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Fly Fishing with Pookie

stories by Dean Reiner


Fly Fishing with Pookie
Written By Dean Reiner of Hatch Finders Fly Shop

The summer started out with one of the best caddis fly hatches I've ever seen. Heads everywhere! I'm not sure who were eating more caddis, Pookie or the trout. Pookie and I floated about 5 times in May from Carabella to Springdale. Some days were great and some were just OK. We used the standard elk hair caddis from size #16 to a size #10 in whatever color was appropriate. This was trailed by a Wright's Royal in a size #14. Both flies did well with the Rights doing just a bit better.

Of course after the caddis comes the salmon fly. We only got one day on the river during the hatch but it was a good one. I coned Tom Harms, one of the best guides on the river, to row for Pookie and I. (Can you believe I actually got to fish out of the front of my boat), now I really owe him. Just to play around I tied up a few different stile salmon flies, mostly out of foam and in a smaller size. I tried the abdomen in a peach foam with black on the sides. This seemed to work very well. The first half to the day the big guys came up with abandonment. Caddis, PMD's and big gray drakes were out all afternoon and did a good job of bring the trout up.

I have to give mention to an incident that happened to Pookie on that float. As I was bringing in a rather nice cut-bow, Pookie insisting on inspecting every trout brought to the boat slipped on the gunnel and fell overboard. We were in fast water and she drifted a good distance from the boat swimming hard. She is a good swimmer buy the way. Tom pushed ahead to catch up with her and I held out the net. Pookie swam straight for the net and she became the biggest thing I landed all day. I think it took a week for her to get over her swim as every time she looked at me it was like she was accusing me of pushing her over board.
I felt the fishing was very good all summer long. We had rain every mouth and that kept the Yellowstone cool and above what was the norm.

Pookies, hoppers and beetles fished well all summer long. I'm looking forward to streamer fishing this fall, as is Pookie although she will insist on spending most of the day inside my jacket to keep warm. Makes it hard to cast!

Volume#1 Number #1

Fly Fishing with Pookie
Written By Dean Reiner of Hatch Finders Fly Shop

Steel Head fishing the no name river. The reason I'm calling it the no name river is my

fishing buddy Gary Blackburn said he would hold my head under water just till the bubbles stopped coming up if I named it. But I can tell you about where it is. The Washington side of the Columbia River down stream from the Dalles (get the picture) is a steelhead river of unparalleled beauty. Most of it runs through canyons two thousand feet high with the sides covered with pine, cotton wood and maple trees. The best part is it's not crowded hence the reason I call it the no name river. It can be floated in a drift boat but only for experienced rowers as it is class three and four water. Also it is rocky. I know as I hit most of them with the boat.

At the end of every rapped is a pool that knocks your socks off for being classic steelhead water. They are great for swimming a fly; witch is what I love to do. I won't say every pool is loaded with fish because they aren't. If you fish all day and land one steelhead you had a good day. As for me I had two on and landed one white fish for three days of great fishing. Just the catching was slow! This type of fishing is not for the numbers counters or an angler who has a short attention span. Each stretch we did and we floated three different stretches was better than the last for beauty, and ease of wading. Although Pookie and I did take a spill on the last day on some slick mud, we did dry out, believe me that water is cold! Thank the fishing gods the weather was warm.

The trip takes about 13 hours from Livingston. We left at midnight and was at the camp ground by 2 PM. Right in front of the camp ground was a pool and I fished it that first day for a few hours but I never raised a fish. I guess you can't have it all.

One thing I did do was to get Pookie a backpack. She always put up a fuss when I would walk too far from the boat. I didn't want her to walk the bank too much, as there wasn't too much of it and there is a good population of snakes that might try to make a meal out of her. At first she wasn't too sure of being in the pack but after a while she just settled down and enjoyed the ride. I didn't worry too much about her jumping out of the pack as I was standing up to my waist in water and I know she didn't want to get wet. The only time she wanted out was when she heard the sound of rushing water. Then she wanted Gary to hold her, I guess she didn't trust my rowing skills!

Volume #1 Number #2

Fishing Big Springs, Lewistown, Montana

Big springs is just what the name describes. It comes out of the ground 4 miles out of Lewistown at the rate of 65,000 gpm and eventually enters the Judith River. In the fall, Brown Trout come out of the Missouri River up the Judith and ending up at Big Springs to spawn. This creek is well known but fished very little by anglers from Livingston and Bozeman. The two-hour drive and 280 miles round trip from Livingston may have something to do with that. But if you have a free weekend and don't mind spending the night, it's a nice getaway to fish for big rainbows and browns.

I fished with two friends of mine, Jack and Don. Don fishes Big Springs every fall almost every weekend. This past week I was tired of tying flies and needed some relief from the vise, so I decided to tag along with my friends. I intended to fish buggers for the browns, but I ended up dry fly fishing for big rainbows instead. The first day I solemnly tied on a size #8 black bugger and commenced to walk up the creek for almost a mile with only 3 small brown to my credit. Towards the end of the day, I met up with Jack to find out he had even worse luck.

Jack had bought a new Sage Rod and wanted to brake it in right with a big fish. Always wanting to try out a new rod, just to see how it feels I asked if I could make a few casts. I was commenting on how well the rod felt when a huge rainbow slammed the bugger. The bow was putting up such a wonderful fight. Pookie was trying to get a look at it and she almost came out of her ride. After getting the fish to the bank Pookie bailed to give her approval with a quick lick on his nose. Jack muttered a profanity then said, "it figures, never give Dean your rod to try". I felt pretty good about it for it was the biggest fish of the day and the day was over. After a few quick pictures we measured him at a clean 20".

On Sunday, after a dynamite breakfast at the 4 Aces Cafe we headed back to the creek. I decided to try the bugger again. After a good walk I still had no luck. Don was fishing the LBN and he didn't get a rise either. After saying "Oh well" to ourselves, we thought we would go find Jack and see if he was having any luck While passing a hole I spied a nice rainbow porpoise on the seam line and a few dimples in the inside flat water. Don tried his LBN while I re-rigged with a size #20Thorax BWO with a size #22 Midge pupa as the dropper. After Don gave up and went looking for Jack, I stepped into the hole to give it my best try. Pookie gave me a snort saying, "good luck sucker". I threw a second cast to what looked like a fair size bow, which took a swing at the pupa. Of course I missed the set and pulled back to make another cast. As the pupa came across the seam line, the big bow grabbed it, and the fight was on. After half a dozen jumps and numerous headshakes from the fish, I got her to my

Volume#1 Number #3

Fly Fishing with Pookie
Written By Dean Reiner of Hatch Finders Fly Shop
Fishing Baha, Mexico, Cabo San Lucas

Talk about taking a trip by the seat of your pants, this was the one. The last time I went to Cabo was in 1965. I was 18 years old and even more full of adventure than I am now. I remember it was a dirt road from the border to Cabo and beyond. With a 53 Chevy and 6 mounted tires and 3 serf boards tied to the roof of the car, two buddies and I went on a surfing safari. I spent 2 glorious weeks sleeping on the beaches eating cans of pork & beans and learning Spanish. I took about as much care with this trip as I did with that one! For anyone interested in doing that, one word of advice-don't!! It can be very expensive.

We left Bozeman Monday morning with 3 connecting flights to Cabo ( it was a grind ). I was able to keep Pookie with me in the cabin till we boarded Air Mexico. They insisted Pookie was to ride in the baggage compartment. Needless to say she was no fan of that. By the time we got to Cabo she was fit to be tied. She tries to reek her revenge with the baggage handlers by trying to bite them through to bars of her caring case. They were very careful not to lose any fingers. Of course when I let her out she got even with me by peeing on me, such is the way things go.

It's about a 45-minute drive to the hotel and this is where we got our first surprise. Brian thought we should pay for a round trip from the airport to the hotel and back. I didn't think to much of this idea and sure enough when it was time to return to the airport the taxi driver was no where to be found and we had to pay for it all over again. It costs about $14 each way.

Now for my second surprise of the day. I had made arrangement ahead of time to make sure it was ok to have Pookie stay at the hotel (Marines Seasta). When it came time to check in the desk clerk told me in no uncertain terms that dogs were not allowed. So guess what, I not only lost what I paid for the room but I had to find another place to stay. They did let me spend the night as it was late by that time. So much for bending the rules!
The next morning I found a quaint little hotel in the middle of Cabo that allowed dogs with open arms (Seasta Suites). I highly recommend this place if you go to Cabo, as it's very clean and centrally located to everything. It coasts about $300.00 a week. For Cabo that is very reasonable. Brian stayed at the Marina and I stayed at the Seasta. It made it a little complicated but we managed.

Coffee is my life's blood, I can't manage the day with out it. We found a little place on the marina called Cheeseburger Del Cabo. It's the best place I found for breakfast and coffee. We would meet their every morning to plan our day.

I'm sorry to say the fishing was not up to my expectations. We booked two charters for marlin about $500.00 a day. The seas were very bad those two days. About 8' on average. I'm afraid it was too much for Brian as he spent most of the trips in the cabin or chumming the fish. Pookie and I enjoyed the boat ride. We did see marlin but the deck hands were to slow getting the teasers in for me to present the fly. So much for the marlin fishing!

Trying to rent a car in Cabo is like trying to buy one, it's very expensive. One way around this is to go to a time-shares seminar. They will give you about anything to present you with a pitch. That's how we got a car for two days. It was the worst 3 hours of my life and no I didn't spend the $40.000.00 they wanted for the privilege of staying in one of their time-shares. If you go to Cabo you will be approached everywhere you go to attend one of these seminars. They will promise you the moon and deliver very little for it. All they want is for you to sign on the dotted line, so be advised.

Now to this so-called car we got. It was a 10-year-old Toyota with a bent axle so we wobbled every where we went, but that wasn't the worst part. The key would lock up so we couldn't start the car unless we fiddled with it. Are we having fun so far? We were about 40 miles north of Cabo checking out the beaches to see if we could do a little shore fishing. Unfortunately the shore brake was so high we couldn't get a cast out. That was the way it was all along the Pacific side.

The next day we traveled south trying to get to La Paz thinking the Sea of Corteze would be better, but of course we got lost and just drove around all day stopping along any beach we came across. I must say they were all beautiful and devoid of people. Pookie had a ball running up and down all the beaches, chasing the waves and climbing on all the rocks. She got a little to close to the water and got washed by the waves. It was all in good fun to her, I never seen a dog dig such holes and have them fill in as fast as she could dig.

Before I Finnish this little adventure, I want to comment on the one tremendous pleasure we experienced on this trip. The food was out of this world. Shrimp, fish, shellfish and sushi were the best I have ever eaten. All the restaurants allowed Pookie

to sit at the table and the waters would bring her bones or some other little treats to please her. Everyone wanted to hold her. She was a real chic magnet!
I know I've painted a bleak picture of this trip but I did have a lot of fun. The night life, well what goes on in Cabo stays in Cabo!

Volume#2 Number #1



I have been asked by my Japanese friend Koichi to give an American point of view to the age-old problem of matching the hatch. Personally I think there are as many opinions as there are anglers, it doesn’t matter what nationality the angler, the opinions are as varied.

In the past week I have asked a number of anglers who I think have a good understanding of the key to matching the hatch and what their ideas are on this subject. It has come down to size, presentation and color. We all agree that it is a combination of all these factors in their infinite variations that add up to the key of success. Ultimately it lies in the imagination and experience of the angler. The more one observes a rising trout the more information he or she retains to do battle with his next cast.

Speaking from personal experience I will relate what I have learned from my almost 40 years of fly-fishing. In the beginning the only thing I was concerned about was just getting the fly in the general area of any fish. As my casting skills progressed and I could see that I was getting the fly in the general area of rising fish it became apparent that the rising fish were bumping into each other just to avoid having my fly pass over them. The problem, presentation! I would move up stream or down stream, get closer or further away all in the effort to make a drag free drift. Once I felt I mastered this aspect of fly-fishing I moved on to my next problem, understanding just what the trout were eating. I would sit on the banks watching these little bugs moving around in the water. How they would rise up from the bottom, stopping in the surface film and emerging into a winged insect. It was a revelation; the trout were eating something other than worms and cheeseballs. After reading more books than I had for my schoolwork I was able to understand what was an adequate insect and how the trout

fed on them. The next stop was my local fly shop (more bate and tackle than fly shop). Back then the two most common flies were royal wolfs and woolly worms.

It became apparent that if I was going to have flies to fish the different hatches I was going to have to learn how to tie them. That is a process that is still going on today. Like fly-fishing their are always new things to learn about tying flies.

So then I understood how to present the fly and to present the proper size of the fly to rising trout. Success, I was able to catch trout with some regularity.

As I learned more about fly-fishing for trout I was able to discern the difference between size, color and type of insect. It also became apparent to me of all the variables involved with the art of fly-fishing. The one thing for certain is that there are no hard and fast rules for matching the hatch. I have found that a fussy feeding trout that would not touch any variation of the hatching insect would go feet out of his feeding lane to gobble up a poorly tied ant. So much for matching the hatch!

Back to the basic question of the key to matching the hatch, my answer and that of all the other anglers is experience. The more an angler knows the better he is able to put together all the variables for a successful day on
the water.

 Volume#2 Number #2

Fly Fishing with Pookie
Written By Dean Reiner of Hatch Finders Fly Shop
First Yellowstone River Float Trip

I don’t think Pookie and I were pushing the envelope when I decided to take a short float on the Yellowstone River this week. It seems we had no winter to speak of this year and I have spring fervor so bad I just had to get out.

Put in at Mayor's Landing at about noon on Monday and floated down to 89 bridge. The weather wasn’t all that great as it was over cast and spitting rain. The temp was about 40 Deg. with a light to moderate down river wind. I thought the nymphing would be good at least for white fish and hoped to find a few rising trout. After stopping at a few riffles with no luck and Pookie complaining about being to cold so I decided to just lazrily float down to see if I could find rising fish.

About half way down the wind layed down enough to make it quite pleasant. I came across a foam patch with heads pocking through. Looking closely at the bugs I determined they were taking Midges. Great as I had a box full. I started out with a size 20 CDC midge and after a few casts and as many refusals I switched to a Midge Pupa. That was the ticket. I struck gold with as many 12 to 14 inch bows you could want. Pookie climbed out from inside my jacket to inspect each trout brought to the boat. We bought forgot about the cold and enjoyed an hour of fine fishing.

Floating further down river just past the Donavan House in that great big pool I started to see blue wings. As the wind was still down I hung around a while to see if any trout would start to rise. As the hatch became heavier I started to see heads. I found a spot just down river close to the bank where I could drop anchor. As I wasn’t really expecting to see many blue wings Ididn't bring any so I had to dig around to find a beat-up comparadun. As it was the only blue wing I had in my box, I told Pookie this would have to do. After getting my line of drift down I started picking off the trout. We hung around for better than an hour before the wind came back up and put down the trout. Just as well as it was 5PM and time to go home. All in all I think it was a good day to be all-alone on the river.

If my crystal ball isn’t too cloudy my predictions for this spring and early summer is you had better hold on to your hats, the Caddis hatch will be early and heavy over Mother’s Day. With the sparse snow pact again this year, the run-off will be light and short. With any luck we should be able to fish caddis for two week at least. The river should have good fishing till mid to late July. If the river gets warm in late July, with low water conditions, look for the FWP to put harsh restrictions on our waters. It’s just my opinion and like parts of the body we all have one. Good luck and good fishing.
Volume#2 Number #3

Fly Fishing with Pookie
Written By Dean Reiner of Hatch Finders Fly Shop
The 2005 Caddis Hatch
Pookie and I managed to get five floats on the Yellowstone River for the caddis hatch. The sections of river we floated was one time from Mayors Landing to 89 bridge. The hatch had just started, so I wasn’t looking for the trout to really be looking for them. I was surprised to find a fair amount of March Browns and BWO’s on the water and the trout were not on them in any numbers.

Our success wasn’t to good on the drift but when we found foam patches and back swirls the trout were stacked in those areas and they were eating. I started out with a size 16 Caddis on top and a size 20 BWO as the dropper. I fished this rig all evening

with 20 trout brought to the net. Most of the trout were of a fair size averaging about 12 to 16 inches and fat. Both flies took about the same number of fish.
The second float, two days later was from Carter's bridge to 9th street. The wind was howling and there were few bugs on the water. (I wonder why.) No trout were landed, but we managed to coach a few white fish to the net.
The balance of the floats was from Mallards Rest to Pine Creek. I must admit that for an evening float that stretch is my favorite. Most of the boats are off the water at that time and I have the river mostly to myself. The Caddis hatches were the best at that time with blanket hatches starting around 4PM to 6 PM and good numbers of bugs till dark.
Pookie just loves these hatches. She will sit on the bow of the boat snapping the bugs out of the air and after a few snaps she will spit the wings out. I don’t know why she doesn’t like the wings. Pookie did manage to stay dry on these floats, I didn’t, I only took a dip once and that was enough, and the water was cold!
Now I must give credit where credit is due. My tent wing Caddis did very well when it wasn’t a blanket hatch but when the Caddis were covering the water my fly didn’t do so well. Paul Bretz and John Glover two of my most experienced guides have a secret weapon that they use at these times. With Paul it’s a Caddis Quigley and with LJ it’s a Devil Bug. Now they tie these flies differently and even when you throw them in the middle of a raft of Caddis you come up with a trout. Now I have been known to boot leg any number of patterns that work, but I promised not to put these flies in the bin under penalty of having my fingers broken. There is a line in an old movie (Casablanca) where Peter Loire tells Bogie that he, in his own way likes to help people too and Bogie says “ for a price Agouti, for a price”. I can be had!
Even though the run-off has started I think the water has just enough visibility for a short time where you still can find some fish that will take a Caddis. As the run-off progresses the fishing will slow down where the only flies that will work are big black buggers. The Boulder as of Saturday was still clear to fish and there is Caddis on the water.
Good luck and good fishing.
Volum#2 Number#4


Fly Fishing with Pookie
Written By Dean Reiner of Hatch Finders Fly Shop
Yellowstone National park July 2005

Not being the kind to look a gift horse in the mouth, my sweet daughter Dandy insisted that I take a brake from the toils of owning a fly shop and take a few days off to visit my most favorite place in the world, Yellowstone National Park.

This was the first opportunity this year to fish the two best creeks in the park, Slough Creek, and Soda Butte. Accompanying me was off-course Koichi and my daughter’s best beau Chad, who I’m training to be a guide for Hatch Finders. This kid can fish and he’s not hung up on what you are supposed to do when fishing the creeks but what he thinks is fun to try. There was a number if times when he would ask me “the

so-called expert” what to use for a fussy fish we saw rising. I would with deep consideration, offered with my 25 years of experience and say a size 16 spent wing PMD close to the bank. Chad would say, “I think I’ll use a hopper” and commences to take every fish in the hole and not a small hopper but the biggest one in his box So much for my vast storage of knowledge.

After taking care of business on Friday the three of us left for the park around 10:30 am. I know it was the weekend and the waters would be crowded if we got their to late but we wanted to fish late and would out last most of the visitors who just wanted to wet a line. We arrived at the soda butte just in time for lunch. You have to fuel the engine, it’s a long walk. After rigging up I put Pookie in the pack with some effort, as she wanted to walk and sniff, but knowing the temperament of the wild life it was better if she rode.

O glory the first bend had rising trout taking PMD’s. It was one after another as the day progressed for the next 7 hours.

Koichi was trying one of Yukihiro’s new bamboo rods a 9’3” for four-weight hollow built. It is light with a strong backbone. It is just one beautiful rod! Koichi can make casting any rod look easy.
After the first two hours, Pookie couldn’t stand it any longer so she jumped out and follows us up river. Staying no further than 5 feet from us I thought it was safe enough to let her inspect the trout we were landing. When the water got to deep for her she would stand next to me and look up saying ”OK daddy you can carrier me until we get to the next gravel bar”. After walking several miles, 10 miles to Pookie, she has such short legs; it was no trouble getting her back in the pack for the walk back to the truck.

We had dinner at Roosevelt Lodge, chicken fried stake with all the trimmings, Yom! Just what I needed before a good nights sleep. We camped at Slough Creek campground so we could get an early start for the next days fishing.

When the sun went down the skeaders came out. Even Pookie was itching. Well after getting bitten more than I could stand, Pookie and I crawled into my bag and went to sleep. Until she fell asleep every critter that went buy the truck she would give out a low growl, she’s so tough!

The next morning broke clear and cool, perfect! After a good coup of strong coffee and a cherry pie, we were off. We parked at the second parking area over looking the meat hole, saw fish rising and PMD’s in the air. I could see Pookie was ready to go as she was jumping around like a Mexican jumping bean. She knew right where to go and lead the way to my favorite riffle. Koichi went down stream to his favorite spot

and Chad came with me to once again prove to me that hoppers were the best fly for the day. Pookie never wandered more than a few feet from me. And that was a good thing too as I was taking a brake watching Chad land one after another fair size cutthroat Pookie gave out a sharp bark and looking behind me we saw a rather large coyote just sitting their giving Pookie the once over. I think he was inviting her to lunch with her being the main course. Well in one jump she was in the pack and casting dispersions in the coyote lineage. After a while seeing Pookie was no easy pick up he went on his way and Pookie resumed inspecting the trout. I managed to land a fairly hefty cut-bow and as Chad was taking our picture Pookie was giving it a friendly lick when the trout bit down on her tong. I think Pookie won’t be French kissing any more trout any time soon. For a while after she barked with a lisp.

Koichi Managed to land a good number of trout again fishing one of Yukihiro’s rods an 8’6” 5 weight. The best trout he landed was a 20 ¼” measured cutthroat taken on a rusty spinner size 16.
I lost count on the number of trout Chad landed using a pattern called a grand hopper size 6. To recap on the flies used; rusty spinner size 16, PMD spinner size 16, trudes size 14, and grand hopper size 6.
As I was getting ready to head back to town I learned the hard way not to leave anything on in my truck as my battery went dead. No jumper cables what to do? Just as I was about to say to hell with it and go back to fishing, a wonderful retired couple from Ohio named Mr. & Misses Kurt Saile offered a helping hand with cables and a jump. As it turned out they had been to my shop the year before and remembered Pookie and I. I wish to extend my heart felt thanks to two wonderful people.

A reminder to all my friends, the Federation of Fly Fisherman will be holding the 40 annual conclave this August from the 9th to the 13th at Livingston’s High School gym. Hatch Finders will have a booth this year featuring Koichi’s fly tying magic and Yukihiro’s wonderfully crafted bamboo fly rods. I invite everyone to come and enjoy all the great exhibits featured there.

Until next time, tight lines with just enough wind to keep you cool, and the hoppers in the water.

Volume # 2 Number # 6

Fly Fishing with Pookie
Written By Dean Reiner of Hatch Finders Fly Shop
The Mother of all Hoppers August 2005

 The FFF conclave was a huge success. A lot of the credit belongs to, and I’m proud to say one of my guides, Molly Semenik. She was a regular dynamo in getting everything organized and coordinated with all the exhibitors and tiers.

We had over 2000 fisherman in town for the second week of August and it seemed they all wanted Pink Pookies. Dandy and I tied Pink Pookies till the sun didn’t shine. Again for the third year in a row it was the most popular fly on the river.

I haven’t been much use to Dandy since the conclave. She has been tying most of the summer flies while I have been lamenting on fishing and not inspired to do so. Chad came in wanting me to tie the biggest hopper I could. Always up for a challenge I used a Mustad 9672 #2 streamer hook and began spinning antelope for the body (brown) and olive deer hair for the thorax. After tying in the legs and wings, voa-la “The Mother of all Hoppers”. It looked like a small bird. It was just what Chad wanted. After tying the hopper I though I wouldn’t mind having a few of these myself, so I tied a half dozen. The Gods of fisherman must have been watching my inner struggle because a friend of mine Doug and his wife Janelle came in, wanting a few flies to fish for the day. They were playing hooky and asked if I wanted to play too. Doug is the science teacher at Arrowhead school and Janelle works for an environmental outfit out of Bozeman. Dandy, giving me a long side ways looks and said,“Gee Dad why don’t you go “. Really meaning, “ get out of my hair”. Anxious to try out the new hopper I must have left a vacuum as I was leaving, because all kinds of feathers followed me through the door.

After calling Hooters for a shuttle we put in at the 89 bridge for the float to Springdale. The river looked absolutely pristine, clear and cool with just a slight breeze. I was determined to fish the MOAH all day knowing I wouldn’t hook many trout, but confidant that if I did they would be big. I did hedge my bet a little by tying on a soft hackle I lifted from Koichi’s vest as a dropper.

After launching the boat Janelle sat in the driver’s seat. She wanted to sharpen her rowing skills and give Doug and I the opportunity to fish. For a relatively new oarsman Janelle did a fantastic job. I offered to drown Doug so she could devote all her time to rowing me down the river, but sadly she declined, I think they are newly weds.

We fished down to Tom McLean’s place before I hooked my first trout on the soft hackle. It was the first of three on that fly. The second trout was about 16 inches and hit the soft hackle like a freight train. I was beginning to think that maybe the MOAH wasn’t going to produce any fish. As we got down to Pig Farm on a heavy riffle, I pulled the hopper under the surface to see if that technique would work better. Well, a bow about 20” came up from the bottom, hit the hopper and came out of the water by about 5 feet. After a few more jumps and two long runs I managed to get him to the net. The only other trout that was big enough to eat the hopper was about 18’ long, in the center of the river, just down stream from the camel back. That one almost made me wet my waders. It was an absolutely wonderful day and I want to thank Doug and Janelle for the adrenaline rush.

I haven’t mentioned Pookie on this trip. Pookie was under the weather and much to my dismay I had to leave her with Dandy for the day. After a wicked tongue lashing and a frigid cold shoulder I’m glad to say she is feeling much better now and is back to her happy self.

Summer is rapidly coming to a close, so don’t be like me, stuck behind a vice, get out there and go fishing.

Volume # 2 Number # 7

Travel Log
December 8th to the 18th

I would like to start my description of my trip to Japan with a brief mention of the history of the Japanese people. The islands of Japan were inhabited during the JOMON period (10,000 - 300 B.C.), a prehistoric period of tribal/clan organization. This continued through the KOFUN period (YAMATO) (300 B.C. – 645 A.D.) The Unified State begins with the emergence of powerful clan rulers; Japan establishes close contacts with mainland Asia. As you can see it is an ancient culture and can be intimidating to the new kids on the block.

In these ancient times the clan rulers entrusted certain members of the peasant class with the duties of managing and maintaining, in perpetuity, the forests and other woodlands of the islands. For over two thousand years the families of these people have taught the forests to grow in a way we will never understand. The Japanese people were the first environmentalists. If you ever get the chance to visit that island nation you will see the most beautifully managed woodlands in the world.
As the temples, shrines and palaces were built, gardens were planted to give visual pleasure and a sense of tranquillity to the inhabitants. Most of the gardens I visited are almost two thousand years old. Every tree, shrub and blade of grass were planned and planted to give the viewer a sense of balance and peace.

The customs of the people of Japan make it possible for the population to live in peace and harmony with one another. You always see a polite bow and a smile on their faces when you are introduced to them. Shaking hands is a custom introduced by the west.

Everyone has heard stories about the food consumed in Japan. Let me tell you I have never eaten as well as I did in Japan and I lost 10 pounds. Most westerners will turn up their noses at the thought of eating raw fish. I had the pleasure of attending a dinner with Koichi and Toshie at one of the finest sushi restaurants in Tokyo. Every item on the menu was presented with an artistic flair with ingredients caught fresh that day. The flavor was unbelievable to the pallet. Salt, other than what is naturally contained in the food is never added. Even the most common dishes presented were of many courses with flavors distinct to each dish. All meals were toped with a sweet desert. The equivalent of Japanese fast food is noodles in soup. Chicken, fish and beef makes up the broth with vegetable tossed in. If McDonald’s would serve this instead of burgers and fries the obesity of the American young would disappear.

The reasons for my trip to Japan were twofold. To attend the Yokohama fly and tackle show and to spend a week with Koichi and his family. I have been to many shows in the past and this was my first in Japan. Many of the items presented in the show were common to most shows in the US with the exception of some of the crafts. Net making is a real art form to most of the Japanese anglers. Most are small but beautifully made with exotic woods native to Japan. Some of the fly tying demonstrators tied the most exquisite detailed flies native to Japan and sure to catch the wily yamamie trout.
Bamboo is the traditional fly rod of Japan. There were many builders of bamboo rods at the show producing beautiful works of art, but as Koichi pointed out to me and casting a few of them demonstrated, they are made more for hanging on the wall than for fishing. The exception to this was rods made by Yukihiro Yoshida, a true master of bamboo and a pure delight to cast.
Spey casting is becoming very popular with the Japanese angler. Many of the commercial manufactures were represented at the show and I tried to cast as many of them as I could, but I’m prejudiced and I still like the ECHO-2 12.5 Skagit.

Hatch Finders host at the show was Fly Shop Rocks and a better bunch of guys you never met. Most of the people there have fished with us in the past and it was like old home week. After the show we all went to one of the craziest dinners I have ever been to. Karaoke was the entertainment of the evening and let me tell you they really got into it. I just didn’t feel like setting back Japanese- American relationship a hundred years by giving a solo performance.

The remainder of my stay was with Koichi and his family in Kyoto. To get there we took the bullet train. A train that travels at approximately 170 MPH and so smooth

could balance a pensile on its eraser and it won’t fall over. Remarkable! His father Kunio-son and mother Kazuko-son could not have made me feel more welcome in their home than my own family. Mr. Kunio made out an itinerary to cover as much of Japanese culture as could be fit into a week. We visited many temples and shrines whose gardens and buildings rivaled anything the world has to offer. We were also treated to a float trip on the Hozu River. A white water river that flows through Kyoto. These are very popular excursions by the Japanese and they are taken on a 30 foot flat bottom boat crewed by three men. The boats hold about 10 people for a two-hour tour down the river. Being an oarsman myself, I can appreciate the skill it takes to get one of these boats through the rapids. I’m just glad they didn’t ask me to row.

One of the most beautiful events we attended was the Hanatourou bamboo forest light show festival at Arashiyamn. These are great groves of bamboo lit with many colored lights. Crowds of people walk through the groves at night to enjoy the spectral light show.

Most homes in Japan are small in square footage but laid out in such a way as to give the appearance of a much larger space. There are no beds in the homes and what are slept on are called futons, with feather comforters. Being a soft Gi-Jing, I wasn’t too sure I would be able to get up in the morning, but as it turned out it was the best night’s sleep I ever had.
Eating can be a challenge. But there are chairs for the kneeling impaired and forks for the less dexterous. After some practice sitting on the floor and using chopsticks, I could shovel it in with the best of them.

It is customary to takes ones shoes of at the door when entering homes and some restaurants. The reason for this is Japanese homes don’t have carpets like we do in the states. What they use are willow mats called Tatami. These mats are woven from willow stocks into a very fine and soft mats that will wear quickly if walked on with shoes. The rest of the floor covering is with beautifully finished Japanese hard woods that will scuff easily. So when visiting Japan make sure your socks don’t have holes in them.

The most pleasurable experience I had in Japan was the baths. Each home had a tub that you could completely empress yourself in with water that stays hot at about 98 degrees. By the time you hall yourself out of one of their baths you feel reborn. This might be a bit personal but I must mention the toilets. They are heated and makes sitting on one very enjoyable when it’s cold in the morning. When it comes to baths compared to Japan we are just barbarians.

I am very grateful to Koichi and his family for the opportunity to experience the couture and life stiles of the Japanese people. They are a beautiful, graceful and ancient people that most of the world could learn from.

Volume # 2 Number # 8

Fly Fishing with Pookie
Written By Dean Reiner of Hatch Finders Fly ShopFlies that are hard to find but easy to tie

In all the years I’ve been fishing there are two flies almost impossible to find in any of the fly shops I have visited. The first is a spider that doesn’t take hours to tie and an angler would hate to use because some ties are just too beautiful. The second one is the common everyday ladybug. This fly is seen everywhere along any river, but never paid attention to. But let me tell you, the trout notice them.

In the past two years I have found the ladybug to be a never miss fly on tough waters like Silver Creek, or say DePuy’s when the trout are so fussy you would think they just won’t eat anything. Spiders can be used on any summer day. They are best fished when the eggs hatch and they spin a trailing piece of silk to be taken by the wind. When they land on the water the trout hardly ever refuse them. The immature spiders are small by most standards but if fished in a size #14 or #16 in the middle of a piece of flat backwater, you may get a big surprise. When a spider lands on flat water (lake or pond) or any water it usually means its ultimate demise. On flatwater like a lake it will move around for quite a while or until an inquisitive trout comes cruising.

On the Yellowstone River I look for a nice piece of flat water coming of a bushy bank. It’s the perfect feeding lane even when there aren’t any hatches coming off. Float a small tan spider along this line and if there is a trout sitting there he will come up for it.
Last year I fished the spider on Slough Creek after the water went down. I had great luck on many of the pools found there and for any cruising trout along the high banks. Spring is a great time to fish the spider, as there are many along the banks.

As to the ladybug, it’s not a fly I fish all the time. It is a fly I use when things are slow on the waters. Ladybugs are found along any bushy bank throughout the summer. After feeding on the tiny aphids found everywhere they become poor flyers and often fall in the water along the banks. I find the ladybug to be a food source rarely refused by a trout looking for dessert.

To tie the ladybug I use a Dia-Riki 320 hook size #16, black 08 thread, strung peacock and tan fly foam. When the tie is finished I mark the top of the fly with six dots with a black indelible marker.
The list of materials for the spider is a size #14 or #16 Dia-Riki hook, 08 Rusty Brown thread, grizzly hackle stems, for the legs and white hi- vis as a strike indicator. The spider is marked with brown indelible marker for color differential.

If you have any questions about tying these two flies, come in and I’ll be glad to show you. You will catch trout!

Volume # 3 Number # 1




Fly Fishing with Pookie
Written By Dean Reiner of Hatch Finders Fly Shop


Frogs or as my daughter calls them Froggies. A fun and interesting pattern to tie. I should mention that I boot legged this pattern from a magazine and from Montana Fly Co.’s catalog. In all my years of fishing I have never seen a pattern that really looks like a frog. This one does.

Lets start out with the receipt; I found that a Mustad hook #3366A size #2 works very well for the hook gap and it has a straight eye. The body is made up from your standard craft foam found in most fly shops, olive and olive green. The legs are tied with Centipede Legs speckled Chartreuse #796. To cut out the body of the frog I use the STP Frog Foam Body Cutter Set. It comes with three sets of dies 2, 6, and 10. I have found that Montana Fly Company is a great source for most of these items. On the eyes you can do several different things. Suitable eyes can be found in any fly shop. I prefer to use Easy-Glue Eyes because of the look and cost. The thread used for the frog is bright red Gudebrod 6/0.

After stamping out an equal number of frog bodies of your chosen colors, I color the inside part of the mouth with red Prismacolor marking pens, why, I don’t know, it just looks good. On the top of the frog I mark the back with a black pen to give it a pattern. I also glue the eyes on the head and give them time to dry.

After tying in the two halves of the body, making sure that the outside of each half is facing each other. Let them rotate around the hook to be one on the bottom and one on top of the hook. The legs are tied in at this point making sure the bulk of the legs are tied on the underside of the hook shank. This will insure that when the fly lands on the water it will be upright. Fold the two halves forward and tie off. That’s all there is to it, very simple. If all else fails, look at the picture.

You may ask, now just where do I fish this fly? I haven’t had the courage to fish it on the Yellowstone yet but on Slough Creek in the park in early summer, it is devastating on the cutthroat. I have found the frog effective on ponds and lakes where tiny frogs exist. And for the stray bass fisherman in the group, strip the frog along any likely structure and just hold on.

To all the anglers who have been house bound since the beginning of winter, take heart. Spring will soon be here! And with the spring come the caddis. My body quivers with the thought. I have come up with a few new patterns, which will never take the place of the old tried and true elk hare caddis but worked extremely well for me last year and are fun to tie. Stay tuned.

Volume # 3 Number # 2



Fly Fishing with Pookie
Written By Dean Reiner of Hatch Finders Fly Shop

My Crystal Ball

Today is March 20th, the first day of spring. It’s 22 degrees with snow flurries. So much for spring, but typical for Montana.

All winter long with a steady stream of trout bums sitting in the shop, sucking down my lifer’s juice (coffee to you non-military types) and complaining about the weather, and wondering when the caddis will start. Will we have clear water, when will the runoff start, how many days will the hatch last? Everyone has an opinion including me.

The basic consensus of opinion was with the snow pact being what it is (very good), results of the last three years of the hatch, and the most important thing of all is water and air temperature. It is important to have enough BTU days to get the caddis ready to hatch, but not warm enough to make the runoff start. It’s a delicate balance.

Last year the first reports of caddis came in around the 15th of April. Some of the guides who couldn’t stand not being on the water any longer started floating the Yellowstone the first week of April. Now everyone is looking for an early hatch. I wish I could be that optimistic. It’s too soon to start predicting the weather 30 days out, but looking into my crystal ball for all you anglers itching to get the first scoop, or my best guess, I’ll say we should start seeing caddis by the last week in April. This isn’t rocket science just what I have seen for the last 25 years of fishing the hatch, if the conditions permit.

I tell my clients who wish to fish the hatch to be as flexible as possible. To be able to hop the first plane out and hope for the best. Not many are willing to take the chance, that’s why I get to do my best fishing more often than not all by myself. It’s the only

time I will close the shop and not give a dam who is left waiting. It’s my reward for sitting at the vice tying all winter.

Last year I was able to get 5 days on the river with each successive day, the conditions getting just a little worse as the runoff became stronger. But what a week of fishing. Determined to fish the heaviest part of the hatch, I would put on the river by 3PM and fish till dark. I would see blanket hatches start around 4PM till about 7PM. Rising fish were on every feeding lane and on the riffle turns. From Mallards Rest to Pine Creek (my favorite stretch) you couldn’t see the rocks from the water line to 4 feet up the bank, the caddis were that thick.

During the peek periods of the hatch I would use a pattern developed by my head guide Paul Bretz called a caddis cripple. I would cast it into a raft of caddis and I would come up with a nice fat trout. Results are what counts.

As the hatch wound down I would switch to a more conventional pattern, an elk hair caddis, or one of my MFC Wing Material caddies. All produced good results.
Dandy, my lovely daughter and head tier (careful guys, she has a boyfriend) and I have tied up a good supply of caddis to fit everyone’s needs. Buy early, because when the hatch starts Pookie and I won’t be here.

This article contains so many ifs, ands, or buts, I feel like a politician. But what I can say for sure is if you don’t get out and fish, you won’t catch any.

Included are three of my favorite caddis patterns.


1. Caddis Cripple.
Hook: Dai-Riki 14, 16
Tail: White Z-Lon
Body: Super Fine Dubbing, Color to suite
Hackle: Dun
Back: Belched Elk Tied in Humpy Stile

Wing: Tied Quigley Stile
Thread: 8/0 Gudebrod, Color to suite
2. Cinnamon Caddis
Hook: Dai-Riki 10,12, 14, 16
Body: Super Fine Dubbing, Brown Olive
Hackle: Dun
Wing: MFC Wing Material, Dun Colored Brown
Antenna: Striped Grizzly Hackle Stem
Thread: 8/0 Gudebrod, Black
3. Egg laying Elk Hare Caddis
Hook: Dai-Riki 12,14, 16
Egg Sack: Fl. Chartreuse Supper Fine Dubbing
Body: Light Olive Supper Fine Dubbing
Hackle: Light Dun
Wing: Light Cow Elk
Thread: 8/0 Gudebrod, Olive

Good luck and good fishing.

Volume # 3 Number # 3


After so many months of talking about fishing, Pookie and I finally got the chance of removing some of the winter rod rust that has a tendency of building up over the long cold winter.
On the 7th of April, three friends of mine from New York who were here for some spring time skiing decided to spend a day on De Puy’s and invited me and Pookie to come along. Putting down my bobbin and garbing my favorite 4 Wt Echo rod and with a nod of approval from my daughter, out the door I went with Dandy saying, “catch a big one for me”. I just love that girl!

As soon as we turned into the driveway Pookie went ballistic. She knew she was getting the chance to get muddy and kiss some fish. As we pulled up to Eve’s hut, I turned Pookie loose. With a look of pure joy she tore down to the creek and waded in, but only up to the tops of her feet. The weather was still a little brisk but the wind was down and the sun was making a valiant effort to burn through the overcast. Pookie was in her element.

As we were rigging up, Pookie was giving out some very excited barks. Looking at me saying, “I found them hurry up”. Walking down to see what the fuss was all about, I about had heart failure. I have seen the creek full of fish before, but I swear you could walk on their backs. There was a good number of spawning trout on the gravel bars, but twice that many in the deeper runs flashing and feeding on BWO’s emerges and midge emerges with just an occasional riser.

We each tied on a different style of midge pupas and BOW emerges, being very careful to avoid the spawning beds made our presentations. With just a few casts we started hooking up. At one point we all had fish on and poor Pookie was running her legs off trying to give a look and approval to all the trout.Fishing and landing was on par for De Puy’s this time of year. No count was kept, but we were all busy for most of the day. As the day wore on so did the fishing. The trout became more and more selective and after a few hits we had to change flies to a different pattern to keep the trout’s interest.Speaking for myself, the best patterns were the RS-2 for the BWO’s and LBN’s (little black nymphs) of various sizes and colored heads for the midges.By 6PM we were all tired and in need of Ben-Gay. Pookie was lying in the grass not interested in inspecting any more fish, so we called it a day. I want to thank my friends for a great day of fishing and to Daryl Smith the owner of the creek for keeping the spring creeks in top condition.

A few words as to what the guys have been doing on the Yellowstone. On overcast days witch has been plenty of late, big black buggers have hooked up lots of cutthroats and a few big browns. On less windy days BWO’s are out and the trout have been feeding on them.

The Caddis hatch is only a few weeks away. I expect to see feeding trout on Caddis by the end of the month with the blanket hatches by the first week in May. It appears we will have a cool spring so the river should behave itself and give us some good days of Caddis fishing.
Stay tuned for updates as the hatch comes on. We have a good supply of Caddis flies on hand but they will go fast. He who hesitates will loose. I believe we will have a spectacular summer this year so get out there and go fishing.

Volume # 3 Number # 4


Fly Fishing with Pookie
Written By Dean Reiner of Hatch Finders Fly Shop

Or in this case the caddis hatch or the run-off.

Saturday, April 29th. As predicted the caddis hatch came off on the appropriate day and so did the run-off. The river cane up approximately 1000CFS with logs floating down along with all the drift boats.

It was my pleasure to treat Denny Hasburg and Carol his better half from the Great Falls Missouri River Flyfishers to a float on the fickle and sometimes heart breaking Yellowstone River. As we put in at Mallards Rest, the visibility was about 18” with many tan caddis fluttering along the banks. Talk about a perfect day, no wind, warm and flying caddis. Pookie was in her glory chasing after caddis. What more could a person ask for.

The caddis hatch had just started that day and I suspected that the trout hadn’t picked up on the dries yet so we rigged up with soft hackles and caddis pupas with the hope of switching to dries as the afternoon progressed.

Stopping at the first riffle we spaced out and commenced to beat the water. It didn’t take long and Carol hooked up on a small bow. I’m thinking we will have a fair day! After an hour of fishing we all came up empty except for Carol’s one bow. Moving down river we stopped at all of my favorite spots with no results. Pookie started giving me dirty looks at each stop. I know she was thinking, “well OK bud and fair weather fisherman. You have no wind to complain about, where are all the big trout you promised me to kiss?”

The river was rising steadily and becoming more and more off color as the day wore on. Denny and I managed to each land one white fish apiece, with a total of three fish to the boat. Trying to hide our disappointment we all commented on how beautiful the day was and that it was a great day fishing, just the catching wasn’t so good. I was thinking, I should have gone east, the only excuse a guide can give.

Carol was a fishing machine, pounding the water all day with a smile on her face. If only all the people I take fishing could be that way.

As we were pulling out there were a few boats waiting in line. Being nosy as I am I asked several fisherman how they did. When I told them we only landed three fish, they said they wished they had that well of a day. “Opus”.

Maybe it’s just my heart speaking, but I don’t want to believe that we won’t be able to fish the hatch any more this year. I’m hoping for a reprieve with the amount of water coming down, that the clarity will improve and the trout will feed .No matter what the river does the caddis hatch will last for two more weeks, with blanket hatches occurring daily.

Until next time, good luck and good fishing.

Volume # 3 Number # 5

Fly Fishing with Pookie
Written By Dean Reiner of Hatch Finders Fly ShopHow the Pink Pookie came into existence;

About three years ago in the beginning of the hoppers season a guide from Bozeman came into the shop and asked if we had any pink body hoppers. Pink not being a standard color for hoppers I said we don't. He then asked if we could come up with a pattern for the next day. The fly bins in the shop were full and my partner Koichi Kawai and I decided to give it a try. Just playing around we tied up 10 different patterns 6 each, and the next day we gave them out  to him and the guides working out of my shop. The reports back the next day were very favorable. Pink was very attractable to the trout. We had tied hoppers the standard way and with foam for speed. The guides favored the foam hoppers because they floated well and didn't required to be dressed as often. Koichi and I kept playing around with different ways to tie the foam on the hook and with different colored legs until everyone agreed on the pattern that became the Pink Pookie. The next steep was coming up with a name for the fly. Just calling it a pink hopper would do nothing for the mystique of tying a new pattern, we needed a hook to get people interested in the pattern. In the curse of tying many dozed flies a day some eventually end up on the floor. Pookie never paid much attention to what we were tying but when one of the pink hoppers fell on the floor, Pookie jumped right on it and began tossing it into the air. Not wanting her to find a hook I got it away from her. Being a dog she jumped up on her hind legs pleading with me to let her have it. As she was standing up she exposed her very pink belly, Koichi and I thought that would be a great name for the fly, hence "The Pink Pookie". After a week of handing out the fly as an experimental pattern the number or requests for the fly grew to the point where we had to put it into the inventory. For the next 45 days we had guys standing 3 deep at the vice at 6 in the morning waiting for us to turn out the fly. We must have tied 200 dozen that first summer and for every year since it has been the most popular pattern for hoppers. For that name Pookie has become the most popular dog on the river, everyone knows her. The Pink Pookie is fished as you would any hopper. It's float ability is such that it will support a nymph as a dropper. The fly is durable enough to stand up to many trout and the only reason to change fly's is if you lose it. I hope the anglers and tiers out their will enjoy the Pink Pookie as much as I do.

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Fly Fishing with Pookie
Written By Dean Reiner of Hatch Finders Fly Shop
Salmon Fly Hatch of 06

My partner from Japan, Koichi arrived back in this country on Monday the 26th. After recovering from his jet lag he was ready to fish. We decided to try the upper section from Corwin Springs to Joe Brown. It had rained very heavy the night before and we were concerned about the water clarity. As it happened there was a major mudslide on the Gardner. Thinking it was a local slide, I thought it would clear fairly rapidly. As we left town the river was defiantly blown out. We just looked at each other and said that it will be a nice drive.

As we progressed up river the clarity steadily improved. By the time we reached Joe Brown there was about 3 feet of visibility on the banks, and Salmon flies were all over the bushes. Pookie made her usual run through the bushes trying to eat every salmon fly she could reach, and knocking quite a few into the water in the process. Well they didn’t travel very far before we saw noses coming up for them.
After getting Pookie back into the truck, not an easy task when she’s on the hunt, and dropping the shuttle car off, Chad, Dandy’s boyfriend kindly agreed to row for us, we headed down to Corwin Springs to launch the boat.

Driving over Corwin Springs Bridge we could see rising trout along the western bank, smiles all the way around! When we got to the ramp, there was not a single trailer to be seen. I guess everyone was afraid there would be too much mud, you snooze you lose.

Eager to get in the water, it didn’t take us too long to rig up and tie on. The fly of choice obviously was the sofa pillow, size 6. We were about 10 feet down river when I had my first strike. Koichi the same. A few casts later we had a double. Two nice cuts about 14” long and busting at the seams. Pookie got to lick her first fish of the year. I don’t think she was able to sit still the whole day.

The fishing just got better as the day went on. We managed to hookup a double just before stopping at Mulharen. Two nice bows about 16 inches with no hook marks, not bad. By the time we stopped at Mulharen, Pookie was getting very hot, so I let her soak in a small pool in the creek. She shivered for an hour after that and didn’t bother kissing fish for a while.

I found the trout to be within inches of the bank. If you didn’t present your fly that close, the trout would not move away from the bank. It is a risk loosing your fly in the bushes, but no pain no gain. We stopped at all of my favorite riffles and not a strike to be had. The trout were only along the banks. We did manage to hook a few white fish, 4 to be exact and Koichi hooked about a 10” white fish on a number 2 salmon fly. You think he was hungry?

I expect the salmon fly hatch to last for a week and a little more. After that they will move up river to the park.
Hoppers are next on the agenda. If the weather and the river behave themselves it should be good fishing all summer. Get out there and join us on the river for some of the best fishing of the year


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Volume # 3 Number # 6

Fly Fishing with Pookie
Written By Dean Reiner of Hatch Finders Fly Shop


It has been a hell of a week on the Yellowstone River. We did 5 days on the river, all south of town. I had a young man from Israel, Daniel Klein and could he cast. It was a pleasure to have him in my boat. Daniel is studding to be an F-16 pilot for the JDL. This kid really has it on the ball. We floated from Carbella to 26. The wind was up in the morning, but became very pleasant after the first hour.

We tied on a Pink Pookie with a beetle dropper. We weren’t down river 100 feet when Daniel had his first cutthroat.  We had 3 Pink Pookies with us and by the end of the day they were all shredded. The beetle worked well also with about 4 nice cutthroat to its credit. Most of the trout were close to the bank on that stretch. We stopped on a few riffles with little luck.  Earlier in the week I had the pleasure to have a little 10-year-old girl, Sidney in my boat. She had never fly fished before and her grand father booked an evening float for her. After a little coaching I had her casting about 30 feet. We stopped on a few riffles to fish white fish. I wanted her to be able to understand what it’s like to feel a fish hit, and for that white fish are the best. Sidney was a fishing machine. In the course of a few hours she must have had 20 hits and landed 4 fish. I have never seen such a wide grin on a little girl.  Koichi had a friend from Japan here for 10 days of fishing. They fished few days on the Henry’s Fork, Madison, Yellowstone River and in the park. While fishing the rivers in the park they came across the infamous insect called Chrysops spp, better known to the locals as the Deer Fly. All the anglers, guides and just plain visitors were assaulted to the point of anemia.

Female deer flies are vicious, painful biters. They feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals, mainly fisherman. These flies cut through the skin with their knife-like mouth parts and suck the blood for several minutes. When they fly away, a drop or two of blood usually exudes from the wound, permitting secondary feeding sites for their friends. The flies are potential vectors of such diseases as anthrax, tularemia, anaplasmosis, hog cholera, equine infectious anemia, and filariasis. Also, deer flies are suspected of transmitting Lyme disease (New England Journal of Medicine 322:1752, 1990). Biting deer flies frequently attack humans along summer beaches, near streams, and at the edges of moist, wooded areas. Some people, when bitten, suffer severe lesions, high fever, and even general disability. Symptoms are allergic reactions to hemorrhagic saliva poured into the wound to prevent clotting while the fly is feeding. A person can become increasingly sensitive to repeated bites.
This information is not meant to frighten the angler, it’s meant to inform and to encourage you to be dressed properly and use bug spray. One thing that I have found out through my years of fishing the park in July is that when the deer flies are the worst the fishing is the best. Go figure.




















My last day on the river was an evening float on Thursday. I floater Koichi and his friend on the Yellowstone, from Pine Creek to Carter’s Bridge. Of course we fished the Pink Pookie with a size 12 Trude as the trailer. By the weeping wall we had two trout to the boat

In the past weeks I have found the trout close to the bank. On this trip we made the effort to stop on all the riffles to see if the trout had migrated to them. The riffles weren’t stacked with trout but there were good numbers of them and they were eager to eat. We managed to land half a dozen trout 14” to 20” that evening and missed a really big brown. Life was good to us.


I have an announcement to make! On June 20th 2006 a new Hatch Finders Guide arrived. He weighed in at 7.5 lbs. 20” long and will be available for float trips in July of 2024. His name is Grayson Bouse, so make your reservations early. I already have mine.

Enjoy your summer on the Yellowstone. The fishing will be the best in years.


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Volume # 3 Number # 7

Fly Fishing with Pookie
Written By Dean Reiner of Hatch Finders Fly Shop


The dog days of summer are here in Yellowstone country. Weather patterns promote high temperatures during the day, and the water temperature increases with each successive day with the highs reaching 90 pulse degrees during the day.

In past articles I have stressed fishing tight to the banks. Now it is time to fish the riffles. This makes it harder on the waders because of access. But there are a few spots right here in Livingston that don’t receive much pressure and the trout stack.

Lets talk about 9th street island. Kids love this area, with many slow pools that are great for just sitting in and cooling off. If you park under the highway bridge, and walk up stream on the left-hand channel, you will find many deep running riffles with a fair number of trout in them. The pressure in this area is slight, although you will find an angler or two, so don’t be surprised, just keep moving upstream and find a riffle of your own.
I love this area. Pookie and I will walk around making random casts picking up the occasional fish .The best way to fish a riffle is to start in close, and gradually work your way out until you have fished the inner riffle. If you don’t pick up any trout, just move on to the next. It’s a great way to spend an evening till it’s cool enough to go home.

The river has been quite busy this past week. The results have been mixed depending on the stretch fished. Water temperatures along the banks have reached as high as 72 degrees. Anglers fishing tight to the banks are hitting a lot of white fish, and the floaters wise enough to fish 10 feet out along the drop-offs are scoring respectable trout. If the floater picks a stretch with a lot of riffles and stops, their catch will increase.

Hoppers are the fly of choice for the trout during the day till about 4PM. After that, trudes, caddis and PMD’s have brought up nice size trout. If the angler uses nymphs you will catch many more white fish than trout. Besides this is dry fly time.

Weather fishing with a guide, or just out on your own, enjoy yourself, time is short. The next snowfall is only 60 days away. So, get out there and add some good memories to your life.
Volume # 3 Number # 8

Fly Fishing with Pookie
Written By Dean Reiner of Hatch Finders Fly Shop


The morning started out with a light over cast and cool. We left Livingston at 6 AM expecting a 3-hour drive through Gallatin Canyon to Raynolds Pass. I drive like an old man sometimes.

As Koichi and I arrived we were shocked to find only one other car in the lot. Rigging up took only a few minuets and off we went up river to a few pools Koichi enjoyed great success at. Tan elk hair caddis, sizes 14 were all over the bushes and bouncing off the water. It wasn’t hard to figger out what to tie on.

As we moved up river making casual casts to likely spots, Koichi landed a few nice bows while I managed to land a monster of about 6 inches. That’s fishing! We fished up river till about noon when we returned to our truck for lunch.
As the day warmed up the caddis became more active. After lunch we decided to fish below the bridge to find bigger fair. The Madison runes much faster below the bridge and the trout hold in much heavier water. There are many crosscurrents and making a clean drift for more than 5 feet before your fly drowns becomes much harder.

Rising fish were few and far between in the afternoon but every now and then when your fly was in just the right spot a nice trout would rise up and take a hard swat at your fly. It kept the day interesting.

Towards late afternoon thunderstorms made their way across the valley requiring us to take cover. After each storm the trout would make brief appearances giving us a clue

as to where they were holding. Koichi managed to hold on to a few of them and bring them to the net. Mine were off the fly as fast as they were on.

As we were getting ready to call it a day I made one last effort at a rather large rainbow behind a big rock that was rising every few minuets. The take was so fast I barley had time to set the hook, but when I did the show was on, 6 jumps and two real burning runs later, I managed to turn him into quieter waters where the line went slack and he was off. Oh well, it made a perfect ending to an enjoyable day.

Driving through Ennis on our way home we stooped at the Grizzly Bar just passed 3-dollar bridge for a burger and fries. Now when it comes to burgers, it’s hard to beat the rib and chop, but what a burger. Try them next time you are in the area. You won’t be disappointed.

One more piece of culinary information that will delight the pallet, try the Pink Pookie Pork Chop sandwich at the N/P Beanery, formerly Martins cafe. Yum! Pookie highley recommends it.

Volume # 3 Number # 9






Fly Fishing with Pookie
Written By Dean Reiner of Hatch Finders Fly Shop


It was a Saturday and Koichi and I were doing mundane things like rearranging stock. Real exciting stuff. Around noon Thomas T Harms “terrible Thomas”, one of Livingston's best guides, called asking if we wanted to fish below Big Timber. That section has been closed for about three weeks due to high water temperatures and the

FWP had just opened it for fishing. It was a hard decision to make, rearrange stock or close the shop and go fishing. The lights were turned off and the door locked with Pookie under my arm before we were even off the phone.

We put in around 1:30 PM with only one other boat ahead of us. The last time Thomas volunteered to row us down the river, Pookie took a dunking and had to be netted. I think she remembered that day because she had to be convinced to get in the boat, giving Thomas a long sideways glance. I think she was thinking” I have teeth and I know how to use them”.

What a great day, 80 degrees, no wind and the whole river to ourselves. Koichi and I tied on the tried and never fail “Pink Pookie”. We weren’t a hundred yards down river and we had our first double. I had visions of a big brown, knowing they were there and hadn’t been fished for and I wanted one! How does it feel to want?

We brought up trout all day and we stopped at every likely riffle. The trout were eager to eat and eat they did. We brought in over 50 trout between the three of us. Some small and some big, all gave a good account of them selves.

We found trout in the froggey water and in the heavy water. Most were off the bank about 5 to 10 feet. We were having such a good time even the fish we missed were fun and we did miss a bunch. All the trout were bows or cut-bows, not a white fish was seen all day.About half way down river we came across a friend of Koichi and I. Doug had come in the shop earlier that morning wanting some Pookies. When we came across him and his wife, he waved us down wanting to know if we had any Pookies to spare. As you all know, river prices can be very steep, so we gave him some with the promise of him to give us his first born.

The Pookies worked all-day and even into the evening. As we reached the gray cliffs just above the take-out Koichi landed about 10 trout in ten minuets. It was just crazy!

Every where we stopped Pookie was out of the boat doing her thing. The poor girl must have walked 2 miles and on her short legs that’s a bunch. Buy the time we got home she was exhausted. She snored so badly I had to keep nagging her. Ain’t life wonderful?

Volume # 3 Number # 10




Fly Fishing with Pookie
Written By Dean Reiner of Hatch Finders Fly Shop


Labor Day weekend is fast approaching, so Koichi and I decided to beat the rush, and fish Thursday and Friday. We had planed to camp at Slough Creek, so we could fish late on Thursday and early on Friday. It all worked out, we were on the hunt for big trout. We arrived at the second pullout on Slough and we were the first anglers there.

Looking down at the pool we immediately spotter 4 or 5 torpedoes cruising the banks. We should know better than to make this pool our first stop, because it’s irresistible to any angler. Rigging up in no time we were making our first cast to fish that weren’t very interested in eating. Early in the morning you often see large trout hugging the bottom just out of the current, being lazy.

Realizing we had buck fever, we soon started to move down stream to more active fish, Koichi on one bank and I on the other. Just a few hundred yards down river Koichi spotted 5 trout working the frog water. After many patient casts to these very spooky fish he managed to hook 3 and broke off all, 6X you know.
While Koichi was busy with his pod I walked to a spot that I knew held several large cutthroat. I usually like starting out with a terrestrial, this time I put on a sizes #14 black ant. Sure enough a good size cut came up and immediately rejected my presentation. After an hour and many changes of patterns I came up wanting, not one hook-up for my efforts.

Koichi stayed on his pod and I moved further on down to another pool I like to fish. Of course there was another angler in it, so I just waited him out. I managed to find one nice cut in the corner and landed him after a few casts.
After lunch we decided to try our luck on the Lamar. The wind had come up by the time we entered the river, hearing hoppers that’s what I put on. I managed to raise a few fish but missed them. Again Koichi went up and I went down. After an hour, I had managed to land one nice cut about 18”. Koichi faired better with 7 trout landed. As the day came to a close the wind became too strong to fight, so off to Roosevelt lodge for dinner and reminisce.

At this time of year the trout in the park can and often are picky and spooky. The hatches that occur are sparse and tiny flies are required. Baetis, PMD’s and terrestrial with infinite patience and an actuate presentation will result in a trout of good size.

Friday morning broke cold and clears with no wind. With a hurried cup of coffee we set off for a hike to the canyon of Slough Creek. We arrived at the last pool before Slough dumps into the canyon on it’s way to the Lamar. For me it’s a hike but Koichi, man can that guy put one foot in front of another, I hate getting old! The water temperature was 50 degrees with no bugs flying. We spotted a few fish rising, though out of my casting range, but Koichi made it look easy with 80 feet casts. The trout did rise to his fly but with so much line out in frog water a hook up was almost impossible. With Koichi focusing on the rising trout I decided to wash my clothes with me in them. I spent the next hour drying out. But at least I smelled better.

Around 11 am we started fishing our way back up stream to a pool that always has a number of baetis in the air, and every now and then a good size green drake floated down. It produced big fish. Sure enough when we walked up on the pool there were rising fish. We didn’t want to be too quick to jump in so sitting on the bank we first looked for bugs. There were a fair number of baetis sizes #20 floating with a spattering of big green drakes size #10 floating down. Watching the rise form, we determined the big splashy rises were on the drakes and the subtle rings were on the baetis.

Koichi put on a size #20 baetis dun and presented it to a fair size cut, rising in the middle of the pool. After a few passes he had a hook up and the fight was on. For the next 4 hours, we casted to rising trout with seven brought to the net, and many more either broke off or slipping the hook. The biggest cut-bow was taken on a green drake measuring 21 ¼ inches and fat. Koichi did a magnificent job on that one; it only went down river 50 yards before it was brought to the net. I even managed to land a couple myself, although I lost more flies in that pool than I did all year.

Things started slowing down around 5pm, so we decided to call it a day and head back to Livingston. Pookie didn’t accompany me on this trip. Last year the rangers made a fuss about Pookie running around without being on a leash and off the road, so I left her with my daughter. As of this writing, Pookie still isn’t talking to me. But I know she will forgive me, as she will be going with me to New Hampshire for stripers and blues. So stay tuned and enjoy what’s left of our summer.

Volume # 3 Number # 11

Fly Fishing with Pookie
Written By Dean Reiner of Hatch Finders Fly Shop


Fall is definitely in the air and snow is on the peaks. The recent rains we have had put out the fires of summer, cooled down the river, and the trout are getting ready to transition to their winter feeding habits. We haven’t had any hard freezes yet, but finding hoppers on the river is exceedingly hard. I’m sorry to say that the sure fire

Pink Pookie has fallen from grace with the trout. Anglers will now have to be more observant and have their thinking caps on when picking out flies to use, as the trout are looking for smaller fare with less effort to feed.
Subsurface activity is picking up with the trout looking for emerges. You see feeding trout flashing in the riffles, actively feeding on small nymphs floating in the currents. Cooler temperatures, over cast skies tell the next generation of baetis, that it’s time to fulfill their lifecycle. From nymphs to duns, it is the most prolific hatch of the fall season.

While floating the Yellowstone becomes less and less, and walk wading becomes more popular, the die-hard anglers will find their favorite holes full of trout feeding on BWO’s.
Another favorite technique is streamer fishing. Fall fishing for staging brown trout gets my blood up. I will put up with cold temperatures and even wind for the opportunity to nail browns that will strike any bugger passing across their territory. During the summer these big browns move towards the center of the river looking for deeper, cooler waters.

As the water temps fall, they move back to the banks to bulk up on small fry that congregate in the shallows. An interesting habit of brown trout is to see them tail slap the waters in shallow pools along the banks. What they are doing is stunning small baitfish with their tails and turning to feed on them. That’s why streamers do so well when fished to the banks.

This is also my favorite time for fishing the Park. Most of the crowds are gone, campsites are readily available and pools can go for days without seeing an angler. In late September, the Green Drakes and BOW’s hatch on Slough Creek in numbers to get the trout up and actively feeding. For most of the summer the trout hold in deeper pools to avoid pray animals and those pesky anglers that slap the water to froth. I have sat on the banks watching the water and not seeing any trout. You would think there isn’t a fish in the whole river, then you would hear a subtle plop and a big sail floating down, and a big nose coming up for it. The more plops the more noses. In no time you see rising trout in numbers that you would think the river couldn’t possibly hold. It’s a sight to see and will make you forget all your troubles.

As fall transitions to winter and the temps fall close to freezing midges will take over as the trout’s main food source. The challenge will be to find open water to fish and keeping your guides free of ice. But when you are house bound and suffer from cabin fever, a few hours on the river is just the ticket to keep your sanity and the divorce rate down.
The easy days of summer are about over for me. We will be starting our winter tying program for next summer’s flies and with my darling daughter accepting half the ties,

we should have plenty of fresh and new patterns tied in our constant battle to outwit the elusive trout.

I should say that my business partner, Koichi is returning to Japan on Thursday the 21st. It has been a wonderful summer having him here. If everything goes according to plan Koichi will have a permanent visa to stay in this country full time by next year. I know Livingston will extend a warm welcome to our future new citizen.
From time to time I will let you in on the new patterns we come up with, and how to tie them. After all winter is tying time.



Hook: Mustad R-50 or R-30 #8 to #10
Thread: Gudebrod 8/0 Rusty Brown
Tail: Moose
Dubbing: Fly-Rite Dark Tan

Body: Hackle Stalk of Coq De Leon (Optional Turkey Biot or Striped Peacock)
Wing and stabilizer: (Shuck Optional) CDC Natural Dark Dun
Tie wing as transitional dun style (House of Harrop)

Volume # 3 Number # 12

Fly Fishing with Pookie
Written By Dean Reiner of Hatch Finders Fly Shop


What’s it like to fly fish for Stripers? Well I can tell you it’s just as much fun as any other salt-water fishing I have ever done. You can go after them with just the basic equipment, or you can gear up with the latest in spay gear. With the help of Ted Watson Livingston’s local expert on spay casting, I was able to beg, barrow, or steal enough equipment to give it a good try. I have never fished for stripers before, but have herd about it for years and really wanted to try it.

Ted and I took about three days to get things together. I settled on his T&T 12’
12 Wt two-handed rod that Ted had just acquired but hadn’t had a chance to fish yet. I already had a couple of Able reels that I have been using for my salt-water fishing, so all we had to decide on was what type of lines to use. After fooling around with several shouting heads we settled on a 440 deep water express 30 ‘ in length and 150 ‘ of slick shouter running lines. After a few hours of practice I was able to cast consistently 150 feet. What a rocket, one pump and off it went. It really made a day of casting easy. At the end of the day I still had enough energy to lift a bottle of beer and

a bushel of steamed clams.  Not knowing the area and being it was my first time, I decided to spend the money and hire a guide, good thing too, as I wouldn’t have been able to even find the water let alone the stripers. Pookie and I met the guide Reilly Mc Cue, who really knew his business. Finding a guide is an iffy thing, over the Internet, you never know what you will get. I got lucky with a guide who knew the water and had top-notch equipment. This was a couple of firsts for Reilly, having a fishing dog in his boat, and an angler using a two handed rod. Most stripper fishing is done with single handed rods or spinning gear. Like most guides he just hoped I could get the fly past the bow of the boat. He was so worried that Pookie would fall overboard and become fish bate. I assured him Pookie had her sea legs and would be no trouble. She is very good at spotting rising trout, but Reilly was using binoculars so I didn’t think Pookie would be much good in that area.  After a short fast ride Reilly spotted gulls circling over the water, busting fish as Reilly called it, and we were on it. After peeling off about 100 feet of line standing on the casting deck with Reilly giving me a look of I don’t know about this, a roll cast, one pump and all the line was on the water. I looked back and he was smiling, strip, strip and fish on! This went on for the rest of the day.  Spotting schools of feeding fish is a piece of cake. As you are cruising along, you watch for circling gulls over the water. The closer you get you can see the water foaming from the bate fish trying to avoid getting eaten. The stripers heard the bate fish into tight balls making it easier to feed on them. The trick is to get close enough to make a cast, but not so close as to spook the bate fish into dispersing and causing the stripers to disperse with them. Hence the long cast into the center of the splashing bate fish. As the fly sinks and is striped the stripers don’t have time to really distinguish the fly from the real thing and hit it like a freight train.  Pookie had a ball, every time I would set the hook she would jump up on the casting platform and give out a good howl in anticipation of bringing in another fish. It took her a while to get close enough to give the stripers a lick as I imagine she was thinking that is a funny looking trout. Some of the stripers were bigger than her and those she gave a wide birth to. She was warier of a mouth bigger than she was.















I never landed what I would call a keeper; I was looking for a 40 pounder, but only landed up to about 8 pounds. Still the action was fast and furious all day, I barely had time to eat my lunch before Reilly would spot another school of stripers.  This was my first trip to New Hampshire. I found the area to be drop dead gorgeous. The trees were in their fall colors and every home was surrounded with thickly packed woods. Eating out was a pleasure. The seafood was fresh and tasty. Steamed clams were a constant on the menu and I ate many of them, almost too many, as I think I gained a few pounds. Pookie didn’t care for them, more for me!

This trip was so much fun I may make it an annual event. If you get the opportunity to fish for stripers take it you won’t regret it. The best time for stripers is late September and October along the New England coast. Stripers can be found all along the Atlantic coast, but you should do a little research to find the best times and area to fish.
Winter is fast approaching and it’s tying time again. As I get out on the river or the spring creeks I will post a report, but my fun times are about over for a while. For you guys, get out and fish. The crowds and tourists are gone; there is plenty of room to fish.

Volume # 3 Number # 13

Fly Fishing with Pookie
Written By Dean Reiner of Hatch Finders Fly Shop  HOW GUIDES GET THEIR GROVE ON

After a long winter and a cold and wet spring we finally got our chance to hit the river with a vengeance. The 07-caddis hatch came off a little early. This year we started seeing caddis on the 22nd of April. A surprise to some but very welcomed. This is also the time when guides get to get rid of the rust of the winter, stock up on Ben Gay, catch lots of trout and generally have a ball catching trout that a client would die for.

Being the first heavy hatch of the year, trout are eager to bulk up on a steady supply of food. For guides it’s a race to the runoff. From the very first report of seeing caddis it’s only days away from the runoff starting. That’s why guides who can are on the river wiping themselves into a frenzy to land as many fish as possible before the river muddies up. This hatch can be so iffy very few clients will risk fishing the Yellowstone, that’s why we consider the caddis hatch to be for the guides as a prepayment for all the trout we can’t catch throughout the summer.

The weather moderated just enough for me to uncover my trusty drift boat on Saturday the 21st. I floated with LJ my top guide from Emigrant to Loch Leaven expecting to find a good bates and midge hatch. There was a high overcast and it didn’t take too long to find rising fish. Casting in the backwaters and tight to the bank was the ticket. Except for about an hour when it snowed on us we had good fishing all day. Of course Pookie insisted on snuggling in my raincoat to stay warm and dry during the storm. LJ managed to miss a few big fish on buggers but by and large it was quality verses quantity.

Sunday turned out to be even a better day. I tied on a size 14 Olive Hears Ear Parachute with a Koichi special the ever tried and true Floating Midge Pupa size 20. We stopped at the first riffle after the weeping wall and it was fish on for about two hours. I did see a caddis fluttering around and when we finally hit the take out I had already got reports of some of the guys had hit the caddis very well around Mayor’s Landing. As the weather gods would have it, it rained all the next day. Keeping a positive attitude and a close watch of the water conditions I eagerly awaited for the skies to clear and for the next days fishing.

Tuesday broke clear and warm, no wind and the caddis were flying. We put in at Caters and floated to Mayor’s Landing starting a little after noon. Trout were on the bugs all day. Phil had his girlfriend in the boat and as usual she landed the most fish.

As the week progressed the fishing just got better. Reports came in of 20 fish days per angular. The trout started rising from about 1 PM to full dark. On all the fishing access you would find local anglers with bent rods and big smiles on their faces.

On Wednesday Phil Sgamma and Rob Olson two of our local top guides and I put in at Mayor’s and floated to Sheep Mountain. Within 5 minutes we had trout to the boat. At times Pookies white fir was covered with caddis. The river looked as if it was boiling with trout. We stopped at the riffle between the railroad trestle and KPRK Bridge. There must have been two hundred trout rising to caddis in a 40’ circle. Pookie was on her point, running from the bow to stern inspecting for her approval every trout brought to the boat. By the time we floated on down Pookie had to take a nap and only got up to inspect another trout.

As we floated past 89 bridge I got the chance to inspect the work on the access their. I’m pleased to say they did a wonderful job. It will be a pleasure to put in and take out there.

The fishing slowed down after 5PM. We still found trout close to the bank sipping the occasional caddis. About a half mile from Sheep Mountain Rob noticed what looked like two good size trout working on a seam line right next to a downed log. As he made his cast I followed right behind him. As you would now it a fat 12” brown sucked down his offering. Just as my fly was about to pass by the log another fat brown snapped up my fly. It became fairly evident that this trout had some shoulders on him. After a few desperate runs he gave it up and came to the net. It was my first big brown of the year, I’d guess about 20” with a nice hooked jaw. By this time Pookie had gotten her second wind and was again running back and fourth checking out the trout. Rob hooked a nice bow about 5 minuets from Sheep Mountain and Pookie got so excited about this one, over the side she went. I know I have told you about the number of times I’ve had to scoop Pookie up in the net but this time I have proof. As Rob was about to net his fish Pookie was in the water. Rob kindly netted Pookie instead of his trout. Much to Pookies relief I might add, I think the water was too cold for her.  I hope everyone reading this had a chance to get rid of their winter rust, renew their sprits and say a thanks to All Gore for the long awaited global warming. The runoff will start in just days. I expect it to be normal lasting about 45 days. That should be just enough time for Dandy and I to tie the 3000 Pink Pookies needed for this summer.
May the winds be down, the sun at your back and your rod always bent, good fishing.

Volume # 4 Number # 1

Fly Fishing with Pookie
Written By Dean Reiner of Hatch Finders Fly Shop



In 27 years I haven’t seen a June like this one on the Yellowstone. The river cleared three weeks early this year bringing on an early salmon fly hatch. The big bugs were halfway through before anyone knew about it. It made it a joy for the guys that were on top of the hatch because there weren’t too many boats on the river. Along with the salmon flies, golden stones, caddis, and yellow sally’s made a special appearance.  For the past two weeks we have been on the water almost every day. We got in about halfway into the salmon fly hatch floating for the first day from Carbella down. The big bugs were in good numbers and the trout were on them along with golden stones and yellow sally’s .We started late in the day just to avoid the crowds. It didn’t seem to make any difference to the trout as they continued feeding with a vengeance all evening long. Later in the evening, the trout switched from yellow sallies to caddis in a big way. It seemed they had had their main course and were now ready for desert. I was able to raise trout from put in all the way to take out with very little slack times. It seemed every little seam and pocket tight to the bank held feeding fish, eager to take my offering.

A day or so later, I was strong-armed by two members of the trout bum club to float above the canyon. Not that it took too much arm-twisting. Dandy just waved her hand as if to say, “ good riddance, I’m busy and can get more done if you weren’t here. “ Love that girl. In a flash we were in my truck heading to Mc Connell for another day of fishing. Salmon flies were thick on the bushes and quite a few were in the air along

with goldens and caddis. I really appreciated the fact that the water level was so high. It really made it east to pass over the rock garden for the first few miles of the river. We missed many more fish than we landed but the action was constant all day.  When the trout finally got over the big bugs they keyed in on one of the best yellow sally hatches I’ve see in years. Koichi and I floated below the canyon the past few days, fishing in clouds of sallies and every few feet of drift another trout. All the trout were fat, strong, and full of bugs. It’s hard to imagine that they could eat another bug but they did.
As of this writing the salmon flies have moved up into the park, where from the reports I’ve received the fishing has been good. The one problem is with the 90 degree days the water temps are steadily rising which will cause the fishing to drop off dramatically in the coming weeks. (Pray for more rain). We have reports of moss forming on the lower river with fishing poor. That’s an indication of the water temperatures being too warm. This will definitely put more pressure on the upper stretches of the Yellowstone. Hatch Finders will promote only evening fishing for the foreseeable future until the water temperatures moderate some.  On the 26 Th of June Koichi returned for another summer at Hatch Finders fly shop. He has brought with him new and innovated patterns from the premier fly tires in Japan. Many of these flies will be given to our guides to try out and for demonstration at this years FFF Conclave, where Koichi will be giving classes on the finer art of tying CDC flies. We will also have the latest in bamboo rods from Yukihiro, Japan’s best bamboo rod builder. Dandy will be manning the booth this year, just so she won’t have to tie too many Pink Pookies.
It looks to be a great summer for our anglers. Take advantage of the good times while they last. Good fishing!

Volume # 4 Number # 2

Fly Fishing with Pookie
Written By Dean Reiner of Hatch Finders Fly Shop


The 2007 season for Slough Creek has started off with very aggressive feeding fish. On Slough it is best to be on the water by 8am or earlier. You will find early morning caddis in the riffles and fussy feeding trout in the froggey water feeding on tinny PMD’s.
Koichi and I arrived at Slough on July 5th at about 8am. Unfortunately Pookie couldn’t come as the rangers put up a big fuss last year about her being more than 100 feet off the road. I can’t cast that far so she stayed home. From the looks she gave me I knew I would be in for it when I got home.
Stopping at the second pull out we looked over the hill at the creek. We didn’t spot any trout in the first pool but looking down river we spotted the splashy rises of feeding trout in the riffle just down stream. After gearing up and applying a generous

mount of bug repellant, the deer flies were out but not in force, off we went with visions of big cuts in our head. As we were walking down Koichi said “I would just like one 20” cut today”, I said “one at a time”? We just laughed. We slipped in with me at the head and Koichi at the tail out. I picked out a size #14 dark brown caddis and Koichi chose a spent wing caddis. Now all anglers love a bit of competition while fishing. Picking the right fly, putting it in the right spot, all those things that makes for a successful presentation that will result in a hook-up, it’s an unspoken emotion in all of us. Well the first cast for me resulted in a not big but a respectful 14” cut. Two casts later, another fat trout. I’m thinking that was easy, Koichi shouted to me good job with just a hint of envy in his voice.
Feeling fairly proud of myself we walked a little further down river to one of Koichi’s favorite spots. With the sun being so low it was hard to spot fish. Koichi made a blind cast under a log, a spot shore to cost a fly, and one I would have avoided Koichi hooks into a big cut-bow. We new it was big because of the tremendous bend in his rod. Thinking we should have brought a net, Koichi skillfully fought the trout and brought him to hand. I was speechless, a 22 “ trout in wonderful condition.  Walking further down river to a riffle I enjoy, I was thinking maybe I shouldn’t have gloated that much on my first two fish. Now I was really fired up to match Koichi’s trout. I knew this pool held really big trout, but the cast had to be perfect with no drag at all of all you get is the hoarse laugh from the trout. In this pool they have seen every fly and technique possible and few anglers have the skill or patience it requires to be successful. Koichi possesses all of these qualities and more. Sure enough we spot rising trout. The river was still a bit high and I notice one working trout very close to the rocks sitting in about 1 foot of water. At about this time we saw big green drakes and PMD’s floating down. Changing flies, Koichi with a PMD cripple and me to a CDC green drake. I worked for an hour on this trout with little success. Koichi in the mean time landed five trout from 18” to 20”. It got to be a grudge match between this fish and me. I must have changed flies 6 times. I got him to look but my presentation was not quite right to hook him. Thinking my mo-jo was not quite right I gave him up to the master. Wouldn’t you know it Koichi made two casts and had him. My luck.  Twenty minuets later I finally managed to land a 20” cut myself, just down from the pool.
By noon the water tempter reached 70 degrees. The fish stopped rising and it was time to move on. It was a surprise to us that the water was that warm. Thinking Soda Butte would be cooler we spent the next three hours fishing the deep cuts and riffle water their. We manager to land quite a few trout.  By 4 PM we decided to try our luck on the Lamar. Driving back down river we saw mud flowing out of the Lamar. I didn’t see any rain so there must have been a slide somewhere up river.
We were just about wore out by this time and decided to call it a day. On Friday the park sent out notices that they are asking fisherman to curtail the fishing from 12 noon to 6 PM. It won’t be long before we will have to do this on the Yellowstone. Water tempters have risen to 70 degrees plus in resent days by 12 noon making for very slow fishing. Lets hope for more rain in the afternoon and that cooler weather will prevail.

Volume # 4 Number # 3

Fly Fishing with Pookie
Written By Dean Reiner of Hatch Finders Fly Shop

Henry’s Fork

It has been 8 years since my last visit to the Henry’s Fork. My experience was nothing less than exhilarating. Koichi and I left Livingston Tuesday afternoon for the 3 hour drive to Island Park, Idaho. We arrived just in time for the evening Flav hatch. Not wasting much time we geared up fording the river, witch for me was an adventure in itself. With Pookie under my arm we waded through waist deep water for about five minuets till we reached the far side of the Fork. Then a good mile down river to a spot where Koichi landed a 22” bow last year.
The tradition for fishing the Henry’s Fork is to find a likely spot then sit and observe the water, see what bugs are flying and wait till you see a rising fish. Then entering the river to positioned your selves to make a very precise cast to the rising trout.
It has been my experience that a spot that held trout at one time will hold trout again. Giving Pookie and myself a chance to rest form the blistering passe Koichi held during our march to his spot, we sat and observed. After a time Koichi spotted a rising trout just in front of a snag about twenty feet from the bank. Next to the snag was a big rock and another rising trout. We spent three hours making our presentation to the trout with no results. Still thinking what a great day we made our way back up river crossing again then off to the A Bar for dinner. Pookie made a beeline for the kitchen where the cook took after her with a broom. She was hungry and wolfed down half my burger.
The next morning we floated the Box Canyon. I found it to be an interesting stretch of water. There were many spots to stop but wading was difficult so we fished from the boat. Most of the trout were in the middle of the river and although I was assured there were many big rainbows in that stretch we only managed to land trout up to. The Box is only about 6 miles of water and we were off the water by 4 PM. After a quick lunch we talked over what to do for the evening fishing. Finding plenty of anglers on the river we elected to return to the spot we fished the night before.
After resting again from our sprint Koichi decided to walk down another ¼ mile to see what if anything was happening at the Big Bend. Pookie and I were just sitting there watching the water when we saw a subtle rise just one inch from a down log next to the bank. I swear Pookies head snapped at the same time as mine and we looked at one another, I said did you see that?
Not wanting to jump right in we looked a while longer. I was hopping Koichi would return soon as he had the net and more important the camera. After a few more rises I couldn’t stand it any longer and entered the water well up stream of the trout. Moving carefully I made my approach. I made my first tentative cast well of the fish to get the distance. The trout was rising so close to the log I knew I would have to make a cast with a drift tight to the log. With the though of nothing ventured, nothing gained, I made my cast just a couple off inches of the log. No Rise! OK I had to get closer. Three cast later I saw the take and set. The boil was tremendous. I knew it was a big trout and she made an immediate run for the center of the river. I didn’t want to take the chance of tightening my drag so I let her run. I could feel I had a good hook set and I managed to get back about half of my line when she made a spectacular jump of about 6 feet. That really took my breath away and a guy across the river gave out a yell of encouragement. Koichi must have herd the splash and he looked and saw that I was fighting a fish and made a beeline back up river. Pookie was barking loudly as excited as I was. I started yelling my self for Koichi to hurry. I could here him saying, “I’m coming”. All I could say was “hurry”. Koichi arrived just in time to net the fish. Thanking the god of fisherman, I could barley hold the fish while Koichi put the tape on her, 23.5 inches. I haven’t landed a trout of that size in 10 years. The fly was a size 16 Flab Dun and I should say it was Koichi’s tie. I’m still thanking him.The trip to the Henry’s Fork was one of the most enjoyable I’ve had this summer. If you decide to experience this river, take along a lot of patience, a good supply of CDC flies and 6 tippet.


















Look for more reports on fishing the Yellowstone this summer and be aware that the 2007 FFF conclave starts on July 31st. Good fishing and be kind to the trout, give them a kiss for their efforts.

Volume # 4 Number # 4

Fly Fishing with Pookie
Written By Dean Reiner of Hatch Finders Fly Shop

How hot was it?

Hot! Yes it was. Even Pookie took a dip to cool off. Fish & Game has placed restrictions on most of the major trout rivers in Montana and Yellowstone National Park has done likewise for the rivers in the park. Fishing is to stop by 2 PM. I’m not sure if it is FWP or Mother Nature who puts a stop to fishing at this time. By early afternoon the water tempters reach 70 degrees and the trout seek relief in the deeper holes making it difficult if not impossible to find feeding trout.















There have been reports of mortality on the trout. I believe this is due to trout stranded in shallow side channels where the water gets to hot for them to live, and for trout improperly released. This mortality happens every year, although unfortunate it’s just a fact of life.
For the first half of July the fishing was purity good. But with tempters reaching 90

degrees almost every day with no rain the last half of July made every guide on the river work for their money. We can only hope that August will give us some relief.
Depending on the section of the river fished hoppers are making a spectral appearance. With the hot dry weather the numbers of hoppers has exploded, and if you can get some wind the trout are on them. Visiting the river in the evening the caddis are hitting the water and the trout are actively feeding on them. It’s wonderful the trout can feed in piece and stay healthy even if it’s only for a few hours. Unless and until the weather cools the restrictions will stay in place for the foreseeable future.
In my last article I bragged a bit about the 23&1/2-rain bow I landed on the Henry’s Fork. Koichi had the opportunity to return to the Henry’s Fork to fish with friends visiting from Japan last week. He admitted he fished very hard to beat that trout but came up an inch and a half short, but still a spectral trout no less.  I have spent my time guiding this mouth and have has some success too. I have put on the water by 6 AM mostly south of town and guided a few times on the area spring creeks. Pink Pookies, PMD’s, rusty spinners trailing the appropriate size bead head nymphs has worked well in the early morning. If I find no fish rising I switched to a size #8 golden stone nymph and caught my share of trout and white fish in the deeper runs just off the banks and in the tail outs of the riffles. On the spring creeks PMD’s and rusty spinners are working well with hatches lasting well in the afternoon.  The first week in August the FFF Conclave will be in town. Hatch Finders will have a booth again this year. We will feature ECHO rods and a new line of bamboo rods from Japan. Dandy and Koichi will man it this year while I will be holding down the fort in the shop. We have a very limited number of free passes available so don’t be afraid to ask for one. On Wednesday from 8AM to noon Koichi will be giving a class on CDC. Everyone is welcome to come and watch. We at Hatch Finders Fly Shop welcomes the members of the Federation and wishes you good fishing.

Volume # 4 Number # 5

Fly Fishing with Pookie
Written By Dean Reiner of Hatch Finders Fly Shop


It’s conclave time again for the anglers in Livingston. For Hatch Finders Fly Shop it’s an opportunity for us to renew old friendships and make new ones. For me it’s the best time of year to sit back, listen to all the fish stories, making sure I have my feet on top of my desk, and tell a few whoppers myself.

The show it self features new products, gadgets of all kinds, all the things that makes a fly fisherman’s heart flouter. Fly tiers from around the world make their appearance teaching the latest techniques with the newest materials, all with the hopes of convincing the elusive trout to take their offerings. Koichi my friend and partner made his first appearance this year as a master fly tier offering a class on flies tied with CDC. I’m proud to say it was a wonderful success. Dandy my daughter and general manager of Hatch Finders is manning the booth this year. She is handling the sales and demonstrating some tying techniques of her own. The old man, that’s me, stayed in the shop grateful for the chance to be lazy and to encourage Dandy and Koichi to show off their talents.The FFF has a new program this year, its called healing waters. It consists of taking disabled veterans from all branches of the military and taking them fly-fishing. The wonderful thing is that there is no cost to the veterans. I had the distinct pleasure to have two men in my boat, Mark Bilodeay and Bill Johnston. Mark from the air force and Bill who was a Marine who served in Vietnam. He was injured with only 3 days left in country. The injures were so server that he lost bough of his legs. He asked me what I did in Vietnam and I told him I was a crew chief on CH-46’s. When I told him I served with HMM-364 the Purple Foxes he said that, that was the squadron that med-a-vac him and was instrumental in getting him to a hospital and saving his life. All helicopter squadrons fought with valor in Vietnam but our primary duty was to rescue wounded solders. I believe we saved the lives of thousand of our brave men and women who were surly mistreated upon their return home.  There was another program from Bozeman called Wounded Worriers where they took Marines wounded in Iraq and gave these young Marines several days on the water. Finally we are treating our service men and woman with the respect they deserve  .On Monday I got a real treat. I had the pleasure to meet a man named Alastair Gowans. Ally, as he likes to be called, is a world class instructor on spay casting and one of Scotland premiere guides for Atlantic salmon and Brown Trout. On Friday we loaded up the boat and headed up to Mc Connell for a day of fishing. We also had in the boat Dennis Grant a good friend of Ally’s and he sits on the casting board of governors. We put in at 6 AM. I noticed that the parking lot was empty, thinking that was unusable we started fishing. A few minuets later and one fish I got a call from Hooters asking how bad the mud was. Then I understood. I told her it was terrible not to send any boats up here. I know that was very bad of me but I got to fish the entire day and never saw another boat. That was the first time I floated that stretch all by myself in 27 years. So shoot me! Dennis used streamers all day and really did well. Ally was committed to the dry fly. He used the ever-reliable Pink Pookie. Ally was just fascinated with the scenery. Every time he rubbernecked he would get a strike. The comet was “did you see that, he almost got my fly. I saved it just in time”! By the end of the day we had a respectable number of trout to the boat. And the best thing for me is I didn’t have to say mend even once. I was in heaven. Sitting or standing, these guys could cast from the middle of the river to any bank and catch fish. It was surreal. On our ride back to town Ally said in his Scottish brogue “Dean do you know the definition of fly fishing?” Not really wanting to say something predictable I waited, Ally came back with the simplest way to describe it. At the end of the day it’s having a smile on your face and wanting to do the same thing tomorrow. I think he said it all.

I would like to thank the Wounded Warriors, Healing Waters and all the Vets, and to say thanks to all my friends with the FFF for a mind numbing but absolutely enjoyable week.

Volume # 4 Number # 6

Fly Fishing with Pookie
Written By Dean Reiner of Hatch Finders Fly Shop


It has taken me a couple of weeks to over come my sadness over the loss of one of my best friends and a charter member of Hatch Finders trout bum club, Ron's the one on the right. Over the years Ron could be counted on to spin a great tail over a wide range of subjects and keep a smile on our faces.
When I first started out in this business, Ron was one of the first outfitters to give me encouragement and a lot of great advice on how to conduce my business. When I opened Hatchfinders Fly Shop, Ron was first in line to help me get started, from what flies to tie and how to arraign the shop and even hold down the fort when I had to be on the river and away from the store.
Ron had a long and productive career as a guide and one of the industry’s finest fly tyers. Ron created many of Bailey’s patterns that are still popular today. I will miss him, he was a good friend. I hope he leave a few for me.

Fly Fishing with Pookie
Written By Dean Reiner of Hatch Finders Fly Shop

After four years of avoiding the Bighorn River I took the opportunity to take two anglers, Paul and Rick two guys from Wisconsin for a two-day float. The reports I have gotten all summer indicated the Horn was fishing better than ever. These guys really wanted to catch some big trout. Doing a day trip on the Horn requires a 5AM departure from Livingston with a 3-hour drive in order to put in at after bay by 9 AM. Pookie is not an early riser and was not to happy about being pushed out of bed at O Dark Thirty.

I haven’t tied for the Bighorn in a long time so we stopped at Alvin and Roda’s Cottonwood Camp and picked up some likely flies. Baetis and Black Caddis was what was happening and the Horn being a nymph river we picked up a new patterns called the Skinny Nelson along with a few CDC Black Caddis. We no sooner put in and floated a few hundred feet and Rick had his first brown on. It was non-stop from that time on  .One of the reasons I stopped floating the Bighorn were the crowds. This was no exception. There must have been a hundred boats on the river with us. The difference being the trout were hitting the nymph s on the float and we didn’t have to stop at any of the runs.  After a few nice trout were brought to the boat, Pookie said OK I can get into this. On that first day, Paul and Rick landed 15 trout apiece. With twice that number either lost or missed. It was constant smiles all the way around.

After what I would describe as a great day and we were looking at another long drive, Paul decided that we could get more fishing time if we spent the night. There wasn’t one bed available in Fort Smith, does that tell you how crowded the river was, so we found a room in Harden. This let us get on the river by 7AM and well ahead of all the other floaters. To my pleasure we were able to stop at the breakfast hole for over an hour before we saw another boat. The guys did rather well with two big rainbows landed.

By the end of the day neither Paul nor Rick could catch another trout. Both were crying for the Ben-Gay. Paul wanted to know if they came back next year would they get the same experience. I said, “ Go home, brake your rods and never come back again”! This was once in a lifetime day.

After a long ride back to Livingston and a short night’s sleep I picked up a good fishing buddy Cloyd and his son, Mark from Ohio. Cloyd has fished with me every year for the past 12 years. Some years were good and some not so good. The day we did the Yellowstone, the wind was blowing about 40 MPH, or at least seems that hard. All I know was my arms were 4” longer at the end of the day. We floated Carbella to 26 and the water looked really good. With the wind we settled on the Pink Pookie as our go to fly. Right out of the gate the Pookie was being hit. The problem only small trout were doing the hitting. We boated a fair number of trout but the biggest was about 12”. I changed flies all day, but always came back to the Pookie.

Two days later, Cloyd invited me to go along on a trip to the park. Not being a guided trip I was able to fish for my self. We started on the Lamar, as this was Cloyd’s favorite stream. Walking up from the Cottonwood hole I found a nice little pocket that looked promising. Starting with a black beetle, just to see if there was anything in there, I casted to the head of the riffle. I was rewarded with a fat 16” cut. After a few more casts I noticed green drakes in the flat water. Wasting no time I switched to Koichi’s CDC drake with immediate takes with aggression. It was fun from that time on. We fished till 6PM with fish on all day. It was one of the best days on the Lamar I’ve had in some time.

To some up for the week, the best performing flies were the Skinny Nelson in sizes #16 and #18. Pink Pookies sizes #10 to #6 and Size #10 CDC green drakes. With the cooler fall weather the BWO’s will be making their appearance on the river and though hoppers will work for some time yet start looking for pods of rising trout feeding on small mayflies and midges. Fishing will just get better as winter is just around the corner. Get out there and catch a few yourselves.

Volume # 4 Number # 7

Fly Fishing with Pookie
Written By Dean Reiner of Hatch Finders Fly Shop

Photos by Koichi Kawai








Through out the winter Hatch Finders Fly Shop will feature fly patterns designed by Koichi Kawai. Mr. Kawai is half owner of Hatch Finders Fly Shop and his primary responsibility is to design new and innovative fly patterns for the shop. All the patterns developed by Mr. Kawai are tied in shop and available for sale. Dandy and I hope you will enjoy Koichi’s new patterns with the knowledge that these ties have been fished extensively for at least one year to prove them viable.

Tying direction for the CDC Baetis Drowned Dun.

Tail: Hackle fiber
Abdomen: Goose Biot (olive green)
Thorax: Super fine dubbing (olive green)
Wing: CDC (natural dun)
Hook: TMC 100BL, Mustad R30, R50 (#22~#18)
Thread: TMC 16/0(olive) or any 10/0~16/0
*Counter Rib: TMC Mono Thread (butter yellow) or 9x tippet from Enrico Puglisi (*only for size#18. Use water-based head cement for size #20 and smaller.)

Soak biot into a cup of water before you start to tie.

Photo, 2:Materials













Photo3&4: Put thread on the shank, tie in the rib and tails, and wind thread rearward to bend. Attach biot by the tip at bend of hook.
















Photo5: Making the smooth body so tie it in with the notch down. You should tie in the biot to the other side of the hook shank, since you are the right-handed tier.Counter wrap rib forward.









Photo6: Pluck some CDC fibers, and tie them in the hook shank. (Bottom part toward to front)









Photo8: Divide the CDC with a figure eight to keep them divided and in a horizontal position.









Photo9: Put some dubbing back and forward, (and figure eight also), on the base of CDC wing. Cut the wing evenly.













The Drowned Baeits Dun works on those fussy feeding trout that just won’t take anything in your box. When fished in the park or spring creeks this fly will surprise you.


Volume # 4 Number # 8

Hot Pookie.jpg
Koichi with another big one.jpg
Fishing with Friends.jpg
Fish on a Pookie.jpg
Koichi and his full net.jpg
Dad on Slough Creek.jpg
Koichi on Slough.jpg
Fish Face.jpg
CDC Drake.jpg
Pookie with striper.jpg
Pookie in the sand.jpg
Guide with striper.jpg
Fish in net.jpg
Pookie in the net.jpg
Daddy on Yellowstone.jpg
Fish in the net.jpg
Slough Creek in the AM.jpg
Slough Creek int he AM 3.jpg
Dad on Slough Creek.jpg
Beautiful trout.jpg
Henry's Fork.jpg
Huge ass fish and Koichi.jpg
Pookie taking a dip.jpg
Dandy tying at the conclave in 2007.jpg
Pookie working hard.jpg
Tribute to Ron Brown.jpg
Drowned Baetis Dun.jpg
Photo 9.jpg
Photo 8.jpg
Counter wra.jpg
CDC Baetis Drowned Dun.jpg
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