Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Stimulator Time!

Last weekend I wandered up the Poudre Canyon with a fly rod in my hand, and found that the water level of the river have dropped nicely.  The water is clear, and most of the river is wadeable.

It's been a little while since I caught a fish on a dry fly, so I tied on a big, juicy stimulator.    That fly was the ticket, as the trout kept hitting it with a vengeance.   I landed quite a few rainbow and brown trout, and had a blast doing so.   There is nothing quite like a fish exploding from the depths to smash a dry fly.

Stimulator fishing can sometimes be overlooked when we focus on "matching the hatch".  Don't be afraid to tie on a big fly for some exciting fishing!  Stimulators, or "Attractor" patterns covers a wide variety of flies.  The Royal Wulff is a famous pattern that has attracted fish for years.  Some argue that it looks like a caddis, and others say that the tail on the fly can fool a fish into thinking it is a mayfly.   I don't know the answer, but I've caught quite a few fish over the years on this pattern.   Other stimulator patterns are big, colorful flies.   The fly I used last weekend was a size 10, with an orange body and elk hair.   Your local fly shop will have numerous patterns, so buy a handful, and test them out!

 Some tips I've learned over the years:
  • A stimulator will often cause a fish to rise that is not currently feeding on the surface.  If your smaller dry or nymphing set up is not working, try a big stimulator.
  • As with any fly, fishing a stimulator with a dead drift is often the best way to encourage a strike.   However, don't hestitate to "skate" the fly across the water, or give it a twitch.   Trout sometimes think that a stimulator is a grasshopper, and they love to chase a hopper before it gets away.
  • Trout will often strike a stimulator pattern fished under overhanging branches, or right along a grassy shoreline.
  • A large stimulator pattern makes a great dry fly in the dry/dropper combo.   I've found that tying a small black zebra midge or ABU on about 2 feet of tippet will pick up plenty of fish.  Tie the dropper to the hook bend of the stimulator.
  • Keep the stimulator dry!  Recently I've been using Frog's Fanny dry fly floatant.   It is applied with a brush, which seemed odd at first, but I've grown to really like it.   When I start, I put some Fish Pimp floatant on the stimulator, then use the Frog's Fanny to keep the fly dry.
  • Go big!  Even if you don't see any large flies on the water, a large trout often likes to eat a big meal.  I've caught trout on a big Royal Wulff in the middle of winter.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fishpond Bitch Creek Backpack-Update

This is a follow up to my initial review of the Fishpond Bitch Creek Backpack.  I've used this pack extensively in the past six months, and like it even more than I did when I first got it. 

The pack has gone with me on just about every fishing excursion that I have taken.   It is lightweight, has smart organizational storage and pockets, and is tough.    The water resistant exterior has protected important gear from rain several times.

Early in this review, I spent a couple of weeks in Georgia on business, and used the pack to haul gear during my assignment.   When empty the pack is very flat and lightweight, and fit very well in the bottom of my suitcase.  When I arrived at my destination, it became indispensable, hauling heavy gear, extra clothes, and essentials.   I took it to the ocean several times during the trip, and it held up very well.

The pack has traveled with me to several other states, with a variety of uses for business and outdoor activities.   I wore it on a recent ATV trip through the Colorado mountains, and it was a lightweight way to keep rain gear and water with me.  While camping on the same trip, it kept my stuff dry during a light rain.

I just returned from a saltwater Fly Fishing trip in Southern Florida.   The pack traveled with me, kept my gear stored while on the boat, and allowed me to keep water and extra gear nearby when sight fishing on the beach.  The heat and humidity were extreme at times, but the pack held up very well.

The Fishpond Bitch Creek Backpack has proven to be very tough, and extremely useful.   There are several upcoming trips that I will use it, but I wanted to give you this update.    I want to let you know how gear has actually performed in the field over time.  After all this use, the pack still looks new, and has not let me down.

 BDF uses a three tiered gear rating system for gear reviews.

Dry Fly =       Great Product
Emerger=       Good product with potential
Nymph=         Could use improvement   

The Fishpond Bitch Creek Backpack earns Dry Fly status.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Tiger Muskie-On the Big Thompson

My nephew Brady has turned into an avid fly fisherman.   A few years ago he won a fly rod from the Fishykid site that was connected with TFM, and he has put it to great use!  He has been fishing just about every day this summer, and catches a lot of fish.   He is a very impressive kid, and it is great to see his passion for fly fishing paying off in his pure enjoyment of the sport.

Brady was recently fishing the Big Thompson River, and landed this Tiger Muskie.   He told me that he was catching trout on a Wooley Bugger when something hit the fly with tremendous force.   Brady said that it took a while to land it, and he was obviously surprised to see what it was. I've been fishing that water for years, and have never caught anything but trout.

Great job on catching a very unusual fish in those waters!