Monday, November 27, 2006

Monday, November 27, 2006 Cheesman Canyon

Monday, November 27, 2006 South Platte River, Cheesman Canyon
Very cold (19 degrees) in the morning - but sunny and slightly breezy. Water was clear in the canyon, about 150 cfs.

Fished with Chad on his birthday (I took the day off). Ice cold morning - took a bit to get the blood flowing. Got to the canyon around 8:30 - in the canyon around 9:15. Tons of fish everywhere. I started out with a bugger and scud combo, but quickly switched to a double scud/czech nymph rig. I surprising hooked an enormous pig right next to a sand bar that ran across the river and popped off - right out of the gate! I hooked a couple smaller trout in the hole directly below the family hole, but had no luck getting them in. I moved up river, seeing lots of fish. I fished the big rock up to the riffles, with no luck. I did manage to hook a small brown and a 13 inch brown above the riffles. Other than that I couldn't catch a thing. Chad had some luck - 6 or 7 fish, mostly browns.

That's about it for the day! I think I'm done fishing for the winter - three times in a row and I haven't caught much.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Saturday, November 25, 2006 - Winter Park

rday, November 25, 2007 - Winter Park Resort
Traffic was below average, weather was snowing in Denver, blue sky from Idaho Springs to WP

Although not a fishing experience, I had the chance to go snowboarding on Saturday with the wife. My mother in law was in town and she watched Avi for the day. This is the first time Jen and I have been together alone snowboarding in over a year. The weather was crappy in Denver and I think it scared some people away. By the time we hit Idaho Springs the weather was beautiful - sunny skies and it was actually warmer. The lift lines were non-existant - right up Zephyr Express and down the other side - the skiing on the WP side was ok, but the skiing on MJ side was killer! Tons of powder - which actually slows you down - but we did 2 or 3 runs in knee deep powder and it was awesome. We only did about 6 runs before Jen called it quits - we were home by 2:30. Great day!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Friday, Nov 10, 2006 South Platte River, Cheesman

Friday, November 10, 2006 South Platte River, Cheesman Canyon
Cold in the morning - about 45 degrees - but sunny and slightly breezy. Water was clear in the canyon, slightly off color above Deckers - about 119 cfs.

I fished with Cabo today, and there isn't much to report. The parking lot at 10 am was packed with about 15 cars, tons of anglers. I saw a ton of fish, most of the good holes were taken. I couldn't find out what the fish were eating. I tried everything from scuds that Chad had luck with to tiny midges to no avail. Nice day, but the wind made it very cold. I was out of the canyon by about 2 pm.

This is a picture of the Family Hole in Cheesman, as you can see the river has changed quite a bit and this hole is completely filled in. This hole is usually about 4 to 6 feet in the middle - now it is about 1 foot deep.

I fished above the bridge at Deckers at the bend with no luck either. Caught a 6 inch fish on a red brassie beadhead soft hackle (my first). I also had a fish about 2 feet from me go after my streamer, but then stop just before the strike. I'm not sure why, I guess I need to understand how to make the streamer look and act more real. That was about it for the day.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

November 9, 2006 - Fly Tying Clinic - Cherry Creek TU

November 9, 2006 - Fly Tying Clinic - Cherry Creek TU

Hit the Fly Tying Clinic on Thursday with Chad and Brian. Before the show we hit Applebee's for dinner and to shoot the sh!t. Hit the show around 7pm. Wasn't overly crowded at all. Good door prizes and raffles. Chad of course won something.

I hung out at a few tables - Sue Armstrong was tying her woven huge stone flies - unbelievable work, 2 hours per fly or so, crazy! Bill Searles was very cool - he's a member of the RMF board too, ties an amazing crayfish pattern that I just had to buy! He had a cool way to make wings with larger feather - splits it, then over laps the feathers and ties off - pretty good and unique idea. I sat with Frank Prekel and saw his epoxy shad streamer that looked cool. Sat with Al Makkai and he showed me his scud/shrimp pattern. Interesting stuff. The usually suspects had a crowd around tham all night (Garcia, Bartholemew, Dorsey).

Al Makkai's scud patterns.

I gave out a few RockyMtnFly stickers, but not nearly enough. A few people seemed very interested. It was a nice night and went by really quickly. I met two members of this forum that I hadn't know before Bill (flashback) and David (ScruffyFly) - I hope to hang out with these guys and do some fishing!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Saturday, October 21, 2006 South Platte River, Cheesman Canyon

Saturday, October 21, 2006 South Platte River, Cheesman Canyon
Evening fishing - evening was nice around 45 degrees, cooled off into the evening but not too cold. Water was clear - about 150 cfs.

Fished with Chad at Cheesman - got there around 5:30 and fished into the canyon. Hard to see any fish with the sun almost down so early and throwing a weird light tint on the water. Nymphed the runs first then moved down to the boulder. I hooked one in the middle boulder to the far bank where they sit in the hole and chill out. The fish was a 18 inch rainbow.

Moved down to the family pool and had no luck - weren't there very long before we called it a night. I wasn't cold, and I could feel my hands the entire night - which is unusual. Good night of fishing. Chad caught one small rainbow, so I out fished him. Miracles do happen!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Saturday, Sept 30, 2006 Colorado River, Gore Canyon

Saturday, Sept 30, 2006 Colorado River, Gore Canyon
Full day of fishing - morning was nice around 55 degrees, afternoon was awesome, no clouds and around 75 degrees. Water was slightly off color - about 680 cfs.

Where should I start, first of all, for a late September day it was probably the best possible day you could ask for. The sun was out the entire day without a cloud in the sky and the temp was around 75 degrees. Of course sun does bad things for fishing.

My buddy Nate and I headed down to Gore Canyon early - got to the canyon slightly after 8 am. We didn't make it very far down the dirt road before I decided I wasn't "in to" 4x4ing and pulled off. We walked the rest of the way - which was ok on the way down, but brutal on the way back. We actually saw quite a few fishermen today - which was different from last year.

First off - the water in Gore Canyon looks amazing - plenty of holes and rocks were you just know the fish are in. Problem is, we just could scare any up. I hooked into a few fish, but most were tiny and when they were being pulled in they twisted and turned until they fell off the hook. I managed to land a small 7 incher and on the next cast landed a fat 17 inch white fish. I was so excited, until I realized it wasn't a trout.

We fished until about 2:30 and hiked our asses out of the canyon. Even Cabo was pooped by the time we made it back to the truck. We decided to head down to the Blue River - where it dumps into Dillon. No one was there this late in the day, so we had the delta access to ourselves. The river wasn't producing so we decided to strip streams on the "flats" where the river delta meets the reservior. Nate hooked into 2 rainbows that were about 14 inches and he called me over. He found a nice little pod of fish and we hook a half dozen or so. That was my first stillwater experience and it was a good one. I learned that stripping streamers blind can be frustrating, but if you find a pod of fish it can be great fun.

We were back in Denver around 6:30. It was a nice day to get out, but the fishing was disappointing.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Saturday, September 23, 2006 Clear Creek, Idaho Springs

Saturday, September 23, 2006 Clear Creek, Idaho Springs
Cold afternoon, very overcast - about 50 degrees. Water was slightly off color and flows were over 100 cfs or so.

I watch the daughter today while the wife worked - she got out early so I made a break for some fishing while I had the chance. I took cabo and headed for Clear Creek. Having been here the week before for the clean up, I knew where the fish were stacked up - well, at least I thought.

I tried nymphing, then streamer/SJW rig, then dry/dropper, then streamer, then back to a double nymph rig. I managed to catch 4 browns all about 10 to 12 inches.

Basically I gave up after 2 hours and went home. Nothing to see here, just keep moving!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Clear Creek River CleanUp with Trout Unlimited - September 16, 2006

Clear Creek River CleanUp with Trout Unlimited - September 16, 2006
Not much to report here. Kind of sad about the turn out we got - not a whole lot of people and most were up in age. I'm also disappointed by how much trash we picked up - not the fact that we picked it up, but the fact that there was still a lot there.

We cleaned up the same stretch 2 years prior - yes there was a lot of trash then, but that stretch had never had trout fishermen cleaning it up.

The majority of what we cleaned up was McDonald's trash, beer cans, styrafoam coffee cups and cigarette packs. The beer of choice for the littering folk is Budweiser. The two extremes were either Bud or Milwaukee's best. The cigarette of choice was Marlboro (shocker). Needless to say the people doing the littering are inbred Bud drinking, Marlboro smoking losers - yeah that's right I said it - and you know who you are and you should be ashamed of yourselves. The McDonald's trash is due to there being a McD's in Idaho Springs and this must have been the main exit point. But there is still no excuse!

Volunteers also bother me. Not because they are usually an older crowd, but mostly because a bunch of them were there more for the free food, for the socialization or the raffle - rather than being there to pick up trash. For example - I was working Stanley Road as I was instructed and came across three orange bags that were blown into the brush by the wind - here I am carrying a bag full of garbage that weighed close to 40 or 50 lbs - I'm thinking, how can these bags get blown off the road? Well, I pull them open and someone had stuffed them with weeds, tumble weeds to be exact. The bags weighed about 1 lb each and there were three of them! What a damn waste! So, I unpacked them and stashed them in the truck for later.

Another time a couple drove by me in their Lexus, they had said that they had picked up the area below, but when it got to steep and rocky next to the river that they decided to stop. They drove up further (to where I was) and said that it looked like the whole road had been picked and they were all done - they said they were headed back to the park - they were done. I think they were looking for some kind of agreement from me, or some sign that I thought that was ok for them to do. I looked at my watch (10:30 - basically an hour and a half after we started - and an hour and a half before we were supposed to meet back at the park), so I told them "WHATEVER!". Of course, further up the road there was trash all over - so basically their trip was short.

The third thing that happened was also kind of deflating. Greg (the guy I was teamed with) had been told by a guy that he had worked the opposite side of the road from the river all the way up - so Greg and I grabbed the river side and walked about a quarter mile (we met another group that was working still further up) before turning around due to a 50 mpg wind and driving huge rain drops. We tied off our bags and left them next to the road (as instructed) - then we headed back on the far side of the road. We had left this stretch alone because the guy said it was done. Well, Greg and I started walking past some trash, at first we thought he just missed some - nope, finally I said "hey Greg, I have one more bag, I can't keep walking by this stuff" - Greg said "yeah I know, it's killing me too" - so we started picking - and started picking hard - getting behind the trees and picking up at least 120 beer cans and other stuff. We filled a bag between the two of us in the 1/3 mile stretch we had been told was done. Amazing.

Ok, so I'm a sore volunteer. Two years ago there was young teenagers helping us and they pulled a ton of trash on their own. The kids of today (well two years ago) basically were the work horses - but there weren't any volunteering today. So what does that say for the rest of us oldies (or midlifers)? I guess most are just interested in making an attempt, but their main interest is in the ass kissing and free stuff at the end. Sad.

For the record, I ate 1 brat, drank one water, didn't take a free t-shirt, and didn't stick around for the raffle (you had to be there to win). I wasn't there for the people, I was there for the fish/river/trash. I came, I saw, I picked up, I left.

Ok, I'm off my soap box. I hope others had a better experience than I did.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Monday, September 4, 2006 South Platte River, Dream Stream/11 Mile Canyon

Monday, September 4, 2006 South Platte River, Dream Stream/11 Mile Canyon
Beautiful day, hot and sunny around 75 degrees and NO wind! Water was slightly off color and flows were 143 cfs or so.

Fished with Chad and Nate (fishboy) - we were dying for some big fish - but none were had. Started at the Dream at 8am. Fished the bridge section just above the bend run and worked my way back to the bridge. I caught one cuttbow (about 14 inches) at the bend run on a microbugger in black. I had a couple of earlier hits by smaller fish. I walked the rest of the way back to towards 11 Mile Res looking for Chad and Nate - I didn't see a single fish the entire way. Nate hadn't much luck either - we both were blindly casting to great looking stretches with no luck.

We decided to head to the 11 Mile Canyon stretch. The canyon was packed on a holiday weekend with cut off jean short and wife beater wearing, cigarette hanging out of their mouth, budweiser bottle in one hand, spinner rod in the other fishermen. Scary the congregation of rednecks.

The canyon is what it is, beautiful water, and tons of small fish. The big ones wouldn't move for anything and wouldn't eat a fly if it was on a platter. I caught a few dinks - but as the afternoon got later, the fishing shut off. It was a long ride home on a holiday weekend.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Saturday, August 19, 2006 Blue River, Palmer Gulch

Saturday, August 19, 2006 Blue River, Palmer Gulch
Heavy overcast - rain in the morning, storms in the afternoon around 60 degrees. Water was gin clear and flows were 276 cfs or so.

Fished with Chad, his father in law and my buddy Robert from work. We headed out early and got to Palmer Gulch around 8:30. Jumped down into the hole and started fishing - the morning went really well - hooking lots of small fish on a micro bugger in black. The first three fish I hooked were a brown, rainbow and a brookie. The brookie had grey coloring with orange fins and white on the tips.

I continued fishing and hooking fish, just not large fish. I hooked probably about 15 fish all day and 10 were under 13 inches. The afternoon brought thunder clouds and we decided to get off the lower stretch and head for the dam area. The tailwater was same as it ever is - clear and the fish spooky.

I fished my way to about half way to the dam - didn't catch anything, then we headed home. The ride home was scary - where the rain came down so hard that Rt 70 was a river in some stretches.

It was a nice day - I used Chad's 4 piece Clearwater rod for the first time.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sunday, August 13, 2006 Blue River, Silverthorne

Sunday, August 13, 2006 Blue River, Silverthorne
Beautiful morning, nice and sunny maybe 75 degrees. Water was gin clear and flows were 172 cfs.

Fished during the day with Chad while the girls and kids went to the outlets. Gave us 3 hours to fool around. Typical Blue adventure - sunny and slow fishing. Saw tons of fish. Hooked and landed two - one on my second cast, a small rainbow that hammered the new streamers I tied. Green was the color of choice. I moved up to a deeper pool and saw a beautifully colored rainbow that had a neon sign across its side - the coloring was amazing. I hooked a 12 inch brown in that hole on the dorsal fin on a mysis shrimp. The last hour or so was uneventful. I could see them and tried every pattern I had in size 24, but to no avail. It was nice to get out, but 3 hours was way too short.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Friday, August 4, 2006 South Platte River, Cheesman Canyon

Friday, August 4, 2006 South Platte River, Cheesman Canyon
Night fishing - evening was nice and clear around 75 degrees. Water was clear - about 275 cfs.

My buddy Nate and I decided to fish Cheesman at night. He had heard about Chad and I fishing there and wanted to try it. We headed out late (6:30 pm) and didn't get to the parking lot until about 8 pm or so. Luckily it stays light out there. We hiked in and dropped straight into the family pool. The water was clear, but pretty high - higher than I had seen it in a while. The fish were taking off the top, but they were small.

We went right to chucking streamers. The night was uneventful, but we managed to catch 4 fish each. The largest was a skinny assed rainbow that was 18 inches, but skinny as hell.

I caught a nice brown on a smaller streamer that Nate's step-dad had tied. The small streamers seem to be the only thing that was working all night. We left around 11pm and were home by 12:30am. Not a bad night - I just wish we had more success.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Wednesday, July 26, 2006 Blue River, Silverthorne

Wednesday, July 26, 2006 Blue River, Silverthorne
Night fishing - evening started out rainy, but cleared up - overcast around 65 degrees. Water was off color due to heavy drainage up by the outlets - above outlets it was clear and cfs about 75 cfs of so.

Ok, I'll make this short and sweet since this was over two weeks ago. Chad and I hit the Blue - we were going to try the Palmer Gulch area, but the drive was rainy and we were anxious to get on the river - so we hit a section just south of there (by the pull out that loops behind the hills).

The area looked great, but the water was slightly off color (from all the rain we had just got) - we could see fish taking off the top along the shorelines. We started out fishing a deep pool and then working our ways up and back. I couldn't find anything. I tried everything too - from dries to nymphs. The water looked great with lots of fishable areas. I managed to hook one 4 inch fish before heading down river to see what Chad was doing.

He had just hooked into a huge fish that had run him down some rapids - he hooked him on a huge dry fly that he was flipping under a waterfall. Chad said he caught only 4 fish through this section.

It started getting dark, so we headed up towards the dam - hoping the water would be clearer. It wasn't, it was even more chocolate. I worked from under the bridge to just about half way through the outlets when I realized the cause of the dark water. The small stream that flows between the outlets was dumping about 100 cfs of dirt into the water - I jumped above this mess and found the water was crystal clear. The problem with water this clear is that all the fish can see you. I had no luck the rest of the night. Chad said he hooked 3 pigs down closer to the dam.

We were home by 10:30!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Striper Fishing - Narragansett, Rhode Island

Wednesday & Thursday, July 5-6, 2006 - Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island
Beautiful weather - clear, about 80 degrees

Wednesday was interesting - we started out by fishing the docks (as the bait shop had suggested) in the morning, but the tide was rolling out and it was the "wrong" tide. I started by chumming the water with huge clam bellies (as the bait shop had suggested). Of course there isn't a whole lot to see - the clams basically drift to the bottom (which you can't see), but I was hoping it was working by drawing the attention of some fish. Soon, the stripers were actually coming within site and taking the clams in fast smacks. I had tried earlier in the week to fly fish for stripers, but there is no "good" places to fish for them unless you have a boat. So, I stuck to bait fishing as it was my best option for catching fish.

We proceeded to tie on some clam necks and drift them down like they were chum. We had several hits and landed a few - none were bigger than 16 inches or so. They were a lot of fun fighting on a big 7 wt fly rod. We decided to head back to the cottage and wait for a higher tide. Later in the day we (my two uncles) returned and we proceeded to catch a few more fish. The largest was about 18 inches - but most were about 14 but very fat.

The guys were ready to fish on Thursday and we went to the pier at the perfect time - with an incoming tide. We started chumming again and the fish were present. They seemed to love the structure of the piers that ran right beside the main channel (between a sand bar in the middle and the piers). We had seen a guy anchored on the sand bar fishing the incoming tide and he hooked into and landed a 29.5 inch striper - it was a keeper (28 inches is the limit). To me it looked like a 24 incher, but of course the guy wasn't going to toss that big of a fish back. We went right to work - hooking fish after fish until the tide peeked and started to turn over to slack tide. The fish were fun, all about 16 inches +/- - some smaller like 12 inches but all were fun to land. In all we managed about 2 dozen stripers between 3 people. Not bad for fishing from a pier!

The two weeks were a lot of fun, besides fishing, we went clamming several times, and crabbing a couple of times. We also bought lobsters straight off the dock and cooked them up, had linguine and clam sauce and had an amazing clam/seafood chowder that was the tastiest I have ever had. It was nice to relax for a couple weeks.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Friday - June 23, 2006 - Cheesman Canyon

Friday, June 23, 2006 - South Platte River, Cheesman
Beautiful weather - clear, water clear, flows 235 cfs

If you are looking for a good fish story you will be disappointed. But, this was still the best fishing day of my life. Obviously not because of the fish - but because of something else.

Chad and I were out in the Gill Trail parking lot around 5:15 pm - ready to do some night fishing. After a hot hike in, we dropped down to the Family Pool and decided to work our way up the canyon about 1/4 mile and then meet back at the Family Pool at about 8 - 8:30 pm for some streamer fishing. I headed straight to my favorite strecth - with this much flows, the rainbows would be all over the large rock and that stretch. I tried the normal small thread midges, jujubees, black beauties, a pt, a chartuese midge, nothign was working. Chad of course whizzed by catching some nice pigs on a streamer dropper rig.

About 6 pm or so I heard some little peeping noises coming from the bank. I was trying to hook a fish that was right next to the bank and these two little duckings were coming down river hugging the bank and swam right over my fish. They noticed me and made a beeline back up river. I pointed them out to Chad. As I moved out to the middle of the river, the ducklings (not more than a week or two old I would guess) got a little braver and headed back down river past me, peeping all the way. I knew that was odd, since ducklings aren't usually left alone by their mothers. As always, I felt a bit sad to see them float by, thinking they wouldn't last long - especially since night fall was only a couple hours away.

The fishing continued to suck - and Chad kept catching fish ahead of me. I tried everything, even switching to a dry caddis because I saw one fish hit one as it floated by. It was getting closer to 8 pm and almost time to head down to the Family Pool, I started to cross over and decided to hit the long riffle one last time. There is a huge rock at the end of the riffle run that the water was high enough to flow around - well barely. I was starting to head back to the Family Pool and was walking behind the rock when I saw the two ducklings again, this time headed up river against the flow. We surprised each other behind the rock and they jetted around the front of it through the tougher current. I thought it was odd they were still searching for their mother, and now I felt even more like sh!t. I fished the back end of the pool for about 5 minutes and then guilt came over me. Somehow I had to help those ducklings, but how? They were probably 50 yards up by now.

I decided to give chase, I put my rod down and started stepping out into the current to see if I could see them. I couldn't, but I started sloshing ahead as I knew they'd be 3 inches from the bank. I moved up about 40 feet and there they were - tucked into the side of the bank swimming, they hopped up on a rock and went up and over. I jumped out of the water and headed on land after them. Not realizing how fast they could swim, I hopped back in the water and they were still up ahead of me. I started thiking to myself - I haven't seen a bird all day, where the hell would a mother duck be? Just then I looked at the island directly across some of the swiftest parts of the river and there was the mother duck, no kidding, with 4 other ducklings. She had heard the ducklings cries, and was standing alert, but wasn't making a sound. I think she was afraid that I would hear her and then come after her.

The ducklings didn't see or hear their mother and kept swimming ahead. I decided I'd try and scare them across - maybe when they got to the other side they'd see mom. So I jumped out of the water again and ran ahead, this time I was ahead of them and crashed down into the water - they saw me and made a break for the middle, got about 3 feet out and turned back to the bank and started down river. I jumped out of the water again, and ran down river to get behind them. I got behind them and tried again, again they made a break for the middle, but again, the current was too swift and they came back to the edge - this time heading back up stream again. This time I was close to them - maybe 20 feet, so I started charging them. The edge of the river was tough, as it narrowed the water got faster close to the edges and there were a few waterfalls of a few inches that made their swimming tricky. I got right behind them, they made a break to get up a 6 inch slick waterfall but fell back into the pool 5 or 6 times, I grabbed my net (which is the new measurenet that has smaller holes) and scooped one of them up. The other dove into the grassy edge to get away - he played dead as he hung low in the grass. I wanted to make sure I didn't lose one to catch the other, so I hell the net slightly off the ground, but it didn't matter - the duckling in the net was exhausted and was just as happy to sit there still.

I pinned the little guy into the grass, but had to get him out and into the net. I dropped the net down to the grass and tilted it in his direction. I started trying to move and I think he saw his little brother/sister and I nudged him in - not touching him for fear he'd have my scent on him. I had them both in the net, but now I had to get across the fast water. I was thinking the whole time, great you saved the ducks only to drownd trying to get across the river - nice! The second duckling kept trying to get out - he was stepping on his brother's head and trying to climb up the net. I held my hand over the net and shook him back down - he was exhausted too - and wasn't trying too hard. They were all poofy and their feathers were all puffed out - they were a black and light yellow color, mixed with brown and they had feet about one third the size of their bodies (which is huge).

I got into the faster water and it was deep - right up to my waist waders - and I was sure it was going to get deeper - but it didn't. I crossed over to the island and headed down to the lower part to where I had seen the mother. I sloshed down to the end and just as I came around there was the mother about 20 ft away and she was pissed!! I started getting a bit nervous and got about 10 ft closer to a rock that blocked me from her, leaned over it and dropped the two ducklings gently into the water in front of her. They booked it right for her, but made a slight detour to the right and went up on the island and jumped in with the other ducklings ahead of her. The whole time mom was yacking at them - I'm sure she was giving them an ear full for straying too far out into the current.

I crossed back over, hit the shoreline and got up on the hill side and looked for them. Mother and 6 ducklings were swimming together in the slow water and headed for the far shore (which was shallow and very slow). I found my rod and headed back to the Family Pool. Man, did I feel good. I hadn't caught a fish, but it didn't seem to matter.

I sat at the Family Pool for about 10 minutes, Chad came up from lower down the river and met me - I told him the story. We tied on streamers and started chucking. I managed two fish, a large rainbow and a good sized brown. We left at 10:15 or so and I was home by 11:45. I know this story seems a little sappy, but honestly it was one of the greatest feelings in the world.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

brandon722 Fryingpan River - Basalt, CO June 9-11

Friday - Sunday, June 9-11, 2006 - Fryingpan River, Basalt
Beautiful weather all days - partly cloudy, water clear, flows 189 cfs

First off, let me say that the Fryingpan experience is only what you make of it. There are three different sections of river that have loads of fish in it, and it is up to you to choose your best experience. If you are chasing fat rainbows and browns and only want to catch a few fish and be amongst 25 other anglers with the same attitude, the first mile or so below the dam is your stretch. If you enjoy faster water with lots of plunge pools and rapids, with fewer people but still anglers within site, the stretch between mile markers 12 and 6 are your best bet. Finally if you like faster water, with fewer long stretchs, harder wading, slightly smaller fish, but easier fish to catch, and no other anglers within site you want miles 6 through 1 of the canyon.

The canyon is a 13+ mile stretch of road with sparse public and private land throughout. Of course some of the prettiest stretches are private, but there is plenty of public acces including the last 2.5 miles or so to the dam. The canyon is beautifully lined with red rocks and shear cliffs with green tree lined deep mountain sides. The only thing prettier than the scenery are the fish. The browns are magically beautiful this time of year, and the rainbows are equally vibrant. The browns are by far more colorful. Of the many that were caught, each wore their personality on their outsides. The browns were all different, but their vibrant red spots, deep golden bellies and red tail fins made them unique. They fought the hardest and offered the greatest rewards.

Chad and I arrived around 9 am on Friday, after driving by the Roraring Fork we made a subconscoius decision to stay away from that water way. We hit the canyon and immediately started fishing about 1 mile into the canyon. The water was fast and the walking was treacherously slippery, but the rewards were awesome. The canyon comes right down to the water, which makes wading along the edges impossible around trees, bushes and huge boulders covered in moss and red dirt/muck. But the deep holes and edge slicks makes for the perfect hiding places for larger than average fish. Chad of course caught his share, hooking some impressive fish with a streamer rig. He quickly found that a size 10 caddis pupa nymph trailing a bugger picked up huge strikes. I managed to land a few also, much smaller than Chad's. I did hook and land a nice rainbow that took me by surprise. We only fish the stretch for about a two hours or so and decided to go set up camp at the campground just on the other side of the dam.

We set up the camper and then decided to hit the river again. We jumped back on the water around noon at just above the 11 mile marker. There is a really deep stretch that rolls into two long straight aways with huge trees laying across the entire river - then it runs into private water. Chad and I split up relatively quickly. I was having problems getting into the fish - I knew they were in there from last year, but the little browns were a lot trickier than expected. I managed to hook and land a few. We only stayed for about an hour and then moved again up to mile marker 12 area. We fished the area quite well and saw tons of fish. I managed to hook and land 4 fish in one particular hole on dry flies - including a nice 19 inch rainbow, a 16 inch rainbow, a small brown and a silvery small rainbow. We found some huge fish that we toyed with for a while with streamers, but with no luck. At around 4:45 we decided to head back to town and get cell service and call Jason who was meeting us there that day. We ate dinner, made contact with Jason and made plans to meet up with him at the dam area around 8 or 8:30. We were back on the water by 7 pm.

We fished the usual areas - the hog pen, the straight away just before the water fall and slightly below there. The fishing was slow and I found myself fishing the hog pen. A sudden down pour came on as I was throwing a mysis at a bunch of feeding fish and one huge hog which had no interest in feeding. The down pour lasted only a few minutes, but right in the middle of it I hooked and landed the hog - he was a huge brown trout - with deep coloration - he was about 25 inches and weighed about 10 or 11 lbs - he was huge. Unfortunately the fish only made a few head thrashs but didn't make any runs - thank God. I had help landing him and getting my picture taking. By the time it was all over, the rain had stopped and the fish stopped feeding. It was an amazing fish - I had the adrenaline pumping for quite a while afterwards. I headed down to show Chad the picture and hang out down there.

I saw some smaller fish taking dries off the top just below the waterfall at the gauging station. I hooked a few, but only landed one - a nice 13 inch brown - I was surprised as I thought they were all dinks. Chad was hooking larger fish on streamers just above the waterfall. Jason showed up at 8:30 and we decided to try some night fishing. Not much to tell here, we were ready to leave.

Next morning we were up at 8 am and on the river soon after. We started out below the dam on the stretches just above the bridge. There weren't as many people as I thought there. The area had tons of fish feeding on the surface and subsurface on emergers (I guess). I only hooked one, and we decided to move on - down to before the 12 mile marker where we worked our way up stream almost a mile. What a great stretch. We spent 7 hours fishing this stretch - the stretch was hopping - all the fish were hitting green nymphs (size 16 ish). I hooked at least 75 fish and landed about 50 of them - only a few of larger than 13 inches. One in particular was a beautiful brown that was in some fatser water that shook its head furiously. I was so nice to just be out on the water relaxing. The water felt cool and even refreshing the one time I did fall in!

We headed back into Basalt for dinner - this time finding a nice bar to sit on the porch next to the river and have dinner and a couple of beers. We headed back to the river around 7:30 - stopping at the 4 mile mark to try our hand. There were tons of fish, but even more mosquitos. Chad and I got eaten alive, Jason managed to not get eaten. We moved back up to the dam section and started fishing again. It got dark quick and we were off the river by 9:30 or so.

The next morning we were on the river at 8 am or so, fishing the 12 mile marker and down on the stretch we had some good luck on the previous day. The fish were still hungry - we all hooked several fish - Chad hooked some pigs for that stretch. At about 11 am we made our way home. The ride home was uneventful. The Eagle and Colorado were blown out beyond fishable. The Blue seemed crazy high (900+ cfs after looking it up), so basically everything was blown out for the entire week. I think we made a good decision by heading out of town to the Pan. Another great trip.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Friday, May 19, 2006 - Blue River, Silverthorne

Friday, May 19, 2006 - Blue River, Silverthorne
Night fishing - 7 pm to 10 pm, 252 cfs

Fished with Chad at the Blue for some night fishing. basically the water was high (higher than the 101 flows that were reported the previous day) and the water off color. This meant that the fish were harder to find. Chad managed two fish (12 & 16 inches) on streamers and I got none. We were home and in bed by 11pm. Not much to report, so I kept it short.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Saturday May 13, 2006 - Cheesman Canyon

Saturday May 13, 2006 - Cheesman Canyon
Flows about 53 cfs, water was gin clear.

I fished with Chad and Jason (his neighbor) tonight. We decided to do a late evening trip to Cheesman and try our luck. The flows were really low so we knew we'd be headed for a tough night of fishing. We hiked into the canyon around 5:30pm on a very warm day around 70 degrees. We jumped down into our normal holes (the riffles). I hooked a big brown twice, but he popped off very quickly. I had on another smaller trout, but he got off too. I moved down a bit to the log hole and hooked a nice rainbow and he popped off too. Finally I hooked and landed a 16 inch rainbow - very colorful, pink the whole length of his body. I was hooking fish on the size 20 mercury baettis that Paul gave me and a size 22 killer midge with a gold bead head.

I crossed the river and tried the slow pool right next to the big rocks (the river flows between them). I could see multiple fish - most about 20 inches feeding on nymphs, but they weren't taking anything I was throwing. It started getting pretty dark. I finally went to the end of the pool and started throwing up between the rocks a midge combo - I hooked a fish and when he got right up next to me I had a knot failure at my indicator and EVERYTHING popped off and he was gone. I moved down from there to the hufge rock, but by now it was pitch black and a head lamp in the middle of the river does you no good.

I broke down my fly rod - chatted with Jason as he jumped in another hole and headed down to find Chad. I found Chad standing in the straights area (the very beginning of the Canyon where the water is deep but dead slow) - chucking streamers. I sat down next to him and of course he went on to tell me that he had just landed 5 in a row and they were all hogs. To say the least, he wasn't going to get me to rig back up and try. Then, of course, he lands a fish that was breaching the surface no more than 6 feet in front of me. He showed me the fish - easily 20 inches and as thick as a horse - and I started rigging back up. Jason came down to meet us - he was ready to go home too - then I slammed a fat hog and he was hooked! I caught about a 20 inch rainbow (all the fish we caught on streamers were all fat hogs and 20 inches it seemed).

I have never caught a big fish on a streamer - the slam and the fight are addicting. i think I need to do more night time fishing!! We proceded to fish for the next two hours with only streamers - Chad caught about another 5 or 6 fish, I landed 3 total and Jason had on a nice fish but somehow it got off. I had on another two fish on consecutive casts, but they managed to get off. This new strategy was amazing - basically you chucked an olive streamer (olive was the killer color) out and did foot long strips back and let it sink for 2 seconds in between strips. Of course the night time makes it for a totally different experience because you ahve no idea where your streamer is landing in front or behind you. Also, I had a lot of problems because I'd strip so that my leader was up in side my guides, then I'd cast and basically the line would cast but from my second guide - the leader would be trapped in the first guide. To say the least this was trouble - my flies snagged the top guide and broke off, they snagged the rock behind me and broke off - and I assume all this whipping made the leader weaker so when a fish did hit it - it would break off. Jason was having the exact same problem - I lost at least 10 streamers and he probably lost 5.

The hike out sucked and the drive home did too - I got home at around midnight. But man, that was some of the best fishing I've ever had. Chad told me that the Blue, Pan and Taylor all where good fished at night for hogs. I believe him and can't wait to get the chance.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Friday & Saturday, May 5th & 6th, 2006 - Arkansas

Friday & Saturday, May 5th & 6th, 2006 - Arkansas River – Salida to Howard
600+ cfs, water was off color. Friday was cool and windy in the afternoon/evening. Saturday was sunny in the upper 60’s.

I was lucky enough to get invited down to float the Ark on Saturday by Brian (Hyde Drifter). I got down there early on Friday night and fished my secret spot (just south of Big Bend) from 4pm to 8pm. The water was high and off color so I stuck to the big pool. On my third cast I caught a 13-inch brown on a chartreuse midge with a red bead head. I continued working the pool and hooked a big brown on a streamer, but he broke me completely off. Most of the other areas were too off color to see or catch anything. I did manage to hook one more a little lower down – he was a nice 14-inch brown.

I headed over to eat dinner in Salida and then headed to meet Brian at his camper and introduced myself. We decided to meet at 6:30 am the next day to get breakfast and then jump on the river. I just assumed that we'd both get in some rowing and fishing, but Brian's raft was only a two-seater and he just wanted to row and watch - which I'm not sure I could do with fish showing everywhere.

We dropped in just below Salida and planned to float all the way to Howard. Brian is a hell of a guy - the guy can row that raft "in a phone booth" (inside joke) - basically I didn't spill my tea the entire trip! Even Brian enjoyed the satisfaction of rowing one of his best days - with flows around 600 cfs.

Although I felt a little awkward taking advantage of Brian's rowing skills it turned out that he just loves being on the river - he loves talking fish, talking flies, teaching casting, trying new patterns, and showing new techniques. He's also amazing at spotting fish areas - but then again when all the GUIDES on the river know you by first name, that usually means you have floated the river a few hundred times. He hooked me up with some killer PMX's and some soft hackle nymphs and chartreuse pheasant tails - and the caddis patterns where spot on and caught lots of fish.

The river was high (600 cfs) and slightly off color - the banks are where the fish were at. The morning was slow, but as the water warmed the caddis started popping and the fishing picked up. I caught fish on one of his newest patterns, had some killer dry fly action in the early afternoon, and had a bunch I couldn't land on a dry fly during the last 2 miles or so. It was a beautiful day, great weather, hardly a breeze, smooth water and good company. I saw the Ark from a new angle and I respect it more for some of the amazing private water it has stashed away. The entire Arkansas Valley is just amazing. And the fish are healthy and large (for that river) - they feed fiestily too on size 16 nymphs - which is a change for us South Platte size 24 midge guys.

I'd like to thank Brian and Mary for their hospitality and kindness and I owe them big time! Although Brian doesn't want the publicity, he's a hell of a fly tyer - he donated over 40 dozen flies to TU this year for their auctions - and for that (and everything else he does) he should be commended. This is just another story of how this board brings us all closer together.

Brian was nice enough to donated almost 2 dozen flies to me, of which I donated directly to the fish Gods. Did I mention he's a hell of a fisherman too? He grabbed my rod in a great hole and made some beautiful casts to some nice fish - he only "landed" one - but it was one memorable fish!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Saturday, April 22, 2006 - South Platte River – Dr

Saturday, April 22, 2006 - South Platte River – Dream Stream
56 cfs, water was clear. Sunny in the 60’s – a little wind late.

Fished with Chad and his dad – we started right at the bridge between Spinney and 11-Mile. Got off to a good start, hooked and landed a huge 22” rainbow that was as big as a 2”X6” board. Unfortunately I realized after landing him that he was spawning and I should have left him alone.

Chad’s dad hooked a large rainbow that I tried to land for him, but he’s not used to landing big fish, so he couldn’t guide the fish to me and eventually he got off. He did hook and land a huge fish a few minutes later – the same exact fish I caught. I netted it for him and he was excited. He’d end up hooking and landing two more large fish.

We moved up to the dam section - after a 300-yard walk we finally got to the river. The water looked man-made – with boulders and tree stumps in the middle to break up the current. Problem was, there was no current today. 56 cfs is stupid. I hooked and landed a nice fighting 14-inch cuttbow with a nice orange gash under his chin. I moved up to the hog pen and we could see enormous fish, but neither Chad nor I could land one – even after trying everything including eggs.

We left and headed back, but stopped at the Tomahawk access on the way back. It was a nice little river, but typical low water on one of the forks of the South Platte. I caught a 6-inch brown – but that was it. We left soon after.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Bighorn River, Montana - April 6-9, 2006

Thursday through Saturday, April 6-8, 2006 – Bighorn River, Montana

Cold afternoon about 40 degrees, cloudy and later with driving rains. Water was clear, flows about 2,500 cfs. Floated Afterbay to 3-Mile Access from 2pm to 7:30pm.

I left the house around 3:30 am to be at Chad’s around 4 am. I was right on time and Chad was waiting. We piled the stuff in and off we went – hitting the gas station right before jumping on rt 70. It was still pitch black and we made conversation for about 30 minutes and I told Chad to take a nap while it was still dark. I was doing ok driving – but around Cheyenne I started getting tired. I struggled a bit, but kept going until about Casper (3 hours+ in) and we swapped out. The day was dry, but we could see the storm clouds rolling in from the NW. As we got closer and closer to the MT border it was obvious that there was some rain/snow close by, but we had juts missed it. We arrived in Ft. Smith at around 11am – we checked into the Cottonwood Camp, got our cabin, got our licenses, a parking pass for the day, bought a few white streamers and decided to dress and hit the 3 Mile access. The cabin was really nice – not huge, but well set up. Two bunk beds, a small bathroom with shower, a small kitchen and a nice sitting area with rap around seating around a small table – perfect for 3 guys.

We hit 3 Mile access right away – with about 2 hours to spare before Paul arrived. I shot up the left side of the island and made my way to the upper reaches – the water swings around the edge and runs shallow. A slight drop off closer to shore on the left is where I hooked my first two fish. A pair of nice 18 inch browns that were very colorful.

I dropped down to around the boat ramp – right where the water swiftens. Chad was already working this stretch and I waded over next to him to fish a shallow shelf that dropped into a huge pool next to some dead trees that were hung up in the middle. I immediately hooked a huge fish. I called Chad over to help me land the pig. The fish measured out at about 26 inches and about 10.5 lbs – what a fish. Chad didn’t have his camera – he left the batteries in the cabin to charge. I hooked another huge fish in the same spot – a 21 inch rainbow – not quite as impressive.

Paul showed up moments later and we were pulled off the water and ready to be escorted to the Afterbay section to launch our first day of floating.

We dropped the boat in the water around 1 pm and off we went. Paul rowed (as he did the remainder of the weekend) and kept us near the banks to try our hand at fishing the shore. We didn’t have much luck – although we could see quite a few fleeing under the boat. The weather was starting to turn – you could feel the moisture in the air and then it started raining. We hit Meat Hole right off – all the other boats had already hit it and we had the river somewhat to ourselves. Meat Hole was good to us – just as we remembered. I think we all caught 3 fish in the hole. Chad caught the largest on streamers and black mercury midges.

We moved down once again, hitting various holes as the wind blew rain sideways and into our faces. Although I had my new wading jacket on and was protected from the wetness, I was severely underdressed underneath and started getting cold about half way through. I stopped fishing with about a mile to go on the 3 mile leg – content to shiver instead of cast.

Chad caught quite a few, and Paul and I caught a few that day – it was a good day and time to call it a day. We pulled the drift out around 7pm, packed her up and headed back to the cabin. We decided to hit Paulie’s restaurant and have a nice dinner – chicken fried steak hit the spot. The conversation was great and we got a lot of the business stuff out of the way – the rest of the weekend was free to verbally abuse each other. Of course I got the worst beating. We got back to the cabin, tied up some flies that had worked that day and hit the hay.

Cold in the morning 40 degrees, cloudy all day, afternoon warmed up to about 52 degrees. Water was clear, flows about 2,500 cfs. Floated Afterbay to 3-Mile Access from 9am to 5:30pm.

Seven AM came and the guys were stirring. I wasn’t thinking that Paul and Chad were ready, but I guess they were. I was still tired, but was ready to go. There wasn’t much sense of urgency so I hung out in bed. After getting some abuse I realized the guys were waiting on me. Hell, last year we didn’t hit the river until 8:30 or so – and these guys wanted to be half way down to Meat Hole by 8 AM! I dressed quick, threw on extra clothes and we were off. We dropped into the river amongst a slightly larger crowd than the previous day. We might have been the 4th boat out or so. The weather was cloudy, but it was obvious there wouldn’t be any rain in the next few hours. We were thinking about hitting the 3 Mile stretch twice today. We had met up with another board member that morning named George. He had his own pontoon boat and was rearing to go. We were going to leap frog each other down the river and give him a ride back to Afterbay at the half way point of the day. This ended up being our best day of fishing – although Paul nor I would even come close to the day Chad was about to have.

Chad covers a lot of water on foot, making an average of 6 casts a minute – rarely two in the same spot. He hooks and lands fish very quickly, and moves on. The first stretch of river produced a couple of fish – nothing huge. We stopped on the right side of the river to fish a popular stretch, but nothing came out of it. I hooked and landed a small 11 inch whitefish which won me the prestigious whitefish award for the weekend. Meat Hole was booked so we kept on rowing. We jumped down to Suck Hole and fished it. I fished the lower section while Paul and Chad fished the upper sections. My favorite spot that produced 100 fish the year before was hitting, but not nearly as well. I landed 4 nice fish – 2 bows and 2 browns. The browns were feisty while the rainbows were logs without much fight. The rainbows were big and fat – measuring probably 18 or 19 inches. This was easily 2 or 3 inches larger than the previous year. The browns were good sized too – 18 inches each – that too was about 3 or 4 inches larger than last years average. Chad and Paul also had some luck in the upper Suck Hole.

We moved down a bunch of times, we all hooked fish. Chad especially, hooking huge fish after huge fish. One stretch that looked very whitefishie we jumped out in. We fished this for a while and did very well. I hooked two enormous browns in the 20 inch range. Chad worked his way down river and every time I looked over he had rod bent or a net full of fish. He too was catching very large browns. Every hole that day produced fish. One hole that was new for Paul and us was a stretch where a long island ran on the left hand side and there was a great fast run that cut the island in half. This run had a shelf that ran to the left and it dropped off to about 3 feet of water. Paul was hooking fish at the bottom of the island left and right and couldn’t be stopped. Chad fished the whole 300 yard stretch – with a cast here and a cast there. I worked the fast riffle. On my second cast I hooked a pig – he was definitely longer than 26 inches. Unfortunately he got off. I lost a lot of fish on this trip – maybe about 50% - they seemed to fight harder this year but with a lot less run in them than last year.

The day seemed to be flying by – what we thought would be a two trip day was looking like a one trip day. We stretched the day out at the end – staying in some holes a little longer and shooting the crap with each other. I took some video and some photos, but not nearly enough. The weather held up nicely, overcast yet warm with minimal wind. We pulled in around 6 pm again and saw George – he basically blew down the river and fished that stretch by the boat ramp for 5 hours (sorry George). We moved cars and I met Chad back at 3 Mile Access to continue fishing. No such luck though as the extra traffic and lowering sun seemed to put down the fish. Chad as usual caught a bunch.

That night I threw a bunch of food on the grill for everyone and we just chatted for the night. We tried to tie some flies, but no one seemed overly interested. George stayed at the cabin that night.

Cool morning about 40 degrees, sunny inn the morning, some clouds later in the afternoon, warmed up to about 65 degrees. Water was clear, flows about 2,500 cfs. Floated Afterbay to 3-Mile Access from 9am to 3:30pm.

Our last day on the Horn was going to be beautiful weather, which meant bad things for the fish! We had decided to do the 3 Mile stretch again and maybe head out around 2 or 3 pm for home. Being home all of Sunday would definitely score bonus points with the wives. We were on the river before 8 am again. This time it was pretty heavy traffic though. Boats were all pulled over between Afterbay and Meat Hole, so we kept going. We moved down to Suck Hole and were the first ones to pull over. I was working my way down to my favorite section when a boat swung in maybe 25 yards from me and anchored on shore – 4 guys jumped out and proceeded to fish very close to me. This pissed me off – especially since they didn’t even look like they cared. A guide and his compadres were hooking large fish across the way with regularity. I hooked a fish on my first cast, but didn’t land it. It was a slow start for all of us.

We moved down again and started getting into some fish – well, at least Paul and I were. We hit the island stretch again and Paul went right back to catching his browns. He hooked and landed 10 fish or so. I worked my way back to the drop off next to the riffle and worked down further into the deeper water. I hooked a huge snaky looking rainbow that was so skinny it was scary. Next I hooked a huge rainbow, he was 24 inches long, but as I got him closer I could see that his lower mouth was all deformed and a mess. I played him and tried to get the hook out of his mouth without touching him – luckily it popped out. I worked the deeper sections and hooked and landed 5 or so nice fish – Paul also continued his magic. Chad however was still being shut out. We moved directly across the river to the other bank in an area that looked nice, but we were never able to reach before – this time we made it – a beautiful bank that held about a foot of water – it had some redds and a huge tree that had fallen over and touched the water. Chad was working a streamer in the shallows and hooked an enormous rainbow – big red bellied and about 26 inches easy. The fish was a pig and we had to land this “skunk-off” fish for Chad. I grabbed the net and just as I was ready to get into position the fish popped off. To say the least Chad was disappointed.

We moved down to a stretch not far that ran off a shelf and around a corner, as we floated over we could see some huge fish. I worked the stretch and hooked and landed two nice huge browns in the 18 inch range. Chad finally hooked and landed a nice 19 inch brown – he was finally skunk off.

The next stretch we moved to was the whitefish looking area, and again we all did well – I hooked and landed another two huge browns and lost a couple. Chad worked his way down and around. We decided it was time to head out and we worked the rest of the river from the boat. We were off the water by 2:30 pm. We grabbed our gear, unloaded, packed, stopped to get gas and we were on our way home. Chad was back by 10:30pm and I was home by 11pm. It was a very good trip. It was great meeting Paul and fishing with him.

The entire trip fish were consistently hitting on small black midges and pink midges. Most were black beauties or mercury midges. Scuds would produce fish, but not nearly as many. We didn't see any dry fly action, and only Chad had luck with streamers - although I think he caught about half on the streamer and half on the midge on his two fly setup.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Sunday, April 2, 2006 - South Platte River – Decke

Sunday, April 2, 2006 - South Platte River – Deckers
156 cfs, water was clear. Sunny in the lower 60’s.

Fished with Cabo today – not much to tell. The water was higher than normal. Harder to find the fish – especially with nymphs and midges. I lost a bunch of flies – including 2 streamers. Spooked the fish at the bend log, I got a few bites on some of those black beauties, but they all got off. I fished all the usual spots with no luck. Managed to get one small rainbow just on the other side of the 2nd bridge – his fin was messed up – it actually looked like he had bones sticking out and the cartilage was hanging limp. Cabo had a good time afterwards as I through the ball for her for about 15 minutes in the deep water.

Monday, March 20, 2006

T minus 22 days and counting until the Bighorn

Wow, I'm jacked up for the Bighorn trip this year. I can hardly work without the excitement making my mind wander every minute or so.

I can't believe some of these guys live with an hour of the river and get to fish it every weekend. I'm jealous. Basically the Bighorn is the same distance and time from Billings as Deckers/Cheesman is from my house. If I lived in the Montana/Billings area, I'd never get any work done. I'd definitely own a boat or pontoon, and I'd try and log as many hours as I could on the great river.

Last year the Bighorn trip was a blast. Chad and I basically crammed 16 hours of driving, 5 hours wade fishing, 24 hours of float fishing, 24 hours of sleeping, 6 hours of eating and 4 hours of tying into an 80 hour period - pretty hectic pace for a 4 day "trip".

This year we are going to spread it out some more - drive all night - get up early, get three days of fishing in and then head home. I can't wait.

The Horn is an amazing fishery - although I only have a couple days experience on it and it was my first float trip, I have to say that it is the perfect river. The river is never really that wide - it is crossable in sections, even with 2500 cfs flows. The river is long and there are large fish throughout. The river is a standard depth - I'm generalizing here - but when we were floating I didn't have to move my indicator all the much - most depths stayed in the 4 to 6 foot range. There were some deep pools and great shelves, and the bug population was amazing. Scuds are the key here - ever rock over turned showed thousands of them.

Flies ranged in the 18 to 20 range. And although the pink and orange scuds were highly recommended, I can't imagine a fish would eat something so bright. The Ray Charles is also another fly that didn't look like any bug I had ever seen - but it worked. It amazes me that the flies that work here on the SPlatte are the same flies that work up in MT and in the same sizes. Zebras, Killers, Mercury's, Black Beauties all work - but they have to be small.

Last year I was expecting a little more MT atmosphere out of the Ft Smith area. But Ft Smith is more Wyoming than MT. You can see mountains way off in the distance, but otherwise it is rolling prairie and fields. The river banks were actually mostly bare of scrub brush - with huge cottonwoods standing on the sandy or rock banks - with hardly any low lying scrub brush between the trees. Cows have the right away in Ft Smith and they can be heard all over the river mooing in the breeze. I also expected expensive lodges or private homes located right next to the river. There really wasn't any sign of luxury in Ft Smith. Yes, there was the occassional house close to the river - but nothing gaudy or extravigant. The town of Ft Smith is also quite simple - 3 float boats per permanent capita. You can see boats lining the streets, sitting out in front of houses, fly shops, grocery store, campgrounds. It's actually kind of amusing.

The town closes up at 8 pm. The 10 fly shops are all small, clean and well kept - of course they all sell basically the same thing. There is one restaurant, one convenience store, and that's it. Of course the restaurant and store have their own hours, so sometimes they are open - most of the time they aren't. I'm sure they have more steady hours in the summer months.

The Horn is an easy float - only one real section of tough water that is easier the second time you float it. It gets shallow in some spots and sometimes you need to make a judgement call on which side of the island you are going to float - but other than that it is smooth sailing.

I saw lot sof guides on the Horn - pointing their clients to the perfect drifts or holes. We floated past lots of guys with fish on - some holes with 4 guys with fish on, everyone seemed very happy. It seemed like the Horn was a place where fishing dreams come true. I'm having fishy dreams lately - so many that I can't sleep at night - and I'm still 22 days away!!!

This trip will be a chance to finally row a float boat, meet up with some great new friends, video and document the trip for a story I hope to write, test out the new camper for more than one overnight trip, and hang with some good friends. I have tied more in the last few weeks than I ever have. I have tied a couple dozen of my killers in silver, blue and red - a couple dozen Chad streamers, a couple dozen zebras in green and tan, and a dozen or so scuds. Problem is that as a fisherman I almost NEVER change flies unless I lose them - and on the Horn I never seemed to lose them.

Well - this should be a good trip - I can't wait.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Saturday, March 18, 2006 - South Platte River, Dec

Saturday, March 18, 2006 - South Platte River, Deckers
Beautiful morning, 45 degrees, windy and cooler as the afternoon went on, 146 cfs, clear water.

Fished with Tom today - nice day to get out. I haven’t been out with Tommy in over a year (Dream Stream I think last January). I think we were on the front end of a low pressure storm – the fishing seemed ok. The water was running at a decent clip – there are a lot more places that the fish hold when the water is flowing at over 125 cfs. Basically we just hit the Deckers areas between the bridges.

I jumped right in at the bend where the log is down and worked my way upstream. I didn’t have a whole lot of luck at first chucking a streamer with a nymph trailer. I worked my way up to the lightning burned stump and hit that run on the far side of the island. I could see a few fish, but couldn’t stir anything in the first run. I moved up to hole that sits under the tree. I fished it for a while and finally saw a fish sitting on the far bank in a deep hole. I moved up and tried to trail the streamer right in front of him. I hooked a 14 inch rainbow that slammed the streamer – my first fish of the day, it got me excited. I kept trying at the other deeper fish, with no luck.

I moved up the run to the bridge and fished the dump pool right under the highway/fly shop bridge. I’m still not sure how to fish the streamer in some of the normal pools and runs. Off color water seem to make the fish hit the streamer a lot more – of course today was gin clear. I moved down and fished the highway side of the island. I switched to an 18 and 20 midge and hooked a couple of very small fish. They were just sitting in the run (that normally wouldn’t be there with low water). I moved down again, to a spot I don’t really want to divulge. The spot is the same spot I hooked a 24 inch rainbow three weeks prior. The fish slammed my flies and thrashed it’s head and ripped the whole rig apart. Well, I started fishing the run, not for anything in particular until I saw a dark figure behind a rock move out to a sandy spot and then moved back to its holding position. I 1through a size 18 and 20 killer midge at this fish for about 20 mins, over a 100 casts – nothing. I switched the 20 killer midge to a 20 black beauty and with in 10 casts I had him on. It was a big fish and he thrashed his head again. I moved him carefully to a smoother run and beached him in 6 inches, scooped him with my net. Tommy saw me scoop him and gave me a thumbs up. The fish didn’t even fit in the net! His head was hanging out a good 8 inches! The fish was long and not as thick as usual – but still a beautiful fish. He was nicely colored and strong. The mouth was huge! I saw a small fly hanging out of his mouth – a size 20 rainbow snack – the exact fly I was fishing with 3 weeks prior! As I went to remove the fly the fish got heavy and popped out of the net. I thought I still had him on my flies so I didn’t panic. I tried to grab the net and the fish, but I didn’t want to rough him up so as he floated towards the current, I just let him go. What a beautiful fish.

What a great feeling! I went down and sat next to Tom as he changed flies. I was satisfied, but wanted to keep fishing. The weather started turning a bit – it got very cool and windy. Tom decided he was going to hit the lower bridge and on the other side – I said I’d fish my way towards him. I fished the bend again, right at the log. On my first cast on the far side of the log I hooked and landed a feisty 12 inch rainbow. I caught 3 or 4 more fish from the same spot – most a little smaller. I moved down towards the bridge hitting all the normal holes. Not much luck. With such fast water it is harder to fish such small nymphs. I moved to the other side of the bridge and met Tom. We headed back to the bridge and I climbed up on to the bridge and scouted about – Tom pointed out a fish ahead of him, actually just under the bridge in the shade. I thought it was a stick, but it was a huge fish – probably a brown, maybe about 22 inches. Tom fished to it, but he said he scared it off.

On the other side of the bridge was a huge rainbow that was sitting on a sandbar between two fast runs. I moved down and tried to throw at him, but lost sight of him. Tom appeared on the bridge and we decided to head out. It was a good day.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

What's been new....

Well, I have some time to blow off here at work and wanted to write down some thoughts.

The last year and a half have been absolutely amazing to me - so good that I've been playing the lottery thinking I have a good shot at it!

October 2004 - the Red Sox beat the Yankees and Cardinals to win their first World Series in 86 years. They did this is amazing fashion - coming back from an 0-3 deficit to beat the Yankees and then sweeping teh Cards - that has never been done before - ever.

December 2004 - we finally get pregnant - I won't get into the details, but it took 11 months of trying.

December 2004 - we sell our condo and buy a house. Its an amazing house - and the condo was a pain in the ass to sell - finally.

December 2004 - I catch my first bonefish in Cozumel - an amazing experience.

April 2005 - first trip to the Bighorn River in MT - an amazing experience. Some of the best fishing of my life.

June 2005 - I finish my basement - my Red Sox (and now Steelers) shrine adds a bedroom, full bath and huge TV room to my house.

August 2005 - Avelyn Jade Edwards is born - in perfect health, and mom is perfect too.

January 2006 - Pittsburgh Steelers vs Denver Broncos - I go to the game, and watch the Steelers roll over the Broncos. Best part about it is that I will never have to listen to Bronco fans again.

February 2006 - Pittsburgh Steelers win the SB (honestly it hasn't sunk in yet) - and they do it in amazing fashion - winning 4 games on the road as a 6th wildcard seed.

I've been pretty blessed in the last 1.5 years or so. I'm hoping to continue this string of luck in the coming years.

In about a month the Red Sox start spring training - of which I am excited. The 6 weeks between Super Bowl and Opening Day Baseball are the most boring times of year. Of course we still have March Madness in between.

I have compiled a list of several places I want to fish this season - this will be a hard list to achieve with a new baby and my best fishing buddy about to have his 2nd - having the camper and a wife that likes to camp I may get lucky with some of these):

Bighorn River (in April)
RMNP (in summer)
Fryingpan/Roaring Fork
Williams Fork
Gunnison (in June)
Grey Reef (I'm dreamin')
Colorado float (Pump House to Radium)
Eleven Mile Canyon (probably during run-off)

I'm hoping to do a Yellowstone trip in the next 2 or 3 years. That is quite a hike for the family, but I know it will be a good one. I'd like to get up to the Cody, WY area and fish those parts too - I hear that there are some amazing water up there.

That's all from me. I'm going to try and post a little more often in this thing as time progresses - of course some of it might be Red Sox related - but oh well.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Sunday, February 26, 2006 - South Platte River, De

Sunday, February 26, 2006 - South Platte River, Deckers.
Flows about 160 cfs, clear water in the morning, soon after the water started rising and it became off color as thick as mud – capped out at 209 cfs (even higher below Muddy Creek). Weather was beautiful – bright blue sky, temps about 60 degrees.

Fished with Nate today – his first day out. Got down there a little after 11am. Fished down the dirt road first. Nate hooked a couple of small fish on a streamer/nymph rig. I went empty handed. We moved down to between the bridges. The water started to run a little off color and I thought it was because of Muddy Creek flowing in. I fished the far side of the island between the bridges. Right up above the lightning strike stump I was fishing a brown wooly bugger and wasn’t really paying attention when I got a slight strike and then a major pull. The fish slid down the river corridor a bit shaking its head furiously. I only had him on for maybe 15 seconds – the fish must have been over 22 inches long. I could see him as he shook his head. He broke me clear off – everything.

Some guy with a spin rod had hooked a nice rainbow on the other side of the island as I was standing there. A 10-inch rainbow that dragged him about 60 feet down the river. He said that there were two of them right up next to the bank – most likely spawning.

I fished up the island and back after that, then tried to go down to the bent log. The problem was that the water was getting darker and darker and it seemed to be getting slightly higher and harder. In one of the normal spots the water felt like it was going to sweep me away – which was pretty unusual. We decided to pack it in and leave. When I got home I looked up the cfs – 209 cfs and a bunch more for the run off from Muddy Creek.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Sunday, February 12, 2006 - South Platte River, De

Sunday, February 12, 2006 - South Platte River, Deckers.
Flows about 117 cfs, clear water in the morning, slightly off color by midday. Weather was beautiful – bright blue sky, temps about 45 degrees – very cold in the shade.

Fished with Chad again down in Deckers. After the previous weeks good luck I was ready to go. We met down at the first dirt road parking lot at around 11am. Chad had Quinn, so it was going to be a quick trip – which was fine because I wanted to get home too. I jumped in at the riffle right next to the head of the parking lot. Since the water was higher, this run looked pretty nice. As I was rigging up a streamer and nymph rig I could see the fish moving in the riffle. The water was gin clear and you could see sandy run areas between strips of rocks and green weeds – the fish would dash in and out.

I hooked an 11-inch rainbow right off that crashed the streamer, soon after I hooked a 12-inch rainbow that took the size 18 zebra midge. After that I was done. I proceeded to lose two green secret weapon streamers – not sure how, I think it was because of the tippet (the Wal Mart brand). After re-rigging twice I fished a nice little run on a bend. Chad had said he caught a huge fish there on Monday – but both of us worked the bend and the run and got nothing. Soon after I moved down to between the bridges – where again, I couldn’t scare up anything. I fished the streamer hard, but got nothing. I did see one small fish (maybe 7 inches) hit the streamer twice. We actually went back down the dirt road, but still could catch anything in Chad’s favorite spot – the Rock Garden. We decided to head home around 2:30.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Saturday, February 4, 2006 – South Platte River, D

Saturday, February 4, 2006 – South Platte River, Deckers
Cold morning about 30 degrees, warmer in the late morning about 52 degrees. Water was clear above Muddy Creek, slightly off color below it, flows about 54 cfs

Fished with Chad again – pretty good day of fishing. We fished the stretch of river by Wigwam first and then made our way back to the bridges. I hooked into a bunch of small rainbows right at the lot before Wigwam – most on size 20 gunmetal black midges. We fish down into the mini canyon down there and I hooked a couple more – nothing bigger than 10 inches. Chad had a slow morning, but started hooking up inside the canyon – including a nice 18-inch fat rainbow that we got a picture of. I was nymphing all morning and had limited results. On the other side of the canyon is a nice deep hole next to a rock that Chad let me jump in – on my second cast I hooked and landed a nice 16-inch rainbow – again, he was nice and fat.

I drove down to between the bridges while Chad walked the stretch – he had some amazing luck, hooking about 12 more on the trip to the bridges. I didn’t have much luck at all – so I decided to switch to a streamer and fish the section right after the first bridge. Well, I hooked 3 fish on that stream, a small 11-inch rainbow in cloudy water, a nice 15-inch fat rainbow in the same hole, and a small 11-inch brown trout a little further down. Chad fished the stretch just after the downed log and said he caught 4 fish in 20 minutes or so and all were larger than 20 inches – all on a streamer/mercury midge pattern. All told I caught about a dozen or so fish and Chad caught upwards of 35. A very nice day.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Sunday, January 8, 2006 – South Platte River, Deck

Sunday, January 8, 2006 – South Platte River, Deckers
Cold morning about 40 degrees, warmer in the late morning about 52 degrees, but very windy. Water was slightly off color, flows about 146 cfs

I fished with Chad this morning down in Deckers down the dirt road across from the fly shop and up near the Wigwam club. We fished this stretch for about 2.5 hours. I didn’t have any luck – Chad hook about 10 fish on a streamer pattern – all were pretty small, I think one was a 14-incher. The water was higher than normal so there were a lot more spots to fish and there were a lot of tempting holes. An especially nice hole is the bend stretch right before it breaks into the mini canyon down there.

We next went to between the bridges down in Deckers. Typical spots. The water being higher and faster made it harder to locate the fish and get a good drift. I managed to ass-hook one large brown on the other side of the downed log. The brown had nice blue spots and was about 13 or so inches. Chad only hooked a couple of fish. But the site of the day was a dead sucker up on the bank. We had no idea there were even suckers in there! I fished the last hour or so with a streamer – I got a ton of tips from Chad. I feel more comfortable with a streamer, but I still didn’t catch any fish.