Archive for May 2014

Head for the Hills!   2 comments

I feel sorry for them, I really do.  Just finished guiding the South Platte near Denver over the Memorial Day weekend.  It was cold and rainy, but that didn’t stop the multitudes of anglers and “recreationalists” from enjoying time on the water.  I don’t have any ill feelings to folks getting out and using Mama Nature, I just feel a bit sorry for the fish.

Right now, the South Platte near Deckers, Colorado is one of the few games in town.  Because of our epic snow pack, and a very wet spring on top of that, the rivers are pissed and dangerous.  More water than I’ve seen in a long time.  The South Platte is a tailwater tucked close to Denver.  Certainly, she is going to feel the brunt of traffic, because amazingly, she is still below normal flows.  Oh, the water will come, but for now, she’s “it”.

I watched the fishing success dwindle in the last 3 days leading up to Memorial Day.  Oh, we were still catching fish, but it became more and more technical.  Drifts had to be more precise, mends more complete, and sets were on anything that looked suspect.  You just had to work much harder than usual.  I got to thinking, “How many times has this fish been hooked this week?” “Today?”

Where the fish would usually hold in a particular seam in a particular run in days prior, they just weren’t there.  You may think, well they just went deeper in the column and you can’t see them.  Nope, not in this case.  The flow is only a little over 100cfs, meaning, you could see a quarter underwater in most of the runs we fished.

No, these fish headed for the hills.  By noon on Monday, we were catching fish on skinny rigs (check the archives for more info), along the edges.  One big brown comes to mind.  He ate my Brachy Pupa, on the far bank, in about a half foot of water, on the first drift.  We didn’t know he was there, but assumed the fish had moved because they weren’t in the usual haunts. I know this fish, where he usually holds, and how he likes to eat.  He broke the rules, and he lunged out of my net before photos.  Salty bastard.

Have a few other thoughts as well.  One thought  centered around how grateful I am that fly fishers are so diligent when it comes to releasing fish unharmed.  The fish in this area are for the most part, clean, fat, healthy, and pound for pound will fight with any in the state.  My other thought is how grateful I am to be able to work on a resource such as this so close to home.  Shouldn’t feel sorry for them I guess, they’re doing fine.  When the fishing gets technical, the technical go fishing………….

Fear No Water!

Duane

Don’t forget FATHERS DAY is coming up.  Pick up a copy of the Fly Fishers Playbook for your favorite father, or son, or brother, or son-in-law or…….!

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Basically.   Leave a comment

 

Hidy Ho Good Neighbors!

I’ve posted a new video http://youtu.be/dcrVPh0qbG8

It deals with the building blocks of a good roll cast, nymph drift, and set.  Please feel free to share it with those that are interested.  Really enjoy filming on the river.

More films and other stuff is on it’s way.  Til then Fear No Water!

Duane

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Love it when a plan comes together.   Leave a comment

Hidy Ho Good Neighbors!’

My dad used to say, “Even a broken clock is right twice a day”.  That was usually in reference to me being right and he being wrong.  Don’t remember that happening very often.  The reason this comes to mind is because of some events that have taken place in the last week.

By all accounts, the Eagle River by Minturn, has very solid caddis hatches.  I love caddis.  They force the trout to get aggressive  because of their “moth-like” tendencies.  When caddis pupate and rise through the water columns, they typically use an air bubble to assist in the ascent.  They usually rise fairly fast and depending on the water in which they hatch, they usually hit the surface and flutter off almost immediately.  This forces trout to chase them, and try to eat them before they escape, and splashy eats usually result.

You can fish caddis poorly.  In other words, the more movement or “skate” you put on the adult imitations, and the amount of “swing” you put on the pupa, the more the fish will attack them.  Sure, you can dead drift the larva and pupa and pick up fish, but the real fun comes when you purposely swing the pupa through the columns across the current.  I outline several ways to do this In The Fly Fishers Playbook, but one of my favorite techniques is to stop following my indicator with the rod tip about three quarters the way thru the drift.  At this point, drag will take over and swing your bugs just like they are pupating.  Do the same with the adults on the surface too.

Back to the “broken clock” thought.  Sat down the other day, did a bit of research, and came up with a neat caddis pupa designed to match the bugs on the Eagle.  Haven’t been to the Eagle yet this week (on it in a couple days), but I couldn’t wait to test the pattern, so I hit Clear Creek during nasty run-off just to check performance.  It worked.  Love it when a plan comes together.

Even a blind squirrel finds a nut or two…….

Fear No Water,

Duane

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Money where your mouth is……   2 comments

Hidy Ho Good Neighbors,

Been a while since I last posted.  A lot going on, but that’s not really a good excuse.  Truth is I’ve changed fly shops.  Not that I didn’t absolutely respect my old fly shop, but I am the kind of person that enjoys a new challenge now and then.  I now work for Minturn Anglers in Minturn Colorado.  Unbelievable amount of water to guide, and quite frankly, I am being stretched to my limits.  You know, I go all over the place giving presentations about fly fishing and because of the “new” water I’m fishing, it’s time for me to prove what I spout about technique is not just smoke.

More often than not, I am given a stretch to fish or someone recommends a stretch to fish, and off I go with clients to make it happen.  Just last Sunday I was on Gore Creek as it flows thru Vail.  Bob Streb and Joe gave me the boundaries using Google Maps, and as much info as they could.  It was up to me to really dig into the how-to’s, what-to’s, and the when-to’s to get my folks on fish. Not ever stepping foot into water that you need to produce fish for folks is more than interesting. That’s a challenge, and I look forward to it!

I always tout the importance of historical, seasonal, and conditional data when it comes down to successfully fly fishing a river for the first time.  I have found this idea to be the most important factor in getting clients on fish in unfamiliar waters.  If you snoop thru the archives of this blog, you’ll find more info about the data I’m talking about.  The techniques are roughly the same, I’m finding that the data is of the utmost importance.

Sure, I may run bugs a bit deeper, or the sizes may be different than what I’m used to, but the chance to pick peoples brains about how a river fishes, at various times of the year is HUGE!  I’ve gone from tailwater to freestone fly fishing, if folks don’t think that’s a big shift, then they haven’t been paying attention.  This challenge is exactly what I want and need.  I am getting better as a guide, getting stretched, and I’m rejuvenated.

All this new information is going into journals and presentations to eventually become my next book project.  I’m really excited to get that moving.  Folks, all I’m really trying to say is get out there and stretch yourself as a person and an angler.  Fish new water, see new sights, meet new people.

Below are some pictures of folks with nice fish from the Eagle River and Gore Creek……..

FEAR No Water!

Duane

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