Monday, March 28, 2016

Back to Home Waters

The Bighorn Trip was one of my biggest plans for this spring. Before & after, I also had been busy with small errands and jobs. Interestingly, all of those got done at about the same time! So I went back to my routines. As much as I enjoy other waters in Montana, I'm always glad and feel content when I fish Livingston area.

I got back to DePuy's Spring Creek and visited with other regular anglers to catch up with fishing while I was away. Midge & baetis hatches have been good!! This rainbow greeted me right at the first cast!

I can't remember the last time I caught such a telltale cutbow like this!

 During the baetis hatch!

A super technically surface feeding Whitie.........
 So cute!!
After the hatch, I did look for an opportunity for a Big One........
Then it's nice to launch my boat on Yellowstone River too!!
Everyone has gone through the first time on the oars........
Right now she's better at fishing! At one particular spot, we encountered a group of rises after rises!!
Congratulation for your first ever Whitefish in Montana - on a tiny midge dry-fly!!
This is my catch.......
I'm not sure if I can attend the annual Yellowstone River Cleanup this year (more details to follow). So in case I can't, I just did what I could contribute.

So the pre-runoff fishing in Paradise Valley (and surrounding area) has begun and been doing well!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Bighorn Trip Day 2

On Sunday 20th, apparently morning was much easier and more comfortable. The day was expected to be much warmer too. We kicked off the day with hearty breakfast!
Then we checked out Cottonwood Campground, hoping to visit again, and headed to Afterbay Dam.  On this day, we decided to focus on upper 3 miles.
Strangely the morning midge hatch & rise were not as strong as the day before. Yet, once hopping back on my boat, nymphing is as productive as ever!

 Anticipating afternoon hatches, we cooked up another hearty hot lunch! That was the famous brats from Pioneer Meats and "extra beefy" chili!!
The flat..........
As in the morning, both midge and baetis hatches were not as strong as the day before. However, that can't be an excuse. There were plenty of rising trout and, again, they were some of most challenging ones I've encountered. When baetis were prevalent, I hooked two - though they didn't come to my net and camera.
Meanwhile, Renee got one!!
My boat was painted like this.............

Over all it was a great trip with lots of fun, learning, and observation.
Bighorn River is one unique and special river - location, water system, number of trout, fishing methods, and many other interesting factors.
Each angler has one's favorite method and spot or how to spend the day on the river. To me, the biggest attractions are tremendous insect hatches and when & how trout change their behavior accordingly. I'm not being technical or philosophical, nor the size or numbers of trout. It's simply the ultimate challenge for me.

Hope to get back soon - my own fishing and guided trips. If you haven't experienced Bighorn River, it's worth writing down on your bucket list..........

Bighorn Trip Day 1

Now is one of a few time-periods of the year that I can venture some other rivers in this broad state of Montana. Less number of anglers, splendid spring hatches, and hungry trout: those can be common in other Montana rivers too. Among those, Bighorn River is the highest in the list!

We hit the road very early on Saturday 19th. We successfully arrived at Fort Smith, MT and checked in one of cozy cabins at Cottonwood Campground.

Up until this day, it had been cold through last week. We started a bit late on purpose. Two years in a row, the first launch of my boat for the season was at Afterbay Dam! Certainly this was the first time for Renee to make such a big fishing trip!

Not just us but for most anglers during those 2 days we stayed, Bighorn offered its classic actions!! right off the bat!!

Actions went on.
This was really a nice rainbow!
Always learning.

Over all, two most constant hitters for us were my own Giant Sowbug and Flexi Zebra - black.

For lunch, we cooked up "over-sized" ham-&-cheese with Pioneer Meats ham. Then, considering the cold weather, we also warmed up chicken noodle soup!!
We had fair amounts of actions in the afternoon too.
 This was the nicely colored and one of the best trout we caught!!

 Also in the afternoon, insect hatches were tremendous!! Namely midges and spring baetis!! We pulled over my boat and I was able to fish some. Personally this was what I was expecting for, driving all the way from Livingston. Boy, they were really challenging!! Trout and insects hatches on Bighorn are pretty much equal to those on Livingston's spring creeks. After some trials, and lots of patience, I was finally able to get one!
Searching the answers........
This is why........
Baetis: dun, emerger, ascending nymphs
Midge: adults, pupae, larvae, both in black and olive
............. So many insects were hatching in different stages all at the same time!! and trout were feeding on at their rhythms and whims.
Along the iconic Car Body Pool...........
We grilled up simple yet essential cheese burgers to refill energies for Day 2..........
With relatively lower flow, it was somewhat "pushy" to go through 12 miles to Bighorn Access. Plus so many pods of rising trout here and there!! We discussed battle plans and were up for Day 2!!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Spring Hatch!

Following the previous post, this week remains cold as in winter-winter.
Meanwhile, I've been busy with many little things.......... Filling in fly orders, prepping for this and that, etc., etc., ...............

One of those little things I got it done is this one.
I finally FINALLY got "The Fish of 2015" printed out then in the frame!! I've been doing this at the end of each year but the last year end had been so busy with miscellaneous things and events, including a couple of printer issues.............
Anyway, "The One" is a handsome brown that came up on my Unnamed Caddis at a non-descriptive spot of  Lower Madison at the very end of Mother's Day Caddis on May 13th, 2015 (post here).
OOOPS!!  I made a typo............which could have been caused as I had worked on a picture from the previous year........Since the picture is from the local printing store and fits perfectly, I want to keep it as is.

This cold spell doesn't seem to affect fishing, rather making things interesting. Meaning, spring hatches that have once started can't be stopped!! I spent two afternoons at DePuy's Spring Creek. In Wednesday afternoon, spring baetis were prevalent. Here's a PT caught rainbow!
Here's a Parachute caught brown!
Then Whitie on the dry too!!
At one certain spot, I was able to observe the surface and capture some images.

Only after I checked this pic on screen, I noticed the midge. They are coexisting! Co-hatching!? - Indeed so and that is why fishing is interesting now!
Thursday turned out to be even colder with off-&-on snow flurries. I did expect baetis hatch but also I remained open & flexible then kept my observant eyes wide open. This afternoon Midge hatch was going strong and long. Good start!
Spilled all over........
Yeah!! Cutthroat on the midge hatch too!!
More learning.
This tiny little rainbow marked that I caught all 3 trout species during the hatch!! - Very rare and lucky for this time of year!
Hatch and rise kept on. They were still on midges but now on very tiny ones........ Now fishing became challenging beyond interesting.......... With more focus and observation, I got it hooked!! It leaped out of creek several times..........
It was on my most trusted Pupaerger #24!!
Perhaps the first time for this season with the "match" trout!!
After the hatch, I looked for the opportunity among "runners"........ Nothing super huge but they are many and oh-so-active.........

Well, it's been a while for me to make two posts in a week. That's because I'm heading to Bighorn River over the weekend!! Hope to have some fun and catch some trout!