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

Feb 1, 2017


A little warm window before the next front.  Weather was beautiful today, but the fish?  Not quite as hot as before.  I arrived an hour earlier at 10 am thinking I'd get the jump on 'em.  Wrong.  Still had the high water! Didn't see a fish until 11. Flow started dropping about 11:15.  That's precisely when the fish started rising too.  Just not quite the numbers rising as two days ago.  Bugs about the same, just enough.

These now "regular" double-peak flows for electricity make me crazy.  Dam releases peak at 8am at 2440, then are stepped down to 1180 by 10:30 am, and are ramped back up to 3300 by 7pm!  Where I'm fishing 7 miles below, there's about a two-hour delay from dam releases.  I see the water drop begin around 11am.

It ended up being a no-CDC day, and a no-Harrop day.  That limited my fly choices!  By choice.  The softies worked well though.  Cheap-O's, I didn't even tie.  Kinda cool to use shitty flies sometimes. Confidence builder for later.  I could see 'em too.  The best one was an 18.
2400cfs at 10am

No risers yet

Rod lived here until 11

Winner of the day!  Dry and dead-drifted.

I put the little rock on the big rock and both were under water at 10.

At least a foot-deep drop in water depth.

Just enough of these to raise a few

Then down river

To some bank/scum feeders

Hackled soft-hackle

On the drive out at 4pm

Theres the window of low water

Jan 30, 2017

End of January

Its been a long, cold, cloudy January.  I've been looking forward to today since last spring. That first above-freezing, sunny, calm weekday of the year.  There's nothing like it for the rest of the season.  Nobody on the river and eager fish rising to any bug floating by them.  Midges and BWO's, constant, all day.  The fish feel it.  They're hungry.

Yea, its still cold, and there was ice in the rod guides for a while.  But the sun has been shining for three days now, and two of them got above freezing. Not a breath of wind in the air, so today was the day to get it started.  It's not spring yet, but this is a hint, a glimmer of hope, a break-out of sorts.  I lasted about 4 hours, feet frozen in the icy water, and hands going from frozen to useable because I was intent on "keepin'  'em wet."  Never-ending heads to target.  Maybe 5 degrees warmer in a couple days, before the next round of shit.
I could see heads as I approached from 200 feet away!

It was full of 'em

Of course . . . 

For the Baetis eaters

The only 'Bow

Jan 1, 2017

New Years Day Dries (1250 cfs)

Opportunity knocked.  Above freezing (barely) for the first time in over a month.  Last week, on a day off, I built a rod I wanted to cast.  I got a new waterproof camera for Christmas I wanted to use underwater. I had the day off following a pretty busy December.  So all signs pointed to the river.

My first choice of places, where the sun shines during mid-day, was blown out.  10-20 mph and not a bug in sight, so it was plan B.  Seven miles back upstream, and down into the dark depths of the canyon just below the dam.  The sun shines down there for about 2 1/2 hours a day this time of year, and I had already missed an hour and a half of it, but it wasn't blowing.  There were midges, and a few little rising pods of the most desperate trout.  Not the "nice ones" of down river, but they were eating, and I was feeding, on top, on New Years Day.

The rod, a graphite IM-6 8-foot 4 weight, feels good.  The tight, "off the chart" guide spacing is great. It feels more like a June hatch rod than a midge rod, but I knew that going in.  It'll get some use when the March Browns, Drakes, and PMD's appear.  It kinda resembled one of my Sage GII Lightlines and an old REC made by John Bradford.  

The camera is going to help make some cool and different shots for the ole blog this year.  I miss-framed nearly of them today, but its kinda hard when I'm in the shade, with a little wind, 37 degrees, sleeves rolled up, one hand on a wet trout, and the other hand on a camera under the 41-degree water.  I don't recommend it, but I got a few.  I know what I'm looking for.  A few were close.  They will come.

The couple+ hours of casting mainly served to remind me to be patient with the season.  The sun is slowly making its way (perceived) higher in the sky as we head into spring.  There will be warmer days ahead not that long from now.  The fishing will only get better from here, even though I fed a dozen fish or more today.  The bigger ones will come out to play next month.

The sunny pool

Of Course!

This one out-performed the Harrop midge, and was easier to see.

About my limit these days.  Actually, I prefer 50 and up.

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!