12 Days of Christmas – Day Two – The Orvis Retro BSA Trucker Hat
Years ago back in Illinois, when I was just a wee lad, I was given a duck brown camo hat by my father Tom. In those days, duck brown camo was the only camo for waterfowl hunting. Wetlands camo wasn’t even thought of yet and each member of Tom’s duck hunting crew at Toe Head Slough wore duck brown head to toe. Each Christmas, I would flip through the Cabela’s catalog and order a new piece, sometimes it was overalls or a button down hunting shirt. As time when by this pattern pretty much disappeared as new innovations came upon the scene and other companies started making various waterfowl patterns. Several years ago Drake Waterfowl Systems brought the duck brown camo pattern back to life and then Orvis jumped in and helped revived it as well. Much to Molly’s despair, there isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not rocking the Orvis Retro Trucker hat. She has however, convinced me to pick a new one off the shelves at the fly shop more than just once a year. Check it out in the online fly shop.
For the Holiday Season we are kicking things off with a 12 Days of Christmas run here on the blog, Instagram, FB and on our online fly shop. If you’re looking for that hard to find gift for that angler in your family, look no further. We will be featuring a new product every day or two from December 4th until December 19th, 2019. These aren’t just any old items; while Justin was down in Argentina hosting anglers, Jonathan and Joe combed through the shop and packaged up some super dope products that we believe in and use throughout the season while guiding, traveling and fishing ourselves. Each item will come with it’s own little surprise, like Cracker Jacks from days of old! We will be pushing these items out via Social Media as well, but feel free to visit the blog for more information if you steer away from Social Media.
On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me….51 flies and the box is FREE!
After years of fishing and guiding in Patagonia, J3 (Jonathan, Justin and Joe) went through the fly bins here at the shop and hand picked their favorite flies for the rivers between San Martin and Esquel in Argentina and Region X in Chile. Time after time we have seen anglers show up in Patagonia with the wrong flies. Why travel 6000 miles and show up with a subpar box of bugs? This selection works throughout the entire season down south and is full of dry flies, tungsten bead heads and a solid selection of streamers including Jonathan’s tried and true Pancora Crab. For the past few years we have been putting together custom boxes for our travel customers, generally we send them along with a few more but this selection is a fantastic start. If you’re headed down to Patagonia this winter, or any winter for that matter, give us a shout and we will out line the gear you will need. Our selection comes with a total of 20 dry flies, 14 nymphs and 17 streamers for $150 including the box. Click here to buy the Patagonia Essentials fly selection on the online fly shop – It will not disappoint!
Flies – Left side of the box: (2) #4 Royal Water Walkers, (3) #8 Black & Tan Chubby Chernobyl, (2) #12 Fathead Cicadas, (1) #12 Swisher’s PMX, (2) #12 & #14 Jojo’s Chubbinator, (2) #14 & #16 Arrick’s Ant, (2) #14 & #16 Harrop’s PMD Paraspinner, (2) #14 Red Missing Link, (2) #16 Purple Haze, (1) #12 Red SJW, (1) #12 Tan SJW, (2) #14 AZ Hare’s Ear Dark, (2) #14 AZ Hare’s Ear Light, (2) #16 AZ Hare’s Ear Dark, (2) #16 AZ Hare’s Ear Light, (2) #16 R/L Tactical PT, (2) #16 BH Pheasant Tail. Right side of the box: (1) #4 Olive and White Barely Legal, (2) #6 Olive BSA Bouface leeches, (2) #6 Black BSA Bouface leeches, (2) #6 BH Olive Crystal Bugger, (2) Olive #4 BSA Best Fly Ever, (2) Black #4 BSA Best Fly Ever, (2) #4 Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow Sculpins, (2) #4 The Professor’s Pancora Crab, (2) #8 The Professor’s Pancora Crab
The Echo Micro Practice Rod (MPR) from the good folks at Rajeff Sports is just what you and your fishy friends need this winter to get you ready for the Green Drake hatch on the Henry’s Fork. This little gem was designed for indoor use so need for Mom to make you go outside! The weighted yarn tapers down much like a fly line and leader therefore allowing one to make perfect loops from your desk chair at the office. Want to practice rolling casting, you say? Then sit down on the carpet at the house and get to it. It comes in two pieces and is four feet in length. For $39.99 is the best casting tool one can buy. Click here to buy the Echo MPR from our online fly shop
September is scooching right along, much like the rest of this season we are not sure where all the time goes! All in all, there may be no life better spent than on the river watching the seasons change year in and year out while chasing trout with a flyrod. Before too long, the snow will fly like it does here every winter and you’ll be wishing for just one more day on the river. Standing up on Horse Butte, near the Lookout Tower peering over Hebgen Basin, one can only think of all the trout down below. Add in the Madison Valley and Henry’s Fork drainage and one quickly realizes there is truly no better place to live and fish. Our time here is short, make the most of it and get outside this Fall. Your better half will love you more if you do.
There is more snow in the high country after last week’s storm and the Aspen leaves are now shades of yellow, green, orange and even red. One drive along the Madison River in YNP tells us Old Man Winter is walking down the street a few miles away. Wintery weather is right around the corner and this weekend’s outlook looks to be a bit on the snappy side, that’s for sure. The forecast daytime temps have risen so we might just see more rain than snow here on the level, but the high country will receive another layer of the white stuff. Parts of Montana are calling for 12-24 inches of snow! Keep an eye on the forecast folks, fishy weather is upon us.
Bring your Gore-Tex, an extra layer, some hand warmers, a thermos of coffee, flask of wizzle and your stocking hat. Don’t forget your BWOs, streamers, 5x and some 8lb Maxima. Read on to see our take on this week’s fishing and check out the links below to stay current on area forecasts and flows. Stay tuned as we report each week on hatches, flows, weather, and more. For the most up to date info stop by the shop, give us a call, or drop us a line.
West Yellowstone Forecast
I’ll break this down into two sections this week; the Wade Stretch and Float Stretch. These two sections are fishing quite differently it seems. For the angler on foot, the Wade Stretch has been producing some solid days. We aren’t saying you’ll catch fish all day long in here, no sir. But for those willing to switch tactics and fish different techniques over the entire day, one will be rewarded. There are fish in the skinny water eating Caddis and BWOs. The streamer bite can be good at times and nymphing will produce as well. There have been periods of the day that seem to shut off and we find that when things do get slow, changing your game is the best idea. The Float Stretch has been a little fickle with the weather patterns changing all the time over the past few weeks. This week we still found a few really nice fish eating hoppers, hard to believe. Floating the Madison is always a fantastic day, but recently some have been better than others. The next five days could be pretty darn good down there with the consistently fishy weather headed our way. A snowy north wind on the Madison in a drift boat can be a cold one, dress appropriately!
Cool, scuzzy weather is coming back again this weekend and next week. From the Lower River up onto the flat water stretches in the caldera, fall hatches are providing some great fishing. Baetis, Pseudo’s, and Mahogany Dun mayflies are all active throughout the Ranch waters now. Cloudy days will provide the best concentrations of emerging mayflies and rising fish. Fall Baetis and Pseudo hatches can bring seemingly every fish in the river to the surface big and small, making it more difficult to isolate a “good” target. Conversely, these can be great opportunities for anglers who are looking to get their feet wet on the Ranch, and get a taste for how the game is played with an abundance of targets. The streamer bit in the Lower River could prove to be quite good over the next week as well.
Henry’s & Hebgen Lake
If the weather forecasters are right, you might want to stick to the rivers this weekend, but once this storm system passes and conditions stabilize, the lake fishing should be in prime shape to really fire off next week. Weeds will continue to die back, revealing the tastiest of food items that have been hiding for the trout for a while – leeches and scuds. Fall is baitfish time as well, so don’t be afraid to fish those suggestive patterns like Seal Buggers along the margins when light is low. Look for fish in shallow, along receding weed margins, and near creek and river mouths as those are all seasonal hot spots, and move into deeper water as the day brightens. While the game shifts to the subsurface presentations in fall, what the fishing might lack in visual stimulation may very well be overshadowed by pounds of trout in the net.
Yellowstone National Park
Blue Winged Olives will be on the menu this weekend and early next week. Swing by and grab Joe’s new BWO pattern and give it a whirl. If things get too dicey for ya, strip a Thin Mint, or black Bouface in search of one of the larger resident Brown Trout that are generally as elusive as Big Foot in the Upper Geyser Basin.
Madison River(in YNP)
Yes, there are fish in the system. However, we have no idea how many there are. Anglers are hanging out swapping stories at the Barns Holes and if you’ve never experienced this behavior, we recommend doing it at least twice. The usual spots are producing here and there, weather has a lot to do with how things are faring on the Madison in the Park. Our best advice is to go fishing, you don’t know if you don’t go! Want us to pick out some flies for ya? Swing by, we’d love to.
The Northeast Corner
Continuing on from last week things haven’t changed much. Stormy days will bring great hatches of fall Baetis and Hecuba Drakes to this part of the park, but they will also bring muddy water and higher flows to the Lamar River and Yellowstone Canyon. Keep a close eye on flows here and consider Slough Creek as an alternative if you’re hoping to fish the Lamar and clarity is prohibitive.
Keep in mind, now more than ever, there is no need to get out on the water early in this part of the park. The early bird does not get the worm here. Rather he and/or she freezes their ass off until late morning waiting for both their toes and the Cutthroat Trout to warm up.
Again, things aren’t changing much from last week. Day by day there are fewer and fewer fish remaining in the Caldera section of the Yellowstone River (between Chittenden Bridge and Fishing Bridge). Naturally, each fall the Cutthroat migrate back to Yellowstone Lake where they over-winter and rest before making a return trip back into the river to spawn again next spring. While numbers of fish are dwindling, some remarkable Cutthroat remain in the river, and fall hatches of Baetis and Heptagenia mayflies create an opportunity for technical dry fly fishing. These fish are spread out far and wide. You have to be prepared to cover some ground hunting for your targets, but when you find them, they will be some of the best dry fly targets of the entire season.
Big Spring Creek – Lewistown, MT
This weekend finds our very own Steve Hoolver getting married to his lovely finance Kari. Kari grew up in central Montana and most of the shop and guides are headed north for the party. Rest assured, the fly shop will be open this weekend! I suspect a few of us will be poking around to see what this little gem has to offer, though. There are rumors of big trout, we’ll see what happens. With the weather forecast, stripping streamers is definitely on the docket. Saturday and Sunday could be filled with Bloody Mary’s and BWOs. Cheers to Kari and Steve!!!
Originator: Joe Moore, BSA Co-owner
Hook: MFC 7000, Barbless MFC 7000KBL, or equivalent. Size 14
Thread: Danville 6/0 Rusty Brown or your choice
Tail/Trailing Shuck: Sparkle Emerger Yarn – Brown
Abdomen: Superfine Dry Fly Dubbing, Olive
Thorax: Olive Goose Biot, tied flat side up
Wing post: Calf tail, white. Try using a synthetic like tan or grey Widows Web as a “cheat” if you are tying these on your own!
Hackle: Grizzly, tied parachute style. Whiting 100 packs are a great way to get the perfect feathers for parachutes.
Notes: My Para-shuck series of dries, tied by MFC, is a variation of the classic parachute style and has worked well for us all over Yellowstone Country. The Flav Para-shuck in particular works great on Hebgen Lake during the Callibaetis hatch, in the NE Corner of the Park for drake mackerel emergers, and on the Madison and Henry’s Fork for its original purpose as a Flav imitation.