Saturday, June 30, 2012

More Fish Fall for the Thin Mint Clouser Edition

This morning I tagged a 10-pound (pictured above), 8-pound and 6-pound Carp plus two bass that were better than 3 here

If you're not carp fishing this summer you are missing a great opportunity to catch big, very selective, fish?  Stop by the shop and get the proper flies and rigging for catching these tremendous game fish.

Friday, June 29, 2012

High Water Tempetures = High Trout Mortality


Anglers must show restraint as trout in the Fraser and Colorado face a brutal summer of survival

Trout Unlimited is asking Colorado anglers to voluntarily restrict fishing on portions of the Colorado River headwaters stricken by drought and high water temperatures. TU is urging anglers to avoid fishing on the Fraser and Upper Colorado rivers during the hottest part of the day, or to fish in Grand County’s higher-elevation lakes or cooler tailwater areas until conditions improve.
Trout Unlimited’s recommended closure comes on the heels of a similar call by Colorado Parks and Wildlife for anglers to voluntarily limit their fishing on the Yampa River through Steamboat Springs, which recently recorded temperatures of 72 degrees through town. Water temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit can be stressful or fatal to trout.  Peak temperatures on the Fraser River near Tabernash have surpassed 70 degrees in recent days. Anecdotal reports indicate that similar high temperatures are found on the Colorado River between Windy Gap and the Williams Fork.

“These problems underscore how important healthy flows are to our rivers,” said Peternell. For years, the Upper Colorado and Fraser rivers have struggled with low flows and stressed habitat due to major water diversions to the Front Range. Two new projects, the proposed Moffat Tunnel and Windy Gap expansions, will add to that stress. “Drought and water diversions have put these rivers in a vulnerable state, and, as anglers, we need to do our part to protect fisheries.”

“We are asking our 10,000 state members and all Colorado anglers to exercise restraint and good sportsmanship in the use of these priceless resources,” said David Nickum, executive director of Colorado TU. “Failure to do so could set back fishing opportunities and the region’s recreation economy for years to come.”

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Guide Trip of the Week

Is Ethan Happy or What!

Reported by Ben McGee, Manager of Guide Services for Front Range Anglers

Tim and his son Ethan booked two consecutive days with FRA while they were in town. They opted for an evening trip on Boulder Creek with FRA Guide Randy Hanner, and a full day on the Big Thompson with FRA Guide Wallace Westfeldt.

Boulder Creek fished great for Tim and Ethan, using 'dry-dropper rig' with a Chubby Chernobyl and Rainbow Warrior:

The next day started on private water using the standard Big T nymph rig (Rubber Leg, Blue Tung, and Sowbug.) Fishing was steady all morning. After lunch, switched to Dry Droppers with PMX on top and various droppers underneath focusing on pocket water and riffles.  Results remained the same with numerous fish brought to the net . Later in the day, switched to public water with both standard nymph rig and dry dropper, picking up fish in various sections.

You know, it doesn't get much better than taking a son or daughter on a trip like this ...... memories that last a lifetime.

A Carp Fly That Bass Love

This 5-pound bass hammered the Clouser version of the Thin Mint this morning at a lake just outside of Boulder.

Hook:  TMC 5263 Size 6
Eyes: Black med bead chain
Thread: Black UTC 140
Hackle: Brown Saddle
Body:  6 strands of peacock herl
Tail:  3 Shades of marabou - olive, black, and brown or rust - one feather each
Rib: Med UTC wire in copper or gold
Dubbing: Brown Ice Dub - couple of turns just behind the eyes

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Picking Pockets on Boulder Creek

One of the most productive ways to fish Boulder Creek is to hit all the small pockets on the far side of the creek with a high floating dry fly that can remain buoyant in fast water.  To get a drag free float use a short line mostly leader (I use a 7 1/2 tapered 5X) and a long rod (a Hardy/Greys Streamflex 10-foot 3-weight) which can hold the line above the current.  The best approach is either directly across stream or a cast angled downstream.  Bank foliage means youy will be roll casting.  The 10-foot Streamflex is particularly good at handling these casts.  You can add a bead head dropper but I don't bother for two reasons.  First, I want to catch the fish on dries.  Second, the dropper gets hung up and just complicates the process.  In two hours of fishing this morning I caught and released some 30 fish.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Roaring Fork & Frying Pan Report

I returned yesterday after fishing 4 days in the Roaring Fork Valley.  The fishing on drys and dry dropper rigs is outstanding.  Green Drakes are coming off in the evenings starting at about 8:00 pm.  Mark Riley and I fished the hatch two night in a row outside of Basalt and caught 20 or more fish each on both nights.  A mix or Rainbow and Browns up to  up to 18-inches. 

We used a double dry fly rig - a size 10 Royal Wulff trailed by a size 12 Green Drake fly.  The large Wulff let you see the fly in the darkness.  We got to the point that we were setting the hook on every splash.  We lost some very large fish in the swift current even though we were using 3X tippet.

Mark Riley is shown below casting drys (Yellow Humpys - size 14) to several large Rainbows over 18 inches.

Sunday Morning on the Pan we caught some very nice fish on PMD's and midges (olive) - double fly set-ups

The whole area is fishing like mid-July!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Christmas Island..."I'm Going Back!"


The GT above was caught by David Jones on a 12 wt Hardy rod and reel secured from FRA using an 80 lb monofilament leader.  "This was definitely the biggest adrenalin rush I have experienced with a fly rod."

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fishing Trips with Dad

Growing up, I lived within a five minute bike ride of the Mississippi river. I would spend my summers along the shore, casting for Bass, Crappies and the seemingly endless supply of Sunfish. While I always had a good time going down to the river by myself or with a couple of buddies, there was nothing that got me more wound up than when dad would agree to take me down to the spillway and spend a few hours fishing together. I have numerous memories involving me grilling dad with a continual stream of questions about why fish do what they do.

"Why do fish like worms?"
"How do fish sleep and swim at the same time?"
"How come fish can breath underwater and we can't?"

This would go on for the majority of the outing, and dad would patiently respond with "Shh, you're scaring the fish" or "I'm not sure, watch your bobber..."

These early years set the foundation for a great father/son relationship and created a subject that we could always relate to and shoot the breeze about.
Fishing trips with dad
A smile that only a great fish can produce
Now that three states and a thirteen hour car ride separate us, I just don't get to fish with dad as much as I'd like. So thirty years later I returned the favor and reintroduced dad to fly fishing by taking him on a DIY trip to the Alaskan Kenai peninsula. It was a true joy reminding him of the mechanics of the cast, showing him all the latest techniques, and sharing high fives as trophy Rainbows and Steelhead came to hand. I can only imagine how the smiles I saw on his face during that trip must have mimicked my own when I was a child.

If you didn't get a chance to take your dad fishing today, give him a call, and get something on the calendar. It could be something as simple as meeting for a few hours on your local waters, to something more involved like meeting in a far away destination and exploring new waters. In the end, the memories you create, and the smiles you'll see on his face will be cherished much more than another ugly necktie. If you need a few ideas, stop by the shop and we can point you in the right direction.
Father and son using a non-traditional wrangling technique during a photo-op
Father and son using a non-traditional wrangling technique during a photo-op

Friday, June 15, 2012

2200 Miles Away

Now that I've returned from Florida my "friends" are sending me fish pics on a daily basis as a reminder that I left for Colorado much too early...note the surf in this picture and the one depicted in "Are we Crazy".  According to a friend in Orlando "beach fishing doesn't really turn on until the humidity is unbearable and the bugs are feasting relentlessly on all exposed body parts."

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Are We Crazy? No Question About It.

Every year I meet a dozen or so fly fisherman on Sanibel Island to chase Snook.  It's not organized…we just show up at the same general time (May and June) with the same objective.  Catch one of the large females that are cruising the beaches to spawn.  I'm talking about sight casting to fish that can reach 40+ inches in two feet of less of water.  I saw one in May that had to be 50-inches which I mistook for a shark.  She rolled to the side and I saw saw a broad yellow line down the middle of her body.  I just stood trying to get my line in the water as she swam off.  It sounds like fun and it must be a pretty reliable thing if you do it every year. Yeah.....Right!  Your trip will be great if
--the tides are right.
--you're not facing a stiff offshore wind.
--wave action is reasonable meaning no large swells.
--the fish are not consumed by the spawning urge.
--the fly you have selected is something the fish is interested in - can change-day-to day.
--the presentation does not scare the fish and its done so the fly is presented as an easy meal.
--the sun is in the right position and water visibility is good.
--you're far enough away from the fish so they are not spooked by movement or shadows.
--the hook is super sharp and the bite tippet is of adequate size and strength.
--you are good a spotting fish and occasionally running down the beach to make an intercepting cast.
--you don't get frustrated by sun bathers, shell collectors, joggers, swimmers, and an assortment of other non-fishing folks that will get in you way at the most critical time
--you're pleased to see spin fishermen working bait or lures catching two or three times the number of fish that you can nail on a fly.  Moreover, they will be fishing in conditions that will cause your fly line to wrap around your neck.
--you have the time to out tropical storms or unfavorable winds than can stir up the beach for a week or more.

So, why come back.  Here's the reason

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Doug Green's Fly

I'm always on the lookout for new patterns and this year in Florida I found one that I really like.  It was developed by Doug Green who works out of Norm Ziegler's Fly Shop on Sanibel Island.  While it was designed for Snook, I've caught a number of other saltwater species and I'm 100% positive it will prove very effective on warmwater fish like Bass , Wipers, etc.

It was a number of appealing features:
1.  It's super easy to tie and uses three principal materials
2.  Looks good in the water with a minimal amount of snarling of the tailing material.
3.  Over-sized bead chain eyes (extra-large) give it enough weight to drop down quickly without an excessive splash.
4.  It's far easier to cast that a lead-headed Clouser

Hook:  Size 4 saltwater hook - can go down to a 6 or up to a 1
Thread: White 210 denier.   Mono thread was tied in to secure the wing behind and in front of the eyes - optional
Eyes: Extra large black bead chain (large in smaller hook sizes.  Use super glue to get a good bond then cover with a UV product like Clear Cure Goo
Wing:  Super or Supreme hair for the belly and EP chartruse for the back.  Both are trimmed to a baitfish shape:
Flash: This is totally optional...a few strands of Polar Ice Wing Fiber were sandwiched between  the belly and back of the fly pictured above.
Tying Comment:
The belly material is tied in directly behind the eyes and the back is a single strand of EP fiber looped over the hook in front of the eyes - one side is 3/4 the length of the other and trimmed on an angle.