Sunday, January 27, 2013

Beautiful South Platte River

Snapped a few pictures today, just wandering around the South Platte near Deckers.  Was an absolutely perfect winter day.  Even though the fishing was slow, I don' think you can complain about 50 degree temps in January.

San Juan Box- $0.50 Worth

A few weeks ago, Emily, aka The River Damsel, contacted me about fishing the San Juan River below Navajo Dam in New Mexico.  She said she was planning a trip down to the Juan to do some fishing in February, and asked me about my experiences on the river.  We exchanged emails for a few weeks, discussing little tricks to a successful trip on the river.  I was more than happy to pass along what I've learned on the river, both by my time spent on the river, and from what I've read about the fishery.  I offered to tie her up a few flies, as fly choice on the San Juan can be the difference between an okay day of fishing and lights out day of fishing.  The San Juan can be a difficult river the first time you fish it, as most people who fish other western rivers are not used to the very tiny offerings required for the very finicky San Juan trout.  For me, that is part of the allure of the San Juan.  Fishing size 24 and 26 midge patterns on 6X to very large, educated trout is the name of the game.  Presentations need to be spot on just to fool the trout, but when you do finally hook one of the fabled, monster San Juan rainbows, the fun part really begins.  There is nothing like hearing the reel scream as one of the lunkers goes crazy.  Head shaking and fast, hard runs are what the fish have learned to do, and they do it well.  Playing these seasoned fish for 10-15 minutes is common, and the satisfaction you get when they land in your net is priceless.

Luckily, fly selection for the San Juan is not very difficult.  Small midge and worm patterns are the diet of these fish.  Flipping over rocks in the braids shows an angler the sheer abundance of these aquatic organisms.  Thousands of tiny midge larva on every rock.  Some of the midges are so small, they would be impossible to imitate on a hook.  Fishing size 24 flies will usually keep an angler hooked up all day long, but at some times, and especially in the winter, it is necessary to drop down to 26 and even smaller.

Below are some pictures of the box that I tied up for Emily, with a selection of patterns that will help her to be most successful on the San Juan.  By all means, this is not a comprehensive list of San Juan flies.  The guides that fish this river everyday would have hundreds of different patterns stuffed in their boxes.  These are just some flies that will help a blogger friend catch more fish.  Good luck Emily!!!  

If you have any questions on how to tie any of these patterns, or would like more information on the San Juan, shoot me a line!

$0.50 worth of flies
Annelids- Assortment of different annelid patterns or blood midge.  Really, just a fancier San Juan Worm, tied with different materials, different beads, and different sizes.  The larger annelid patterns will be more productive during runoff and while the lake is turning over.

Yong Special- Was introduced to this fly by Andy Kim himself.  This pattern in cream (as shown below) has accounted for more fish on the San Juan than any other pattern I've used.  It is so simple and easy to tie, but the best part is, it just flat out catches fish.  This fly can be called a variety of different things, depending on who you ask.  UFO Midge, Thread Midge, Bling Midge, etc.  Regardless of name, this is the most important fly to have when fishing the Juan.

KF Midge Emerger- I tie this pattern on when the fishing gets slow, and you just need something a little different to show to the trout.  One day, while fishing near Baetis Bend, I could not buy a fish.  The normal assortment of midges and worms was not working, so I tied on a size 28 KF Midge Emerger.  I started getting strikes from the first drift.  This little fly turned around the remainder of that day for me.  It has accounted for some of the larger fish that I've caught on the river.

Size 30's-  Included four size 30 thread midge patterns just for fun.  If the strikes become harder to come by, tie one of these on for the ultimate challenge.  Bringing a San Juan River rainbow to the net on a size 30 would be quite the angling feat!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Carpsicle- Fly Carpin Fly Swap 2013 Entry

I don't pretend to be a carp guy.  Sure, I've spent a fair amount of time chasing them around in the Denver South Platte, but really, spooking every fish in the river is mostly what I've done.  The construction project I have been involved in the last couple years is at Metro Wastewater, so I've become fairly familiar with the brown water up in Commerce City, and my carpin' adventures have also taken me south towards Invesco Field and further down Santa Fe.  I watched firsthand the cleanup efforts by Suncor on Sand Creek, and was even involved in some plant wide evacuations due to benzene levels at MWRD.  Rick Mikesell, Assistant Manager at Trouts Fly Shop first helped me out with my initial fly selection for the DSP, mostly sticking to Carp Breakfast and Backstabbers for most of the carpin' I've done.  I have landed some very nice carp in the last couple of years, but I am the first to admit that trout fishing will always be my first love.

But regardless of species, one thing that is a constant for me is my love for learning and tying new flies.  And carp flies are no exception.  And the best place, at least for me, for learning about anything carp is Fly-Carpin.  McTage, the author of the blog does a great job of helping keep people up to date with all that is carpin'.  Most of the flies that I've tried tying are either his flies, or flies that he has spotlighted on his website.  But above all, I learned the most about carp flies from the 2012 Fly-Carpin Fly Swap.  Never had so much information from such prominent fly tiers been so readily available, all collected and posted on one page.  So I literally jumped at the chance to be included in the 2013 Fly Swap, and am very excited to be a part of it this year.

I decided to enter a fly that I call the Carpsicle for the fly swap for this year.  It's a fly that I started tying last summer, and I spent a few of my carpin' outings using this pattern.  When I thought of flies that had worked for me in the past, it was always the heavier patterns that allowed me to present the fly better to the fish, and I really liked the action on flies like McTage's Leather Head Stand Carp Worm.  I put the tungsten bead and the dumbell eyes to not only help the fly ride point up, but help give it a little more action when stripping it in front of a feeding fish.  I used a marabou tail, and the rubber legs to give the fly some of the alive, pulsing action in the current which I believe helps entice a carp to eat.  I've used different styles of dubbing on the Carpsicle, but settled on the Orange Ice Dub, because I really like the way it looks in sunlight, and it gives me more confidence in the fly as well.  I am happy with the progression of the pattern, and I hope you tie some up.  If you do, let me know if you have any success with the Carpsicle!!

Vibber's Carpsicle
Standard Recipe

Hook: Gamakatsu B10S Stinger- Size 2 or 4
Bead: Red Tungsten 5/32"
Eyes: Dumbell Eyes w/ red accents
Tail: Black Marabou
Body: Orange Ice Dub
Rib: Red UTC Wire- Brassie
Legs: Black Sili Legs
Collar: Black Saddle Hackle

Monday, January 14, 2013

Colorado Midge Box

I made a very worthwhile trade with a buddy of mine, consisting of very nice pair of ski boots for a fly box loaded with top Colorado patterns.  Even if he didn't offer the boots, I would have done the box for him anyway.  I just love having a blank canvas, and watching as the box fills up.

I decided the first side would only be midge patterns, as I can crank those out quickly, and make a quick dent in the new C&F fly box.  I borrowed my buddies nice camera to make my first attempt at some macro shots of the flies in the box.  I really enjoy looking inside other peoples fly boxes, so I hope  other people are interested at what I've been tying at the vice recently.  If you have any questions on specific patterns, let me know and I can give you more details on them.  Most of these patterns are tried and true midge patterns, enduring the test of time on rivers such as the South Platte and the San Juan, but I do have a few of my own sprinkled in there just for fun.  Enjoy the fly box porn!!!

Thread midges
Worm patterns; Shot Glass Midge; Disco Midge
Rojo Midge; Mercury Black Beauty; Cheesman Emerger; Mercury Midge; Iceman Midge Pupa
Annelid; Micro San Juan Worm; Various worm patterns
Midge pupa patterns; Desert Storm midge
Thread midge pupa; UV Pearl Jam Midge
Cheesman Emerger; Mercury Midge 

Purple Urquel; Midge pupa
Yong Special...Is there really another midge that you need?
Yong Special; Top Secret Midge

Mercury Blood Midge 

Yong Special
Bubbleback Midge
Top Secret Midge


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 in Review

Spent the last hour looking through the last years fishing pictures, thinking back on all the great adventures that I had.  Whether it was fishing for trout in the Rockies, or bait fishing for Red Snapper in the Gulf of Mexico, 2012 was a great year, and makes me even more excited to see what 2013 has in store.