Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Jay Zimmerman's Backstabber #6 Leech

This pattern of Jay Zimmerman's was originally designed and tied as a "Carp" fly, but has proven to be an excellent Bass fly also.
Due to my sacrilege it has also proven an excellent pattern for "Trout" in both stillwater and moving water environments. ~ LO Jurgens

For the pattern recipe and tying instructions click on “LoJ’s Fly Tying & Bug Stuff” in the LINKS OF INTEREST Section. ~ LoJ

Friday, June 26, 2009

Bailin on your fishin buddy...12 Step Program

Alright no one wants to admit it, but at some point or another we have all made the call. You have already committed to a great day out on the water, just you and you fishing buddy, hitting it hard. Then something comes over you; the situation might change, a third wheel gets added, the weather looks bad, whatever your lame excuse is, you want and need to pull the plug on the trip, stat.

Here are some helpful tips for pulling the trigger:
1. Get the advice of your fellow fishing buddies. These are to be trusted guys, who "know" the situation. There is no one better to trust than a fellow fisherman who can sympathize and relate. Especially someone who is potentially a mutual friend of whomever you are bailing on, that way it will never come back and bite you in the ass.
2. Call your girlfriend or wife. Make sure that there is nothing going on that day that you did not know about when you made your plans. Deep down you hope she has come up with something since you last spoke that morning at 9Am, and dammit if she doesn't come up with something, you will!
3. Pick up a guide trip. This one applies to the shop junkies. Oh sorry bro, I got to make money while I can...bummer I was so stoked about fishing on Saturday. Ha what a line, but works like a charm, every time.
4. Pull out the wild card. Have you checked the weather for down there...it looks terrible, there's like a 30% chance of some heavy thunderstorms that day and you know how I hate fishing in a lightning storm. This one is tough because you know that some of that afternoon cloud cover should bring those fish up, but hey You dont want to fish with that bum, no matter what!
5. Just improvise. Come up with some brilliant scheme, but whatever you choose to come up with make sure its not the truth. You dont want to let him know how you really feel, do you?

By following some of these simple steps it should be no big deal to bail whenever you want. Leave you buddy behind, you dont want to be out fished, made the fool or be the third wheel of a situation. Believe me this is your best way out. So find a back room away from other distractions put on your game face, take a deep breath and make the call. You will only feel dirty for about two minutes before you can start scheming on where YOU want to fish instead.
Good Luck

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Colorado Caddis An Oldie & Goodie

This Caddis pattern is an oldie but a goodie that was originally tied by Bob Good of Denver Colorado, per Terry Hellekson’s book Popular Fly Patterns, Published 1977. I have been fishing caddis patterns for the past two days and the "Colorado Caddis" was the top producer as the “dropper” fly using a dry and dropper setup.

For the pattern recipe and tying instructions click on “LoJ’s Fly Tying & Bug Stuff” in the LINKS OF INTEREST Section. ~ LoJ

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bear Creek Delight

Had a great afternoon on Bear Creek. Bear Creek is a great little creek just 45 minutes away from Boulder. It reminded me a lot of Boulder creek. There is some beautiful stretches. Found every time of water, from pocket water to great riffles and pools. There is quit a bit of public water from Morrison all the way up to Evergreen, but like most of the Front Range there is plenty of private water. We saw a bunch of fish munching caddis, and saw some PMD'S.
There are mostly brown's averaging 10'', but did manage to raise a couple in the 13''range, with a small population of rainbows. We got most of our fish on a Neversink Trude, Blooms Para Caddis, with a dropper of electric Caddis, hotwire caddis,bottom rollers, BTS PMD, and pandemic PMD.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rocky Mountain High

It is easy to forget that here in sunny Boulder, CO the spring temps hover in the mid seventies and remain fairly mild, but just a few miles to the west the elevation soars and the environment changes. Now is the time to throw on a pack and head up into the high country for some early season lake fishing for high alpine trout. The ice has retreated pulling back the cover of snow and leaving behind a renewed sense of life at 11,000 feet. Flowers, grasses, and animals have begun to show their heads through the snow and the fish are hungry and eager to get a bite in.

This past weekend I had the chance to hike up to Snowmass lake outside the town of Aspen to do a bit of backpacking, fishing, and relaxing. With a cool breeze in our face we hiked up 3,500 vertical feet for eight miles to arrive at a desolate lake, tucked away at the foot of the mountains, some of which rise up to 14,000 feet. Upon settling in to the lake it was apparent that the rainbows and cutthroats were engaging in the annual dance of shaking and grooving in and around the inlets and outlets of the lake; while the brookies took comfort in the depths of steep banks of the lake. Small shrimp dropped off of whatever favorite dry worked great in the streams while the brookies hammered on streamers in the lake.

The weekend was a blur of gray and white up around 11,000 feet with plenty of snow, wind, rain to make things all the more interesting, but as we descend the valley became a sea of greens and the small alpine creek began to grow into a river. The chance to get "high" legally in the state of Colorado is one of the best ways to spend a spring weekend, get out and go for it.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Micro Caddis

This caddis pattern is an effective pattern on small freestone creeks and in the evening when the "Evening Caddis Hatch" is going full blast. At last light and later it will be a good idea to tightly hang on to your rod as trout will sometimes violently attack this fly!

For the pattern recipe and tying instructions click on “LoJ’s Fly Tying & Bug Stuff” in the LINKS OF INTEREST Section. ~ LoJ

Lactose Dreaming -- Cheeseman

From the first time I set foot in Cheeseman Canyon I instantly fell in love. Walking in from the Gill Trail and seeing the mighty platte snake through the boulder filled valley is a sight that evokes the same feelings time and time again. Cheeseman is the premier distnation for front range anglers who want a shot at smart wild trout in a setting that most anglers spend a lifetime trying to find.

In big water (flows over 600 cfs) to the bare bone flows of winter (of >40 cfs) the energy of the river remains constant with its granite blobs deep runs and huge pocket water. This spring the flows have been averaging around 500 cfs and water has even been spilling over the top of the dam, which means warm water. Warm water in turn brings epic hatches of Caddis, combine this with high flows that push large fish out from their lairs and you have lots of big fish suspending and willing to eat a dry.

I walk the same crunchy trail time and time again moving quietly and confidently along the banks of the river that I feel at home on. Each fish that comes to hand is a gift because each day and each moment is different; one moment there is a frenzy and the next there is empty space in the day. Its a warm welcome coming into Cheeseman a homecoming if you will here I feel at ease and a part of this place. No matter what the flow, the time of day, or the color of the water there are big eager fish waiting, resting and gearing up for the next hatch.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Warming Water Improves Bass Fishing

Bass fishing at a local pond in Longmont with a Wooly Bugger produced results for David Staub.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Red Butt Flash Buzzer

Give this pattern a try while the "Chironomids" are doing their thing!!!

For the pattern recipe and tying instructions click on “LoJ’s Fly Tying & Bug Stuff” in the LINKS OF INTEREST Section. ~ LoJ

Is this your year to fish Colorado's stillwaters?

Waters high and muddy? Might be a problem unless you like to catch large trout feeding on massive hatches of large midges! Temperatures on our gold medal fisheries in South and North Park are finally stabilizing in the mid fifties, and with that comes the first of the great hatches, and lake fisherman's best friend the Chironomid. If you haven't fished lakes before, don't panic, this hatch is very beginner friendly, utilizing the same gear you use on our rivers. In this blog we'll look in depth at this midge hatch and try to answer the many questions we hear at the shop when getting started in lake fishing, Callibaetis are coming off now as well- but we'll save that for next time.

The Gear:
Any rod in the 5-7 weight range in med fast to fast action, and of at least 9 foot in length will work great. The faster action will accommodate casting in the notoriously windy conditions found on these impoundments as well as recover any slack line on hook sets. My personal favorite is a 9 1/2 foot fast action six weight Sage. The longer rods available now can assist the float tuber sitting low in the water attain a little extra leverage. A weight forward floating line matched with a nine foot leader tapered to 3x or 4x and completed with the same size fluorocarbon tippet to fly will finish the set up. A cork indicator set to suspend your fly or flies a foot or so off the bottom and large enough to support the weight of the flies in windy conditions completes the basic rig.
There are as in most fly fishing situations other techniques that will work well for this hatch. I personally enjoy slow crawling pupa without an indicator, counting down the flies after casting using a short Rio Midge intermediate tip fly-line, and certainly if you become a lake enthusiast looking at some of these specialized tapers to maximize presentation will make sense, but for the sake of the beginner, I'd recommend the suspension method as this is without a doubt the easiest way to consistently catch fish during this hatch.

Understanding the bug
Chironomids are the single most important food item found within a still-water’s biomass. It has been estimated that this bug within its various life stages can represent ½ of a trout’s total diet throughout the year. Hatches start shortly after ice off and will continue until ice covers the lake again in late fall. Peak emergence in Colorado starts in May or early June but strong secondary hatches can appear again all the way through September. Chironomids belong to the order of insects known as Diptera meaning two winged. Other bugs of this family include mosquitoes and crane flies, but rest assured these wont’ bite. There are well over 2000 species of Chironomids, all of them with their unique size, color and hatch timing. As with all Diptera, Chironomids have a complete life cycle, meaning it has larval, pupal, and adult stages that should all be considered by the fisherman. However unless fish are showing themselves on the surface, it is the larvae and pupa that can provide Colorado anglers the most consistent action on our South and North Park waters.
Sizes on these lake midges can vary and Lake Fisherman should come prepared with imitations ranging from a size 18 to a size 8. The glory months of May and June provide several species between 14 and 10 and if you are to start tying or stocking a box for this hatch I find I use more 12 and 14s for the pupa and 10s and 12 for larvae imitations. Popular colors for pupa Chironomids include red, olive, brown and black. The solid red “blood worm” is the overwhelming favorite for the larvae. Many naturals utilize hemoglobin for oxygen intake and this quality gives the larvae a blood red appearance and enables it to thrive in oxygen poor muddy bottoms. Some pupae retain this quality from the larvae stage in the tip of their abdomen; this red butt quality should be associated with some of your imitations. It is important to note as well that during emergence the pupae will often have a silver cast due to trapped air and gases necessary to help it swim towards the water’s surface. This quality again should be taken into account when experimenting with patterns.
As I noted earlier, adults will be present during strong hatches but it is very infrequent that the angler can take advantage of this dry fly bite. The windy conditions conducive to Colorado promote rippled conditions that allow adults to crawl out of their pupal shuck without much hesitation. Perhaps more importantly, the sheer number of pupae ascending in depths of 5-15 feet allows fish to efficiently feed without worry of predation. Dry fly windows can literally be at first light or just before dark on adults.

Fly Patterns:
As Chironomids are the same species whether in lakes or rivers (although in rivers they are referred to only as midges and for whatever reason thought of as a separate bug) larger imitations of the same patters you use in the South Platte or Big Thompson can be effective. It doesn’t hurt to tie in gills on these larger imitations as they can become a trigger for fish while searching them out. Many patterns incorporate a white glass or brass bead to imitate this quality with success. Keep in mind that even in size 8, it is still a midge and should be slender in profile respectively. Both straight and continuous bend hooks (scud bend) are used with success concurring with the ideal look desired by the tier or fisherman.
Popular commercial imitations include larger Black Beauties, Rojo Midges, Chironocones, Chromies, Juju Chironomids, Kalidescope Chironomids and my favorite, the Yankee Buzzer (you’ll have to look for this one next year!). The Bipolar Chironomids is another imitation that has proven itself over the years and is available in our custom lake assortment. As mentioned before, Callibaetis are hatching now as well, and damsels are on deck to start in the next couple of weeks- so check back in on particulars to address these hatches in following weeks. Good fishing!!!

Always Consult With Experts

This past weekend I enjoyed a break in the rain and headed to Fairgrounds lake to stretch a line while taking a family stroll. Carp fishing there has been good for me the past few weeks, in fact I landed my first Grass Carp this past Monday. Sunday was a different story however; as alot of people were taking advantage of the free fishing weekend, and frankly the carp were a little rattled by the time we arrived. Thank-fully I had a good guide in company (William Kolanda) and he pointed out just the right pattern for Largemouths. The afternoon could have been a complete fishing failure had he not assisted. He is shown here inspecting the hook placement of the Belly-ache, probably to assess how quickly I set the hook. He'll be available to guide in 14 years or so, but feel free to book your trip now as the kid seems to have a real nose for it!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Bunyan Bug, Stonefly No. 2

Floated the Colorado River with a good friend, Mark Moeller. Fished from 10:00 to 5:00 and found a lot of stoneflies! We saw a better concentration of stones in the heavy canyon water. When we looked up in the sky we could see them buzzing around like mini helicopters.

We floated with Clint Rossell, from Cutthroat Anglers. I would highly recommend getting out and floating with Clint. Floating is a great way to get out and see the river.

The flow was 3,700 CFS, WOW! The good news; the water is starting to drop every day. The fish are holding pretty tight to the bank. The beauty of fishing these bugs is the opportunity to use bigger flies and bigger tippet. We fished with Terranasties, Rogue Foam Stones, Rubblerleg stones, and Morrish's W.M.D. Stones.

Dragon Flys.....Great Choice for Stillwater Fishing

Watch for the July issue of the Front Range Anglers Electronic News Magazine. It's full of "how to" information, stories, and events. Just click here...there are almost 70 issues in our archives!

The Halfback By Nathan Streeter

The Halfback and The Fullback
by Nathan Winter Streeter
Excerpted from Fly Tyer Magazine, August, 1981
This pair of flies is quite popular in the Rocky Mountain area and especially on the North Platte River. The flies were developed by the owner of the Black Hills Fly Company Route 4, Box 640, Gillette, WY 82720 by Nathan Streeter.
For the pattern recipe and tying instructions click on “LoJ’s Fly Tying & Bug Stuff” in the LINKS OF INTEREST Section. ~ LoJ

Friday, June 5, 2009

A little something...

Well, I had to go back to Antero one last time this season while the Chironomids where still coming off strong and im sure glad that I did.  We hit the water around eight with a hand full of Chironomids and a sparse mix of a few scuds and Cal-Beatis patterns.  As predicted the Crirono was all the slabs wanted.  By the time we hit 50 fish it was noon and decided that the best way to celebrate was to shot-gun salute with a PBR, which made for a fun afternoon.
Antero sure can grow some pigs but it seems like some of the largest fish leave the lake on ice.  It is estimated that in a given weekend some 500 p
ounds of fish get pulled out of the lake.  I know the supply might seem endless but I can already notice a difference in the trophy hookups on the lake and the smaller 16-18 inch fish that have
 been caught and released are taking with a little more delicacy and their mouths have been
 scared and tattered from spoons and big barbs. 

With the spring wrapping up and summer coming in, the fishing should continue to be good and the crowds should thin, but its Antero so always count on a few other boats.  Its also
 interesting to look at the break down of the diet of these fish, might help you to make a better selection when you are heading out next.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

June 1....New Convert!

To Jon Spiegel

Caught this minutes after I saw you on Saturday.
Second day of Carp fishing I've ever done inspired by reading the FRA blog and buying those backstabbers from you last week.
Almost 24" long - probably 12 - 15 lbs on wind-knotted 3x. over 20 minutes to land. crappy camera phone shot but lucky to have a spectator.
Thanks for your help!!! Jeff Schaich

Monday, June 1, 2009

When it all comes together.....

Fishing on May 16 with husband Mike on the flats just below the dam on the Frying Pan River Roxanne Speer landed an 8 to 9 pound brown on a 24 UFO pattern and a 6X tippet.....read the story in the Denver Post