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!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Modern Midges and Modern Terrestrials - Takahashi and Hubka

As the forecasted snow starts to fall along the front range of Colorado, it is a great time to build that fire, tie some flies or break out a favorite read from your shelf. I want to share two books that should be a part of your library.
"Tying and Fishing the World's Most Effective Patterns..." 
Rick Takahashi and Jerry Hubka are to Northern Colorado fly fishing royalty that have managed to take their backgrounds in education and the passion each has for fly fishing and create two master pieces that will no doubt find themselves adorning the shelves of fly fishers and tiers young and old alike.

Modern Midges:
Contains larva, pupa, emergers and adult patters. Actual images of insects collected during outings. Recipes to over 800 midges and variations. Easy to follow steps accompanied with amazing digital image. Tactics for fishing the midges in a variety of conditions and approaches from 23 fly fishing and tying masters such as Barr, Borger, Chan, Craven, Dorsey and Engle to name a few. 

Modern Terrestrials:
Contains ants, beetles,hoppers, crickets, cicadas and a variety of other patterns. Actual images of insects collected and seen during outings. Recipes to over 900 terrestrials.Easy to follow steps accompanied with amazing digital images.Tactics for fishing the terrestrials in a variety of conditions and using varied approaches from 31 fly fishing and tying masters such as Craven, Dorsey, Engle, Morris, Pettine and Ritt to name a few.

Hard covers with internal spiral binding
Functionality: Both books are published in a manner that allows the books to be read, browsed through or placed on the tying bench as you follow one of the 800 plus recipes found inside tying the midge or terrestrial that catches your eye. Both books have hard bound front and back covers; however, both are actually spiral bound inside to add to the functionality of each book. The binding allows the book to lie flat which makes it easy to use at the bench. Hassle free!

Whether you purchase the books to use at your bench, admire the amazing images of fish and scenery inside or to learn more about the use of midges and terrestrials...add them to your collection. Both Rick and Jerry are amazing spirits and will provide you a signature in exchange for a smile and a hand shake.

Both books are published by Headwater Books,, a division of Stackpole Books out of Mechanicsburg, PA

Well worth the read and guaranteed to be a mainstay at your tying bench!

Happy Nymphing!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

60’s on the Poudre River

It is hard to believe that weather forecasters were calling for 60 degree weather in Northern Colorado in February. This time of the year we are sitting around a fire and tying bench with outside temperatures in the low 40’s.

JT and I headed to the Poudre Canyon and found clear sapphire blue skies, no wind and the Valentine’s weekend must have called the fly fishers elsewhere.  The water was a balmy 40 degrees and was running at about 120cfs, a casual winter pace. The canyon is pretty brown this time of year; however, the river is gin clear and full of every hue of greens, blues and yellow transitions.

It is amazing the different lives the river transitions through over the year and the seasons. If you have not had the chance to be on your home water each of the seasons that define your river…you owe it to yourself. It is amazing how much is missed if you only venture out in one or two seasons.

The fish were enjoying the warm up and the takes were more aggressive than last week; however, they still were not moving too far and were holding close to the bottom and structure. The ABU and zebra midge in size 18 allowed us to see a few of the river browns and rainbows.

We called it quits at around 2:30pm and are expecting 4-6 inches of snow in the next couple of days!

Tips from the Trip:

Get on the water and fish!...The best way to improve your skills is to get out and do it.

Enjoy the river: All of it and not just the fish.

Practice catch and release: Take digital images and get the fish back into the water to ensure others can enjoy the beauty of the river inhabitants.

Wool socks: They are your buddy when you are enjoying the river in the winter.

Happy Nymphing!

Shout out to Howard Levett over at Windknots &Tangled Lines who is going to be having surgery Monday and I know he would appreciate all of your prayers! If you have not checked out his blog always worth a read and a good laugh! Prayers my friend!

Friday, February 6, 2015

The F3T FIlm Tour Returns to Fort Collins

 2015 Fly Fishing Film Tour is coming back to the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins, Colorado.

March 21, 2015 
7:00 pm
Fort Collins Lincoln Center

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.

Tickets are available at St. Peter's Fly Shop - north or south locations.

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

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Amago on the Poudre River

Ice on the Poudre River
JT and I found a couple of hours to get on the river for the first time in 2015!

The day started with a dentist visit for me and we didn't head out until 10:30 am, much later than we normally hit the water.  The day was overcast, no wind and the weather forecasters were calling for 50 degree temperatures; perfect weather to get on the water for some winter fly fishing.  JT and I loaded up the truck while Mr. Jack Frost reminded us that it was still winter time in Colorado.

38 degrees and all clear!
After the traditional large cup of hot coffee, we were heading up the Poudre Canyon and to our surprise, the fisherman hatch was on. JT and I surmised that a well to do fly shop, local club or Trout Unlimited with well intentions, shared with the masses a “well kept secret” location that had every fly fisher anxious to hit the water and crowd into a one mile stretch of water. JT and I have seen the results of well intention organizations sharing the “Top 10 Secret Places to Fish” with its membership and watch an amazing fishery devastated in less than a year’s time, but that is another topic for another post.
JT working his Amago
JT and I chose a lower stretch of the Poudre that others had passed over. The weather was perfect and the water was a very crisp 38 degrees.  It was not only the first day on the water for us in 2015; JT also had a new Tenkara Amago rod that he wanted to introduce to the Poudre River inhabitants. The Amago is a 13 foot 6 inch Tenkara rod that is named after a beautiful Japanese mountain trout. The rod has an amazing reach; yet, its sensitivity and responsiveness is amazing yet is only 21 inches closed! The matte black finish is very sleek. I looked forward to using the rod; however, could not think of using his new rod until he caught the first fish on it.
Poudre River Brown
We knew the fish would be deep and the presentation would have to be slow and in front of their noses. The strikes were very subtle and better described as “gentle takes”. If you were looking for a strike, you were missing fish. The ABU in size 18 allowed us to see the beautiful markings of the Poudre River Browns that call the river home.
A secret place not so secret anymore...thanks TU!
We called it quits at around 2:30pm and look forward to the next trip.

Tips from the Trip:

Get on the water and fish!...The best way to improve your skills is to get out and do it.

Slow down… In cold water, slow down your approach, drift, hook set, casting, and your presentation.

Minimize the amount of line on the water… regardless of the style of nymphing you are doing, minimize the amount of line on the water.

Adjust the depth of your nymphs…If everything about you is telling you that a fish is holding in a lie, yet you have not convinced it that you have something it wants, adjust the depth of your nymphs. Get the nymphs in the zone where the fish are eating, in cold water some lies that produced were depth combined with structure.

Get a thermometer… Fish pond makes a fantastic thermometer that is enclosed in a metal tube. Clip it to your boot laces and let it ride between your laces and the tongue of your boot. Turn the tube so you can read the thermometer by stepping on a rock.

Happy Nymphing!

Coming Soon...!