Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Free Flies for Trash!

Or, as it should be called: Cash (flies) for clunkers (trash)! We at Rocky Mountain Anglers have noticed the trash on Boulder Creek piling up. It has gotten bad here in the town of Boulder. It has been a light snow winter, so the bums and vagabonds have gotten comfortable and dug in like grunts on the DMZ. There are soggy blankets, piss tubes and what looks like drunken attempts at fox holes... If I start seeing tracers at night I'll get worried. So, here is the deal we have concocted: If you go out on Boulder Creek (in town) and gather a bag of trash we will let you toss it in our dumpster and give you one free trout fly! Once you bring us five bags of trash, we will give you a free RMA shop ball cap!

(* Note: if we find you are bringing us trash from home, we will ether you, drag you down to the creek...where the bums may find that "ya sure gots a purty mouth!")

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Farm Ponds, Horse Shit & Other Memories of the Midwest

Written and contributed by Erin Block

"Kind of reminds ya of home, doesn't it..." he said, casting me a smile over his shoulder as he turned back to his line. It tightened with the tell of a bite. His smile grew bigger. Smell that...and he held out the taddle-tale line's catch. I took a drag of the farm pond water infused bass. Turns out, that humid color of green algae is my hallucinogen for home. Lids closed, I devolved 15 years. Briefly taking my eyes off rod and line, I hoped my fishing partner wasn't looking my way right then and didn't notice my inattentional daydreaming. He probably did though...he seems to like looking at me. A lot. In that blink, bottom layered memories stratified, much like this pond would soon do -- turning over...

There was an old brick well house on the farm where I grew up. It had an electric pump that stayed warm in the winter, and every now and again when you'd creak in through the wood door held shut by bailing wire, there would be a large bull snake wrapped around the motor. In the winter months, I tried my hardest to make sure "watering horses" landed on my sister's chore list. But the summer months? Now that was a different story. Armed with steel-wire brushes, the mission was to reclaim the stock-tank-swimming-pool; pushing the line, determinedly beating back the blooming algae. Icy water pulsed rhythmically out of the white PVC tube drain as my sister and I laid back victoriously, basking in the territory won as our farmer-tanned arms hung cockily over the galvanized edge. Ahh...

...and then there was the smell of the creek. Indian Creek. We slid down its banks -- over, and over, and over again, my sister and I -- stripping ourselves and also its brome covered banks. My mother dreaded our muddy maraud home. These things, these memories, are an inheritance. Juxtaposed to material heirlooms, they are the wonder within the wardrobe. The receivers of such magic, such worlds, are the ones who leave....the explorers, the adventurers, the ones who don't want to settle down, the ones who aren't content with being read a description -- they want to write it. They are the storytellers, the ones who are curious --what is out the front door -- even though they know that crossing the step of stability is a dangerous business. They are the ones who name a foreign peninsula New Amsterdam, a settlement in Nebraska Gothenburg, and their wanderings across that threshold is why we have myriad Yorks, Cambridges, and Hamburgs. They found familiarity in the foreign. And though thresholds, rivers, ranges, and countries are crossed, home is never lost. It is always carried with... ...found in a line of trees, a donut pond, and the feeling I get driving home on cow pasture lined highways. These things I seek. They infected me early, and I am a lifelong carrier. Consciously or sub.....I will leave that to you, reader, to decide. But wherever I go, I recreate bits of home. I find it. It is why I have a clock above my kitchen sink, why I sing old Baptist hymns when no one is around, why I don't hang curtains on my windows, why I kick piles of horse shit to "freshen" the air, and why I love being above treeline......I crave Midwest horizons. Ironically, now I live in a canyon. But we adventurous ones, we always find home. And, in the most curious of places -- there are always reminders. Even, in a canyon compassed view. And even, in the smell of a farm pond...

Erin Block, Mysteries Internal

Pella Lakes are Waking Up!

The six public-access lakes in the Pella Crossing park and trail system may be the best in or around the Boulder/Longmont area to find decent warm water fishing. The lakes are strictly catch & release and they are heavily monitored, so it really keeps the "5-gallon-bucket-families" at bay. Atrás, cabrones! You can fish flies or artificial lures (NO BAIT!) and you are allowed to put in with a float tube/belly boat...although bank fishing is very easy. There are well worn hiking paths connecting all six lakes. I have landed Largemouth and Smallmouth bass, bluegill, crappie, yellow perch and channel catfish. It is a great place to take the "ankle biters" as well. There is a well maintained restroom and the coves are full of very willing young brim at a very easy casting range. And, they will gobble up a small trout nymph fished on 3x tippet...good times, good times... Find Pella Lakes!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Petticoats & Two-Bit Hookers (Big Thompson River…and the long last week of March)

I woke up the other morning with a crazy notion. I had a weekday off and the fishing had been good and the reports filtering though the fly shop were getting more and more upbeat. People were getting out and getting fish. Spring was here. I had eaten dinner the night before on an old wooden dining table with a glass vase brimming with bright yellow daffodils. A beautiful woman served me the first asparagus of the year and I was told that the old wooden table was her parent’s first. And she admitted the flowers were poached from a university garden. Shhhhhhh….! So, my dreams were of spring things, inundated with bright colors, romance and greenery and high lakes and cutthroat trout… And I awoke with the idea set in my mind to fish Lily Lake! Baaaa! Too early yet, you may have said…warning me that my imagination had gotten the best of me. But my exuberance would have convinced you. I hear Manchester and Estes are both ice free! Lily is BOUND to be clear! We would be the first of the year to fish it, I told my new fishing partner. She smiled. Sure I knew what I was talking about.
But, I did not. Got way ahead of myself. After the drive through Boulder, to Lyons and up RT 7 only to find Lily Lake under a thick layer of ice. We sat in my truck with the heater on gazing out over the white lake. Damn. A very small section was thawed…right out in the middle. Taunting us. It would have been kinder if the whole thing was frozen. But no, just a glimpse. Dearest Lily hiking up her skirt and petticoat…showing just the top of one gartered stocking. Only for a second. Silly, silly man! A small car with out-of-state plates idled next to us in the gravel parking lot. It was full of young travelers. Tourists. Spring breakers. Yes, only me and four dumb underclassmen from Kansas State thought this would be a good idea. Nice. My would-be fishing partner sat beside me, rummaging in her backpack for bottled water and a granny smith (the practical woman’s version of “patiently” filing her long fingernails).

Well, there was always the Big Thompson. Yup. Old reliable. Besides, Estes Park and the Thompson was just a few more miles up RT 7 and the flows had been low (about 20 cfs). Some clouds had moved in, it was cool…proper beginnings to the Blue Winged Olive recipe. Just add the two of us, a few JuJubees and a Two Bit Hooker and we got ourselves a party!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rob Kolanda (Fly Tying Demo at Rocky Mountain Anglers)

Saturday March 26. Silver and Bronze medalist with the US National Fly Fishing Team, Rob Kolanda is a successful competition fly fisherman who is a winner of the America's Cup and a two time winner of the South Platte Carp Slam. Many of Mr. Kolanda's fly fishing achievements can be attributed, in great part, to his ability to produce innovative fly designs, including the Bellyache Minnow and Yankee Buzzer. We will have food and coffee on from 11:00 'till 1:00...see ya'll there!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Deep & Slow (for bass)

March is such a tease. The weather is so nice and the clothing so scant (college town) it has you convinced it is almost summer already. You start having silly notions about taking your shirt off outside (impromptu gun show) and digging to the bottom of your pack for that top-water frog you tied last year, but haven't seen in six months. Then you put you hand in the water and come crashing back to reality. It ain’t summer yet! Not even close. The water is cooooooold, boy! Wooooweee! The bass are living in it…and they’re cold blooded. So, they are moving a bit slow. Their food is lethargic, as well, so keep your leaders long, your casts out toward deep water and let the fly sink. Your retrieve should be painfully slow…test the limits of you’re A.D.D. It may also be a good idea to keep your flies small and dark for the early season bass. I have good luckcrawling a #6 Black Leech Backstabber this time of year. The hook point on this fly rides point up, so you can get away with fishing it slow on the bottom without fear of hanging it up on rocks and roots…

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Holy Chart Fire, Batman!

Business at the fly shop slowed down a tad just before closing yesterday. I was tiding up the counters, preoccupied...then I hear my friend Matt Powell snickering from the fly tying section. It got my attention. He is a year or two into high school, but I have a very juvenile sense of humor...
So, we stood around and giggled over a $3 pack of Wapsi rubber legs. Must have been a long day and low blood sugar. But we could not decide if CHART/FIRE ORANGE was the color descriptor, or an awful experience one has on public transportation the morning after extremely spicy Indian food...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Small Carp, Small Water (Best Bet, for now!)

The best bet, that is, if you are a carp fisherman. If not, well...go have fun with your trout. I hear the rainbows spawn this time of year. Get yourself some plastic beads and toothpicks and find the nearest redds. (Dream Stream in on as of two days ago) I don't care to see the photos, though. But if you are self-depreciating enough to chase carp...I got good news and bad. Good news is that these sunny days have warmed the water up just enough to get some carp moving. Bad news is that you may have to be a bit creative in choosing the waters you are looking in. Most of the larger reservoirs are not going to do you any favors. If you know any out-of-the-way urban know, the tiny ones where ya get asked "Are there really fish in there? Or are you just practicing?" Usually just baby carp around, but there is at least an outside chance they will take a fly. The other day I was doing my local carp rounds and found a bunch of young ones (Samantha's Pond, for the benefit of only two known carp heads who live near said pond). But I had to get a fly in front of about 20 fish before one finally ate. I guess they aren't used to spooking up lively food from the slop yet. Water is still too cold. Give it a week or so and the leeches, crayfish and dragonfly nymphs will be more energetic...and the carp will respond better to a fly.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Boulder Creek in Town

Boulder feels like it has turned the corner...into spring. Sure, anyone who has lived on the Front Range of Colorado for more than a couple years knows that it is all just an illusion...we are gonna get DUMPED on at any time! Then we will all snivel and whine. So enjoy the sunny side of March! And enjoy the extra hours of light at the end of the day! I can walk out behind the fly shop at lunch and catch a few browns any given day, now. Right here in town. The flows are really low (about 15cfs) Check current Boulder Creek Flows . I have seen some rising fish every day. Mainly midge adults on top, but an occasional BWO mayfly. But small. The best producing fly for me this past week (while fishing in town) has been an old BC standard...#20 black Zebra Midge pupa.

Best times to fish Boulder Creek

Best flies to use on Boulder Creek

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Meat Hunter

I was born a meat hunter. Only as an adult have I been born again Catch & Release. I grew up in the Midwest in a family that did not have a lot of money. It was no Grapes of Wrath, but me, my shotgun and hand-me-down fiberglass fly rod did play an essential part in feeding the family. I mention this childhood of fish killing and rabbit slaying only to dampen the blow of what I am about to say.

Years ago I moved to Colorado for three main reasons...intellectual asylum, mountains and to escape STOCKER TROUT! Many friends of mine back in Ohio and Pennsylvania relied almost entirely on published stocking reports to get a leg up on local trout fishing. Some of the more hard core would even camp out near a bridge waiting to be the first to have a crack at the disorientated fish once the stocking truck had left! So, if you are new to Colorado, or are planning a fishing vacation out this not call or e-mail me asking what the "limit" on trout is out here. We have WILD trout here. They are beautiful and plentiful...and we want to keep it that way. My livelihood depends on it!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Trial by Fire (Just ain't fair...this love, war and fly fishing)

Wisdom is the only constructive result of a lifetime of dumb decisions. Or something like that. My memory is paraphrasing some motivational poster I once saw. But I get the gist. Yeah…I get the gist. I have learned some hard lessons in life the long way. I had to figure them out for myself. Had to touch the flame. Mother said it was hot and it would burn my finger. And it did. Every time. But listening to advise and taking it are not the same. Even as a toddler I guess I was striving to be a wise man, not an obedient one. Besides, now I knew about fire. Then, as an eighteen-year-old Army recruit, my father—a Vietnam War vet—advised I not volunteer for anything. Lay low, aim low (M14s had wicked recoil on full auto, I guess) and stay alive. So, naturally, I took point at every opportunity, donned every parachute offered me and willingly let Uncle Sam try to kill me very quickly and creatively. But I survived and got discharged a bit smarter then when I went in. Not that much smarter, but I did leave knowing something about loyalty and brotherhood…and the dangers of mixing high doses of testosterone with a crate of hand grenades. Then I got involved with a women—possibly the one thing more dangerous than an anti-personal mine. She convinced me to marry her and did her best to emotionally neuter me. It got messy. Like a back alley hysterectomy. But, I escaped again. Banged up and baggage riddled…but free and wiser. I knew some key things, now, beyond any doubt. I knew that fire was hot, friendly fire was not, that patriotism was just a fancy word for faith (and both were just swinging pocket watches held by those much larger and richer than me) and I knew that when dealing with women, at the first sign of a trap RUN FOR THE HILLS!

Easier said the done. Run for the hills. A new girl pays attention to you, pretends to like the same things you do. Sweet…she even wants to fly fish! So you ignore the red flags. Oh, of course they start out small. Minor little things—ice fishing tip-ups popping up way out in the lake ice. You look away, then refocus. And there they are…little red flags waving around for every soul to see. But easy to look away from. You ignore her family. You ignore her politics. Then one rainy day you open the door of your pickup for her and scurry around to the driver’s side and she, as usual, doesn’t lean over to pop the lock. You stand there in the wet parking lot fumbling with your keys and it hits you. Pow! She ain’t for real. She doesn’t want you…she just wants you around. A rusty old Victor leg hold in the form of female validation. Run for the hills, dude! RUN!
So, it was the situation I found myself in once again. I meet a beautiful young woman who falls for me seemingly as hard as I am falling for her. She is amazing and vivacious and tells stories better than I do. And I am a fisherman! She is single and lives up in the mountains. She has a dog who, like the dog of my father’s youth, is named Banjo. And she plays one, too. And her Patagonia fleece smells faintly of wood smoke. And there is a red canoe upside down behind her shed. And I stood dumbstruck beside my pickup when she leaned over to the driver’s side and swung my door open for the first time. Dumbstruck…and in love. But, I am not naïve. Not anymore. I know that when things seem too good to be true, they probable are. I know that just because it is quiet does not mean it is safe. Maybe too quiet? (Yes, soldier…you’re a step-and-a-half into the kill zone!) So, the intense winter romance had to be tested. Held and trialed by fire. We had to go fishing together.
“Where are you taking her?” friends asked. “Down to Boulder Creek?” A likely and easy place to begin. But certainly not a true test. “Goin’ carpin’,” I said. Goin’ carpin’.

My friends shook their heads and muttered foul phrases of disapproval. The weekend was going to be full of sunny days, but much too windy. And way too early in the season for carp. And carp on the fly? For the first foray into fishing together? Ha! Trial by fire, baby…trial by fire. Best I expose this woman to my uglier side as soon as possible. Remove the scenic, rugged-romantic image of a fly fishing guide. Lead her into the knee-deep rancid slop and put her grill-to-grill with the barbuled face of my other true love. See if she was for real. So, there we stood…together beside the water. I held out a box of my best carp flies and had her select the one she wanted. And tie it on. Then pointed to the shallow mud flats. The discolored water. The dorsal fins briefly breaking the water’s surface. Those are feeding fish! Do your worst to them, woman! Do your worst!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Best 5 Flies for Boulder Creek

In my opinion! These are the only flies I feel that I need. I have spent many countless hours and days on my home water and have been very discerning about the flies I carry and use. Confidence and productivity. And these are the five flies I would have no problem restricting myself to on Boulder Creek...Year-Round. However, I am only one of many local trout bums and fly fishing guides in this town who feel that Boulder Creek is theirs and that they know her best. And every one of these guys is passionate and adamant about what the best five flies are. I found this out when I asked a handful of the guys around the fly shop. What was really interesting was that although every list was different, there were definitely some reoccurring themes and fly names. And, as I looked closer, I realized all the lists were essentially the same...just differently named.

These are the some of the best fishermen on the creek...the guys who land twelve trout in the time it takes most mortals to string a 4wt. If you notice the same fly showing up several times, best bet is to add it to your arsenal. So, here are a few of the opinions from the opinionated...mine first!
Jay Zimmerman
(1) #20 Black Zebra Midge pupa
(2) #22 Para Adams dry fly
(3) #18 BH Flashback Pheasant Tail nymph
(4) #14 Clown Shoe Caddis dry fly
(5) #10 Black Pine Squirrel Leech

Brian Harris(1) #10 Black Woolly Bugger
(2) #20 Black Tungsten-bead Zebra Midge pupa
(3) #14 Yellow Stimulator dry fly
(4) #16 Pink San Juan Worm
(5) #20 Blue Poison Tung

Phil Iwane(1) #20 Parachute Adams dry
(2) #20 Flashback Pheasant Tail nymph
(3) #22 RS2
(4) #16 Elk Hair Caddis
(5) #18 Buckskin

Randy Hicks(1) #16 Parachute Adams dry
(2) #14 Peacock PMX dry
(3) #16 Black Foam Beetle
(4) #18 Rainbow Worrier
(5) #12 Black Pine Squirrel Leech

Will Beggs(1) #16 Para Adams dry
(2) #20 Rainbow Warrior
(3) #14 Pink San Juan Worm
(4) #10 Royal PMX dry
(5) #20 Black Zebra Midge

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Brandon Matsumoto Reports from the Big Thompson

This was just one of the big fish I caught on the Big Thompson River the other day. When I got there I took a look at the water. Nothing at first. Then I saw a fish that I thought was a log. Catching him would've been a great way to start a day, but I spooked him. I kept fishing. A few suckers. Then some pretty rainbows. Caught some nice small browns using a size 22 zebra midge. Then it was the end of the day. I saw the big one again. I put on a rust colored Slump Buster streamer. After about 20 minutes I hooked him. When I got him into the net, it was about a 19 to 20 incher. It was an awesome day!

John Barr's Slump Buster!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Three Awsome Fly Fishing Films on the Big Screen!

These three films may be some of the best to come out this past year...and none of them are featured in the Fly Fishing Film Tour! Not sure why... But, anyway. In Denver at the Oriental Theater on April 7, 2011 at 7 p.m. I have a stack of tickets here at the fly shop (Rocky Mountain Anglers, 1904 Arapahoe Ave. Boulder, CO...303-447-2400) There will be some hot raffle action I am told. Also good beer! Tickets are $15 day of the showing, but I can sell them here at the shop for $12. Oh, and btw...they will be showing THE ENTIRE FILMS! Not just trailers. But, you can check out the trailers below if you like. Also, check out the write-up for this event by Tim Romano: Click Here!

Buy Tickets Online!

Back to Boulder Creek!

Boulder Creek is low and clear (about 18cfs) but fishing very well! The water has gotten to about 40 degrees and the midges are out almost every day. The trout are feeding and often looking up! I have been doing well with a #20 midge pupa dropped about 18 inches behind a #18 Bluewing Olive dry fly. If the glare on the water is to severe, I keep the same dropper, but switch to a larger, more visible dry...such as a #16 Caddis Variant or #18 Clown Shoe Caddis dry. Most of my fish caught in town are on the pupa. Because the water is so low, be cautious and look for fish to be stacked up in the deeper water.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Art of the Grip & Grin: How to take better fishing photos

We fishermen have been attempting to capture the memory of our catch since the beginning of mankind. We are no longer left to paint our prey on cave walls. Since the invention of the camera the perfect “Grip & Grin” photo has evolved to a true art. We want to capture all aspects of that great moment in time. We want to be reminded of our mood, our choice of equipment for the day, our surroundings, the weather…and of course our prize! The fish. This article will help you take better fishing photos. Your friends may even thank you.

Always be prepared to either take a magazine cover photo, or be the one on the cover. Dress like you know how to fish. You don’t have to always be clean shaven and snazzed to the nines, but a haircut and nice shirt are a great idea. Always fish with a partner who also carries a decent camera, knows how to use it and is willing to stop casting and actually use it. If your favorite fishing partner is lacking in any of these departments, forward this article to them! Also, if a rifle without ammo is just a club (as they say in the Army) then a camera without film is just a rock. Charge it up the night before and be sure the memory card has space available!

Stop and Poke at Bugs
If the fishing action is slow, take time out to smell the flowers (and then photograph them). Take plenty of shots of the local flora and fauna. Close up photos of the aquatic bugs hatching on the stream that day are always of interest to fly fishermen. These photos are always great to have as reference during a long winter at the tying bench, or if you are ever needing material for an entomology presentation. Choose a camera with a good macro setting.

Postcard Moments
Pay close attention to your fishing partner during your day on the water. Never pass on the opportunity to take that “postcard pic”. Few photos capture a sense of place better, and these are usually the photos that other fishermen enjoy the most. The person in the photo is only a small element of the overall scene and is often unidentifiable, thus allowing the viewer to impose himself into the scene. Paying attention to your partner also enables you to be jonnie-on-the-spot when he/or she eventually hooks into that trophy fish.

Bent Rods
Do your best to capture the action and thrill of the fight. This is one of the hardest photos to get perfect, because it often happens quickly and neither you nor your fisherman has much control over the situation. The number one detail that must always be featured prominently in a Fighting Shot is the bent rod. The entire rod needs to be in the frame (ideally silhouetted against a light background) and both fighters need to be present. The fisherman is easy—get at least his upper torso in the frame—but the fish is harder. Rarely will you be able to snap the shot just as the fish is jumping, but attempt to capture the point where the line enters the water. If the water is clear enough to see the shape of the fish, or if it is splashing on the surface, then your photo will be even better.
During a lull in a long fight encourage your fisherman to put the fish on the reel (reel in excess fly line). Some line hanging loose over a knee or rock looks cool, but 40 feet of it wrapped around cattails and wading boots looks ridiculous. There will not be time to reel in this line once the fish is landed.
Also, during the fight the photographer should be formulating a game plan. Where is the sun? The sun should always be at the photographers back. What will make the most interesting background? We want to get a feel for were the fish was caught. Will this photo desperately need some color because the fisherman is wearing drab clothing? Will I need the flash on or off? Have I turned off the macro from the shot of the Green Drake mayfly? The camera should be ready and the photographer in the proper position.

The Money Shot The ultimate Grip & Grin…the money shot…the photo your buddy will have blown up, framed and hung in the living room. Consistently getting great shots has much to do with proper teamwork and communication. If you and your fishing partner are properly equipped and prepared to assume either the roll of Fisherman or Photographer at a moments notice you will have success. As the fisherman, your responsibilities are to mind the fly line, remove your hood (if you’re wearing a jacket) and tell the photographer where you would like to land the fish. Once you land the fish your only tasks are to keep the fish clean (no mud or leaves) keep your hands off the photo side of the fish and SHUT UP. Once the fish is out of the water the clock is ticking…listen to everything your photographer tells you (he is now in complete control). Besides, we want to see your smile, not your silly “oh-face”.

Note: The photo of a fish of a lifetime is never worth the life of a fish of a lifetime. Treat the fish as though it were your first born…and get it back into the water within seconds!

More spots, less knuckles!

As the photographer your moment to shine begins when the fish is brought to hand. You should only take enough time to get three quick shots before the fish is released…so think fast and act faster. Check to see that the face of your fisherman is not in shadow. Have him turn or even move into the sun. Reach out and adjust his collar or lift up the bill of his ball cap. Whoop it up a bit if you have to…get your fisherman to show some emotion! Leave plenty of border, you always want room to crop later on. NEVER scalp your fisherman! Get all of his head in the frame. Try to get the fly rod and reel in the photo. You may have to prop the rod up against your subject, or stick it under his arm. Make sure no mud or leaves are on the fish…this was the fisherman’s job, but now he should be looking at you, not the fish. Lastly, encourage him to hold the fish up and out. He will want the memory to be 2 inches bigger, not 2 inches smaller!

Don’t Forget the Fish
Take photos of the fish, not just the fisherman. This becomes more important if the catch happens to be less than gigantic. The fish may still be a memorable trophy…a 14 inch brown trout from your favorite small stream taken on a dry fly, or a breathtaking little cutthroat from a high altitude lake most people never dare hiking to. In these cases it becomes important to focus on the fish. Only resort to the “another fish in the grass” shot if you are alone. Remember we want the human element in these photos. Know the difference between a photo of a fish and a fishing photo! Also, second only to a human face a human hand exhibits the most personality—and as Martha Stewart says, “That’s a good thing.”

And…The Release!
Never pass on the opportunity at a release shot. The criteria for a good Release Shot is a bit different than your typical Grip & Grin or Fighting Shot. Similar to the Fish in Hand shot, the main focus should be the fish, but the entire “personality” of the fisherman should be present. We should only see the important parts of the person, but feel as though we can see all of him. We should not notice that all that is in the photo is the forearm and side of the face. We can see the emotion and the action. After all, this is when the fisherman is letting go…he is relinquishing control of the fish as well as the center of attention. For the same reasons it is also important that the fish be partially in the water, but not so far as to obscure the open eye of the fish. We want its personality, too!

Awful Photo: Why? Head of fisherman is scalped. Photo is cocked awkwardly, which wouldn’t normally be a big deal (straighten it later on the computer) but the head is scalped so we can’t afford to loose anymore during the straightening possess. Fisherman is wearing drab clothing (hard to always wear a bright “photo shirt” when stalking carp) but the photographer didn’t bother to capture some interesting background color. And the fisherman is scowling and looks like a homeless man (it is me in this photo, by the way). I certainly could use a shave, haircut and attitude adjustment. I am doing a good job displaying the fish, though…

Awesome Photo: Why? Perfect melding of fish and fisherman. This photo oozes a primal feeling of “I am Man and I caught fish!” We see it was a sunny day, blue skies…sleeves rolled up, must have been warm. Behind him is the cool, undercut bank of the lake—now we have a small sense of place. The fisherman is totally stoked (casting all day before this big wiper struck!) We can see almost all of the fish (wow!) and we can even see the rod and reel lying naturally across his knees. Nice.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Pat Dorsey at Rocky Mountain Anglers (Tomorrow!)

For our next fly tying demonstration, Rocky Mountain Anglers has invited Colorado native and South Platte River expert Pat Dorsey to present effective fly patterns for tail water fishing. Teaming with large quantities of aquatic insects, tail waters present the perfect environment for trout to grow at staggering rates. Mr. Dorsey's presentation, Saturday March 12th from 11am to 1pm, will examine the challenges of identifying the flies that are most effective in such environments. So before you turn your clocks forward this weekend, come enjoy the fly tying demonstration and take advantage of our special discounts on tying materials.

Pat is a professional guide and South Platte River expert who has designed many popular patterns including the Paper Tiger, Medallion Midge, and the famed Black Beauty. In addition to being a renowned fly designer, Mr. Dorsey is also a talented writer who is the Southwest Field Editor for Fly Fisherman Magazine and author of A Fly Fishing Guide to the South Platte River and Tying and Fishing Tailwater Flies.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Just Get Out and Fish!

You look longingly out the window of your office...and can feel the warmth of the sun. Your behind the BFI dumpster smoke breaks are lasting longer (gone are the frantic 3-puffers "shit it's cold!"). And you almost drove into the median this morning as you were trying to peer over the guard rail as you were traveling down the highway at 65mph. Yes...there was a kid fishing that pond along the highway that you still have no idea who owns. Or is it public? And, yes, the kid was skipping school. Probably getting a D- in math...gonna make minimum wage for most of his life (or work in a fly shop). But he had a killer day on the bass pond. He most likely felt a bit sorry for you as you drove by, lurching and fidgeting with your silly neck tie.
So, is this you? Yup, thought so. Now stop wandering into your local tackle store or fly shop saying the same dumb shit..."Well gettin' about time, huh?" IT HAS BEEN TIME! Take a day off if you have to. Just get OUTSIDE!

The bass fishing is beginning to get good... The water is still a bit cool in most of our local ponds and lakes, so be sure to stock up on the proper cold water bass flies. Look for flies that will sink fast (bass are holding deep still) and have a ton of good, life-like movement when fished slowly. I like to have some Meat Whistles and Geezus Lizards in my box this time of year. Both are tied on jig hooks, which allows them to ride hook up on the bottom.

Underwater shot of a Geezus Lizard in action!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Micro-Streamers for Early Season Bass

"Sure can't wait for Spring and bass fishing!" How many times do you hear your fishing buddies say that as it is dumping snow in the first week of March? "About a month away" they will tell you. Bullshit. Largemouth bass will feed under the ice...they just move slower.

Patrick Knackendoffel gave me a call the other day and wanted to go catch a bass or two. I thought he was being a bit premature, but humored him anyway. He picked me up and we then preceded to drive around Boulder County looking for open water. None of the ponds he knew of were clear, so we went a little "Mike Iaconelli" and drove into the city of Boulder and found some culverts and drainage ponds with some open water. Most were only half iced off, but we would cast a tiny baitfish fly onto the ice then pull it off the ice and fish it as slow as possible. And we got bass!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Spring on Boulder Creek

In mid March when the water temperature reaches 40 degrees the trout will move out of their winter holding lies, spread out in the creek and begin feeding more actively. From this point on the water temperature will continue to rise. Once the temperature reaches the mid 40’s and the flows are still low (25-35 cfs) the “spring window” officially opens…expect great fishing!
During the spring window on Boulder Creek there can be some very good fishing, but it can be fickle. The fishing can shut down or turn on at any moment during the course of the day. Even the slightest fluctuation in water temperature can affect the trout. The fishing will improve noticeably for every increase in temperature from 44 degrees up to 47 degrees. On sunny days the water temperature will steadily increase and so will the quality of fishing. You can use this knowledge to plan the time you begin your day on the creek, or where on the creek you choose to fish. If the fishing is slow, take a temp and if it is still in the lower forties you can relocate farther downstream where the water may be a few degrees warmer. This can be the case if you follow the creek downstream until it levels out, or a diversion canal removes some of the water.
One year the spring window opened a week late, because the March flows were high so the temperatures didn’t rise as quickly as they usually do. The fishing was crazy good the entire first week of April…then we had two days of freezing rain followed by a day of snow. The water temperature dropped from 45 degrees down to 32 degrees and the trout tried to bury themselves under the gravel! But one hot, sunny day later the creek was all the way up to 49 degrees. The unfortunate part of this antidote is that by the time all the trout recovered enough to return the fishing to its former glory the pre-runoff began (the steady increase that precedes the spring runoff) and the fishing didn’t get that good again for another three months.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Let's talk carp flies...

The evolution of carp flies has been a slow process. We have seen a couple carp specific patterns launched into the commercial market several years ago...and they have remained there, filling the one or two designated "carp" bins of local fly shops. This has usually been enough to appease the majority of fishermen. But now, with the rapid gain in popularity, there has been a serious scramble for reliable and super productive carp flies. I have seen (and fished) many great flies tied by local carpers that would fit the bill...and some of these patterns are FINALLY becoming available commercially. My not-so-humble contribution to this new insurgence of carp flies is the Backstabber. I take a couple hundred fish every year on the leech version alone. I tie mine on a #6 Gamakatsu SL45 with 1/8 inch black Dazl-Eyes tied onto the top of the hook shank to counterbalance the fly...this forces it to ride hook up. Use SLF Hellgramite dubbing on the body, two tufts of black marabou as the wing and dark olive (or brown) soft hackle tied in at the front. These are available through Umpqua Feather Merchants. So...throw me a bone, show me some love and bug your local fly shop until they agree to stock 'em!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Never-Ending Stream (A Tribute to Fly-Tying Form and Function)

The first line of the introduction to this book is simple and understated. “Fly-tying ideas are like an ever-changing stream, constantly flowing and picking up momentum from various sources.” And the concept for this book is simple. This book is a paper and ink tribute to all the flies and fly tiers who influenced, or somehow contributed to the delinquency of Scott Sanchez. So, truth be told, it is a somewhat egocentric history lesson for those of us nerdy enough to care about who tied what and when the first Humpy dry fly was used on the Snake River. I don’t even know for sure if this is a good book…because I am definitely the target audience. For much the same reason I have no idea if Bad Santa was a great movie, or a complete dud. Deep in every fiber of my being I absolutely believe that on Christmas getting black-out drunk and urinating on an elf is the most awesome thing ever. See? I was the target audience. Same with this book. I have been geeking out about fly catalogs for as long as I can remember. I would leave Victoria’s Secrets untouched in the mailbox and hoard a stack of old Hank Roberts’s under my childhood mattress as though they were culvert-rescued porn. So, yeah…I own a copy.

Scott Sanchez, Pruett Publishing Company $34.95 Buy a Copy on Amazon for $25! Or, read a book review written by some guys who apparently know how to wright proper book reviews ...Click Here!