Friday, December 19, 2014

Holidays and Withdrawals

After starting out the year with a bang, the end of 2014 has been a big dud on the fly fishing front.  This is the longest that I've gone without having the rod in my hand since I first picked up fly fishing 5 years ago.  With my very challenging (aka stressful, terrible, worst ever, etc.) construction project just about to come to an end, I know that brighter days are ahead, filled with leaping rainbows and monster browns ( I can hope, right?).  I spend my days dreaming of the water, and reflecting on some of the amazing experiences that I had this year, spending time with my fishing buddies and catching some pretty amazing fish.  I have never had withdrawals like this in my entire life, and I need something to make this feeling go away.

With the end of the year fast approaching, I would like to extend a very Happy Holidays to all my fellow fly fishermen.  May Santa bring you all new Scott Radians and Fishpond packs this Christmas.  I would like to close out this year with a few of my favorite photos from the year.  It are moments like these that come to mind, and make me excited for when life slows down a little bit, and allows for more time on the water.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Stagecoach Tailwater- 9/11-9/12

Continued on our journey towards Steamboat and the Yampa River below Stagecoach Reservoir.  I've fished the Yampa through the town of Steamboat and below town on some private ranches with great success, so I was really excited to fish another section of this incredible river.  Without a doubt, the river through Stagecoach State Park is one of the prettiest sections of river in the entire state.  There is nice trout water holding some very large, very tough fish.  I would have to say that this river requires the same techniques that we use on another famous tailwater: the San Juan.  6X tippet with miniscule flies were needed to draw very subtle strikes, with annelids and midge the majority of the fishes source of food.

I really enjoyed to continue to fish the Blue Halo glass rod.  After fishing mostly graphite rods for the last couple years, it is such a different feeling to use a slower rod, forcing you to slow down all aspects of your fishing.  When you get a fish on the line, it really enhances the connection you feel to the fish, as you can feel every powerful run and head shake with the sensitive tip.  I need to figure out what color and I'm going to order, and the rod will be making its way from the Blue Halo guys in Salt Lake City.  I'm so pumped up to add this amazing fly rod to my arsenal and continue to fish it across the west.

With every trip, they come to close, and it's time to point the Jeep back home.  This was a great little trip with my Dad, fishing some new water and catching some nice fish.  This trip also continued an ongoing trend that I hope to put to an end soon; my Dad catching the biggest fish of the trip.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Blue River- 9/10/14

After catching a few pike early last week, it was time to head up into the mountains to catch my first love: trout.  I left Denver bright and early to beat all of the rush hour traffic, and almost felt sorry for the people out there heading to work.  Almost.  Pulled into Silverthorne just as the sun was coming up.  I love early mornings on the river, stringing up your rod and pulling your waders on, with the anticipation of the day ahead of you.  You never know if you'll catch the fish of a lifetime, or on the other hand, not catch a fish at all.

Big shout out to Cameron Mortenson (The Fiberglass Manifesto) for hooking me up with a brand new Blue Halo fiberglass fly rod as part of his rod demo program.  I've been looking at these rods for the last couple of months on the internet, and was super excited to find the 5 wt in my hands just days before I was to head out for this trip.  I had casted this thing on my lawn and really liked the feel, and thought it would be just perfect for playing some Blue River monsters on 6X.

Started the day up by the dam, sight fishing to fish in every pool.  With the higher flows all summer, it appears that the fish have been feeding heavily on Mysis Shrimp.  There were fat and healthy fish everywhere, and they were feeding hard.  I wasn't sure how the softer glass rod would perform with a nymph rig compared to my graphite rods, and I was thrilled to find this rod more than capable to do pretty much anything I wanted.  Roll casting this rod was my favorite part, as it was effortless to cast the flies wherever I wanted them to go.  Ultimate test was hooking some big trout, and I just loved the feeling of this rod bending over when a  big trout was on the line.  Even though the rod was softer, it had more than enough backbone to corral in some big fish, and with the supple tip, you knew the fragile tippet was going to be protected throughout the fight.

After spending the day fishing by myself all through town, I was eager for my Dad to make the drive up the hill and meet me.  We had decided to fish some new water, and were headed out of town to see what kind of fish we could find.  More about the trip in the next post.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Lake Ladora- 9/9/14

I have the rest of the week off to chase trout in the mountains, so I started my time off by chasing some toothy critters at the Arsenal this morning.  The best feeling in fly fishing is having a large Pike inhale your fly, and listening to your rod hum as it takes off like a torpedo.  Was able to land three this morning before the lake turned off, giving me the rest of the day to prepare for what is in store the rest of the week.  Gonna load up the Jeep and head west, fishing new water and hopefully catching some nice fish.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Arkansas/Taylor- 8/9/14

Felt great to get up into the mountains yesterday for some fishing and camping with my buddy Mikey and his dog Jackson.  With both of our schedules so hectic this year, time on the water has been hard to come by, but we made up for it yesterday by hitting up two of the most famous rivers in Colorado: the Arkansas and the Taylor.

We headed up highway 285 around 10 AM, with plans to hit up the Arkansas above Buena Vista for a few hours before heading over Cottonwood Pass to set up camp, and fish the Taylor.  I had never fished the Arkansas, and was super excited to see what this Gold Medal Water was all about.  We fished above Buena Vista near the Railroad Bridge access.  Between the large amount of whitewater enthusiasts braving the rapids, we were able to get some of the rivers famous Brown trout to take our flies.

After stopping in Buena Vista to load up on camping food, we made the incredible drive over Cottonwood Pass into the Taylor Park Reservoir Valley.  I have lived in Colorado my entire life, but there are still some areas in this state that will always take my breath away no matter how many times you see them.  Being the 2nd highest pass in the state at 12,126 feet, this amazing 30 mile drive takes you up on the Chaffee County side to the summit, and then down the Gunnison County side into Taylor Park Reservoir.  There are views of a number of the states famous 14er's, and provides absolutely breathtaking views on the entire trip.

After finding a campsite that overlooked the Reservoir, Mikey went to work cooking a feast over the campfire while I started to string up the rods in anticipation of the Taylor River later that night.  Ribeye steaks with grilled portobello mushrooms, fried potatoes with onions, jalapenos, and ranchero beans, and Stone IPA made the meal perfect, while lounging around, watching Jackson play, and soaking in the great views.

After cleaning up the mess, we loaded up the truck to go hog hunting on the Taylor.  If you've never  night fished on the Taylor, this is something that you have to do.  It is absolutely nutty, with literally thousands of fish coming out to feed with reckless abandon all night.  For some reason they do not spook at all, which allows you to get right on top of them with your headlamp.  All it takes is a good drift, and you watch the mouth open to take your bug.  Mikey took top honors for the night, landing a massive 20"+ fish to end the night.

Such a great weekend with my buddy, enjoying the beautiful Colorado outdoors.  With summer quickly passing, these weekends need to cherished because I have no idea when the next one will be.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Eagle River- 8/1/14

With the summer quickly slipping away, I spent a much needed day fly fishing the Eagle River in the Vail Valley last Friday.  One of my buddies is getting married in a few weeks, so he wanted to head up early and pick up the fly rod for the first time.  We spent the morning in our rain jackets, as the storm clouds kept the rain coming and slowly turning the river to chocolate milk.  We still were able to hook some feisty Eagle River trout on large, flashy flies that kept it exciting.  At about noon, the storms cleared and the bugs started to move around in the river.  We moved up to a pull off closer to town, and continued to catch fish as the rest of our group started to show up.  Finished off the day by drinking some cold ones stream side, just as the caddis started to pop off the water.  It was a perfect way to start the weekend.