Spring Newsletter

April 2009 - June 2009


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Be sure to check the current fishing report for frequent updates on our conditions and latest fishing excursions.


Fish on!


Damsels were the Deal!

Another Beauty!

In the Butt Bob!

Dry Fly!

June 17th

Wayne and Julie Lain came up from Texas to check out the Cody area and see Yellowstone. Wayne had fly fished before but this was Julie's first time so we chose to hit some private ponds for a nice relaxing day of learning the basics and hopefully catching a few fish. One thing I've learned is that if you want your wife to enjoy fishing with you, take it easy on her and make it enjoyable. You don't want to make it in extreme weather and you don't want to make it into a marathon. That is exactly how it worked out !

When we arrived at the first pond there were fish rising everywhere. It looked like it was going to be easy. Looks can be deceiving. After we went over rigging the rods, knots, making leaders, and some basic casting techniques, it was time to fish. The weather of late has been a little of everything and it has had an interesting effect on the fish. They would rise for a few minutes and the quit, then back to feeding again. They seemed to be eating little tiny midges right below the surface. Finally Julie caught her first fish on a fly. A once in a lifetime accomplishment!

Wayne got a few fish as well but I just couldn't put my finger on the right fly or proper presentation. There were fish rising all over and we should have been catching a bunch but it was just one every so often. That's what keeps us coming back! Finally the damsels started to hatch and it was on! We saw lots of nymphs crawling out on the shore and if you put your fly in front of a fish they pounded it. This was a great example of a lake hatch and an excellent opportunity for a beginner to see how it works.

After a nice lunch of marinated grilled chicken breast, home made German potato salad and a red wine vinigrete cold slaw and fresh strawberries for desert we headed for another private pond. Fish were rising when we arrived. We saw a bunch of damsels and the same swirling rises just below the surface so we stuck with the nymphs. Julie caught a lot of fish right off the bat as did Wayne. Big healthy rainbows. We had now caught plenty of fish so we decided to try some different presentations. We tried dries, dry droppers, nymphs with and without an indicator and some emergers right below the surface. We varied the retrieves on each to see how it effected the bite. All in all a great learning experience!

The bite slowed about 6 p.m. and we called it a day. Slightly tired but happy and ready for a nice meal. I thoroughly enjoyed fishing with Wayne and Julie. I encourage them to keep up the good work and come fishing in Yellowstone country again this fall. By then they will be saying, "Fly Fishing is EASY!". We'll have a blast! Enjoy the pictures!



First Fish on a Fly!

Fly Fishing is EASY!

Big Fish of the Day!

Talk about a Subtle Take!

Last fish!


Varnish Melt Down!

Not Sure Who Made It!

New Ferrules!



June 14th

My wife brought home an old bamboo rod she picked up at an auction the other day for $20. I was horrified when I saw it. It had an extreme varnish melt down, the ferrules needed replacing, all the guides were bad, the cork and reel seat were in poor shape. Other than that it was perfect. The lesson here is that if your wife ever brings home a bamboo rod, be encouraging no matter what. Unlike graphite, bamboo can be fixed.

The rod had no marking or node placement and was not a valuable rod to begin with. It was an 8' 6" 3 piece with a single tip. All the sections were complete. A great size to fish with around here. I began by stripping it down and to my surprise, the bamboo was in pretty good shape. I ordered a set of guides and a tip top and upgraded it to modern standards so it would cast better. I then contacted Mike Clark in Lyons about a ferrule. I found out that you can use a drill bit box to measure ferrules if you don't have a micrometer. Size the male ferrule and the ferrule size is one size smaller. I had some silk left over from another restoration that would look good.

After a through cleaning of everything I took the sets out of each of the sections with a hair dryer. This takes a bit of practice. To hot to touch is to hot. I then reset the ferrules and rewrapped the rod. Things were looking up! After 6 coats of thread color preserver it was time to dip the rod in my secret varnish recipe.

When everything was done the rod looked magnificent! I let the varnish set up for a week and took it out for a test. The rod cast beautifully! I couldn't believe it! I now had a nice looking inexpensive bamboo rod to fish that I didn't have to worry about to much. Take a look at the before and after pictures. Anyone with a little ingenuity can do this kind of work in just a couple of days. Since I already had two 8' 6" rods it is now for sale down at the Humble Fly shop in Cody. Go take a look for yourself!


Doesn't look Good!

Cane is still in Great Shape!




June 2nd

Keith Richardson and I headed to the park to check out the Firehole and the Madison on the second of June. It was raining, windy, and cold in Cody when we left at 6:30. Some people would have considered this a suicide mission but to us it was perfect BWO weather.

There's just something about fishing in Yellowstone. The fish aren't that big, there can be a lot of people, but it is just so beautiful. I always feel a sense of nostalgia, a connection with the past. It's like no other place.

When we arrived at the river it could not have been any better conditions. The water was slightly high and off color, no wind with clouds and drizzle, and the temp was right at 40 degrees. It was early so we started with some nymphies. On the first cast, Fish On!

We fished the nymphs till about noon. Once you found the fish it was no problem catching them. They were on the seams and the slower deep water. Most took at the end of the drift just as the flies swung towards the surface. Lots of little browns on the cloudy day. We saw no one else till about 1p.m.

At noon we headed to some dry fly runs and began seeing a few rises around 12:30. The BWO's came off and fish were rising everywhere. These are small fish but they don't tolerate a sloppy presentation. It was sharp shooting. When you saw a rise you had to quickly place your fly right on the fish or no bite. Very few fish were taken on a drifting fly. It was a blast! When we broke for lunch it was 5:30p.m. 5 hours of dry fly fishing went by in what seemed like an hour!

Now we were off to the Madison. It was late and raining steadily. With the high off color water we went with streamers. The first seam produced 4 or 5 nice little browns with that many missed fish. Keith nailed a nice brown of about 18" on a #8 soft hackle! It was great. We were late on the Madison and the bite slowed by about 7 but you can only fit so much in one day.

 We headed back to Cody around 8:30, tired and happy! It was one of the best first days in the park in years for me. Now is a great time to enjoy the west side of Yellowstone. Enjoy the pictures!





The River!

The Fish!

The Food!





May 29th

Keith, Randy, David, and I spent a couple days hunting fish during run off. We  managed to find clear water and tons of willing fish. David came out from Maine and is one of Keith's closest friends. He is just starting to get into fly fishing and had just taken the L.L. Bean fly fishing starter course.

We knew the water would be high and slightly of color but still very fishable by Wyoming standards. It was exactly that! The weather was absolutely perfect. 67 degrees, no wind, and a beautiful partly cloudy day. We immediately spotted several moose and a small bunch of elk up on the hillside.

The first hole we came upon we knew the fishing was going to be off the charts. There were fish everywhere and they would come to a fly from 6 feet away in off color water. It was on!

We had to use nymph rigs in the high fast water. The flies needed to be on the bottom. This meant we had to adjust weight and depth for each run a little differently. If you got it right it was not unusual to get 10 fish from one spot! David caught on quickly and before he knew it he was catching fish on a fly rod totally unassisted. That's what we were looking for!

It was almost TOO EASY! On the other hand, never look a gift horse in the mouth. We had a great lunch of roasted pork sandwiches, a couple nice salads and fresh strawberries and just continued to catch fish in absolutely beautiful surroundings for the rest of the day. It doesn't get any better!

Day two we decided to relax and do some float tubing on a local reservoir. This was David's first time in a float tube and the Outcast Fat Cats are the Cadillac. It is just like sitting in a big comfortable chair!

The bite was a bit unusual this day. We were using sink tips. The trick was to cast out, let the flies sink to the bottom, and retrieve until the flies were directly beneath the tube in 25 feet of water. Just as the flies went vertical, there would be a very subtle take. Once you learn to feel it, Fish On!

We moved from spot to spot catching some real pretty Yellowstone Cutts for the entire day. David picked this up very quickly as well and had a great time reeling in fish all day! He now has two more very effective techniques to play with back in Maine. Two days of fun fishing with some great friends. That's what it's all about! Remember, Fly Fishing is EASY!




The Man!

The Brothers!

The Fun!

Greedy Fish!

Having a good Time!

Breaks Over!


First Fish!

Nice Little Brown!

Sweet rainbow!

Even Bigger Brown!

!8" Rainbow on Bamboo!


May 12th

Last Christmas I bought a 7'6" Phillipson Peerless "63" bamboo rod and had not really had a chance to fish it in the kind of water it was meant to be fished in. Shell creek is the kind of water it was meant for.

Shell creek is a relatively small stream with fast pocket water. The Phillipson is a quick little bamboo rod with a good amount of backbone to handle some larger fish. It is a good roll caster and has plenty of get up and go to cast in the wind and make some longer very accurate casts. This is exactly what you need on Shell creek.

The trick to fishing Shell creek is to walk a bit. Most of the holes at the pullouts have been hammered. If you walk 100yds you'd be surprised at some of the residents of this little stream. The flow was 125cfs and slightly off color. The sky was overcast with a slight breeze and warm. Perfect for fishing a little brown trout stream before run off.

Nymph rigs were in order for this time of year, The little Phillipson had no trouble handling a 2 fly rig with a couple split shot. Any place the fish can get out of the current is potential holding water. The first run I nailed 4 nice little browns about 12" or 13". This gave me a warm spot for the little rod right off.

I moved down below were Don was fishing and began working up the run.  I was able to cast 40' with no problem, keep everything mended, and had excellent control of the line through out the drift. I picked up 3 more nice browns and a rainbow! I was really starting to get the feel of this rod.

We moved to a different spot and in the first hole I came to I hooked a brown that was at least 18"! He took me down stream and around a rock and Buh Bye! That was a huge fish for this little stream! Next spot after about 10 drifts I hooked a rainbow that appeared just a little smaller. I had tippeted down to 0X after the break off and I shot down stream quickly, staying with the fish. A very nice rainbow about 18"!

We got several more nice fish out of the creek and called it a day early so we could get back in time for dinner. The Phillipson really impressed me for fishing the fast pocket water. We will be fishing partners from now on! Enjoy the pictures!

Phillipson Peerless "63"

7'6" 2/2 custom ventilated grip and Chinese red silks by Bob Lancaster


Don with a Fish On!

Nice Big Brown!

17" Rainbow on the Phillipson!

First Indian Paintbrush in the Bighorns!


May 10th  Mothers Day

Just a Quick report on the Clarks Fork Canyon up by the Morrison jeep trail. Fishing was pretty good. I didn't get any larger fish but most were coming up to a big dry! I can live with that!

The water was slightly off color with about 3 ft of visibility. I fished a big dry with a prince dropper. Lots of little rainbows and white fish. Plenty of action later in the afternoon.

It is a 10 mile hike round trip but it is on all flat ground and not that bad. My little 13 week old puppy made it with no ill effects.

Bridal Veil Falls was looking good! As a matter of fact the canyon has some of the most spectacular scenery in Wyoming. Its hard to pay attention to your fly for looking around. It was a great way to spend a Mothers Day!

First Fish!

Kirk with a fish on!

Mike with a nice Cutt!

Suns Out!

Another good One!


May 8th

Mike Thomas, Kirk Bollinger, and I hit the river today. The elk and antelope were everywhere on the way to the forest. We had thought the water may be off color due to the rain the night before but it was very clear. A front was approaching when we got to the water and it had the bite slow for the first half of the day.

The two fishing dogs had been there a couple days ago and now knew their way around. They were all over the place. We picked up a fish here and there but it was nothing like a couple days before. The sun finally came out and the fish bit for an hour or so then it started to snow. That's one of the great things about Wyoming is that any time of year the weather can do anything within a days time. The moral is bring clothes for every situation.

After a little snow, rain and wind the sun came out and the fish started biting! When we found a likely hole it was rare to make a cast without a fish on! I watched Mike pull a dozen fish from one run in less than an hour. Kirk came up and said he'd had the same luck down in the canyon.

All the fish were in very good shape with a couple actually being fat. This is a very good sign that the river is healthy. One thing however is that only a few fish were in the 8" to 10" range. We may have lost an age class 2 years ago when we got the torrential rains in August that produced a lot of very muddy water. The biomass seems to have recovered and hopefully this will be a good rebuilding year for the fish.

By 3:00 we had all had enough and we hiked back to the truck.  We decided to hit Sunshine reservoir on the way back just to see if the fish were biting. It was blowing about 20mph when we got there but wind is just part of the game here in Wyoming. 

The water in the lake was beautiful. It was clear and green and looked promising. We put on some big streamers and began casting from the bank. Within a minute or so, fish on! The cutts in this reservoir are in great shape. All are 15" to 18" and fat with beautiful coloration. They appeared to be cruising the shore. We would get a couple in a row then nothing for a bit then a couple more. We saw quite a few fish making splashing rises in the deeper water. Probably chasing something up from the bottom. It was a lot of fun with a dozen fish brought to hand and many missed strikes. Perfect way to end a great day. The dogs even slept on the way home! Enjoy the pictures

Dogs Working Hard!

Huge fish for a little Creek!


Kissing a Fish!

Fish are in Good Shape!

Sunshine Cutthroats

Wiggler Rules!

Sunshine Reservoir has some Beautiful Fish!

Another Beauty!

Very Healthy Fish!

Still a lot of snow up there!

Puppy watching my back!

Awesome Color!

Just like on TV!

Nice and Fat!

Good fishing Dogs!


May 5th   Two Dogs and a Wiggler

Tuesday, May 5th the two fishing dogs Dash and Sid and I decided to do some freestone fishing before run off gets here. First, we picked a spot nobody else was fishing. It's way to early here. Then we checked the government flow charts for spikes and consistent flows. Once you learn to read the charts it can save you a long drive for nothing this time of year. The chart had small spikes late in the day which means that when the snow melts during the day the river goes off color in the afternoon. We had plenty of time in the morning for some good fishing before it went off color.

We hit the stream and the water was crystal clear from the cooler temps the night before. The Dogs and I were ready to rock and roll. I cast into the first run, really not expecting to much and nailed 3 fish in 3 casts! Beautiful wild Yellowstone Cutthroats! This was looking good. The Dogs were even staying close and behaving . One fish even came up and ate a dry! I looked around and there were lots of very small black stoneflies all over the rocks.

The next hole I adjusted for depth and changed one dropper to a little heavier black Copper John. As the flies neared the head of the run, Fish On! All the fish were in the deepest water right at the top of the runs. It was crazy from this point on. This was one of the best days I ever had on this stream. All the fish were 12" to 17" and in real good shape. Once we found the right spot we were able to get 5 or 6 fish from each run.

The dogs were loving life and learning not to bite the fish. By the end of the day they watched intently but kept a respectful distance. They also learned not to stand in the fly line under your feet. They are fast learners and it won't be long before I will be able to trust them on some guided trips. I am still used to fishing with Christmas, the best fishing dog of all time, so they have some pretty big paws to fill. They will both make great fishing dogs!

Around 2:30 the water started to go off color and we headed back to the truck. On the way out we saw a nice herd of elk right in the road. This is the older dogs biggest hurdle. To learn not to chase game and pay attention to me. She is young and it is a huge temptation for her. We will continue to work at this until it becomes a consistent response.

One more thing. We did see another bear kill by the creek. Luckily it was down wind and the bear was no where to be found. So far this spring I have seen bear sign all most every time I go out. Use extreme caution if you fish in the forest! And remember, FLY FISHING is EASY!


Enjoy the Pictures!

1st Fish!

They don't get any Better!

Good size and Healthy!


Good Fishing Dog!

Picture Perfect!

Life is Good!


Tight Lines!


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