Sunday, March 30, 2014

End of March Report - Armstrong Spring Creek

It's been a while that I make multi posts on the same day. Reasons being: A. it would be too long to be one post and B. it's worth separating and discussing each.

After I fished DePuy's 4 afternoons in a row, as seen in the previous post, I visited Armstrong Spring Creek in O'hair Ranch ( on Saturday afternoon. This time, a guide friend of mine from Bozeman, Jared joined.

It was windy as getting started. I started with streamers with no success. Meanwhile Jared was fishing for rises.

Eventually I came up to a spot where trout were rising all over! Now I was gladly switching into dry-flies!! I caught this small yet feisty one on Pheasant Tail Mayfly Cripple-BWO as I believed BWO was prevalent.

I should have stomach-pumped that one but it slipped off.......

Next one was much nicer one and again on BWO pattern.

However! its stomach sample showed otherwise. Midges were dominant!!

I invited Jared closely as there were too many risers for me to handle! He had good times too.

We fished for rising trout with our best and full of enjoyment for over an hour.

After hatches and rises were done, we moved along the creek.
Once in a while, spring creek streamer tactics can be fun!
Egg Muddler!

After this, we were literally blasted by a short but intense storm. We retrieved to a hut, believing "if you don't like Montana weather, wait 5 minutes". We sat and took a break for 15 minutes or so. Storm was gone and we were back in fishing. Now I got back to my own highly skilled spring creek nymphing system. Stomach sample from the first trout with my nymphing still showed more midges (larvae, pupae, adults) than baetis (duns and nymphs combined).

Toward the end of the day, I hit a true jackpot!!
And the next one!!

The hit fly was my own "Flexi Midge Larva".

This was even stronger!!
And the next one!!

The day ended with the typical of Armstrong's rainbow = good style, strong, and vivid colors & spots!!

So although it was one afternoon, it was very much fun and a learning time. Armstrong's and DePuy's are based on the same spring source from O'Hair Ranch but hatch characters were different at each place. And this is the main reason that I made two separate posts. I hope you'd learn something too!!

Today, it was another overcast day = eventually snow, but I filled a fly order. Tomorrow I gotta run town errands. Total I fished 15 days this month. One day short to claim "I have fished more than half of month!!" but it's OK. April is going to be busier and more fun!!

End of March Report - DePuy Spring Creek

As of this typing, it's snowing very hard........doesn't surprise or worry us any more here in Paradise Valley.........

Spring is here because these guys are present! Make sure your flies do imitate vivid orange/red eyes!! (just kidding, don't take it seriously).

Around last weekend, I tied 319 flies!! - all for Spring Creek baetis. Now I start to fill my PMD boxes. That will be updated later.
Then I visited DePuy's Spring Creek ( 4 days in a row.
Anyway one out of over 300 baetis flies seemed to work.

This is "No-Hackle Gnat". It's super light and sits very low on the surface. It's also easy to sink and tilt but that's when selective feeders key on.......
 Here's how the selective feeder would look like!!
I'm still with my 4wt-8ft. These guys are getting strong. Very enjoyable with light rods but it's about time to switch into my 5wt.
Learning.........see some midges were present.

Another one out of over 300 flies did a job!
This is CDC Sparkle Dun, BWO olive, size 20.

Again, regardless of lengths, these guys are getting stronger and heavier for my 4wt!
That's why dry-dun patterns were all I needed!
Thursday 20th, as you should be able to see in this picture, it was a cloudy overcast day with mix of snow and rain. And I had the season's best BWO hatch!! Neighborhood angler passed behind me while I was bringing in this nice buck brown and took a picture for me.
Shortly after, I caught a spawning phase rainbow, of course, on BWO dun dry!!
Just making sure what I was doing....
Neighborhood anglers had some fun during the hatch.

Here are other patterns that I'm using and that have been taken well during BWO hatch!
Improved Pheasant Puff (PP2).

And my good old Pheasant Tail Mayfly Cripple - BWO. This one works at both flat and riffle waters.
All these flies can be seen in my fly sales catalog (

And I have a very relevant post following right behind!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

CELEBRATION!! 500TH POST!! - Spring Actions Continue!!

NEWS: This post marks THE GRAND 500TH POST!! It's a milestone for me. It just started as my journal. Main purpose was to show my fishing stories and pictures to my friends much more easily than individual emails. Eventually readers and accesses increased. Now it even serves as the important part of my business!! Then, all of accesses and comments from readers have been the driving force for me to keep this site running. THANK YOU VERY MUCH and would like to ask you keep visiting.
Another "THANKS" I'd like to mention is many appaloosa for my big catch in the last post. Things are normal now. I mean "normally good"!!

More rainbows are coming into DePuy's ( from Yellowstone River. Rainbows depend on feeder streams for spawning so if you spot trout that are actually mating, it's advised to leave them be as they are so vulnerable. I'm not preaching or anything, rather, don't worry there are plenty of hungry trout (before and after spawning)!!

This picture doesn't show well but another nice rainbow was caught on my own B.P.C.!!
 It was like a "submarine"!!, which suggests I was at a deep spot..........
 Next day, it was slightly chilly but not dangerously windy. At one particular spot of the creek, I saw many rainbows were their rituals to produce their offspring under the afternoon light. I skipped there. I was looking for midge/baetis hatches and rising trout. Somewhat downstream from the aforementioned spawning area, I spotted a couple of rises!! It was just like a couple of golden pyramids were surfacing every now and then!! I wasn't exactly sure what was hatching; midge or BWO? Or Both? I was with my 4-wt-8-footer (I haven't unsheathed my serious dry-rig = 5wt yet). I tied a midge adult pattern to get started.
Goose Biot Midge #20
Just about when I was thinking to change to a BWO dun pattern (after several casts), a golden shadow turned and rose on my midge!! It was quite a fight for the light rig!! I worked quickly but very carefully!! I was rewarded!!
He was actually feeding on baetis only....... But it's not surprising that he took my midge dry as well. Midges were also present at the water. Then my presentation caused his rise!

Now I switched into a baetis pattern.
CDC Sparkle Dun #20 - 22
I moved to another likely spot with some expectations of "rise". Got it!! Sizes don't matter to me. I'm showing my BIG "V"!!

Hmmmm, midge & baetis, just I interpreted.

Another smiley!!
 On my pump......
Here's my observation that I'd like to share.
When browns come into the creek in the fall for their spawning, they feed on their own eggs. Rainbows follow right behind browns and devour on egg dishes as well. Now it's rainbows' turn to spawn as I've been reporting recently. On this day, I was fishing for hatches below and above rainbows's prime spawning area. I just couldn't help wondering and eventually smirking. These brown trout could have swum just below or among redds and fed on eggs!! Rather, they chose to rise and feed on insects!? It sounds to me very inefficient, considering nutritional values and mass of availability!! Were they just "feeling so" or they were pickiest gourmet critiques?  Brown trout do have some "personality", don't they? 

After hatches were over, I went back to my heavy rig. Surprisingly, I came across to a nice brown!! Again & again on my own B.P.C.!!!
Same "personality" matter applies here........What was he doing there? It wasn't an ideal spawning spot for rainbows = no eggs around. Did you swim up from the river for......what?

Thank you again for all of your "clicks"!!
I go back fishing in the new week. After the long & severe winter, spring fishing is super good right off the bat!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

HUGE Surprise in Early Spring

I've been posting once a week, usually on Sunday, which seems to work for me. However there are exceptions every now and then........such as yesterday.

It was calm and overcast yesterday. I expected awesome hatch of Spring Baetis and midges at DePuy Spring Creek ( Hatch and rise lasted for a short while. Eventually snow storm hit the area........ Who said "spring has come!" in the last post? I fished some with Atlantic Salmon flies which I expected to work under such conditions (before and during the storm).........not really. Nymph rig was the way to go. I hit one of my favorite spots of the creek!!
They were very aggressive to right flies that are presented just right!!

I was content. Little did I expect such a huge drama would be waiting for me. And every drama has prologue.
First, as I wear my rain-gear over my fishing vest, I switched from the large net (Measure Net as seen above), which can be hung on the back of my vest, to the small/regular net to hang on my wader belt.

Secondly, by then I was out of egg-flies. I actually didn't pay much attention to tie, stock, and fish with them as of now. My stomach sampling suggest there's no indication of trout eggs as of now. That is, trout are actively moving and grouping but not really mating/spawning yet. Rather, from last year's experience, I have one particular pattern that I count on; B.P.C. = My own Bead. Pheasant. Copper. in sizes 18. That's to imitate currently flourishing and getting active baetis mayfly nymphs!! I have customer testimony too!!
So these two factors add some flavors to the following story.

At one likely spot, I started fishing upstream. I saw some trout but I just spooked them. This is another sign that trout are NOT really in the mating/spawning mode yet.  I saw one moving shadow in a distance. I thought it would be another group of trout. But now looking back, it was actually the "wave" caused by the back sticking out of the surface!! I made one single cast and I set the hook........ON!! The "thing" at the end of my line actually didn't fight, rather it swam toward me like a watered-log, really. I knew it was BIG but as it came closer to me, I was startled by its size!! Why am I with the smaller net with a shorter handle!!?? But this "thing" didn't really bolt. I could scoop it with the first try........
Oh MY...........just like the Monster Brown from last fall, I was holding my net with my both hands like holding a shopping basket!!
Camera lens got some dew, or it could have been steam of excitement......
Here it is. No fabrication.
I didn't take a picture but it did take my #18 B.P.C. on its mouth. If it was foul-hooked somewhere other than its mouth, OR if I were to be a Snagger-on-purpose!!??, it was absolutely impossible to bring this beast in with 3X tippet. 
 Indeed it measured 25-inch LONG & 15-inch MAX GIRTH.
I believe it's a Cutbow Hybrid, rather than a straight Rainbow.
 According to the fish-weight-estimate formula, (length x girth x girth) / 800, it would be 7 lb flat!?....... Perhaps so when it would lose fat, egg, and hormone after spawning.....

Just about 1 piece of 4-piece Rod!?
Pardon me but one last shot.......

I revived this rare Monster carefully and made sure she swum away, splashing water to my face with the tail.
Well, this is all the reason I visit the creek religiously during so-called "off-season" by most anglers. Yet, trout this size is exceptional and totally out of expectation.
I lost my souvenir fly but either one or couple of these pictures will go hung on my wall!! Very soon, rather than at the end of the year!!
Thanks for checking in!!