Colorado’s Greenback Cutthroat

In an effort to reintroduce Colorado’s only native trout– the Greenback Cutthroat– back into the wild, more than 50 volunteers from Trout Unlimited in conjunction with Colorado Park’s & Wildlife, hauled these wild beauties into high mountain streams to be released.

So many times the news can be sad and depressing so it’s good to watch videos like the one above and walk away with a smile on the face.

Tight lines, folks!

Gear Review – Umpqua LEDGES 650 ZS WAIST PACK

The Flyfisher Group Vice President Cody DeGuelle reviews the Umpqa Ledges 650 ZW Waist Pack. 

The Umpqa Ledges 650 ZS waist pack has truly been an upgrade from all packs I have used in the past. The best part is the overall engineering which allows the weight to be carried closer to the body with the support from the molded frame. This “big picture” bonus has made guiding and long days on the water more enjoyable and relieved all lower back tension. No more weight leveraging against your lower back.

The zippers are silk smooth even after some abuse. The large pockets on the waist strap have been handy and are much larger than any other pack I have fished, but not too big to where they get in the way and catch fly line. A large main compartment has plenty of room for four large boxes and also provides the ability to separate with a “file cabinet” type design. This pack rides very well on the hips with a thick waist strap and sticky material preventing pack sag, even with a heavy load and net in tow.

There is room for improvement on water bottle pockets. The cinch straps interfere with that area now which forces you to carry water with a looser pack or the ability to tighten it up and not carry water. I also think rings and/or tethers inside the main compartment would be awesome to secure fly boxes. I easily installed my own with swivels, but think this would be a cool stock feature in the future. Keep up the good work @Umpqua Feather Merchants, #umpquafeathermerchants #tiedtothewater

Check it out for yourself by clicking HERE.

Cody DeGuelle
Vice President
The Flyfisher Group

Umpqua Tippet Review

About three months ago, Angling University began a new partnership with Umpqua, thus providing terminal tackle for students. Now, when you fish with Angling University, you will have the opportunity to try out some awesome tackle, including Umpqua Tippet.

As President of the school and professional guide of almost 20 years, I have tried my fair share of tippet materials. Nylon, hard mono, fluorocarbon, non-stretch, stretch, you name it. I’ve also tried all of the popular brands: Rio, Scientific Angler, Trout Hunter, Seaguar, Cortland, Frog Hair, Orvis, you get the idea. And though these brands all have their strengths, Umpqua Superfluoro tippet has really grown on me.

The major reasons we choose to work with our sponsor companies is because of the quality products they make. Umpqua’s tippet (both nylon and fluorocarbon) is no exception. I first started fishing with their Nylon (monofilament) for my dry fly fishing years ago, but for some reason I was stuck in my ways when it came to fluorocarbon. I have since completely converted to Umpqua’s Superfluoro and couldn’t be happier.

Umpqua Tippet Review:

Strength, abrasion resistance (durability), flexibility, good packaging (spools and labeling), and a small diameter are what I look for in a fluorocarbon tippet. Umpqua’s Superfluoro provides all of these qualities.

The tippet is noticeably smaller than what I was accustomed to. At first, I thought I had mixed up my spools because the 3x felt more like 4x. As crazy as it sounds, I think this smaller diameter helps flies get down to depth at a faster rate. Additionally, the tippet is surprisingly durable. I’ve guided multiple trophy hunting trips lately and haven’t had to replace tippet nearly as often. Perhaps the biggest surprise to me was the flexibility of the Superfluoro tippet. This translates to a more lifelike movement and presentation, both for streamers and nymphs alike.

All in all, Umpqua’s lineup of tippet is a strong contender for top product in it’s class. If you haven’t tried the Superfluoro, I strongly recommend it. You will find Umpqua’s Superfluoro to be a well rounded product that provides all you might want in a fluorocarbon tippet material.

Read more about Umpqua’s terminal tackle visit their website: https://umpqua.com/products/leader-and-tippet.  Learn about fly fishing or to book a class or lesson, visit our website http://www.anglinguniversity.com/

 

Tight Lines,

Ethan Emery

Colorado’s Greenback Cutthroat

Colorado’s last remaining pure genetic Greenback Cutthroat population lives in Bear Creek, which is about 20 minutes Southwest of Colorado Springs, has become a top priority for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. A native trout that was once thought extinct is making a comeback due to the hard work of Cheyenne Mountain’s Trout Unlimited branch as well as our very own CPW. This is a great story that deserves the attention of all local and non-local anglers!

http://www.denverpost.com/2017/06/13/greenback-cutthroats-extinction-colorado-fish/

As anglers who love to fly fish we fully support all conservation efforts to help keep our native trout alive. To everybody involved– keep up the strong work!

When The Thunder Roars, Go Inside!

Colorado anglers are no strangers to fishing in adverse weather and don’t get me wrong, it can be extremely fun and productive to fish through a rain storm, but we urge you to use sound judgement when fishing with thunder and lightning on the horizon. A good rule to follow is the “flash and bang” rule– if you see lightning and then hear thunder within 30 seconds of that then it’s within 6 miles of you and it’s time to get off of the river!

This article by the staff at The Denver Post illustrates our point well. Have fun out there but more importantly, be safe!

Colorado’s the third deadliest state for lightning strikes — here’s how to protect yourself

 

How The Kiwi’s Turned Angling into Hunting

By Robby Cribbs

Three years ago, I took a bucket list trip down to New Zealand’s South Island. I was really excited after watching countless videos on YouTube of people landing monstrous brown trout in gin clear water. And, from the looks of it, it seemed quite easy given the water clarity.
I booked a trip with a well-known guide out of Queenstown. On the day of our trip, we drove up to a large meadow below towering mountain peaks. The valley held a crystal clear river that flowed over a bed of beautiful green and maroon rocks. To top it off, there was no sign of civilization. The ground wasn’t scattered with garbage or tangled balls of monofilament. There wasn’t a defined trail to the fishing holes matted down by countless anglers. And, our vehicle was the ONLY one in the parking area. 
Upon seeing this, my confidence level was very high. You mean no human pressure! I was expecting a very easy and productive outing.
Little did I know, my chance of catching a trophy brown ended when I created that expectation. That day, my sole accomplishment was placing a perfect cast in a crystal clear pool that once harbored a large fish.
Like all of us anglers do after a humbling day on the river, I went to the bar and contemplated the countless reasons why the day was such a failure. It wasn’t for quite some time after this trip that I realized the true, simple reason of why I failed. I was overconfident and didn’t give the outing the respect it deserved.
To say New Zealand is a “technical” fishery is an over simplification of the word. Fly fishing in New Zealand is true trout angling at its purest form. It needs to be approached with humility, respect and patience. In fact, the first trout I hooked in New Zealand didn’t feel like trout fishing at all. I got the same feeling as shooting my first bull elk in the Gunnison high country. I didn’t kill an elk until my 6th elk hunting season for the SAME reasons I failed to catch a trout that day in New Zealand.
To the Kiwis, “sight fishing” is not just spotting big fish in clear water. If you simply walk up to a river and spot a fish, the fish saw you well before you noticed him. And, since it’s a truly wild fish, it’s not going to sit there looking at you like the fish do on a crowded tail water in Colorado. That fish will dart out of its holding water with blazing speed, headed straight for a place he knows you won’t find him. To top it off, you might not see another one for an hour.

To remedy this, one needs to be extremely patient. A trait we Americans tend to forget on occasion. Challenge yourself to slowly move up river, avoiding abrupt movement.

One technique I used to avoid spooking fish was to keep my profile hidden. For example, ducking below the horizon line or using trees and other foliage along the bank to hide my profile. This lets me get closer to fish while they’re still unaware of my presence.

Second, just because you’ve successfully spotted a fish, doesn’t mean it’s time to throw a hundred casts at it. I learned to step back and make a plan. Sit back and analyze the situation. Learn what it’s eating, where in the water column it’s feeding and how your cast will act in the current.

For example, let’s say he’s in the middle of the water column but not eating off the surface. At this point, I’ll tie on a dry dropper rig. I want a dry that floats well enough to support the nymph I’m using but not so big and gaudy that it will spook the fish. As for the dropper, I’m just as concerned about the fly being the appropriate weight as I am the correct pattern.

Here comes the hard part… The most likely time to spook that fish is while casting. . You want to stand in his blind spot, which is not directly behind the trout! Pick a spot you can stand and cast where you’re behind and to the side of the fish. That cast might be your only chance. Just like hunting an elk, make the first shot count.

The beautiful reward of the hunt!

If your cast doesn’t go as plan, stop and analyze again. If the fish stops feeding, I wait him out until he relaxes and feeds again. If I still can’t get him to eat, I might still get him to attack. As a last resort I’ll swing my flies by him or switch to a streamer to see if he’ll chase.

When this style of fishing pays off, the hook up is as exhilarating as you can imagine. And, it works just as well in Colorado as it does in the Southern Alps. I challenge everyone who reads this to treat your next fishing trip like a hunting trip and see what happens. You might just find the fish of a lifetime gently sipping mayflies off the surface. Slow down and treat that fish like a trophy elk. It might change your entire outlook on the sport.

Robby is a professional fly tier and fishing guide for Colorado Trout Fisher and The Flyfisher Guide Service. When not on the water you can find Robby and his family… wait a minute, you probably won’t. They’ll be somewhere off in the high-country enjoying everything Colorado has to offer!

Shedding Some Light on Fly Fishing Conservation

By Sara Golden–

There are quite a few topics that are covered consistently on fly fishing blogs. Everybody likes to read the newest gear reviews and fishing reports from exclusive locations. That’s what people generally enjoy reading and don’t get me wrong, I totally see why, in fact I myself spend a big part of my free time on fly fishing blogs absorbing those articles.
That being said, there are certain topics that -in my opinion- need a little bit more attention. As with most other sports, that heavily rely on nature, conservation should play a much bigger role in the scene than it does.

Why do we need it
A big part of why I enjoy fly fishing more than any other form of angling is how close it brings you to nature. While this might sound a little cheesy, just compare spin casting from shore to the process of stalking up on a beautiful fish you spotted, wading to the perfect position and present that carefully chosen fly just in the right way. IMG_1196A basic knowledge of entomology and observing present insects might have played a role and if the right conditions are given, you might just land that fish you were after. However, those conditions are more sensitive than most people think and especially trout as a species rely heavily on cold and perfectly clean water. Only minor changes to an environment lead up to dying fish and a collapsing ecosystem.
While you might think about big factories unloading their waste right now, the average trout river usually faces different challenges. In today’s age we have one big problem, more and more people want to enjoy the outdoors and everything that comes with it. While the revenue of fishing license sales went down in Colorado (http://www.krdo.com/news/money/fishing-hunting-license-revenue-down-in-colorado/33627880), there is no doubt that rivers get more and more crowded. Hatcheries struggle keeping up and face higher costs than they once did. People working for wildlife management lose their jobs and Colorado considers doubling costs for hunting and fishing licenses (http://www.denverpost.com/2016/08/27/colorado-parks-wildlife-hunting-fishing-licenses-cost/).
Those sensitive environments we talked about earlier face more and more challenges, overfishing, pollution and the lack of practiced catch and release, just to name a few.

A Few Basic Guidelines
It should be obvious by now, that it’s crucial to this sport to have some basic guidelines that every fly fisher should follow, although they aren’t defined by law. After all, you probably want to be able to catch trout in your favorite river, even a few decades from now, don’t you?

Practice Catch & Release
While frowned upon in most parts of Europe it’s still pretty common in the US to take that nice trout you caught home. Don’t get me wrong here, I love eating freshly caught fish myself. In terms of taste it beats everything you can buy and every once in awhile, I catch dinner myself. However, the huge majority of fish you catch should go straight back into the river. Sure you could hit your daily limits easily on some days, but do you really have to? Released trout have a survival rate of over 90% (http://www.westernsportsman.com/2014/01/fish-mortality-catch-and-release/) which assures, that others or even you are able to enjoy reeling that fish in on another day.

Handle Fish With Respectfullsizeoutput_1a
9 out of 10 released fish survive. Sounds pretty good right? Well, there is a catch. Achieving those results is only possible if you handle fish the correct way. A few basic rules that have a big impact on said rate:
-Reel that fish in as fast as possible
-Reduce air time to a bare minimum
-Wet your hands before handling
-Use your landing net only if needed
It all comes down to reducing the stress for fish you are catching. Keep those basics in mind, follow them and you might land the trout another time.

Never Pull Trout Out Of Redds
This should be self evident but going after trout during spawn is highly questionable. Especially if you see big fish swimming over bright and clean gravel, leave them alone! These are their spawning beds, referred to as redds, and disturbing them at this point is an absolute no-go!

Wade Only If Necessary
Since those complex environments we talked about earlier are pretty fragile, walking over all those aquatic organisms eaten by trout doesn’t really help. Wading is a big part of this sport and generally it’s impact is negligible, IF you limit it down to only what’s necessary. If you feel like reading a bit more about that topic check this article about The Impact Of Wading Fly Fishers. (http://www.wadinglab.com/impact-of-wading-fly-fishers/)

Take Only Pictures, Leave Only Footprints
You probably heard that one before and I really like the philosophy behind it. Leave nothing behind. No trash, no flies and especially no line. Take it to the next level. See something that doesn’t belong next to a river? Take it with you when you leave.

My Final Words
I hope my point came across and hope even more, that people reading this realize how easy it is to make a difference. Try to limit the negative impact you have on those eco-systems we all enjoy fishing in. After all it benefits everyone and sticking to a few basic rules isn’t that big of a hassle, if you get a healthy river full of beautiful trout in return.
Tight lines!

A little bit about Sara: Based in Oregon, I picked up fly fishing pretty early in my life. Since then I am pretty much hooked, always looking for the next pool to fish. I am currently travelling Europe and when time allows, I enjoy writing about topics like conservation or fly fishing gear. Occasionally I get some work published on different fly fishing blogs and might start my own one in the future.

Spey Daze: Great Lakes Steelhead

This video popped up in my news feed this morning and thought it went well with a previous post about preparing for a Steelhead Trip. This video teaser hits hits home with me as it is filmed on many locations where I caught the Steelhead bug. Keep an eye out for the release of the 4 hour DVD series coming out in March.

From the Film Maker- This is the trailer for the upcoming film Spey Daze. It was shot over the course of two and a half years in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and various parts of Ontario. Though largely a film about the pursuit of Steelhead on the swung fly, the film also focuses on the past, present and current issues the Great Lakes are experiencing, how these issues effect the fishery and how they might affect the Steelhead populations that call the Great Lakes home.

SPEY DAZE Trailer from RT on Vimeo.

 

Remove Barbed Hook

If you fish enough you know that getting a hook stuck in your skin is bound to happen. I have had my share of streamers hit me in the ear, saltwater flies stuck in my leg and spey flies jammed into my back. Nine times out of ten these flies just sting you and leave a little red mark. But there are those times when those flies stick and need to come out with assistance. If you are a guide I am sure you have seen or used this trick to remove a barbed hook out of your or a clients skin.


This simple technique really helps you remove hooks of multiple sizes from all body parts. The best one that I have ever done was from a fellas nose. Simply find some heavy tippet wrap around the bend of the hook, press down on the eye and pull straight back. If done correctly that hook will come flying right out with minimal blood loss. Be sure to remember this technique. Streamer season is around the corner and you might need it.

Steelhead Gear: Must Have

Winter Steelhead Season is in full swing and while it has been beautiful in Colorado I certainly miss visiting the Pacific Northwest this time of year. Scouring multiple rivers in hopes of finding a Wild Pacific Steelhead is not for the faint of heart. You have to be a hearty angler to pursue these magnificent fish and if you pay your dues, chances are you will be rewarded with a handful of chrome.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For those of you who are thinking about making a journey to Steelhead Country, be sure to bring the following items.

A Good Rain Jacket–  This is a must. The chances of precipitation in the rain forest is about 100%simms g3 jacket and when it rains it rains hard. Have and outer shell that is waterproof and durable. This is not an area to skimp. It can be difficult to bite the bullet and purchase solid rain gear. It is expensive and if you live in Colorado you do not need it that often. But if you plan on angling for steelhead year after year, treat yourself to a good rain jacket.

Dry Bag – Key item for storing dry clothes, cameras, snacks and anything else that you want to keep dry. The backpack variety are a good choice. being able to strap a dry bag on your back allows you to trek along the river keeping your hands free. Simms and Patagonia both make excellent dry packs.

pataguuch dry bag

Base Layers – Puffy Pants, Fleece pants, Fleece jackets, Merino wool shirts and long underware ….bring it all. It gets chilly standing in the river especially when it is raining. Having multiple wicking base layers will help you stay warm in the coldest fishing conditions. Smartwool, ice breaker, hot chilis and a many other companies make great base layers. Find base layers that you like and bring several pairs. The merino wool is nice because you can wear it for a couple days with minimal odor.Sheep

 

Waders – Obviously this is a no brainer but it your waders leak consider buying a new pair or be sure to patch them very well. No matter how well you insulate under your waders getting wet is going to make you cold. Nothing is fun when you are cold so be sure to stay dry. Boot foot waders are also nice for cold weather wading conditions. The boot foot tends to not be as tight on your foot allowing you to wiggle your toes.