Saturday, July 25, 2009

Got Drakes?

Weeee! We're in the season of big mayflies! You may be noticing some of these beauties on your favorite river...they are Green Drakes. Two great imitations are the Hair Wing Green Drake and the 20-Incher nymph.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Frying Pan River

Drove to Basalt early Monday morning and fished the Frying Pan for two days. Spent most of my time lower down in the canyon...away from all the other fishermen. River was at 200cfs (perfect) but tricky wading down where I was.
Had steady PMD hatches and massive spinner falls!Fished all day on Tuesday with a two-fly rig...#16 Melon Quill and a #16 PMD Cripple. Took good trout at will. Also saw Crainflies, caddis, midges and yes...some Green Drakes.

Monday, July 20, 2009

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.
Fishing a topwater frog is not unlike fishing a dry fly. Accuracy, precision, and a well finessed retrieve will produce fish. The satisfying gurgle that a crisply stripped popper makes as it moves through the water causes many anglers to over-strip frogs and other topwater flies. I must admit, I have often been guilty of such behavior. Avoiding this common mistake requires a discipline that I often lack. However, it is important to remember that a fly rod presentation can allow for a much more realistic presentation. When I truly have my frog face on, and take the time to make good presentations, I am rewarded frequently. My ritual is as follows: First, I make a cast close to a bank, structure, weed line, moss patch, etc. By close, I feel that the cast should make you nervous about getting stuck in the weeds. Fish dangerously!
The frog will land with a satisfying splat! Let the rings settle until everything is perfectly still again. A short twitch will give it some life and may seal the deal right there. If no interest has been raised, make along strip that slides the frog under the surface so that the frog will reappear a few feet a way. Sliding the frog creates a realistic "swimming" look. Hopefully, this will have gotten the attention of nearby bass. Often, after a sharp twitch, a bass will rush up to the frog only to stop inches shy and stare at it for the rest of eternity. It is now time to employ whatever brand of voodoo magic you have in your bag. I personally prefer a micro-twitch while standing on one leg and holding my breath.

Experimenting with different types of retrieves and presentations is important. When everything comes together perfectly, topwater bass fishing can be an incredible fishing experience. Lip that fish, show him off to your dog or jealous fishing buddy, and then quickly release. High fives and fist pumps are acceptable. Its ok, you know you want to.

Patrick Knackendoffel

(Photo) Bass eye view of a frog popper.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Best flies for high country lakes, Colorado

Most of the high country lakes here in Colorado are clear of ice and the fishing has been outstanding, as usual! Our high elevation waters are absolutely brimming with aquatic bug life...this makes up for the rather short fish growing season. The trout are usually more than eager to eat, but I certainly have some GO TO flies in my box when I am heading for the high ground.

I have chosen three of my favorite high country flies... The Pandemic Callibaetis in either #16 or #14, available at most Colorado fly shops. The Moody Damsel #16 and, for the fly tiers, the DLS Leech available only from your own fly tying desk! Use a TMC 777sp #10 hook, thread on a 5/32" pearl white bead, use dark olive arctic fox fur for the tail and build a dubbing loop using dirty olive Sparkle Leech dubbing for the body. Wrap the dubbing loop up 2/3rds of the hook shank and whip finish, then slide the bead down over the knot. Then build a separate dubbing loop (a short one) to finish the front end of the fly. Use a dubbing brush to comb back the long dubbing fibers.

Friday, July 10, 2009

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 (crayfish, scuds, snails etc). Day-in and day-out the last category is the most consistent producer. Why? Carp are opportunistic feeders and won't pass up an easy meal when feeding on the bottom.

The best flies are sparse, simply tied and usually about 1 inch to 1 3/4 inches long. Most are weighted, but only slightly (they need to sink, but land in the water quietly). Use lighter weight flies when sight casting to carp on shallow flats in lakes and reservoirs; one weighing from .2 grams up to .5 grams. In deep water off rip-rap or in creeks and rivers with moving water use a slightly heavier fly; something weighing from .8 grams to even a full gram.

Many excellent patterns are tied so that the hook point rides up to minimize snags and facilitate hookups. The most affective colors are black, dark olive, brown or rusty brown. The productivity of these patterns is not in painstaking detail, but in the liveliness, or animation. Simply stated, these flies work because they trigger a feeding response. Above all other things, confidence is key! This is true for both fly choice and technique. Only if you have confidence in your fly will you be persistent, and you have to be persistent. Put your fly in front of as many fish as you can. In a typical day of carp fishing you will cast to many uninterested fish. This may not mean that you are doing something terribly wrong…it means carp are a challenge.

Favorite Stillwater flies are the “Backstabber Carp Fly”, “Carp Slider”, “Clouser Swimming Nymph” and the “Half-Back Nymph” Top flies for rivers are the “Belly Crawl” and “Near “Nuff Crayfish”.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Prime Rib on 2x

Many fishermen claim that Fall is the season for throwing the big, gaudy streamers (and it certainly is) but even now I will always carry a few heavy leech and sculpin imitations. Often, I will move up a river working a dry, or dry/dropper and then turn around and fish a streamer down stream through a particularly juicy stretch. This trick can trigger a strike from some of the fish you missed with the dry or nymph, but also lure out some of the larger resident fish (you know, the one that lives deep under the undercut and only comes out at night...or if an irresistible slab of prime rib limps past!) Be sure to switch to a very stout leader. The strike will not be subtle! My favorite fly is the black is good and heavy and is tied with a ton of rabbit. Looks ever so sexy moving through the water.