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!