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.
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.
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.
Colorado Fly Fishing Reports
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.
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.
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.
Colorado Fly Fishing Reports
To get the most out of your fishing dog and “good luck” charm, the key is to get your pup acclimated to the water and riding in the boat at a young age. This will be much easier to accomplish when your pup is little and not a 80 pound two year old thrashing around the oars!
Have a fun & safe weekend on the water!
Colorado Fly Fishing Reports
Being prepared for the outdoors should not be taken lightly and as a guide you should be well prepared for any trip. Personally I thought that if I had a first aid kit, some extra clothes and some provisions I was ready for anything that might happen on a day trip to the river. Recently I got registered to guide fly fishing trips in remote areas in another state. This proved to be one of the most difficult tests I ever had to pass for guiding. But it made me realize that a lot can go wrong in the wilderness and that maybe I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I was. Here are a few preparation tips to consider if you are a guide or if you are getting guided.
Symptoms: Learn the symptoms/signs of health conditions such as; Shock, Hypothermia, Diabetes, Heat Stroke/ Dehydration, Cold Water Immersion. It is important to know how to handle a situation if one of your clients experiences these symptoms. It is also important to ask if your client(s) has any type of health condition during your trip briefing.
CPR/First Aid: Every guide needs to be certified in CPR & First Aid. Knowing how to preform these basic life saving techniques can make the difference between someone living or dying.
Supplies: First Aid Kits, Water, Food & Clothing are all good basics to have with you during a trip. One of the more important items to carry are waterproof matches. These will help you create a fire quickly should you need to heat up a client who has mild hypothermia symptoms. Whistles are another item that should be carried/provided to clients. This will allow you and clients to make loud noise should you become separated in the the woods or on the river.
Trip Briefing: This is one of the most important steps when taking anyone on a guided trips. Ask questions about health, physical condition, allergies and limitations. This will allow you to make a good decision on where to bring you clients based on their requirements. It will also allow you to prepare more extensively for a client with health conditions.
Take the time this winter to educate yourself on how to be prepared for a catastrophic event in the outdoors. You will be surprised on the amount of information online that can better prepare you for an unfortunate event.
Looking for something to do this weekend? Join The International Sportsman’s Expo to celebrate for the 40th year in Colorado. More than 525 exhibiting companies offering gear…expertise and travel adventures. 125+ free seminars. Expert-led clinics. Archery, casting and a new elk-calling contest. And check out the giant Youth Activity Center, hosted by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Location: Colorado Convention Center 700 14th Street Denver, CO 80202
|Thu 12||11am – 8pm|
|Fri 13||11am – 8pm|
|Sat 14||10am – 8pm|
|Sun 15||10am – 5pm|
Adult Admission – $17.00 Youth under 16 – Free! No Pets No Weapons, Firearms or Ammunition
Colorado Fly Fishing Reports
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.
The holiday season has snuck up on us once again and it is time to spend your hard earned money on gifts that hopefully get used by the recipient. It can be difficult to find the perfect gift for anyone, but especially for fly fishermen. Fly Fishing Gifts are not easy to pick out, there is so much to choose from and many times these gifts are pricey. Here are a few fly fishing gift ideas for you to ponder as you scour the local fly shop for a handy present.
Howler Brothers has combined surfing with fly fishing and come out with some great clothing that is sure to put a smile on the fly fishermen in your life. They provide a wide range of t-shirts, button down shirts, jackets, technical pants/shorts, vest and hats. All have unique designs and are quality made. This is on the higher end of the scale in terms of pricing so make sure you find a size that fits or a store that honors returns.
Kind of boring but it is something that fly fishermen often need but put off buying. In Colorado we tend to use Weight Forward (WF) 5 or 6 weight floating line on most of our set-ups. There are numerous lines to choose from which can be very overwhelming. If the fly angler in your life constantly talks about nymphing, dry fly fishing or “chucking meat” (streamer fishing) you can certainly find a line that suits each tactic. Rio and Scientific Angler both make excellent fly lines. But if you are in a pinch a trusty WF Floating Line is a safe bet.
Nets have come a long way since the old green mesh days so if your fly angler has an old rusty metal green mesh net it is time for an upgrade. Fish Pond has developed great landing nets in various sizes that are lightweight and durable. The rubber basket on these nets are easier on fish and allow anglers to easily get stuck flies out of the rubber material. Fisknat also makes great landing nets. These nets also come with a rubber basket but are made out of wood and have a classier look (IMO). They are a bit heavier than the fish pond model but are an excellent product.
Anything YETI is sure to get a smile on the recipients face. The coolers are very expensive but they do keep ice very well. Other things to consider from YETI are their mugs. Just like their coolers the mugs keep beverages ice cold and piping hot for extended periods of time. Coming in a variety of sizes YETI Tumblers and Colsters are excellent gift items.
We hope that these items help you make a decision on what to purchase for the fly fihermen in your life. Other things to consider are Tippet, Flies, Weight and Indicators. They all make great stocking stuffers. Happy Holidays.
At this very moment, we are willing to be that you are at work on a Wednesday and needless to say you might be finding yourself up to your neck in “TPS Reports” and desperately needing a break from the hustle & bustle of the “Real World”….
The key to a happy life, however, is remembering how to stay spontaneous and continuing to pursue your passions. And if you are a die hard fly-fisherman that might be a little depressing in Denver right now as the forecast has called for a high of 23 degrees later this week! So in the name of keeping your sanity, why don’t you open another window on your browser and Google: Expedia.com, and book yourself a short & cheap flight from Denver to San Diego, get a room on the beach and pack your fly rod! Mexican food & Margarita’s anyone?
San Diego is the perfect quick & easy getaway from Denver. It’s a true salt-water trip on a budget you just can’t beat the ease & convenience of traveling to Southern California for a much needed winter break.
Pack your fly rod and waders and head to the surf and try fly-fishing for abundant populations of Surf Perch. Or, rent a kayak and head to San Diego Bay, Mission Bay, or any of the smaller lagoons around San Diego and go after spotted bay bass, leopard sharks, corvina, croaker & halibut. Not to mention many, many & many other species of fish that might bite your fly!
For best fishing pack a few spools with floating lines, and varying sinking lines. A 9 foot 6 weight will do the job for most of the fisheries in Southern California. Clouser Minnows and flies tied with pink will do well to imitate baitfish and shrimp. Hook sizes can range from 1/0 to small 6 or 8 sized salt water hooks. For the most part, Clouser Minnows tied in size 2 to 6 in colors like orange, pink and Chartreuse will hook plenty of spotted bay bass.
Or if you are sitting at the computer of a very high paying job, pat yourself on the back and book a guide trip for Mako Shark on The Fly!
Colorado Fly Fishing Reports