Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Holiday Rambler.

Before the holidays, before the traffic, before the house guests, before the last minute gift buying, before the football-watching, before the prime rib-eating, before the wine-drinking...before all that stuff came to a head, I was actually able to get out and enjoy an afternoon on the water. Which, for me at least, isn't that easy this time of year.

With all the aforementioned holiday-oriented activities brewing, along with a steady schedule of work, December historically proves to be a tough time to enjoy the river. Luckily for me, I happen to live in a place that helps subside the heavy feelings of both holiday-related stress and cabin fever a bit more easily than some.

My daytrip included a 9 foot, 5-weight, which is a bit too heavy for this river, but it happened to be pre-rigged and easily accessible hanging in my garage, so 5-weight it was. No waders were needed, as the 9 ft rod could almost reach entirely across this section of the St. Vrain. Plus, I was incorporating a leisurely stroll with my wife and wanted to present me fly fishing as a "secondary" activity to the walk. You know where I'm coming from...

After about a mile of meandering into a sharp breeze with my shivering wife, the wind settled down and I turned my attention to a couple small noses poking through the river's film. I managed to manipulate a handful of micro-currents slivering through the canyon and present my #22 dry to said noses...but to no avail. They nosed it alright, but no take.

I switched to the subsurface variety on the reverse side of my fly box, and got the attention of several nice little browns. The fly that enabled me to pull these brownies from their rock bottom happened to be a size 18 BLM Nymph, in case you're wondering.

Pinpointing the highlight of my day is a tough one. Is it the coffee and breakfast calzone that I enjoyed in Lyons? Is it the beautiful wild brown with the white-tipped fins that inhaled my BLM? Is it the 18 incher that darted up from the boulders to take a swipe at my caddis? Yes.

All of them, yes.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Arkansas River Below Pueblo - Fishing Report

Looking downstream on the upper section

Last weekend I had the chance to take the drive from Boulder, (~2 hours) down to what has been called the best kept secret in Colorado. The Arkansas below Pueblo Reservoir is a fly fishers dream come true. Clear skies, warm temperatures in the mid 60's on a December day, and more fish rising than you could cast to in a day. The combonation of these things lead me to wonder why I have never made the drive down I-25...

Midges were on the menu for the day

Most of the "quality" water is open to the public and is accessed directly below the damn or on the North side of the river, at the Nature Center. In this water you will find a fair share of other anglers, sure a few of them will be bait dunkers, but even a 5 minute walk will give you a few runs and countless fish all to yourself.

Czeching out the new Greys XF2 10ft 2 wt, one of my new favorite rods, a true joy to fish with.

One of the many rise forms that I had the chance to observe and then cast to. Stocky City!!

On this particular day I did some very light nymphing fishing midges sz 18-20 behind a small beatis or a variety of larger flies all weighing in under a few grams. I rotated through a variety of colors and size combos only to conclude that the fish were just flat out eating, one particular pattern did not out fish any other. I ended up catching more fish up close to the damn, but larger more wild looking fish down near the nature center. The day ended with some green chili burritos from a small mexican joint and about ~35 fish in the bag, well worth the drive.

Sunset on the lower section, near the Nature Center.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

We've Got Them!

This product from Flymen Fishing Company won the dealers choice award in fly tying for its new line of Fish Skull weighted heads.  You tie streamers in a normal fashion apply some super glue and slip on the Fish Skull head and apply the eyes that come in the package.  Restart the thread at the eye and create a small dam against the head, whip finish, and apply a bit more super glue.  I place a drop of Tuffleye (or an alternative like epoxy) on the eye to hold it firmly in place.  Watch for an article in the January Newsletter that explores some pattern possibilities.

Friday, December 17, 2010

What to Expect @ 12/18/2010 Clinic with Tom Ziegler

Tom will be tying some trout and bass flies particularly well suited for Colorado waters.  He will be showing you how to effectively spin deer hair using a special technique he learned some years ago.  Stop in to see the new shop, have a cup of coffee, and maybe a donut and watch this presentation on a large HD screen setup in the presentation area of the shop.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

December 18, 2010 Fly Tying Clinic

Front Range Anglers is pleased to announce that Tom Ziegler will be conducting our Clinic on December 18, 2010.   Tom, a transplant to the Colorado Front Range, cut his fly fishing teeth on the crystal clear spring-fed streams of the Missouri Ozarks fishing for both wild trout and, in the warmer streams, the wild and native smallmouth bass.    He is a Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF) Certified Casting Instructor, won the numerous casting competitions at Southern and International FFF Conclaves, and has managed a fly shop.  Tom is a sought after fly tier who conducts demonstrations for many national and regional shows.

Wisconson Driftless Area

Check out this great video taken from, if you dont subscribe to their newsletter it is a must.

Viroqua, Wisconsin fly fishing guide Peter Cozad explores trout streams in the southwestern part of the state. In this video he describes why fly fishing is important to the economy of the region as well as to him personally, and how it may be threatened by climate change. Produced by the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board.

Fly Fishing | Climate Wisconsin from ECB on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Thinking About Tarpon

Several things came together that preordained the creation of this video. First was the Fall issue of Hatches Magazine with an article about a cool looking Pilchard pattern which I needed for a planned trip to Belize. Second, FRA recently bought a new video camera for its fly tying theater which I wanted to become more familiar with. Last, I wanted to see how good the editing facilities were with imovie. What was envisioned as a short program of 5 or 10 minutes in length turned out to be a major production running about 20 minutes in duration. Never the less here it is for your enjoyment....note it does take a bit of time to load and you may run into some problems if your connection slows.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Did You Miss the 12/11/2010 Clinic ... Too Bad!

Ken Iwamasa talked in detail about...
--Why midge fishing has become of paramount importance to trout fishermen across the country ... this is especially true in Colorado
--How fish actually feed on these insects and where in the water column you should be concentrating
--What the real window of opportunity for fish is and how fishermen can take advantage of it
--Fly design characteristics that trigger a strike
--How best to approach feeding fish
--Sizes. colors, hooks, and material choices
--How to prepare your flies prior to fishing to enhance presentations
--A specific fly to use on the Colorado River that produces 365 days a year.
--Rigging techniques that work wonders for on or just under the surface
--How to significantly improve hookup success

Here is a video of one of Ken's primary midge patterns that he has been fishing since the 1980's

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Culture Club

We all dig fly fishing. And chances are if you are reading this, you dig fly fishing as well.

I’ve always broken down fly fishing into these three things: Science, Sport, and Art.

The science of it involves the entomology, the nature of the water and its’ surroundings, the fish itself. If we’re able to educate ourselves on species, bugs, habits, weather, and water, we automatically have a greater advantage.

Speaking of advantage—we’re always looking for one. That creates an unspoken (most of the time) competition. Fishing is a sport. It’s us against nature (and sometimes the guy 20 feet away from us). Sometimes we win, sometimes nature (or he) does—but fly anglers tend to bring a more caring, conservation-minded approach to the game.

One aspect that differentiates fly angling from our conventional counterpart is the art. Tying a fly, casting a fly, and presenting a fly is a world away from the utilitarian mindset of “Me catch fish any way possible.” Treble hooks, live bait, a Jedi craves not these things.

There are other things that appeal to the fly angler, though. Things such as the culture. The culture is essentially everything revolving around fly fishing—except for the fly fishing itself.

I, personally, enjoy the culture about as much as I enjoy the act. Let me elaborate:

* Sitting around the fire in camp chairs, wet waders hanging from a tree branch, passing the whiskey bottle, breaking down the day’s activity—or lack there of.

* Discovering a new local breakfast diner on your way to the put-in that has serves the best biscuits and gravy you’ve had since your grandma’s—and the cheapest coffee. All served to you by cheerful waitress that calls you “Sweet Cheeks”.

* Keeping a few high country brookies, firing up the backpacking propane burner alongside the stream, laying the flour-dusted fillets into a little oil, and appreciating that warm, fresh smell and crunch.

* Meeting back at the truck for an end-of-day tailgate pow-wow involving pulling a couple beers deep from the ice and toasting to a day well spent.

* Meeting up with some old acquaintances at the fly shop, bs-ing over a hot cup of coffee about what river’s on and which one’s been worthless, that destination trip you’ve been planning on taking for the last three years, and debating about the effectiveness of different nymph rigs.

* Passing on your knowledge, your advice, your trials, your errors, and your passion to someone new to our world.

Trying to explain to someone who doesn’t fly fish why we fly fish isn’t easy. There isn’t one reason, one sentence, one paragraph that explains it. It has to do with an abundance of interests all funneled into one activity. The science of it, the sport of it, the art of it—and everything else that rotates around it.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Free Fly Tying Clinic ~ December 11, 2010

Front Range Anglers is pleased to announce that Ken Iwamasa will be conducting our clinic on December 11, 2010It's difficult to chronicle the accomplishments of Ken Iwamasa due to so tremendous diversity of activities. Through his study of insects and interests in fly tying, his fly patterns were published in books by Dave Whitlock and in issues of Fly Fisherman magazine.   He has created numerous unique fly patterns and  published numerous articles in every fly fishing magazine you care to name.  He has made numerous contributions and/or had his work published in works by John Geriach, John Randolph,Ted Leeson , Todd Hoseman, and many others  He has served as a consultant to several river and lake  restoration projects in New York, Colorado and Utah.  Along with Peter Mullett, he has worked to establish eco- tourism (fly fishing tourism) in Mongolia  and has worked with Peter and Robert Behnke, noted trout and salmon expert, to promote taimen fishing trips to the Darhat Valley.  We could go on and on about his accomplishments but above all he's an insightful and extremely accomplished fly fisherman.

Ken is going to talk about midges and their increasing importance to fly fishermen.  He will address in depth about their life cycles and stages most important to fishermen - better yet, how best to fish and imitate them.

Winter is here...lets face it.

What do you think, should we carry this?

Well I officially feel like winter has arrived now that the days are short and pretty damn cold. This past weekend I really wanted to get out fishing and try out a few new little patters that I whipped up. I even got some new materials from Montana Fly Company to try out and see how they "move" so to speak. So midges and some soft hackle anchor flies were on the menu to take down to the creek to do a little testing. Boulder Creek is a midge factory and if you want to know if the midges that you have been working on are actually worth their weight then throw them at 8 inch trout. They tend to be bigger critics than most tiers are of their buddies patterns.

They might work for a 6 incher...

Well I woke up and guess what it was cold, but there was snow in the high country and its much easier to stay warm skiing than standing in a creek. So up to RMNP to do a little back country skiing with my girlfriend.
Im sure that those flies will get tested this coming weekend, on either the Blue, Boulder Creek, or im even considering the Mile. Its been on fire lately, so im told.

The long walk up...skinning up out of Hidden Valley in the Park.

Perched up in a snow cave, resting up out of the storm before making our way to the top.

One of many perfect turns to be made on the ride down. Trailridge Road winds on to the left.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

December Newsletter - Best Ever

Don't miss out on a special article on Carp Fishing - one of the most comprehensive discussions on the subject you will come across, learn how to tie the Shucked-Up Emerger which is a killer pattern for the Bighorn, find out why some local fishermen are Warm Water fanatics, pictures, videos, and much more.  Its free .... all you need to do is sign up for a subscription

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December 4, 2010 Clinic ~ 10:00 am to 12:00 pm

Front Range Anglers is pleased to announce that Larry Jurgens will be conducting the first clinic in our new location at 2344 Pearl St. in Boulder on December 4, 2010.  It seems only fitting that Larry lead off the tying clinics in our new facility because It seems only fitting that Larry leads off this season's clinics, as he has been one of FRA's greatest fly tying resources for years.

The theme of Larry's clinic is Old Time Colorado Flies.  Could there be anybody else that is better suited to such a presentation? We think not!