Tuesday, June 16, 2015

PRODUCT REVIEW: Hydration On The Go!

Hydration is extremely important; however often overlooked by fly fishers with the exception of the substituted alcoholic beverage that always finds its way into the smallest pockets of gear bags everywhere. Surrounded by the large amount of water during a trip, it is hard to think that hydration would be a concern for fly fishers.

The human body needs approximately a half a gallon of water a day, equivalent to eight 8oz glasses of water. The water intake is critical for all body functions from brain function down to cell repair. Spending a day on the river, hiking into that secluded place or stalking your favorite species on the lake requires us to remain hydrated. Hydration increases our energy level, brain function, increases recovery time during extended stay trips and decreased the effects of being in the sun for long periods of time.

My problem has always been the weight of water, approximately 8lbs per gallon, and carrying the amount of water I actually needed.  Finding the balance between the amount of water I needed and the weight of the water, ultimately, came down to weight and I found myself not taking enough water if I took any at all.

Katadyn MyBottle Water Purifier System – ultralight series.

According to Katadyn, MyBottle purifier is the only EPA registered bottle purification system available. Simply fill the bottle with water, insert the purification system and drink from virtually any water source. It removes all viruses, bacteria, cysts from water plus the integral carbon cartridge reduces chemicals and makes water taste better. Purifier achieves highest safety level removes all microorganisms including Giardia, bacteria and viruses. Removes particles and dirt from water. No batteries are needed. It performs anywhere, anytime. It makes water available immediately and without pumping. Each MyBottle includes a drinking straw to use as your everyday bottle if the source water is already safe to drink.

·       Bottle capacity: 24 oz after cartridge displacement
      Filter capacity: Up to 26 gallons (100 liters), depending on water quality
      Weight: 8 oz
      Height: 10”
      Warranty: 2 years

The Katadyn Water Filtration System ensures that the water is always cold, always there and you don’t have to worry about the weight. Dip it into the river and enjoy. Over the three years I have field tested the system, I have found all of the information to be accurate and the system provides amazing flexibility in the field. Additionally, 

  • Durable
  • Light weight
  • Self contained
  • Easy to use
  • Filters and purifies
  • Well worth the $60.00 investment

  • Before your first use, prepare the filter by following the instructions at home before you are in the field.
  • Holder: Depending upon the temperatures that you find yourself spending most of your time you may want to purchase a neoprene bottle holder with a belt loop that you can attach to your wading belt. A option that works just as well are two climbing carabineers. Attach one to your wading belt and the other to the loop on the Katadyn bottle. The two carabineers disconnect and reattach very easy.
  • Periodically wash out the bottle and BOTTLE ONLY, with a mild baking soda and water solution to keep the taste fresh.
  • Filter Storage: When you are not using the filter, slip it into a clean sock! It is breathable, lightweight, yet protects the filter for getting damaged.
  • To filter or not: The Katadyn Water Filter System comes with a straw that allows you to drink water out of it as you would with any other water bottle…as long as you know it is clean water. The other option is to attach the filter and use the water you are standing in. 
The water is always cold, always there and you don’t have to worry about the weight.

Definitely worth the purchase.

Happy Nymphing! 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Tenkara on the Tooth

Gotta love Spring Time in Colorado! 

Mother Nature is spring cleaning in Northern Colorado and the rivers and streams are blown out of their banks. We have received precipitation in every form imaginable as of late to include everything from rain to snow. Flooding is now the concern in some areas! I am always in awe of the power of water and both the positive and negative impacts it has on our lives. 

Prior to Mother Nature getting her groove on, JT and I were able to get out on the water during a small break in the weather. The plan was to hook up the boat and be on Horsetooth Reservoir by 8:00 a.m. and chase small mouth bass. We typically try to chase smallies while the rivers are pumping out water at 3000cfs! 

The morning was overcast in the upper 40’s with a definite chance of rain and whatever else Mother Nature decided to thrown at us. Although the air was a little crisp, we did not have any wind.

We were caffeinated and loaded with our breakfast burritos. We pushed away from the dock at 9:00 a.m. after the required mussel inspection intended to keep the ‘Tooth from becoming invaded by the invasive zebra and qaugga mussels. The fly rods were rigged and loaded, to include JT’s 14’ Amago Tenkara rod. The plan was to land a smallie of a Tenkara rod from the boat. It would be a first for us.

The lake was calm and the water was a clear, 50 degrees. We only saw a handful of other fishermen on the water in everything from a canoe to a "bass racing car" 

Typically, JT and I get strange looks from the area small mouth bass fishermen and their hi-tech bass fishing rigs when they see us start sending fly line towards structure from fly rods. We can hear the comments and feel the strange looks thrown our direction until they see bass coming to the boat…suddenly it gets quiet and the next thing you know they decide to fish another cove.

You can image the comments when JT broke out his Tenkara!

We started fished with our 6 wt western rigs which consisted of  a 2ft multi-colored amnesia sighter tied between the fly line and a 9.5ft 2X tapered leader followed by a size 6 cone headed woolly bugger in a variety of colors;  however, our goal was to catch a smallie on the Tenkara.

In our minds eye, it would be a two person operation to catch and land the smallie in the boat; one of us would catch it and the other would net it. Made complete sense in our minds!

We had pulled alongside a drop off at the mouth of a cove and I had no sooner bounced my olive colored woolly bugger off the wall and JT laughingly said, “Fish on!” JT had caught the first smallie on the Tenkara. It was very fitting since it was JT’s rod. The catching was done now for the landing… JT had approximately 28 ft between the butt of his rod and the business end of the smallie to manage the fish and keep it hooked and get it to me and the net. JT managed the runs with the amazing flex of the Tenkara and I was able to net the first smallie with very little effort! This was the start of a very productive day on the 'Tooth for us.

Horsetooth Smallie on a Tenkara Amago

A resident rainbow felt left out and decided to not only slam the woolly bugger JT was using but then entertain us with a fashionable tail-walk and aerial acrobatics! Initially, we thought the small mouth was smoking crack until the fish came closer to the net!

Mother Nature gave us a break weather wise during our time on the 'Tooth! The smallies were more than willing to put the Tenkara through its paces and keep the net wet!

Horsetooth Smallie on a Woolly Bugger

Tenkara on the 'Tooth

Tips from the Trip:

Always have more than one fly: As the fishing Gods would have it, a specific dark colored woolly bugger was the fly of the day and we had one! We caught smallies on other colors just not the consistency of THE FLY and then of course…you guessed it; it became a member of the lost fly graveyard.

Tenkara is a blast! If you have not had the chance get on the water with a Tenkara rod…give it a shot. You are not committing adultery and your western rig will forgive you; however, you will open up an entirely new dimension to your fly fishing. I love fishing my western rig; however, I fish it better after spending some time on the water with the Tenkara! I am still trying to find the limits of the system and look forward to the journey – lakes and rivers of western size; wading; on the boat; big or small fish; and I am still looking.

Smallies on the fly bring it! Small mouth bass, regardless of their size, believe that they are not only going to break you off but believe they are going to send you home crying because they broke your rod!

Don’t pass structure: Cast to structure. Hit it. Let your fly sink and stand by! Whether it is above water or submerged, don’t pass the structure.

Trout get jealous! 

Happy Nymphing!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Poudre River Report in Pictures… March 20, 2015

A picture is worth a thousand words... A great day on the Poudre River!

Poudre River Spring Pool

A frosty Tenkara morning

Sunrise peeking into the Poudre Canyon
Poudre River Brown

Early morning Poudre River Brown on a #16 zebra midge

Gin clear

Blessed to be able to share its beauty!

Tenkara Iwana Brown

Frosty morning on the Poudre River, Larimer County Colorado

The Pool

Caught and release to create a memory for another fly fisher


Poudre River Rainbow

Caught and released
JT's Poudre River Brown, Larimer County, Colorado

It was a fantastic day on the river!


Weather: Clear and sunny day with the reminder of winter in the shade
Water: Clear 40 degree water running at about 120cfs
Fly fisher hatch: low
Fish: bows and browns
Rig: Tenkara with double nymph rig
Nymphs: #16 ABU, #16 black Zebra Midge  and #12 Hares Ear
Time: 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

Happy Nymphing!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Steelhead in Colorado

In three hours, I fished in Cuba for tarpon, permit and bone fish; chased rainbows in Patagonia, Argentina; caught steelhead on a spey rod on the Dean River in British Columbia; and chased Tarpon in the Florida Keys and chased the monster taimen in Mongolia! I could have chased some monster Carp; however, carp-chasers, I will enjoy your adventures and leave the carp to you!

All of my adventures were shared with great friends that accompanied me and hundreds of others that took a break from their lives to watch the 2015 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.  www.stpetes.com

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. Thanks Fly Fishing Film Tour and St. Peter’s Fly Shop.

F3T Film Tour Fort Collins, CO Swag Raffle
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.

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

Happy Nymphing!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Poudre River Spanking! Ahhhhhh @#$%!...It Got Off!

It doesn't matter how long you have been fly fishing or your experience level, you can relate to this experience.
Poudre River, Colorado
JT and I started our day off in typical fashion, coffee and a breakfast burrito. We were heading to the Poudre to meet up with Mike, Mr. Bigdryfly.com, himself and another fishing partner, Dave. We should have known the day would be interesting because Mike and Dave were not able to make it and JT convinced me that instead of our normal breakfast burrito we should have a “naked” burrito minus potatoes for less carbs! In English, this means a burrito with all the steak and fixings in a paper bowl instead of a tortilla minus potatoes. Yeah… we will not be doing that again.

We were gearing up at the river by 10:00 am and were excited to get on a small stretch of the river that held nice trout, both browns and rainbows. Our excitement continued because we were hopeful that the overcast skies and rain would keep others in their homes or at work since the weekend was calling for 60’s and 70’s. Yeah… that didn't happen.

The smell of the outdoors during and after rain is difficult to describe; however, each of you have been there and instantly, you can close your eyes and all of your senses return to the moist air, earthy-sweet smell of the ground and vegetation and the electricity you felt after getting to the water’s edge for your first cast.

We grabbed our Tenkara rods and made it to the river’s edge. Along the way we discussed a lot of nothing. We anticipated the day; conditions, approaches and JT reminded me about the rattlesnake that was waiting for us last year warming itself on the same trail we were walking on. Yeah…that wasn't necessary.

The water was 40 degrees, gin clear and running at about 100cfs. We both took a little time to appreciate the conditions because soon Mother Nature would melt the snow pack and clean house. The rivers will take on different personalities to say the least. 

The stretch of water was 21 feet at its widest point, so JT and I fished together using “10 and Out”; ten casts or a fish and it was the other persons turn. We continued this until we were able to split the river and then fished opposing banks across from each other.

We fished our go to nymphs…ABU, black Zebra Midge, Copper John and Hare’s Ears in size #12 or #14 for the lead nymph and #16 for any trailing nymphs.

Poudre River Rainbow
We found browns and rainbows in a variety of places. Fish were holding in areas you would expect to find them. Behind and in front of any structure that gave them relief from the current yet brought food their way; seams of changing current with a piece of structure; any back eddy; foam lines; and don’t forget anything that sticks out into the water that brakes the normal flow of that section along the bank. Don’t walk past shallow water without casting to it during season transitions. The depths the fish were holding were varied to include fish rising in pools that Mike and Dave would have drooled over. Yeah…they were not there.

Poudre River Brown
We moved up along the river fishing, catching and using that self created non-verbal language fly fishers use when they are on the river and can’t hear and using the radios would take away from the reason we were there. Yeah...we have small two way radios.

JT was working the front side of this Volkswagen sized rock. The river came down a riffle, slammed into the front side of the rock and over time obviously built a fish resort under and around the front and sides of the rock. The river flowed around the side JT was standing on and created a large pool behind the rock where I was. JT hooks up and I can tell immediately by his rod position and flex, facial expression and movement down into the pool he was into a big fish. Appreciate that fact that on a Tenkara with a big fish there are a few seconds when the pucker factor is high until a give and take relationship is established by you and the fish. Yeah…not this time.

JT and the fish mutually agree to get around the rock and to the back side of the rock. From my vantage point the negotiation was going well. Nice pressure, rod angle and movement into the calm water. And then it happened. This fish had had enough of the hanging out with JT, shot under the rock and SNAP! The 5x tippet was no match for the rainbow that appeared to me to be in excess of 22”. And then the experience… I hear, “Aaaaaahhhhh F#$%!”, ”Holy S#$%!” and the fishing gods leave JT standing there where we have all been, wishing for that fish one more time! You could feel the initial high and see and hear the after low. That wonderful roller coaster of fly fishing emotion that is extremely intense but then comes to a abrupt end. You are left with no closure and an intense desire to do it again! I could see JT inside his head thinking of all the possibilities; the would haves, could haves, and should haves.  If only…one more time! Yeah…not this time.

The self talk changed to appreciation of the experience and the satisfaction of knowing that he was there to experience and enjoy something that would have gone unnoticed had he not been there. The fish did not get to be it’s size by not being skilled! JT got the wind back in his sail; yet, you could tell he was haunted by the one that got away all day!

We finished the day when it was evident we were going to be combat fishing this stretch of water if we stayed longer. We left the water at 4:00 pm.

Tips from the Trip:

Fish all water during season transitions: The rivers begin to get larger and fish start to move during season transitions so fish water that you may normally pass up.
Practice catch and release: I know that fish was caught before; however, someone else gave us the opportunity to enjoy the one that got away and leave a lasting memory for us!
Tenkara is not for big fish: Yeah…right.
Wade safe: The river banks and beds are changing. B Safe!

Happy Nymphing!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Spring Is Around the Corner…

Poudre River Canyon

 Sunday and the Sun Is Out...!

Called up JT and by 11:00am we were loading up the truck heading to the Poudre River with hopes of dodging the fly fisher hatch, spending some time in the sun and spending some time on the river pre-runoff.

No wind, clear skies and 50 degree weather had us anxious to get to the river. We lucked out! We dodged the fly fisher hatch, rather surprising actually, because we were getting outside rain, snow or shine and figured everyone else would be on the same page.

Poudre River Gin

The canyon is transitioning from the holds of winter to the mud season of pre-spring to the future transformation of spring. 

The floating ice signaled the changing of the seasons. 

The water is gin clear and we know that it will be a torrent soon. 38 degrees still makes the feet numb and the fish feel as if they were taken out of the refrigerator. Not cold enough to keep us out of the water.

JT and I fished a double nymph rig on our Tenkara rods and were introduced to Poudre River Brown’s using #16 ABU's, #18 black Zebra Midges and #14 Copper John's. The leader was 13-14 feet long before the lead nymph and then another 8 inches before the next nymph. Bead heads helped get the nymphs down to the noses of fish holding in deeper water. JT used a Cutthroat nymph leader and I used a 10 1/2 tapered 5X Umpqua trout leader.

Tenkara USA 11ft Iwana

Tips from the Trip:

Enjoy the moment: Enjoy the drive, the time with your fishing buddy and be present in the moment. The places we fish tell different stories every time we visit, if we just take the time to listen.
JT's Poudre River Brown
Layers: Layers for warmth and you never know when you might go swimming and need to change or go home… Another story for another time.

Don’t be that fly fisher: As excited as we were to get on the water…stop and check the water. Make sure there are no other fly fishers on the water or moving into the water. Don’t be classless and jump into water a fly fisher is working. Smile, share some stories and swap some flies. The fishing gods will reward you.

Change what you think you know: During season transitions, look for fish in all the water not the water that typically holds fish for ya.
Fish Pond's Thermometer...38 degrees

Happy Nymphing!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Pre-storm Trout Chasin…

Turn on any television station, listen to any radio station or read any electronic media and the Colorado region was inundated with snow forecasts and predictions from four different weather models and a few turned over weather rocks that we were in for a snow storm that was names the Siberian Express.  

Northern Colorado and the Front Range could expect the Siberian express to rumble through and leave 4-12 plus inches of snow on door steps depending on where you were on the express route.  

Prior to the express making an appearance, the weather prognosticators said we were going to have 50 degree weather Friday afternoon with temperatures dropping as the day went on and rain turning to snow by late afternoon all in anticipation of the Siberian Express. Sounded like trout chasin weather to me!

Started the day around noon and stopped by Gib’s Bagel’s in Fort Collins for a sesame seed bagel, light butter and a slab of lox – that’s fancy for salmon! Washed it down with a large coffee and headed north to a small tributary of the Poudre River.  

Overcast skies and the unmistakable smell of wet vegetation sprinkled with a hint of pine welcomed me. Never saw the 50’s the weather rock predicted, no matter, layers were the name of the game.

The water I was fishing was 21 feet wide at its widest point with a classic riffle, run and pool characteristics of a free stone; however, constant water temperatures of a tail water. So many areas of the stream are very reminiscent of water not frequently seen by people let alone fished because of limited access. 

Some areas have the characteristics of an over fished area that fishing paths somehow yell out “this must be the spot” and draw anglers because it is easy or they believe that someone found the magical spot that would ensure fish. 

The water temperature was 40 degrees and flowed at a very peaceful 100cfs.

The rain and snow gently cleansed everything from the canyon walls down to the grasses waiting along the bank for spring. 

Whether I caught fish or not it did not matter, I felt as though I were in a remote wilderness area that had not experienced people.

I fished my 11ft Tenkara Iwana with a 14ft tapered leader. Not traditional Tenkara by any means, especially, since I tied on a #16 bead headed hares ear followed by a #16 ABU. I have enjoyed putting my own flair to the Tenkara rod. I am pretty sure that I am not gonna win any awards from traditional Tenkara fishers, it is not my intent to offend the traditionalists or disrespect the Tenkara tradition, I just do what works for me.

I barely moved in the river and enjoyed every subtle difference it offered; a break in the current, a difference in the run of the bank, any structure above or below the water or any differing currents that came together.   I felt present on the water. I had the opportunity to share my time with some of the rainbows and browns that were not too concerned about the Siberian Express that was heading for the area or the fact that I was not traditionally fishing the Tenkara.

I left the water at 3:00pm and as I walked back to the truck, I couldn't help but feel I was given a small window to enjoy the river before it was covered in a blanket of snow. 

Even though rain, wind, snow, and dropping temperatures were strong indicators that the express was on its way, I knew that the day would go into the fishing log as one of those days that would be remembered anytime I thought of time on a river.

Tips from the Trip: 
Layers: I don’t need to drive home the importance of layers to anyone that spends time fly fishing in the elements; however, any one that is starting their fly fishing adventure and has thought about fly fishing during the winter months should invest in thin, light weight layers to regulate your body temperature.

Wool socks: Good quality thin wool socks are a must in cold water. Smart Wool socks are the brand I prefer.

Dry off your gear: Please don’t overlook unpacking and drying all of your gear! This includes the obvious, boots, waders, jackets, hats and gloves. Some of the not so obvious gear to dry off would include opening fly boxes, rod ferrules, leader holders, and allow your gear system to dry off; whether you use a vest, sling bag, fanny pack or other system for your gear.

Rain jacket: Invest in a quality, breathable Gor-tex rain jacket that is pack-able with a hood and sleeves designed for use on and around the water. Sleeves with inner neoprene cuffs and cuff closures stop cold water from rolling up the sleeves and help trap in warm air to regulate your core temperature.

Gloves: I prefer a thin neoprene glove. The neoprene gloves keep my hands warm even when they are submerged in the water releasing fish. The gloves dry extremely fast, another great feature. As you can see by the image above, I am in need of another pair!

Core Temperature: Listen to your body and don't push through the cold chas’in fish when your body is sending you signs that a cold emergency could be trying to get your attention; specifically, frost bite or hypothermia.

Happy Nymphing!