Fly Fishing Stories

The Everlasting Autumn: Colorado Fly Fishing

If you are anxiously waiting for old man winter to show up you might as well do it on the river. Fly Fishing throughout Colorado has been terrific and so has the weather. I know a lot of people are bummed that the white stuff has not fallen yet, especially the 20 something with rings in his nose at the local coffee shop. But, for now take advantage of the warmer temps and get outside. Because you know in 2 months you are going to be wishing for these temps.

15032170_1172447296184862_6017239079253034286_n

As far as the fishing goes, it is some of the best all year. Your window of fishing opportunity is a little shorter and the bugs are a bit smaller so take that into consideration when venturing to the water. I have been finding that the magic hour on the water is between 11am – 2pm. A lot of fish on the surface eating midges giving us some dry fly opportunities but if you want to consistently bend the stick throw a light nymph rig with a black or chocolate midge larvae. If you want a frustrating challenge throw tiny dries. The egg bite has picked up, especially on the Upper Colorado. The water is super low so if you are floating be prepared to rub some rocks. I would recommend a raft. With the water levels so low it is easy to find deeper buckets, find those deeper buckets and you’ll find a trout or two. The Rainbows are eating the pink and yellow marbles (beads) that are getting fished along the bottom but as the day progresses fish are keying in on smaller BWO imitations. The streamer bite on the Fork has been HAUT….from what I have been told. We are doing a trip there tomorrow so I will report back with the intel. Regardless of where you are fishing have fun and stick a few before the slopes steal your weekend.

TRUMPED – If you have headed for the hills, do not forget to pack your fly rod and check out this country FIRST! (Before you go to Canada)

Well, if last night’s election has not sent you running for Canada, please read this first!

As we write, there is a chance that you might not even be checking Colorado Fly Fishing Reports this morning. There is a possibility that instead of spending your time wisely (checking out fly fishing reports and shopping for new fishing gear) the results of last night’s United States Presidential Election may have sent you running for Canada! And, why Canada exactly, we might ask? I mean, sure it is probably the closest country to your current refugee home, but since you have decided to depart from the U.S.A, we thought you might first might wanna check out the country listed below. Also, be sure to pack your fly rod!

Why would you go to Canada when you could go to New Zealand?  Well, at least stay in New Zealand until they kick you out or you can get married...

Why would you go to Canada when you could go to New Zealand? Well, at least stay in New Zealand until they kick you out or you can get married…

New Zealand would be way cooler to live in than flippin Canada! New Zealand is a country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean consisting of 2 main islands. New Zealand would be way better than Canada because while the fishing is slow you can just pretend that you are on Middle Earth in Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” films.

Front Range Anglers, Head Guide, George Gummerman with the brown trout of a life time.

Front Range Anglers, Head Guide, George Gummerman with the brown trout of a life time.

And, chances are the fishing will not be slow as New Zealand streams range from small stream headwaters to boulder lined canyon freestone streams and meadow trout rivers filled with mice. The North Island is known as the rainbow trout island and the South Island is world famous for piglet sized wild brown trout.

And let’s face it; Donald Trump probably cannot point New Zealand out on a globe, so you are probably safe there…

Cheers,

Colorado Fly Fishing Reports

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.

Small Trout: Do Not Overlook The little Guy

A lot of anglers are looking for the fish of lifetime, even on their first trip. While it is wonderful to fool a large educated fish we shouldn’t overlook the little guys. With a lot of anglers coming into the sport of fly fishing, smaller fish are excellent fish to learn with. I like to consider them a building block in the foundation of fly fishing. Smaller fish are easier to land, which is extremely important for newbie anglers. It keeps you engaged and provides the feeling of success. Imagine if you took your child fly fishing and were only after 20+ inch fish. They would get pretty bored and loose interest very quickly. Am I suggesting that smaller fish are easier to catch? No. but, my experience suggests that smaller fish tend to be a little more aggressive thus allowing us more opportunities to hook them.

small Creek Rainbow Trout CO

Remember the first 12 inch trout you first caught? I do and I remember how I caught it on the far bank nymphing with a Copper John. I was so proud of that fish, I picked out the fly, made the drift, hooked and landed a beautiful Brown Trout, In my eyes that was a trophy. These moments are the ones that I see anglers not taking advantage of and often hear them say ” it’s just a little one.” Well I am here to say that we cannot all catch giant fish on every drift and if we did the sport would not be as fun as it is.

As a fly fishing guide I am happy with every fish that we put in the net. While I strive to get people on the larger trout that swim in many of our Colorado Rivers, they do not always make it into the basket. Larger fish are hard to land and if you are new to fly fishing so please do not expect to land a 26″ trout on your first trip. Enjoy the learning process, take your time and be fortunate that your are standing in a river and not at a desk.

Wild Brown Trout

If you are a fly fishing guide you certainly understand that there can be extremely difficult days on the water. So be sure to take the time and point out the beauty that each trout possesses; the colors, the spots, the fins..etc. Educate rookie anglers that it is not always about size and that we should not take any fish that we land for granted. Small fish can make a trip and the big one that gets away leads to a great fishing story which can keep new anglers wanting to fish more.

Colorado Fall Fishing

Our nights have cooled off, the Aspens are beginning to turn and the Elk are starting to bugle. Fall is in the air and it is certainly one of our favorite times of year. September marks the end of summer here in the Mountains and a lot of outdoorsman wish this month was 30 days longer. The hunting and fish opportunities are endless so it makes it difficult to choose how you are going to spend your free time. For me I focus a little more on chasing ungulates through the mountains and a little less time on the river. But, for the last few days I hung up the bow for the fly rod and launched the Drift Boat into the Colorado River for an evening float. The wind was howling and it felt more like a lake than a river for the first 45 minutes. The hull slapped the water as we oared forward into the gusts trying to gain distance before we lost sunlight. Finally as the sun dipped behind the mountains the wind died and the fishing picked up. We threw Hoppers along the grassy banks with very little action until a Rainbow decide to smash the foam imitation off the surface just as it landed. It was the only fish that was willing to commit on top so we switched rods and moved bright white streamers for the remainder of the trip.

Underwater Rainbow Trout

The streamer bite was hot all the way to the take out and while we tried black, olive and yellow streamer patterns, white out fished them all. Like most streamer fishing outings we missed/turned more trout than we landed but watching the flash and chase is just as exciting as hooking up. The fish we did land were all Brown Trout and they are starting to show their fall spawning colors. Their once yellow bodies are turning a dark bronze and the tips of their fins a dark gray. We ended the evening with our head lamps on and a celebratory sip of Rye. Wishing you all a successful September.

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

 

Montana Spring Creek: Video

Todd Moen recently came out with an excellent video segment on spring creek fly fishing in Montana. The video captures the rewards and frustrations of presenting large terrestrials to thick shouldered trout in tiny water. Packed with high quality surface action, this video is sure to make you anxious for your next fly fishing trip. It is hard to believe that August is nearly over so if you haven’t been on the water now is a great time to get out there and experience some terrestrial fly fishing. Get out early in the morning or late in the evening and drift those big bugs along the grassy banks.

Kamchatka Steelhead Project

The Kamchatka Steelhead Project swept across social media last week and got a great response from online audiences. Created by Felt Soul Media, the fly fishing video follows anglers on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula as they fish for protected Steelhead for the sake of Science. Which to me would be the best science project that ever existed. Like most Felt Soul Media Films The Kamchatka Steelhead Project combines stunning imagery with a great story line. If you haven’t seen this short piece take a few minutes out of your day and take a peak.

YETI Presents: Kamchatka Steelhead Project from YETI Coolers on Vimeo.

 

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