Gear Review: Trout Hunter Fluoro Tippet

Trout Hunter Fluorocarbon Tippet

Trout Hunter is becoming the choice tippet of our guides.  The first thing you may notice is that is seems a little pricy, however, Trout Hunter comes as a 50 meter spool instead of the conventional 30 meter spool, making the price per meter comparable to other fluorocarbon brands.  Another thing that Trout Hunter is doing differently is offering a half X strength in their line up.  So instead of the conventional 4x, 5x, 6x, they offer 4x, 4.5x, 5x, 5.5x, 6x, 6.5x etc.  It may seem a little strange, and uncalled for, however it does serve a purpose. Where we have found it to come in handy is when you are fishing dry/dropper.  This sink rate on the 4.5x is far faster than the sink rate on the 4 x, making it handy in all water conditons.  The knot tying strength is excellent, it also ties in well to other brands in case you were wondering.  As far as tensile strength, it is a great product.  It is available in 0x-8x, and the half X measurements are 3.5, 4.5, 5.5 and 6.5.  It comes on an extra large arbor spool, so memory is not an issue.  The water proof rubber retaining bands are color coded, so when it is on your lanyard, it is easy to identify.  Don’t take our word for it, try it for your self and you will be convinced.  Stop by Sweetwater Fly Shop to learn more, or pick a spool up!

This just in: Limited Edition DeYoung iPhone Cases


Photo: Only 20-30<br /><br /><br />
limited edition signed and numbered DeYoung iphone cases left in each design<br /><br /><br />
for the iphone 4 or 4s. Get yours while you can:<br /><br /><br />

Derek DeYoung, a local artist has released a limited edition series of iPhone 4 and 4S cases.  Each design is in a limited release of 100 cases.  Each case has Derek’s original art work on the front, and on the inside he has signed each case and numbered it 1-100.  We have only a few, so get yours while they’re here.  We have the Brown trout eating a Stimmie, the 4 in 1, and the Drive In print in the shop.  Check out all 3 designs on our website. If you’re a big DeYoung fan, or like things with trout on them, then this case is for you! Photo from Derek DeYoung.


Gear Review: Patagonia Guidewater Pant

Patagonia Guidewater Pants

Patagonia’s Guidewater Pants are as good as it gets when it comes to clothing.  They are made of 100% nylon with SPF 50+ protection, and they are coated in D.W.R (durable water repellant) which helps them be extra stain proof.  When you wet wade in these pants they literally shed water, making them a great choice for late and early season wet wading, because they do not become saturated with water.  They are not quite full on rain pants, but in a passing rain shower, they will keep you dry.  These pants have mesh lined pockets, so they drain fast, as well as a zippered cargo.  The waist band of the pants have two stretch sections, making them comfortable to sit in the boat with all day.  They are available in XS through XXL, so a wide variety of folks can comfortably fit into them.  They retail at $79.00, and they are worth every penny.  If you wish to try a pair on or inquire more about them stop by Sweetwater Fly Shop, and we’ll help you out!

Overheard on the river

“Fly shop dudes are like lawyers; they only lie when they open their mouths.”

This from some folks who had been in our shop a couple of hours earlier. We had a good laugh.

For the record, we don’t lie to our customers, ever. We give the best advice we can, based on our own experience and what we’ve heard from our guides and friends who’ve been on the water. Sometimes it’ll work for you, sometimes it won’t. Trout are fickle. If fly fishing were as easy as blindly following what you’ve heard, it wouldn’t be as satisfying. Guides don’t stick with something that’s not catching fish, even if it was slaying them the day before. Neither should you. Switch it up until you find something that works for you. And then come tell us about it.

Photo Friday

Bryan Ringos was fishing for salmon near Ketchikan, Alaska, when a pod of humpback whales showed up. He shot a cool video, which can be viewed here.

Thanks to Bryan for his submission. Send your photos to Where are all those grip-and-grins? Has no one caught a big fish this year?

Yellowstone River Flies

Adult Midge


Midges can be found in the Yellowstone River all year round, however you will not find them on the end of most anglers lines until the late fall and winter months.  Midges are tied and fished both as nymphs and dry flies.  Midges can range in size anywhere from a 16 all the way down to a 24.  November through March, the fish of the Yellowstone are keyed in on midge nymphs nearly the entire length of the river.  Dry fly midge fishing is best done in the soft water near the banks, and with any luck an angler can find a foam pocket to fish midge clusters (mating midges) near the rivers edge because the fish key in on these pockets because food accumulates there.

Midge flies are typically fished in black, red, or cream colors.  Nymph patterns that are successful on the Yellowstone are the Z-Bro Midge, Brassie, Minute Midge, Midge Larvae, and the Miracle Nymph.  For dry flies Renegades, Dom’s Midge Hanger, Willie’s Double G, Griffiths Gnat, Micro Midge, Sprout Midge, CDC Cluster, or a Hanging Midge.

Adult Mothers Day Caddis


One of the most famous hatches to come off of the Yellowstone River is the American Grannom, most commonly referred to as the Mothers Day Caddis.  These bugs come off so thick at times that they form a literal blanket over the water, which can be over an inch thick.  The tough part about the Mothers Day Caddis is that the hatch is in a race with run-off.  Some years the Caddis hatch works out perfect, other years the water rises too early and anglers do not get to take advantage of this amazing hatch.  The bugs usually start coming off in smaller numbers around the third week of April, and it will typically run into the second week of May.  The adult version has a black body, with an olive colored rear end.

Nymphs we like to fish for this hatch include the Mangy Caddis Pupae, Morrish’s Dirty Bird, and Morrish’s Super Pupae.  Dry flies, we turn to the Henryville Caddis, Elk hair Mothers Day Caddis, and the Spotlight Caddis. Photo by Mike Lawson.

Adult Salmon Fly


The biggest dry fly we get to fish here in Montana is the Salmon Fly.  When there are rumors of these big bugs hatching, the phone at the shop rings off of the hook all day.  It is a short lived hatch that starts typically in Paradise Valley, and works its way up river (south) to Gardner in a couple weeks time.  Typically the Salmon Flies start in the very early part of July.  This is another hatch that is hard to time, whether the river is high or not, dirty or clear, these bugs will come off, the question is that if the river is safe enough to fish by the time these bugs are doing their thing.

Popular nymphs used to imitate Salmon Flies are Yuk Bugs, Bitch Creek Stones, Rubber legs, and Woolly Buggers.  Dry flies we like to throw include the Flutter Bug, Totally Stoned: Salmon Fly, Sofa Pillow, Dog Puke, and South Fork Secret.

Golden Stone Nymph


The Golden Stonefly is another prolific hatch that occurs on the Yellowstone.  They can come off of the water any time from late June to Early August, but the nymphs are always in the river, and typically a good choice to run as a point fly.  Stoneflies thrive in rocky habitat, making the Yellowstone River a perfect environment for this bug.  Golden Stones can be found from Gardner all they way down to Billings.  Golden Stone adults can range in sizes between 6 and 12, and the same goes for the nymphs.

Nymph imitations include the Rock N’ Roller Stone, Rubber Legs, Jimmy Legs, and Bead head Golden Stones.  For dry flies the most commonly flies are the Chubby Chernobyl in gold, Drowned Golden Stone, Totally Stoned Golden, the X-fly Cat Puke, and Yellow Stimulators.

Adult Pale Morning Dun


The Pale Morning Dun, or PMD which is what anglers refer to them as are a May Fly that are found in June, July, August, and sometimes into early September on the Yellowstone River.  They also vary in color from an olive-brown, to a red-brown.  They are fished from a size 14 to 20, and have some of the most prolific spinner falls on the Yellowstone.  Hatches can occur in the morning, afternoon and evening, making their name a little bit misleading.  They typically hatch in slow, clear water, making tippet selection important when fishing these bugs.

Nymphs used to imitate the Pale Morning Dun include the Sawyer’s Pheasant Tail, Split-Case PMD, Floating PMD Nymph, and the PMD Thread Nymph.  Dry flies commonly fished are the CDC Thorax PMD; Knock down Dun, Captive PMD Dun, and a Parachute PMD.  The spinner best fished for this bug is typically a Rusty Spinner.  Photo from

Adult Yellow Sallie Stone Fly – Photo Sandy Pittendrigh


The Yellow Sallie, like the Golden Stone, and Salmon Fly are another form of stonefly.  Their bodies can either be straight yellow, or have a pinkish orange hue on the rear end of the bug.  Sallies come off of the Yellowstone starting in mid July and extending well into August most years. The Yellow Sallies are much smaller than their cousins the Golden and Salmon fly.  Both nymphs and dries are fished in sizes 12 through 18.

Nymphs that are commonly fished to imitate Sallies include the Kyle’s Bead head Yellow Sallie, Psycho Prince, Gabriel’s Trumpet, and the Tungsten Sallie.  Dry flies used include Yellow Stimulators, Hair wing Yellow Sallie, Yellow Sallie Rolling Stone, Berret’s Hairy Yellow Sallie, and Berret’s CDC Yellow Sallie.  Photo from


Flying Ant


Terrestrials are insects that are not born in the water but on land, in the Yellowstone they include grass hoppers, ants and beetles.  August into October is the time when these types of patterns are successful on the Yellowstone. Since these bugs are not born in the water, we only fish the dry fly form of them.  Terrestrial fishing is special; it can provoke some big fish to eat dry flies, making them a preferred insect to imitate for fly anglers. There are hundreds of terrestrial variations to choose from to fish.  Another special thing about terrestrials is that sometimes it is better to twitch the fly, making it a more active form of dry fly fishing, which some people really enjoy.

For grass hopper patterns think about trying the Morrish Hopper, Chaos Hopper, Thunder Thighs, Panty Dropper Hopper, or a Sweetgrass Hopper.  Body colors for these bugs include pink, gold, green, tan, brown, and red.  When it comes to ants, we fish both cinnamon colored ants, and black ants.  Patterns to consider are the Power Ant, Parachute Ant, Hi-Vis Ant, and the Water Wasp.  Beetles come in a variety of colors as well; brown, black, and green are the most common that you will see.  Fat Albert, Crystal Flash Foam Beetles, Grillo’s Hippie Stomper, the X-tra Terrestrial and Yeager’s 409 all are great choices to imitate beetles.



Baetis are a bug that can be found almost every month of the year on the Yellowstone.  But September and October are the best times to find them on the water.  Baetis hatch most prominently on overcast days with higher humidity.  Commonly called blue winged olives, which can be misleading because Baetis may have a grey or tan body as well.  The insect itself is small, typically a size 16-22, but they sure do come off in large numbers when conditions are right. Baetis nymphs are active swimmers, and are found river wide, but are most prolific in weedy riffle runs.  It is best to nymph with them deeper in the morning, then mid day fish a floating nymph, towards the afternoon the emergence occurs, and then when they are seen on the surface, go to a dun.

Nymph patterns we like for Baetis include the Juju Baetis, Olive Pheasant Tail, Cold Turkey Baetis, and the BWO Nymph.  Dries that imitate the Baetis well are the BWO Comparadun, Sparkle Stacker, BWO Biot Parachute, and the Baetis Sprout.



Streamers are flies that are used to imitate smaller fish, Leeches and Crayfish.  In the Yellowstone we use streamers to imitate Sculpins, baby Brown, Rainbow and Cutthroat Trout, as well as baby White Fish.  Streamer flies can be effective 12 months of the year on this River.  In the spring, prior to run off streamers are very effective for fish looking for bigger meals after a winter of eating midges.  Just after run off streamers are fished against the slow water on the banks, offering the fish a big, easy to eat meal.  In the fall, when Brown Trout are getting ready to spawn they get very aggressive and predatory toward smaller fish, making streamers an excellent choice.  Overcast days are preferred for streamer fishing; however fish will eat them in almost every light condition.

To imitate Sculpins, patterns such as the Butt Monkey, Zoo Cougar, Morrish Sculpin, Silvey’s Sculpin Leech, and McCune’s Sculpin are very effective.  For baby trout, the Sparkle Minnow, Double Bunny, and Mirrored Minnow are excellent choices.  To mock Leeches, Woolly Buggers, Mo-Hair Leeches, Slump Busters, and Strung Out Leeches.  As for Crayfish, Bush’s Dad, The Things and The Big Nasty are all great patterns to try.

Help Me Get My Mojo Back!

I’m not too proud to admit, I’m in a slump. Mind you, I’m catching fish. I just haven’t had a really good day of fishing in quite some time. Nor have I caught anything of brag-worthy size in at least a couple of months. I don’t think I’m doing anything terribly wrong. I go to the same spots and fish the same flies as others who’ve reported lights-out fishing. The result for me? Four or five small-to-medium trout. I don’t take bananas on the boat. It’s a mystery.

You’ve all been there at some point. How did you restore your fishing Karma? Is there some sort of ritual I should perform? Should I burn my “lucky” fishing hat? Should I make an offering to the fish gods? Best suggestion wins a dozen crappy flies. My fishing fate is in your hands.

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