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.
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.
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% 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.
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.
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.
The warm weather has been a breath of fresh air for us here in Colorado. With temps in the mid 40s in the high country and highs near 70 in Denver, it certainly feels like Spring is starting a little early. A lot of our valley snow has melted and some rivers are turing slightly off color during the peak of the day. So what does this mean for our fishing? While it is nice to strip off the heavy layers and soak in the sun we have to take into consideration water temperature. Early Spring runoff cools the water down significantly and can slow fishing down. So do not be surprised if you find difficult fishing conditions during a bluebird Colorado Spring day. If you do find the fishing to be slow take a look at the water temp and insect activity. Adjusting fly size as wells the depth at which you are fishing can make a big difference. Trout tend to be less active in cooler water so putting your flies right on their nose can often be the only way to make them eat. We have notice that we are not seeing as many rising trout as we were a 3 weeks ago and midge hatches are far less consistent. Once our water temps stabilize this will change and fishing will get easy again. Until then take your time, find the right depth and you will find the fish.
Take a look at our previous midge post for excellent midge patterns to be presenting this time of year. We also had a viewer mention his favorite midge pattern that he doesn’t leave home without. The D- Midge. Best of luck on the water.
This time of year my clients are always amazed at the size of of the fly patterns we are using. I like to explain to them that the Midge is the Rocky Balboa of aquatic insects. A midge can hatch in extremely cold water while other insects cannot. A winter midge hatch can be significant enough to bring many trout to the surface. During these hatches anglers have the opportunity to cast dry flies in the dead of winter. While a midge hatch is not as predictable as other insect hatches it can provide some of the best early and late season dry fly fishing. Here is a short Fly Fishing Video from Lateral Line Media displaying some trout recently sipping midges in Colorado. If you cannot find the fish on the surface be take a look at our recent post about 3 essential midge larvae fly patterns.
Fly Fishing in Colorado during the winter months can be excellent but it can also be very challenging. Constantly de-icing your guides with freezing fingers certainly takes hearty a angler, but it allows us get outside away from the daily grind. A couple benefits of winter fly fishing is that there is less pressure and fish tend to be easy to locate. Deeper slow moving runs hold the majority of fish during the winter months allowing anglers to spend time focusing fly selection and presentation. Midges are the dominant fare in a trout’s diet this time of year but due to the multiple sizes and colors of midges it is important to have a variety of these fly patters. Some of my favorite color midge fly patterns are Black, Olive, Red and Cream. It is amazing that changing the color of a fly so small that it can have an impact of your fishing success but it does. Doing a little research on the water will help determine what color midges are floating around under the surface. Picking up submerged sticks or rocks is a good way to find midge larvae and while it can be painful to stick your hands in 30 degree water it may make the difference in your angling success. Also try and focus on the depth of your nymph rig. A lot of times we try to go directly to the bottom with our midges and while this does work, there are times when you can be too deep. If you are starting to see midges hatch sporadically or find them on the river bank try lightening your nymph rig and see what happens. As these insect get active in the water trout will start to suspend to eat midges as the emerge. Here are a few of excellent midge patterns for winter fly fishing in Colorado.
The Flash Bang Midge is a great fly pattern that should be in every anglers fly box. The glass bead
on these midge patterns adds a little extra weight and also looks like a small air bubble. The Flash Bang Midge works well in the early winter as fish transition from eating Baetis to Midges. It also works well deeper into winter as a lead fly in a two fly set-up. The glass bead allows this fly pattern to be fished higher in the water column with out adding much weight making the Flash Bang an excellent pattern to present to suspended fish.
The Jujubee Midge is a common pattern that you will find in early every fly shop in Colorado. Developed by Charlie Craven, this fly has been taken out of many a trout’s lips and is a proven fish catcher. The Jujubee midge pattern is great for tailwaters and freestone rivers alike. The added flash gives this fly a little more flare grabbing the attention of underwater lurkers. This is another fly pattern that works well early in the fall throughout the winter.
The RS2 is a fly pattern that more times than not is my go to fly. I am not exactly sure if this is classified as a midge pattern but who cares, It works in so many scenarios throughout the year and catches a ton of trout. I prefer this fly with a flash wing and in multiple sizes. The basic design of this fly pattern is nothing fancy to look at but neither are midges. RS2’s are great for Trico’s hatches in the Summer and Midge hatches in the winter. If there are any flies out of these three that you must have it is the RS2.
We are experiencing a wild time in our lives. Between the news, blog posts and social channels there is so much negativity on media outlets that it is driving me nuts. The finger pointing game has gotten out of hand and I feel like I am listening to a room full of children fighting over a crayon. I recently read an article that pointed out the separation between sportsman. If you care to read it you can do so HERE, but the point it got across is that we need to come together as sportsman and not as individuals.
I am sure that some of you have felt superior to other sportsman regarding the technique you use to hunt game or target fish. Conventional fishermen vs fly fishermen is a good example. Fly fishermen are looked upon as yuppie elitist that wear fancy clothes and look down on those who do not embrace a fly rod. On the other hand it is thought that fly fishermen look a conventional anglers as neanderthals who kill every fish in the river. The same thing applies in the hunting world between archery hunters and those who prefer a rifle.
If we can look past our methods of hunting fishing and glance at the larger picture I think we can all agree that no matter how your choose to pursue you quarry we are there because we enjoy being outdoors. It is time to put the finger pointing and name calling away for good. Be respectful of each other, respect the land we are able to use and stop being quick to judge. All outdoorsmen have the right to pursue game in a manner that is lawful. So if you see an angler throwing Rapalas for trout in your favorite nymphing run, ask them how their day is going and wish them luck. Life is too short to be bitter, especially when you are enjoying the outdoors. We need to come together as sportsman to fight for the land, rivers and mountains we love so future generations have the same opportunity we have. United we stand divided we fall.
The grayling is known as the “Lady of the Stream.” In England and Wales, they can be fished for throughout the core fishing season (June 16 to March 14), providing exciting sport on the fly when the trout season is closed. There is no closed season for grayling in Scotland; where they have been introduced. The grayling is the dry fly fisherman’s fish with popular flies including Royal Coachmen’s and Humpys. “Czech-nymphing” is a very productive tactic for anglers fishing grayling in colder periods. The method involves moving a series of Czech nymphs under the tip of the fly rod with the flow of the river and the nymphs should entice the grayling to take one.
For the dry fly fisherman, there may be no better fish than the grayling…
In Colorado, many streams and lakes offer fly anglers the chance at their first grayling. Joe Wright Reservoir and Joe Wright Creek are a great place to start for Colorado fly anglers looking to hook grayling.
Our “Dog with a Blog” series has become quite popular with our readers and it has been awesome to get so many comments about fishing dogs! Today, we got some great feedback from one of our readers, Thomas and his fishing dog, Buddy. Thomas was kind enough to share some great photos of Buddy’s adventures on Colorado’s Clear Creek & South Boulder Creek.
Buddy fishing Clear Creek
Looks like Buddy loves the water!
Boy does this picture get us at CFFR dreaming about summer on the stream!
If you would like to make your favorite fishing dog famous on Colorado Fly Fishing Reports, please email: email@example.com with stories & photos.
This video popped up in my news feed today and while my attention span is less than that of a goldfish I had to spend the 11 minutes to watch this piece by Todd Moen. While this fishing video was not all action, like the millions of others on the web, it captured the reality of swinging flies for Steelhead on the Olympic Peninsula.
The OP still remains one of my favorite places to fish for Steelhead. The lush scenery paired with beautiful rivers is tough to match, you also do not need a passport to get there. We used to do an annual fly fishing trip to the OP to visit our friends at Brazdas Fly Fishing but over the past few years life has gotten hectic and our group couldn’t commit to the trip. This is the time of year when images of chrome bright fish start to fill my news feed, I long for the smell of the rainforest. This video brought back a lot of fond memories of my weeks in Forks, WA. Maybe this will be the year that I finally give in to my desire and set responsibilities aside for a week.
If you have never experienced fly fishing for Steelhead there is no better place to cut your teeth other than Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. It will surely test your patients and psyche but can be incredibly rewarding in a blink of an eye. Take a look at this video segment and get the feel of what it is like to stand in a glacial river in the pouring rain waiting to strike lightning.
Due to popular demand, Colorado Fly Fishing Reports has been asked to post weekly fish of the week! With so many fishes out there, it is truly fascinating as a Modern Fly-Fisherman to dream about all the possible angling destinations and fish species in the world!
This week’s fish of the week is the barramundi or Asian sea bass (Lates calcarifer) is a species of catadromous fish. The species is widely distributed from Southeast Asia to Papau New Guinea and Northern Australia. Known in Thai Language as pla kapong, it is very popular in Thai Cuisine.
A lunker for sure!
Barramundi inhabit coastal waters, estuaries, lagoons, and rivers; they are found in clear to turbid water, usually within a temperature range of 26−30 °C. This species does not undertake extensive migrations within or between river systems, which has presumably influenced establishment of genetically distinct stocks in Northern Australia.
Thanks to Colorado fly fishing guide, George Gumerman for awesome Barramundi on the fly photos!
Highly prized by anglers for their good fighting ability, barramundi are reputed to be good at avoiding fixed nets and are best caught on lines and with lures. Fly-fishing for barramundi is highly possible but generally a new frontier for fly anglers.