Thursday, March 28, 2013

The "Epic Holiday" Adventure

Five days later, my anticipation for a great adventure turned out to be an EPIC adventure.  When you go on a journey with a few friends to an annual river retreat of sorts, you expect to have a good time one way or the other.  I mean...  Fish, Friends, Food, Fun.  What more could you ask for?  Nada...

The "Epic Holiday" adventure takes place on the Beaverhead River, MT.  It starts with Maynard and I picking up Ernie and his son, Leroy, about halfway to our destination.  A soon to be 18 year old Leroy is a new addition to  "Team Trouble" (as the fish call us)  and he has no idea what he is in for... or should I say that the fish don't know what they are in for.  There is no stopping any of us... even though it is a COLD week... 

As this is the third trip out for Leroy in his early fly fishing journey, we sit back and watch his dad, Ernie, give instruction.  Young Leroy is a quick study.  He learns the lob cast and picks up a quick ten in the net.  The first day is a short one, as we only have the late afternoon hours after traveling.  But, no worries!  We all hook up to a few browns and rainbows.  A great way to start the trip. 

I'm a little concerned about Leroy and his laid back approach to catching fish.  I mean, RD always gives a hoot and holler everytime a fish hooks up!  Lol.  But, young Leroy is more on the quiet side and very politely says "fish".  Papa Ernie brings over the net to bring in the next fish.  This goes on over and over again.  Almost 20 fish netted in a couple of hours between the three of us with Ernie getting in a few between saying "mend!" and "set!" to Leroy.   A good start.  Day one ends with a fine dinner at Blacktail Station in Dillon. 

On Day 2, Maynard finds some action in a hole that we affectionately name, "Slaughter Alley"...  It was originally named "The Crime Scene Hole".  I guess you get the message!  It was unbelievable.  When you thought that maybe it was fished out... And we all had plenty of turns... It just kept delivering up beautiful 16-20 inch browns and rainbows.   We did fit in a nice lunch fixed on the bank by ol' RD.  Homemade meatloaf sandwiches were on the menu.  Mmmmm...

As a group, we pulled out over a dozen fish in that hour and a half in "Slaughter Alley".   I went for a triple species with a rainbow, 2 brown and a 5 lb ....whitefish (yeah, it figures). Here's my bow.   I had a smile that stretched across my face!  This is catching, not fishing!  A heck of a lot more fun...  This part of the river rocked, needless to say.  And Leroy just kept saying, "fish" everytime he caught another 16 inch trout.  No "Incoming!", "Fish On", " Oh, Yeah, Baby!"... Just, "fish".  (No exclamation point) 

At the end of the day, Maynard and I won out on going to the Taco Bus.  Ernie always gets out voted... poor guy.  We are all tired at the end of Day 2.  And macho burritos and enchiladas de crema are a perfect way to satisfy the hunger pangs.

Day 3 starts with young Leroy not getting out of bed in the morning... I understand that about teenagers!  (He might have been a little under the weather from over exertion as he did catch a heck of a lot of fish the last day and a half! Ha.)  So, the three amigos ventured back to the river to find some new territory.  All I can say about the next stretch of water was that it was loaded with fish for the taking.  Unbelievable?  Yeah.  It rocked the house.  I think that it was only a few casts before I had one on.  And another... and another... 

Ernie ended up calling this stretch, "The Nursery".  Now, the size of fish in here were a nice 12-14 or 15 inches...which in my opinion is not a baby fish.  Oh well.  It has its name.  "The Nursery" was simply amazing anyway you looked at it.  And I did find some very nice fish... I even landed a 5 lb whitefish at the end... #13.  Lucky #?  Nope.  I couldn't get off the number.  But, the fly shop told me that it was indeed a "prize" for people up there that smoke them... = )  Maynard had his fair share of fish too that morning.

And Ernie who named the water, "The Nursery", must have forgotten about this catch!   Maybe the name should refer to how many were in there instead!  It was a 20 + catch day for Ernie too.  

Yep, RD is still smilin'!!!  How do you like my "baby"???  I guess that the best thing about this trip was that I only needed two flies.  A crane and a midge.  I threw them for five days!  And they delivered!  I've never seen anything like it.  I kept smiling even after I lost my net.  Two years in a row on the same river.  What's up with that?  Well, if my net is a sacrifice to the "fishing gods" or a new owner, I can deal with it. 

Day 4 brought back Leroy.  He had to experience "The Nursery" too.  And I just kept rolling my eyes watching this kid bring in such beautiful trout.  He was simply amazing for his third time out.  Heck, he will be outfishing me in no time!  A great young man too.  So, as he said in his laid back way, "fish"... I gave him a new nick name.  "Ho Hum Leroy".  Just another fish at the end of his line!   He made it look so easy.  And Papa Ernie was just a little bit proud. =)

Of course, Ernie had a few casts of his own.  He landed this little guy.  Hey, wasn't that the one that I was after???   A steak dinner was on tap after another epic day of fishing catching.  I don't know why being on the river all day makes you sooooo hungry for a salad, baked potato and a hot, juicy steak!  But, it does.  And no, they couldn't get me to partake of the appetizer of the night...Rocky Mtn. Oysters... heehee. 

Day 5, The Party's Over...  All good things must come to... well, not an end.  Just until we meet up again.  We had three hours to rock the house.  And we did.  EPIC trip????  You could say that again.  One more time to "Slaugher Alley" was in order.

Hello... Mr. Brown Trout!

"Incoming" trout for Maynard.  He also gave me some very useful tips on casting.

And my favorite catch of the EPIC Holiday!

After Ernie helped me on my "mending", he took care of business.  Ernie's favorite slab to end the the trip... It was time to head home.  It just didn't get any better than this.  At least 6 double hook-ups during the trip.  Well over 100 fish caught, even though we took time out one day to search for the "Holy Grail" on a sight seeing trip.  (Won't get into that one...ha)  Each of us had a rainbow over 17 inches.  And the browns had size, color and gorgeous halos.  You just can't ask for more than that.  

Good bye blueberry pancakes.  Good bye cold, crisp 25 degree air!  
Good bye Beave!  Until next time.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Land Of Shining Mountains

The only "tippets" this time around will be those being cast into the Beaverhead River in Montana.  Sunday Tippets will be back next week at its regularly scheduled time and place.  The River Damsel is on a Montana adventure for a few days.  And although it has been cold, the fishing has been great!

I caught my rainbow here, two browns and a 5 lb whitefish in the same hole, which we affectionately named as "The Crime Scene Hole"... since we went back to it more than once. 

But the trip so far, has been full of brown trout...
Well, I am off for Day 3...  Hope all of you are enjoying your weekend!
Tight lines and  many fishy hookups as Spring is here (or is it?)!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

It Was The ________'s Fault

He's Back!  My friend and your experienced fly fishing guide, Kerry Almond.  Last year, Kerry was gracious enough to tell us about life and fly fishing in Yellowstone Country.  And now I bring him back to answer my question of the last three years, "Does the weather affect how well the fish will be biting"? 

~~~   A "Sunday Tippets"  Guest Post  ~~~
by Kerry Almond

We've all had those days. The days when the fish have lockjaw and nothing seems to work. Your're throwing the same bugs, same line, same location and getting the same drifts, and still nothing. We all know trout can be moody and selective about what they will eat and some days it drives me crazy. The more I fish, the more convinced I am that these days are not just random disruptions in the universe that we choose to blame, but almost always the result of some sort of external environmental change created by weather patterns.

I learned a saying a long time ago, " fish the front of a front and the back of a front".  Approaching storm fronts always come with a falling barometric pressure and as the pressure is skidding downwards, the fishing can be outstanding. Once the storm has hit and the barometer stabilizes on the low side, fishing is usually poor until the barometer begins to move above 30.0 and I choose to stay home or at least not expect a real productive day if I do venture out. I really dont worry about barometric pressure during long periods of good weather during the summer. When the barometer reading is around 30.2 and above, I find trout eat fairly consistently.

The best tool that I use to track barometric pressure is my wristwatches. I rarely buy a watch that doesn't have a barometer. Most brands will give you the pressure reading as well as weather trends. I use mine daily and have kept pretty good records in my fishing journal to establish trends and develop my own findings. I encourage everyone to get out there, think outside the box, explore new rivers and things that work. I promise, it will be well worth your time and make your time much more enjoyable.


You can find Kerry Almond at Bud Lilly's Fly Shop in West Yellowstone, MT.  and guiding the waters of some of the most beautiful places on earth...  Thanks, Kerry for sharing your thoughts with us today!  

Yellowstone opens up to fishing the Saturday of Memorial day and fishes all the way to it’s closing the first Sunday in November. 

Sunday Tippets:  

Favorite hatches to fish in the Yellowstone and surrounding areas:

Salmon Flies
Henry’s Fork - May 20th to June 15th
Madison River - June 25th to July 15th

Golden Stones
Henry’s Fork - July
Madison River - July

Gray Drakes on Slough Creek
 July 15th to Sept 15th

Terrestrials on All rivers
   July 20th on...

Ho Hum... Kerry found Mr. Brown once again... 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Wally World "Fly By" Adventure ~ Sunday Tippets, Damsel Style

A two day fly fishing trip in RD's world usually is crammed with as much as you can get in.  Not a relaxing five day trip, that's for sure.  But, we still get plenty of fishing in and see a few side attractions as well.    This trip will go down as the Wally World "Fly By" Adventure...  I met up with Ross Slayton, who is one of the 5 flyfishers in the IF4 movie, "A Deliberate Life".  He has been a FB friend for awhile now and I have bought some really nice flies from him in the past.  He lives close to the South Fork of the Snake and I have wanted to have someone acquaint me to that river... So, I thank Ross for sharing some river time with me!

First, we had lunch in Idaho Falls.  At Pachanga' favorite chicken enchiladas with lobster sauce and my favorite cheesecake anywhere!  Yes, it's true. So creamy...

Ok...moving on.   The South Fork of the Snake.  Outside of Idaho Falls, ID.

 It was a fun afternoon as Ross, Bobo the river dog,
and I walked the river bank to find us some trout!

Then, it was time to land a nice, big brown trout!!
As I worried that he would break off as my rod did a nose dive, Ross just sat on a rock behind me exclaiming, "you got him, you got him..." 

After a couple short hours, I had to head to my next desination...
The Walmart "Fly Fishing Shop"
Ross was nice enough to take RD there for a post worthy report!

 Yes, it's true.  There are only a few of them.  The "Big Box" store gets it's tentacles into fly fishing.  I will always be an advocate for the small and personal fly shops, but I thought that it would be interesting for you to see what's in the "Box". 

Well, I do have a couple of questions about what is on this board.  I just have something about "wets" not being called "nymphs".   To each their own.  And "pick your favorite" under the "dries"!!  Ok...

Do you think that if they had Walmart river guides, that they might wear their
blue vests with a smile???  Maybe not, but I'm sure their thingamabobber indicators have those smiley faces on them!

Blue Damsels ~ Not well made, but still Damsels!

Yup, cheap enough flies.  Just remember you get what you pay for, usually.  A few fish might go after them.  You never know.  No, Ross.  Those don't look like your ties!

Rods and Reels.  Not names like Sage, Winston or Redington.  But, they do carry South Bend, Shakespeare and Eagle Claw to name a few.   Brands that appeal to those starting the sport or that are on a budget.  They did carry the Ross starter combo sets.  And a few bigger items, like pontoons!

Now we take you to the "tippet wall".  Hey, it's RD with some Cortland Fair Play tippet...  A decent enough tippet to make your outing successful.  I have tried three different brands of tippet and still go back to Rio.  But, in a pinch...this could very well work.  I have heard some decent reviews.

Now, wait a minute!  Ross...get your hand out of the bait fridge!!  What are worms doing in the fly fishing shop anyway?  And at the entrance no less.  Hmmmm...
I don't put live ones on the end of my line!  The "Big Box" is a bit confused here.

We must go back to the display case for a minute... Check out the plastic figures.
They must have had to fill an empty spot, so they placed a camping/fishing map complete with elk, wolves and bears.  And even a fly fisherman to boot!  I'm wondering if that came from the toy department.  = )


Sunday Tippet:  Yes, I can now say that I have seen a Walmart Fly Fishing Shop.  Will I be back?  Probably not.  But, I have 5 or 6 fly shops nearby that meet my needs and offer the most excellent customer service that you could ask for.  And that goes a long way in my book!  They know who RD is and the special needs like boot spikes, wading sticks, and magnifiers that I am in need of!  And I can always get an up to date fishing report along with what bugs are working.  Bonus!  But, if you are a bait fisherman, you can get your supplies along with worms (oh, you might have to check in the fly fishing section for that one), powerbait, and licenses in the separate Fishing Department.

Oh, I almost forgot... There was one more day.  It was a gorgeous, sunny day at the Warm River and the South Fork of the Teton River.  It was a perfect way to send me home with a smile.   = )  Yes, Yellowstone Country still has the white stuff stacked up!

Gorgeous, huh?  That's why I continue to find an "adventure in every riffle".

And Walmart, you will still continue to be the place that I buy my Black Forest candy.

Yes, I eat bugs.
But, only juicy ones.