Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Tying Journal 12/28/04

I tied up some Firehole flies today; 1 doz Iris Caddis (#16) and 1 doz Poly Wing Duns (#20). Both of these flies were the top producers on the Firehole this past fall. The Iris was tied on the end of a 10 ft leader tapered down to 5x then a #20 BWO pattern was tied on a 24 in 6x dropper. The takes were evenly divided between the two flies which speaks volumes of the Firehole's unique character. Is there anywhere else in the West where Baetis and Caddis come off at the same time?
I also tied six hacklebacks in peacock on a 1x short, 2x strong, #10 hook. These have been my most succesfull carp flies over the past two seasons

Iris Caddis
Hook: TMC 900BL #16
Tail: antron yarn, pinkish orange
Body: Hare-Tron Dubbin, Lt olive brown #5
Shuck: Zelon, tan
Head: Squirrel SLF, golden olive

Peacock Hackleback
Hook: 075 Dai-Riki
Weight: .30 or .25 lead
Tail: Sili-legs, clear brown
Hackle: Dry fly hackle, brown, barbs must be longer than hook gap
Body: 4 or 5 peacock herls, twisted then wrapped

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Rocky Ford Creek 12/22/04

Nope wasn't too far above the footbridge. Though he hooked a couple he had yet to land anything. I found a spot close to him and we BS's while we fished. Neither of us were having any luck at that spot so we walked back up to the main pool where I had landed three pigs earlier.
I was able to get into one more tank but that was it. A warden came by and checked our licences and flies to make sure the hooks were barbless. He also aked us how we were doing. I told him that I caught four fish he said that I was doing better than everyone else.
There were many times that day that I wished I had a rod set up for a dry fly. The midges were coming off in waves and the fish responded by rising to them. I have to admit I'm curious to see if one of those igs can be landed on 5x tippet.
All and all a good few hours of fishing.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Quote of the day

Here is a quote from A.K.'s Fly Box, one of the best flyfishing books out there. It seems true on at least a few different levels.

"Gather your own information, and believe little of what you here."

Good stuff.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Tying Journal 12/15/04

Last night I tied up a half dozen Dirk Digglers:

Hook: #700 Dai-Riki, 1x strong, 4x long, streamer hook, #2-#10
Head: Nickle conehead and tung
Tail: Marabou, white
Hackle: Grizzly
Body: New age chenille, white

Put the conehead on then slip the tungsten bead in behind it. The rest of the tie is pretty staight forward.

This morning I tied up twenty #18 poly wing duns:

Hook: Tiemco 101, #18-#22
Thread: Rusty dun, 8/0
Tail: Micro-fibbets, dun
Body: Super Fine, gray olove
Wings: 1/3 strand of polypro yarn, gray dun

The important thing for this pattern is the wings. They have to be upright and slightly divided. The best way to get the wings right is to tie them in spinner-wing style. Then, with dubbed thread, make a couple of figure 8's between the wings, next make figure 8 wraps around the base (outside) of the wings. Also be carefull not to cut the wings too short. Tying the other parts of the pattern is pretty simple.

The Diggler has been a great streamer for me this year. It's caught browns out of the Madison in the Park, 'bows from rocky ford and Dollies from the Devil River and Rocky Creek.
The Poly-wing dun did real well on the Yak this fall. I used a #20 pattern during the baetis haches with great success. I really wish that I would have had this one on the Firehole River in September/October. This should be a great PMD imitation too.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Post Script: Yakima River 11/8/04

I started out fishing both sides of the river near MP**. Baetis and a few mahogonies mixed in. Followed the sun down to Frustration Flats. Lots of risers including some bigguns. Landed a few 12 inchers then left the flats frustrated. Chased the sun down to MP*. Someone was parked there so I moved down to the lonesome pine. From the road I spotted a few risers. By the time I got down to the river a full hatch was coming off. Many large trouts came to hand. When I left it was almost dark and there were still duns floating down the river.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Rocky Creek, 12/7/04

Rocky Creek is one of those sleepers, an easily overlooked stream that secretly gives up some big native fish to those few anglers who are in the know. I have, on occasion, heard rumors about Rocky Creek that told of large white streamers and big bull trout. This is the kind of rumor that you hear just often enough to remember the last time you heard it. "Oh yeah, 'ol Sal told me about that place once," you say as you catalogue the details into some remote part of your brain that compiles and cross references obscure rumors. One day you hear the rumor again and a light turns on in your head. Before you know it you're telling yourself that you have to get up there and angle for some of those bull trout.
So it was on this past Monday that my friend Leonard and I went up to Rocky Creek high on the hopes that we might get into some bull trout. The river was running clear and low, normal for this time of year. We stopped in the middle of a bridge to look down into the water and see if we could spot some bulls. Of course we didn't spot any, they blend in too well with the streambed. We did see some salmon; cohos and a few old chums who looked to have been dead for a week despite the fact that they were still facing into the current barely swimming in place.
We crossed the bridge and drove upstream. I would have liked to have gone up further but we had driven far enough for such a short day and had already found some good looking water. It rained as we strung up our rods. Big drops of water dripped down on us from moss covered tree limbs high overhead. Occasionally the low clouds parted affording us a view of snow covered mountains. This time of year you never seem to be very far from a snowy mountain or two.
The fishing was fair. That is to say that it's better than work and just being outside amongst the mountains and dead salmon is its own reward. I did manage to land a couple of fish. The first one was a seventeen inch bull trout. I caught him out of the head of a pool that I drifted my streamer through. When I felt my fly stop I thought that it had snagged a rock. When the "rock" started moving downstream I knew I had a fish on. He fought like hell, taking line up and down the pool. The second fish I landed was a spawned out coho. I caught him in a shallow slot just off the bank. Though he probably weighed three times more than the first fish he only fought half as much. I guess that being half dead takes the wind out of the 'ol sails.
Leonard did't do as well. He fished as hard as I did with the same sort of fly that I had. Maybe it just wasn't his day. Or maybe I had been lucky to catch my two fish. Who knows? I do know that it would have been better if he did catch something if only so I didn't have to ponder the merrits of skill versus the randomness of blind luck. But I think that Leonard had a good day despite being skunked. I know that my day was better for him being there. I had to brag to someone.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Post Script: Devil River Dollies 11/23/04

This was one of those days that I almost didn't go fishing. The drive to up to the Devil River is long and it would have been real easy to just stay at home and tie some flies. Knowing what I do now it's hard to believe that I had to make myself go fishing. But even then I realized that if I didn't go today I would be kicking myself in the ass come January. In January the trout streams are too low and cold for the fish to actively feed and elsewhere the Dollies have moved down from the small tributaries that fish so well with a fly.
Dollies, Dolly Varden; my quarry for today. These members of the char family were named after a colorful character from a Dickens novel. Dolly Varden (the Dickens character) wore dresses that were brightly colored and adorned with polka dots. For most of the year Dolly Varden (the char) are grey and green with light colored dots along their flanks. This stealthy color scheme blends almost perfectly with their streambed environment. Sometime in late summer these subdued tones transform into fiery oranges, bright reds and brilliant a white which runs along the tips of their fins. Resplendent in spawning dress these char truly live up to their name.
Before too long I found myself driving along banks of the Devil River. I took my time looking for a good spot on to fish. My jeep crawled through the wet forest on roads of exposed roots and stone. Ferns and moss grew along the sides of the track. The river was beautiful and after awhile one run looked as fishy as the next so I pulled over in the next turnout. As I rodded up I wondered about my chances of success and decided that even a small chance of landing a fish was better than staying in town.
Armed with a #4 Dirk Diggler (aka The White Wonder) tied onto a long leader off of a floating line I waded across stream feeling better about my chances. I walked upstream along the bank looking for bear tracks hoping that the bears themselves had already began their long winter sleep. Looking at the surrounding mountains I noticed that the snowline was only a few hundred feet above valley bottom. The river itself showed some snow in its color. Visibility was only about three feet, perfect for the Dolly fishing. The fish would feel hidden within the blue green water and more apt to stay in their lies than to spook at any streamside movement.
I made my first cast straight out into a tongue of current that fed into the head of a slow run. My fly swung downstream into the slower water along the river's edge. There were some chum there, between the fast water of the main current and the slow water along the bank. Ghostlike in appearance they were spent and ready to give their lives to the stream. I cast out again and again moving a step or two downstream before each cast hoping not to hook one of the dying salmon. After maybe the fifth cast my fly swung behind where the salmon were then came to an abrupt halt as my rod tip bent into a pulsing arc. Fish on! Through my flyline I felt the size of the fish as he slowly shook his head back and forth. I just hoped that it wasn't a chum. Early in the battle I managed to bring the fish close to the surface just long enough to see that it wasn't one of the dying salmon. After a few minutes of giving and taking line I finally landed a kype jawed buck that would have measured two feet in length had I brought a tape measure along. Briefly I admired his size and shape before pulling my fly out of the corner of his jaw. Then I released him into the easy flow of the soft bank water.
I was able to land three more Dollies that day on the Devil. I had hooked another but it tossed the fly before I could get a handle on him. I reeled in my line to inspect the fly and found that the hook was bent which probably happened when I pulled it out of a tree that an errant cast put it into minutes earlier. Just then I reminded myself for probably the hundredth time to check my fly after snagging it in trees or rocks and such. That's how I learn by making mistakes a hundred or so times.
Driving home that evening I got a phone call from the wife wondering If I could pick her up earlier than scheduled. I told her that I was just leaving the river and that I would do my best. She said that was fine then asked me how the fishing was.
"It was good babe, It was good."