gangly char 9x12 (sold)

watch Patriot football game and finish this "gangly"char tonight... feel great! : )

old brown 9x12 (gift)

Trout Hunter 2012

Hey friends, It's that time of the year again! Summer trip to the west! Without exception, this year I am back to the beloved Trout Hunter @ Henry's Fork again. It has been,as always, a fantastic trip/treat to me, I am lucky to know people there, the owners Rich, Jon and Rene has been doing very well and going strong. All the young guides are also been doing really terrific jobs and busy, I have to say I am really proud to know them as personal friends. There are many stories to tell, a lot of back/bear country and a lot of hikes... I will just let the photo tell the stories first, and might add more things here and there in the following posts. Despite the hot weather there (85F average at the hottest time of the day). The nice cool and steady spring fed Henry's Fork remain a trout heaven. I have measured the water temperature several times during the trip. It remain 66F on the most of the ranch section in Henry's Fork. On certain part of the river, due to the big spring and small spring waters. The temperature even drop to 52 F degree, this is a really luxury factor to make it a world class fishery. The menu of the hatches are dominate by spinner fall around 9:30. follow by honey ants till 11:00. PMD could be hatching all day if the clouds shows up. We have a strong windy day that big trout are eating boldly around 3-4 PM. Evening is always the show of smaller PMD and BWO. sometimes mixed with some unknow #24 rusty spinner... (to be continued) Mark
The ranch in Henry's Fork has some good flow this year, I think it is due to the big snow peaks from 2010-2011 winter, the reservoirs has stored a lot of water. Because of the faster flow, the fishing has been really good now. a lot of insects and the fish are not picky on drifting drags, need to wade carefully on the upper ranch. (Flow is significant faster than last year. In several times, I have to pay extra attention when wading through fast currents). The only factor is the "weed bed hatch"... the weed die off much earlier this year. (maybe due to the hot weather?) . Box canyon also has been fishing really good, nice float and beautiful view. Big yellow stonefly is happening now. I will never get tired of float the Box. It is such a gorgeous place! : ) Mark
Day 1. I arrived Bozeman around noon, it was a long flight from Boston, but transfer from Denver, Colorado is not a bad idea. You see a lot of families are in traveling. Babies in carts, kids are running around with big smiles. This is what I like to observe in the airport. Of course, every once of a while you see people with fly rods in hands.That's really get me attention, where they are flying into? Bozeman? where are they going to fish? Yellowstone? TroutHunter? It seems I have a lot of imaginations and creative thought when seeing people carrying fly rods. I saw a group of similar age people with trucker hats and fly rods. NICE! Fortunately enough, we ends up on the same airplane and they were happened to seated as my neighbors! well... you can imagine we are going to have some fly fishing conversation! We did and it was a wonderful time to exchange some fishing stories. In addition, I broke out my vice from my day pack and tie one of my favorite emerger pattern for him. I think he was excited to see my tie on the airplane. : ) In order to reduce my travel packages, I have pre-sent all my long rods to TH shop in advance. So I only carry to short rods with me on the flight. It is a Yellow Fenwick #3 7' 5 pieces. and Fenwick 605 hand carry on. You can imagine people might look at my rod tube and thought... "grandpa's rod?!" Ha... I arrived Bozeman 1 hour late, because we ends up switch airplane in Denver because of some mechanic issues. I thought, 'God, if this is the plane scheduled to broke, please wait until the end of my trip!' My Brother- Bryan were already there waiting for me at Bozeman. The flight is great, got to see all the dry landscapes around Bozeman. It has been way too dry and hot! Bozeman to IslandPark, Idaho is about 2 hours drive. There were several ways to make the drive. But I like the scenic route from Gallatin valley better. That is the way we took. The landscape is truly stunning, either agriculture footprints or wilderness beauty. The Gallatin river are gin-clear and cold. I have heard that this is due to the mountain snow melt and deep shaded valley. It was so tempting to just park on the sideway and fish. The river looks fantastic! We have some shopping to do at Bozeman, so we decided to relax a little bit and visit other old friends instead of fishing. I think that is a great idea! I have a whole year stories to catch up with those friends! "People" are always the center of my fishing scenarios. If not around those kind and fishy people, I don't think I will fish that much. : ) We finally arrived the TroutHunter at evening. They open the closed fly shop for me just to let me breath some fishy air in the shop! It was so wonderful to see Rene's artworks again, and of course his special fly patterns! I wish I could buy them all! People are the center elements in the trip. I do really enjoy the moment of hanging out with friends on the riverside. this evening, we had some really fun conversations... includes me eagerly to show off the Lamiglas switch rods to those friends. They are trout hunters, but also take some trips to the steelhead rivers nearby in eastern Idaho. I think they are convinced that fiberglass long rod could be "jelly good" too. Zach (Rene's grandson) has a secret to catch a big trout. He did not drink coffee, instead, a big cup of fresh orange juice to keep him focus! I thought, I will drink coffee instead, just to be a control group, and see what happens! It turns out his is right, when seeing big trout rises, my hands are too skaky to tie flies... got to switch to orange juice next time! : ) Zack tested the Lamiglas 10' 8 weight switch rod on the Henry's Fork. This rod (yellow beast) take 540 grain skagit switch line, or 440 grain @16' to load properly. It cast 10' T14-T17 nicely when fish a big river, or 420 grain scandi head, and CND GPS 5/6 line for lighter flies. I absolutely love this action. We decided to check the lower ranch on the first day. Bluebird sky and clam water. Fish are rising... with cautious. The lower ranch has been (unofficially) recognized as "master's game" is because it's low gradient topography resulting the much calmer water. in some places (Bone fish flat, Wood road), Big spring tributary fed into this part of ranch and we immediately felt the water temperature is "biting" our feet when we wade through the spring confluence. It's 52 F water temp. despite the 85F air temperature make us wear shorts and sweating on top. Those condition bring up a very nice population of big trout, big trout and hard game attracted many master level fishermen here to take the challenge. I am very sure I am not ready for this task, but just thought it would be good to see my friends in action and maybe get my lessons in this stretch of water. After got challenged in the lower ranch (I watched Zach hook 2 fish and landed one over 20", then, it seems the fish stop feeding on top). We decided to move to a more relax fishery - the box canyon. It is a nice short float about 2-4 hours from base of Islandpark reservoir to upper ranch. The fishing tactic is hopper and dropper. We saw some BIG yellowstone fly around (#2-#4). so it turns out put up some hopper-dropper and stimi-dropper rig yield pretty nice results. A lot of smaller fish, but the fast flowing water make the fishing faster pace and relax! It is really a gorgeous place to fish! day 2 -3 Grizz decided to show me different fisheries. So we decided to hit the Hebgen lake in Montana. This is a HUGE lake. the good thing is there are always some places quiet to fish, (weather wise, or tourist wise). You always can find some peaceful water to stalk those rising trout. Since the wind is the major concern, we decided to hit the rod as early as possible. However, the reality is always slight off than we planned.. : ) The Callibatis mayflies are hatching really good. You can see the trout are feeding in a "sequential mode" . the same direction and the same distance between rise.. so the prediction can be made easily to time and place your fly in front of those "mowing trout" : ) (to be continued)
One day we drove through the Gallatin Valley, and the river really looks great. Cold and clean. Drive from Idaho toward Bozeman, you really feel the luxury green power, a lot of different green shade. We also see some dead pine trees, sadly. It might be caused by the pine beetles. But compare to different places, this valley looks much healthier. I guess it might be the winter temperature is lower in this valley. But this is my pure guessing. The green meadow also looks wonderful, many times I just want to jump off the car and do some softhackle fishing. This place is known for small but abundant trout, people think it might due to it's cold water temperature. Apparently, this cold factor makes Gallatin valley a fishing heaven, despite a lot of rivers are facing hot temperature closures. below are few photos from the valley. A careless angler and a glass rod. fiberglass rods are so strong that I rarely afraid I will snap them in halfs. : )

Inspiration from a talented young man!

Thanks Eric and his son for the warm greeting illustration! Well done! I am excited and honored to display it on my office! Keep up the great work! Mark

barracuda and permit

my friendly barracuda and permit! : )


A good friend Rick caught this magnificent steelhead several years ago, I had an idea about this painting when I first saw the photo... then after the quick sketch, the feeling went away and it just sit in the drawer for many years, until last week I decided to take it out and finish it...

official winning char - GO PATS!

not finished yet, half way done...