Friday, May 20, 2011

Cheesman Revenge

Fished Cheesman Canyon by myself this afternoon, to try to get some confidence after a severe skunking on the blue in Silverthorne the day before. We went to the blue hoping the high flows had pushed some of the larger fish from under the dam down into the first mile of public water. We didn't see any of these fish, dealt with heavy snow, bitter temperatures and high flows. Its almost JUNE!! 

 25'' bow landed in cheesman today

Cheesman was great with the fish having no problem chasing attractors, caddis pupa, and baetis nymphs.
About a month ago I lost a 26"+ fish down near wigwam club, and today I got revenge. Not the same fish but the fished taped in at 25" and 7 lbs. with a ridiculous battle on 4x

The big girl took this orange scud

This would have been a good photo, but the camera was more interested in the twig

The hen was definitely post-spawn, and was somewhat skinny for 25'', but put up a hell of  fight
Best I could do with a self-photo camera timer shot.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mysis Gluttony

We decided to hit the pan, with the higher flows and the hope to find some of the toilet bowl pigs, in more catchable spots down in the flats.

Water pouring out of Ruedi (flows 357 cfs)

We did not see very many toads in the flats,  we didn't see that many fish in the flats period. I'm sure the fish were there, but the murky water was hard to spot fish in.


This one is more white (dead)

This mysis was almost an 1.5'' long

Gluttonous Brown. The black eyes are a prominent feature of the shrimp

Guess what fly he took

Craven's mysis

All in all it was a fun day. We didn't see any monsters but had our chances with a few 6-8 pounders. It was amazing to see fish gorging on the shrimp, and so we tried all the mysis patterns we had, and were able to get a good idea what patterns fish pick when there is an abundance of shrimp in the water.

And what was even cooler, was the the mysis pattern I have been tying recently out-fished all the other patterns, including Craven's (always effective on the pan) and Sand's Epoxy. I will post that pattern when I get a chance.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Stick that Pig!

We had all but decided to stay on the front range this weekend, when we got an Email from Brent to get our asses to the Taylor since they were raising the flows. I have an insurmountable pile of things to get done in the next week and really needed saturday to start off on the right foot. However, since it was my Birthday, Wes and Court told me I had to treat myself and fish the Taylor.

As you can see the flows were extremely high and sketchy on the Taylor, making playing and landing fish difficult. Flows were 400-500cfs

We got to the river around 8:45 a.m. after quickly stopping at the Gunnison River Fly Shop, to discuss tactics at high flows. The one interesting fact we learned, is that at high flows the pressure of the water getting pushed through the bottom of the Dam will literally pulverize some Mysis Shrimp, so using bigger bulkier patterns can be beneficial as they can look like these nuked shrimp.  As well we also learned The Trophy Stalkers were in town. If you haven't heard of these guys...they slay fish, especially at the Taylor C&R. Luckily they didn't get into all the big fish.

Court's first cast of the day landed this beauty

The flows were 400 cfs when we got there and were very fishable, but as the day went the flows were bumped to 450 cfs and eventually 500 cfs, making wading very sketchy. We fished 4x fluorocarbon exclusively, and could have gotten away with 3x in some areas.

Wes with a nice high shouldered male

We lost countless fish because of the inability to wade and follow many of them. If they hit the fast water, and we were in the water, it was pretty much guaranteed that we would lose the fish.

Court loves tailing big fish, but I made sure the hockey stick "Pig Stick" net was underneath until we could weigh the fish and take a few pics

Walking up the far bank on the lower river I found what looked to be a good sized fish, in a very catchable spot, and hooked the fish once, but lost it after the first headshake. The fish actually returned to feeding within ten minutes, so I switched my rig and put on a home-made mysis pattern tied similarly to the tucker scud, and got a solid hook up. Right away the fish went into headshakes, and I realized how big it was. It was a relatively short fight, and the fish didn't run to the fast water. Definitely a good B-day present.

This old guy has been in a few battles

The fish ended up at 28" and just under 11 pounds

Attractors were the name of the game in the high flows

25-incher in the recovery room

As usual we were the last ones on the river, and were watching fish from the bridge. Usually the fish around the bridge are extremely hard to catch, but the second to last guy to leave told us a few guys were sticking some good fish on bead eggs. We didn't want to rig up bead eggs, but put some mysis, midge combos on and targeted fish in front of the big rock below the bridge. We had a spotter on top of the bridge, and then casted from the side, swinging the patterns on a dead swing to the fish actively feeding in front of the rock. Every good drift seemed to be a hook up.
This 7 1/4 pounder took a mysis below the bridge

Every fish we hooked was replaced by a new fish in that prime feeding lane

Court holding another slab

The last fish of the day was a large male who went into violent head-shakes, which allowed us to net him very quickly in his disoriented state. I don't think we caught a female all day, where as a few weeks ago it was all females.

You don't wanna be headed down this tunnel

This 7 1/4 pound 2 footer was a great way to finish off the day!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Some Random Ramblings

Why Spring is my favorite season to fish

I went through half of my fly-boxes, changing my second fly until finally I found a combo this brute would take, and ironically its the right drift he took, since he took the attractor I had on the entire time

1.  Well I guess I'll start with Big FISH: I love big fish and without question I have found the most big fish in the spring.  Since the water is still relatively low and clear, it's 'easier' to find them; since the bug activity begins to pick up, it's easier to hook them; and since many of them start to color up, it's easier to see them.


2.  There are so many options!! Should I go to the pan to fish for trout footballs every time they bump the flows? should I go to the Taylor and hunt the big guys who have made their way down from below the dam? should I fish Cheesman Canyon, and chase fluttering baetis and 10 pounders who have snuck their way out of Wig Wam? should I go to South Park and cast to cruising pods of hungry lake fed rainbows? or should I go explore new waters?

Spring Slab
Fascination with Head Shakes

This guy definitely shook his head a few times

I have grown to love head shakes. There is no better affirmation of a clean fair hook up, then when a trout starts shaking its head, and turning its body into "head-to-tail" tacos. On big fish the first words that come out of my mouth (usually not purposefully), are "Right in the Mouth!" It's both in excitement and relief that the fish is not foul hooked. However, sometimes the trout doesn't treat you with big head shakes, but instead sits deep, or goes on screaming runs. Of course your first thought is, "dammit, I foul hooked it!" but often enough, especially on really big fish, hooked deep, there aren't initial head shakes, and sometimes no head shakes at all.

I experienced this on one of the largest cut-bows that I have landed to date. I was nymphing a long, deep run on the lower Blue River. Most of the takes that day were violent, and the head shaking was clear as day, but on one particular drift, my indicator paused (didn't sink or really stop) and I softly lifted the rod at a down-stream angle. I knew I had a fish on, but it did not shake or run hard at first, instead slowly it moved around the run. I had no control over the fish, so I knew it was a heavy fish, but it sure wasn't fighting yet: my instant mental conclusion was a foul hook-up. 

About three or four minutes into the fight, the fish came near the surface, and the I saw a dorsal fin and tail, and the line was coming out of the water somewhere in front of that. So maybe I fouled it on a pectoral fin, or under the chin. The fish did eventually make some scurried runs, and bulldogged me in the deep, but I never once felt a clear head shake. 

Eventually, a nearby fisherman helped me net the fish 3 feet under the water, since it never came to the surface, or ever showed any signs of rolling or drifting downstream (this was odd as well). And the outcome was a fair hook up on the tongue!! Completely unexpected, without a single head shake that I could tell. 
Not a single head shake out of this monster

The beast ended up at 28 inches long and around 13 pounds, maybe my 5-weight and 6x put so little pressure on him, that he didn't even feel like head shaking.

I had to crop the photo to keep my ugly mug out of it (...and of course maybe to conceal the location)