Monday, April 21, 2014

Poudre River Brown's

The morning started with a fleece jacket, beanie and entertaining having gloves with me yet equipment needs quickly changed to a baseball hat;  stashing the fleece and definitely not needing gloves as the temperatures climbed into the high 60's in the Poudre Canyon. 

The 46 degree water was moving a little faster than last week at approximately 200cfs; yet still remained clear. Every once in a while a large chunk of green slim or other debris would hint at things to come once the spring snow melt increased.

I was waiting for JT and Jim who were driving up from the fun fort to join me as I enjoyed my morning cup and took in the beauty of the canyon. As I stood over looking the river I could not help but note how calm the canyon was. I sat on the tailgate watching the morning sun creep down into the canyon and warm parts of the river. 

Jim on The Poudre
I was motionless and listened to the variety of nature's sounds that created the morning back drop only interrupted with the occasional car or motorcycle going by.

The wind had left the canyon. Sitting there,  I felt a part of something that made me and my concerns insignificant. I took in the experience for about an hour before pulling myself from the hypnotic rhythm and sounds of the river flowing through the canyon.

I geared up with my 11 foot Tenkara Iwana rod that I tooled up with 13 foot tapered 5X leader adorned with a size #14 ABU and black zebra midge 12 inches apart while I waited.

I started to grow a lil impatient and walked down to the river. I snuck in a dozen casts before JT and Jim rolled up with coffee in their hands.  

After spending time gearing up and talking about fishing we were walking down to a flat stretch of water that would make a dry fly fisher drool. JT was fishing with a Tenkara and Jim was using his traditional western rig. Jim and JT were both using nymphs.

Plenty of water allowed the three of us to fish together and then spread out as each of us saw fit. I fished the opposite bank and JT and Jim fished the near side bank.

The river bottom was loose and large sections of loose sand made for interesting wading. The key was slow and deliberate steps, making sure your footing was solid before taking the next step. Some of the bottom was surprisingly deceptive. Upon the initial step, the bottom felt solid; however, after applying additional weight the sand gave way to shifting sand that drifted down stream. What was once a "solid" bottom gave way to holes and sand covered free stones. Slow and cautious wading was the name of the game.

The water temperature had warmed from the previous week; however, 46 degrees, dictated slow drifts and adjusting to find the correct holding depth of the fish.

Depth was important. Before moving upstream to another location, I  fished obvious structure but more important, I fished any indication of depth. This included smooth glass topped water, seams created by two speeds of current coming together, darker areas of water regardless of the size of the area, and any drop offs.

The takes were subtle yet a number of fish entertained me with exciting tail walks.

The river shared both browns and rainbows with us over the course of the four hours we fished.


Bend of the hook relationship to the hook shank: I missed a number of fish early on. When I am not too excited and pulling the fly out their mouths or the position of my hook set is not taking the fly out of their mouth, the position of the tip and bend of the hook in relation of the shank of the hook needs to be adjusted. Bend the hook tip out away from the shank of the hook, especially hook sizes 16 or smaller. Be careful not to break the tip off or change the gap of the hook.

Angle of hook set change: Change the position and angle of your hook set if you are missing fish that strike yet get off or are only on for a few seconds.

Wading safety and footing: Always practice safe wading. Live to fish another day!


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

March on the Poudre River...2014

The weather forecasters were calling for temperatures in the 60's with the typical gusty spring wind found in Northern Colorado. I had the opportunity to hit the water for a couple of hours and wind or not, I planned on taking my chances with the wind, cold and what ever else springtime in the rockies was going to bring.

Sun and clear skies accompanied me to the Poudre Canyon. The wind was a constant during my trip and didn't show any signs of letting up in the canyon. 

Undeterred, I grabbed the Tenkara, rigged up with a size 16 black zebra midge with a size 16 ABU as a dropper on a 13 foot leader and tippet combination. I stood on the banks of the river admiring the gin clear water and and the changes to the landscape from last years flood. Natures resiliency was very comforting.

I forgot about the wind...

The river was moving at about 160cfs and my thermometer was showing 38 degrees on the tongue of my wading boot.

Given the temperatures, any depth that would afford some temperature control for the fish were areas I slowly drifted the nymphs through with a slight upward lift or twitch. The strikes were subtle and only occurred if I found the depth and made sure the nymphs stayed there. I remembered the wind.

I was fortunate to share the couple of hours I had on the water with some of the canyon's residents. Although the wind was more resilient than I was and I was glad I had other commitments, my spirit was lifted to be on the water and be a part of the river's spirit.

Tips of the Trip:

Wind suxCheck water temperature during your time on the water
Cold water temperatures...  slow down and expect sluggish fish
Cold water temperatures... look for depth relative to the area you are fishing

Happy Nymphing!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Fishing for Tarpon in Colorado

I was driving home at 10:00 pm last night and the thermometer read 26 degrees outside as a spring snow fall continued; yet I was reliving the past three hours that found myself on the warm sunny flats of the Bahamas chasing bone fish under emerald blue skies and the splash of warm water against my legs; the cool crisp air of Labrador biting at my facing while chasing monster brook trout; landing king salmon on rivers in the interior of Alaska; and of course pursuing monster rainbows and graylings.

All of my adventures were shared with great friends that accompanied me and hundreds of others that braved the cold temperatures and snow to watch the 2014 Fly Fishing Film Tour that came to the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins, Colorado.

A huge shout out to St. Peter’s Fly Shop for providing the support to bring the tour to Northern Colorado and providing a wonderful break from the rocky mountain spring weather.

If you have never been, the evening starts with an opportunity to mingle with friends, meet new ones, and just absorb the energy of all the like minded fly fishers, young and old, there to share the evening. After getting your favorite libation and picking up your Fly Fishing Film tour swag (free stuff), you settle back into your chair and watch some amazing footage of trips near and far that put you on the water with those that had the fortune of actually being there. The footage is spectacular and the camera angles with the invent of the go-pro digital platform incorporates more of your senses and you become part of the experience. Intermission gets you out of your seat and more swag is thrown into the audience, raffles are cheered on, and the highlight included two Sage fly rods given away! A young future fly fishing guide or fly shop owner, was pulled out of the audience to help with the raffles and emceeing the giveaways! Thanks Fly Fishing Film Tour and St. Peter’s Fly Shop.

The evening was a wonderful break from the hustle and bustle of life, the transition from winter to spring, and the temperatures. Everyone left the show with a new found energy and longing to get on the water. Thanks fellas for keeping me company!

If you have not attended a Fly Fishing Film Tour, find one and tight lines!

Happy Nymphing

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Remember the Denver Fly Fishing Show?

It’s hard to believe that is has been almost two months since JT and I attended the Denver Fly Fishing Show!  The calendar does not lie, March 14th, it has been.  JT and I officially announce the “start” to our season by attending the annual Fly Fishing Show in Denver. The show is the time that we reflect on the seasons past, look at new gear, dream about trips we can’t afford, and seek to pick the brains of area and nationally recognized masters to improve our skills

The show is three days long and this year, I was able to enjoy the show for two days. Over the course of the show I was blessed to hang out with my youngest son, John; JT; Mr. Fiberglass himself, Cameron Mortenson; Mr. Big Dry Fly Mike at Big Dry Fly; and Gerry an amazing person and friend along with other blog buddies! I would be remiss if I did not tell ya that it was not the same this year without seeing Howard’s big smile from Windknots & Tangledlines. He was recovering from a serious health scare and his brother from another mother Mel, from the Pond Stalker, who was keeping all of us updated on Howard’s progress! You both were missed!

It is my hope that as my youngest son continues to grow that he will still find time for the show….we all know it is not about the show! It is the quality time spent with family and friends consumed by a passion that takes us away from life if even for a couple of hours.

I could not have asked for a better back drop for the Fly Fishing Show in Denver this year. The first day found clear sunny skies with temperatures in the high 50's. The weather beckoned JT and I to pass on the show and head for the river; however, we didn't. JT and I started our day bright and early, grab our traditional cup of coffee and breakfast and enjoyed an uneventful drive down I-25 under sunny skies with the snow covered Front Range in the background. The second day found my son and I driving down I-25 in a blizzard! I love Colorado! The forecasted snow storm was hitting the area with all of its fury reminding us that is was still winter and spring was still months away in Northern Colorado. With temperatures in the 30's and Jack Frost blowing snow it was the perfect time to be inside with thousands of like minded people enjoying all aspects of fly fishing.

The show traditionally begins in the parking lot for us looking at all of the fishing rigs! Everything from the unsuspecting Subaru Outback to the decal adorned fly fishing machine with multiple hi tech, high end, fly fishing rod vaults yelling steal me!

The doors opened and the lines to get admission tickets formed; you get a sense that everyone is fighting for a position at the secret honey hole on the river. This year’s show had approximately 24 fly tiers, 126 vendor booths, and three days of speakers, authors, casting demonstrations and classes for all levels. The crowds were larger than past years; yet a sense of camaraderie was felt among the masses and not the pushing and shoving you would expect at a gathering of this size.

Show highlights this year included listening to my friend, CAMERON MORTENSON, of The Fiberglass Manifesto fame, educated us on the resurgence and increasing popularity of fiberglass rods in our sport. It was impressive to see the number of quality rod builders in the United States and abroad that are producing some amazing fiberglass fly rods. The craftsmanship is amazing. Check out his site,

The demonstrated creativity and amazing flies that were produced by the seemingly effortless skills that the celebrity fly tiers humbled any fly tier. The fly tying beginner or expert could enjoy demonstrations, speak with celebrity fly tiers, or participate in the many tying classes offered.  It is always a pleasure to speak with and watch Northern Colorado’s very own, Rick Takahashi, angler, fly tier and author of Modern Midges.  

Of course Ed Engle, no need for introduction to the nymphing world, demonstrated tremendous skill tying small (micro) flies. Patterns are available at! Other notables included Dave Whitlock, Gary Borger, A.K. Best, Rick Hafele and Charlie Craven.

Daniel Galhardo and Team Tenkara USA, were educating the masses on the Tenkara fishing system and it was very exciting to see how the Tenkara approach to fly fishing is growing in the United States. I enjoyed spending time looking at new models of the Tenkara rods, including the Rhodo, which allows the rod to be fished in three different lengths.  I got to spend some time at the casting pond with Graham Moran of the Tenkara Grasshopper fame casting the Rhodo Tenkara rod. Amazing rod! Thanks Graham. Daniel, Graham, and TJ Ferreira, were nice enough to sign a first edition of Tenkara Magazine for me! Check out all the happenings with Tenkara at

You know that special book that you have in your library that you have read and reread and then read again… The authors’ booth at the show allowed you to get that favorite book signed by the author! John Gierach was kind enough to sign a copy of “No shortage of Good Days” for me and Ed Engle signed a copy of “Trout Lessons”

I have to tell you though the highlight of the entire show this year for me was watching Dave Whitlock autograph a brown trout print for Mike! Dave Whitlock is truly a humble man and spent time with Mike and the rest of us as if we were lifelong friends. Dave took the time to personally enhance the print and personalized it for Mike. It is a cherished piece of artwork that Mike proudly displays in his office! I was fortunate to have been there and had the opportunity to share in a small piece of Mike's experience!

I can’t end the post without acknowledging two vendors that are worth checking out, Hills Discount Flies and Vedavoo fly fishing gear.

I was blown away by the selection and quality of flies that Brandon Hill of Hill’s Discount Flies out of Avon, Colorado brought to the show. Whether you are looking for single hard to find patterns or full collections of stocked boxes Brandon can get you hooked up! Pun intended. Check him out at

I met Scott Hunter, the founder of Vedavoo, and spent time admiring his line of fly fishing gear that has been field tested and designed with the fly fisher in mind. Whether it is a sling pack, back pack, fanny pack or a combined set up, he will make it for you. All of his gear is handmade and comes with subtle design features that are ingenious and lend themselves to use on the river. Check him out at

Whether you stop by for a couple of hours or spend the entire weekend at the show you can count on something to satisfy your fly fishing interests. The $15 entrance fee opens the doors to new products and old, exhibitors offering everything from apparel to fly fishing trips to exotic locations, authors willing to sign your favorite copy of their books, and chances to cast a rod you have been drooling over. The fly tiers’s demonstrated the latest techniques and shared their fly tying secrets. The seminars and professional instruction are worth the cost of admission alone. You would have to be asleep to not enjoy some aspect of the show. 

Happy Nymphing!