Sunday, September 28, 2014

Classroom of Fly-Fishing

September is often referred as the month of transition. As summer wanes, our life-styles change, including fishing......... This year, Sep is also very unpredictable!! Earlier in the month, as I posted, we had snow. Three days ago = 25th, we had almost 90F sunny day!! Now as of this typing, cold rain and wind are dominating and I'm tossing firewood to my stove!!

Last week, on those two very last Summer days I had another visiting angler from Japan. I took him to DePuy's Spring Creek ( It was another classic case file of spring creek fishing, which would be somewhat too much for the first timer..........  This angler experienced two of most technical and mysterious situations on the same day!! 
Tiny midge hatches all day (click here for the past report).
Mystery Spinner falls (click here for the past report).
As the day went by, one was more prevalent than the other and then most frustratingly & challengingly, two got mixed up!! So trout looked keying on one action over the other or both!! 
To add more flavors, I observed 5 different colors of spinners (sizes were pretty much uniform = size 20 hook size)!! They were, in my note, clear abdomen, rusty, gray, dark olive, and black. Confused? If you were there or if you actually experience this in the near future, you will get confused more!! I was busy switching flies and directing the client so didn't have time to take pictures of culprits. 

I guided him till we couldn't see our flies any more yet I could still vaguely see trout rises!!
It must have been too much an initiation for him but I hope he took this experience as the lesson. 

Next day I took him to Soda Butte Creek in Yellowstone National Park. Soda Butte and many other waters within YNP have their own characters and quirkiness. But my angler was progressed due to lessons from the previous day. He started hooking trout right off the bat!

Congrats for the first ever Yellowstone Cutthroat!
I was again reminded the "mantra" I often quote "spring creek is the classroom of fly-fishing". That applies not only to clients but also to guides as well. Not to mention "Learning & observation will never end". I could get by the other day but now I have started to re-organize and re-stock the spinner and midge boxes. Soon Fall beatis = Fly-Fishing Supremacy is coming!!
I'm ready for it!!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Learning & Guiding

I have had a couple of great trips in which clients were willing to learn and I was able to assist them. Besides knowing good spots (or stretches), parking, and trails, guiding also contain aspects of teaching and coaching clients. I really appreciate when clients are willing to work hard with me to achieve their goals and objectives. At the end of trips, if clients are happy with their achievements, I'm happy too. As a Teaching Guide, I take the responsibility seriously. Also, at the same time, I learn things from clients and situations. It could be clients' skills: what he can do, what kind of improvement she need, that sort. Or it could be one particular spot that calls for careful water-reading and different fly presentation (including mending) from normal situation. All of these bits of experience on the water help me attain more knowledge and more methods for next trips with different clients. Hey, majority of my clients are "Righty"!! I've been working/showing how to cast with my right arm and to handle fly-line with the left!! Now I'm pretty much an accomplished ambidextrous fly caster!!

So this client wanted to catch Yellowstone Cutthroat. We hiked hard and fast and got to one of my favorite stretches. He wasn't quite new to the sport. He could've done fairly if he had come here on his own with some supply of good flies. I was able to show him how to break down a big water into pieces, how to present our flies in certain angles and different angles, etc., etc. Result was that we had constant actions all afternoon and we moved (or covered) only & barely 50 yard from where we stepped in. This Cutty was the bonus for him as well as for me. I spotted a cruising riser just along the bank. He made an excellent cast to it and set the hook perfectly. I literally felt and saw as if I was doing myself!!

Another good 'un!!

Then I had an angler from Japan. We had discussed a couple of options about where to fish then we finally decided to visit Nelson's Spring Creek (
Location, creek, trout, hatch, everything was brandnew experience for him!! I assisted him with casting and presentation of flies. He adjusted one by one and as he progressed, he got bites!!
Showing clients how to handle/hoist trout (especially big one like this) is important......THANK YOU for a great shot, Mr. Kitagawa!!

In the afternoon and evening, midges were still prevalent. My client had good and exciting actions with powerful Rainbows but also I wanted him to experience hefty Browns, both of which are typical of Nelson's!!
One more & last effort at dusk...........
Size 20 midge pattern with 6X tippet........
Good work, Mr. Kitagawa!! Hope to see you next time!!

So the "FLYZ"......... Most of my patterns in my boxes work (generic & original). But also here are two brandnew designs that have graduated "test phases" into "rosters = my fly boxes".

Pupaerger 4 (Umbrella Pupaerger)
Fall has just begun (with some warm days left?.....maybe)!!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Slough Creek Memoir

Fall (or winter) seems progressing faster in Yellowstone Park, compared to Montana residential areas. It's glorious, period. Trees and grasses turn their colors and many wildlife are moving down the hill.
Fishing requires some adjustments and observation too. Trout can be susceptible to many changes: water temperature, warmer time of the day, insect hatches, terrestrial activities, list goes on..... As I've been posting through this blog, I have many favorite water bodies in Yellowstone Park. It's hard and almost impossible to choose one most favorite. However, Slough Creek below campground always offers me drama and something to think about.

I took one client there in the afternoon.  In spite of number of cars at the parking area, we didn't see any anglers at some of most popular spots. Weird......... Perhaps it looked like not much going on for them. It was sunny and just nicely warm (in the fall level) so I tied on a cricket. Client missed the first rise. So I switched to a hopper pattern. Little rainbow came up to bite! (no picture). It was just right "pumpable" size and result showed just One Green Drake (no picture), which seemed taken in the morning of the day. I figured it was already mid-afternoon so "theoretically and in general" major hatch would have been over. Yet if we present Green Drake patterns, that might entice trout.......
My speculation came true. Trout started rise to Green Drake patterns!!
NOTE: October Caddis!!!!
Then we started to see sparse yet definite hatches around us!! That was good enough to entice trout to rise and chase our flies!!

This was one of the funniest moments when fishing YNP......., especially some of the most popular waters........
And the BIG bite!!!!
It was quite a fight but my client was able to hold his nerve!!
I held the submarine first!!
No exaggeration or compliment but this is by far the BIGGEST trout I ever netted (hooked by myself or clients combined).
It was a bit surreal experience just like I have experienced many times before at Lower Slough.

So the FLY: Master Angler's Green Drake Soft-Hackle - Fished "Dry"
No more explanations should be needed. Check up my article, sales catalog, tying video, etc........

I will be busy through the Fall!!

Fall Deepens (A Bit Too Quickly.......)

This September is interesting....... It's definitely the fall for sure but day-to-day weather varies a lot. Visitors to our area seemed decline after Labor Day then it looks like backing up!! What remains constant seems actually fishing.......

Just a 5-minute of heavy hail storm dirtied up the river right in front of me........

Yellowstone River in Montana has been producing tremendous insect hatches this year!! With this cool (even cold!!) weather, terrestrial fishing/actions tend to be slightly less effective than we wish. Instead fishing for hatches is the name of the game this summer/fall!! Just the other day, with clients in my boat, we have encountered hatches of several insects in several different sizes pretty much all day!!
Correct me if I'm wrong but I shouldn't be way too wrong either.
Heptagenia (click).
Timpanoga hecuba = Hecuba or Western Red Quill (click)
 Cutty love to rise!!

And then here it comes............ This is not from last October or November but on Sep 11, 2014!!
I was in all the winter clothes I own!! - again, in early September!!

Brown trout has started moving..........

Summer may have been short this year instead we have a long fall!!??
Just as I predicted earlier in the season, it will be an epic Fall fishing!!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Fall Gears & Flies

It's just the saga of where I live. Once September rolls in, all the visitors to our Greater Yellowstone dwindles. Yet serious fishermen know the change and time this season on purpose. My guiding schedule slows down, compared to past 3 months, but I'm always keen and ready to go. I still scout as well as I enjoy for my own sake. For this post, I'd like to review a couple of gears I have just acquired and Fall-Flies that will be used any time soon.

So my old watch died. I again went shopping to the nation-wide "Super Center" in my area. I don't really need a fancy watch. Reason 1 is: I don't like to wear one on my wrist anyway. Reason 2 is: All I need is TIME but no extra frills. Reason 3 is: any product will eventually break down or, in the worst case, get lost!! That's extremely true for a hard-working guide like myself. This one cost me $12.88 and is supposed to be water-proof. I have attached on my vest in a spot and a position which is not going to interfere my fishing moves. Let me see how long this one can endure my activities and Montana weathers. As I wrote, the last one survived for the remarkable 7 years!!
This is such a great purchase from Patagonia!! (click here) It keeps me warm and comfortable!!

I'm busy at my tying bench too. Somehow I have a hunch and a gut-feeling that I will be fishing with streamers a lot this fall. Some are as long as 5 inches and other are as small as an inch. I've been looking for an alternative or a substitute for the concrete-like adhesives. I do like them but most of times, those products require serious cleaning efforts afterwards on my fingers and my tying bench..... I finally seem to find my match at a local hardware store.
It's been a while that I tied a Double Bunny.
No...........I didn't tie all of these in the past few days.......... I have just reinforced heads of these small patterns.
These are ones that I actually have tied recently.
All of these are variations of what's called "Micro Zonkers" in fly-shop bins.

Then I'm tying large soft-hackles for the Fall fishing. Not much explanation needed, is there?....... My own COYOTE (on the right) and Mr. O-O.
All of these flies are my go-to patters for both Rivers and spring-creeks. Hope I'm tying enough!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

End of August YNP

July and August had been off and on, slow and busy. Either way August has officially ended and summer is practically ending. However there are still plenty of my guiding and own fishing days left. It's way too early to summarize the season.

I can't help but restating that we are having a really good water year. Most area waters remain cool all through. It's been a while that I went out for my own time. I wasn't a "Dawn Treader" any more but still I was the first one at the water. I cruised through infamous "Buffalo Jam" and stood at the lovely stretch of Soda Butte Creek. The second cast of the day...........Cutty and the early morning Sun!!

It seemed "flying ants mating swarm" had happened the evening before.......

Indeed trout seemed regurgitating...... Though I had netted some more, I had many more "short-strikes" or "hit & miss".
However, trout acted totally different as "that hatch" started to occur..........
YES!! Fall Green Drake!!

At one particular spot, I observed one particular trout was doing somewhat different from the others. It was feeding without breaking the surface.......
Then it happened to be some of the nicest Cutty in the creek as well as in my record!!
In the afternoon I moved to Lamar River. Just at one spot, I had simultaneous bites, which ended with another nice Cutty for the day. That was more than enough. I enjoyed very well. So I stopped fishing.......
Always checking.....
Then I was scheduled to take two anglers to the same destination. Again, my intention above was for my own enjoyment, NOT scouting. Honestly I was not concerning fishing. What concerned me the weather would hold........

We had a good start.

Just as predicted...........

Even larger!!

Our expectation for the hatch & surface activities went high!! But also....precipitation went higher & higher toward noon........ Indeed entire area got poured.  Only at the end of the day, we found this picture marked several hours before Lamar & Soda Butte turned into the stream of Chocolate........

However in the middle of afternoon (we were at Slough Creek below campground), weather decided to give us some break!!
Then (almost miraculously), insect hatches started!! With this screwy & unpredictable weather patterns, insect activities have also been unpredictable and even weird.

Definitely a bit too early, but Fall Baetis (Blue Winged Olive) were hatching in plenty of numbers!
Then sporadically and much later than anticipated, Green Drakes were hatching too!!
As for fly patterns, most of my go-to patterns were taken with great success!!
Dry-flies (click)
Emerging Nymphs (click)
Soft Hackle (click)

I'm very anxious for what this fall will bring!!