Thursday, March 31, 2011

2011 River Conservation & Fly Fishing Youth Camp Accepting Applications

Colorado Trout Unlimited is now accepting applications from students aged 14 to 18 for its sixth annual River Conservation and Fly Fishing Youth Camp, June 12-17, 2011 at the High Lonesome Ranch near DeBeque, Colorado. The camp is designed to educate students on the importance of coldwater conservation and provide hands-on fly-fishing instruction. Students will also  participate in a watershed project to repair habitat in a nearby stream. Camp classes include: principles of ecology, hydro-geology, aquatic vertebrate and invertebrate sampling, hydrology, trout behavior, trout stream entomology, the biology of pollution, acid deposition, and  politics of conservation and human effects on the Rocky Mountains. 

Like most TU chapters across Colorado, Boulder Flycasters will pay all the fees for one camper.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

DOW-PARKS Merger Should be of Major Concern to Fishermen

Governor Hickenlooper and the Department of Natural Resources recently proposed a merger of two agencies, Colorado Division of Wildlife and Colorado State Parks, in the interests of promoting efficiency in government.  The bill to create this merger, would combine the agencies now - and set up a process to work out the details later.

Analysis of costs for completing a major reorganization?  That is a detail to be worked out later.  How to preserve the important - but distinct - missions of these two agencies?  A detail to be worked out later.  How much savings could actually be realized - and how does that compare to the costs of reorganization?  A detail to be worked out later.  The fact that this was done from 1963 to 1972 and failed to deliver any of the promised outcomes is to be ignored.

Does anyone actually believe that the management strategies, expertise, culture, and objectives of these organization are the same?  Are your license fees and millions in federal wildlife grants going to be redirected?  You can bet on it!

If your not concerned, you ought to be because it will have a direct impact on you.

Richard Pilatzke @ 4/2/2011 Fly Tying Clinic


Richard has lived in Colorado for almost 30 years and has been fly tying and fly fishing throughout this period. For the last sixteen years, he has specialized in tying flies for and fishing high mountain lakes in Colorado.
10:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fishing Report - Statewide and Local 3/29/11

Get a report for Boulder Creek, Big Thompson, Clear Creek, RMNP, Indian Peaks, and Boulder's warmwater lakes, here.

For a report from the Dream Stream, Cheeseman, Blue River, Colorado River, Roaring Fork, Fry Pan, Arkansas, and Gunnison River, click here.

April 9th Shindig Reminder!!

Just another reminder about our Grand Re-Opening Shindig on Saturday, April 9th.

We've got a calendar of events nailed down, fully equipped with a Boulder Creek Fishing Comp and awards ceremony (featuring a grand prize of a Greys Streamflex!), a Casting Contest (first prize gets a G. Loomis NRX!), huge raffle drawings (with amazing giveaways, including a St. Croix Bankrobber, and products from Waterworks/Lamson and Scientific Anglers!), free food, and FREE BEER (provided by our good friends at Avery Brewery and UpSlope Brewery!!) How's that for spreadin' the love??

We'll also have North America's foremost authority on Hardy fly rods, old and new. So bring in your grandfather's old reel and get it all spiffied up.

In addition to all of that awesome stuff, we'll have our Simms rep in the house running our wader trade-in program! Bring in any old pair of waders, get a discount on a new pair of Simms!

We'll be giving demos on Smith Sunglasses and offering discounts a new pair of shades, too!

Oh yea, AK Best is doing a tying demo! Huge!!

We're going to have deals on gear and clothing, and you're welcome to cast some rods and reels. Rain or shine, it's going to be good time!

Hope to see you there!


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Must Have Pattern for Rocky Mountain National Park

At our fly tying clinic this weekend Rick Takahashi reminded me of a fly I haven't used for a while, the black fly larva.  This can be absolutely deadly on many Colorado streams and especially in Rocky Mountain National Park.  It's very easy to tie and should be in your flybox.  Rick's recipe was:

Hook:  Dohiku
Size 16 to 20
Thread 12/0 Orvis white
Body: Natural latext strip colored with a marker olive green (top& sides).  Coated with U/V Knot Sense fromn Loon
Head: Dark brown (color thread)
Note: Extra bulk in the rear body area

My rendition in the picture above has the following modifications
Hook: TMC 2487 any scud hood with a reasonable gap will work
Thread: Lagartun X-Strong 74D white
Body: Top of the body has been darkened further with a brown pen.  The strips came from a cream colored surgical glove liberated from Boulder Medical Center.  The body was coated with Tuffleye
Head: Rust colored marker

The actual picture of the larva is from Jason Neuswanger's site….click here to see his pictures which will give you a good perspective on the size and shape.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Trout Unlimited's On the Rise Program

Beginning March 28, Trout Unlimited's television program On the Rise, begins its third season on Sportsman Channel.

The show will air at the following times:
Mondays at 1:00 p.m.
Tuesdays at 10:30 p.m.
Fridays at 7:30 a.m. 
Saturdays at 12:30 p.m.
(All times Eastern.)

2011 Episodes
  1. Teton River, ID
  2. Yellowstone River, MT
  3. Libby Camps, ME
  4. Connecticut River, NH
  5. Jefferson River, MT
  6. Boise River, ID
  7. Klamath River, CA
  8. Battenkill River, VT
  9. McKenzie River, OR
  10. Sandy River, OR
  11. Upper Clark Fork River, MT
  12. Kids' Stuff
  13. Best of 2011

The 2011 season is hosted by Jed Fiebelkorn. A world-class angler, Jed is a Montana fishing guide and outfitter, a former professional hockey player and previously, the host of Fly Fisherman's television program.

On the Rise is produced by Barrett Productions in Missoula, Montana. Barrett Productions is an independent, state-of-the-art, High-Definition production house. Since its formation in 1989, the company has established itself as an industry leader in entertainment, event, sports, adventure travel and outdoor television production. Barrett Productions produces over 140 shows every year, many of which are for the nation's leading conservation groups.

For additional information, visit

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Size Olive 24 Midges Did the Job

When the wind would cooperate, the fish were rising to small olive midges the better part of the afternoon...the actual size was closer to a 28 but a size 24 accounted for a 1/2 dozen nice fish.

Vince Wilcox Foam Patterns in the April Newsletter

Monday, March 21, 2011

Weekend Report

Over the weekend I was able to hit a few spots for a few different species--you know, mix it up a bit.

I decided that with the warm temps and the big-ass moon that a little night fishing might produce. It did.

I hit a pond near my house and chose to throw a Belly Ache Minnow to see if any warm water residents were looking for some baitfish to tear up. It started out a little slow--got a few knocks and what felt like a couple subtle crappie strikes. Then, wham! Something sizable hit it and took off. I thought for sure it was a decent largemouth. But when the moonlight hit as I brought it in, I realized it was rainbow. Oh yea, I forgot...they stock this pond from time to time. Fair enough, it was fun. And not a bad trout, at 15 inches.

A few more knocks by some smaller fish (I'm assuming) were scattered throughout the next 30 minutes or so. With the moon silhouetting a brushpile tucked back in a cove, I heard the surface being broken by a big fish chasing a small fish, no doubt. I presented my streamer quickly, and after one long strip I had a fairly substantial fish hooked.

The fish breached and flared, so even in the dark I knew it was probably a bass. And it was. Measured at a hair under 17" and fat as a pig. Not a bad night.

The next couple days were spent up on the Blue, scouting new water (new to me, at least) and trying to pluck a few finicky rainbows.

Above Green Mountain Res was difficult, to say the least. Beautiful water, but I didn't even see a fish. Was hoping some big 'bows would be coming up from the res, but no dice.

So, up stream it was. In town and down stream a few miles produced a lot of fish--taking mainly midges. A Two Bit Hooker took a couple 18"ers, as well as a couple smaller ones--but midges made 'em more hungry.

That evening, back down on the Front Range, I hit another pond and pulled in another half dozen bass. A kid fishing the same pond landed about a 3' carp. Huge.

Fishing's on! Up high, down low--most species seem to be active. Have fun!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Early Season Float

Yesterday I got out with Field & Stream Blogger Tim Romano and we did a little early season float. The weather was warm, the flows were insanely low and the fishing was marginal. About the time that we started to dial in things and the fishing picked up a bit, BAM! The river blows out, and quickly in a matter of about 400 yards. All it took was three small feeder creeks to run into the river and the visibility dropped to about 2 inches or less. With a cooler full of beer and a grip of rods, we rotated through flies, rigs, and rods and managed to land a few more. In the mud I found that black and white big gaudy streamers on the bottom were the ticket to getting fish to notice flies. Even a blind squirrel will find a nut now and again, right?

See the full slide show on the Field and Stream Blog. (photo by Tim Romano)

On a separate note, Tim brought along his new St Criox Bank Robber for throwing streamers, little did we know how handy this rod would be in the off color water. I have to say for a $400 rod, Kelly Gallop really hit it out of the park. A soft tip and a super stout butt section make this rod perfect for streamers out of the boat. Hit an inch off the bank every time whether you are 5 feet away or 30.

I wish it was summer now.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Three Amazing Fly Fishing Films, One Night - Limited Engagement

Sponsored by The Greenbacks

Three films not included in the The Flyfishing Film Tour will be presented at the Oriental Theater in Denver on April 7, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. In addition there will be a raffling off some prizes and drinking some great beer. If you're in the area and want to see some top notch fly fishing films not readily available on the big screen come on out. Not within driving distance?  Well, enjoy the three trailers that are posted here and call your friends in and around Denver to join us. This should be a special night, not available anywhere else.  Please be aware that the funds raised from this event will be passed on to TU/Greenbacks......Tim Romano
Tickets can be secured from Front Range Anglers.

"Eastern Rises" 
"Low and Clear" 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Of Things Pink, And Golden…Arkansas River

Hayden Mellsop ... top guide for the Arkansas River
With the evenings getting longer, and the days incrementally warmer, thoughts are turning more and more to the river, and away from the ski area. So much so that even with the report of a foot of fresh powder in the hills, I decided to forego a drive up the pass to Monarch, and instead turned the truck in the opposite direction, heading down the canyon a little way to Howard.

My buddy Pink, after taking a five year sabbatical back to his home state of Vermont, returned to the valley recently and purchased himself a little place down on the river. After inspecting the lay of the land, and deciding the best place to excavate for his new boat ramp, we rigged up and headed upstream, nymphing as we went.

It’s hard to tell whether the river is fishing better than it did ten years ago, or if I am just getting to be a better fisherman. Probably a little of both, but whatever the reason, we enjoyed a great hour or so on the river, each catching multiple fish – primarily browns, with a couple of rainbows thrown into the mix.

This is the time of the year when golden stonefly nymphs tend to work well. The nymphs undergo periodic molts, called ‘in – stars’, during which they shed their old skins to grow into a new one. Their new skin is quite yellow in color until it hardens and darkens, and the fish seem to find them particularly tasty at this time, kind of like a good feed of lamb before it has a chance to turn into mutton.

Trailing below the stone fly was the ever reliable pheasant tail, and each pattern caught multiple fish. In tandem with my inaugural 2011 float a month ago, the fishing season is off to a great start, and it won’t be too

Division merger raises queries...Scott Willoughby, Denver Post

Tuesday's announcement of Gov. John Hickenlooper's plans to consolidate the Colorado Division of Wildlife with the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation raises as many questions as it does potential solutions.

The devil, as they say, is in the details. And the details remain a mystery....Read on

Comment:  This is akin to building a car out of Ford and Chevy parts while maintaining that the end result will be not only look great but will be less costly than either automobile?

New Fly Tier Index of Patterns

Hey All,
Check out our new fly tyer page. We have tons of patterns loaded up for you to stack you boxes full of great patterns to make sure you are ready for the 2011 fishing season.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Grand Re-Opening Events

Front Range Anglers is having a Grand Re-Opening on April 9th and has a great line up of events to ensure a good time will be had by all. Make sure to sign up for Boulder Creek Comp as we are filling up quickly. Take advantage of our Fly Tying Comp and win prizes and maybe get one of you patterns tied at a fly house.

List of Events:

Boulder Creek Fishing Comp
Free Entry - Winner Takes home a Grays Streamflex Fly Rod. Event will be held Sunday April 3rd.

Mail-in Fly Tying Comp
Mail In your best patterns and they will be judged by the staff and Reps from Umpqua, Solitude, and Idlewild. Free Entry.

GLoomis Casting Comp
Free Entry - Sign up before hand or during our grand opeing and cast to win a Gloomis NRX fly rod.

Wader Trade In Program with Michael White of Simms
Have a leaky old pair of waders? Wondering if there is any life left in them? Have our Simms rep take a look and either repair or trade them in for $50 for a G Series wader or $20 for any other Simms wader.

Fly Tying with AK Best
See the original owner of Front Range Anglers doing what he does best, demonstrating his great fly patterns.

Smith Sunglass with Van Rollo
Get a demo from our Smith rep and get a discount on a new pair of Smith glasses.

Free Giveaways
Rods, Fly Line, Flies, Hats, Shirts and much more.

Free Food and Beer
Hey its what keeps us going.

See you all there.

~FRA Staff

Saturday Clinics & Presentations in March

Front Range Anglers customers will find March to be a very entertaining monthOur Free Clinics & Programs are from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM.

March 12, 2011
March 19,  2011 
March 26, 2011

Thursday, March 3, 2011

San Juan Trip - Report = Success!

FRA just ran its first trip down to the San Juan in New Mexico this past weekend (2-27-11) and we had a blast. There were 6 of us down there and we did a combination of walk wading and floating through out the river. Abes fly shop took care of our needs and provided guides for a group float on Saturday. We lucked out, we got to fish the day before a front rolled in, so we had gray skies on saturday and solid fishing all day long. The beatis came out to say hello while the midges were crawling all over everything as well.

A big thanks goes out to all who attended, I wish we could have fished more! And to those of you who did not sign up this year, make it a point to come along next year.

Running laps in the Texas hole. A San Juan Tradition, and you get to watch all your buddies pounding fish time and time again. Its hard to hold back a few smiles.

Born and Raised on the river. The guides from Abes are damn good, they know what time you need to be at Beatis bend to hit the thickest part of the hatch.

Pound em! Eggs, leeches, and 24-26 midges were the ticket in the Am. Tim working on landing a fat bow.

The famed Texas Hole. Even with all the boats, there are at least double the boats on the water than pictured, the fish dont seem to mind the pressure. The bite comes in waves and its not uncommon to see 3-4 boats d0ubled up in here.

These guys (beatis or BWO's) showed up on the overcast day at about ~1:30. What fun.

And a extended body BWO from Solitude did the trick to fool the 5 heads that were rising along the bank.

I would say that we gave these fish a run for their money. One of may doubles that were landed this day. Lots of high fives between friends and guides were shared today.

When I got tired of catching fish with my nymph rig, I went leechin. Super fun. The new pattern that I whipped up pre trip paid off in browns.

Who says that you cant catch big fish on size 24 barbless flies? Red was the ticket to getting the bite, but holding fish is a whole different story.

Sunday, just before it started snowing, the fishing got hot then got cold on many different levels.

Midges all day every day...

See you all on the river soon.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

March 5, 2011 Presentation

John "JB" Bruning is a fly fishing guide and talented sculptor.  He is a third-generation native of Boulder, Colorado who has fly fished Colorado streams and lakes for almost fifty years. JB's specialty is teaching and introducing newcomers to fly fishing, as well as helping experienced fly fishers improve their skills and knowledge of the sport.
JB has put together a special presentation on how to fish pocket water for FRA customers.

The Dream!

March is a great time of year to head to the South Platte, everyone and their mother will be fishing but this is because the opportunity to catch a really large trout is at hand. Yesterday, I headed to South Park to fish the famed Dream Stream, primarily because after checking the weather I realized it would probably be the warmest day I've ever spent up there in the spring! The weather reports were right, it got a little windy at times but the sun was shining and it was warm and comfortable all day. Some large trout had entered the river from the lake system and the sight fishing was pretty good, we caught a lot of fish in the 15-16" range and a few larger ones, with several missed opportunities at true trophies in the mid 20"range. Sight fishing with a double nymph rig was the name of the game. Productive nymphs included gray midges, san juan worms, egg patterns, and rubber leg stone fly nymphs.