Friday, July 20, 2012

Proprietary Flies

What's the biggest difference between these patterns: Shanafelt's Mongo Hopper, Yeti Hopper, Grand Hopper, Morrish's Hopper, Hoppindicator, Charlie Boy, Surfboard Hopper, Triple Decker and my favorite, the Harley Hopper? Their names (except the Harley). Each fly company has their proprietary fly pattern/name(s) for the foam hopper. I get it, but it all seems kinda silly.

And of course, some do seem to work better than others, so it's nice to have a memorable name. A few years ago for me, it was Card's Wiggle Worm. When that became hard to find, I dated a few different patterns until last year, I entered a long-term relationship with Morrish's Hopper.
A destroyed Morrish's Hopper. 
Fly patterns, like songs or magazine articles, are someone's intellectual property. I first encountered this when I wrote my first column for the Montana Sporting Journal. Do I need to properly credit the creator of a fly recipe that I'm including? My answer was, just like music or books, and just to be safe, yes.

With flies, unlike music or writings, most creators probably wouldn't care. Most would appreciate the attention regardless of citation. But some might, and then you'd have a potential copyright violation on your record.

It's one more way our beloved sport is not always the simple escape it's advertised to be.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Dries, nymphs and streamers

I guess sometimes you have to settle for the mini-victories in lieu of the grandiose triumphs. 

We floated a section of the Yellowstone River downstream of Livingston Saturday and it wasn't very productive (or we weren't). But we boated fish on dries, nymphs and streamers, touched a couple nice trout and paid some dues. If there was some powerful lesson to be taken or some eloquent soundbite I could recite, it'd make trips that like seem more worthwhile. Alas, I should be able find value in the trip itself, and value the fact I can do this type of thing basically every weekend. Ultimately I do. But some big trout would be nice.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Water temperatures

If you look at the USGS streamflows for Montana, you might be a bit alarmed at the temperatures. It's been a hot topic at the brewery lately, but then I recalled that this has happened before. On July 21, 2010 (a good water year), I blogged about the same thing, only to fish through to fall with no real heat concerns...
Then this morning, the sun glowed red. Not sure what it is about wildfire smoke that causes this phenomenon, but it's eerie and ominous. The rays are barely choked, but it's there. We're seeing temps as high as 75 in some rivers, which, especially for early July, is not good.
So while I don't want to be the alarmist I was last year, we are seeing more significant signs of hoot-owl closures on the horizon. For now, be aware, and try to avoid water that is too hot.

This is from Sept. 2007. The Gallatin River beneath a red sky, at a seriously malnourished level.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Fishing the "warm"

Fishing's different in Minnesota than in Montana. It's Aluma instead of Clacka. Northern instead of pike. The smell of an outboard churning through algae. The haunting call of the loon. Eurasion milfoil & Canadian waterweed. Piscivorous fish. Perch. Bass. Panfish. Carp in which no one sees any sporting value. Blind casting. You never know for sure what's on your line. It's a nice change of pace, but I'm happy to back in trout country.