All About the Stonefly Nymph

Well, who ever heard of fishing the Stillwater and Rock Creek on Memorial Day? Looks like we might squeak out one last weekend before run off. Right now, flows are strong and wading is challenging. Expect some color in the water. Use the standard high water flies, especially stonefly nymphs and black buggers. The fish were absolutely attacking a size 10 halfback this week on Rock Creek. Now, halfbacks are hard to find

Rock Creek. Doesn't get any better.

Rock Creek. Doesn’t get any better.

Brown on a yummy halfback!

Brown on a yummy halfback!

anymore. That’s an old, traditional stonefly nymph pattern. Most of the new stonefly patterns have rubber legs now. And they work just fine. The important thing is choose something black colored to contrast with the dirty water. Fish the drop off at the head of deeper pools and runs for the best results. Now get out there and fish!

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Dry Fly Fishing on the Stillwater!

It was a perfect spring day on the Stilly yesterday! Cold, breezy, rain changing to snow. Midges in the morning, baetis in the afternoon. As I said, perfect!

The midge hatch started about 11 am. Fish were rising to them sporadically here and there. Tail-outs and current lines, naturally. It was difficult fishing. The feeding was sporadic, they wanted a size 20 black midge emerger and the light was bad. Just how I like it. If it was easy, they’d call it “golf”.

Baetis started hatching about 2 pm. The fish started rising more regularly, but it wasn’t pandemonium. You had to find a rising pod. Then target a single riser and get several good drifts before he would eat. They wanted a size 20 parachute BWO, the light was bad and the wind came up just enough to mess with my casting accuracy. A steady rain came down. Every fish in hand was just that much more satisfying.

To top it all off, a huge river otter popped up about 15 feet from me. I got to watch him roll and play for several minutes. Haven’t seen an otter on the Stilly in quite a while , so that was a real treat!

Spring is here, go fish it!

Nice brown on a #20 midge emerger.

Nice brown on a #20 midge emerger.

This cuttbow chowed on the #20 BWO.

This cuttbow chowed on the #20 BWO.

 

 

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Big Fun on the Big Horn (Thermopolis)

Can’t beat catching big fish on the fly in February. Chris Fleck and I spent two days on the Horn at Thermop. Nymph’s were the ticket. All the standard tail water fare caught fish. Scuds, sow bugs, worms, and midges larvae. The streamer bite was poor, but one nice brown ate a Big Horn Bugger variant. The wind was howling and brutally cold at Wedding of the Waters both days, but you get out of it a few hundred yards downstream. That’s why the Wind River becomes the Big Horn at Wedding! We had nice afternoons with no “rapid air movement”. The rainbows are ready to spawn, but not yet on the reds.

Ready to spawn and eager to eat a sow bug!

Ready to spawn and eager to eat a sow bug!

Only fish caught on the streamer. Worth it!

Only fish caught on the streamer. Worth it!

Trifecta! Cutthroat, Rainbow and Brown.

Trifecta! Cutthroat, Rainbow and Brown.

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January Dry Fly Fishing!

Good dry fly fishing on the Shoshone today at Cody. Midges were hatching from 1 pm to 2 pm. I was surprised to see the hatch switch to baetis from 2 pm until about 2:45. That’s when the clouds came in, the temperature dropped and it started to snow. Oh yeah, and the wind started blowing. The fish called it a day, and so did I. Size 20 midge emergers worked well until the baetis hatch started. Then a size 20 parachute BWO produced. This guy ate the big size 14 marker parachute I was using in front of the smaller flies! Guess he was wanted to super size it.rps20160118_172221_949

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Fall on the Yellowstone

Fall is always a beautiful time on the Stone, even if it feels like summer. The fishing is all about the nymph. Fall baetis have not begun and tricos are long over. The best bets are pheasant tails and prince nymphs fished deep under an indicator. Look for the streamer fishing to pick up as the weather turns cooler and cloudy.

The Stillwater has risen a bit and is floatable. Again, nymphing is the best bet. Some baetis are around, but a tan elk hair caddis works best for a dry fly.

Rock Creek and it’s tributaries are fishing well on the elk hair caddis, too. Drop a size 16 pheasant tail about 16 inches off the caddis and increase your chances!

Fall colors are in full swing on the Stone.

Fall colors are in full swing on the Stone.

Nice bull elk in the Reed Point area, Yellowstone River.

Nice bull elk in the Reed Point area, Yellowstone River.

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What’s Up With the Sunny September?

The last week was kind of brutal on the Yellowstone. Cloudy and windy alternating with sunny and windy. We are taking some fish on nymphs under a strike indicator, but the dry fly bite is off. We did manage to catch two 19 inch browns on two consecutive windy days. Both were on streamers on cloudy days, but fishing is overall slow. I’m looking forward to some cool, wet days to turn the dry fly action back on. In the meantime, hoppers are working very sporadically, but the big winners lately have been large meals, like yuk bugs, girdle bugs and wooly buggers.

Nice bow on a slow day of fishing. This one ate a hopper!

Nice bow on a slow day of fishing. This one ate a hopper!

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Cloudy and Cool Means Good Fishing

The fish are back on the feed with the return of clouds and cooler weather. Fish are hammering a hopper/dropper combo on both the Stillwater and Yellowstone. The Stilly is getting very bony for floating, perfect for wading. The trico action on the Stone was good this morning. Lots of spinners, clouds and cool weather. Check out this 18 incher Jon took on a size 22 trico! Dry fly fishing at it’s most technical on a wild freestone river. Three other boats on 14 miles of water…

Jon's 18 incher on a 22 trico.

Jon’s 18 incher on a 22 trico.

Ann killed it on the hopper.

Ann killed it on the hopper.

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Hopper Bite Just Gets Better!

Emily caught some nice fish on her first day of fly fishing!

Emily caught some nice fish on her first day of fly fishing!

Fish on the Yellowstone are hammering the hopper. The girls out fished

Julie caught two like this, plus a bunch of smaller trout!

Julie caught two like this, plus a bunch of smaller trout!

the guys in my boat two days in a row.

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Dry Fly Fishing on the Yellowstone!

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Tucker ripped some brown trout lips yesterday!

Tucker ripped some brown trout lips yesterday!

Look at that huge Yellowstoner hanging from that 19 inch brown!

Look at that huge Yellowstoner hanging from that 19 inch brown!

The hopper bite was excellent on the Yellowstone yesterday. Fish were chowing down a peach colored Yellowstoner. (That’s a big foam rubber leggy thing.) There were also fish rising on the flats and along the banks. Unusual on a hot, sunny day in August. We caught a couple on a #16 yellow parachute where we saw rising fish. No real hatch, just fish eating dead stuff in the surface film. A #14 pheasant tail dropper worked well until late afternoon, then it was all about the hopper!

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Yellowstone is Clear

Last week’s rain turned the Yellowstone into a muddy mess, leaving the Stillwater as the only option for float fishing. All that is behind us, now! The ‘Stone cleared enough to fish yesterday and continued to clear throughout the day. Nymph fishing was good, hopper fishing was fair and the streamer bite was slow. The Stillwater is fishing well on small dry flies and nymphs. The hopper bite is spotty. With the return of cooler weather next week, look for more tricos, yellow duns and caddis to compliment the hopper bite.

First fish on a fly rod for all three of these happy anglers this week!

Pouring rain all day? No problem! The fish are already wet.

Pouring rain all day? No problem! The fish are already wet.

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