Archive for April, 2011

Sandy’s Birthday Brown

Posted in Uncategorized on April 28th, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment

Hello Firehole Fanatics,
Another banner winter has gone by and I didn’t even hit the slopes once. Every time I try to reevaluate my priorities, I inadvertently end up on water with a fly rod in hand. Why not, I virtually have the entire river to myself and this way I’ll be in tip top form for those twilight gulpers on Hebgen Lake this summer. They’ll have no chance this season.
Currently I am all but finished with my bug orders. Invoices need to be made and filed. Then, all that would remain for the flies is a short trip to their temporary home before they end up in a fly box, tree, rock, or a trout preferably.  Also this is the time of the year I start packing and preparing for the initial opening of the ranch. It’s only a matter of weeks now. Considering the snowpack is one hundred and twelve percent of average, our entry could be delayed.
Oh Yeah….the fish. This one has created quite the buzz on Sandy’s Facebook page and southwestern Montana for that matter. We were on Sandy’s annual birthday camping adventure soaking up some much needed vitamin D, we were also able to squeeze in a little fishing as well. Where the Gallatin, Jefferson, and Madison rivers join in Three Forks Montana, the mighty Missouri begins its descent all the way to its confluence with the Mississippi. Since Sandy and I only had a couple of days, we chose to concentrate our efforts on a shorter section below Holter Dam, rather than trying to float the entire river.  This virtually flawless buck came mid morning on the first day, at that moment our trip was complete. All we had to do from there was enjoy ourselves. At the end of the second day, Sandy stated that her favorite part of the trip were the pelicans and their crazy hairdos, even though she had just caught the fish of a lifetime. This to me confirms that a little luck, persistence, and most of all a good attitude catches more big fish than anything else.

Tight Lines,
Josh & Sandy Duchateau

April 27th-A Break in the Weather

Posted in Uncategorized on April 27th, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment

Good Morning,

A slight break in the weather today, as the sun is peeking out between snowstorms that have been lashing southwest Montana lately. With all this stormy weather this month, the annual snowpack continues to build slightly, and has created perfect baetis weather. Look for this activity to continue for the next week or so as weather forecasts have even more clouds rolling in by tomorrow. March Brown mayflies should be making an appearance soon, and you can bet this #14 mayfly attracts the trout’s attention. As we roll into May, and if we get a slight warming in the weather pattern we should also start to see some Mother’s Day caddis break out on the Yellowstone, Lower Madison, and Big Hole rivers. When this warming trend arrives, and how warm it gets will be the chess game that determines how good this year’s Mother’s Day caddis emergence is, and how long it lasts, before all this winters snow begins to melt and blow out the rivers. These two events are always on a crash course with each other, and every year it is a game of ebb and flow trying to determine where and when to be for the best caddis fishing.


Bruno’s France Travel Blog, April 2011

Posted in Uncategorized on April 21st, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment

It did not take long for me to realize that the times are changing in France. Just drive, walk, talk with the good old frenchies and I sense their heritage is under attack or that they think it is. Even though extreme right candidate Marine Lepen is making waves and climbing in the polls with thousands if not millions of her followers willing to kick out all these foreigners, it may be hard to figure out who are the culprits if you consider immigration from North Africa and other French colonies started over a half century ago.

Then there are more concerns. It is the little farmer vs corporate farms, le pain (a bakery franchise) vs le petit boulanger, pasturized vs farmed cheeses, the invasion of inexpensive spanish vino tinto. It is all there and even the huge supermarche is now part of the french landscape, those who do not like to frequent the big box stores still have the option of the indoor and outdoor farmer’s markets and hopefully the return to this trend will become stronger.

Oh yes the land of je ne sais quoi has jumped ahead of the curve but without any breaks on their 9 feet long,1.60euro a liter automobiles. Even with an economy struggling and a government unable to help small businesses form job creation, in the highest taxed country in Europe, opportunities for thriving has become less obvious.

Then I was very surprised. This is not different than any other western country. After or should I say before all, we need our cars, cell phones, big screen tv (even in those small appartements) and still have those 5 weeks paid vacation and… this put a huge dent in the porte-feuille (wallet) of the French.

Gone are the days of 3 hours lunches and 5 courses dinners that was the norm when invited over. And that can be fine by me, but hey we still can have a 2 hour lunch and a three course dinner after all. Even then I still gained 5 kilos in 2 weeks stuffing myself with the local pates and terrines, endless plateau de fromages and the occasional tete de veau, boudin noir with piperade and veal tongue sauce ravigote. To the simple braised belgian endive wrapped in ham with a bechamel au gratin and my favorite pate aux pommes de terre.

Oh yes after a stop in the beautiful coastal town of Larochelle where I ate the famous marennes d’oleron oyters and plates of calamary in a rich inky sauce and fresh saint-jacques scallops with their roe cooked with leeks and lemony sauce. I found myself already stuggling with an already bloated belly and this was just the beginning. You see french folks are hard to say no to. And they have a way to let you know that you may not refuse that last bite of, creamy potatoes with this one more slice of stuffed pork shoulder …. but I want to eat some cheese. And the bread.
For the ranch guests who ask me what is my favorites meal, it is always hard for me to answer but I think I should say the one I was invited at some friend’s house in France. Vague but an invited guest is king there.

I wish I would have had time to visit my friend Gerard‘s mom in Bandol and eat her famous fish couscous. My wife Kris claims this was the best meal she ate in France some 25 years ago. but at least I spent a great day with Gerard driving the backroads of the departement of allier and the montagne bourbonnaise. And eating a lunch of meat pie in a flaky pastry and chicken in white wine with an abundance of carrot and onions. You see simple home food is what I still love the best.

At the beginning and the end of my vacation I found myself visiting a few beautiful homes and gardens of famous kings. The Chateaux de Chambord, Amboise, Sully are still magnificent and well kept. The Loire region offers an array of great wines (cabernet franc, vouvray, bourgueil) and local fare too . The town of Blois is a must to visit.

April 17th-#2 and #1

Posted in Uncategorized on April 17th, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment

Good Morning Everyone,

A beautiful weekend in Montana is wrapping up today, and I thought it was well past time to reveal the top two nymphs you should be tying right now to get ready for the fishing season in Yellowstone country. Ceratainly if you have been in my boat the past 10 years, there will be no suspense in the what these two nymphs are. In fact, I think if you ask most guides in our area these flies would be an indispensable part of their arsenal. So what are they…

Number 2: The Shop Vac size 16-Without a doubt this fly catches more fish for me year in and year out for almost 20 years now. It would be my number one if we were talking about flies that work in the Yellowstone region year round, but since we are concentrating on the summer months, it slides to the number two position. That fact does not diminish its effectiveness during the summer however. Frequently the shop vac and the the number 1 fly is the deadly combination of a two nymph rig that I use all summer long, from the Madison, to the Yellowstone, and on the Henry’s Fork. I had many people ask me what the Shop Vac represents. The answer is, I am not quite sure. A midge pupa, cranefly larva, baetis nymph, caddis larva, or something else that only the fish know. But what is known is that it works-period! Bonus-it is also easy to tie. Starting with a curved shank hook, and an appropriate sized gold bead, the only other materials are a body of pheasant tail fibers, counter wrapped with thin copper wire. After covering the length of the shank with the wire and pheasant, tie off and add a tuff of white zelon as a shortened wingcase. The black thread completes the head of the fly and Voila! you have the Shop Vac. Cast into the nearest fishy looking hole, run, pocket, slick, or flat, and hold on. The Shop Vac also makes a fantastic dropper off a dry fly (tune in next week as we reveal the top 10 dry flies for the Yellowstone country in the summer, that might work in this combination of dry/dropper).

Number 1: $3 Serendipity #16-The Madison is famous for many things in the trout fly fishing world, but one of the flies made famous in its boulder strewn riffles was the serendipity. As with anything of legend, there are as many stories of who, where, when, why, and how the serendipity came to fruition, as there is fly fisherman, but to fish the Madison without a serendipity is like eating a hot dog without mustard. Over the years the serendipity has changed form, color, shape, and context as fly tiers looked for their own unique fly tying identity in the fly. Some have proven to be winners (such as the crystal dip) others have been relegated to moth covered plastic cups in the back stock of fly shop inventory purgatory. This version, from master guide and fly tier Nick Nickalus, turned out to be better than the original, by a long shot! Simple and extremely effective, fishing our Yellowstone region without a stash of these nymphs would be highly unadvisable. Three materials, counting the thread, and in a couple of mintues at the vise you will have a fly that will catch its fair share of fish for you. Start with a classic straight shank, 2x long nymph hook. Start by applying the exact color of danville thread to the shank to cover the length of it. Reverse wrap thin gold wire over the thread giving the classic rib effect, and a very thin profile in this case. Finish the fly with a small tuft of deer hair as wingcase trimmed short. I will guarantee that when I am nymph fishing the Madison with a 2 fly nymph rig, this fly is always one of the flies, regardless of what the second might be.

So there they are the top 10 nymphs I would have (and I do) in my box for fishing the rivers of Yellowstone country. Well off to the lower Madison to fish a SJW and Shop Vac combo in the buckets of this mighty river. Stay tuned next week as we shift from nymphs to dry flies.

Good tying,


April 9th-Snowpack continuing to build?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 9th, 2011 by admin – Be the first to comment

Good Morning Folks,

Well Montana got hit with another monster snowstorm this week. Many areas received up to 2 feet of new, wet snow. The snowpack in the mountains in and around yellowstone National Park have totals nearing 130-150%. It could be a big run-off this year, with many of our area’s rivers taking on some new looks and character. It is one of my favorite aspects of fishing in our area. Every year the water conditions can change a river’s character, requiring the angler to learn a slightly different river that existed than the year before. All those thoughts boiled through my head yesterday, as I was casting to rising trout on the Lower Madison in a blizzard. After my third consecutive take, and my third consecutive whiff on the set, I decided to stop thinking of the upcoming run-off and instead concentrate on the fish sipping in midge clusters in front of me. It was a good, snowy, cold afternoon.

Tight lines,