Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Gear Review: Korker boots

These boots were worn from January 2009 until June 2011.  My fishing journal says that is about 250 days on the water so maybe 200 days in these boots. If you think about it, a great performance, but at the end of their time, they were brutal. Here are some of the shortcomings:

1. The BOA system would pop open from time to time if cranked tight.
2. The boots had no ankle support
3. The original sole exchange system was not good for a number of reasons
4. The BOA system would lock up from time to time, making it nearly impossible to get your foot out of the boots

Here are the positives:

1. The boot can last 200 grueling days on the water and still be relatively functional.
2. The BOA system never freezes up like laces do, and you can get out and in your boots in seconds
3. The boots are extremely light.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A few days off

In the last week I was able to get a few days on the river during the week, first time since the end of May. I spent two days on the Blue River and a couple of days on the Taylor, so that I could watch a chunk of the colorado bike race.  Tomorrow I am going to head up to Saratoga, Wyoming to float the North Platte, before getting back to the work-grindstone on the 1st of Sept.

The above picture was a 7.25 pound 23 incher on the Blue. It took a green drake nymph, and put on a typical lower blue aerial display. Because many of the bigger fish in the blue migrate from private property, they fight like they have never been hooked before. Overall the fishing was very slow, but a 7+ pounder on public water always makes it worth it.

Here is a picture of another fish on the Blue in the "recovery room." The lower Blue is not a good place to try to sight fish. The glare, and freestone bottom makes seeing fish almost impossible. But if you know where fish stack up, you can be in business. I ran into another fisherman, who had been kicked off the water for fishing on the wrong side of the river (not purposefully I believe), and made two pretty accurate quotes about fishing the Blue. The first, "that's just typical Blue River Bullshit." The second was in response to me telling him how the fishing was good one day and slow the next. He responds by saying, "That's the Blue... every time I fish the Blue I tell myself it will be my last." The Blue can be very hit or miss. I have had my best big fish day ever on the Blue, and have been skunked more there, than any other river.

Columbian rider descends Cottonwood Pass at 60 mph in the Pro cycling Challenge

I left Colorado Springs at 10:30 pm to get over to the Taylor so that I could fish and watch the cyclists climb through Taylor Canyon. The Cottonwood Pass had been closed about midday, and I didn't want to waste my time and drive all the way to Gunnison, so Google Maps told me about a route over Tincup Pass. Well at 230 a.m. I was at the summit of Tincup pass (12500 feet in elevation) standing in front of a sign telling me, "No Motorized vehicles past this point." Well the Pass in basically a brutal boulder filled Jeep Road. That route isn't possible, and won't save time! So I slept at the top of the pass in my car and backtracked to Buena Vista in the morning, watched the race from half way up cottonwood, and at 1 pm headed to the Taylor.

Here is a picture of the jeep road on tin cup pass borrowed from http://marmotpress.org/hancockTincup.html don't take your honda civic up here.

The rainy weather produced the best baetis hatch I have ever seen on the Taylor, with fish rising all day. The fishing was very productive, but I saw very few rainbows, and the biggest one I saw was around 22-25'' and was very spooky. I fished the next day as well, with massive pmd and caddis activity, no drakes. I had found the spooky bow again, and after spooking him a couple times got him to take a mysis pattern. Definitely nice to catch the biggest fish I saw in the system, but a bummer that no other fish had moved down with the lower flows.

25" hen took me two days to get a take.

The dry fly fishing at the Taylor has been awesome, if you get a chance to fish it before it gets cold again, go for it!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

We left Breck at 2 a.m. and got on the water at 4:45 a.m. We are very superstitious about Taylor River trips, and have a certain itinerary and rituals that are performed. The Taylor is just that type of place. Now the traditions depend on whether we go over cottonwood pass, or over to Gunnison and up
the Taylor Canyon. The summer trips have mandatory stops at 711 in Buena Vista, and 5 hour energy shots taken at the bridge at the Taylor C&R, and a laundry list of other small details including specific playlists. The number one detail is to have all rods and rigs prepared to go the night before, but that is usually a requirement on every trip.

We fished with headlamps, and used the strong settings to spot the fish and soft settings to not spook them once they were located. It was a full moon, but regardless it was amazing to see how heavily these tailwater fish feed at night. The reason we went before sun up was to see if a rumor we heard was true:  that many of the hogs come down from above the top boundary at night to feed. This theory was hard to prove or disprove, because unless the water was relatively shallow and slow you couldn't really see well enough to scan thoroughly. With that said we did hook and land a pig Brown at around 5:30 a.m.

25" male caught pre-sunrise
Also even in August, the night time temperatures at the Taylor are right around freezing, which means at-least one wardrobe change between dawn and the 80 degree mid-afternoon temps.

This little mayfly, presumably a spinner, hitched a ride on my hat for awhile

The morning, post sun-up fished very slow, but as soon as some of the PMD's started popping things heated up. The hatches were so intense by mid-afternoon, the river looked like a highway of caddis, midges, yellow sallies, and baetis similar to a Star Wars city scene, yet with monsters looking to suck down anyone taking an extended rest on the surface.

PMD cripple pattern securely in the corner of the mouth

It was one of those rare days where we caught far more fish on dries and unweighted emergers than nymphing, which made the day a ton of fun locating un-pressured fish in pocket-water, and presenting double dry rigs.

Adult midge dry was a great producer all afternoon

As the evening came around the fish started taking caddis, and pmd spinners pretty regularly. We even got a large rainbow sitting in front of a rock in the more pressured area of the C&R to come up and eat a caddis pattern. He broke the tippet in one headshake (6x...rookie move).

No idea what these are, but liked the color

We definitely knew what these were

We left the river at 8 pm and saw these giant thunderheads in the East. 

Trip Highlights:
Great Weather
Great top water fishing
Relatively uncrowded Taylor for a Saturday
15.5 hours of fishing time  vs. 4.75 hours travel time

Trip Lowlights:
Pre-sunrise temperatures
Flash floods in South Park
Lost many flies, and ran out of the best flies (not a surprise)
Didn't see any rainbows over 24''

Monday, August 8, 2011

Email from Wisconsin

I got a picture text from a friend, who is fishing for musky on the fly in wisconsin. Saying I'm jealous is an understatement. Good work JP!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

It's been Awhile

I have been on the water quite a bit, but had no time to post. I'd say more than half the days on the water were at pikeview reservoir, chasing carp. It is definitely an urban fishery. I have hooked a few carp in many visits. The casting is not ideal from anywhere, and the carp are very picky, often following your flies but at the last second cut away.

How many can you see?

Also made the haul to the pan when flows were just under 1000 cfs. Since it was during peak run-off, all the guides from the roaring fork valley were there, all with multiple clients. I met a friend on the river, and upon arriving he left because of the terrible vibes the flats full of 55 people can give. I had just driven over 3 hours and was not going to just drive back. No one moved from their spots for most of the day, so I fished the non-fishy spots and casted around the feet of all the fisherman. Sure enough fish were in non-traditional spots, escaping the pressured areas. Though a few fish were landed around 5 lbs, I didn't see a single monster, and after two hours, headed toward basalt and fished pmd's to rising browns on the lower pan.

Since then I have guided a few times, and given the Dream Stream a few Sunday afternoons.

There are a ton of quality fish in the system, but of course if you want them, show up in the morning on a weekday, before the fish are either hooked or put down. Unfortunately, I have only had time on Sundays to fish the dream, the afternoons have been really quiet, but fish are hard to find. 

Thank God my brother saw this prickly fellow on the river bank. My eyes were glued to the water, and would have walked right on top of him.

Court with a nice Brown

Summer "go to"

21.5" bruiser

I was casting blindly in the rain with an indicator rig in front of a fishy rock, and on the first drift a big brown came up and crushed the indicator. I spent the next twenty minutes changing my rig to a range of dry dropper set-ups...he didn't turn up again. My brother caught up to me and twenty feet upstream, we saw a big golden fish rise again. We casted to that spot for another 10 minutes, no dice. Eventually, we started walking up the bank to move on, and a big fish swam right off the bank and away from us. Muscle memory had us drop to the grass immediately, even though we had already spooked the toad. But after about 20 seconds my brother said, here he comes, and the fish moved within feet of my brother and began feeding heavily right in front of a submerged log. After a few drifts I got a hookup, and landed the golden alligator above. The difference between a successful day sight fishing on the dream stream, and a skunking is always due to so many factors: who has fished the run before you, how long before you got there, where the sun is located, how heavy the wind is, etc... but my brother and I really believe if you pay your dues (time on the water), you will be rewarded.