Stalking trout with dry flies. Floating, wading, and camping along the rivers. Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Winter trips to Mexico.

Oct 29, 2016

October Goes

It's damn near gone.  The finality hits me like a brick every late fall.  I'm never "done," but I can feel the change in weather, daylight, my thoughts, and my daily routine.  Next weekend's clock change is a downer.  (Daylight time all year would be my choice)  I get a little choked up cleaning off all the rods, rinsing lines, tossing lines, putting flies away from "the patch."  There's not enough empty slots to return all those flies to the boxes from which they were plucked.  What's up with that?  Now I need another box just for those chewed up flies I likely won't ever tie on again.  But I better keep 'em just in case, just like all the other boxes of used, chewed, coming-apart "shit-flies" I have going back to the last century.  Obsessed fly hoarder.  OK.  I admit it.  Besides, sometimes I can look at one and remember how it got all chewed up; the river, the run, and the trip.

Access to one of my home rivers closes Monday.  I'll fish a day here and there when the weather lets me, and the desire is there, but I'm unloading the trailer too, so they'll be day trips.   I'm also thinking, ridiculously, "What flies do I need to tie/restock for spring?  Baetis and midges looking OK for late winter?  What about PMD's for June?  Got March Browns?"  Like I need another fly in my life.   Might need a new 444 line though.  Is Hardy still going to make the Featherweights?  The Asian ones are cheap now, relatively speaking.  (Just don't do it, 3 is enough!)

This is my way of hanging on, knowing the arctic blast is coming. It's these kinds of connections to the fishing itself that make surviving another winter possible.  I'll start counting down the days to certain significant upcoming dates.  The first day temperatures reach into the 50's in February.  Springing forward the clock in March.  Memorial Day weekend in Island Park.  The Ranch opener (7 1/2 months!)  My four high-season PMD days on the creeks.  Looking forward keeps the sanity.

In the mean time, I've cast to some real nice fish lately.  A lot have ate, more often than not actually.  I've hooked some, and by some miracle it seems, even touched a few.  These fish and tiny flies lately have been getting the best of me for some reason. It's been a struggle since I left the MO and the Beav.  Might be the last really good ones for a while.  Maybe.  But there's no polar express in the 7-day . . .
Flat and slow

"A" game water

Might be my fish of the month. 

Definitely the fly of the day, hour after hour, they ate it.

Think I got this at Anderson's last month.  They liked it.  Quill body.  More for 2017?

Good eats late on an old standard dubbed, hackle tip wing, over-dressed  BWO. 
Clear "PHD" channel



It took the right presentation to fool this one.  You had to be there.  Wait, you can be there, there's proof!

Oct 27, 2016

Some Days . . .

 . . . Some days I just don't have my "stuff."  Like a pitcher who gets beat up in the first inning, and second, and the third, only there's no bull pen.  I missed and lost fish today in just about every way possible.  Some inexplicably, others bound to happen.  Breaks, weeds, limbs, timing, bad luck, whatever.  The day was a bluebird one, sunny and warm, and no wind (In Wyoming!)  No excuses there.  There wasn't much of a hatch, but there always seemed to be a fish or two rising.  Enough fish to stay busy missing and losing them all day!   It wasn't a complete wash though, as it was as comfortable of day as you get in late October in SW Wyoming, I got some dumb little 13-inchers along the way to maintain hope, and had enough quality takes to make a day of it.  I guess I was just rusty, I mean, it has been nearly two weeks for God's sake.  Need to fish more.  Some days . . .
Bluebird start

Beaver changed the current on this bend

#20 Harrop Midge got ate a lot for me!

He was ant fishing!

This #16 worked when the midge didn't

The downriver Glory Hole

The obligatory "ambidextrous" shot

Still a couple up as my fly became invisible

Oct 12, 2016

More Beaverhead Oct 11, 12

After taking most of the day off on the 10th due to wind, the 11th brought cold temperatures, clouds, some rain showers, and a few flakes of snow.  Unfortunately a north wind came too, but it was fishable, and the fish were up and eating pretty good in the cloudy weather.  I did cast to my friendly rainbow from the 8th and 9th, and he ate a para Adams, but the hook didn't go in, and I'm ok with that.  That fish deserved a break, and a victory.  But I couldn't resist the cast, just to see.
The 12th was bright and sunny, this time with the south wind that warmed things up nicely.  My day started (noon!) with 4 straight hookups at the bridge.  Then as I proceeded up the bank, I got 6 or so more eats, and never touched a fish.  So it goes.  Didn't see you-know-who rising either.  The afternoon grew progressively slower, and ended without anything to talk about.  Tough day with more wind than yesterday.  Time to move on and do some exploring for a day or two while the wind really roars ahead of the next storm for the weekend.  Livingston?  Hmmm.
It was too cold to get the hands wet, so a few net shots
A pod of risers here just went to town for a couple hours.
He was there, and ate, and we said our goodbyes.
# 20 hot fly of the river, and the dark dun winged one too.
The "spring"
The bank with daily risers on its edges
The last fish I saw, over 20", and not on my line!

Oct 11, 2016

The Beav. (41cfs) 10-8,9

Its tradition now.  Flows down to a trickle like a spring creek.  Big rainbows rising less than an inch from the bank or weed line. That's where the fly has to go, dead drifted perfect.  Oh what fun.  There's been a few in the upper and lower "glory holes," but more in the slick water near the bank or between grass mats.  Its been windy, and pretty sunny, and in the 60's.  But still, there have been fish to be had.  BWO's are very sparse.  Just enough to bring a few fish up from time to time.  Doesn't seem quite as mossy as previous years, but that could also be because its got another 10 cfs of water running over the thick mats.  Clarity is ok at this low flow.  Its working. 

There's a storm passing by the north and east, and we may finally get some cloudy weather.  Now, if the wind will only stop. Its rocking the trailer tonight.  Will it be really good?  50/50 I'd say. 
And there's a fish story . . . On day one, from a classic cut bank, I caught a nice rainbow that was feeding in a precise, near-impossible-drift spot less than an inch from the weeds on the bank.  Weird current, away from the main bank current, literally 1/2 inch from the bank.  I finally got the right cast and drift, and landed the fish on "my" side of the river a bit downstream from where it was feeding.
On day two, I walk up the same bank, and there's a fish feeding in the exact same place.  A bunch of casts later and a lucky drift, my Harrop Cripple gets eaten again.  I land the fish, and it sure looks like the one I caught there yesterday.  Upon further review, it is!  No doubt about it, you'll see.
I kinda felt bad for the poor thing, but I was also pleased to know I didn't seem to change its ways or do any harm catching it yesterday and snapping some quick photos.  I'm sure its been caught a bunch over the years in this stretch of water, and its mouth had some scars on the side I didn't photograph.  Catch and release really works if we're all careful!
"The" cut bank and run.
Eating right there, on the bank
Day one catch and release
Same bank on day two
He's eating right there
Haven't we met before?
Absolutely!  Check out the spots, especially on the gill plate.
And he ate this very same fly twice about 24 hours apart
How about a lower glory hole pig.
Secret non-hatch weapon.  (I apologize fish Gods)
Easier drift lane
An inch in front of the rock.  How do they get their nose up that close?
Upper glory hole
I just like the traditional flies, and this one works
Skinny brown.  Most are spawning I guess.  Not catching many.
Thanks old friend.  Hope we can meet again.  You're a joy to fish to.  Its fish like you than make it worth the chase.  I wish you a happy life, and hope you refuse lots of flies, break lots of tippets, and avoid the nets in the time you have.  Sorry if I scared you.