Author Archives: Tyler Bowman

The Colorado Cast & Blast!

Well fellow outdoorsman, tomorrow is September 1st and marks the opening of Colorado’s upland bird season! There is just something unexplainable about it, but fly-fishing and bird hunting just seem to go together. Maybe it is tying flies from a wild bird you harvested with your favorite bird dog? Or, maybe it is hiking into a backcountry area in search of Colorado blue grouse and high country brook trout? Whatever it is, if you like to fly fish, you probably enjoy bird hunting too! So as we sit on the eve of September 1st, we at Colorado Fly Fishing Reports thought we would compile a list of our Top 3, Colorado Cast & Blast Combinations:

Number One: Plan a trip out west, northwest, southwest, directly west, it really doesn’t matter as in Colorado blue grouse can virtually be found anywhere west of I-25. Areas like Gunnison, Steamboat and Durango all offer hunters ample national forest access for grouse hunting and camping. And when the hunting gets slow you can exchange your shotgun for a fly rod and hit the water during September and what many say is the best month of the year to fish Colorado! Just a little scouting and planning and you are well on your way to a successful blue grouse hunting and fly-fishing trip.

Colorado blue grouse hunting

Colorado Blue Grouse Hunting!

Number Two: For the hunter and fly-fisherman that also doesn’t mind a little adventure, hiking above 11,000 feet for White Tailed Ptarmigan might be just the ticket. These birds are unique and abundant in Colorado for the hunter willing to put in some scouting and a little legwork. Climb above 11,000 feet into the alpine tundra and you have a good chance at finding the smallest of the grouse species. But don’t leave your backpacking fly rod at home as during your travels you are sure to wander by high mountain streams filled with wild trout!

Colorado Ptarmigan Hunting

Nothing says your a Colorado outdoors person like bagging a limit of White Tailed Ptarmigan!

Number 3: There might be no better way to experience the west than taking a trip to Northwest Colorado or Wyoming to hunt Sage Grouse! In Colorado, your best bet is to head to the Kremmling or North Park area where you can pursue these elusive game birds as well as fish such famous streams as The Blue River & The North Platte!

Colorado Sage Grouse

Nothing can take you to the “West” like Colorado Sage Grouse Hunting!

You may have noticed that we didn’t give away any “secret spots” or drop any pins for your iPhone! One of the most beautiful things about Colorado is it’s ample public land! Do a little research, talk to your local game warden and start scouting out some spots, when it comes to blue grouse, ptarmigan and sage grouse in Colorado the options are endless for bagging these beautiful game birds and getting in a little fly rod time as well.

Colorado Brook Trout

Sometimes the rewards from a little scouting and legwork can be big!

Whatever you do, get outside this September and take some time to explore and respect this amazing & beautiful resource that we call Colorado!

Colorado Fly Fishing Reports

Denver Carp Slam!

It is that time of year again; the Denver Carp Slam will be underway on Saturday, September 10th! The proceeds from the tournament help support Denver Trout Unlimited Projects along the South Platte River:

Be sure to check out the event or stop by the after party! The After Party, Evening on the South Platte is THE PARTY to attend this summer. Great Food, Beer, Fantastic Wines, Live Music (MTHDS), Silent Auction, Awards Ceremony.

Denver Carp Slam

Denver Carp Slam!

Public transportation is recommended if you plan to imbibe! Park at an RTD lot and take the light rail or A-Line Commuter rail into Union Station, then walk or Mall Ride 2 blocks west to DaVita. If you plan to drive, $5 parking is available at the DaVita lot behind the building, entrance at 16th & Chestnut.

Carp Slam

For the party of the summer, check out The Carp Slam: After Party!

For more information on the Carp Slam & After Party check it out at:

http://carpslam.org

Tight Lines,

Colorado Fly Fishing Reports

 

3-Tand Fly Reels

For the angler on a budget who is not willing to compromise or sacrifice quality on the water, be sure to check out 3-Tand Fly Reels. From light line reels to blue water big game set ups, 3-Tand has you covered. We tested the TF-70 Crossover fly reels for a six weight line while fishing in the California surf for Corbina. Fly-fishing the surf can put fly reels to the test like no other situation on the water. The crashing waves are sure to get some corrosive salt in your fly reel and while fishing the beach it is nearly impossible to avoid confrontations with sand! Not to mention that stopping a 5-pound Corbina in the waves will put even the best and smoothest drag systems to the test!

3-tans fly reel

3-Tand’s TF-70 will get the job done no matter what the situation calls for!

We are pleased to report that our TF-70 got the job done in even the toughest of conditions. The TF-70 brings a whole new definition to the term, “Crossover Reel”. Awarded the New Product showcase, “Best of Show” at ICAST 2014, this reel earned its hardware and proved it was designed to take on the salt, fresh, single-hand and two-handed sticks.  The TF-70 has the line capacity to handle 6-8 Weight lines.

fly fishing the surf

Fly fishing the surf will put your equipment to the test and 3-Tand fly reels are more than up to the task!

At 4.6oz this is one of the lightest 8-weight reels available at your local fly shop. Perfect for stalking picky Bonefish or Carp, stripping big streamers for Salmon, Steelhead, Trout, Pike and Bass or hitting the salt for Redfish or Baby Tarpon.  The TF-70 is machined from solid bar stock aluminum and a carries 3-Tand’s Nano CF Drag™. The TF-70 delivers 7lbs of stopping power and will smoothly stop runs from even the toughest fighting of fish. Check out the specs on this amazing fly reel:

Weights 6-8

Line Capacity
WF6F 200/20lb Dacron
WF7F 175/20lb Dacron
WF8F 150/20lb Dacron

Weight 4.6 oz.

Spool Size 3.75″ X 0.98″

Drag Technology Nano CF Drag™ Disc

MSRP $209.95

Extra Spool $124.95

If you are looking for a top quality fly reel that won’t break the piggy bank, head to your local fly shop today or visit www.3-tand.com for more information.

Tight lines,

Colorado Fly Fishing Reports

Our Top 3 Terrestrial Flies for August!

August in Colorado means lots of terrestrials on the water. You need to fill your fly box with hopper patterns to fool fish sipping on bugs falling from the grass into the stream. The “Colorado Blonde” is one of our “guide favorite” hopper patterns. It floats well due to being tied with buoyant elk hair and parachute style hackle. Our clients love the “Colorado Blonde” because it is very easy to see with its white “Hi Vis” parachute post. And with its lifelike grasshopper profile the “Colorado Blonde” fools wary trout all summer long.

grasshopper fly

The “Colorado Blonde” is one of our guide favorite grasshopper imitations.

In addition to hopper patterns, August is a hot month for fishing ant patterns. Have you ever seen that trout that just keeps sipping on bugs right off the bank? You cannot see any insects buzzing around and he still will not eat even your best presentations from attractors, mayflies or even a micro sized midge? Chances are that wily trout is feeding on ants as they drown in the surface film. Next time you run into such a wily fish try throwing an ant pattern at him and see what happens.

ant fly

The “Flying Ant” from super flies is a must have in your fly box for fooling finicky fish feeding on terrestrials.

When the fish aren’t falling for our “Colorado Blonde” try throwing our terrestrial grasshopper pattern at them. You will be hard pressed to find a more realistic hopper pattern on the market as the legs and profile on this pattern can be tough to distinguish from that of a real grasshopper.   This fly is very buoyant and will float all day even without dry fly shake or gel. Furthermore, it is very durable and will hold up fish after fish, cast after cast.

grasshopper fly

For the most realistic hopper imitation on the market, check out this hot fly!

For more Superflies, check out http://www.superflies.us

Tight Lines,

Colorado Fly Fishing Reports

 

 

 

Winston’s Boron III LS – The Advanced Light Line Advantage

People from other states seem to believe that Colorado’s Rocky Mountains stay as cool as a cold original Coors all summer. Not true, as it is going to be a high of 93 degrees today in the hot and dry city of Denver! Sometimes, summer fishing in Colorado means getting up to the high country and out of the heat!

fly fish rocky mountain national park

Rocky Mountain National Park holds a lifetime of angling opportunities…

Fishing high country streams is a lot of fun, but you will need some specialized gear. Heavy 5 & 6 weight rods are not very enjoyable to fish on skinny creeks and it is difficult if not impossible to make soft and subtle presentations on a 9 foot 6 weight.

Winton Boron III LS

Winton’s Boron III LS

Fortunately, Winston Fly Rods has you covered with the Boron III LS. Winston’s BORON III LS series combines cutting-edge boron technology with the renowned “Winston Feel” to produce the most advanced light line trout rods made. The medium-fast action is lively and responsive, and allows anglers to delicately present flies with pinpoint accuracy. Exceptionally lightweight, these rods offer the touch, feel and control required by small stream and spring creek enthusiasts, or anyone who enjoys stalking big fish with small flies while protecting light tippets.

brown trout

Wild brown trout require finesse and delicate presentations to fool…

For “bow & arrow” casts, short presentations or technical “aerial mends” there is no substitute for the tradition and finesse found in Winston trout rods. Whether you are fishing beaver ponds, high country creeks or tough and technical spring creeks, the Boron III LS will provide you with the “touch” you need to fool more fish.

Winston fly rods

The performance of Winston fly rods can only be matched by their beauty & craftsmanship…

Boron III LS Specifications:

  • LINE WEIGHTS: thru 5wt.
  • ACTION: Medium-fast
  • SECTIONS: 4
  • GUIDES: Chrome nanolite stripper guide/ 
chrome plated, light wire snake guides
  • REEL SEAT: Nickel Silver with burled wood insert
  • ROD TUBE: Premium graphite rod tube with logo rod sock

Check out the Winston Boron III LS today at your favorite local fly shop. As Winston says, “Walk softly and carry a green stick.”

Tight Lines,

Colorado Fly Fishing Reports

Tying the Clouser Minnow

At many of our fly tying classes, students are eager to learn how to tie “streamers” or “warm water” fly patterns. These “big bugs” are certainly fun to tie, but at first the task can be daunting due to bigger materials. However, don’t fret as tying “big bugs” really is fun and easy. To start off with, try learning the Clouser Minnow, as the “Clouser” will catch anything from trout to tarpon! The Clouser is without a doubt one of the best minnow imitations an angler can have in their arsenal and is durable and easy to tie:

“The Clouser Minnow”

Clouser Minnow

Rabbit Strip Clouser Minnow, a great Warm Water or Surf fly…

Hook: Any streamer hook will do, but we prefer a saltwater hook like a Tiemco 811S or Gamakatsu Bonefish. For starters try tying on hook sizes #2-#6.

Eyes: Dumbbell or Bead Chain eyes

Thread: Any color you desire in 6/0 Uni-Thread

Over-wing: white buck tail

Under-wing: chartreuse buck tail or desired color

Flash: 6 strands of Krystal Flash

Clouser Minnow

The Bead Chain Eye Clouser is perfect for soft presentations…

Tying Instructions:

Step 1: Insert hook into vise. For tying on the eyes use a strong thread such as Mono-Cord or White Gel Spun to keep the eyes from moving. To keep the thread base from moving, coat the hook shank with Hard As Hull head cement before wrapping your thread.

Step 2: In the middle of the hook shank tie on your eyes by figure eight wrapping them to the shank, then do a couple of wraps around the base of the eyes to secure them. Apply Hard As Hull head cement to the wraps to secure them.

Step 3: Grab a sparse clump of white buck tail and tie down the cut ends to behind the eye of the hook. Wrap your threads back to behind the eyes and secure the rest of the buck tail.

Step 4: Invert the hook in the vise. Advance your thread back to the nose of the fly. Fold 6 strands of Krystal Flash around your thread and tie them in. Spread the Krystal flash so it disperses evenly around the point of the hook. Cut the flash evenly so it extends just beyond the buck tail.

Step 5: Grab a slightly larger clump of buck tail of your desired color and tie the cut ends to the nose of the fly. Disperse the buck tail evenly around the point of the hook and tie down securely.

Step 6: Build a smooth thread head on the nose of the fly. Finish the fly by a whip finish and apply Hard As Hull head cement.

Now get out and catch some fish with your very own Clouser Minnows! There are many variations to the Clouser Minnow so feel free to experiment and tie your flies to match natural baits found in your fishery. For more information on fly tying classes and lessons, please visit: http://www.anglinguniversity.com

Tight Lines,

Colorado Fly Fishing Reports

 

Colorado Fly Tying: Denver Carp Candy

Last week, we discussed fly-fishing for Carp along Downtown Denver’s Dirty South Platte. Hopefully, since then you have a had a chance to hit the river or local ponds in pursuit of the “Rocky Mountain Bonefish.” However, it doesn’t matter whether you are new to carp fishing or a seasoned veteran, we are sure that you will agree the common carp is no pushover! Simply put, there are very few fish that will test your patience and sanity like fly fishing for carp, they are picky eaters!

If the carp are giving you a tight lip then maybe it is time to hit the vise and get away from all the “book recommended” fly patterns like Prince Nymphs and Wooly Buggers. Many of the best carp flies are actually “Bonefish” style flats flies tied in more drab colors to imitate some of the common carp’s favorite foods like crayfish and leeches.

So this week we are pulling out one of our guide flies to share with you and we like to call it “Denver Carp Candy!”

Carp Fly

The “Denver Carp Candy” fools its fair share of “Rocky Mountain Bonefish”

The Denver Carp Candy is tied in a similar fashion to many popular Bonefish patterns like “Gotchas” & “Crazy Charlie’s”

The fly is tied with lead eyes and designed to invert in the water in order to keep your hook from snagging on the bottom. It is best fished on an extremely slow strip and with longer 9 foot plus leaders tapered to 2x-3x tippets.

The Denver Carp Candy is a great crayfish and leech imitation and has fooled its fair share of carp from the dirty South Platte. Our most popular color variation is orange, however in murky water we like to add a little chartreuse to the pattern.

“Denver Carp Candy”

Hook: Any “Bonefish style hook” will do in hook size 6

Eyes: Lead Eyes, gold or silver

Thread: 6/0 Uni-Thread

Body: Micro Tubing or any drab colored Bonefish braid

Tail: Chartreuse or Orange barred rabbit fur

Wing: Orange barred rabbit fur

Legs: Pink Crazy Legs

Micro legs: Barred “Tarantula” legs

Tight Lines,

Colorado Fly Fishing Reports

 

Get Down & Dirty for Summertime Carp!

Summer is in full swing in Denver, Colorado and turn up the AC because it is flipping hot outside! Chances are you are staring out your office window right now, daydreaming about heading to the mountains this weekend to fish your favorite trout stream. Or maybe you have truly entered Fantasy Island and are dreaming about wading barefoot along a sand flat of the Bahamas? Either way it is still the middle of the week and you need to do something now to get your fly-fishing fix!

Colorado Fly Fishing for Carp

Rocky Mountain Bonefish on the Fly!

Instead of living in outer space why not focus on fly-fishing close to home? With a little research and preparation you can be catching fish bigger than any Bonefish you might encounter in the Bahamas and probably not to far away from your office. Carp on the fly provide anglers with a great challenge and lots of easy access close to home. Carp fly-fishing is also great practice for your next salt water flats trip!

What do you need to get started?

  • A good 6 weight fly rod
  • Any reel with a decent drag system will work
  • Weight Forward Floating line matched to your rod
  • 9 foot leaders
  • 2x-4x Tippet, Mono should work but there is no harm in bringing along some Fluorocarbon
  • Most anglers use waders and wading boots when wade fishing the South Platte through Denver
  • Landing Net
  • Quality Polarized Sunglasses

Carp flies have really evolved over the years but the best patterns tend to be Bonefish style “Flats Flies” like Gotchas and Crazy Charlie’s tied in drab colors to imitate crayfish, leeches and other forage items. Fly Placement and casting is key! You want to cast your fly as close to feeding fish as possible without spooking or lining them. From here slow strips will allow the carp to “suck up” your fly! Identifying feeding fish is the key to success when carp fishing, cruising fish are less likely to show an interest in your fly. Instead look for “tailing” or “mudding” fish and place your fly accordingly.

Carp Fly

Flies like Jay Zimmerman’s “Backstabber” from Umpqua will catch Carp in all conditions…

Where to fish?

Carp can be found in many ponds, streams and reservoirs. If you live or work close to Downtown Denver, the “Dirty South Platte” is a great place to start, lots of fish and even better access:

Access Map to Some of Denver's Best Carp Spots

Access Map to Some of Denver’s Best Carp Spots

Chances are there is a great access spot along Denver’s South Platte near you. Get out and fish! Stay tuned next week for some of our favorite Colorado Fly Fishing Guide recommended Carp Flies and fly tying instructions.

Tight Lines,

Colorado Fly Fishing Reports

Don’t Get the Run Off Blues!

Well it is another hot late spring day in Colorado and most of our trout streams are starting to look more like chocolate milk commercials than a fishery! Football season is far away and lets face it, how many Coors lights can you drink and Rockies games can you watch before going crazy? The Mrs. is yelling about the yard and wondering why the letter from the IRS says that your tax extension was denied?

Colorado Pike on the Fly

Even small Northern Pike will chase after huge flies!

It is almost 80 degrees and it is only 11am on a Sunday. You have a few choices; you can tread water the rest of your weekend, wishing your favorite creek was fishable or your can grab a few big streamers, a wire leader and head out in pursuit of a great runoff season fish, the Northern Pike!

We at Colorado Fly Fishing Reports certainly hope you choose the later option! Pike fishing can really be a great way to cure the run off blues. Pike inhabit many lakes, reservoirs and rivers along Colorado’s Front Range and Western Slope. With a little research you can easily find a Northern Pike fishery close to you.

Once you find a place to fish, springtime Pike fishing is a rather straightforward affair. You are looking for fish cruising the shallow shorelines. Great places to target are the rocky edges of dams, cattails and sloughs, and flats with plenty of food sources.

Colorado Pike on the Fly

Fly Fishing for Northern Pike really is a lot of fun!

The most fun part of pike fishing is that Northern Pike are an extremely predatory fish. Flies like Whistlers, Bunny flies and Clouser minnows will all get the job done. The fun fact of fishing for Pike is you really cannot use a fly that is too big; an 18 inch hammer handle will go after flies the size of a chicken!

To throw these big flies a good eight weight is probably your best tool. Wire leaders are needed to make sure the pike do not chew through your line but we also like to use hard monofilament at 20-30 pound test to get more lifelike motion out of our flies. After you catch some fish the monofilament will need to be changed but it will probably fool more fish than a wire leader. Also be sure to bring a long pair of hemostats to remove flies from the mouths of these rather toothy critters…

From all of us at Colorado Fly Fishing Reports we sincerely hope you will get out and fish!

Tight Lines,

Colorado Fly Fishing Reports

 

Get the latest apparel from Simms fishing and always be ready to fish no matter the weather!

April can be a tough month for fishing in Colorado…

For one, the weather can be unpredictable and as the saying goes if you don’t like the weather in Colorado just wait 15 minutes. But while your waiting for the elements of Colorado’s spring to develop into either a warm and sunny Colorado day, be sure and check out the new line of products for 2016 from Simms Fishing Products…

From waders, footwear & wading boots, to innovative and fashionable packs, jackets, hoodies and ball caps; Simms Fishing Products has all your fly fishing apparel needs covered to battle the elements of Colorado and beyond!

Simms Guide Wader

Check out the all new Guide Wader!

Simms has even gone so far as to introduce the G3 Guide Wader – Limited Edition Series. For a limited time only, Simms is offering a special edition G3 Guide™ Stockingfoot to benefit the Bozeman-based Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation. WQW helps reintegrate traumatically combat-wounded U.S. veterans and active service members from recent wars into society by building hope and resilience, facilitating camaraderie, and providing security and serenity through fly fishing in southwest Montana. Help Simms raise $100,000 for Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation by purchasing these limited edition waders.

For more information and to view the latest product offerings from Simms, visit their website today at www.simmsfishing.com

Tight Lines,

Colorado Fly Fishing Reports