Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cheesman Canyon and Spey Casting

Cheesman Canyon (1.22.11 240 cfs)

It has been awhile since I have tread along the Gill trail. Especially following the closure of the lower parking lot. A buddy and I found a half full parking lot, and made it into the canyon at about 11:15 a.m.
The lower canyon was fairly full. So we pushed up and found the usual spooky fish, and to my surprise the "Meat Hole" was empty of both fish and fisherman. We hiked up another mile and a half and really struggled to find fish, and had no hooked fish. As the light started to get low we worked down the canyon and targeted areas we had seen fish on the way up. With the luck of a bag of goldfish, we got our first hook ups on on a San Juan worm and a Pat's Rubber-legs respectively. We worked farther down the Canyon and hooked into a diesel fish on a 24 BH brassie. To this point none of the fish made it to the net. Then the next run we fished every cast seemed to produce a fish...all on the 26 Top Secret midge, and that luck and fly produced all the way down the next couple runs until the sun went down.

Does this mean a skunk can be avoided by a bag of Parmesan Goldfish?

Pat and Zach throwing the 15 footer (mid sweep)

On Tuesday we made a trip down to the Pueblo Tailwater. Too many 10 inch fish were caught on small dries (24-26) and assortment of red midges, but the highlight of the day was when one of the guys on the trip pulled out his 15' 10 wt Spey Rod and taught the other two of us three basic Spey casts: the Double Spey, the Snap T, and the Single Spey. It's incredible how much line those sticks can throw, and spey casting definitely can become hypnotic. I'm still trying to figure out all the terminology, my buddy kept yelling at me about the D loop and my anchor, took me a day to figure out what he was talking about.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Creations of Jon Kleis

Below are two solid winter midge creations of Angler's Covey Guide Jon Kleis.

The "Red Zone" Midge
hook: size 22-26  Tiemco 2487 or 2488
body: red 8/0 uni-thread
hackle: two turns red peacock herl 

Kleis's "Mojo Midge"

hook: size 22-24 Tiemco 2488
bead: xs mercury bead
body:  micro tubing
thorax: superfine dubbing
base thread: 8/0 10/0 uni-thread or 14/0 sheer
wing: green crystal flash

more colors...

Variation on Charlie Craven's Two Bit Hooker

The two bit hooker was tied in response to Mike Mercer's Micro Mayfly, to make a more anatomically correct mayfly imitation that could get to the bottom quickly

Two Bit Microtubule PT 

hook: size 12-24 Tiemco 100 or 101
tails: 4 pheasant tails
abdomen: tan microtubing 
wingcase: pheasant tails
legs: pheasant tails
thorax: tungsten bead fit to hook covered in dark brown 8/0 tying thread
head: tungsten bead fit to hook

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

18 degrees at Deckers

Yes it was 18 degrees, but not a bit of wind.

Flows were at 240 cfs

Sight fished most of the day, a 24 grey RS2, a red San Juan worm, a 22 black poison tongue, and a 22 bubble back midge kept the fish interested.

Sometimes the cold days are worth it, because no one else was on the water!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Frying Pan River

Fished the Frying Pan at flows about 75 cfs

6.5 lb female Bow
Mysis patterns were working close to the dam
5.5 lb Male

The Flats on the Frying Pan and Spawning Beds

Tailwater dynamics mess with the spawning cycles of many fish. At the Frying Pan redds can be seen on the flats almost year around if the flows are low, and fish shooting milk and eggs is very common. So I had a chat with some of the guys working at Taylor Creek Fly Shop is Basalt, CO.  One of the guides said "that if it were up to him he would close the flats to fishing." I think after a lengthy discussion the ethical rules that apply to the flats and any river with actively spawning fish is as follows:

1. Do not cast to fish on redds
2. Try not to walk on any redds, including while playing a monster fish.
3. Fish the deeper slots where spawning doesn't occur, and fish are more likely to be feeding.

A Lesson on Mysis Shrimp

Mysis shrimp were first introduced into freshwater reservoirs to feed fish in the reservoirs, specifically Kokanee Salmon. In colorado the big three reservoirs where mysis shrimp were introduced were Ruedi, Taylor Park, and Dillon. Biologists never thought the shrimp would be a major food source for the fish in these tailwaters, and is an unexpected success story. From my knowledge in both Taylor Park and Ruedi the mysis shrimp have not damaged the reservoir ecosystems too badly, however Dillon is another story. Mysis Shrimp are glass like crustaceans and migrate vertically in the water column daily. They migrate up at night, and down during the day. Also they outcompete many fish fry to food sources such as a variety of zooplankton, and never really become a food source for the larger fish since the migration makes them unavailable to the fish. 

However, everyday mysis shrimp are flushed out of the dams and into the tailwaters below. These high protein crustaceans are easy prey to trout since they supposably cannot survive in moving water, and some of the largest fish in the state congregate in the Blue River in Silverthorne, the Frying Pan River below Ruedi, and the Taylor River C&R below Taylor Reservoir. The mysis diet give great red coloration to both the rainbows and browns. When the Shrimp die, they change from a clear glass like color to a white color. So why aren't all mysis patterns fished in these tailwaters white? Will Sands, from Taylor Creek Fly Shop created the Sand's Epoxy Mysis pattern, which mimics a clear living mysis, not a dead mysis. He told me that if you seine these tailwater many of these shrimp have not turned white yet, especially when flows are high and many shrimp are released from the dam. When Will fishes mysis patterns he will usually rig two patterns the point fly being a white pattern and the dropper being a clear pattern, to find out what version the fish are keying in on that particular day.

Great Mysis patterns:

Sand's Epoxy Mysis
Charlie's (Craven) Mysis
Mayer's (Landon) Mysis
Stalcup's Mysis

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tying the Bubbleback Midge


hook: 2487 20-22
rib: UTC ultra wire (silver x-small)
thread: 8/0 (red)
underbody: red thread over-wrapped by UTC Flashback Tinsel (x-small pearl)
bead: extra small mercury bead
dubbing: superfine black mixed with Ice Dub (UV Dun)
superglue: brush applicator

Step 1: Make a thread base from just behind the eye to about 2-3 eye lengths behind the eye. Clip the tag end.
Step 2: Anchor 4-5 inch strand of wire to thread base. Only wrap forward to 1 eye length away from eye. Leave sizable tag end.
Step 3: Put bead on the wire on the tag end.
Step 4: The crucial step. hold bead vertical and then wrap the wire in front of the bead 2-3 times to anchor the bead vertical. Then take the thread and wrap in front of the bead and over the wire to anchor the wire. Clip the tag end of the wire.
Step 5: Since the wire is x-small the upright bead can be fragile as is. I use superglue with a brush applicator to secure the bead.
Step 6: Tie in the flashback behind the bead. On this fly UV flash was used instead. Same procedure applies to any body material.
Step 7: Wrap over the wire and flash to 1/4 past the bend of the hook, and then wrap over with the thread back to the front of the bead.
Step 8: Apply a thin layer of super glue over the thread base, and immediately wrap the flash forward with touching wraps to just in front of the bead. Secure with a thread wrap, and cut tag. Then palmer the wire forward. Secure the wire with the thread as well, and cut the tag end.
Step 9: Apply a thin layer of superfine dubbing to the thread
Step 10: Apply a small amount of UV dubbing on top of the superfine for the flashy look.

Step 11: Wrap the dubbing around the bead in figure 8's and if possible do a wrap completely around the bead above the hook. Whip finish in front of the dubbing behind the eye of the hook.

This pattern is also effective tied with a stripped peacock herl body and copper wire, or a winter version a blue bead with blue wire. I fish this when I need to give a fish a different midge profile then they are used to seeing.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

On the river 2011

Following a few days of cold weather, Deckers was the destination to try out a few patterns I have seen recently and tried to tie:


This fly is the creation of experienced guide Marla Blair out of Connecticut. The fly is a mainstay in her box everywhere she goes. I have found it very successful on the Swift River (Belchertown, MA) and on the Farmington River, CT. Here is a link to her website Its a simple fly to tie
Hook: Any scud hook down eye (i.e. Tiemco 2487) size 14-20
Rib: Red 6/0 Uni-thread
Dubbing: Olive (pictured Superfine BWO)
Wingcase: 2mm closed cell foam white

Pink Flexi-Floss Worm

New worm pattern using flexi-floss material commonly seen in the legs of the Pat's Rubberlegs.
Excited to try it on migratory trout this spring.

Ramirez's Floss Back Emerger

This is a fairly new pattern of Juan Ramirez from the Hopper Juan Blog. Here is a video link on how to tie it on Juan's Blog, Floss Back Emerger.

Unfortunately, the only pattern to produce a fish was the worm, but Pat Dorsey's Top Secret Midge made up for it.

Deckers 177 cfs 32-36 degrees