Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Blitz on the Eastern Seaboard

This film chronicles a year on the road with Pete McDonald and Tosh Brown while they were shooting photos and gathering content for their new coffee table book, The Blitz, Fly Fishing The Atlantic Migration.  Amazing footage which makes you want to book a trip right now.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Hardy Proaxis may be the toughest saltwater fly rod ever built!

"I couldn't be more impressed. I can put the fly within inches of my target from 80 feet away, and I can bend it on a fish and not have a failure!" Tom Evans (Current record holder for 16 and 12 pound tippet on Tarpon, Holder of numerous IGFA billfish records.  "He is the greatest big game fisherman in the world" -Andy Mill

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Williams Fork Action

Flows are finally dropping, my friends!

While our local waters are certainly producing some fine fish, I opted to head up the hill a few days ago and see what was happening at a higher altitude.

One of the rivers that I checked out was the Williams Fork--a personal favorite of mine. I don't recall ever having a quote--unquote--"bad day" there. Sure, some better than others, but I've never left there unsatisfied.

So across the high plain I traipsed, fly rod in one hand, dog leash in the other. Cliff, my black retriever and fishing buddy joined me in braving the hot sun and clouds of mosquitoes in search of large trout, possibly up from the Colorado looking for softer water.

When we arrived at the Fork, a quick splash in the cool water was necessary--especially for Cliff, who was panting harder than I was. After our refresher, we headed down stream--my reasoning being that there were four cars in the parking lot and I was assuming the anglers hit the lower water and fished upstream, but who knows? The water was up and difficult to navigate--at least with a 100 lb dog tied to my side. I hit a few pockets with minimal success. I had a few short browns rise to my foam hopper, but nothing to write home about.

I decided to head upstream--if we run into company, so be it. I found some softer water along the undercut banks and drifted my dry-dropper through it carefully. Pretty soon, a 17" brown was taking me for a ride downstream. After Cliff corralled the voracious fish into my net, we set off for some more great looking water upstream.

My dry-drop rig brought another ten or so fish to net--a combination of rainbows and browns, all big and healthy. One football-shaped 'bow even took a plunge over the falls, but we got him in.

As I was mending my hopper in a deep bend, I had what looked like about a 24" rainbow come up and stick his nose to it. No take, just sniffing it. My heart skipped a beat or two, and I tried a couple more casts to try and coax him back up. No dice. It was towards the end of the day, so I decided to rip a streamer for the last 30 minutes or so. I tied on a white and red Sculpzilla and commenced to ripping. On the third cast, Ol' Big came back up to check out the streamer. As he was nosing it through every strip, I saw his enormous white mouth open and take a swipe at it. I set the stinger hook in the corner of his mouth, but with one strong pull he was free.

I caught my breath, and kept plugging the undercut bank. Thirty minutes later, I had five netted and five missed. Although none measuring two feet, still a swell way to end the day.

The walk back across the plain was hot, buggy, deer carcassy, horse poopy, and miserable. But all that was completely overshadowed by the satisfaction of having a hell of a day on a river that I've neglected since last fall. Well worth the drive, the hike, the bugs, and crowd.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Do Brown Trout Eat Big Flies?

This should clear up that question.

This beautiful and obviously hungry Brown was caught by Chris Chrisman on Saguache Creek June 28, 2011 on a Size 14 Harewing Rio Grande King trude. Its amazing that the fish rose to a dry with a 24 inch snake hanging out oh his mouth.

Fish big flies on heavy tippet and hold on....

Monday, July 25, 2011

Amazon Report

One of our customers Larry Luncford of Neils Luncford landscaping just got back from the Amazon fishing for trophy Peacock Bass. Obviously he did just fine, fish like these came to hand daily. The new Sage TCX that we hooked him up with was a great stick for powering out huge topwater flies as well as the lifting power to pull fish away from the heavy cover down there.

If you get the chance to chase these fish, DO IT! They are way to fun not to throw a fly at.

Boulder Creek is BACK!

Were Back Baby! Boulder Creek is on the fall!

Reports came pouring into the shop today (Monday the 25th) of how great Boulder Creek was over the past weekend. I made it out on Saturday and fished the upper creek above Boulder Falls which was awesome, another 80cfs and the flows would just be perfect, but like I said the fishing was great. Standing mid river I was able to hit either bank and fish an assortment of dries, fished a PMD for a while, switched up to a Hopper, and moved over to the Clown Shoe Caddis as the light grew dimmer.

A few Clown Shoe Caddis and Sallys for the Creek.

Sunday was a shop day for me and everyone was talking about going fishing, so I had to get out for a little evening fishing through town. Streamers sounded like a good idea and fun to me and guess what? The creek through town is fishing just as well as up in the canyon. Landed a nice 14in brown on a black little leech and put down cookie cutter 8-12inchers all evening. Take your bug spray with you, I have never seen a blanket hatch of mosquitoes like that ever.

The flows are still high, but the clarity is great and the fish are really eating everything they can get their mouths around. People have been asking when the rivers will be ready, well its officially time!

Get out and fish a river!

High Water Alternatives

Here is one of my favorite patterns that I use for Wipers and Bass....Mr T

Thread: Danville 210 Flymaster Plus in olive and UTC Ultra 140 white.  Use the former to tie in the bead chain eyes, the olive top wing, and to whip finish.
Hook: TMC 8089 size 12
Eyes:  Bead chain size medium secured with super glue and topped with Tuffleye, an epoxy alternative, or epoxy.
Core Body: Saltwater Yak Hair in White plus 1/2 dozen strains of Spirit River Holo Flash tied in behind the eyes.  White bucktail can be used in place of the Yak.
Outer Body:  Hairline Baitfish Emulator Flash in Grey Ghost placed in a split thread dubbing loop and tied off behind the eyes. On the bottom the flash is trimmed flat and the sides are shaped
Wing:  Steve Farrar's Flash Blend in wild olive or color to suit.  This other synthetic wing material may be used with or without flash.

If you can't figure out Wipers take a run at Carp which are available almost anywhere.  Here is a 10 pounder caught on Friday of last week.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Ultimate Colorado Flats Skiff

Looking for something unique and love to fish lakes?  We have an option you might want to consider.  It's the 12 foot Freedom Hawk which allows you to stand up cast by using a special set of outriggers.  You can see fish and make far more accurate presentations at much further distances than is possible in a pontoon or belly boat.  It's not for everyone but it is a great option for certain types of fishing where wading is simply not an option and other devices are not a good alternative.  Try to find a better flats boat for carp!

We are one of the few shops in the Rocky Mountain West who carry these boats.  Why? Because we're all about getting the very best gear for catching anything that swims.

The boat retails for $995 plus shipping from the factory.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Carpin with Barry Reynolds

Yesterday I had the chance to get out and do a little fishing with the carp master Barry Reynolds on one of his top secret carp lakes set in urban Colorado.

According to the all seeing eye of we were expecting to see our afternoon thunderstorms around 11-1, but upon arriving at the lake the wind was strong out of the northwest and it looked like the front was upon us. Grey skies and a bit of chop on the water made spotting tails a difficult task to do. The first few hours or so were just spent walking and looking for mud plumes in the lake. Drop a fly in the middle of the mud, jig it around, and hope for the best.

Well needless to say that its a whole lot easier to catch carp when you can see a tail brushing the surface and you can lock into a target to drop a fly into. We got our chance at about 9:30 as the sun burned a hole through the matte of clouds. It was then that Barry capitalized on the opportunity to stick a few fish. Landing three in a short window of great weather.

Get Barry's top tips for catching carp in out new Catalog set to launch in the next few weeks. If you are not on our mailing list sign up NOW!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Water Projects Spell Disaster for the Upper Colorado River

"Both of these (water utilities- Denver Water and Northern Water) wrote an environmental statement that said there would be no impacts," said Kirk Klancke, who also serves as the president of the Colorado River Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unlimited. "But the third-grade class at Fraser Elementary can tell you what happens when you take 80 percent of a river."  Read the full article in the Boulder Daily Camera

Friday, July 8, 2011

"What The Shuck?"

Last week I had the pleasure of attending an industry event in Creede, CO, along with my cohort, Jon, and several other fly fishing players from around the region. Two of our favorite brands, Simms and Idylwilde, were our hosts--introducing us to some killer new products, arranging round-table discussions, and wrangling up some local guides to oar us around the Rio Grande for a few days. Yes, a definite perk of the business!

Jon and I arrived a few hours early on Sunday, albeit on purpose--we wanted to explore the South Fork of the Rio before joining the crew. We started off on a fairly good looking stretch of high, but very fishy looking water. I took the dry-dropper method on inside seams and riffles, while Jon followed with a double-nymph rig hitting the deeper runs. No dice. The water looked great, but we were obviously wasting valuable daylight. We opted to move upstream.

We ended up on a smaller section of the Fork a few miles up the canyon and figured out how to net a handful of browns and rainbows. I gotta admit, catching a 10" trout in a creek felt pretty good! Stupid runoff...

After joining the others, participating in a number of meetings and discussions, it was off to the Rio Grande. The Rio was up and stained, but very good! Our crew of 20 or so were set up in rafts and driftboats provided by the Ramble House out of Creede, Wolf Creek Anglers out of South Fork and Pagosa Springs, and Duranglers out of Durango. Amazing guides and amazing guys--all of them.

The bugs were ridiculous! Stones, drakes, times you had to breathe though your teeth. Patrick from Idylwilde provided several patterns for us to try out, all of which produced fish on the first day of fishing. The Chubby and the Film Critic ruled the river for most. Fish literally jumped out of the water for both.

The last two days I fished a single dry almost exclusively. That meant placing my Film Critic with pinpoint accuracy in every cut along the bank. Pinpoint accuracy proved to be a little more of a challenge on the third day, though, due to my clouded brain and body caused by a PBR and Maker's Mark hangover. Still put a lot of nice fish in the boat.

If you're needing to get away from the front range runoff and find some big, hungry trout eating a variety of bugs, take the 5 hour drive down to Creede. Look up the Ramble House, Wolf Creek Anglers, or Duranglers for a guide and boat, and get on the water. It's fishing superbly right now.

A big thanks to the aforementioned outfitters, Patrick of Idlywilde Flies, and Michael White and Andy Wunsch of Simms! What a great event and what great fishing!


The Current Situation

Photo from John Knight

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Chase - Southern Comfort

Last week I took a little trip back to my home waters of the White and the Norfork Rivers for a Bachelor Party/ Fishing Extravaganza. The First two days of the trip were pretty tough due Bull Shoals running 6-7 Units non stop. On Sunday I meet my folks down at the Norfork which began a three day fish slam. We caught the tail end of the 13 year Cicada hatch which produced a few nice bows and cutthroats. I then switched solely to large streamers while my dad nymphed deep with scuds and sow bugs. We both pulled out some nice fish, but the larger browns were on streamers.

We left the Ozarks and headed back down to the Dirty for some serious bass fishing and I really wasn't prepared for what was in store. We headed to our place just east of Jackson, Ms which had two lakes managed solely for monster bass and blue gill.

Dad with a nice bass caught on top!

We had two full days of tremendous top-water action which ended with a few nice 6-7 pounders showing up for some photo shoots not to mention the other 40+ fish in the 2- 5lb range.
Overall the trip was a blast, definitely the cure for my run-off blues.

Get out Bassin here along the front range and cope with the high water that we have been having.

~Chase Stewart - FRA Guide

Friday, July 1, 2011

Boatin' the Front Range.

With local trout water up and moving, hit the lakes. Belly boats, pontoons, kayaks--they all give you a distinct advantage over wading. Positioning yourself accurately and quietly in deeper water will produce many more fish than making due with limited wade positions from the bank.

When in deeper water casting at the bank, your fly will generally drop with the grade of the bank. This allows you to slide heavy flies off of big rocks and submerged bluffs with much less chance of getting hung on the bottom, all while staying in the strike zone longer.

If hitting submerged brush, cattails, willows, etc, being able to cast from in the lake is key. Strip, strip, sink....strip, strip, sink. Once again, you are able to get in those brushy spots and allow your fly to sink a consistent depth to the bottom. After that "sink" pause, be ready for a strip-set--good chance that's when the fish will strike.

If you've found a distinct strike zone--say, two feet off the bank in ten feet of water--position yourself parallel to the bank. Lay your fly two feet off the bank, and strip consistently parallel to the shore. That way, your fly is constantly in the strike zone where the fish are holding.
These are common techniques for most warm water species in somewhat deeper water. But if you spot cruising fish on the flats, get out of that boat and start stalking them by foot.
Good luck, gang.