Monday, June 20, 2016

Camping in Buena Vista and fishing in Cottonwood Lake, June 11, 2016

Took the family up to Buena Vista for the weekend to go camping.  First time I've used my camper in a long time.  BTW, if anyone is interested in buying the camper - it is for sale.  It was scheduled to be a hot weekend, so escaping to the mountains is always a good thing.  I made a reservation at Arrowhead Point Campground just North of BV.

The campground is ok, nothing great or special.  Not a lot of trees, but our spot had some cover.  The kids had a good time riding bikes and exploring.  Cabo, didn't do so well.  She wanders now, and stumbled down the small hill next to our site within 3 minutes of being there.  She just gets the momentum and can't stop.  Poor girl.  I hate putting her on a leash, but had to - she never goes more than 20 feet from me and usually just crashes near us.

We went up to Cottonwood Lake and fished for a little bit.  The fish are stupid and will hit about anything.  The lake has to be filled with stockers, they were cruising everywhere near the shore line and would hit anything put in the water.  We managed a few before the kids lost interest.  One was a nice thick rainbow, the others were strange looking skinny stocker rainbows with almost a black top and silver bottoms - no pink or green coloration at all - nothing like I have ever seen.

My kids ended up picking up old fishing line, hooks, weights, etc. and putting them in a trash bag for about the full 2 hours we were there.  Insane the total abuse of mother nature these asshole bait chuckers have.  I mean, most of the line had to be 20# test and huge bait hooks, in a lake that probably doesn't have a fish bigger than 14 inches.  Sad.  But the kids felt great "to do their part".

Pretty views:

I was glad I got out and threw the rod, and didn't get skunked.

It was a quick trip and we were home early Sunday morning.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

More South Park.....


Then this:
That was awesome!
It was about 30 inches and had a duck bill nose with alligator teeth.
On a Chiro!!

Port Aransas, TX - May 5-8, 2016

Steffan and I made the trip to Texas to visit a buddy of mine who owns a boat and place down in Port A. Those are the best kinds of friends - just sayin.

Left mid day on Thursday, landed in San Antonio at 4:30, Mike picked us up and it took us about 3 hours to get down to Port A. We picked up the boat in Corpus Christi from storage. This is the beast below:

The boat is a 24 foot bay boat, with a 250hp engine that topped out just under 50mph. Lots of storage, lots of flat areas to stand and cast - live bait well, middle console - beautiful boat.

We hit up a joint in town for some seafood - oysters, fish sandwichs, blackened snapper....damn good.

Got up at 4:45am on Friday, hit the bait shop to get some croakers - I guess croakers are just getting big enough right around now and they eat trout eggs - so the trout are on them.

None of these pictures are going to wow or surprise you, fish were caught, nipples were out, I made a mess, Steffan caught the retarded fish, great sunrises, I took a piss right in front of a family or boaters, Steffan pants'ed me while I was pissing, we all caught birds, chugged a Chub, drank a ton of local beers, etc.

Friday was by far the best day - probably caught 20 fish, 10 keepers and a flounder, a couple spanish mackerel (you don't keep those - and they shit in the boat). Friday night we cleaned and fried all our fish and ate it - about 10lbs I'd say. Went out to a dive bar to drink and meet some of Mike's buddies.

Saturday was tough - lots of wind, we went shallower, so were trying to find the redfish. Wade fished a little, which was cool. Caught only 2 keepers. Drank a ton more beer. Cleaned the fish, cleaned the boat. Hit up MacDaddy's which is a new place down there - service sucked, but food was great. Stopped to get cigars. Went back to Mike's place and played ping pong and smoked cigars and drank beer.

Sunday we slept in until 6:30, then made our Mother's Day calls, change flight plans. Headed back to San Antonio to catch 1pm flight - landed in Phoenix, left there and were within 100 miles of Denver when we got re-routed due to tornadoes. Landed in Albuquerque for a 1 hour layover to get fuel, then back to Denver. Landed around 8pm.

Great trip - nice to try something new. Mike is a great guy, and I appreciate his invite down there.

John's Creek, Maggie, VA

more fun....April

GoPro porn:

Been busy....April

Thursday, March 03, 2016

FOTW - Pheasant Tail Nymph by Gareth Lewis

I love this fly, simple, neat and clean.

Frankenfly Link

Check him out on FB

Monday, December 14, 2015

End of the season is coming quick...

I might have a chance to get out and fish one more time before year end (over the Xmas holiday).  I was lucky enough to have a great year of fishing - opportunities to fish the San Juan River in New Mexico, the North Platte River in Wyoming and the Green River in Utah with friends.  That is quite a bit of water to cover in one year.  Each river was unique.  Each river was beautiful.  Yet each river was a let down.  Obviously the more you fish a river, the better you know it and the better you will do.  Each trip was about the same as the next - with average results.

On the Juan you need to use tiny flies - often size 24 or 22.  The smaller the better.  Be used to fishing water with 50 other strangers nearby.  And you better be ready to nymph fish everything and clean the weeds off your flies every other cast.  When the lake turns over, the water will be off color and tough to fish.

The North Platte was interesting water.  A beautiful river with deep holes and lots of sucker eggs!  The fish are as fat as lake fish, and fight you to the end.  During a wet year, like this year, there are just as many fish, but twice as much water - making it really tough to catch fish. Be prepared to deal with scary weather - especially if you camp out, because it can turn on a dime.

The Green is the prettiest of the rivers I fished this year, carving a canyon through Utah.  The water is as clear as gin, the fish are beautifully colored and they eat the weirdest shit I have ever seen.  They won't eat many normal nymphs, but tie on a pink marabou jig fly and drag it through the shallows and you'l pull up some fish.  Fish a weirdly colored looking hopper/cricket fly and you may get lucky.  These fish are picky, yet dumb.  Bring something to float on, because even though you can walk the whole river, the good holes are far apart and DEEP!

All this said, I think I prefer Montana or Colorado fishing.  I mean, none of these three rivers hold a candle to the Bighorn.  And I might be partial to the Colorado or Roaring Fork or Taylor or Arkansas or Gunnison - but Colorado has some amazing water that produces amazing fish.  Escaping for quick trips to Clear Creek, the Big T or Boulder Creek has its treasures as well.

I'm not sure what far away river I'll hit next year, or maybe I'll just stay close to home.  I have a few months to think about it....while the lakes freeze over, the days get short and cold, and then spring starts making an appearance in early April before they start opening the reservoirs again.  Maybe I'll try some ice fishing this year, or maybe just stick to tying flies in front of the TV.

Putting the finishing touches on another great year has made me realize I couldn't (and wouldn't want to) do it without great friends.  I appreciate their companionship, long hours in the truck, sharing great beer, loud snoring, putting up with my bad cliches or one liners and most importantly with their willingness to do it all again the next trip.  I'm hoping to have even more opportunities next year to net your fish or crack you a beer and watch you catch that next fish.

Happy holidays to all, and hoping 2016 is as great as 2015 was.  Cheers.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Steamboat, Green River, Pumphouse - Sept 25-28, 2015

Steffan and I have been planning this trip since we got back from the San Juan in the winter last year.  The Green seemed the natural choice since it was a world-class river and we had never fished up that way before.  The plan was fast approaching, I was tying a bit and getting my gear ready.  I hadn't fished big rivers much this year, so I had to swap out my stillwater mentality for the river mentality.

We left on Thursday around 1pm and headed west - deciding to go the Rabit Ears Pass route into Steamboat and then through Craig.  The view at the top of RE Pass was amazing - definitely the right time for leaf peepers:

A quick stop at the tailwater on the Yampa, where we saw lots of fish, but only caught a couple of dinks, we were on our way.  

A pit stop at McD's to pee and food, bumped into a former colleague of mine, then an epic 1980's music pop quiz extravaganza and we landed in Dutch John around 10pm.  Found our room, tied some flies, drank a shit ton of beer, fell asleep.

I woke up at 6am and stirred Steffan, who was pissed to be up so early.  We popped into the fly shop where they told us that our guide would be there at 8:30 (ish).  WTF?  So we wasted time - took a shower and gt ready.  We were on the water a little after 9am at the boat ramp below the dam.  

The Green River is the clearest river you will ever see, and the fish are somewhat not spooky - you can see them right next to the boat or along the riffles and flat pools.  The water is deceptively deep and cold.  The view below the dam is amazing as the river cuts the canyon.

After rigging up a size 12 red and orange "hopper" thing and the ugliest pink jig head maribou tiny fly (guides choice) underneath it - I caught 3 fish as the guide rigged the other 3 rods for us.  Nothing too large, but all fought like champs.  We pushed off and enjoyed the float.  The canyon is amazing - in stretches the red rock walls stretched 750 to 1000 feet above you, with huge deep pools of water running under the boat.

We saw a ton of fish, but caught very few.  Finally I told the guide I wanted to stop and not fish the dry fly any longer - to which he got angry and said I was catching all the fish (I had 4).  Where I replied, "sure, but how do I know that if I had a nymph rig on I wouldn't catch 30?" - that pissed him off.  He had a 3 fly rig all rigged up that looked ridiculous - a size 20 zebra on top that was on a sort of dropper tippet, a size 20 grey scud on the same dropper tippet and then a 5 inch long red san juan  worm on another dropper tippet and then 10 inches of line and 8 bbs (yes 8).  "That is the way we fish the Green".  I was too pissed off to remove the flies, but I yanked off the bb's and added 3 above, moved my indicator down and proceeded to catch 2 nice fish - a brown and a rainbow that fought hard.  The guide was a bit pissed.

The rest of the day was beautiful, but pretty much fishless.  Occasionally he'd high hole us in a 30 foot deep pool and small fish would grab our flies.  It felt like fishing in an aquarium.

Towards the end of the trip my back was killing me and I was sick of the guide bitching me out about just about everything.  He talked the entire trip.  Steffan finally got some satisfaction from fishing a dry fly all day when about 1/4 mile from the take out a big rainbow came up and swalled his dry.  He landed a nice fish.

Back at the motel we decided to try a local private lake at a resort down the street for tiger trout - which were rumored to be there.  The lake was popping on top with fish taking everywhere.  Steffan fished dries and slammed 2 huge 17"ers and a dink - I managed one small rainbow and then the darkness came and the lake went quiet.

We decided to call it a night - especially since it dropped 25 degrees after the sun set.  We went back to the hotel, drank a few beers, tie some flies and went to bed.

The next morning we weren't in much of a hurry to get up - so we stumbled out of bed around 8am.  We decided to hit the area right were we took out and hike back up into the canyon.  The weather was perfect, if not a little warm.  We hiked in a half mile or so and saw a few fish feeding on the surface and Steffan jumped in with a dry.  I moved up a little ways and fished a nymph rig.  I did manage one nice brown - not long but super healthy.

The pickings were slim, so we decided to go head back up to the put in and fish where we caught fish.  By now, all the boats had launched and the the boat launch by the dam was abandoned.  We proceeded to catch a bunch of small rainbows - most were boot lickers who hung out at out feet.

I got a ton of good GoPro underwater footage.

It was starting to get late - around 5 - and we wanted to hit that lake again.  Especially with the lunar eclipse coming.  We hit the lake, but it was pretty dead.  I think I got 1 dink and Steffan caught a few dinks, including another small tiger trout.  We called it a night and decided to eat at the lodge right there overlooking the lake.  We had a good view of the moon, ate a great elk steak and buffalo steak and had a couple beers.

After dinner we called it a night - one of the guys who runs the fly shop had his dad down with a high powered telescope, so we took a few peeks at the eclipse and other space wonders.  But we were exhausted, so we watched some Jason Stratham movie, drank a shitload and went to sleep.

We decided to leave pretty early on Monday - heading out so we could hit the Colorado at Pumphouse before going home.  After stopping to get a nail removed from our tire in Vernal, UT, we were at Pumphouse around 1pm.  If you haven't been to PH in a while, it has changed a lot.  The lot right there at the put in has been "improved" to add two large spillways so kayakers can play in the fast water.  They also removed many of the huge boulders for the first 50 yards below there.  The water looks great, but it isn't the same - the boulders slowed the water to a crawl and the fish used to stack up in there.  I only managed a small brown - and then Steffan thumped this 19+ inch brown:

Unreal fish and Steffan's largest out of a river - it made his trip (if the tigers hadn't already).  Around 4 we decided to head home - having avoided the rush hour traffic.  We landed home around 7pm.

A great trip, great to hang with my buddy.  Thanks for the slow dance to Phil Collins too!  Too soon?