About this blog

This blog is all about fly fishing for native trout. On it I cover trip reports, fishing tactics, conservation, the latest news about native trout species and much more. This site provides a companion to my web page Nativetroutflyfishing.com.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Annual trip to Yellowstone

Each year I try to make it over to Yellowstone at least once, so this year as the fall was already underway I finally made the trip over to the park, even if that meant that I only had one day there. With snow dusting the upper elevations and the leaves turning colors everything definitely had an end of season feel. I started out at Mammoth Hot Springs where I got my fishing license, lunch and wandered through the hot spring terraces.

Mammoth Hot Springs

Minerva Terrace at Mammoth

After my brief stop at Mammoth I headed east towards the Lamar Valley and into Yellowstone Cutthroat country. Unlike in the summer when it is hard to find a place to fish due to the amount of anglers, this time it was more of a problem of too many bison hanging out along the river.

Typical scene along the river

The Lamar Valley

Before long I did find a nice stretch of the river that was clear of wildlife, rigged up and headed to the water. With air temperatures in the lower 50's and a strong breeze blowing the air had a wintery feel to it and I decided to start out nymphing.

The river

It would be hard to say that fishing was fast paced, there was no sign of any rising fish even with a decent hatch of blue winged olives and midges coming off and my nymphing rig of a San Juan worm and BWO nymph wasn't getting much attention either. However, persistence pays of and when my indicator went down I am not sure whether me or the fish was more surprised about the hook up. With the cooler water temperatures, the battle seemed a bit sluggish, but the fish did have some size to it and still put a good bend in my 4wt. Before long though, I slid the beautiful 15" Yellowstone Cutthroat into the net.
A beautiful 15" Yellowstone Cutthroat

Another shot of the same fish

I finished fishing through the run after getting the one Cutthroat and had one more brief hook up, but with the cold temperatures I decided to call it a successful outing and do a bit more sightseeing before leaving the park.

The sightseeing was actually rather impressive as among the wildlife spotted there as a grizzly bear, some bighorn sheep, antelope and a couple of wolves.

A Yellowstone Grizzly Bear making its way across a small stream.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Panhandle Westslopes

Right after my trip down to the Sawtooths, I was right back to Idaho again for the weekend. However, this time up I headed up north to the Panhandle region with my buddy Bob in search of some native Westslope Cutthroat. We didn't make it to the river until late afternoon, but upon arriving we had the place to ourselves and with fish rising things were looking up.

The river

Knowing that the fish were feeding, it was just a matter of figuring out what they would be keying in on. My first guess for a fly was a hopper as they seemed to be jumping around everywhere in along the river. However, upon presenting this pattern to several visible Cutthroat, there was no sign of interest whatsoever, so I decided to switch things up a bit. After a few changes, I finally noticed some Blue Winged Olives coming off and switch to some 6x and a size 18 BWO dry. As Bob seemed to be getting a few fish downstream already, it appeared that he had figured out what they wanted, so I hoped that my choice would do the trick. Luckily it did, and within a couple casts I spotted a riser. While I missed the take, I at least got it to rise to my fly.

BWO time

With the next fish my timing was a bit better and when it rose to the fly I got a good hook set and had a solid fish on. Given the size of this Cutthroat and the 6x tippet, I set the drag loose to protect the tippet and allowed the fish to do it thing. Within a couple minutes this worked out and I eased a beautiful native 16" Coeur'd Alene Westslope Cutthroat into the net.

A beautiful Coeur'd Alene Westslope Cutthroat

Another shot of the Westlope

A severe headache that had been building all day was finally catching up to me and while I hooked a few more Cutthroat before long even the temptation of rising fish wasn't enough to keep me on the water. Plus after catching my largest Westslope Cutthroat to date it would be hard to complain about the fishing. Bob did a bit better overall, landing a total of seven cutthroat on a combination of Caddis larvae and BWO patterns.

The upper river

With a good night sleep I was rearing to go the next day. We had a bit more time to spend on the river and with beautiful summery weather we decided to head a bit further upstream. We found a spot where a small tributary added its flow to the river and with the advantage of some high ground we quickly spotted some fish. Knowing that there were fish in the area we hit the water again and trying the hopper over again I found it to be a bit more successful, especially when fished with a dropper.

Hopper time

The hopper and dropper each produced a couple of nice Cutthroat, with the hopper getting a beautiful 14"er that refused to be photographed. However, as the day progressed the BWO's started hatching again and the fish keyed in on them once again. As such, I rigged with my 1wt with a size 18 CDC Emerger and immediately started getting into more consistent fishing although everything seemed to be in the 6" to 10" range.

Light gear and native trout = lots of fun

For the rest of the day we experienced some of the better match the hatch fishing that the west has to offer, and although none of the fish we caught were overly huge they were all beautiful natives. However, all good things must come to an end and before long the road was calling us for the long drive back home.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Beaver Pond Brookies

At the beginning of the week I had to make a trip to Boise, ID and while I didn't have a ton of time to fish, I made a point of getting up to the Sawtooths for a bit. For this outing I decided to head up a random creek to see what I could find and before long a series of beaver ponds caught my attention.

Looking out over the valley

Before fishing I went down to scout things out and after seeing several fish rise in a couple of minutes, I decided this spot would do. I rigged up with a tandem rig, using a couple of my favorite beaver pond patterns, a Zug Bug and Apache Special (named after a certain type of trout that love it). Within a couple of casts this set up yielded some results and a beautiful Brook Trout came to hand.

A beaver pond Brookie

The Brookies were extremely spooky, but each pond would produce a few fish before they would catch on to things.

A beautiful male brook trout starting to show his spawning colors

On the ponds

Although I didn't have too much time to spend here and while the fish were not native, the fast paced action and beautiful surroundings were hard to beat and made for a great few hours of fishing.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sunset sea-runs

With my recent success on the Sound it was hard not to get out again, so when Colton called asking me to join him at the local beach, I was all in. When I got there the outgoing tide was underway Colton was already fishing.

Sunset at the beach

As with my prior outing, the fish seemed to be in and Colton had already gotten into a couple and within a few minutes found another nice 10" Cutthroat. While it wasn't lights out fishing, every ten minutes or so one of us would either get a hit or lock into a fish. Colton seemed to be having a bit better luck than me with the Cutthroat and was up three Cutthroat to my one Flounder before long.

My little Flounder

However, as the light faded we both decided to put some larger flies on and the change up seemed to make all the difference for me as I got a strong take and a solid hook up. This fish had some size to it and made my 6wt rod work for it. After several minutes of battling though, I brought the beautiful 16" sea-run to hand. After this fish we had a couple more hits, but the light was fading fast and we had to call an end to the day.

A great way to end the day.