Friday, August 23, 2013

Tenkara on the Gore Creek in Vail, Colorado

I had the opportunity to spend some time on the Gore Creek in Vail, Colorado. 

Amazing backdrop to spend some time on the water. The Gore Creek runs the length of the town of Vail and is nestled at the foot of the Gore Mountain Range. 

The Gore Creek is a free stone stream that resembles the visions of those writing about fly fishing on a rocky mountain stream. 

It has the typical aqua-scape, pool riffle run along its 18.5 mile length that an angler can find flat meadow meanders, narrows, deep pools, plunge pools, riffles that are skinny or deep and pocket water that houses some amazing brook, rainbow and brown trout.

The cool crisp mountain air was refreshing. With the exception of the scheduled afternoon thunderstorm, the weather was amazing and the water was cold and clear. 

The second day found the stream getting milky after a thunderstorm on the Gore Mountain Range over the night.

Depending upon where one chose to fish, you were alone on the stream or surrounded by pedestrians, none of which were fishing. 

The fish did not seem to mind what the crazy people where doing.

I wet waded and fished the Gore Creek for three days! With my chest pack and a collapsed fly rod, I received strange looks from the few people that saw me as I headed to the stream. 

I used a 9' tapered fluorocarbon leader with 4' of 5X tippet. I fished three flies...a #16 ABU, black zebra midge, and a bead head hares ear.

Standing in the Gore Creek surrounded by the beauty of the Vail Valley made me stop and just take it all in as the cold water rushed around by sandaled feet and bare legs.

My efforts of climbing around boulders and fishing pocket water was rewarded with brook and brown trout.

I wish I could share with you a picture of the fish that took my fly, played with me for a while before he decided that he had enough and effortlessly snapped my line. It is the experience that an angler remembers, the story that is retold, and a longing to try it again but use skill or talent you believe you have but where unable to find at the time that would have made the difference and brought the fish to net. It is the memory of the fish that was undoubtedly the biggest in the hole the beast of the river. It is the one that gets away. At the very second the line breaks, all of your senses are at their peak, and in a fraction of a second, your senses plummet to a low that leaves you motionless. An eerie calmness comes over you and as fast as it came it is replaced with disbelief and dismay.....ahhhh gimme another chance! Fish one angler zero. It keeps us coming back.

If you get up to the Vail Valley make sure and stop in and say hello to Matt, Mark or Nate of the Gore Creek Fly fisherman.  Awesome dudes that know there stuff about fly fishing the Eagle Valley. You can find them in Lionshead, Avon or Beaver Creek! Check em out at

Happy Nymphing!

I AM HEADING TO ALMONT, COLORADO... I will share the trip with ya when I get back! Gonna chase browns and rainbows on the Gunnison, Taylor, East, Spring Creek, and any water that calls to me.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Poudre River Browns

After our 7:00 am stop for the traditional breakfast burrito and coffee, JT and I were off to the Poudre River. The plan was to head to the park; however, we only had a short amount of time to fish before we had to get back into town.

The morning drive was a typical Colorado morning. Clear blue skies, no wind, and a crispness in the air that made the skin feel alive.  The  tourists  were plentiful and the number of license  plates from  states from  afar made us appreciate the fact that the Poudre is  in  our backyard and a short distance from home.

Driving up the canyon, the water was running high from recent thunderstorms and the water definitely had chocolate milk clarity. As we drove up the canyon I could not help but admire Mother Natures resiliency after the fire. The tall dark skeletons of trees that lined and dotted the hill side were the only eerie remnants of the fire! The vegetation was lush and green. It was a welcome sight.

We did not see anyone pursuing the residents of the Poudre! We hit a pull out and fished sections of the lower river. The weather was clear, sunny and held the freshness of a new rainstorm. 

We geared up our Tenkara rods and we were off. If you have not tried fishing with a Tenkara rod, you should give it a try! We still fish our standard Western fly rods every chance we get; however, we are trying to catch fish using our Tenkara rods on every body of water we fish. 

We are not "traditional" Tenkara anglers. We use Western gear and multiple flies. JT runs a Cutthroat furled leader with 5X tippet and I use a 9' tapered fluorocarbon leader with four feet of 5X tippet. We fished with our traditional flies...zebra midge, ABU, hare's ear, copper johns in sizes 14 ,16 and 18.

As we approached the river, it was refreshing to see how all of the paths that once were tell tale signs of fishing addicts had grown over with vegetation. The water was 65 degrees and moving quick. The water was high; however, it was obvious that it had receded approximately a 1-2 feet recently. There was fire sediment in the water. The silt and muck still had not left the banks. It was not uncommon to get stuck as we were wading in the muck that had settled on the bottom.

Whether we were dead drifting or actively presenting the nymphs we minimized the amount of line on the water. We focused on structure close to the banks, and any break in the main current. Depth was extremely important. 

In the water close to the bank, fish held close the front, side and behind the structure. On the main current, if a location looked "fishy", it was a matter of finding the correct depth. 

With the Tenkara, adjusting for depth can be done by lowering or raising the rod obviously. Another effective approach is to stop the rod high on the forward cast which will allow your flies to hit the water first. Hold the rod high, and allow the current to pull the flies down to different depths that you are prospecting. 

Casting above the "fishy" spot ensures the current has time to take the flies down before you pass the area you believe fish are holding in.

We were able to share some time with a few of the Poudre River  residents. We caught fish in the riffles, runs and pools.

It was relaxing time spent on the Poudre!

Tips of the Trip...
When the water conditions change, change your approach and try something different. In this case, we spent more time along the banks than we normally do.

Feel the bottom with your feet as you wade.

If an area looks "fishy", yet you have not hooked a fish, work different depths until you get the hook up.

Slow down...Systematically work fishy areas in high, fast, or discolored water. Plan you approach and always look for breaks in the main current.

Happy Nymphing!