Wednesday, April 26, 2017

East Idaho Fly Tying Expo 2017

Right after I came back from the Bighorn trip, I quickly re-packed and then Renee and I hit the road for another road trip.

For three consequent years, I attended East Idaho Fly Tying Expo in Idaho Falls. This is arguably the best event in the West.
We arrived at town on Thursday 20th. In this town, we try not to miss wonderful foods at Jakers!!
In the evening, I took a workshop, held at Jimmy's All Season Angler, with Steven Fernandez (is any explanation needed about him?): The Pompadour Salmon Fly For Advanced Tyers.  I have known him in the book and seen him tying at this Expo for the past couple of years. This was quite an opportunity to learn his signature style from him. This extreme bending is truly technical and artistic. It is indeed advanced in terms of understanding feathers and how far they can be manipulated by us. I was kind of blind 😵during the first trial. However with his detailed tutorial, I started to get a hang of it and the "light bulb" was lit in my head💡. Not too bad for the second trial, is it😏
The class remained intense and we worked longer than scheduled. Most of students completed the night's assignment. I really want to keep practicing and tweaking these techniques I learned from now on!!
Then the convention center was opened for public and for the table sessions in the morning of Friday 21st. WOW!! You seldom see these masters are in the same picture so often 😲 but could happen at this Expo😸I was just head-down and kept taking notes🙇(photo courtesy of EIFTE Facebook page).
In the afternoon. I was at my table. Before I tie any trout flies, another salmon fly discussion with my mentor🙇🙏

On Saturday 22nd, I conducted my own workshop: Highly effective Trout Flies for Montana and Rocky Mountain Region. I worked with a good group of students. I hope I was able to convey my theories and techniques beyond each pattern and hopefully students had gained something and will catch trout with these patterns in their near future.
After quick re-packing & re-unpacking, along with the quick bite, I was at my table in the afternoon. Saturday tends to be busier with more audience than on Friday. I visited with various people.
 The wrap up😆

It was another great time at Expo😁😹
I felt I was getting used to this type of event but also I have learned a lot from and interacted with further experienced professionals, including some of true World Class🙇.
I'm already looking forward to visiting next year, envisioning what I will do and more good foods in the town🍔🍖🍦🍺

Monday, April 24, 2017

Bighorn Trip

I apologize for another long gap since the previous post. However, you'll understand why if you read this and next post, and then wait for my newsletter from my main website (please subscribe or send me your email address).

I had a series of guide trip on Bighorn River in the middle of this month. Although it may be slightly behind to report, weather and river conditions have not much changed since. The Bighorn has been running higher than ever!! Mountain ranges in Wyoming have accumulated way above average of snowpack through winter, which have been barely coming off. So the dam is releasing waters in historical level to accommodate oncoming snow-melts. As of my trip, it was around 10,000 cfs, which has been bumped up to 11,500 cfs as of today. It may sound scary "if this were to be a freestone river" but the River has been fishing so well. Just one caution: be super careful at each boat ramps!! Especially at Bighorn Access (or Thirteen Mile), make sure not to crowd the upper ramp for your- and others' sake. Then if one dares to use the bottom ramp, be careful!! No mistake should happen!!

In the morning, as I leave my house in Livingston to catch up with my clients at Billings Airport, it was like this............ serious scraping was required. This weather pattern has not been changed much since. I was expecting a repeating client of mine along with his son.
We had a short trip in the afternoon. It started well right after the launch at Afterbay Dam!!

We caught massive & healthy whitefish once a day...........
Stopping the boat and wade-fishing.

Not super big but a feisty brown from the side channel
 A good end for their first day on The Bighorn!!

While clients stayed in the cozy lodge at Bighorn Angler, I camped at Afterbay Campground. As the sun rose and my coffee boiled, my spirit also rose and I expected a good fishing day coming!
 Day 2 started just like the day 1.

Bighorn Double😁😎✌👍
This was one of the highlights of the trip!!
I have to mention that below Soap Creek, one of tributaries which enters the river about 2.5 miles above Bighorn Access, water was murky, even along the left bank. Fishing slowed down😕

Day 3 turned out to be different. First of all, perhaps due to the nicest weather, Afterbay launch became so busy😲. Also the dam release was bumped 300 cfs more sometime during the day before. And then, from the previous 2 days of fishing, we decided to float & fish the "Upper 3" twice.

After initial "armada" of driftboats passed and went ahead of us, we learned the mood of the river for the day and started to pick up trout.

Another Bighorn Double completed by father and son😁😸☝👌
 Just as we expected, the second float of Upper 3 was far less crowded - indeed did we count number of boats!? We were able to major hot spots without competition.

Then this rainbow marked the largest and the last trout of the trip🙌

It was a great 3-day of fishing on The Bighorn! I hope my clients enjoyed what the river has to offer.
And this is why I've been promoting to fish this world's greatest tailwater in spring!!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Spring Fishing Continues Well

Spring weather has been nice and we started fishing on foot as well.
On "Local B", we had a stretch to ourselves. I caught a nice 14-inch rainbow😁 (no picture). I called Renee to come over then right after she got hooked into something larger with leaping actions😲.

We caught a few more. One stomach sample shows lots of foods, including sign of spawning......
On some selected stretch and side channels of our "Big Y", midges and baetis hatches are prolific! I'm enjoying season's first dry-fly fishing!!
Then we traveled to Mighty MO, the section known as Land of Giants.
I don't think this stretch is a local secret, rather well-known by many. During spawning seasons (spring and fall), trout in Upper Holter Lake make upstream runs. Trout size can be as magnificent as geographic features! For her birthday, I outfitted her with brandnew 6-wt setup that consists of Echo Boost rod, RIO Grand line, and Redington Behemoth Reel. This was the first day to fish with it. After reading stretch and structures, she got huge tugs!! The brandnew rod bent hard, line stretched, and reel screamed!! She did her best to fight. I was finally able to net it in for her!!
 It was a 21-inch grand rainbow😎😲😀!!
Later on I caught one myself. It was a respectable 18-incher but totally dwarfed by hers😭
We had a few more actions and started to fish up to our vehicle. Renee got another huge action!!

Until her guide screwed up😱😰

I just can't emphasize what a great fishing one can have in spring, the pre-runoff season. It's the least fished and crowded season too. Yes, weather can be iffy, like it is now, but so can be on any days in Montana. Come and fish while it lasts or plan a trip in a near future!