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

Aug 11, 2017

Greened Up (2750 cfs)

I needed a break.  Fly time.  Wader time.  Just a few hours. Been a while.  Still taking for granted that I have dry fly fishing 365 days a year just 45 minutes from home, water teeming with 'em, nice ones.  I usually avoid it in summer because its a congregation of idiots most days.  There's current, and a few rapids, so they don't just "splash and giggle."  They "paddle and scream!"  People walk past you, right next to the fish you're casting to on the bank, and point in the water with their poles, "Hey, look at that one right there!"   Some of the fish are used to it though.  Water is higher than ideal, but that helps them to hide easier.

So I went, I saw fish, I got fish to rise, and it was just what I needed.  Pretty easy, just like it was supposed to be.  I thought I would be hopper fishing, and there were indeed hoppers hopping all over the place, but the fish either ignored or refused.  They ate damsels, ants, a little dry soft hackle, and a 16 Triple Double (FOD).  Took a change or two for most, but they took it. Upstream, with 5x.   Shallower riffles, a few seams, and an inch from the banks. Like I said, easy.  Nice break.

The "paddle and scream" crews started floating by at 12:45.  Bumper to bumper.  This place makes a hot July day on the MO seem like a wildnerness fly-out river.  Its narrow, fast, and they line up for 7 miles in an endless parade.  Soon school will start, the leaves will change, and there will be more fishermen than screaming idiots.   The morning was pleasant though.  (Note to self: go a little earlier)

I forgot to grab a camera or two out of the boat before I left, so I did what I did.  Friends don't let friends take pictures with telephones, but I guess they really are more than just telephones these days. Still don't like the idea, and I never use my phone over water, but it went in the waterproof wader pouch as I left the truck, and stayed dry for a few shitty pictures to remind myself about August on the Green.  It could be a lot worse though. My home lets-go-catch-a-few water could be the South Platte at Deckers, a little creek pounded by Denver and the entire Front Range just an hour away.   Or the 'Pan, with such colorful pools as the "toilet bowl."  Or a little freestoner full of 10 inchers.  But no, I can float, or wade, and catch 20 inchers on dries anytime I want!  Hell, I still only fish a tiny part of it.  There's 20+ miles of killer water.  Overlooked and taken for granted.  I should fish closer to home more.
 A little greener than February

Nice riffle to spot fish

Been a while since this has been tied on

Oh ya, there's a macro setting.

Atmosphere going to hell

Jul 24, 2017

Yellowstone in the Park (5400cfs)

Hadn't fished the 'Stone in the park since the early 90's.  Before the lakers wiped out the Cutts.  Had the chance to drive in and give it a look.  There still aren't many fish in there, but there are some damn nice ones.  I managed to get a few, even though I was a couple hours late to the Drake party.  Water was very high, and no fish in the side channel above Buffalo (Nez Perce) Ford.  I need to return for a few days next year with hopefully a little lower water, and more preparedness.

23 inches of Yellowstone Cutt.

This and a Flav cripple got ate.

I couldn't get this pig to rise, but it would let me wade close and put my camera under water!

Jul 16, 2017


Quick stop on the way home.  Water was still a little high, moving fast through the grass.  There were lots of PMD's starting a little after 10:00, but the only risers were in the lower flat.  Really doing it on the other side of the sign though . . . I got two.  One just happened to be the biggest 'bow of the trip.  Could hardly get my hands around it as it was "San Juan" girthy.  Never overlook what's close to your backyard.

Biggest 'Bow of the Trip!

All I threw, all I needed.

Jul 13, 2017

Last Hurrah-Still 640cfs

Hot and sunny.  No clouds lately to speak of.  Its a morning PMD spinner fall with a flav here and there, caddis most of the day, and a mythical evening bite that doesn't really happen until the sun is down.  Then they go nuts when you can't see your fly.  Evenings have been a zoo lately too.  But the mornings, yeah, the last two were good enough to last into early afternoon.  This morning I had eats on 5 different flies.  "It ain't the fly!"  But the flav is what most wanted the most.  Softy or spinner.  Some ate both.  I excelled at having big mouths eat my fly, lifting, and groaning at yet more dead air.  Sounded like Don a lot!  "AAAGGHHHHH!"  Followed by the usual F-word whispered loudly to myself.  It's the Henry's Fork.
Still a very few around
Fish still going after the ABC partridge and green (Already Been Chewed)
Still good
Billboard pool
Best sittin' rock around the logjam.  Even has a submerged foot stool!
NOT the same fish as above, despite similar gill plate wounds.
#18 KJ caddis got lots of love. It ain't #18 season yet, dammit.

Jul 10, 2017

It's Just On! (640cfs)

Well, not epic with risers all over the place.  The bugs aren't thick, but there's enough to keep some fish up. Its just consistent, like the flow.  PMD's in the morning, mostly spent.  A few spent flavs early too.  Slowing down late morning and afternoon.  More flavs hatching after the clouds in the early evening.  PMD's too.  Caddis flying most of the day.  Enough for early and late fishing, and they're looking for that flav!  The soft hackle is just killing it.  Spinners too.  Still an eat or two on the cripple.   Oh, and I haven't mentioned, but I've been fishing 4X since the very first morning.  No problem!
This #14 spinner was in the mouth of a fish I caught yesterday.  Hook had a little rust and a dull point, and I missed two eats with it.
I took this flav "emerger" I've been fishing and splayed the wings with my fingers.  It stayed spent, and caught a few.
Starting to get weedy
Just breaking the surface in the last week or so
Partridge and Green!  Killer.  NO refusals this morning.  Eaten alive.  Triple thread-tail,  fished dry, of course. :)
This Flav hatch has been so good, they deserve their own box now, and forever.  Left to right: "emerger" (my dun), light dun cdc spinner, dark dun cdc spinner, (need both for visibility changes) partridge and green, clipped hackle spinner, and various flav cripples (mostly Harrop).  All I need is the softy, but I've got it all covered!  (Note to self, do the same thing with a similar box for the Mahoganies in Sept. and Oct.)

Photo Redemption (and STILL 640 cfs!)

Catching the same fish twice.  This time on the same day in the same run.  Its happened before, but it does make one think.  Do I need to cover more water?  Don't fish the same run twice?  Fish elsewhere all together?  Does it even matter?  Yes, we are all catching the same fish over and over on the popular tail waters and spring creeks of the west.  You can tell by the fishes mangled mouths.  Most of them, in fact nearly ALL of them, have battle scars, hook marks, and torn or wounded mouths.  Sad in a way, but to avoid it we have to fish the less-fished places. Those places aren't as "good," or more people would fish there!  Then those places would have fish with ripped lips.  I like getting away from the crowds as much as anybody, but I'm never quite satisfied for long with the mediocre. 

I have to fish fairly accessible waters these days.  And I want to fish the ones with good hatches and shots at bigger fish every day.  So, I'll put up with the ripped lips, even though all of these waters I love to fish so much are starting to feel more and more "fake."  Its still cool to hunt the heads, get the fly in there, and see the fish come up and eat the bug.  The still pull the line and clear the water, its just that they look like hell when you get 'em to hand.
With that said, here's the poor ripped-lip 18 incher I caught yesterday morning and again last evening just above the log jam.  It ate a flav spinner in the morning, and the soft hackle last night.  Notice the mark on the gill plate and all the spots match.  In the morning photo, I didn't have the fish properly in the light, and the photo was dark.  The sun was right in the early evening.  So, I got the photo after all. 


Jul 8, 2017

Flavs (and still 620 cfs!)

Number 14 mayflies.  Cripples, spinners, and even adults on the cloudy evenings.  I can't leave that.  I did for a while today to check the Madison.  Salmonflies were gone, at least where I looked.  Horseflies were atrocious.  Didn't take long to get back home.  I'm lovin' the low flow on the Fork with knee-high wading anywhere.  Weeds are coming, but not bad yet.
But back to yesterday morning.  Flav spinners have been out in the mornings, but there's more and bigger rising fish down the ranch a mile or so in the slower water.  Foot pain tolerated, I found home just past first corner/third fence. It was a lightly cloudy morning.  I never have had a better morning without so much as touching a fish.  But some pigs sure ate my bugs.  I didn't cast to anything under 20".  Well, without catching any to tape anyway.  Cripples and spinners, and one ate a beetle.  These fish are like this sometimes.  Or should I say, this fisherman is like this sometimes.  The fish comes up and gulps the fucking fly right into that giant mouth, I lift, and there isn't a damn thing there.  I did that to several big fish this morning.  It happens here more than anyplace else.  Its the leader, the cast, the drift, and the fact that these fish see some of the best dry fly fishermen in the country.  Old guys.  Or somethin'  All I know is there's a lot of days I get a lot of great eats and the bastards don't get hooked.   More than the MO, or Silver Creek, the Green, or the Livingston creeks, or anywhere. I pretty much always had something to cast to from 8 to noon though, and they all had my undivided attention.
Evening bite on the 6th was quite good while it stayed cloudy right after a little storm moved past.  I farmed two more good ones at the log jam.  Last night was sunny and nothing much going on.  Tonight was the night!  Clouds from about 5pm through sunset, with a couple breaks.  Lots of flavs on the water, and some bigger fish eating 'em.  Hell, I even netted 3 fish!  Unbuttoned a couple more including the "fish of the pool."  The cripple was really good, and a couple ate a green drake spinner I cut the wings shorter on.  The big one ate a down-wing CDC dun.  (the tie everyone calls an emerger, but that rides with the body on the water and the dry wing above the water.
Spinners on the water
Larry on the bend
Thread-tail rusty got some eats!
OK, I actually remember tying these ugly things on the steering wheel of my Toyota in 1984 or 85, parked in the grass/dirt lot at the top of the Ranch.  No asphalt.  No restroom.  I mean, a heavy-ass moose mane tail, over-dubbed body, divided moose main wing, and too much traditional hackle.  On a Mustad 94840! There were (are) 3 in the drake box, and I needed a spinner.  Clippers to the rescue.  They ate it a few times, big fish!
Perfect conditions
The sun came out, and it was pretty much over
Evening bite location
Fly of the Evening--of course.
Workin' on the night shift