Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Thank you

Got out for an afternoon on the Beav yesterday for a cold memorial day celebration.  Thanks to those who served and allow for us to enjoy life the way we do!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Fishing Report

Had a mixed bag of conditions this past week around Twin Bridges, and ended up with a couple rocking days of fishing, and one where we had to work harder to get em.

The weekend continued out the average weather we have been having, which kept the freestones in shape and fishing super consistent.  Sunday, just as you could see the rain building in the distance I started to see the caddis that can lead to amazing May dry fly fishing.  Unfortunately the fish weren't ready to eat them on top, and the rain caught up to us late sunday night, sending a flush of water that hasn't subsided yet.  Fortunately we have the Beav, and now that the upper is open it's a great option when there is too much water.

I spent two days up below the dam this week, and it was busy as expected, but as usuall people were friendly and showed good etiquette.  Clark Canyon Creek was a little muddy, but we fished to henne one day, and certainly could have the second had we wanted to.  The first day fishing was a little rough, but we had a great time, and hooked a couple of the crankers that enjoyed the high water through the winter months.  Wednesday we threw in at 1:00 thinking everyone would be through the top, which was not the case, but caught some good fish regardless, and welcomed Bubba back to Montana, trout style.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

High water nymphing

We've been having a sweet combination of warm days and rainy days, a perfect combination for runoff, which has bumped everything up pretty good.  Check out this great video from the boys at Headhunters.  If there are some guys that know how to fish big water it is them, since there homewater is the confluence of everything we fish this time of year (plus the gallatin).  Even though as a giant tailwater the Mo is rather unique, and I don't often nymph that deep, this inside out type of fishing is a great technique anywhere when you're dealing with big flows.  Also, take note to what Mark says about his leader setup, this makes a huge difference and although I tune mine slightly different, the 2x from the bobber down is huge.   Check out that hookset too, booyah!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Stop Eating Wild Steelhead

For those who haven't noticed, on the bottom right corner of the blog is a banner link that says "stop eating wild steelhead" and if you haven't clicked it yet, get on it!  If you don't already know, wild steelhead are ESA listed in many parts of the Northwest, or on the way to being ESA listed.  There are many different factors that have led to the rapid decline of steelhead, one of which is the netting and sale of steelhead at restaurants and markets.  After a successful campaign last winter that stopped pikes place market from selling wild steelhead, Evan Burck has formed a more unified group for outing those restaurants and markets selling wild steelhead, and notifying them about the peril of the fish they are selling.
See that adipose fin?  That means it's the real-deal and not meant for eating.

Evan and I have been friends since we were about 5 years old, grew up fishing together, and after different paths out of school, have both ended up being very passionate about the conservation and protection of steelhead.  Here is what evan had to say about the cause:

"I mainly want it to be a place of info for things dealing with steelhead harvest, management, ethics, etc. "Eating" steelhead is both a literal and metaphorical thing in this case... We don't have to eat them to be doing damage to them. I think that if we are users of a resource, we should be doing something to give back to it. I'm trying to get people informed and passionate about making sure this resource lasts. With the general apathy of the situation within the angling community, and the general public's ignorance, something needs to be done to bring these topics to people's attention."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Beginning of the end of the world fishing

No brown trout were lost by crazy predictions either.
Everybody knows that this past saturday was the day that nut job Harold Camping predicted for the beginning of the end of the world.  After waking up and finding out that as expected nothing happened, we decided to head over and hit the big hole, because if the end of the world was going to start in Montana, might as well take advantage of a few less anglers on a great piece of water.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Fishing Report: Tailwater Tour

Tying on ANOTHER fly for Brett (not really).  All photos by Brett Seng.

May and June is an interesting time in Southwest Montana.  There is always a small amount of risk involved with coming to Montana this time of year as the rivers can be big and brown, but one of the benefits to fishing around Twin Bridges is the amount of tailwaters nearby.  When the freestones are fishing they typically are on fire this time of year, but when they blow out you fill up the tank and head for the bottom of a dam.  B.Seng and I got to guide together for my first couple of trips after the ACL, and we spent a day on the Beav, a day on the Madi, and then a day in the same boat for a tag team guide trip with one angler on the Mo.

All three rivers fished well, and although they are all tailwaters they all fish very differently.  The Madi, which fishes and acts like a freestone, was definitely the most difficult of the three days. The Ron Burgundy was definitely the hot fly in all three locations, and a bobber with the appropriate amount of lead were key.
Thunk is the noise this trout is about to make
Anyone that gets suckered in to riding along with two guides is in for some pain fun.  Mark was a great sport dealing with Brett and I busting on each other through out the day, especially when  I thought I left the chips for our lunch in the truck, only to find it was in the boat the whole time.  The folks at Headhunters hooked us up with the goods as usual, and unfortunately we had to get back in a time frame or we would have been back for dinner at Isaak's.  Fishing wise, it was definitely worth the drive, and if you like nymphing out of a boat it's a great time to be up there.  The flows are huge, but it's a fun challenge to nymph with 10' between your bobber and lead.
Check out the worms flying out of there.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

America's Most Endangered Rivers

As stated above, American Rivers released their annual list of our 10 most endangered rivers.  The list highlights rivers that are in imminent danger, and that your help can impact immediately.  Here is the link to this years list.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday: Escape Series

Since we have a temporary hiatus on Backyard flow, I thought I would take this opportunity to create a new weekly segment. The Escape Series will feature photos that take you away from wherever you may find your self on a Monday morning. I often find my self framing hero shots in this similar fashion, with the angler taking up the majority of the side third and showcasing the scenery of where the fish was caught. This brings a lot more to a typical hero shot, showing not just the beauty of the fish but also the beauty of the areas we fish.

Canon 40D
17-40 F4L
17 mm
F 4.0
ISO 100

Post processing done with Aperture 2.0. Selective dodging on shadowed areas, primarily on the face. Luminance of blue hues dialed down. Small bump to contrast and black point.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday Fishing Report: Getting Guided on the Madison

So for the summer I am switching things up and rather than the Backyard Flow we have tried to do most fridays, we will throw up a Friday fishing report. Most of the content will be about SW Montana, but if c-squad does something in Central Washington he'll be sure to post it. Most of them will be nowhere near as long as todays, but there was a ton of funny things that happened yesterday, so I have to share.

Yesterday while drinking my morning coffee and debating on tying more worms or mowing the lawn, B.Seng, fellow guide at The Stonefly Inn, called me and reminded me that because of my knee surgery he was guiding a single angler, and that if I wanted to go fishing he'd swing by on his way out of town and let my gimp ass sit in the back of the boat. After a couple minutes of lawn mowing thoughts I did my usual mind trick and erased all notions of responsibility and got my gear together. After picking up his truck from the shop for a brake job, Brett and his guest Ryan picked me up and we did something I rarely do, drove past the flashing light in the middle of Twin Bridges and went to the Madison.

We dropped down through Ennis, and as we pulled into Varney Bridge, Brett's truck starting making a weird rattle from the front left brake. After stopping and checking it out, Brett declared it good to go, and he backed in to launch his boat. At this point we all realized something was really wrong with the brake as it made a loud groan and stopped working, smack in the middle of the varney boat launch. In order to launch the boat we pulled the trailer off of the truck, slid it down the ramp, launched, then hauled it up by hand. Brett made a call to the mechanic who did the brake job the day before, and he agreed to drive over and fix his truck at the boat launch, which was very nice for saving our fishing day, but forced us to change our shuttle time, a change that the shuttle driver could apparently not comprehend.

After finally getting into the water, Ryan hooked up in the first decent piece of water, and we all thought it was going to be game on. This of course would not be the case, and it was several hours before we finally put a couple of trout in the boat. About 2:30 a nice string of clouds rolled over and fishing got somewhat consistent, but still left us scratching our heads. There was not a full blown mothers day hatch, but there was certainly enough caddis around that our pupa's should have produced better than they did. Although we didn't break any records, the fish that hooked were really good ones, including a cranker that handed Ryan his ass just below the 8 mile take out. This was defintely one of those fish that you want to at least see if you can't land it.

As mentioned above, changing shuttle plans because of the brake situation was a little much for yesterday, so when we arrived at valley garden Brett's truck had not be moved. Fortunatley a couple of guides on a day off were able to give Brett a ride up to Varney while Ryan and I kicked back and drank a beer at the take out. Every guide season we all have days like yesterday, and lucky for Brett he got his out fo the way early this year. It was definitely a great time, and really nice to sit in the back of the boat and tell Brett where to row, what flies to tie on, and complain when we were not catching very many. I am sure that he appreciated my constructive criticism.

Dats a big buggah: Maui Bone!

From Shawn:

"Maui doesn't really have any good flats to speak of but I have been able to fine a few small shallows or "flats" in Kihei. After several outings and attempts, today I was finally able to connect with a nice bonefish and some tourists walking on the beach collecting shells were willing to take some photos with my iPhone (hence the poor quality). The fish had almost all of my backing within seconds and it was defiantly my most exciting fight on a fly rod to date."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Introducing: The Lane Bryant

The Lane Bryant, prom dress for big girls, doing work.
So if you made it out in my boat swinging flies this past winter, you probably got to hear about or fish the Lane Bryant.  Like I mentioned a week ago, we had some success on the prom dress this winter.  It was definitely my favorite pattern of the season, and produced some great fish.  The flash and size was great in a year that was full of high dirty water (also known as perfect swinging conditions).  Never one to let well-enough be, I started tinkering with the prom dress after gaining the confidence in an all flash fly.  What I came up with was the Lane Bryant, the big girls prom dress.

Rather than tying the flashabou in one color on both top and bottom of the shank, I began tying the flash on only the top of the hook, in two different segments (similar to an intruder).  I also started using three different colors of flash which blended together nicely when wet.  To create the segments and puff up the flashabou I used EP Anadramous advantage brushes rather then a dubbing ball or similar technique.  If you haven't tied with these brushed get ahold of some, they are a great simple way to add bulk without weight to your flies, and they shed water incredibly well.  The color scheme of the version above is similar to Tyler's fly, "the elk".  The signature part of "the elk" is the white butt, which contrasts nicely in the dark fly.  Here is a fly pic and recipe.
Shank: 35mm Waddington, Beadalon trailing material, #2 or #1 Owner SSW.
Butt:  3-4 wraps EP Anadramous advantage brush, white
Tail Wing: Blue Flashabou
Body: Blue flashy diamond braid or similar low bulk material.
Front Bump: EP Anadramous advantage brush, black
Wing: Flashabou layered in this order: Blue, Purple, Black

Notes:  Everything is pretty self explanatory,  and tied on in the order of the recipe.  The only thing that I do different is tying on the flashabou.  Rather than tying it on and clipping it on the front edge of the thread at the hook, I cut what I assume would be half the number of strands that I want, but twice as long as I want (For the above fly, that was the length of the package of flashabou).  I then tie the flashabou on in the middle of the strands, and fold it back, doubling the flashabou back on itself, then tie it off.  This saves space at the head of the fly, and also creates a good "bubbled" or "puffed" look to the flashabou and gets it to stand off that hook even more.

Also, the fly in the vice is the same one that is in the fishes mouth, and caught another fish between the above picture and making it into the vice.  Let's just say it had some serious mojo.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Oh hey I won something.

Here is to a new week- started the good way! Today The Honest Angler announced the winner for last weeks Simms photo contest. The theme was fishing buddies. I entered several pictures, and the folks over at Simms chose this picture of Jergens with fellow Stonefly Inn guide Brett Seng.

This weeks topic is "extreme fishing." Entries can be emailed to honestangler@simmsfishing.com.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Shorts and Skwalas

Warmth and Haze= perfection.
Made it out on the water last week for the first time since I had ACL surgery two weeks ago, and was sure glad that I did.  I met up with Greg Bricker for a float through a canyon that is known for putting out some big ones, but not very many.  This reputation didn't really pan out for us, and we had pretty consistent fishing, but farmed out two chances at decent ones, neither of which were really giants.
CZ, mmmmmm.
Greg held to his guns and fished a big fish rig all day, and I went after the fish that were willing to look up for the big bug.  This switching of techniques worked out really well for us, as Greg fished the deep choppy stuff that usually puts out the crankers, and I fished the skinny water in between, where fish were more likely to look up for dries.  This was only the second day I have been out trout fishing this year, and it was great to be able to wear shorts, sit in the bow of the boat with my gimp leg, and chuck a #12 chubby to some willing fish.  After lasts summer lack of big dry fishing, and a winter of standing waist deep waiting for something to yank on the end of a spey rod, I had all but forgotten how nice it is to watch trout swim up and inhale a dry.   Hard to beat a day in May with a good friend, throwing dries in shorts weather.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Backyard Flow

Sunset on the Beaverhead last Friday.

I have never seen a river that I could not love. Moving water...has a fascinating vitality. It has power and grace and associations. It has a thousand colors and a thousand shapes, yet it follows laws so definite that the tiniest streamlet is an exact replica of a great river. -Roderick Haig-Brown

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A new dam on the Yakima?

A great Yakima rainbow.  Better management will definitely help these guys.

There is a very interesting project being proposed for the Upper Yakima basin. This project includes putting in a new billion dollar dam, called the Wymer Dam, at Lluma Creek in the lower canyon, and pumping water from the upper river to the new dam to fill the resevoir, with the outcome of providing more water for irrigation in the lower valley.  This project is designed to provide more storage for irrigation in the Lower Yakima  

If you look at the yearly hydrograph for the Yakima, it is the opposite of how a natural river should behave.  In the spring the Yakima flows big with runoff, and has short bursts of snowmelt, but then stabilizes at a much higher then normal volume from June till September.  The water is then cut off at the beginning of September as lower valley irrigation needs are met by the Naches watershed.  This cutoff, known as the flip flop, drops the Yakima from 3,000 to 4,000 cfs to typically 1,000 cfs in a matter of a week. The large summer flows combined with the sharp flip flop create less than ideal conditions for trout, and although the yakima does support a healthy population of trout and an increasing amount of salmon and steelhead, a natural hydrograph would certainly help the watershed.

I am not sure that this dam is needed, but better control of the Yakima's flows would certainly be a benefit if this project is completed, and the potential to help fish in the Yakima is certainly there.  Here is a link to more info on the Wymer dam project from The Osprey: Link.  Below you can find the action list from the Osprey along with contact info.  Make sure that comments are submitted by the 19th of May.

All told the plan has the potential to greatly benefit fish populations in the Yakima basin, but it is critical that the measures which benefit fisheries be implemented fully and be given equal priority in federally appropriated funds. Comment today on the draft plan and tell the department of Ecology to:
  • Prioritize fish recovery and water conservation actions for immediate implementation even without congressional authorization for the full $4 billion in funding.
  • Increase storage capacity only after thorough environmental review and a determination that doing so will not have undue impacts on listed bull trout or other species.
  • Manage increased water storage such that it provides a more natural hydrograph and improved habitat conditions in the mainstem Yakima, and Naches Rivers.
  • Prioritize protection and restoration of the Teanaway River basin, where there is an imminent development threat but also considerable potential for salmon, steelhead, and bull trout recovery.
  • Include in the EIS an assessment of how the various alternatives will (or won’t) help fish populations survive and recover in the face of climate change
Comments are due by May 19th and can be sent to:

Attention: Candace McKinley, Environmental Program manager,
1917 Marsh Road
Yakima, WA 98901;
or by e-mail to yrbwep@usbr.gov

Monday, May 2, 2011

2 Handed Trout

Dave Henry of 2handedtrout, check out his report from the Bow.

Check out the new website coming out of Langley, B.C. 2handedtrout.  The name explains itself, a site focused on using two handers for trout.  With as many options out there now for light switch rods and light spey rods, you really don't hear or see too many guys fishing trout with them.  I bring my 6wt spey in the boat in the fall to get tuned up before fall steelhead season but need to utilize it as a tool more regularly, especially with some of the options we have for bigger trout around here.  When I was on the Yakima and had consistent winter fishing, a switch rod was the ideal tool for swinging a light tip and a bugger, and lead to some great afternoons of fishing.  If you already throw the big boy rod for trout, or are just thinking about it, take a look at 2handedtrout.