Tuesday, December 22, 2015

River X

There is always a magical dry fly fishing spot that you need to keep between friends.    An unlikely looking stretch of water that you only learn about after the friend that knows about it swears you to secrecy.   It's the type of place that big trout chase small BWO's in skinny, gin clear water.   We fished this river for a couple of hours, and we each caught some big trout.  The water was small, and we fished  several pockets together, each taking turns with our fly of choice.  One of my most enjoyable memories from this river was when JT called me over to fish for a nice big trout he spotted that was rising to small BWO's.  The water was very clear, and I had to lay the fly down very carefully in a small window.  I loaded the Scott S4, cast the line, mended quickly, then an explosive take...Fish on!  


Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Frying Pan River

The Frying Pan is one of my favorite places to fly fish.   It is too crowded, and I generally don't like that type of thing.   But if you start off with the understanding that there will be some other people around...it's not that bad.   The trout are large, and they were chasing Green Drakes and PMD's.    One of my favorite experiences of the trip occurred on the Pan.   While fishing a nice pocket in front of me, I casually glanced at the water right next to me, and saw a Green Drake struggling to hatch.  The Green Drake is my favorite dry fly, and I was watching it with a smile on my face when suddenly a huge trout exploded out of the water to grab it, splashing me with water.   I stood frozen for a moment, then quickly removed my PMD and replaced it with a Green Drake pattern.   I took that as a clue...

Fishing crowded water is great for honing your skills as well...since you can't race from a nice riffle to the next pocket, it causes you to focus on each piece of water that you do have available.   I caught trout in water that I likely would have moved past otherwise.   It also reminds you that big trout like to hang in skinny water...

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Scott G Fly Rod

I've been able to get on the river at least once a week for the past couple months. The dry fly fishing has been outstanding this fall...and I've been catching a lot of fish on the dry fly of the moment, usually a parachute adams or BWO.    A few weeks ago, I pulled a rod out of my closet that I have had for a while, a Scott G 4wt 8'8 fly rod.  I've had the rod for years...but have sadly not fished it as much as I would like recently.    The Scott s4 4wt that I've been fishing is an outstanding rod, which handles dry fly and nymph fishing with ease.   The G is a moderate action rod that is not as flashy as some recent rods...there is no space aged material used to make it that I am aware of, just a beautiful, well crafted fly rod that is made to do one thing well...smoothly lay out a dry fly.

Most of my fly rods are faster action, which I like.    But fishing with the G for the last few weeks reminded me of some of the simple things that I love about fly fishing.    It forces me to slow down my casting stroke, and carefully fish the water right in front of me.    Although you can cast enough line when needed, the G is best when you are fishing close distances.    When you hook a fish on a medium action fly rod, you feel that fish fight through the whole rod...even a smaller fish is an enjoyable fight.   I can see why Cameron Mortenson and his fiberglass rod crew like those noodley rods.

They don't make the G anymore (Scott replaced it with the G2), and I think that makes me appreciate the rod even more.   It is a work of art...a classic rod, and I'm lucky to fish it.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Taylor River

The Taylor River has always been a special place.   It is located in a beautiful canyon, and holds some very nice trout.   It's not an easy river to wade, and you have to learn its hidden secrets, but once you do the Taylor rewards you with a diversity of water that keeps you on the water until it is too dark to see the fly. 

The fish were looking up this year...mostly feasting on big PMD's and some smaller BWO's.   It was a dry fly paradise for each day we fished.   We also spent a little time in the famous C&R section near the dam.   It is generally crowded, and we haven't spent a lot of time there in the past.   The C&R is a very technical stretch, and tiny nymphs, mysis shrimp and small tippets are the rule.  This year we decided to spend a few hours there, and we landed quite a few nice fish on size 12 dry flies...imagine that!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The trip...

Recently, I had the pleasure of fishing seven rivers in a week here in Colorado, and catching trout on each one.   It's an annual trip that I have gone on for quite a few years with a group of friends, and it is always a great experience.  A couple of the guys and I extended the trip by a few days this year, and fished several gold medal rivers on the way home.   As a dry fly fly fisherman at heart, I greatly appreciated the fact that every trout I caught was caught on a nice, juicy dry fly (except for one on a dropper hanging under a size 10 simulator, which almost counts as catching one on a dry!).  It was a reminder to be thankful for the scenic beauty of the land and water that we are surrounded by in this state...


Friday, September 18, 2015

Shark on a fly...

My friend Cameron went flyfishing the other day and landed something very interesting on a fly rod.  Nice job!!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Gear Review-Fishpond Cimarron Wader/Duffel Bag

There is one piece of gear that goes with me on every flyfishing journey, whether it is a half day trip to local waters, or a week in Montana.   I've owned a fishpond Cimarron wader bag for approximately 10 years (likely longer, but I can't recall for sure).   The bag has a zippered and ventilated compartment in the bottom for storage of waders and boots, and the main compartment holds a ton of gear, to include raincoat, reel cases, extra fly boxes, spare tools, water filters, sweatshirts, and your fly vest.   The main compartment has numerous pockets along the inner walls of the bag so that you can organize smaller items if needed.   There is a sling strap, and hidden backpack straps if you wish to use it as a backpack to haul your gear into the back country (I've used it that way).

There are exterior straps to secure a rod tube, and the bag is tough.   When I fly to a fishing destination, it is a bag I stuff full of gear, and check with the airline.    It has taken any abuse that the luggage handlers dish out, and my gear inside always arrives intact.   After years of tough use, one of the interior metal supports broke.   I sent it to fishpond for a repair, and they sent me a new bag at no cost.    I was planning to pay for the repair, but I was impressed by the great customer service of this Colorado based company.   I highly recommend this bag, you won't regret buying one.

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 Cimarron wader bag earns Dry Fly status.

For more information on the bag, check out http://www.fishpondusa.com/product/detail/cimarron-wader-duffel-bag/1944


Monday, August 17, 2015

Fly Tying-In real life

An upcoming fly fishing journey drove me to the fly tying bench this weekend.  As usual, I put off tying until right before I need to restock my fly box.

Over the years I've tried to organize the fly tying bench to look like the examples that you see in photos in the fly fishing magazines, orderly drawers of properly sorted hooks, beads, and materials.  The problem is, I can't find anything that way, and I take comfort in the piles that I inevitable create during the frenzied tying sessions before a trip.

I'll continue to try to organize, but in the event I never reach that goal, I'll be just fine...


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Dry Flies at 8,000 Feet

My wife and I went to a favorite part of RMNP recently to take a break from the busy days of summer.  She enjoyed reading a favorite book while I did some wet wading in the stream.   The brown trout were leaping to the Parachute Adams I was fishing, and the soft bend of the "old school" Scott G made for a wonderful experience.  Make sure you take time this summer to enjoy the river.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Chasing the Green Drake hatch

Nothing defines being a dry fly fanatic like the quest for the Green Drake.   These huge mayflies make the trout go wild, and it is some of the best fly fishing of the year.   I received information from trusted sources that the Drakes were hatching on the Poudre, and my friend Dave and I decided to race up the hill to cast some size 8 dry flies.

We found a nice stretch of water, and had some great weather.   Although the Drake hatch was not a full blown hatch, the trout were definitely looking up.   We both enjoyed catching some nice fish while enjoying a great day on the stream.   Check you local rivers for this hatch, you won't be disappointed!

Tips for fishing the Green Drake:

  • Consider using a heavier tippet like a 4x.   It will help you cast a big pattern, especially if there is any wind
  • Don't be afraid to fish a Green Drake pattern even if you don't see a lot of them on the water yet.   Much like a grasshopper pattern, the Drake can be an attractor pattern that causes a trout to grab a tasty meal even if it is not rising at the time.
  • Fish all the nice dry fly pocket water you like, but don't forget the riffles.   Trout love to try and snatch a big prize like a Drake as it races past in the white water.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Steamboat Springs-Yampa River Report

I was recently in Steamboat Springs, and fished the Yampa River.   It had been some time since I've been to Steamboat, and I stopped by a couple of fly shops, including the Bucking Rainbow.   The staff was friendly and helpful, and made some good suggestions.

The Steamboat area has a lot of great fishing, including lakes and reservoirs.  The Yampa River is the primary river in the valley, and it runs right through downtown Steamboat.   Most, if not all of the river through town is public.    During the summer, there are a lot of tubers, etc, but there is still plenty of room to fly fish.

Early one morning I headed out to the river in town, taking a moment to enjoy the clear blue skies, and the hot air balloons taking off that seem to be a staple of summertime in Steamboat.   After noting a PMD hatch, I worked a small dry for a while, with no luck.  I decided to switch to a nymph rig, and tied on a bead head hare's ear that I tie, along with a midge.   I started to drift the flies through a little eddy, and suddenly my indicator took off, and a large rainbow lept into the air, falling back into the water like the winner of a belly flop contest.   I frantically got line back on the reel and hung on for dear life, while the angry trout raced about the river.   I ran up the shore following the energetic fellow, until he decided that he had had enough, and broke my 5x leader in half.    As I stood there with my line dangling in the slight breeze, I muttered, "should have put on a 3x on for that one".

That was the biggest trout that I have fought in some time (easily 25+), and even though I didn't bring it to hand, it was a thrill.   I caught some other nice trout in the Yampa, but I regret not seeing the great fish up close.

If you are fishing the Yampa in town, prepare for nice sized trout.   I was told that there are plenty of 20-25 inch fish in that stretch.

Lessons learned:

  • Make sure your knots are well tied, and your drag is set on the reel before you hook the big one
  • Don't be afraid to use 3x or 4x leader and tippet.
  • The trout will often be sitting just upstream from you, on the edge of the faster water
  • Big drakes come out during the evening this time of the year
  • Large flies work well

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Practice makes perfect...

My nephew Brady qualified for a national bass tournament to be held back east in a few weeks.  I did a bit of fishing with him last weekend as he sharpened his skills for the big tournament.    I'm proud to say that he outfished me during our time fishing a local lake.    I then watched him catch several bass at a practice session with his fishing club.   I'm sure he will do well in the tournament, and his passion and skill in fishing is paying off.   Good luck!

Monday, May 25, 2015

A Crappie day on the water is better than none at all

The rains have been steady, and the rivers have swollen over the banks.    While the water will be great for this parched state and for dry fly fishing this fall, it makes fishing the rivers somewhat difficult in the short term.    I've been traveling a bit, and haven't even made the normal runoff inspired trips to the mountain lakes to sit in the float tube and catch some trout.    So, the other day I walked down to the local lake, and started casting a Clouser minnow that I tied to see what might be lurking in the depths.   After a while, I felt the line tighten, and landed this Crappie.   I've yet to figure out the true secrets of this lake, but it a ton of fun for an hour of fly fishing.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Fly Fishing Film Tour-Fort Collins 2015

The Fly Fishing Film Tour visited Fort Collins last month, and several of us made it a priority to be there.    As is our tradition, we met for dinner at a local restaurant, then headed to the Lincoln Center to grab some prime seats.

The Film Tour always seems to stop by Fort Collins at the perfect time...when winter is starting to wind down, and the warm breezes of spring are right around the corner.  As always, there was a great selection of films, covering various types of fly fishing, including saltwater, trout, and even a film on the beloved (by some) carp.

I continued my annual tradition of not winning any of the great raffle prizes provided by the Film Tour sponsors (and St. Peter's Fly Shop), but the time spent with good friends, watching good fly fishing movies was well spent.

Sunday, April 12, 2015


I was recently in Durango, Colorado, and stopped by the Duranglers Fly Shop located downtown.    The staff was great, and the store had a nice variety of gear and accessories.   I plan to return to the area later this summer to do some fishing, and it's nice to know of a local shop that has a friendly, helpful staff.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Life on the shady side of the stream

My friend Dave and I planned to fish a local river with Al (noconympher.com) and JT on Friday.    Alas, we had a few scheduling conflicts come up, and had to hit the river on the next day.    Al had given me an intel report that was very helpful, and I took the extra time to check my gear since this was my first first trip to the water since the calendar year changed.

We traveled up the canyon until we reached a favorite location.   As I put my gear on, I felt the same excitement that I used to feel when hitting the river in Michigan on the first day of trout season.   The weather was fantastic for mid-March, a bright sunny day in the 70's, with little to no wind.

There was still snow and ice on stretches of the river, but the water was mostly open.    The water was at a decent flow level, and the clarity was striking.    It reminded me of fishing saltwater flats...you had to wade very carefully to avoid startling the fish.

I sprinted up the river to a favorite spot, and Dave worked the river a way behind me.   We both landed trout fairly quickly fishing pockets of flowing water.    I caught the first trout of 2015 on an ABU, and Dave was having good luck with a pattern I tied up, which is a bead head hare's ear of sorts.

Dave and I started to fish together on a stretch that had some deep pools and pocket water.   I was fishing on the side of the river that had the sunlight, and Dave's side had plenty of shade caused by the position of the sun.   I caught another one on a fake ABU, but Dave started to hammer the fish, catching close to a dozen.    We were fishing the same flies, same general technique, with the difference maker whether we fished in the sunny or shady side of the river.

With the water so clear, cold, and relatively low, the trout were hanging in the safety of the shade.    It really is the little things that matter some days!

It was a great day to be out on the stream, and hopefully will be a sign of good fishing days to come.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

2015 Denver Fly Fishing Show Report

The 2015 Denver Fly Fishing Show featured great gear, fly fishing clinics, and a chance to visit with friends.  As loyal readers of this website know, I enjoy checking out new fly fishing gear.    Here are a few items that caught my attention.


Scott Hunter demonstrating some of his gear
The Vedavoo booth is always a great place to stop.   Scott Hunter is one of the nice guys in the business, and he makes a heck of a product.  I've been searching for a perfect Tenkara pack, and decided to order a Vedavoo Shot Pack.    I was also intrigued by the TL Sling pack.    Vedavoo has a wide assortment of packs and accessories for fly fishing, and the products are handmade in New England.   Check them out at http://www.vedavoo.com/

Vedavoo Shot Pack


Patagonia Foot Tractor
During the show, I spent some time looking at new Patagonia Fly Fishing gear and clothes.   I'm  a big fan of the Nano Puff that I often wear while fishing in the cold, and enjoyed checking out the Nano Puff Air that they had in the booth.    They told me that the Nano Puff Air increases breathablity , and is a great outer layer when you are engaged in strenuous activity such as a long hike into the river.  They also released a boot called the Foot Tractor that I examined.   They have changed the pattern of the aluminum bars on the bottom of the boot, and it looks like a great improvement over past models.


Fishpond makes some very innovative products, including the new Delta Sling Pack.  The pack has quite a few interesting features, including a pistol holster for those fishing trips deep in Grizzly Country.


Scott Fly Rods

I spent some time with the fellows at the Scott Fly Rod booth casting the new Tidal saltwater rod series.   The rod casts very smoothly, and in typical Scott fashion, the unsanded blanks and quality components make for a unique looking and well made rod.   The price point is also quite reasonable for a fast action premium saltwater fly rod.



I'm a fan of the Umpqua professional guide fly boxes, and stopped by their booth.   They have a lot of new products, but a couple that caught my eye were the Steamboat sling, and the Tailgater Organizer. 

Aspen Reels  

I stopped by their booth out of curiousity because I had never heard of them.    After spending some time with their representatives, I left impressed.  Aspen Reels is based in California, and has developed from a family owned machine shop.    They started making fly fishing reels several years ago, and offer a sturdy, attractive, and well made reel at a great price.    I was told that they machine all of the reels at the shop, making as many parts as they can.    The few parts they have to source they try to get from other local producers.   I examined several of the reels that they had on display, and found them to be extremely solid, with a smooth feeling drag.   The pricing on the reels are quite reasonable, the 3-4 weight large arbor reel is $230, and the 6-8 reel is $290.  They told me that they stand behind the product, and will fix/repair the reels if needed.  These reels are definitely on my short list.  http://aspenreels.com/

Aspen Reels