Friday, August 27, 2010

Bass Fishing at Walt Disney World

I just returned from a vacation with the family.  We visited Florida's Walt Disney World and I was able to sneak away for a few hours for some early morning fishing.  I caught a bunch a fish (probably 15 or more in a 2 hour period).  All the fish were in the 3-5lb range with few bruisers thrown in for good measure.  I lost one really good fish that threw the fly at the side of the boat.  The guides are very accommodating, they are willing put you on fish using any method you prefer be it bait, artificial or flies.  If you plan on fly fishing you will need to bring your own equipment.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Improvised Cased Caddis

While fishing on Montana's Gallatin River I observed a large number of cased caddis with bright green bodies in this rocky fast flowing river.  Back at the cabin that evening I improvised with the materials we had on hand.  Tungsten beads in two sizes (one just happened to be green), shaggy greenish dubbing, hen feathers and yellow wire.  This was the result.  The double beads sink this one like a stone.  A perfect anchor fly for Czech nymphing.

Did it work?

I'm pretty sure it least on the Madison.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Sentry

Bald Eagle (Madison River, Montana)
The fish were wise to keep their heads down...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Slough Creek

Yellowstone's Slough Creek is one of my favorite rivers to fish in the park.   Instead of making the trek up to the meadows above the campground we fished the area below the campground because we were short on time due to a late start and the travel delays caused by the road construction in the park. Wildlife is always abundant in the area and this year was no exception.  As soon as we got out of the vehicle we were treated to the sounds of wolves.  Not your traditional wolf sounds though, this fellow we heard was definitely out of sorts.

As I made my way down stream I started coming across some very fresh tracks in the sand and gravel on the banks of the stream.  I saw fresh wolf tracks that were probably made from the fellow we heard carrying on.

Mixed in and at times on top of the wolf tracks were even fresher grizzly tracks, but unfortunately my pics of the bear tracks did not come out (I apparently had the camera in macro mode).  The reason for all the activity soon became apparent.

This cow elk had been taken down in the river most likely by wolves.  Even though the carcass looks picked over it was very fresh.  There were still large unidentifiable pieces bobbing in the shallows nearby.

From the tracks on my side of the river it looks like the bear may have chased the wolves off the kill.  That was the probably the reason for all of the complaining we heard.  Luckily the bruin caught wind of us and beat feet before we got there.  I have to say stumbling across a sight like this certainly keeps you alert and on your toes.  Keep the bear spray in reach, and fish on!

All of the fish I caught were this size, nothing to right home about but there was enough of them to keep things interesting. Every fish eagerly took a sunken amber ant on the swing.  As the day turned to evening we discovered an interesting calling card left on our vehicle in the parking lot.

Yellowstone can be a pretty amazing place.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Death of a Fishery

Even though the cutthroat fishing on the Yellowstone River is a shell of its former self due to the lake trout infestation, there were still fish to be had on my last visit to the area.  This year a trip to Buffalo Ford was a bust.  Not a fish to be seen.  The fishery has been severely declining over the years but there was always at least one shot a good fish.  Not this year...
Buffalo Ford
On my previous trip the nearby LeHardy Rapids still held some cuts.  This video shows the fish holding in the "quiet" water near shore, resting for a few minutes before they continued their journey.

It is quite disheartening when you realize that this fishery, that existed for eons, is likely gone forever.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Super Ant

Another kick ass terrestrial pattern on my Montana trip was this monstrosity dubbed the Super Ant.  My buddy Rick turned me on to this fly while fishing the Elk Meadow section of the Gibbon River.   The day before we had cleaned up on Slough Creek fishing ant patterns.  Following the old adage that bigger is better this fly was born.  Trout of all sizes on the Gibbon gobbled up this fly consistently.  It turned what started out to be a mediocre day into a great one.

Hook:  Dry Fly 8-10 3x long
Thread:  6/0 Black
Body: Rainy's Foam (small or medium)
Hackle:  Black Rooster

This simple pattern uses two materials foam and feathers.

1.   Start by trimming a tapered end to one side of the foam.
2.  Lay down a base of thread then lash down the foam

 3.  Once the foam is secured two the hook shank continue to lay down thread wraps until you build a good base for the hackle.
4.  Tie in an appropriate sized hackle by the tip.

5.  Warp the hackle around the foam and tie off.
6.  Bring the thread forward under the foam to the second lashing point.
7.  Lash down the foam and prepare another spot to add a second hackle.

8.  Wrap the second hackle the same way as the first and tie off.
9.  Bring the thread under the foam and tie off at the eye of the hook.

Your Done!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

My ride is out of commission...

I just blew the rear in my truck and Toyota wants over $3000.00 to fix it.  I spent the day shopping around for used parts and the best I could come up is a rear diff and bearings for almost $2000 with more miles than mine.  I'm negotiating with Toyota now we'll see what comes of it.  We'll I guess I can use the down time to clean her out!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Fat Albert

I came across this fly for the first time on my trip to Montana last month.  I picked up a few to bring home as tying samples thinking they would tear up the warm-water scene around here.  On a whim I ended up tying one on the end of my tippet while fishing the Gardiner River instead of the hoppers everyone was using.  The trout were all over it.  I fished it a bunch of times during the rest of my trip and it always produced.  This fly is PHAT!

It's relatively easy to tie.  Thread body, contrasting colors of foam, centipede legs, and antron for the wing.  I have a cutter that made perfect bodies without a lot of trimming so I am able to crank them out pretty quick.   

Here's a few shots to explain the construction.  I think its pretty self explanatory. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

In days bygone....

you could fill a bushel basket with crabs this size.

Those days are long gone...

I went crabbing with my son over the weekend and although we must of caught over 100 crabs the legal keepers were far and few between.  What was really disturbing is that we seemed to be the only one paying attention to size limits.  Folks were taking everything they caught regardless of size.  It reallly was quite disheartening.   I'll be placing a call to report the fragrant violations taking place here but I doubt little will be done to stop it.  It's a shame...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tenkara USA - Great Customer Service

While I was out in Montana I experienced the misfortune of breaking the tip on one of my tenkara rods.
No fault of the rod, just a bone head move on my part.

When I returned home, I placed an order for a new tip section.  Two days later I was holding the new tip section in my hands.  Repairing one of these rods could not be easier.  Simply unscrew the cap on the base of the butt and remove the damaged sections then insert the new replacement section.

Everything is back together and the rod is good as new.  Note to more attempts to drag 20+" brown trout out of log jams.

Keep up the good work guys!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Montana Traffic Jam

Hailing from the east coast I am no stranger to congested roadways.  But an early morning traffic jam was the last thing I expected to experience in the wilds of Montana.  I guess commuters are the same everywhere!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Big Bugs

One of the things I love about Montana is that there are still waters where you can cast big flies to fish and not send them scurrying off to cover.  I guess one reason is the fish are used to seeing big insects.  The most famous being the salmon fly.
Although we missed the salmon fly hatch year there were still plenty of big bugs around for the taking.  Big bugs are not limited to the dry fly fisherman.  Nymphal forms of these insects are an even more popular food form for these fish.

                                                    Yes, there are two hands holding up these salmon fly nymphs
As I mentioned, the salmon flies were gone, except for a few wayward adults flying about.  However, there was another hatch coming off that was just as good.  Stone flies and big ones at that...

But the stone fly family does not have the market cornered when it comes to big bugs.  There were plenty of hoppers around to keep the fish fat and happy as well.  Hell, even the caddis flies are on steroids out there!

Now, if only the fish that ate these bugs were as big...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Iris Caddis

This fly is the bomb!  I was told that the fly was originally developed by Blue Ribbon Flies as a mayfly emerger but it was soon was adopted to fish during caddis hatches.  The most prominent hatching insect during our trip to Montana was caddis flies and this fly cleaned up when ever caddis were on the water.  It proved itself to be a very versatile fly. We fished it up stream and down on a dead drift.  We swung them like wet flies.  We fished them greased up, floating high and dry and fished them soggy and wet under the surface.  Dead drifting or twitching, once you figured out how the fish were feeding it was like taking candy from a baby!

Hook:  Size 15 TMC 102Y (great hook but good luck finding them)
Thread:  Grey or white
Body:  Hares ear zelon mix
Tail (shuck):  Amber crinkled zelon
Wing:  White straight zelon

The fish simply ate this fly, it was a very consistent producer for us on fish both large and small.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tenkara Line Holder

Jason Klass from Backpack Flyfishing has posted a neat line holder for tenkara lines.

I love the simplicity of this set-up.  I have been been using tenkara rods quite a bit this season.  I've learned that you definitely need a method for managing your line when breaking down the rod.  I will break down the rod every time I change locations because walking around with a 13' rod fully extended is flirting with disaster.  A way to quickly store your line and leader is an essential part of the system.  Nice job on this one!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Montana 2010

I just returned from a trip from Montana.  I spent ten days fishing in the West Yellowstone area.  The trip out there was torture, the fishing was a little tougher than usual but the weather was perfect.  Over the next few days I'll share some of the details of my trip.  Overall it was a great trip.