Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 In Review

Merry Christmas and Happy Nymphing in the New Year!

We were given a white Christmas in Northern Colorado! All the home waters are covered in snow and ice while families are celebrating the holidays. I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season and a very blessed New Year.  Stay safe on the river and find some new water to explore! 

2012 has been a very eventful year! As always the spring held promise of a banner water flow year in Colorado; however, the summer and lack of rain quickly redefined what our hopes could only wish for. Warmer than average temperatures reduced water flow and reminded us to return the fish we caught quickly and if it was too warm to move on to another stretch of the river and come back another day. Northern Colorado experienced a number of fires that would make national news, of which the High Park Fire and the Fern Lake fires were the most recognized fires burning 87,284 acres and 3,498 acres respectively. Thank you to all the fire fighters and emergency services personnel that left their families and risked their lives to help others! THANK YOU! I found out that my wading staff was correctly marketed as “ float-able” with its cork handle, and in fact, I proved that to be true. After wading across a section of the Taylor River, I watched it float down the river to become a gift for some unsuspecting fly fisher.  Santa brought me a Simms wading staff and I am excited to field test it.  2012 also found me having to say good bye to my LL Bean guide boots after 12 years. I will let ya know how my Simms Guide boots treat me!

In 2012, my fishing partner and I were still able to get in quality nymphing on a variety of waters using both traditional and Tenkara nymphing approaches in streams, rivers, and lakes. 

We fished Horsetooth Reservoir for small mouth bass with 4 weight nymph rigs using olive woolley buggers or muddler minnows. The traditional bass fisherman looked at us as if we were nuts. They changed their tune and started to crowd us after we were consistently catching fish! We continued to refine our use of the Tenkara rod with a goal of catching a fish on the Tenkara rod on every water we fished during the year. We were successful and maintained our streak of no fish breaking off. If you have not tried to fish with a Tenkara rod…MAKE IT HAPPEN! I promise it will not corrupt you or diminish you nymphing prowess; however, it will improve your nymphing skills.

2012 found us nymphing our home water in Rocky Mountain National Park, numerous stretches of the Big Thompson and the Poudre River, all drive time from Fort Collins. We nymph-ed for smallies on Horsetooth Reservoir. We caught nice browns on upper and lower sections of the Arkansas River, on both sides of Buena Vista, using our standard copper johns, bead head hares ears, zebra midges, and ABU’s. Based out of a beautiful stream-side cabin in Almont, Colorado we enticed browns and rainbows on the Taylor River and the Gunnison River all nestled in the Gunnison National Forest. During our Gunnison adventure, we found a small hidden freestone stream, Spring Creek. 

Not much competition for the Taylor River, it was a huge reminder of why we spend time on the water -not what we catch but were the fishing takes us… Spring Creek flows out of Spring Creek Reservoir and it is full of healthy browns and rainbows that are eager to take an ABU #16 or #16 black zebra midge. 

Brooks, rainbows, and browns were taken on the upper sections of the Blue River above and below Breckenridge, Colorado. Despite the dry conditions and low water flows, it was a wonderful year spent with great friends, in beautiful places enjoying the camaraderie and peace that comes from time on the river!

I find that the anticipation for the upcoming season builds as the Denver 2013 Fly Fishing Show approaches. This year the Fly Fishing Show is being held at the Denver Merchandise Mart, January 4-6. Admission is $15 for one day or $35 for the entire three days. I will let ya know some of the highlights of this year’s show.  Get more information at

As I sit at my desk tying flies and watching the snow fall, I am already planning trips in my head for 2013 and reliving past trips. Remember to be stewards of the rivers that we so enjoy! Hope to see you on the river.