Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fall Float & Gear Review

October is the LONGEST month of the year for me. It's been so through my life. This year was no exception. I started with, well, catching the worst cold in a decade!! Rest is filled with fishing!! Today it's a bit too windy here in Livingston for me to work on Baetis hatch at DePuy's ( I'm glad I'm finishing this month with a normal body condition and bunch of BIIIIG Brown trout!! I want to review several things which also occurred this month but haven't reported yet (as I've been super busy at DePuy's!!).

I'm still taking guided trips. I conducted couple of float trips for Montana Troutfitters. Pete is a great guy as well as a fine fisherman!!

Whitie on streamers!!
Here is the serious gear review I've ever done as I'm discussing gears related to our safety.
First of all, the more I guide, the more strongly I feel "fishing gears" are actually "work tools" for us guides. Just like saddles for cowboys and miscellaneous building tools for carpenters. Certain amount I hope my tools look cool but most importantly for me, I expect them to comfortable, durable, and reasonable. Waders and wading boots would be prime examples of how quick worn out/used up by guides. Most guides would stay more amount on waters than general anglers, yet we still live on lands most times. In other words, that's how hard-working it is to walk along the river, harder than we would imagine. My last pair of wading shoes was getting to a point of retirement this fall with less than 20 months of service. It's a nice brand so construction and other qualities were not a problem at all. Furthermore, I didn't use for trails at all!! Then again I wasn't along the water every day of 20 months!! Again, that's how hard the pair was used by me. Would be great if I could enter the new season with the new pair, but I'll be fishing all through winter anyway so I decided to get one.

I had been hearing about this: Patagonia Rock Grip Boots or Aluminum Bar Boots. Most of everyone I talked to told me this is an amazing product. Price is moderate. Yes, it's on heavier side than regular pairs = in other words durable. So I decided to give a shot.  
This is unbelievable & amazing!! Remember that I fish along our Mighty Yellowstone. Current is strong and fast and moss can develop on rocks during warm months. And I don't consider myself a strong wader (smart enough to know my limit!!). If you are looking for ultimate safety and "grip", try this innovative product. You can't go wrong!, period.

That said, Aluminum bar boots may not be compatible on my drift-boat (yes, guides are touchy about their "rigs"!! Sometimes more sentimental about boats than about cars!!). And there are times that I need felt-soles and a lighter pair. I walked in Dan Bailey's Fly Shop in downtown Livingston. I was recommended this newer model: Riffle FS Shoe, which is built for comfort and lightness. WOW!! Indeed this is comfortable and light on my feet!! This is as light as sandals/flip-flops products with full advantage of wading shoes. I personally like the thickness of felt soles.  This is very ECONOMICALLY priced as well. Of course, it's good at rivers, as BEST as felt-soles can be!! And smooth on my boat too!!

Even when you wet-wade without wader on during summer months, you still need "good footing". If you are looking for new wading boots or considering replacement soon, I can give you my words to try these (depending on your needs and fishing situations). Or write down on Christmas or Birthday Wish List to your significant others..........

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Week 2 Report - Fall Baetis

Every angler would have his/her own favorite hatch and season. To me, it's the Fall baetis. I really consider Fall baetis is the most challenging and technical, especially at DePuy's Spring Creek ( It's not just due to the character of the creek. It's rather because of the season. By late October, trout are pretty much fed up. They would still eat just to maintain their weight for spawning and then wintering. They are not eating to gain weight any more. As both air & water temperatures going down, trout's metabolism is also going down, which translates their appetite is also going down. Also by then, trout in every stream have seen all kinds of flies and wading boots around them. Furthermore, water level gets significantly lower than summer months. Trout will still rise to feed on the surface when baetis hatch is decent. But to have them eat our flies, we gotta show every fly pattern and skill we've got!!

As you know we usually refer baetis as Blue-Winged-Olive or BWO. However, this season, I hesitate to use BWO because insects I've been observing this fall at DePuy's seem different from what we've been calling BWO = dark-olive body, sizes 20-22. Not just I but also keen anglers report the same. What we've been observing are gray or light gray, majority of them are size 24 and some mix of 22.

Furthermore, as always, I'd love to put myself into a sadistically challenging spot. Right now, Annie's Run (or Upper Flat) is offering some of the toughest fishing situation I've ever experienced!! And if I do it right (or just be lucky!?), trout there are large and strong!! That said, I don't mind sharing this. For this afternoon, I actually had no crew. I left my line-leader-flies unattended after the drift and was watch the water surface for bugs. I suddenly felt a nice tug!? My flies must have been among rising trout and one hooked itself!! I took a liberty to bring in, not for satisfaction but more importantly for stomach pumping!! Yet it was a beautiful 'Bow!!
 AHHHH!! Problem solved!! (at least that afternoon!!) They were feeding on ascending nymphs!! That was why I couldn't take them on dun imitations.
I dug out this one from my box!!
I caught a few more and broke a few more as well.

I consider this spot is now the most technical spot of the creek and one or two trout are always there rising and they seem VERY LARGE!! Just hard to get them eat my offerings. See the rise ring?
 I confess that I couldn't take them. For the consolation, I targeted slightly easier spots (yet those were still tougher than other spots). Nice brown!!
This was at the Lower Creek. After majority of hatch was over, some trout were still rising. I could manage one!

But I lost my words by stomach sample........ Feeding on snails too? Then baetis duns.......

Again, I was working on the tough spot above and gave up....... Targeted slightly easier risers and gotcha!!
Of course I was happy!!
This one rose on this Foam Para Emerger,

 But its contents were more nymphs than duns/emergers!! Don't confuse me!!

Other patterns that I rotate and that are also effective are slight modifications of existing patterns.
No Hackle Gnat
Spent Dun with Snowshoe Rabbit Shuck

I have more patterns to show. They will all be on my sales site and YouTube channel during the winter. Keep checking!!
Also I'm contacting an entomologist to identify this baetis. As soon as I hear something I'll share with you at here.......
Let me see how long this hatch will last. Will regular "dark-olive" be back with the storm expected in next week? To be continued...............

Week 2 Report - Fall Runners

My last post of THE BIGGEST BROWN of life-time caused record-breaking accesses to this blog. Most blog readers know how hard & long I've been working on and finally the opportunity knocked. So "nice fish!", "good work!", that sort from those readers and people I know/meet in person (while fishing or not) are greatly appreciated.

However, it also stirred up something among some other kind of people. I've never done this before as I always try to keep my posts fun & professional. But I decided to make a statement for the first time (and hopefully the last) to buzz off these people, not to help them understand.
To review the situation first, now is the spawning time of brown trout along Yellowstone River. It's the known fact that some huge individuals enter tributaries and others can be seen in shallow riffles with gravel bottoms (same holds true in spring when rainbows spawn). All die-hard local fishermen, including myself, who are looking for "trout of the year" work very hard. And my persistence and perseverance were rewarded. My last post clearly and honestly depicts the whole experience. I guess one sentence caused some misunderstanding: my streamers were found on her pectoral. But then again, if one reads through the whole post, it was still apparent that I had no idea whether I hooked her on her mouth or foul-hooked with streamers. The first fight ended up with breaking tippet and streamers were lost. Then I found her again just next to me, this time I HAD HER EAT MY EGG FLY IN HER MOUTH. I brought her in and "recovered my streamers that had been broke off a few minutes ago".
However those who left dirty comments on my blog (I deleted promptly) and a few local guides who's talking behind my back (I will discuss each below) took otherwise. I judge them that they just saw only my pictures and stirred up their imagination that I "snagged" it violently and furthermore "killed" it. Give me a break........ Now I have to judge them they are illiterate backed up by their jealousy. Common problems for these are: 1. experienced & conscientious anglers will avoid foul-hooking, not to mention snagging, by any means as it's very hard to bring in and oftentimes ending up losing flies. While you are nymph-fishing, have a 14-inch whitefish foul-hooked itself? Probably they haven't fished enough even for that level. In other words, if snagging is the real intention, one should use much heavier rod and leader than 6wt & 2X!! 2. When fishing with streamers and large soft-hackles, even though trout come to take, they would miss somehow and often foul-hooked on pectorals. I doubt if they have known that. Again, no experience for that level. 3. Most importantly, they have no idea what was and what is going on at the creek. Now I'm not going to discuss ethics and personal beliefs here. However, if one fishes a lot, foul-hooking will happen. Even when I'm fishing with dry-flies, brookies and cutthroat keep attacking my dry-flies and hooking themselves somewhere other than their mouth. Is this unethical? Then talking about large trout that ready to spawn, how about fishing in Madison in Yellowstone Park? Those large trout from Hebgen Lake come up to spawn and people from all over the country come and challenge to take them. Then in much bigger scales, how about steelehead and salmon fishing? They swim up to freshwater to spawn and die-hard anglers work super hard to catch them. What is the difference? If one can be so sentimental about this, he/she should stop any kind of fishing. Maybe clipping off all barbs and points from flies work. Or just belong to Fish Rights Org or something and stay away from real fly-fishing.

For someone who tried to leave dirty comments "anonymously", stop being a "cyber angler" and be a real fisherman. If you don't like my blog, then why would you click?
For a few local guides who talk behind my back, those really are JEALOUS BRATS. Regardless of number of years they've been (or they think they are) guiding, I call them "WANNABES" as the politest term I can apply. These wannabes and I are in totally different league in terms of guiding and fishing. When was the last time they fished the creek? "Last time I drove through with my boss....a couple of years ago?", "Whenever I'm told to go there for a paycheck", etc., that's their level. In fact I've seldom seen any guide-like local anglers fishing the creek as hard and late as in my level. They have to admit my trout is the exceptional one in Yellowstone River System but they can't admit the fact that someone else did it. If they had caught this size of trout (which they are not qualified), I can guarantee they would advertise "BIG FISH! Come here for fall-fishing!", like that (READERS, BE AWARE!!). Other aspects they don't know are: as of the last week, large trout just started to enter the creek and they were "staging" and "gaining some more weight" before they were "actually mating & spawning", which translate "there was NO REDDS".  Furthermore, so far even by now, I haven't found any eggs by stomach pumping from smaller trout = not many huge trout are actually spawning. Then streamers and eggs are legitimate trout food-sources!! And the last but not least, NOBODY HAS FOUND THE DEAD BODY OF 10-LB TROUT IN THE CREEK FOR PAST 9 DAYS!! If that size of trout were to be dead in the creek, it wouldn't be washed away to Yellowstone River without being witnessed by anglers.  That's because I didn't kill her instead properly released. To these WANNABES, come & find me if you've got some guts. If not, stop "virtual guiding".

Now for all readers. Although I haven't lived or guided in Livingston for multi decades, I know Livingston's spring creeks still have strong aura, not just among visiting anglers from other states or countries, but also among local anglers and guides as well. Some local anglers are willing to pay to fish, while others just can't afford. That's fine. Also some guides love to guide spring creeks, while others totally stay away. Well, that's their business and has nothing to do with me. However, unfortunately because of the aura, those aforementioned "virtual anglers & guides" would develop the image of "gated community for rich anglers at secluded waters", which is totally wrong. Creeks are open to anyone who pay rod-fees and rod-fees are used so land-owners can maintain creeks and facilities. And then I'm NOT RICH!! I worked hard all summer and saved money for Winter Pass!! I would imagine this must be another aspect that stirred things up. Now I could be the one who's speculating so I shut up. Case closed!!

Sorry I did waste time of good readers and my writing. Now let's review the 2nd week of Winter Pass at DePuy's Spring Creek (
First of all, it's been exceptionally nice days in succession!! No winds at all. Bright warm sunny days up to upeer 60F!! It's simply nice to be outside. For this time of year, I just can't make one single report. I have to report separately: Fall-Runner & BWO (baetis) actions.
YES, More & more large "river-trout" are coming into system!! And I've been catching them constantly. I have caught many an 18-19" classes like;
There are many more pictures like this so I omit......
I haven't been connected with "20+" individuals much, not to mention nowhere close to THAT one....... This is the one worth noting, Solid 22-incher!!
As for flies, probably most anglers/readers would think of eggs and streamers, which I guess most anglers at the creek use. That's not wrong, and at certain spots and situations, they work well. But I have found out methods and flies that work for me the best.
My rosters are:
Bead, Hare, & Copper by Parks' Fly Shot tyer Matt Minch (
And long-time proven Beadhead Prince
The last but not the least, my own B.P.C. (Bead. Pheasant. & Copper.) 

Remember these runner-trout we are talking have just come up to the creek out of depth and rapids of Yellowstone River. When weather is nice for anglers with bright sunny conditions, they tend to shy away from shallow spots. They'll hide and rest in deeper spots and wait for cloudy weathers and/or dark hours before they make moves. Then beadhead nymphs may not sound like typical flies for spring creeks........sometimes they are and other times they aren't. Remember again, those trout have just entered the creek from the River.......... Read the water and situation then fish accordingly. At the end of line.............there might be another Monster.......

To be continued to BWO(baetis) actions!

Friday, October 18, 2013

DePuy's Winter Pass Starts - Fall Runners: THE MONSTER BROWN!!

So how about big ones? I know that's what most everyone wants to know. To me process to approach each trout is more important than the sizes but I wouldn't mind catching big ones, given opportunities. Again, now is the time!!

In my observation, intensity of fall-run from Yellowstone River to DePuy's ( seemed quieter than past seasons as of when Pass started. I wasn't disappointed or anything. Rather, I've been keeping my senses (eyes, ears, and noses) keen to detect the move.

What I mean by "quieter" is number of river-runners and their aggressive/violent bites seemed lower compared to the same days of past seasons. So my catch also started with moderate ones.
Hint: not really "streamer-ish". Rather, I suggest nymphing carefully and patiently.

Yesterday evening, I officially observed several trout making groups at likely spots of creek.
Rainbows LOVE eggs!! This tells me 'bows have "hunch" of brown trout eggs!!
 Quite surprised to catch large Cutty like this!!
Then drama of my fishing life occurred.....
As it darkened most anglers left the creek. I was still hanging around soon-to-be redds area. Those top 3 trout were very satisfying but I saw an incredible size of movement by huge body. I figured that was totally out of ordinary size. I rigged up two-streamer rig. Casting slightly up-stream and swung/drifted toward it. WHAM!! I got hooked!! It pulled my line violently down-stream. I followed. I felt it might be foul-hooked but also size and weight were beyond normal. It got closer then ran away. I wasn't aware of but it seemed my line tangled on my reel handle.....SNAP!!..........Definitely best of the season and even my life record......... I thought it was the call for the day........ Took off indicator and started to reel slack lines........
HOWEVER!! As I looked at where it broke on me, I still observed the same shadow on the bottom, just like a submarine at a halt. Maybe, could be, potentially, I might be able to re-hook it. "At least, I should try. This is the second chance given by Fishing God". So I quickly attached my indicator and 2X tippet with a split shot, and tied on a simple go-to OTTER's Soft Egg. It took me barely a minute and the shadow was still there. I made casting again. 5th or 6th cast, my indicator reacted and I set the hook..... YES I HOOKED IT AGAIN!! This Time, since it was so close, I saw it did bite on my egg fly!! YES I HAD HER EAT!!  Tug-of-war started again!! But this time, it definitely felt exhausted. It ran into the edge of creek. I followed and the entire move essentially cornered it, so to speak. Now, netting time!! I wasn't sure if my net was big enough...........but at least captured the most part, including the head, and I could control it............. I swore to myself "watch what you wish for. You really want a big fish? This is TOO BIG!!"

Holding the "basket" with both hands............
I measured without any fabrication or exaggeration.
Click and enlarge to read the measure.
It was "her". I recovered my streamers which were accidentally hooked on her left pectoral fin from the first hooking.
26-inch length & 14-inch girth
According to the fish weight estimating formula (length x girth x girth, divided by 800), she's supposed to weight a bit over 6 pounds. But remember brown trout accumulate fat this time of year and furthermore, females have eggs inside, up to 4 or more pounds!! What do you guess!!??  Imagine holding TWO of 5-lb beef burger chubs at grocery stores on each hand (side by side, parallel to the earth). I can attest she was longer & heavier than that...........
Well, this is definitely "Fish of 2013" and my own new record.............
Lucky? Yes I was. But also let me give you two important tips to achieve that luck.
1. Large trout in spawning mode become active in the dark. They can be in the creek all day. But they seldom (or never) show themselves. You've got to target when their inhibitions get slightly low and make moves to public lights!!
2. Anglers have to have willingness to stay late, especially on these cold fall days. Be prepared in terms of flies, tactics, clothes, and mind-set!!

I'll be guiding on the River this weekend. So let me know how you do while I'm away from the creek!!

DePuy's Winter Pass Starts - BWO/Baetis

Finally the long-awaited day came. Winter Pass at DePuy's Spring Creek ( came in effect on October 15th. Another journey and classroom commenced for next 6 months.......

There are two main attractions at DePuy's (and other two Livingston's spring creeks) at this time of year. 1. Fall Blue-Wing-Olive = baetis hatch; 2. Spawning runs of huge browns and rainbows from Yellowstone River. Which is more attractive? BOTH!! Are these two totally separated actions? Yes in terms of most predictable and suitable time-frame to target each. Most of regular anglers would think of large runner trout need fished with streamers and nymphs.......maybe so......... When BWO hatch is thick and lots of runners are in the system, they will rise on BWO too!! It's been very decent hatch actions to start with. Let's review!

Depending on day, weather, and spots of creek, hatch starts 12:30pm. It can be late. I myself have early lunch and get to my spots and be ready for actions. Otherwise, you have to plan late lunches as hatch lasts till 3 to 3:30pm. Make sure you are fueled during the action!!

Let me tell you. Regardless of sizes, all trout feeding on BWO right now are super picky & selective!!

Most of flies in my box are typical sizes 20 & 22 in dark olive.  Not bad but we (as my mentor Montana's Master Angler Tom Travis agrees) are seeing many of size 24 in GRAY, Light GRAY, and even Light OLIVE. To make name-calling a bit easier, we refer these Pseudocloen (this classification doesn't exist any more but convenient.....).

Luckily, I have had these color variations, and even stocked for the last couple of days!!, I've been catching trout and taking liberty of stomach pumping!!
Nice one!
 Look!! PMD are hatching and eaten too!!

 This nice one was taken from one of the most "techy" spots of creek!!
 Birds attack!?

Rainbows are also colorful and selective!!
 Moment of leaving the shuck!!

Here are a couple of successful patterns.
CDC Sparkle Dun
 Foam Post Emerger
I have couple more or new/modified patterns. I will show you as days go by and at my sales site.

I repeat: as more river-trout are coming into spawn (or chew on eggs) and when all the conditions match, those big trout will also rise on BWO dry-flies!! I'm waiting for the opportunity!!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

On The River Before Winter Pass

Fall break has ended!!............with catching a bad cold...............

I've just got back to water after some other stuffs to do (like my last post) and personal matters. I am still expecting more guided trips with clients who are interested in fall fishing with spring creeks and are eager to fish hard under cold weather and pursue some of the BIGGEST Trout of the year!! If's OK. I just fish hard on my own and keep all BIGGEST Trout to myself.

As I wrote at the very end of my last post, I signed up for Winter Pass at DePuy's Spring Creek ( Yes, 3 SEASONS in a row!! I know the creek has already been in the fall mode. What I've learned and experienced during the past two seasons has been reported here in this blog and published at Fly Anglers OnLine ( as some of you already know. I should learn and experience more from the creek for this upcoming season and will invent and publish more new flies.

One more thing that I have learned during past seasons is "once I start fishing the creek, I can't go fishing to (can't think of) other waters!! Even Our Mighty Yellowstone nearby!! Yellowstone River is arguably the most attractive river to fish for huge brown trout and Blue-Wing-Olive hatch in the fall. So, I decided to check several sections and accesses before Winter Pass and in order to get my body & sense back into shape!!

Hi Cutty!

Rainbows are getting strong as if they are the ones to spawn soon!! No......they must be already excited about munching on eggs!!

The usual suspect.........

I've just found my own sweet Winter spot..........

Cheeks are turning red for being shy? Slightly "kyped" like browns LOL........

Fall Baetis hatch can be excellent at certain spots of the River!! 
As always, I pumped the stomach of this little Cutty..............I lost my words!!
This cutty was "Beetle-Mania", which sounds out of season, who was actually regurgitating more on its throat!!
 Later on, I caught another Cutty just about the same size (rest were bunch of Whities on dry!!). This one (no picture) contained what would be expected.
Closer look.......
Much closer look...........See there was a relatively large flying ant..........

Back to my tying bench, here my new favorites and addictions!! STONFO bobbin is a very comfortable and reasonably-priced product. It just fits right on my palm and fingers!! Then Veevus Threads are probably the newest and the best thread right now on the market!! As you can see, recently I'm using a lot of 12/0 and 16/0. They are very strong and wouldn't flare badly. As you would imagine, I'm tying lots of Fall BWO and Midge patterns, size 20 & smaller, but also I use these threads to larger flies every now and then. I'm not sure if these are sold directly from manufactures to individual customers (probably not.......). Find your local fly-shops that dealers with Hareline products. They should be able to help you out!!

One more hard-to-get exotic material for Atlantic Salmon Flies; Goose shoulder custom-dyed to imitate Florican Bustard!!
Then MUCH harder-to-get exotic material; Kori (Speckled) Bustard!! These are, along with many more goodies!!, purchased from Feathers MC ( Those of you who are interested in Atlantic Salmon Flies and exotic materials, check and contact the site!!

Then back to guiding!! I conducted a trip for Montana Troutfitters with late-season clients!
We first kick-seined and found out what we would capture........
Based on our observation, we selected right flies and..........

Well, it's been a lengthy post in a while!! Probably I have had much more things going on with me that I thought to myself!!