Friday, June 21, 2013

Chas'in Tail...Smallie Style 6/14/13

JT and I were back on the tooth, Horsetooth Reservoir that is, while the rivers were running high…We at least that is the excuse we use so we don’t feel too bad chasing smallmouth bass when trout are calling us!

















We loaded up at 5:45am and were on the lake by 6:30. What a gorgeous morning! Calm, cool and cloud cover that was starting to break up and let the sun through. We were not the only ones on the water enjoying the morning; however, no one that needed to be pulled into the marina.

Armed with our Mc-A-Dee’s breakfast and coffee, we were off to Inlet Bay, Dixon Cove and Orchard Cove. The water was a calm, 64 degrees and with the exception of another fisherman from time to time we were on our own.

We rigged up out 6WT rods with a sighter and a nine foot, 5X leader. Our flies of choice throughout the day were a cone head woolly bugger or muddler minnow, size 6, in brown, olive or black. JT decided to get creative and fish a woolly bugger with a nymph dropper and the bass repaid him on more than one occasion.

JT hit them early and hit them consistently throughout the day. A couple of times he offered to let me land the next one!

We stayed parallel to shore and casted to shore, and let the fly drop. Any movement in the sighter or a stop and we were rewarded with a smallie. Catching smallmouth bass on a fly rod is a fun experience. We didn't catch anything of real size; however, beautiful fish none the least.  They love to fight.



We focused on structure, rock ledges, points, and varied our retrieves. At times we were successful letting the fly drop, while others, a rapid strip resulted in the fly being hammered.






























The strangest catch of the day was a double that JT and I happened into. We both hit smallies and were giving each other the television broadcaster play by play as we landed out fish. We are in the process of unhooking our fish and I hear a click, click sound. Thinking nothing of it, I take a picture of the fish. As I am getting ready to return the fish to the water, I hear click click again. I can’t figure out what the sound is. I am definitely not going to mention to JT that I am hearing noises. HAHAHA   I see the tongue move in the fish’s mouth…really? Of course not! Look what I found in the fish’s mouth…



The bass had just had a breakfast of crayfish  that was still alive trying his best to get out the fishes mouth, and thought he would wash it down with a little woolly bugger.


It was another great day on the ‘tooth. We rounded out the day with some trout, and a bluegill and sunfish that decided they wanted a go at the woolly bugger, even though it was the same size as they were. We left by 1:00pm, just as the crowds started to arrive!


Tips from the Trip:

The sighter helps… The amnesia monofilament sighter was extremely visible and did not inhibit the cast. Regardless of the lighting it was easy to see subtle takes. I’ll describe it soon, promise.

Vary your presentation… Change up your presentation speed, and don’t be afraid to make the fly move.  

Structure includes anything that over hangs the water… Any tree that over hung the lake or was up to 4 feet away from the water’s edge was a perfect place to cast to. The noisy cicadas temped the bass and every once in a while one would fall in. The bass sat under or near the trees waiting for their turn. If a woolly bugger landed there instead it was fish on…


Happy Nymphing!











Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Stranded on the Tooth... 6/8/13

Horsetooth Reservoir that is…

JT and I made the first trip out on his boat for the season and decided to chase some small mouth bass on Horsetooth Reservoir using our standard fly rigs, leaving the Tenkara rods at home. Although, I am determined to catch a bass on my Tenkara rod; however, that will be another post.

It was a beautiful morning.  It was sunny with a clear sky and a forecast that promised warm temperatures with only a slight chance of rain. We loaded up, grabbed the coffee and burrito, turned a live well into a cooler for water and off we went.

We got our passes, made it through the county park boat inspection, and hit the water about 9:00am. Since it was the first trip, more time was spent at the dock then normal making sure everything had wintered well and was working. We had all of our gear. II remembered to put the drain plug in. HAHAHA. The normal summer onslaught of water lovers had not made its way to the ‘tooth yet and we were free to take our time at the dock.

Horsetooth Reservoir affectionately referred to as the ‘tooth, is located west of Fort Collins, Colorado and is approximately 6 miles long and sits at about 5400 feet in elevation.  The reservoir water level was high and the water temperature was 64 degrees. We headed north towards Satanka Bay. Our goal was to get into a cove and start catching small mouth bass.

We sped across the reservoir with childlike anticipation; hoping to get into one of any of the coves and avoid other fishermen trying their luck at doing the same thing. As JT was checking out the boat and gearing up, I suddenly brought the boat to a slow down nearly as fast as I had left the no wake area. On the western edge of the main lake, I saw a boat with its two occupants trying with all their might to get our attention.  They were waving oars, a t-shirt, and their arms. Note to self, anytime a person is waving an oar in a motor boat…they are having a bad day. Suddenly, gone was the childlike anticipation and the emotions were replaced with “are you kidding me?”  However, we have to take care of each other and sometimes it doesn’t happen on your time schedule. Two tired fisherman had been stranded on their boat for two hours waiting for another boat to pass them and help them out. Their battery died!

After towing them back to the marina, we were heading north across the lake at break neck speed in hopes that the smallies would understand and be waiting for us.  Of course the morning calm had been replaced by wind, and the threatened approach of storms. JT and I believe that the best time to fish is when it’s raining and when it’s not, so we were not discouraged.

We rigged up out 6WT rods with a sighter and a nine foot, 5X leader. Our flies of choice throughout the day were a cone head woolly bugger or muddler minnow, size 6, in brown, olive or black.

When the wind allowed us to, we stayed parallel to shore and casted to shore, and let the fly drop. Any movement in the sighter or a stop and we were rewarded with a smallie. Catching small mouth bass on a fly rod is a fun experience. We didn’t catch anything of real size; however, beautiful fish none the least.  They love to fight.

Throughout the day we fished in Soldier and Orchard Coves. We focused on structure, rock ledges, points, and varied our retrieves. At times we were successful letting the fly drop, while others, a rapid strip resulted in the fly being hammered.

















We were able to convince a rainbow trout and two cut'bows to slam our flies as well. Nice surprise!










The wind continued throughout the day and thunderheads would build but never materialize. With the exception of a few sprinkles and some wind it was a great day on the ‘tooth. We were in the car by 3:00pm.


Tips from the Trip:
Check your gear…  Sure beats wishing you checked it when you finally get to your destination and the fish are biting.

The sighter helps… The amnesia monofilament sighter was extremely visible and did not inhibit the cast. Regardless of the lighting it was easy to see subtle takes. I’ll describe it in another post.

Vary your presentation… Change up your presentation speed, and don’t be afraid to make the fly move.
   
Take time to help others… It does the heart good to be able to help someone else in a time of need. Just remember to say thanks and pay it forward!

Happy Nymphing!










Monday, June 3, 2013

Poudre River High Water 5/31/13

Poudre River was running at about 1230cfs

Hit the water this morning around 9:00am, much later than I had planned because the tire gremlins reared their heads and decided to try my patience and flatten my tire. I managed to pick up a nail somewhere…  Only slowed down the trip sure didn't prevent it.

Grabbed a cup of coffee and left the fun fort for the beauty of the canyon. It was a sunny day with clear skies; however, we were experiencing the winds of the season. Wind or no wind, with a nice sunny day I was going to take my chances on finding pockets of calm weather and willing trout.






It’s high water in Northern Colorado; however, there are still fishing opportunities to be had. Majority of the fly fishers find somewhere else to fish other than the normal fishing destinations. As a matter of fact, I intended to be on Horsetooth Reservoir catching smallies on the fly; however, life happens. So off to the Poudre River I went.  The Poudre is outside of its banks and Mother Nature is doing her housekeeping!  I did not see any other fly fishers that were interested in the wind or the high water.

I found a small section of stream that feeds the Poudre and I fished the banks and any break in the current I could find. 


I dead drifted my usual bead head hares ear, ABU and black zebra midges. I tried to stay as tight to the bank as I could without finding every tree, grass and willow that was partially submerged by the runoff.  I got the flies close to the bottom and focused on finishing the downstream drift. In any slack water I could find along the edge, if the dead drift wasn’t working, I gave the nymphs some action. I enticed a few browns to hit the nymphs while the nymphs were moving.


 
I called it quits at around 2:00pm.

Tips from the Trip:

Heavy nymph on the bottom: I placed a size 12 bead head hare’s ear on the end of tippet with a lighter size 14 above it. This configuration allowed me to get the nymphs down in the water faster. Normally, I reverse the order, heavier nymph on top and the lighter nymph on the bottom


Find the current breaks: Anything that provides relief from the current and creates an area of slack water, fish it. Instead of talking yourself out of fishing it, give it a cast or two.


Use nymph patterns with a little flash: Whether it is a bead head, or any one of the hundreds of synthetic reflective tying materials, use a nymph that has some flash to it.










Wading safety in spring conditions and clouded water…Wade cautiously and feel the bottom with your feet. Make sure each step you take is on solid river bottom before you make the next step.

 
Happy Nymphing!