Thursday, May 31, 2012

Woodland Lake Debacle

Report Contributed by Joshua Fortenbaugh

We hiked in Saturday the 19th and eventually found ourselves on a less than established path through snow, runoff, and scree. The normally 4-5 mile, 2-3 hour hike turned into a 6+ mile, 5 hour slog uphill into increasingly brutal weather. We stopped and set up my trusty 12x12 behemoth of a tarp in the shelter of some pines and drank a few beers. Set up our 3 season tents in some decidedly 4 season weather and got out the topo map. Determined that we were on a little ridge just above 11,000 feet between Skyscraper and Woodland. Both lakes were frozen, and I was less than motivated. I peeked at the turnoff to Lost Lake on the way back, but decided that a beer and a slice of pizza at Backcountry were what we really needed.


Last weekend, took my girl out fishing. Her first time with a fly rod. Up to Crater Lakes. Eager little brookies. Lots of wind. Beer in the snow. We're going back for more.

(Send in your fishing reports!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

When the cat’s away, the mouse will play (or fish)

Written and Contributed by Tevis Blom (a.k.a Black Death)

Well, my girlfriend is out of town, which means my fishing addiction is in full blown form that could qualify for an intervention. Night bassing, impromptu road trips across the state in the wee hours of morning, fiendish tail-water sightfishing behind outlet malls and at the famous toilet bowl, wiper chasing in a pontoon, a lonely carp, and a few hours of sleep in the back of the car all were part of my obsessive ‘bachelor’s fishing weekend’. The next time you are granted a reprieve from your relational duties, I highly suggest you put together a fiendish fishing weekend of your own to satisfy that craving. After all, fishing really is an individual activity. Personally, I’m still coming down…
Friday afternoon was spent at the Blue in Silverthorne: Eager brooder fish stocked a few weeks ago took a variety of standard #18-22 tailwater midges and even ate a few hoppers on top to spice things up. I spent most of the afternoon breathing brake dust from the I-70 overpass, but being alone at one of the best holes on the river, I stayed put until near sundown. No monsters were sighted or caught, but a baker’s dozen were brought to hand with 9 being between 15-20”.

A Good Times double cheeseburger and five hours of sleep at a crowded campground were enough to get me on the road toward the famous Frying Pan river by 3am. By 5:30am I was rigged up at the ‘Toilet bowl’ and slaying some chunky fish on leeches and rainbow warriors. Not many Mysis takes… white snot nymphs= stinging lips. My favorite fish of the day was not landed, but I got to watch a ~20” rainbow eat a hopper off the top and got to fight with him for about a minute of head shaking… smart guy just wouldn’t run and get on my drag! The Toilet bowl is not the romantic fly fishing experience we wax poetic about. It is akin to a fisherman’s crack den. The fix is good, but eventually the drone of the generator and the beat up fish remind the angler that a more wholesome experience waits downstream. On the way out, fishing at the Bend hole provided more solitude and some traditional fly angling with midge emergers under a big dry. A few smaller and less beat up fish were eager enough for my midges and rounded out my day on the Pan. As predicted by NOAA weather, 40+ mph winds came in Saturday afternoon and I was on the road back to the front range.
Sunday found me kicking around my pontoon on Union Reservoir for a change of pace. I made several futile attempts at following a few baitfish eating birds around in hopes of catching my first wiper. The wind would pick up and larger fish were busting prey up top, but being in the right place at the right time was crucial. Wind and waves blew me back toward the car, where I finally hooked up a crappie, and several smallmouth bass. Exhausted from the boat, I waded the south shore and hooked up a carp (I believe) which promptly broke off some old 3x tippet… All I saw was a flash of gold and scales. Never buy clearance tippet, especially Climax! No pics, only small fish landed that day.
Memorial day I headed to my favorite quiet little bass and carp pond. Heavy winds made for challenging conditions and poor visibility, but a small carp and a perch were caught close to shore to add to my weekend species list. Being the fiend that I am, I continued fishing past the long weekend and headed out for some PM bassin’ on Tuesday after work. A few nice large-mouth came to hand around 10pm. After five days I had quite a nice fish list: Brown, Rainbow, Cutbow(?), Crappie, SMB, Carp, LMB, Perch… no wiper yet! I miss my girlfriend dearly, but life is all about taking advantage of opportunities. So if you can, go out and get your fiend on, in a good healthy fishy sort of way!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Big Bass On Small Flies

In the fly shop I preach every day during the summer about using stiff rods and heavy leaders for bass fishing. You can get away with 0x leaders if you tie the streamer on using a loop knot such as the Rapala knot. Because the fly has the ability to jerk or swing back and forth more erratically or naturally than if the fly were tied on with a much lighter leader and a tight clinch knot. You can set the hook proper with a stiff fly rod and have a chance of controlling a big fish with heavy line...even once it gets deep into the cattails. Now, having said all that...sometimes light tippet and small streamers can be the right combination to hook the largest and smartest beast in the lake. Today my sister, Eva took the best fish of the day on 5x and a tiny white Dead Drift Leech tied on a #10 C400BL mini-jig hook. Just to prove my preaching wrong. The fight was intense and in the end she had to dive into the cattails to lip the brute once it wrapped itself deep into cover. Once I arrived on the scene she was dripping wet, hands shaking...but with the wildest carnivore grin I have ever seen on a woman. Good on ya, Eve...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Gift Horses

Never look a gift horse in the mouth, they say. An old saying that suggests you should not assess the value of a gift--or age of a horse--in front of the giver of said gift. So, when a friend and fellow tier who I see in the fly shop a few times a week pulled me aside the other day (a couple weeks ago, actually) and offered up his favorite, secret bass and carp lake...I smiled and was grateful. But I knew the area he was telling me about and was more than slightly skeptical. This particular animal seemed a bit long in the tooth, let us say. My friend was gifting me his secret because I have helped him out over the years with both fly tying and fishing (or so he claimed) and was eager to return the favor with something more substantial and permanent than a luke-warm case of Miller High Life. But he made me promise to protect the secret...before I had even fished it, so there was at least a little bit of curiosity and anticipation. It could be a good horse. Maybe?

The chance came last Monday to "go see a man about..." oh, I'm getting tired of this analogy already. My sister is in town and was eager to get out and have a crack at some fish a tad larger than the small brown trout we have been catching since she arrived. So her, Erin and I drove out to find this lake. Very loose directions. No map. But we found it and it looked good. Real good. Unmolested and lots of fun-looking structure and shoreline. Erin broke away from the narrow gravel path and headed directly toward the shallow end. I heard her say, "I like this place already." And on the second cast she was fast into a six-pound carp...rod bent and giggling. A few moments later I had a fish pick up a four-inch Texas Ringworm streamer and race off with it as I was waiting for the fly to sink. Needless to say, by the time I reared back on the reigns the fish was not there. Felt like a very big bass, though. Wow. Twenty yards down the bank I have another good fish inhale the Ringworm and this time I'm paying attention and set the hook. What happens next can best be described as Chris Farley attempting Chippendale tryouts. A largemouth bass far too fat for acrobatics attempting somersaults on the stage that is the surface of the lake. Comical, yet frighting.

We land several more big bass as well as crappie, green sunfish, bluegill and yellow perch before the three of us call it a day and head for the barn. (Wow...this analogy just won't die.) So, thanks for the gift, brother. You know who you are and now know where we were. Thanks.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Tale from the Taylor River

Contributed by Ben Schloesser

In the second week of April my little brother was looking at colleges, so as soon we raced through some tours on the front range we headed up to the Taylor. This hen was hooked in the deep run just above the bridge. Saw it flash 10 feet directly upstream of me and got my heart going right away. It thankfully took my large weighted stone fly on my stone-mysis-mysis rig on the first pass. The fish went airborne (fully out of the water) 3 times, and there was less than 20 feet of fly line off my rod tip the whole fight. I usually save describing fish as 'beautiful' or 'pretty' when that's all they have going for them. At 28 inches, the fish was big and had many options for adjectives, but pretty came to mind right away.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Tax Day Carp

Written and contributed by Dana Stephenson

On my way to meet my accountant and to pay my taxes all that was on my mind was the weather. There were no clouds and no wind--a perfect day to go carping. As I passed a favorite lake I gazed forlorn at the waters edge...and saw a tail at least three inches out of the water. Instinctively, I pulled over and popped open the back of my ride. Finding only a four weight trout rod I strung it thinking, "pretty sure this rod has a warranty." I hurriedly walked to the waters edge and found the carp still feeding. I yanked out some line, cast and a few strips later POW! Fish on! I kicked off my shoes and had to wade into the lake to land the fish, but lucky for me a father who had taken his daughter to the park noticed the commotion and walked over to be witness to the spectacle. I got him to snap a picture. This grim morning had suddenly turned into as good of a day as it could be, taxes and all...