rainbows too. Each species is just fine and strong!!
For some of you out there who also like to "pump", here you go!! Check out what trout are feeding on and broaden your imagination at your tying benches!!

Although there are more effective patterns out there and I have more patterns with me, these are my current go-tos. Patterns I've been developing and experimenting are proven to be effective!! I should have stocked more during winter!? These my original patterns are shown with more stories and pictures in my sales site (

Pheasant Tail Mayfly Cripple - PMD #16 & 18, with more emphasis on #18.

Pheasant Tail Mayfly Parachute - PMD size 16 & 18. This is taken as an emerger, a dun, and a spinner!!

This simple parachute serves the same. Works very well when we search trout are taking either dun or spinner.

Paraloop (Hackle Stacker) Emerger

Para-Post Emerger

Staple among staples, Sawyer PT Master Angler Version #16 & 18

Rusty Spinner

And one of my recent creations, SY-PMD Soft-Hackle!!

That said, Gray Baetis, Sulphur, caddis, and midge are also hatching in the afternoon and trout keep rising. It's very pretty to see but very hard to determine which bug individual trout is feeding on!! Just like human beings, trout also have individual choices and tastes!!

See you along the creek!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Minor Hatch & Insect - Important Trout Bug!

Yesterday I really had a really long day..........(Using "really" twice is very redundant, even annoying, but it was "really" so........). In between guiding and breeding cows, I went to Yellowstone National Park. For fishing? Yes.........only for the last two hours. Mostly I spent for observation, experiments, scouting, measuring driving distance & time, etc., etc............... this is the real life of hard-working fly-fishing guide, folks.

There are some things "different from average years" going on in YNP waters. As I have discussed, so do area fly-shops, Madison River drainage (Firehole, Gibbon, & Madison, and tributaries) are NOT having serious run-off this year. Consequently waters in those rivers/creek are lower & warmer water than average years. That's the main reason of my outing.

Yet, or should I say because of that, I have experienced one of the most unique hatch toward the end of the day. It was a reminisce of my past experience. It may be worth to bring back my past posts. Oh, I was young and my hair was long & full!!

At a certain section of Firehole River, A.K.A. Insect Factory, I first saw White Miller Caddis (nectopsyche) were hatching and trout were taking them. But also I observed Helicopsyche (click here & here) were hatching and some trout were really keying on!! It can be confused with Glossosoma due to similar size and dark coloration but trout know the difference, just as I was confused 3 years ago!!
Let's review about "Helico".

  • size 20 & 22
  • dark/gray wings with Amber-ish body
  • hatches certain sections of Firehole during warm periods
  • hatches En Masse
  • Up-stream cast is refused!!
  • consequently cause lots of frustration among anglers!!

I was well-prepared this time with 3 years of accumulated knowledge and experience!!........just kidding....... This is the X-Caddis for Helicopsyche!!

Even this size of trout was feeding very selectively!!?? Hooking this size & keeping my line tight are very technical as everyone knows!!

I actually caught some nice trout on both White Miller and Helico.
Next time when you plan to fish Firehole in June, better keep your eyes open for this tiny little bugs!!
I'll be back for experiment and observation next week. It's a hard-work but I know it's piling up in my brain as memories & knowledge and in my body as experience. Besides, now is the time I can freely fishing and driving around before guiding really kicks off!!