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

Nov 23, 2017

Campeche Tarpon

An early November visit to sort of end the summer/fall season, and maintain some sanity as winter sets in.  It was a good trip, though different in some ways.  We couldn't fish the normal waters north of Campeche the first two days due to wind, but we took a detour to the south and fished a "secret" river our outfitter knew of.  the first day there was cloudy and calm, and there were tarpon rolling all over the place all day!  Day two there was more of a reality check, with just one area of small active fish.  The following four days fishing directly out of Campeche were fair, with a few moments of glory, and some times of where the hell are the fish?  Mostly mixed, not great, but passable.  Fish in a few usual places, and not much else when exploring except a few backs of creeks.  No open water schools except at the mouth of that secret river on day one.  I'll be returning soon though, hopefully.
Don's First

Don's biggest.  Fish of the trip!

The "automatic" hole, where nesting cormorants barf up fish, and baitfish gather to eat that, and tarpon gather to eat those!

Get the fly in there, and its an eat.

Until next time.  Soon.  Not soon enough.

Oct 16, 2017

Ain't gonna happen

I fished point of rocks until 2:00, and the preserve another three hours.  Hardly any bugs, and hardly any fish up over a foot long.  Next clouds maybe Friday.  Its only Monday.  I can't wait any longer.  Know when to say when.  Besides, its almost tarpon time!!!
Yesterday's water, smooth as glass today.
Today's Preserve water, smooth as glass
There was a little pod working here
This is the one I wanted, but another fish took the fly, and the pod was gone
Hooked a big bow first cast on this mahogany, it ripped downstream under the foot bridge, and never made it in front of the camera lens.  Only big hook-up today
There were two of these two-foot-long browns moving upstream over the clean gravel.  Behemoths, the picture doesn't do it justice.
Wasn't going to eat, but there's a couple of these giants above the foot bridge
These two and their other family members asked me not to fish that run, and frankly, to please just leave.  Ok then. (Telephoto, no way I was getting very close)

Oct 15, 2017

Strange Day (153 cfs)

Like a different creek.  Sunny with less wind.  A little warmer.  Should have been better.  However, only a very sparse baetis hatch, not many good fish rising, and a ton of weeds floating down.  Yesterday's sunny day had more bugs, no weeds, and enough good fish up to keep it interesting.  I was just above the little island where I fished yesterday.  Maybe time to go down below the Conservancy at willows or point of rocks.
MO-like weeds floating this afternoon
That nose on the right looked like a good one in a weird current line
He ate this first cast, and I never touched meat
15 minutes and 20 casts later to get the right drift with this
It was a fun one I kept out of the weeds
Saw more Mahoganies today, but not enough to get bigger fish looking for 'em

Oct 14, 2017

Hint of life (146cfs)

The winds diminished today, and actually didn't kick up until early afternoon, about when the BWO's started hatching, of course.  Did see some better fish up, mostly on the banks.  Managed to hook 6 good ones.  The first couple told me I sure didn't need the 7X from Depuy's.  That was stupid.  Creek is 80 percent weeds and 20 percent water.  Next couple told me they could dislodge a fly on 6X in all those weeds no problem.  Finally managed to net a couple later in the afternoon, one a really nice one.  Hatch died off after 4:30 pm.
The fish were actually quite easy.  Just get a drift over 'em with anything.  They seemed really appreciative.  Every fly I drifted over fish got ate, and they were all upright wing BWO's.  Hackled and parachute.  #18 worked faster/better than #20.  They were looking for meat, in the baetis world.  Not near as spooky as I remember, especially on a bright sunny day.  Maybe it was the wind.  Much easier than Livingston, and not selective at all.  I'm going to try and stick around long enough to see what I can do on a calm afternoon, if there's such a thing.
Around "the point," smooth, like its supposed to be. (pre-hatch)
Upstream of "the point"
The mouth of Loving Creek.  Iconic.
This bank had some heads, but a bitch to wade to
Hooked a big bank feeder here
Hooked a nice one here
Going to get this head
Where the bugs were blown to the bank just above Loving Cr.
One of my favorites
Gonna get this head too
Then the wind came and the bugs fizzled
Good time to go fly hunting in the bushes on the point!
Found these four pretty quick!  Drake, which had to be there for a few months.  A BWO.  A Trico?  Looks like it.  And the last is a mangled PMD of some sort.  Just on one point.  There must be hundreds of flies in the bushes of this place.
FOD because I tried it, they ate it, I could see it, have a box full, why not?

Oct 12, 2017

Silver (170 cfs)

Well, maybe bronze.  Makes me want to go into one of my wind rants.  Been blowing since I got here for the most part.  Yesterday had mahoganies for a couple hours in the afternoon, with a few baetis.  Fish were on mahoganies for a bit, but no big ones.  Same with the baetis today.  Not many big fish up, tons of dinks.  A lot of walking up and down the Preserve.
Seems the winds of October are everywhere in the northern Rockies, just like last year, and most other years.  Its all getting ready to come to an end, even though over half of the month is still left.  It's wearing on me, 27 days in.  Guess it should be.
First thing I saw at the bottom of the trail.  Dead little bull moose.  On the preserve.  ??
Too much surface disturbance
This run should be mirror smooth.
Good one working here where the tree blocked the wind, and where you couldn't get a drift past the tree to where the fish was rising.
Good leaf hatch.  That ain't over yet.
Hooked a nice one on this bank.  It calmed down a little when the hatch was over.
I used to kind of laugh at this.  Now I think how convenient it is to have a place to sit down for a bit.  It overlooks a pool with a few of the largest, spookiest fish on the upper creek.  You can watch them swimming up and down the pool, side to side, not rising.  If you approach the creek to consider a cast, they disappear into the far bank.  I think we need one of these about every 200 yards along the banks of the Ranch!

Oct 11, 2017

Three in Three

After the MO, what does a guy do?  Get on the move looking for somethin' good.  Back to the Beav, where it should be happening.  NOT.  A windy day that was lost, followed by a shoulda-coulda-woulda day that saw sunny, calm, windy, snowy, and everything a person needs for some great BWO fishing.  NOT.  Water was down to 80ish cfs.  Clear.  And there were bugs.  I rose a couple of fish in the morning, and caught one on my last cast late afternoon, but it was pretty dead. The fish are there though.  Between one of the afternoon snow squalls, a few bigs came up and it looked like there was potential.  For about 15 minutes anyway. 
Good forecast for back to a sure thing, and off to Livingston for another day at Depuy's.  It was just like it should be.  Sunny, pretty warm, just a little wind, and fish rising all day for the most part.  We parked in the lower "glory hole" and just went at them until our backs gave out.  The Harrop emerging biot midge beat everything hands-down, though we got ate on other flies.  Seems there was a fish or two that would take any fly with a perfect drift.  Change flies and repeat.  Forecast tomorrow for 20-30 gusting to 50 means time to move again.  We split up, and I headed to the Fork the next morning.
Other than the wind, the Fork didn't disappoint.  Getting a decent drift was next to impossible, but the bugs were there and the fish were on 'em.  Mahoganies from about 10:30 to one, overlapped and succeeded by BWO's most of the afternoon.  If it only wasn't blowing up and across.  Good luck getting a drift, but it did calm down a few times long enough to do just that and take a few decent fish.  Not the big 20" jobs, but decent. Lots of "Depuy's" sized ones too (13-15")  It was good, would have been great on a calm day.  But . . . 15-25 gusting to 40 tomorrow.  Off to Silver Creek!  Stay tuned, its blowing there too.
Looks like Baetis weather to me
Last cast at the truck
Good Morning
Sure, they're cutties, but the Yellowstone's have a good look
This "mythical" October Caddis landed on my hand.  I was beginning to believe they only existed in books and fly shop blogs. 
Hallowed path
All brown now.  I was the ONLY one on the ranch until about noon.
Still damn cold, but some snow has melted
Steady bugs
Got some eats on the Mahogany hanger
LC Cripple Baetis got all the afternoon eats