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

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


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.

Fly Casting: Adding Distance

Casting a fly rod is certainly a work of art and when done correctly it is amazing the distance you can achieve. Many of us probably believe that we are good if not great fly casters. But, I will be the first to admit that I am not. I can be accurate up to 60 feet but as soon as I try to add more line, my cast gets sloppy. The loop falls apart and my accuracy goes out the window. Now the argument is, that you hardly ever need make a single handed cast longer than 40-50 feet, especially when trout fishing. So why do you need to add more distance? I heard a casting instructor mention that “anyone who says you do not need to cast far means that they cannot.” There is probably quite a bit of truth to that statement and you might be wondering if you are that “guy.” Now lets say you are on a saltwater trip of a lifetime and you need to make a cast at a cursing tarpon or tailing permit and all of a sudden you need to cast and extra 10 – 20 feet of line accurately. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to complete that task without even thinking about it? Of course it would. This casting video from Orvis dishes out some excellent pointers on how to add distance to your cast. Take a peak and be ready next time to need to make a cast outside your comfort zone.

Fenwick Aetos Fly Rod: Great Rod Low Price

This year I have been fortunate enough to work with several fly rods that I have not used in the past. The shining star of the bunch have been the Hardy Fly Rods which I cannot say enough about. Hardy Fly Rods are on the upper end of the price scale and while I would recommend them to any angler who spends time on the water, it can often be difficult to spend that much money for a stick that you do not use that often. This brings me to a fly rod that has put a lot of fish in the basket this summer, the Fenwick Aetos. This rod casts extremely well, has a good back bone and is relatively light weight. This is an excellent fly rod for anglers of all experience levels. If I had to describe it with one word it would be Workhorse. It can handle a heavy nymph rig, big streamer patterns as well as present dry flies with accuracy. I have been lucky to have some anglers in my boat who can fish extremely well and while they often bring their own gear I like to hand them the Fenwick Aetos and see their reaction. A lot of them say “FENWICK??” and I just smile and say “try it.” While it doesn’t have the Winston, Sage or Scott name on the but section it certainly performs as well as high dollar rods at a much lower price point.  Coming in at under $200.00 the only bummer about this rod is that you cannot find it at many fly shops. You can however find these rods at bigger box stores which might give them a cheaper appearance, but you cannot complain about the price or performance of the Fenwick Aetos. If you are a fly fishing guide and are looking for some great fly rods for clients or are an angler looking for an extra stick, I would look no further than the Fenwick Aetos.


Full Moon Fishing

If you were fishing over the weekend and struggled you can point your finger at the man in the Moon. That’s right the Hunters Moon lit up the Earth giving us a full night bright sky gazing. Seeing the bright white disk rise out of the East is quite a sight but it can mean some tough days of fishing are ahead. I do not know what causes fish to get a wacky during a full moon, it might be the gravitational pull, they might feed all night or some other cosmic happening might lock their jaw shut for a good portion of the day. Whatever it is I am a firm believer that the Full Moon makes fishing very very difficult. Others might argue different but my experiences speak otherwise. I know that Lincoln Westby would say that the Full Moon makes Permit Fishing in Belize much better because of the larger tides. But, I have been chasing those alien looking Fish (Permit) in the Yucatan during a full moon with a lodge full of 14 other anglers and only one angler caught a permit the whole week….. and that fish was the size of my palm. I am getting off track.

Full Moon Fishing

When it comes to trout fishing this is what my latests experience has told me. Trout will feed for a short window of time during the day then stop. For example last week I had an angler hooking fish consistently for 45min then everything stopped. Bugs continued to hatch but fish stopped feeding. We fished hard for the rest of the day; changing flies, weight, depth etc. With no luck. When I got skunked-fishingback and spoke with other guides on the water they had the exact same fishing conditions nearly 30 miles away on 2 different rivers. Coincidence? I do not think so. How is it that the day before on the same river, fishing the same flies our clients hooked fish after fish after fish. I am blaming the Moon. So here are my tips for trout fishing during a full moon. Get out there early and try to catch the window when fish are feeding. Once that is over go home. If you are young and hard core go at night and throw mice because that stuff is fun. Don’t let the Full Moon get ya down, but think twice next time you are booking travel, the full moon might curse a couple of your fishing days.

Tibor Reels – Class & Quality in the Same Package

Recently we had the opportunity to sample Tibor reels and needless to say, we were blown away by the engineering and craftsmanship found in these reels.

The Tibor series of reels were first introduced in 1995 and have established themselves as the benchmark for custom-crafted fly reels. After years of development and input from the likes of Lefty Kreh and Flip Pallot, Tibor has become a household name in the world of saltwater fly reels.

Tibor Fly Reels

With a range of reels designed to stop bonefish to tarpon, Tibor Reels are a household name in salt water fly fishing.

The spool’s large arbor design significantly enhances the rate of line retrieval, which is critical when you’re trying to control bursting fish like bonefish, bonito, or wahoo. Tibor Reels are also a mainstay for Spey enthusiasts, delivering the ultimate balance, overall capacity and drag performance for the double-handed rod.

As with all of Ted’s reels, the drag system is absolutely flawless and has withstood the test of the world’s most demanding game fish, including over 350 World Records so far. If you were to own only one fly reel, this is the one to have.


  • Large outer hub diameters offer quick retrieve, even when the backing is low.
  • Hard coated, aluminum Main Gear means minimal heat build-up and great strength. Both the Main Gear and Spool rotate flawlessly on three sealed precision, ceramic Ball Bearings
  • An impregnated Cork Drag Disc is the smoothest and strongest in the industry.
  • Open hubbed, perforated Spool and Drum allow the Reel to remain cool during scorching runs and outer holes act as a tippet keeper.
  • The Detended Drag Adjustment Knob is smooth and positive.
  • Triple outgoing line signals are easily removable for silent operation.
  • Lightweight to balance with modern fly rods and reduce casting fatigue.
  • Made from solid bar stock aluminum.
  • Our delrin handle offers positive gripping and quick release – The Gulfstream and Pacific come standard with our Gorilla Handle.
  • SpeedHandle Spooloption available.
  • Comes with an extra thick neoprene case for easy storage and transportation.
  • Finishes: Frost Silver, Frost Black, Satin Gold, Jet Black, Royal Blue, Crimson, Graphite Gray & Aqua.
  • Each reel is serialized for identification and protection. The serial # is located at the top of the frame by the reel stand.
  • Available in 4 sizes.
  • Made and assembled in the U.S.A.

For more information, reel sizes and specifications, check out: https://www.tiborreel.com/tibor/

Tight Lines,

Colorado Fly Fishing Reports



Fish Poses

You finally landed that giant fish you have been hunting forever. You made the perfect cast, selected the right flies and played the old boy like a pro all the way to the net. This is the moment you have been waiting for. Your friend grabs the camera or phone and is ready to snap the next cover photo for Fly Rod & Reel. Having spent a lot of time on the water with various anglers for the past 15 years we have seen a lot of great fish photos and a lot of fails. Cody and I decided to show you what we have seen in the past and while we try to educate beginning anglers on a solid fish hold it is easier said than done. Just remember that the harder you squeeze the more the fish is going to squirm. Gently cradle the fish about a foot from the water, square it up to the camera and get a great shot of that trophy you have been working for. Try to avoid the following holds. The BELLY SHOT, The BEAR HUG, The GUITAR HERO and The BASS MASTER.

Squirmy Wormy

It is that time of year when our dry fly activity has slowed back down (on freestone rivers) and the best way to keep our rod bent is to find slow deep water and stare at the indicator. With most of our Freestone Rivers high and off color it is time to pull out the heavier tippet and big bugs. While I am not a huge fan of nymphing with worm patterns there comes a time when a fella has gotta do what he has got to do. And that means tying on the bright pink Squirmy Wormy. A lot of my friends have been employing the Squirmy Worm for the past couple seasons and after watching this dirty little worm go to work I have to admit I am a believer. Sure it is not the purest way to hook a trout on a fly rod, but purest went out the window when I mentioned indicator. While the traditional San Juan Worm gets the rod bent there is something about the Squirmy Wormy that drives murky water fish a little bit crazy. I was able to witness this first hand a couple weeks ago during a float down the Eagle River.

Colorado Rainbow Trout Being Released

After talking up the fishing conditions on the Eagle, a buddy of mine from Utah met me at the put in with a dry fly rod and streamer rod locked an loaded. It was his first time floating the Eagle and I was eager to show him the magic it can produce. Of course when you want something to shine it doesn’t. That was the case that day, we hit every pocket with streamers only to get a few looks. The blue wings poured off and not a single rising fish. I truly think I am cursed. My buddy just happens to be a Spirit River Rep and we both agreed that it was time to bust out the Squirmy Wormy and go mid-evil on these fish. As soon as this pink beauty was deployed we had multiple hook ups and spirits were high – but we did feel filthy. Despite the BWO hatch the fish were keyed in on Squirmy Wormy and payed now attention to our trailing sparkle wing RS2. spirit river squirmy

Since our water levels are going to continue to remain high and dirty for the next few weeks I highly recommend that you add a few (dozen) of these worm patterns to your fly box. You can buy the material from Spirit River or you can buy a squirmy squish ball at the dollar store and trim it yourself.


YETI Coolers Short Film: Tootsie

YETI does an excellent job marketing their products and although most of their items are a little pricey, their marketing efforts are second to none allowing them to build outstanding brand awareness. Recently YETI has been rolling out short home grown video segments that display multiple lifestyles. You may have seen some of these short pieces that include the story of Flip Pallot, or maybe the hilarious segment called MELK, which tells a story of a retired football player that has a passion for milking elk. The most recent piece that is sweeping across social media is about an elderly women named Tootsie Tomanetz who is tougher than everyone reading this blog.

From YETI – “In “Tootsie,” you’ll meet a living legend in Texas barbecue, as told by the people who know her best. Whether she’s tending to the grounds at Giddings High School or keeping the fires going at Snow’s BBQ, Tootsie Tomanetz doesn’t have a lazy bone in her body. And even after 50 years in the barbecue world, she doesn’t see herself putting on the brakes anytime soon—slowing down just wouldn’t suit her.”

Hats of to you Tootsie Tomanetz, continue to inspire.