Monday, April 30, 2012

Clear Creek Fishing Report 4/29/12

Went out and spent a few hours on Clear Creek yesterday 4/29/12.

Here is the report...

 Some good looking water up there.

We fished a couple of different pullouts between tunnel 2 and tunnel 4.  There were a good number of other anglers out and about, but more than enough water to find some solitude and a bunch of fish.  Upon our arrival around noon, we witnessed a great caddis hatch.  The fish were not up on the dries, but there we caddis out everywhere.  It got the fish on the feed.

Average Clear Creek Brownie.  A 3wt might just be the perfect rod for the canyon.

I fished a dry dropper dropper rig with a Baby Boy hopper up top followed by two caddis pupa.  The rig was deadly.  I got a few fish that smashed the dry, but for the most part they really wanted the caddis nymphs.  The video should show you why.  That day in the canyon I got the mini slam.  Brown, Bow, and Brookie!  I was really happy with the brookie, I have never gotten one before in the canyon.

Short video of some Caddis action on Clear Creek...

The clarity of the water was good, it had a slight green tint to it.  I personally think that is perfect!  Overall the fishing was terriffic.  I would encourage everyone to get out somewhere this weekend.  Clear Creek would be a great option.

Boom Baby!!!


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lake Trout on the Fly with the Lake Trout Mafia

Lake Trout on the fly is an achievement that few anglers have successfully accomplished.  Due to the natural behavior of these fish, targeting them with a fly rod can be more than difficult.  Twice a year fly anglers get a chance to present a fly to lakers as they move into the shallows to fatten up in the spring and when they spawn in the fall.  It is these unique periods where these fish are up in 3-12 feet of water. 

What speed should the retrieve be?  Fast and steady....

Yesterday I had the opportunity to head up to Lake Granby and fish with Bernie of Fishing With Bernie Guide Service.  He specializes in catching BIG lakers on conventional tackle and wanted to see how a few "fly guys" would do.  Good friend Tim Romano and I headed out ready to show Bernie how easy catching a trophy on a fly would be. 

According to Bernie we would need to bring up fly rods between 7-10 wt.  I brought my 8wt Gloomis NRX and a 9 wt Winston BIIMX.  Fast action rods make life easier when doing battle with a big laker.  More importantly a fast rod will also lessen the chances for hooking yourself when working big flies in heavy wind with heavy sink lines. 

I loaded up a few reels with some specialty fly lines to help effectively fish the 3-12 foot depths that we would be targeting.  On the 8wt I loaded up the SA Wet Tip Clear Line to fish in the shallow spots.  I prefer this line to a floater because it cuts under the waves much better than a full floating line.  This give you better contact with your fly and increases you hook up rate.  On the 9 wt I loaded up the SA Streamer Express line with a 250 gr 30 ft head.  This line allows me to effectively fish between 7 and 15 feet depending on the speed of my retrieve.  I figured we had our basis covered with these two lines. 

The typical baits used by Bernie and the Lake Trout Mafia!  Use the iPhone for scale.

Bernie recommended we bring along flies that were at minimum 6 in in length.  The best colors, black, white, and natural variants with sparse flash.  I tied up a few choice flies the evening before and raided the fly bins at the shop.  Pike flies double nicely as laker flies.  

Hey there buddy.

So we stepped onto the boat and motored over to our first spot.  Peeling line off the reel I felt confident about what was about to happen.  That confidence was rewarded with a follow from a fish between 24-28 inches within the first handful of casts.  Easy, I thought to my self.  Well that would be the first and last fish that I saw that day.  Tim had a similar experience on a different rocky flat.  The fish seemed to be keyed into the all black 7" long bunny fly that we were stripping.  In three hours of fishing we moved two massive fish, but could not get them to commit.  

Tim choosing the fly rod over a grip of other spin rods in the boat.

At the end of the day Bernie mentioned that it took him close to a year to finally land one on a fly.  Since that first one he continues to chase them with huge flies and heavy gear.    All things considered I felt that a couple of follows was not too bad.  After seeing these huge fish about a foot behind my fly I can't wait to get back up there and try again.  Talk about an addictive species.  Its no wonder that Bernie has spent almost the last quarter century targeting lake trout on Granby. 

Worn out after just three hours of casting!

Tis the season and those fish are beautiful!  Give the shop a call or look up Bernie if you are interested in learning more about these illusive fish on a fly!

Time is wasting, get out there!!!


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Overcast Weather Today Generates Good Action

With warm but overcast weather Largemouth Bass in the local ponds were on the feed.  The Clouser style on a Gamakatsu jig hook proved to be just the ticket.  The fly rides point up which minimizes snags.  The two principal materials are Ice Wing Fiber and Baitfish Emulator Flash on a size 2 hook.  We stock all colors for both products - the color combo here was chartreuse, pearl, and a little gold

Carp were also up and about.  During the hot weather earlier this week I noticed some spawning fish in several rivers.

This bad boy fell victim to brown crayfish imitation (rabbit with large black beadchain eyes and rubber legs) tied on a size 4 hook.

Colorado Wiper Record!!!

Right under our noses......18-year-old Isaac Sprecher totes the 31 pound, 8.4 ounce striped bass he hauled out of McIntosh Lake in Longmont on Friday. The fish appears to be a state record.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pecos River, New Mexico

Pecos River, New Mexico.

I've heard a lot about this stream with all its public access but have never visited until now. Although in another month the salmon fly hatch will be in full swing, the fish were still taking big stonefly patterns. The water was a bit high and off color but when you're using large flashy stoneflies, anything is possible. Just an hours drive from Sante Fe, this is a great destination with plenty of campsites in the national forest it passes through. It is a barbless hook area, and we were checked immediately by a warden on this account so it appears the fishery is managed which is great to see. I don't mind getting checked by wildlife officers who are trying to maintain a fishery. This was a much better experience than when we were pulled over by a police officer on our way to the stream. The law was watching us carefully that day.

Team USA - New Mexico Qualifier - Mundo Lake and Stone Lake

Front Range Anglers Employees Randy Hanner (Team USA) and Russell Miller (Team Coloardo) after a first and second place finish on Mundo Lake.

This past weekend there was a regional Loch style qualifier for Team USA Fly Fishing down in Dulce, NM.  The quiet reservation was taken over by 24 anglers from around the country to test their skills on Stone Lake and Mundo Lake.  For those of you who have not been down to these lakes, understand that Stone Lake can be very difficult.  The fish are not stocked big, but their summer growth rates are close to 2 inches a month!  So these fish can be picky, difficult, and massive.  The rewards of good angling pay off in pounds.   Mundo Lake is a put and take fishery with stocked fish up to 18 inches.  Good action, but the fish are not near the quality of Stone.

On Stone lake the fish seemed to be keyed in to small damsel patterns with very little flash tied into them.  The takes seemed to be on the hang or on the rise every time.  So it was critical to have a fly that would get under your line so as you retrieved the fly it makes a sharp turn just over top of the weed beds.  This action is what you needed to focous on to do well at Stone.  Anglers who dialed in on where the fish were and the correct flies had success at rates of up to one fish per hour.  Other did not fair so well and failed to even hook a fish in three hours.  Big fish were 21 inches and thick as a football.

Will Shaw getting another fish in the net on his way to a session win on Stone Lake.

Mundo Lake on the first day was fun.  Numbers of fish were high with the winner catching 25 fish that were up to 15 inches in length.  Fish would chase small streamer patterns in a variety of colors but black, olive, and white seemed to be preferred. Once you cast out you had to start to strip immediately to catch up to your flies because a trout could hit at any moment.  Then once the flies got close to the boat it was critical that you got a good hang.  The hang is the time when the bugs or streamers start to get pulled up through the water column vertically.  This technique was deadly at Mundo Lake and lakes around the globe.  

Fat as a football and as healthy as a horse.

Overall the competition was very good.  It tested competitors on many different levels and some beautiful trout got landed in the process.  Norm went above and beyond to make this event memorable and fun.  Kevin Terry the fishery biologist and Jicarilla Game & Fish have done a great job making these lakes very special and great places to get bent. 

Here are the final results from the comp.

Name Placing Points
1 Brian Capsay 6
2 Anthony Naranja 9
3 Devin Olsen 10
4 JP Martinez 10
5 Rob Kolanda 10
6 Randy Hanner 11
7 Kurt Finlayson 11
8 Russel Miller 12
9 Jimmy Smith 12
10 Josh Graffam 12
11 Norman Maktima 13
12 Josh Curtis 13
13 Glade Gunther 14
14 Jim Hickey 15
15 Will Shaw 17
16 Jeremy Sides 17
17 Jay Alipit 18
18 Laramie Smith 20
19 Isaac Dean 21
20 Chris Galvan 21
21 Chris Lee 22
22 Allen Bole 22
23 Dan Seitz 23
24 Jerome Gallegos 23

See you out there at the next qualifier in Basalt, CO.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Roaring Fork Valley Fishing Update

I was at a CTU conference in Redstone over this past week end and had a chance to do a bit of fishing.  Water flows on the Crystal, Roaring Fork, and Frying Pan are extremely low.  The Crystal was beginning to cloud up on Sunday.  I haven't seen it this low and clear towards the end of April in 10 years.  The Fork and the Pan were very clear.  I'm told that the flows in the Frying Pan should be reasonable most o the summer due to the condition of Ruedi. Almost 100% of the fishing was done with a two nymph rig with the trailing fly no larger than a 16 with a copper colored bead.  The Colorado River appears to be in great shape for floating and fishing - much clearer than it was two weeks ago.  I saw a number of guide boats on the river below Glenwood.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Saint Vrain Fishing Report

Flows and water temperatures at at ideal levels right now.  I was fishing a three fly nymphing rig on a long leader just outside of Lyons.  90% of the fish were taking a size 20 black beauty with a mercury glass bed head in the trailer position.  The middle fly was a Copper John alternative tied on a size 12 European scud hood with a tungsten head.  The upper fly a was bright green size 16 midge with a white glass head.  Nothing large just nice solid browns in the faster deep runs.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Father & Son Score "Big" in Mexico

Jeremy (left) and Liam (right) Hancock share a fishing adventure in Boca Pailla, Mexico while fishing for the elusive miniature Permit.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Poudre River Report

Yesterday, I finely got around to fishing the Poudre River adjacent to the Poudre Trail in Fort Collins.  Several years ago I was informed that there were some pretty big browns that hang out in this stretch.  They could be hard to find but they were there.  My best fish of the day was about 17-inches and I lost one that was probably bigger.  I did spot several very large fish (over 20-inches) in some of the deep pools.  They were virtually impossible to reach from my position.  I fished with nymphs all day and had pretty reasonable action.  My fishing buddy decided to go with size 20 Black Beauty midge imitations (mercury beaded heads with black body and silver wire) retrieved just under the surface to rising fish in the large pools.  He caught 2 dozen or more fish in the 8 to 14-inch range.

Colorado River Below Glenwood Report

The river was running between 1300 and 1400 cfs (lower flows than what we had expected) and the visibility was extremely low (not much over 18-inches).  We caught fish by stopping and slowly working good runs near a lot of structure.  I was using a size 6 heavily weighted stonefly with a size 12 amber colored wire golden stone imitation.  We had to work hard for the couple dozen fish we landed.  The weather was particularity nice....around 75-degrees with very little wind and plenty of sunshine.

Big Thompson Report 4-11-12 - Its on like Donky Kong!

Wild fish on the Big Thompson that will slam offerings of Beatis, Midges, and Caddis!

There is a buzz in the shop lately about how good the Big T has been fishing. I am always a bit skeptical of getting fishing reports from customers and guides, but across the board everyone was saying how good its been. I could not resist. I headed out of work a bit early to fish the last few hours of the day and hopefully hit a hatch. Well customers, guides, and general public, you got me! The fishing was "off the hook!"

The wild rainbows might not be huge, but they are some of the most beautiful fish
on the Front Range.

I went down the canyon below the damn about three miles to a few pullouts that I really like and worked upstream. When I first arrived I was fishing a nymph rig, with a Tung Serveryor, Blue Poison Tung, and a Juju Beatis from bottom to top. Each fly took its share of fish, but the ever popular Blue Poision took the majority.

Blue Poison Tung doing its thing...

That was until the water started to come alive and I started to see Midges pouring off in size 18, Beatis in size 18, and a few caddis here and there. At this point the fishing went from good to great in a few minutes. I continued to nymph until the amount of fish rising was overwhelming. I quickly switched to dries and took fish that way. Eventually I switched back to my nymph rig and washed midges and beatis in the film. It was just more consistent and easier for me to see and feel as the light was fading away.

Watch the Video and see how many fish were rising in one little seam.

So the bottom line is get up to the Big Thompson when you can. The fishing is great, the flows are perfect, and on a weekday after work there was no one up there.

Have Fun!


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Simms Wader Challenge

The other day we had Simms representative Michael White in the shop and I asked him if he thought he could do a run-down of the entire Gore-Tex line of waders in less than two minutes. He paused a moment and confidently said yes. We started to roll the camera and this is what we walked away with.

Michael will be at the shop at the wader wall this Saturday for our 30th Anniversary Party we will be offering great deals on Simms waders and boots. Stop on by to talk waders, fishing, and have some fun.

See you over there!


Friday, April 6, 2012

European Nymphing ....strong emphasis by FRA in 2012

As we move into the early part of the 2012 season Front Range Anglers will be in a position to offer customers the largest assortment of European Nymphing materials and equipment in Colorado.  Here is a sampling of what is available just in the materials area.

Hanek/Umpqua Hooks
Special Purpose TMC Hooks
Dohiku & Skalka Hooks
Sybai Body Stretch, Flat Body Glass, Braidback, & Fine Flash Dubbing
Hends Shellback & Body Quills
Mickievicz Dubbing
Polish Stripped Peacock Quills
Square and Flat Lead Wire
Synthetic Ice Quill Body
Jan Siman Fine Synthetic Czech Dubbing
Specialized slotted tungsten Beads for jig hooks
Synthetic Ice Quills
Czech Nymph Body Dubbing
Flexi Body
Vibrant UV Micro Straggle
Siliconized Polypropylene Yarn
and more.............

We not only have the materials to get you set up right, we have the on-staff resources that understand  the "how to."

Big Rainbow on Boulder Creek

For those of you who think that there are only small fish in the in-town section of Boulder Creek you can take a look at this guy who taped out at 18-inches and was caught 5 minutes from the shop!  The fly is constructed with hot orange Ultra Wire with a gold tungsten bead tied on a size 12 Czech nymph hook.  It has small brown/black legs and synthetic peacock dubbing for the thorax.  This fly was tied in one of our Winter Saturday fly tying clinics.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Hardy Zenith Wins 4wt Shootout 2nd Year in a Row!

The Hardy Zenith (pictured center) sandwiched between its competition
out on a day of feild testing.

One of our favorite fly rods, the Hardy Zenith just won Yellowstone Anglers 4-weight Shootout! We know why, the Zeniths are one of the best selling rods on our rack. Upon picking up the rods you would swear that a 4wt feels a whole lot more like a 3 wt in hand. Taking the rod out to the river it is very apparent the rod is a tactical weapon. Pick apart pocket-water, make long casts up a run, throw big mends, and quietly deliver dries to rising fish, its all good. With the new Sintrix technology the blank its self is even more sensitive. This is key for nymph and streamer anglers, feeling is believing. Sintrix also makes for a much stronger blank overall. The perfect line paring for the Zenith rods is the SA GPX line. A half step heavier, it will deeply load the rod giving you more feel and information during your backcast for a better forward cast.

Read Georges review, then come on into the shop and cast one of these great rods!

See you soon,


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

2nd Annual Boulder Creek Fishing Derby- April 14th

I know that everyone has been practicing up for this years 2nd Annual Boulder Creek Fishing Derby. I have seen most of you parked at my favorite pullouts up the canyon or working through the library stretch. Well, now is your time to come and have some fun with all of the other guys that are up on the creek, doing the same thing!

If this year is anything like last year, anglers are going to have a lot of laughs as they catch tons of wild trout! The top three anglers last year caught almost 200 fish collectively! We expect numbers to be strong again. This year FRA has decided to do a pro division and an amateur division with beats for both groups. This is in an effort to even out the playing field and make sure that everyone has plenty of water to fish. The idea is to catch as many fish as possible in a 3 hour period and measure one big fish for bonus points. The winner of the amateur division will take home a new fly rod, donated by Hardy/Greys. The derby is in conjunction with FRA's 30th Anniversary Party with killer deals, $1300 shopping spree giveaway, and soooo much more. So come for some great fishing and stay for BBQ Party!

Date - Saturday April 14th
Time - Amateur's sign in at 7:30 AM - Pros 11:15 sign in
Where - Front Range Anglers @ 24th and Pearl
How Much - $10
Pro/Am - The pros will fish under Fips Mouche rules. Amateurs should be non-industry folks
More Info? - Click Here

Register Online to secure your spot they wont last long.

See you up the canyon....