Eye of the Guide


Satoshi Yamamoto - Jun 02, 2014


Case #1: Helicopsyche on Firehole River


The White Miller caddis (Nectopsyche) hatch was excellent along the meadow section of Madison River. I enjoyed it very much though yesterday evening's experience was slightly nagging me. After the hatch and rise were over, besides lunch break, I went back to the town of West Yellowstone. I dropped by Blue Ribbon Flies (www.blue-ribbon-flies.com). I brought my camera with me to show the little caddis in question. Luckily the owner/outfitter Craig Mathew was tying flies at the counter. I told him about what I encountered in the evening before and showed him pictures in my camera. He kindly stopped tying flies and explained the little caddis with his book: Fishing Yellowstone Hatches (ISBN: 1558211780, 9781558211780). He identified the little caddis in question as Helicopsyche. He let me read a couple of pages (as it was a premium book!) and I read intensely to memorize the content. Here are the facts about Helico (here after, I'd like to call it so).

Each description was exactly right and everything made sense! Especially the bottom two!! I bought dubbing materials to suit Helico body then went back to my motel room in order to tie flies for the evening.

Revived Soul

In the evening, I went back to Muleshoe Bend with refreshed mind and newly stocked flies. Just like the day before White Miller caddis were flying all over and the trout were already rising. But I tied on a Helico X Caddis.

X Caddis – Helicopsyche

  • Hook: Dry hook #20-22
  • Thread: black 12/0 or 16/0
  • Shuck: Amber Zelon
  • Body: Zelon Dubbing, mix of brown and amber
  • Wing: deer hair (dark to gray coloration)

BINGO! Voila! IPPON! You name it. From the first couple of casts, trout started rising on my flies!! I performed just the same casting, line handling, and fly presentation as I did the evening before (I hadn't done any up-stream casting). Only one difference was the body color of my dry-fly. Trout were very eagerly taking my flies. I hooked and then missed a lot. They were not skeptical any more, nor was I!!

Pretty good sizes one after one!

stocked up some with my travel tying kit.

I gotta stock them up again!

The Third Day

I was very content with the results. The next evening I went back to Muleshoe Bend to have another fun evening. On this evening, Helico were more dominant than the White Miller. The same tactics of mine worked but trout were sipping on these tiny caddis very gently. As the evening darkened, hatches and rises continued more and more. I used a large White Miller dry-fly as an indicator over a tiny Helico X Caddis. I could have them take my tiny fly but hooking them and bringing them in were difficult. I just wanted to end the evening with the one last fish. I kept working hard as the darkness neared. With the very last night, I managed a nice one. I took some deep breaths after intense moments. I had to leave the river. But trout were still rising………

Call for the evening…….. Satisfied!


After Thoughts

The whole experience was a prime example of match the hatch on the Firehole. Even to this day, this experience is still valuable and fundamental to establishing myself as a "Spring Creek Specialist", who can observe and understand the complicated moods of trout and insects on Livingston's spring creeks. I was willing to pursue small details (tiny Helicopsyche) and was willing to ask to and learn from the expert. During this time of year (late June), the expected/well-known hatch is the Salmonfly on the Madison (Montana section) and corresponding action of trout (and people). Go figure sizes of flies you would use and sizes of fish you may catch. You should experience those actions as well. But if you want to do something "out of the box", there are several options waiting for you on nearby waters. The Helicopsyche hatch on the Firehole is only one of those.

Satoshi Yamamoto, http://leftyangler.blogspot.com, is a guide and a professional fly-tyer in Livingston, MT.

Sysadmin Note
Part 2 can be found here


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