Wednesday, October 5, 2011

San Juan River (aka Heaven)

Haven't posted in a while, so here is a big one loaded with a bunch of pictures.  Spent four days fishing the San Juan below Navajo Dam last week.  I fished the San Juan back in June during high water at 5500 CFS, so was not sure how  different the river would be 10 times lower.  We absolutely slayed it!!!!!  Never had so much fun fishing in my entire life.  One of the best parts of the trip was hiring the famous Andy Kim for a day.  It was crazy to learn the A.K. system of fly fishing.  First thing he said to me after looking the Yong Special that I had tied up and was using, "Not a bad fly Mark, but let's tie on a real one."  We had a good laugh at that.  Pretty incredible the way that man catches fish.   Flies of the trip were Yong Special, Yong Flasher, Yong Wing, Mercury Pheasant Tail, and sparkle wing RS2.  Here are a bunch of photos that do a pretty good job of explaining the complete awesomeness of this place.

My father being "schooled" by Andy Kim

Look how fat this fish is!!!
My favorite pic of the trip!!

Last fish of the trip.  Right at Sunset

Monday, September 12, 2011

Slaying Fish on Gore Creek

Was up in Vail for the weekend, and could not resist to the temptation to hit up Gore Creek.  I have fished a few of Colorado's Gold Medal Waters, but I think I could see this becoming my favorite.  Me and my Dad fished both Saturday and Sunday, starting at around 6:30 in the morning and being back at the condo before the rest of the family is out of bed.  Between the two of us, I think we brought about 15 to the net, including a gorgeous Bow that my dad hooked on his third drift of the first morning.  The bow took us about 50 yards down the creek, but we managed to finally bring him to the net.  I had heard that the Gore was a very technical fishery, requiring small tippets and patterns, but we had luck with lots of different flies, including red Copper Johns, gray RS2's, Mercury Blood Midge, Red Hot, and Black Beauty's.  It's always nice when you step onto a new river, and have good fishing right from the start!!!

Very nice Gore Creek Bow!!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Lower Blue River

Nice pocket water on the Lower Blue

Another Blue River beauty!!!

Had another great day on the Blue.  Started on the Blue River in town just before sunrise.  Hooked my first fish about 5 minutes after the sun hit the water.  It was an amazing rainbow trout.  Fished for about a half hour longer until my buddy made his way up from Denver.  Hit the lower Blue the rest of the day just above Green Mountain Reservoir.  Lost count of how many fish we caught.  The patterns of the day were PMD Barr Emergers and gray RS2's.  Not much else to say, so here's some pictures of the day.

Upstream view of the Blue from an old bridge.

Huge Golden Stoneflys.  2" Long!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Frustration on Bear Creek


That's how I feel after fishing Bear Creek twice this week.  Despite seeing lots of trout rising everywhere in the river, I could not catch a one.  I tried everything that I could think.  Started with a dry/dropper rig with a small Elk Hair Caddis as the dry.  Tried everything I could think of on the bottom.  Pheasant Tail, Prince Nymph, Black Beauty, Two Bit Hooker, Cased Caddis, and San Juan Worm.  Nothing!  Moved onto a double dry rig, putting what felt like every dry fly in my box on the end of the line.  Still nothing.  I finally put on a Woolly Bugger.  I was fishing it downstream and slowly stipping through the deepest pools I could find.  Still Nothing.  I moved onto another deep pool, and finally, a strike.  But I lost him.  That's pretty much all the action I had on the two days I spent on Bear Creek above Morrison.

My attempt at an artistic photo

A pool full of stubborn trout

But I'm still happy.  It just feels good to cool off in the mountain water. The highlight of the trips was seeing two mule deer across the river from me.  They walked down in the river, not realizing I was there.  Finally they spotted me and took off up the mountain, but not before I snapped a picture.  Hopefully one of these days, I will figure out how to catch fish here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mysis Shrimp

It's kind of funny how my fly tying habits go.  I go fish a section of water, with wrong flies and then come back home to the fly tying bench, and tie up the patterns that I should have had.  You think that I would figure it out by now, but I guess I will learn one way or another.  Oh least I will be stocked up for the next time I get up there.

Just having recently fished the Blue River directly below Dillon Dam, I sat down at the bench to tie up some Mysis Shrimp patterns.  Having not tied this pattern before, I stopped by Trout's Fly Fishing in Denver to scope out the different Mysis Shrimp patterns that they sell.  I like to buy a couple flies, take them home, stare at them, and then figure out a way to make the pattern my own.  I did that with a few of the different patterns that I bought.

Below is my best looking imitation of standard Mysis Shrimp pattern.  I could not find a recipe online, so I just took a guess at it, tying in materials that I think would make it look good.  It took about a dozen ties until I settled on what I thought looked the best.  Here is the recipe: Hook: TMC 101 in size 18, Thread: 8/0 White Uni-Thread, Tail: Egg Veil Milky White and Mirage Opal Tinsel, Abdomen: Hareline Dubbin Mysis Shrimp, Rib: Mirage Opal Tinsel, Eyes: 0X monofiliment ties in with X's, burned with lighter into ball, and then colored with black Sharpie.  I had tried tying in the eyes with black midge tubing, but it was too hard to give them the correct proportions.  Plus, the technique with taking a flame to the tippet material is just real fun!  Who doesn't like playing with fire.  I am anxious to see what this fly looks like after soaking in the water after a few drifts.  I'm hoping that it turns almost clear when wet, but having just enough flash from Opal Tinsel.  I know it's only Tuesday, but I am already dreaming of catching some monsters on the Blue with the patterns that I've tied.  Happy fishing!!!

Standard Mysis Shrimp Pattern

Monday, August 22, 2011

Blue River through Silverthorne

So this past weekend, I was playing in a golf tournament at the Raven at Three Peaks in Silverthorne, teeing off around noon.  So I figured this was a great opportunity to fish the Blue River for the first time.  I had heard about the horrific crowds, and figured that if I got up there as early as possible, I would be able to enjoy a few hours of solitude by myself, and see if I could catch any of those fabled Mysis Shrimp eating trout!

I pulled into the parking lot around 6:30 AM, just as the sun was starting to rise over the mountains to the east.  I was the lone car in the lot, and my plan was to fish from close to the dam down to underneath the interstate.  I rigged up my 4 weight TFO rod, tying on a black Copper John, and dropping a Mysis Shrimp from that.  I had never fished any Mysis Shrimp patterns, but knew they were the fly of choice for this stretch of water.  I had five shrimp patterns in my box, and was hoping they would last long enough.

Fishing was slow for the first 45 minutes or so, until the sun rose high enough in the sky to light up the river.  I was walking along the river's edge, trying to keep my balance on the slick river rocks, when the the first Rainbow tried to rip my fly from the line.  I was not expecting a strike in the riffle I was in, as the trout was holding in water no deeper than 6 inches deep.  I heard my reel screeching as he tore across the river, trying to free itself from the fly.  I continued to stumble down the river edge, until I was close enough to net him.  Sure enough, he had taken the Mysis Shrimp pattern.  I was very proud of the first fish that I caught on the Blue River, and was not surprised to find the stories I had heard were true!!  He was a stocky little fish with amazing coloring!!

First Blue River rainbow!
I continued to catch fish after fish, working my way down towards town.  The fished seem to be keying in on the shrimp patterns, as I only hooked one on the Copper John.  I finally lost my last Mysis Shrimp pattern in the hole directly underneath the highway, but not after I had brought around 10 to the net.  I figured it was good timing, as I had to run along to make my tee time.  Not gonne lie, fishing the Blue in the morning, and golfing the Raven in the afternoon is not a bad way to spend a day in the Rockies!!

Nice view of the Blue looking back towards Dillon Dam

I am a Fly Fishing Addict

Well here goes first post!!!!

My name is Cutthroat and I have been addicted to fly fishing for about a year now.  I am not ashamed to say it...I have a terrible problem.  It grabbed hold of me quickly, and soon became the thing that I desire the most, almost like a drug.  There is just nothing so peaceful and relaxing as standing in a beautiful mountain stream, taking in all that mother nature has provided.

My first time fly fishing was a magical moment for me.  My buddy and I loaded up our packs and headed up to Rocky Mountain National Park for a weekend backpacking trip.  We stopped at Kirk's Fly Shop in Estes Park, and just remember staring at the bins and bins of flies, not having the faintest clue as to what I was looking at.  My buddy, who has been fly fishing his whole life, stocked up on the hottest flies.  Names I had never heard in my life.  Elk Hair Caddis and Adams flies were going to be our weapons of choice.

We pulled into the Wild Basin Trailhead, ready for our 8 mile trek deep into the park.  Our destination was Thunder Lake, one of the most picturesque lakes in the entire park.  We passed Calypso Cascades and Ouzel Falls before the trail started to steepen for the final three miles to the lake.  I remember finally seeing Thunder Lake, with the patrol cabin in the front, and the rugged Rocky Mountains in the back, and thinking how lucky we are to live in such an amazing state.

Amazing view of patrol cabin at Thunder Lake- RMNP
My buddy rigged up the fly rod and handed it over to me.  I started to cast, very clumsily at first, but after some practice, I was finally able to send the line 30 or so feet out into the lake, directly over the head of colorful Greenback Cuttroats.  Between the two of us, we probably caught around 15 of these amazing native trout.  This was the moment that I realized how incredible a sport fly fishing was.

My buddy with a beautiful native Greenback Cutthroat
I returned to Denver and started my spending spree.  Pure and irrational impulse buying ensued.  Fly rod, fly reel, and fly line was my first purchase. I started to find myself in the local park a few times a week learning the basics of casting.  More money was thrown into the sport, because of course I needed an expensive set of Simms Waders and wading boots.  Fly boxes, leaders, tippets, strike indicators, split shot, mojo mud, things I had almost no knowledge of, became necessities.  A brand new Fishpond pack is on Craigslist for half of its original cost....of course I need that!!  I started buying flies by the dozen.  I would walk into various fly shops around Denver, and buy whatever I thought looked cool.  I had no idea if they would catch a fish, but they sure caught me.  I bought The Complete Idiot's Guide to fly fishing, and the book quickly became my bible.  I probably read the book four times within a month.  Initially, my fly fishing experience consisted more of shopping, than actual fishing.

Then the single most important, and influential   It was a lazy Saturday afternoon, and there was fly tying demo at Bass Pro Shop, and me and a buddy decided to go check it out to kill time.  We walked around the store, bullshitting with all the tiers, and finally came to the tie-your-own-fly stand.  The table was obviously set up for little kids, but that did not stop me and my buddy sitting down, and learning how to tie our first San Juan Worm.  After that, we learned how to tie a Wooly Bugger.  Fly tying was something so completely new to me, but something about watching the fly come together just intrigued me.  I stood up from the table, and promply walked over and bought my first fly tying kit.

I have been tying flies nonstop ever since.  Ignoring everything at night except my fly tying bench.  I started with the basic pheasant tails, Hare's Ear nymphs, and various Wooly Buggers.  I have moved on to tie all kinds of patterns, but my favorite ties are small Midge patterns.  There is just something fun in changing just one material in the pattern, and it creates a completely new pattern.  There is something so satisfying in filling up my fly boxes.  I love being on the water, pulling out a fly pattern that I tied myself, and feeling the strike of a trout on the other end.

So there it is.  I have started this blog to chronicle my adventures in fly tying and fly fishing.  Fishing new rivers, tying new bugs, and enjoying the sport with my closest friends is what it is all about.  So join me in my adventures.  I will do my best to keep it interesting.  Thanks for reading.

Working on filling up my Wheatley Swing Leaf.