Thursday, April 23, 2009

Gear Reviews

Loon UV Wader Repair This is a gear review for the Loon UV wader repair. It was going to be another story about leaky waders and their never-ending inevitability…but ended up sounding like a late-night infomercial. So, I scraped the story and just went ahead and wrote the damn gear review. 

Umpqua UPG Fly Boxes  No. Get your head out of the bag of ‘shrooms. You ain’t in school anymore…or passed out on a dock in the Bahamas. You are a respectable individual with a family and maybe a bed-wetting junior-you in the back room. This is a gear review…serious stuff, so sit down, put the beers and inflatable pig away and pay attention. Umpqua Feather Merchants has a new line of UPG fly boxes. My favorite is the “Day Tripper”—a 4.25 by 6 by 1.5 inch, do-it-all box...

Lamson Reels The first time the Waterworks/Lamson reel company made me look like a jack ass was last spring. I was in Steamboat Springs fishing private water with some guide friends of mine.

Flex Spex (One Small Great Idea Amongst a Herd of Idiocy) …let me tell you about one man (and his daughter) making a simple, but very cool new gadget for us fishermen. Flex Spex he calls them. Sure, there are a ton of different magnifying lenses available already...

Also, Moffit Fishing Systems, Vibram Wading Soles, Monic Fly Lines and Gateway Hooks are reviewed here.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Flyfishing for Smallmouth Bass (Bellyache Minnow)

Smallmouth bass off the rocks! April is a great time to find these hard fighting fish in close to shore at most of our larger reservoirs. Rob Kolanda likes to throw one of his infamous Bellyache Minnows on a long leader. These flies are tied with a large tungsten belly weight, giving them a real minnow shape, but more importantly they will sink quickly to get down over any drop-offs just off the edge of rocks and rip rap...deadly for bass and walleye! I went out with him the other day and he had two good smallmouth in hand before I could finish my first cast and retrieve! All I could do was give him the finger from down the bank and then try to butter him up in order to get a fly from him...jerk.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Walk softly...and carry a 6 weight

Once we have a few warm, sunny days in a row we will begin seeing all warm water fish start moving into the shallower water. Look for bass holding tight to cover, sometimes they will be buried into some real thick stuff along the banks. Move slowly, wade only if you have to and use weighted, sub-surface flies.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Big carp on the fly!

Checked out all the local lakes looking for carp on the move the other day. Saw a few in the afternoon, but was having a lot of blank looks. As a last resort I stumbled down to the St. Vrain and looked around. Found one pool with a few active fish, but the water was low, cold and the carp were spooky. I gingerly cast to several fish only to spook them as soon as I moved my rod to cast. So I backed off, got low in the brush and waited. Just before dusk I saw the shadow of a big fish (over 20 pounds!) moving up in the pool and I let the current take my black leech Backstabber carp fly out to her....
She ate it as soon as it got to her! Then I had to stand up and crank down hard with my 6 weight to keep her out of the log jam on the other side of the pool. The commotion spooked all the other carp in the pool, but it was only light enough to snap a couple photos and usher her back into deeper water.

Nice save at the end of the day!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Fly Fishing For Bass (Directory)

Read The Story Private School Bass (Versus Public) Behaviorally speaking, there are two distinctly different types of largemouth bass: private water bass and public water bass. The private water fishing is as incredibly fun and as insanely easy as anywhere in the country I have ever fished. The public water bass, though...

 Read The Story Damsel in Distress So, I switch to a damsel dry fly. A small bass zips up to it in shallow water…eyeballs my fly for a second…then darts away. What the fuck? Fourth fly I tie on is a tiny (by bass fishing standards) light olive damsel nymph. I make a long cast out onto the pond and see three separate wakes making a b-line for the end of my fly line. But no strike. Screw it. I strip the fly once, fast…BANG! Fish on!....

 Read The Story Warmer Water Brings Better Bass We finally got more than three days in a row of nice, sunny weather. This is what we have been waiting for…whatever it takes to get the local lakes up into the mid 50’s. I took water temps at some of my favorite carp and bass lakes yesterday and most were hovering nicely around 55-56 degrees. These are the water temps I usually am waiting for in the early season. They signify the onset of potentially good warm water fishing...

 Read The Story Night Fishing For Largemouth Bass The biggest hurdles to overcome with any night fishing are the casting and line management. All your casts will have to be done by feel. There is no turning your head to watch how your back cast is doing...

 Read The Story Dog Day Bass Bass feed quite heavily in August when the water is the warmest of the year. Bass consume the majority of their food during this time, this is when they grow the most and have to keep up with their heightened metabolism...

Read The Story 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...

Read The Story Rise of the Urban Angler I have heard that the rise of the urban angler has to do with the recent decline in our economy. We can not afford to chase “real” sport fish, so we are forced to catch bass out water hazards and carp out of irrigation ditches. We are poor, awful wretches scrabbling for fish scraps in what amounts to an open sewer. Whatever...

Read The Story 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...

Read The Story Farm Ponds, Horse Shit & Other Memories of the Midwest "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...

Read The Story Topwater Frogs for Colorado Bass Water temperatures will continue to warm up throughout the summer. Early mornings and late evenings can be fantastic opportunities to find largemouth bass eager to crush frog poppers in your local bass water. If watching aggressive fish swallow an amphibian imitation on the end of your leader does not sound fun to you, then I recommend you seek help immediately...

Read The Story Sometimes Ya Just Gotta Swim... How many times can you remember standing along the bank of a river or shore of a lake looking longingly to a run, eddy or far shore wishing you could get a cast that far, or be standing there instead of where you happened to be at the moment? You have just the spot picked out that you believe would be the best place to cast from, too. But, for whatever reason, you can’t get there…

Boulder Creek Directory

Read The Story October on Boulder Creek (A Fall Fishing Report)

Read The Story April Fools On South Boulder Creek We were not the first ones to the gravel pull off, Erin and I. A late start, a stop for coffee and one wrong turn up a dirt road. Oh well. The two guys ahead of us looked decent enough—two fellow fly fishers—not a couple of turds who would likely camp out on fish or high hole us. I’ll get back to this. They were already wadered up and about to hit the trail down to the South Boulder Creek tailwater. I was going to give a good luck wave and see ya down there...

Read The Story 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…
Read The Story Boulder Creek Bugs I have always seen a good diversity of bug life on both Middle and South Boulder Creeks, but this year I am seeing way more. And I don't know what it is...maybe just an accumulation of more than a few great water years in a row. Whatever it is, I'll take it! Last time I was fishing South Boulder Creek I got distracted by the masses of cases caddis...

Read The Story Best Times To Fish Boulder Creek As a result of many years of fishing Boulder Creek and extensive record keeping, I have come up with what I believe to be three "windows of opportunity". These are the best times to be fishing...

Read The Story Shifting Gears Russell Miller and I somehow convinced each other that taking a morning to drive up to Gross Reservoir in search of a big tiger musky was not just a wanton effort in futility. We traded semi-motivational pep talks the night before just to ensure that we would both be willing to wake up early...
Read The Story 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...

Fly Fishing For Carp (Directory)

Read The Story The Carp Addiction What is it about carp that turns respectable trout fishermen into brownliners. Is it the demand for precise casting and the detection of subtle takes telegraphed by body language?

Read The Story Gear Up For Carp! I talk constantly about the strategies and tactics surrounding carp fishing. I do this because there is so much to talk about, yet so much poor advice and misinformation blowing around. I get so carried away with water levels and fish behavior that I tend to ignore the basics…

Read The Story The Best Flies for Carp Carp will take all manner of flies depending on the availability of food sources. At times dry flies imitating mayflies or midges or terrestrials are the ticket. Other times it's subsurface patterns including streamers, nymphs and crustaceans...

Read More on Carp Flies!

Read The Story 30 Tips to Make You a Better Carp Angler A large part of becoming a successful Carp fisherman has to do with being properly prepared and making the right decisions. When someone says “I’m doing everything right but I’m still not catching these fish” our response is you’ve missed something in the planning or execution. We’ve summarized a simple but detailed list of 30 little things that count...

 Read The Story 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...

Read The Story Take Your Medicine Yes, it has been agreed upon...Colorado is beautiful and it is great to live here. But most of us still have to spend the vast majority of our time locked away indoors. Stuck behind a computer or in a cell-like cubicle. Even us in the fly fishing industry...
Read The Story Grassies on Demand (Fly Fishing for Grass Carp!) I made the comment last fall that I would love to get some big grass carp on film. Don Bousquet said, “I got the spot.”
Oh yeah? Big grassies on demand? They ain’t easy ya know…
“Yeah, whatever,” Don assured me. “I’ll call you in the spring.”

Read The Story The Chironomid Solution Rarely will you hear midges or chironomids brought up in a conversation about carp fishing. It is well known among carp fishermen that these fish are willing to eat just about anything. This is why they can survive almost anywhere and be hard to take advantage of. I prefer to use carp flies that mimic larger prey, such as crayfish and leeches. This choice in fly selection has to do a lot with my approach to carp fishing. I like to cover as much water as possible...

Read The Story Rainy Day Carp Rainy day carp don't eat, they just watch ‘till they've seen all the flies you've got. (No...wait, that’s not how the Gordon Lightfoot lyrics go.) Sometimes carp will take a fly even in the least likely conditions. You just never know. If fishing in the rain is your only option, then ya gotta do what ya gotta do...
Read The Story Carpin' From A Canoe They say if you start a small business or build a house together it will either destroy a relationship or make it unbreakable. True. And I would like to add fly fishing for carp from a canoe to that list. 

Read The Story Skinny Water Carp (Late Season) As a fly fisherman I look forward to Autumn. Not because the aspens are changing up the canyon, or the Kokanee or the big browns running up the Dream Stream...

Cottonwood Seed flies for top water carp!

June 18th! This is the time of year for the cottonwood drop. The white, fluffy seed pods have been floating around for a couple of weeks now.

30 Tips to Make You a Better Carp Angler

A large part of becoming a successful Carp fisherman has to do with being properly prepared and making the right decisions. When someone says “I’m
doing everything right but I’m still not catching these fish” our response is
you’ve missed something in the planning or execution. We’ve summarized
a simple but detailed list of 30 little things that count.

1. Never cast to a carp...cast past it if it is rooting around, or out in front of it if it is moving...then draw your fly to the fish.

2. Carry several sizes of your favorite patterns - muddy water allows for bigger imitations sometimes including flash, low clear conditions require smaller more innocent patterns sparse of flash. You need weighted and un-weighted versions of your subsurface flies.

3. Leader of 8 to 10-feet are ideal in most lake or river situations.

4. Always pull or strip set after a carp takes before elevating the rod.

5. You want sunny clear days with minimal wind- fish early or late.

6. Constantly check your leader for knots and abrasions and rebuild it when you find one.

7. What you do after your fly is in the water is more important than your cast! Move the fly in front of the fish making it easy for him to eat!

8. Pick you shots but cast fast! More often than not, the window of opportunity is very short…if you can’t see the fish, you can’t cast to it! If you’ve got time on you side take it waiting for the carp to move to an advantageous position.

9. Always have some line off the reel and your fly in hand…and be ready!

10. Stealth in approach cannot be over emphasized - slow and soft walking.

11. Unless you know where the fish are blind casting is wasted time.

12. The weight of the fly is very important - heavily weighted flies will spook fish in shallow water.

13. Wearing drab clothing is always a smart decision.

14. Hook sets are often relatively intuitive and patience is critical. Many "missed" carp are due to premature hook sets.

15. The distance threshold at which you fish can be quite variable, ranging from 10 to 50 feet. It’s a function of conditions and fish behavior, and can change daily.

16. Have the discipline not to fish to every single carp you see. Pick your battles and focus on specific fish that may be actively feeding or are displaying aggressive body language.

17. Don't fish a leader length, fly size, or rod you are uncomfortable with.

18. Find the head of a feeding fish and cast off to the side in the direction you think he is headed

19. Consider fishing with two flies - use different styles and sizes spread 24 to 30-inches apart.

20. Persistent ultimately pays off, but keep moving and looking for opportune targets.

21. Feeding carp are easiest to present flies to in areas of from one to four feet of still or slow-moving waters.

22. Carp feed most aggressively at water temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees

23. Impart just enough movement in your retrieve so that the carp notices the offering

24. Carp are incredibly sensitive to taste and smell. Before you use a fly for the first time rub it with mud or algae

25. Every day is an adventure in terms of what Carp might be is in the mood for - change flies until you find out.

26. Wear good gasses and learn how to spot fish – watch for tails and mud clouds

27. Spooked fish may hang around but they are not about to take your fly

28. In bright sun carp will pull off the flats between 10:00 and 11J) am

29. If you get a refusal to a well-presented fly go smaller.

30. If possible stay out of the water and fish from the bank.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sorry Miss Piggy...he'll be comin' home late!

Rob Kolanda and I were bass fishing just north of Boulder the other day...the fishing was good, but we discovered that bull frogs will eat your bass fly if you're not careful! Kermit took a chartreuse Belly Ache Minnow. He was released unharmed...although Rob did comment about the meatiness of the hind legs.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Backstabber Carp Flies!

We got a fresh batch of Backstabber carp flies in from Umpqua Feather Merchants! Just in time for the beginning of really great carp fishing here on the Front Range. I use this carp fly almost exclusively...with much success!

The Backstabber is commercially available in four different flavors: Black Leech, Rust, Wine and Grey Minnow. I prefer to use the darker colors (black and wine) when the water is high and muddy. Most of the carp fishing we do on still water is sight fishing. Not only do you have to see the fish in the water, but you need to see the fly! Later in the summer, once the water levels begin to drop in our local reservoirs, the carp will often act more like temperate bass (wiper, striper) and corral small shad in back coves. This is when a Grey Minnow Backstabber can be deadly! The Rust version is a great crayfish imitation and I use it when the water clears up slightly, or in creeks and rivers (South Platte!).