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Showing posts with the label rainbow trout

First Impressions...

It's deliciously cool in the pre-dawn of this summer morning.  I sip coffee and hastily pack a cooler for the day.  Last night I'd packed an inflatable pontoon boat into the back of my little car along with some fishing gear.
Hebgen.  After more than four decades I was finally getting around to wetting a line. I'd rolled the thought of fishing it around in my mind for a long time. Like the Henry's Fork or upper Madison, it was another backyard piece of water that I'd neglected for too long.
I'd heard about them, seen videos.  Fish cruising, vacuuming their dinner from the lake surface.
Gulpers.
How hard could it be to catch a few?  It was time to find out.
I hit the road early.  Driving along the Gallatin, then through the northwest part of Yellowstone on the road to West.  There was a bit of fog, the temperature dipped to thirty-six along a low-lying stretch of highway.
Out of the park and north of West Yellowstone, I turned onto gravel.
It was warm by eight,…

Unforked, At Last

Let it be known. The curse has been lifted.
I finally got a "real" fish out of the Henry's Fork.
One fish is no big deal for the fly fishing luminaries out there who stack twenty inch rainbows like cord wood.  My light doesn't glow so bright.
With clouds forecast for the day I made a run for Last Chance.  Overcast summer days are a rarity out here.  I hoped the fish and the bugs that they dine on would like the forecast as well.
A cloudy day invariably feels a hell of a lot more comfortable than a sunny one with similar temperatures.  The only issue is that the glare on cloudy days gives me fits. Sunglasses don't help.  There's no best angle to look at the surface of the water either. There's a uniform funky brightness caused by light reflecting from clouds to water surface that makes it virtually impossible to see and track a fly.  So, I squint a lot, guess where my fly is based on water speed and basically fish by braille.  I make a point of lifting ge…

Come Monday....

An opportunity. The creek books a year or more in advance for the prime dry fly fishing period. There was a last minute cancellation on the spring creek on Monday.  I grabbed it.

It's still PMD time. If they want to show.  By 7:30 a.m. spinners were dancing in the sun.  It took a while for them to start dropping.  Hatch?  So-so.  Actually not much.  I'd heard that it had been inconsistent. As far as the catching goes, it was no free for all.  By mid-July the fish have been worked over pretty good by a number of credible anglers.     The fish have seen all manner of patterns and presentations, some good and some not so.  I got some nice ones.  Pretty much all rainbows. But, as I said, I had to work for them.  No one pattern was the clear winner. 
I took a break at 1:30 when a squall came through. It was burger time anyway.

I was back creekside in an hour.  The squalls continued to roll through.  It rained and/or hailed, on and off for the rest of the day.  In and out of the ca…

MO

There's no shortage of folks on the Missouri now.  It's clear but still a little high for wading.  Just a tad over 8000 c.f.s yesterday.  I had to go and take a look just to see for myself what those water levels meant. Well, what it means is that it's fishable for a wading angler, although one needs to pick their spots.  Boaters on the other hand have lots of spots to choose from.



The biggest issue is not in finding fish, but rather in what happens after hooking one. They're just harder if not impossible to chase with the deeper water and flooded banks.  So one hopes, as I did, often, that there's enough backing.  One fish took me down to the last few turns of the spool before the knot gave out at the fly.  I was relieved to see the fly line after having recovered my backing.  That fish might be to Great Falls by now. 



So, it's PMD time.  Finally.  A sparse hatch yesterday, but there were plenty of spinners. They kept the fish interested and eating on top for…

About Time....

It took forty years, and then some.  I'd read about it.  Thought about it.  Driven by it.  Shot elk in the nearby mountains.  Regarded the flotillas of angler laden drift boats.  But fished it? 
Nope.
Until today.
I planned to hike up Beartrap Canyon on the lower Madison, but didn't stop. I kept on driving, all the way to Three Dollar Bridge. 
The upper Madison is, as they say, one big riffle.
And it contains fish. 
After all of the years, they missed me.
Thank you.

The Magic Hour

A nice day recently.  In contrast to a windy previous day, this day was calm.  A quiet morning, with light snow gave way to a pleasant day with peeks of sunshine.

I nymphed half heartedly in the morning, then quit by eleven, hoping to find a few rising fish.

I broke for tea.  Settled in, and waited.

And waited some more.

After an hour, a fish rose.

Eventually, another.

After a half hour three fish were working.  Something had their attention.  It was time to slip into the water for a closer look.
A few midges buzzed but the fish weren't interested in my offerings.  
Midge cluster.  Nope.
Hatching midge.  Nope.
Pupa.  Nope.
A blue winged olive drifted by.  Well now.  I better take a look in my fly box.





The fish were rising more steadily now.  Their rises more enthusiastic.  Not the soft dimple of midging fish.
A fish ate on the first cast with the cdc olive.  It was a beautiful cutthroat.
I dried the fly, waited.  The next target rose, close.  Another cast.  Another eat.  This ti…

Five Days in October

It's midge season, again. Time to get back to spring creek fishing. The mornings are extraordinary.  Most days, I spend the better part of the first few hours just gawking, watching the light change, snapping photos.





The game starts once the the fish start rising.  Nothing visible in the current, little on top.  Midge adults skitter sporadically on surface.  Is that what they're really eating?  The fishing is challenging and frustrating.  In a perverse way, I prefer it to all other fly fishing.  Heaven forbid that I get a sore arm from catching too many.  
I while away the hours.  Get a fish or two.  It's the usual routine.  Hook a few.  Break a few off. Some are really good ones.  It's shallow water fishing.  The fish know that they're vulnerable. Once hooked, they vacate the area in a hurry and put extreme strain on the delicate rigging. Often, the departure is sudden and leaves me questioning the tippet, my knots, both.  At home I tie up a new leader, test the …

Silver Creek Interlude

Spring creeks are singularly beautiful, and Silver Creek in Idaho is no exception. The Silver Creek Preserve is managed by the Nature Conservancy.  It's open to the public for a nominal five dollar daily donation.  While fishing is the main draw, many folks come to bird watch, canoe, walk the trails and take in the scenery.  It's also a photographers dream.












Silver Creek should be on the life list of any spring creek fisher.  And, as a devotee of spring creeks, it's one that I'd wanted to visit.  With a few days off, that fortuitously coincided with a favorable weather window,  I made the drive and was rewarded with a couple of delightful nights of camping.










Daytime temperatures still touched into the eighties and warranted an afternoon break from fishing.  The September nights were most comfortable and capped off with a moonlight serenade of distant bugling elk. A bull moose also included the Hayspur campground in his after dark wanderings.








I only spent two days on Sil…

MO

I took a quick day trip to the Missouri earlier this week.  It was a glorious day.  Calm, bright, a toasty forty-seven when I got to Wolf Creek around eight in the morning.  A light sun hoody was all I would need.  Ok, pants too.
Blue winged olive nymphs and midge pupa were drifting in the current.  So, I started out sight nymphing.  A few nice fish were working the shallows.  The water was clear, the fish spooky.  No surprise.  I watched and waited, casting occasionally.  The fish took the pheasant tail, Rojo midge, a little red midge.  Its neat when you can see them eat.
I broke for a sandwich around two.  By then it was getting warm and was pretty bright.  My eyes needed a break from staring at the water.
After lunch it was time to do a little head hunting, so I went for a drive.
I found a few bank feeders.  It turned out that there were enough to keep me entertained for the rest of the afternoon and into the early evening.  Hatchwise, there were a few blue winged olive duns, but …

March Winds Down

March, as I mentioned in an earlier post is a month of waiting.  Dry fly fishers wait for bugs.  We (ok, I) wait(ed) for nice weather.  Well, the first half of the month was pretty nice. The past couple of weeks, rather unsettled.   I had the opportunity to fish, or rather, endure, a variety of conditions.
I'd always wanted to fish during a snowstorm.  I did, and, let's just say that's an itch that I don't need to scratch again.  I don't care if the blue-winged olive hatch rivals the plague of the locusts. For the record, it didn't.  Even the olives had enough sense to stay in out of the snow.





Fishing in the rain?  Did that too.  Don't need to do that again either (unless I'm steelhead fishing in Alaska).   Lets just say that the novelty of being miserable wore off long ago.
So, on to fairer days.....






Today was a beauty.  It was dead calm when I arrived.  The sun had yet to hit the valley floor.  When it did, the wind kicked in.  Immediately.  Absolute…