Thursday, May 26, 2011
Trail Ridge Road historically opens on Memorial Day weekend; last year the road opened on May 28. The latest the road has opened in the past twenty years was June 4, 1994; the latest the road has ever opened was June 26, 1943. Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuous paved road in the United States, climbing to 12,183 feet and connecting the towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake. Trail Ridge Road officially closed for the season last year on October 29; however, it never reopened after October 22.
Park staff expect a busy Memorial Day Weekend. The three reservation campgrounds in the park are full on Saturday and Sunday. From lower elevations the mountain peaks look majestic with blankets of snow similar to those seen in the middle of winter. The park’s backcountry still looks and feels like winter above 9,000 feet. There is currently 67 inches of snow at Bear Lake (29 inches of snow water equivalent) on the east side, 114 inches of snow at Lake Irene near Milner Pass (44 inches of snow water equivalent) and 55 inches of snow at Wild Basin near Ouzel Falls (24 inches of snow water equivalent). Visitors planning to recreate in the park’s backcountry should be prepared for heavy/wet snow, slush and ice. Avalanche danger remains a concern and backcountry users should expect to encounter conditions that present additional hazards and risks than what is typically encountered this time of year such as steep snow slopes, thin ice over water, snow cornices, snow bridges over moving water, and fast moving streams.
For further information about Rocky Mountain National Park please contact the park information office at (970) 586-1206 or check the park’s website at www.nps.gov/romo
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
So this morning I'm walking the beach looking for Snook on Sanibel Island in Florida. This was the first fishable day in a week (we've had several storms combined with wind from the SW which is a bad combination). I picked up two fish chasing bait in the trough just off the beach. Then nothing for another hour.
I saw a huge dark shape five feet off the break in a 2 feet of water. At first I though it was a small Bull Shark but then it looked like a huge carp….Yeah, it was a Redfish at least 30 inches and maybe bigger.
I'd caught a few Redfish in the past off the beach on the Gulf side but they were always small. About a week ago a fly fisherman from Minnesota showed me a picture of one hook one he caught on the North end of the island near the lighthouse that taped out at 22 inches.
I'm roughly 20 feet away and drop a fly on his left side, but he doesn't see it it. Another quick cast to the right. Three quick strips and he's on. Both the fish and I are startled. He just sat there wondering what was going on and I'm thinking, wow he ate it!. When I applied a bit of pressure he took off and was into the backing in a matter of seconds.
I felt the strong head shakes as he tried to get rid of the hook and he starred moving parallel to the shore. Now I'm running and hoping he doesn't get into so rocks another 100 yards down the beach. This is exactly where he is heading. I've got to keep him away from that area so I start to apply pressure on my 8-weight….PING…he's gone.
I sit down on the beach and curse myself for not using more care. The hook just pulled out. I think ok, maybe I can fine another one….fishermen are eternal optimists and fly fishermen are the worst!
Friday, May 6, 2011
Went back home to Missouri to chase some crappie, bass, and muskie. It was our annual "Man Trip" that I've been absent from the past few years. In addition to fishing in generally shitty conditions, there is lots of food to eat, lots of beer and scotch to drink, and lots of poker to be played. This trip was no different.
The conditions were, to say the least, shitty. Pomme de Terre Lake was 15' above power pool, and accompanied with thunder storms, high wind, and drastically dropping levels, the thought of launching a boat was risky, and the reality of catching many fish was low. But we managed. We launched, and fished three to a boat in uncomfortable conditions. I, at the bow managing the foot controlled trolling motor, was the only one of the three of us fly fishing. Rolling Clousers and hitting the tops of submersed trees was the name of the game for me. Short, accurate casts stripped quickly produced the biggest largemouth landed during our trip. That won me a dollar from each of the guys for biggest fish. I promptly lost those dollars in a scotch-induced game of chance later that evening.
Other fish that should receive attention during this excursion are the delicious crappie which were plucked from submersed brush, and the 4 foot muskie that took my Bellyache Minnow, then promptly shook it out and shot it like a bullet back at me. Well played, muskellunge.
A couple days following my Missouri trip, my wife and I traveled to Mexico for a much-needed tropical getaway. We found a quaint little 'resort' area 5 kilometers West of Punta Allen called Sol Caribe'. Sol Caribe' is an amazing little place to get completely off the grid and unwind. It's a short boat ride to Ascension Bay, which has amazing bonefish, permit, tarpon, and snook fishing.
Give me a shout if you want more info on Sol Caribe'.
Anyhoo, once again we ran into non-favorable weather conditions. Extremely overcast and windy which prevented us from entering the bay for half our trip or spotting many fish when we were there. It did not, though, prevent us from enjoying margaritas and cervezas afterwards.
While we fished the bay, and the more-protected lagoon on the land side, we caught a few bones. "We" meaning me and my wife. Very cool when both members of the party hook up. Saw a few sharks, countless uninterested baracuda, and I had one shot at a permit. That about sums up our two days of guided fly fishing enjoyment.
Everyone fishing caught fish, which is a success in my book. One can't be too picky when it comes to fishing trips. You're away, fishing, drinking, and escaping reality. Don't bitch that the fish numbers aren't there. In my case, the numbers weren't there, but my travels still kicked butt.
I've hit a couple more fishing holes since I've been back from Mexico, but I'll save those for the next blog post.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Front Range Anglers put on its first Czech Nymph class this past weekend at Sylvandale Guest Ranch and we had a blast doing it! Rob Kolanda of Hardy/Greys and a member of Team USA Fly Fishing was there to share his passion of Euro nymphing and even gave up a few of his secrets.
In the morning we sat down and started with a talk about the differences between all the different styles of European Nymphing and when is the best time to use these very different techniques. After learning leader construction and fly selection the group got a stream-side education in how to swim fly through a run with great results.
The spring is a really great time of year to be fishing up on the Big T, flows are nice and low allowing for great wading and there are bugs that are crawling around every riffle. The hatch did not really come off even though conditions looked perfect for the Blue Wings, but we were there to nymph anyways. Even Gary, who is a die hard dry fly only angler was not upset that we did not see any heads feeding, he was busy catching fish on nymphs. That is the beauty of Euro nymphing it is simply fun to do. Rather than Throwing a bobber out into a run anglers are fully connected to their flies. Visualizing where the flies are in the water column and then swimming the tandem pair of flies through the current. All of the class caught fish, and rather quickly I might add. The addition of longer rods in the 10ft and 11ft catagory were used to aid in line control as well as serving as extra reach. Although not critical, these rods make life much easier for these techniques. The group covered almost all of the Ranch River section pulling out a variety of wild Rainbows and Browns on caddis and mayfly imitations.
Rob and I would like to thank everyone who signed up for the class we had just as much fun as you did out there. For those who did not attend, we would encourage you to come into the shop and let us know if you have any questions about these euro techniques. It is a blast to learn and even more fun when you are out on the river.