Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Warm Water Fishing is Heating Up!

Many of the rivers here in Colorado are high and flush with runoff, making for poor trout fishing, so many anglers are turning to the warm water venues for the time being. I spend most of the Spring season chasing the non-trouts regardless of the flows. However, some of my favorite carp reservoirs have been taking on so much cold run-off water that the local carp fishing has been put on ice, so to speak. This forces me to switch it up a bit and search out some of my other favorite game fish...

We had several items on the agenda this morning--the most important was to find some fish. I did have a brand new eight weight rod that needed to be dirtied up and Eva (my sister) is in town and anxious to try her hand at pike fishing. Erin and I figured we could take care of both of these chores at the same time! The three of us rose well before dawn, with rods already strung (and locked in a spare room away from the cats) and assaulted the line (of cattails).

The water had gotten a bit too warm for the pike fishing to be fantastic, but we all landed a few. I managed to scrounge out a pretty decent bass once the sun came up, which was the highlight of my morning. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Brown Water Got Ya Blue?

Runoff is getting ready to kick into the serious gear any day now. What did you expect with massive snow pack and hot May days? The Arkansas has been fishing fantastic...until right...now. Blown. Sorry. Now you have no more excuses. You have been threatening to go out and learn to carp fish for a couple years now, but have never quite gotten around to it. Stop making noise about it and actually do something about it. They get big, will test your skills and tackle...I promise. But, if you are too scared, that's cool. You will look like a first-year hack I guarantee it, but you will be twice the fly angler by the end of runoff. 
Here are just two of the several nice common carp we landed on Sunday. All sight fishing. Took plenty of backing (seriously, when was the last time you saw your backing while fishing here in Colorado?) Some of these big guys even jumped a few times!

Friday, May 2, 2014


When I fished commercially we called any species that was caught unintentionally while hunting for a certain target species bycatch. I worked as a halibut longliner in the waters around Kodiak and Afognak Islands and the primary bycatch was grey cod. The cod is a nasty fish with soft white meat that turns into the a stinky paste-like substance when handled. If you have ever ordered fish-n-chips at a restaurant here in Colorado that is what you ate, sorry to break it to ya... Gutted cod went for fifty cents a pound back then so it was pretty easy and lucrative, as halibut was only going for about $2.00 a pound. The other bycatch (ling cod, eel, octopus and what-not) was just turned around and used as bait on the next mornings set. 

But that was another lifetime ago...

Now I am a born-again catch and release fly angler. I guess it is atonement for my past, not that I have any guilt. I still hit Wholefoods in Boulder on Fridays when the fresh fish is coming in. I may not be a saved man, just a hypocrite. None the less, it is funny to listen to the landlocked young blokes behind the seafood counter spout forth handed-down knowledge and strut about in their very new looking orange bibs and Xtra Tufs. I smile and say nothing as I am an asshole, but certainly not a d-bag.

Now my bycatch is whatever I did not set out to find, which is ever-changing. I do my best to mix things up as much as possible to keep things interesting. I try to let the season and the weather dictate what I do, with the hope that this will increase my odds of a good day. It is my way of "standing on a soft seventeen", but like in Blackjack this only increases the odds slightly. We gamblers and fishermen put great stock in slight odds.  Today Erin, Banjo and I went on the search for some largemouth bass, but after a few hours of driving about and checking on (casting blindly into) some of our favorite spots, we were coming up bass-less. There were some juvenile carp around that ate willingly, but that was bycatch. It is funny, when actively carping we call it getting "bass blocked" when a bass zips over and steals your carp fly. It is usually a bummer, especially if the spoiled cast was made to a good-sized carp. After awhile we decided that bass fishing was just not in the cards (maybe the water was still too cold?) and made the full mental switch to the pursuit of carp.

It doesn't take a genius to predict what happened next. Damn bass.