Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Fly Tying - Barr's Hare Copper and Holy Grail Caddis

The tying continues.

The Barr's Hare Copper's were a success last year, so those were tied to replace lost flies.  Similar to the Copper John, a simpler tail of partridge allows for an easier tie, two-toned wire ribbing gives the fly a little more detail and the natural hares ear dubbing thorax lightens the overall color of this nymph imitation. 

Similar to the Guide's Choice Hare's Ear, the Holy Grail Caddis is a wet-fly style caddis pattern that provides for a significant amount of bugginess in a relatively easy tie.  Definitely fun to tie up.

The Holy Grail Caddis will be new for me this year, but should at least make a good spring offering on one of the local creeks.

I'm not sure what the next tie is going to be, but there's still some room in the boxes, so something needs to fill that vacancy.  The warm weather in Denver has me thinking of spring, but it's still at least a month until real spring starts.  Which means there are still a few more weeks to get a few more patterns prepared.  Good luck in preparation for your spring.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Edit - East Vail, Colorado - Fly Fishing

The last few weeks have allowed for a review of footage and memories of fly fishing for trout in the mountains of Colorado during the summer of 2016.  It's always a pleasure to have the opportunity not only to fish, but to relive those warm summer days on a cold winter night with a nice porter or stout.

Here is a quick edit of one of those days from last summer that I am enjoying reliving.  A day on Gore Creek in East Vail, Colorado.  Most of my fly fishing is deep in the woods with trees choking the stream, but this creek is wide open with a bike path, runners, families and developments lining the banks.  No less enjoyable than my typical experience, this creek runs cold and clear in the fall with a nice mix of cutthroat trout, brook trout and from what I have seen (but not caught) brown and rainbow trout as well.

I hope you enjoy the edit and if you get the chance to be on the west side of Vail Pass, you might consider stopping in to say hi to some of these friendly Colorado trout as well.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Fly Tying - Red Quills and Copper Johns

Any fly with hackle is still somewhat intimidating and a new body method (the quill body) was something new to learn as well.  However, I had wanted to take on this challenge for a while and finally decided to give the Red Quill dry fly a try.

Not as difficult as feared, especially in a size 14, a group of new flies soon developed for the fly box.

I can see how a few different sizes and colors of this high riding dry fly will provide good mayfly imitations through the height of summer.  There is one creek I fish that has a nice black mayfly in about a size 14 which this fly could match well with the right materials.

After the Red Quills came the start of the Copper Johns.  A classic standard that needed to be retied and tied in additional sizes and colors.  I started with the gold Copper Johns in a size 16 and will move on from there.

I am considering some size 18's, size 20's, a few different colors and then tying up hare coppers as well.

I hope your winter fly tying is pursuing well and will continue to fill your boxes in preparation for spring and summer.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Fly Tying - Refilling the Boxes

Snow is on the ground and the temperature is low with chilly nights and ice frosted windows.  Tying season is here again.  Between Holiday cooking, shopping and decorating, a few flies have been getting tied to replace those lost to trees and submerged branches.  As those are replaced, new patterns will be attempted for the year to come.

The first to get tied were the CDC and Elks.  I really liked this pattern and it worked very well for me this past season, so I tied size 16's and 20's to fill in the first fly box holes.

The next to get tied up were a batch of size 16 guide's choice hares ears.  I had success with this pattern early last season during runoff, but had only tied two due to the lack of decent options from a bag of loose partridge feathers.  I invested in a partridge skin as an early Christmas present to myself and am much happier.

The empty spaces in the fly box will keep me motivated and the tying will keep me thinking about the spring, hot summer afternoons and cool fall days of next year's season.  I am not a big winter fisherman, so this will have to do until then.  I hope everyone is having a good holiday season and wish you luck refilling your boxes as well.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Late Summer Fly Fishing - Gore Creek in Vail, Colorado

Flows were low and clear.  Fishing was tough and the start of the morning seemed to foreshadow an epic skunking.  Typically, Gore Creek which flows through Vail, Colorado is a fun and easy creek to fly fish on for wild brook and cutthroat trout.

This day was not that easy, but after moving upstream, changing flies a few times and finding some deeper, more riffled water, I started to produce a few nicer cutthroats.  This creek definitely has a nice mix of cutthroats and brookies and from what I have seen, brown and rainbow trout as well.  Probably a nice spot to shoot for a Colorado trout grand slam.

The day ended up nice enough to attempt a return a week later. Trying the same flies again without as much luck, I realized that the season was basically running down.  The golden Aspen leaves, although beautiful, signaled fall, and this the last day of Summer told me that I was pushing my luck on the mountain streams.

Sadly, this single small fish was likely my last fish of 2016.  Like most of us, I didn't get out as much as I would have liked, but that makes me appreciate the days I did get out and the memories I was able to make this year so much more.  I am definitely looking forward to next year.  Winter fly tying and maybe the random days out on a tail water will have to suffice until then.  Happy Fall Everyone!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Late Summer Fly Fishing - Alma SWA - Middle Fork of the South Platte River

Upstream from the cities of Fairplay and Alma, Colorado, the Middle Fork of the South Platte River can be accessed just off of Highway 9 before it climbs Hoosier Pass on its way to Breckenridge at the Alma State Wildlife Area.  The stream is narrow and a healthy beaver population is evident from the numerous beaver ponds.  There also appears to be a healthy population of brook trout as well based on a few hours of fishing one fine late summer morning.

At first, I wanted to have success on the CDC Pheasant Tails I had recently tied, but after a few half hearted takes and misses in a beaver pond, I switched to CDC and Elks and produced fish for the rest of the morning on the surface, probably because these little bugs were around.

A quick coffee break under a beautiful blue sky energized me and kept me going through the morning.

A wonderful small stream, I wish I had more time to fish it and I would definitely return given the chance.  A little further away than my usual fishing spot and the Denver metro area, the pressure is most assuredly less than I'm used to.  I would love to investigate more of this nice Colorado brook trout stream and see what else it has to offer.

I hope that your late summer fishing adventures went well.  Today is the first day of fall, soon it will be winter and we will only have the memories of this season's fishing days to hold us over until next spring.  If you have the chance, go and make a few more memories while you can on new water or an old favorite.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Fly Tying - CDC Pheasant Tail

This week, I will get the chance to fish the Middle Fork of the South Platte River in South Park, Colorado.  No, I won't be fishing with Kyle, Stan or Cartman, but we will be in Fairplay, which was formerly known as South Park City, the site of a historic gold rush in the 1800's.

Reports indicate that the river is starting to fish well with larger brown trout on the move. One report included a recommendation for CDC Pheasant Tails, so I tied a few up to add to the fly box.

Off to the fly shop I went to pick up some hooks, smaller red thread and some new beads.  It's always fun to have an excuse to hit the fly shop.

The CDC and Elk flies were my first fly using CDC and I was impressed by how they fished.  I am interested to see how it works for nymphs.

After the trip, I will let you know how these did.  Hopefully, they produce a few nice fish.