Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Force of Nature - Cool Pics the Hard Way

I just saw this article in Wired Magazine (only the best magazine in the world) Online. Check out how these photos are created and some of the amazing images.

I know this isn't fly fishing or Red Sox related, but I love this kind of unique stuff!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Cask 'n' Light Towers

There are few things I love more than the Sox. Here is a very cool angle on Fenway - having gone to college in Boston and spent a considerable amount of time on Landsdowne Street, this is a fixture in Boston and the college community. I miss Boston, but not enough to move back.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Antero - again!

I wasn't lucky enough to go to Antero this week - I had to work. But, my buddy Darren, who is lucky enough to deal with hoodlums and thugs during the weekends, has weekdays off and travelled the 130 miles for the 5th time in 3 weeks and hit it up.

He's relatively new at stillwater fishing, but he's becoming a pro pretty quickly. After getting skunked our previous trip (sorry Darren, I had to say it) Darren was determined to stalk these pigs and catch every last one of them. Well, he did leave a few for some other fishermen, but he caught his share.

Armed with a kayak, 2 rods, a fish finder and some good luck, he got into some fatties:

This brown was chucnkie, but had "cartoon" like spots on him. Darren (or I) had never seen such sparse and large coloring on a brown before.

And here are a couple of rainbows for good measure.

Antero is still producing - the key is to anchor up and wait. Of course nice calm days help a lot too!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Supreme Hopper - FOTD

Wow, just wow. This thing looks real. I'm not sure that the colors match, but it is the most life like foam hopper I have ever seen!

Great tie by rstout over on the Fly Tying Forums.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

2 Camping Trips for Next Two Weeks!

We are headed to Grand Lake (Winding River Resort) this weekend and Estes Park (Jellystone) next weekend (4th of July). Lots of little fishing trips planned, looking forward to the solitude and beauty of the RMNP region. July 3rd a bunch of us are making the trip into RMNP - I will have lots of pics from that trip and many others.

Lots of family, friends and fish for the next two weeks - couldn't be better!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thur, June 18, 2009 - Antero & Jefferson

Got up at 3:30am this morning and headed to Darren's house to do some more fishing. Man, am I not a morning person and seeing Darren wide awake and ready to go pissed me off in a big way. I mean, at 4am I should be sleeping (for another 3 hours). He's all chipper and wants to chat, I want to veer off the road and hit a bridge embuttment (inside joke - some of you are laughing).

It wasn't really that bad, actually, but it was dark - all the way to Kenosha Pass. We landed at Antero at 6am and were 600 yards offshore in the yak by 6:30. It was slow - for both of us. We were getting a hit here and there, but we'd hit spells where we couldn't buy a bite. Darren hooked at least 12 fish, but none of them came to the net. He did have the fish of the day, a nice 18 inch rainbow that he got within inches of the boat, but broke him off. I managed 3 dinks.

We were blown off the water by 10:30, and the wind stayed up so we decided to deflate the yak and head to Jefferson. Jefferson is an hour ride from Antero, but we were headed in the right direction (towards home!).

Jefferson is a beautiful place, the dirt road up there is tough to drive because you want to stop and fish/search the beaver ponds for little brookies. The streams did look enticing, but we were after a chance at bigger fish.

The lake was like glass (or close to it for South Park), and there wasn't a lot of fishermen out. We re-inflated the raft, and I blew up my float tube. It took no time at all and we were on the water around noon. We decided to head to the inlet - which is a good 2/3 of a mile down the other end of the lake. The lake is beautiful, and I enjoyed the float with the wind.

My view from the float tube
Darren rigging up

I figured I'd troll some streamers off the bottom, since I know the lakers eat big meals and like the bottom. About half way down the lake I got a huge hit (which could have been bottom I guess), and the a little later finally felt the pull of a fish. I reeled him in and had my first laker - he was about 16 inches, but super skinny. He was foul hooked in the fin, but according to Darren, about half of his lakers are hooked in the side of the head/mouth because lakers attack their prey first by charging them, stunning them, and then they eat them.

My first laker!

I made my way down to the inlet, and tried my hand a nymphing - to no avail. I worked my way back towards the boat ramp - this time into the wind. It kicked my ass, and I had to stop an anchor down a could of times to get my wind. It did give me a chance to nymph fish for rainbows. I actually hooked another laker on a midge, this one was about the same size and was really skinny. A little further up the lake I landed a stocker rainbow of about 11 inches. He was pretty hacked up, with missing scales and a beat up snout.

That was about it for the fish - I headed back to the inlet and it was getting late. We called it a day and spent the next 30 mins breaking down the gear and boats and packing the truck. It certainly wasn't a banner day by any means, I caught some fish and hung out in some beautiful scenery. Jefferson will be difficult to fish, as it is a puzzle that needs solving with a fly rod. I like the challenge, and I certainly know that there are some beast lakers in there to be caught.

This is my third time to Antero, and it has gotten progressively worse each time. The wind is just horrible and I realized you just need to get lucky with the wind more than lucky with your fish catching. If the wind is down, you will catch fish! I like reservoir fishing - and will keep doing it. I have a couple lakes/res close to home that I need to figure out, so that will keep me busy.


I started playing inline again, on Thursday nights in Parker with my buddy John. We have played 3 games.

Game 1 I missed due to busting a skate chassis on my right skate right before the game started. So basically I couldn't play. Huge dilemma to get another chassis, get it put on and it still doesn't feel right.

Game 2 we lost 9-4, I had a fluke ugly goal and played horribly. I had no wind, no legs and basically died. The rink is 1.5X larger than Westridge Rec Center here in Highlands Ranch - so it requires a lot more movement and skating. It was good to finally get to play with John, he is a really good player and I look forward to feeding him lots of passes in the future.

Game 3 was tonight and we lost 8-5. The other team was toying with us, their goalie played way out and their players were passing him back the puck like he was an extra skater. I got one penalty for slashing a stick and good old Brady the ref was being his asshole self. I had a little more wind and played D and quarterbacked a little more. I had two huge shots that soared by the goalies head. John missed the game due to work travel.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

New Float Tube

Since seeing those guys at Antero just killing fish by the damn in float tubes, I have wanted one. Well, it didn't take long. I found a Super Fat Cat on Craigslist on Friday and met up with the guy Friday afternoon. Yesterday (Saturday) I got a chance to try it out on Chatfield.

Outcast makes some fine boats - you can tell by the incredibly high prices for them and the great reviews they get on the sporting goods sites and forums. The float tube is super stable, even in large waves and it is easy to propel. Turning is a different sotry, but that has nothing to do with the boat and more to do with the operator. I just can't figure out how to turn once I get off course - but I will get the hang of it.

This SFC is a bit older - maybe 2004 model - so it doesn't have all of the stronger materials and R&D that the new model has (I guess). But it is nice - it has more room than I could ever imagine and the V shaped birth in the front holds my cooler, anchor, boots, etc just perfectly. I could see myself doing a whole day of tubing with no problems. The two zip pouches (one on each arm) are huge. The extra loops everywhere are perfect for anchor, net, size net, etc. The extra padded seat is very comfortable. The one thing I noticed is that paddling/kicking is going to take some getting used to - for both turning and length of time. I got a couple of cramps and tired, but I knew I could keep going. I'm not sure if that would be the case in a heavy wind.

Now I'm trying to convince my friends into getting one!!

Chatfield Fishing:

The elevation of the reservior continues to be at 5,432 ft - which is still about 2 feet higher than normal. I headed over first to my carp cove - the water was way too high and not a fish to be found. On the way in I met up with these two ladies who had on a nice 14 inch walleye - they caught him on a neon green weighted worm. Nice fish, and glad to see they are that close to shore. I wish I knew how to fly fish for them.

Since my bay was flooded, I headed over to the dam to do some belly boating. As I was suiting up, the sky got black and started to thunder, but luckily the sun stayed out and the storm went just south. I trolled a double streamer rig behind the tube to no avail, I headed all the way out to the dam tower and back. No luck, just a few snags on the bottom.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Antero Res - Thursday, June 11, 2009

The much anticipated return trip to Antero sucked, actually it "blew"....us back into the truck for cover twice.

I hit Darren's house around 5am, and we were in the lot and on the water at 7:30ish. We started out on the north boat ramp again and headed just east - this time we were further out - about 300 or so yards, but the depth of water stayed right at 13 feet. Within 5 mins and 3 casts I had on a bigun', this bad boy took me to my backing twice! I was a little weary of really fighting the fish to hard because this is the same thing that happened last trip and I lost him. We did manage to get him ot the net and he was pretty. The fish probably had an 18 inch girth and was a legit 19 inches long. I plopped him back in the water after a couple of pics and he was no worse for wear and zoomed off. As a matter of fact, all of our fish today were fiesty and recovered quickly and shot away.

Darren hooked and land a few more fish and hooked and lost the same number. I hooked one, but couldn't get the little guy in. We moved a bunch more times, within 50 yards of the original spot, but the luck was kind of off. Darren picked up a fish here and there, but the fishing seemed slow. Around 10am we could see a storm coming our way and by about 11am we decided it was time to paddle our asses off the water. Luckily the wind was pushing us directly towards my truck. We were getting slammed with waves and if you took the kayak sideways we'd get water over the top. We hit the shoreline and tried to carry the yak up the embankment, but it was so full of water we couldn't do it without unloading some stuff. By the time we got the yak on land we were getting hammered - it was so windy that there was no where to hide from it - not even behind my truck!

We retreated to inside the truck and ate lunch and had a beer. We watched the swallows surf on the waves and a lone belly boater blown from the other side of the lake, paddling his ass off in the middle of the lake who was basically lost at sea in the surf. We decided to move on. After talking to a guy from denver Angler we decided to hit the south boat ramp. We threw the kayak on the ski racks and moved on. The weather was looking better behind the storm clouds, as a patch of blue sky moved in. The wind never stopped all day, it was up and down but never stopped.

The south boat ramp is large and there are tons of places to fish - we wanted to hit the dam area so we headed over there. The long rock ledge that stretched for a miel looked appealing. We headed out about 100 yards from shore, about 30 yards off the boulders. Immediately we were into fish, hooking some fiesty 15 and 16 inch fish - all rainbows. Then, it shut off, and the wind started blowing, and the waves started coming up and it got a little scary. The anchor couldn't hold us in a spot for very long. The 5 foot swells would inch the anchor closer and closer to shore, and every 7th wave or so would deposit water over my legs into the yak. Around 2pm we decided another black rain cloud wasn't going to be nice to us and we high tailed it back to shore. I ran out of steam and Darren had to paddle from the front to get us back to shore.

Again, we waited out the wind and rain - listening to the Rockies game in the truck. It was a shorter wait and we headed back down to the yak around 2:30. The water was a bit off color with all the wave action, so we fished just off of the mud line hoping to catch some cruisers - but we got nothing. We left around 4pm.

The coolest thing we saw today were two guys trolling in belly boats fishing streamers - they would drop their streamer in the water then back swim with their flippers horizontal to the shoreline. These caughts always had their lines bent as they caught fish after fish. I think this is a really cool way to fish with streamers - and to say the least we were pretty jealous.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Chiro's for some stillwater fishing









Flooded at Chatfield

Although I wasn't able to go over there yesterday, Chatfield has been rumored to have been at flood levels with picnic tables half submerged. The water peeked elevations of over 5,434 ft - which is 2 feet higher than current elevation of 5,432 ft, and current levels are 2 feet higher than normal for spring (normal is ~5,430 ft).

I would have to guess that my little shallow bay is blown out and too deep to see any sexing going on. This week is the week that I saw the carp going nuts last year. I definitely need to get out there and check it out.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Catch and Release

A friend of mine wrote me an email today about his expeditions this weekend to an unnamed reservior. He had a really good day, the highlight of which was catching a 24 inch rainbow. As you can imagine, the fight was spectacular and long. The problem with a long fight is that the fish is usually exhausted and close to dying by the time it is released. The good news is that my buddy taped and weighed the fish and then paniced because the fish wasn't doing well, so he forgot the picture, but after a couple minutes brought the fish back to life and the fish shot off after it's rehabilitation.

I told him that he was a true angler, that the picture was secondary and the fish's health was first and foremost. He told me he didn't even think about the picture until afterwards - the experience of catching that trout was an experience worth more than any picture and he wouldn't have been able to live with himself if he had snapped that pic and the fish died because of the extra 10 or 15 seconds it was out of the water.

That led us to another conversation, and I think it is one we all can relate to as fly fishermen. The conversation of course is catch and release when you don't "have" to. I'm not talking about keeping a brookie in a cutthroat fishery, or keeping a laker, or keeping a post spawn kokanee, or even keeping a fish within the legal limits. Hell, I'm not even talking about keeping a fish outside of the legal post regulations. I'm talking about all those people that ask you if you caught anything, and when you say you did, they say "did you keep it?". And when you say NO - they look at you like you are an idiot.

We have all had this happen to us. But I ask myself, "Why am I the idiot?" I usually want to go into my long winded speech about how I love to fish, the scenery, the puzzle of figuring out the right fly, the chase, and the male hunter in me....blah, blah, blah, but then I realize: If they are asking me this, they don't understand fishing, or a trout, or much of anything about the entire fly fishing experience. So why go through the effort of it and have them just shake their head at me?

I won't go into the whole bait chuckers, spin fishers, worm dunkers, etc. because to each his own, as long as it is within the legal limits, fish how you'd like. Especially with little kids, I think they need to catch fish any way they can to get "hooked" on the sport. But, no one can argue that 99% of the litter and fish mortality is due to these kinds of fishermen. And that fact just SUCKS! Which could explain my distaste for those kinds of fisherpeople, unless they are again, playing by the rules. I'm not saying I am elite, or fly fishing is elite. I am saying that maybe there is the 80/20 rule out there where 99% of the 20% of bait/spin/wormers are destroying our resources and giving the other 99% of 80% a bad name. Maybe these aren't facts, but I'm not sure anyone can argue them either.

Maybe that is the difference - for me fishing isn't a "sport", it is a "passion". Passion is not something you can explain to someone with words, you need to explain it with actions - with the actual experience of being in a place that a select few know about, that an even fewer select fish and that you have to unravel the riddle to get that slick, beadie eyed, gilled, beauty to take your fly, fight his way into your view, then into your net and finally feel him flick his tail, wiggle through your fingers and go free. Again, words can't explain it, but I just closed my eyes and typed that and I could picture 100's of similar experiences where I have hooked, landed and released a fish - of all sizes. Each of those fish has given me another piece of the internal puzzle to explaining why I catch and release. Of course I know why I catch and release my fish, but I am still no closer to explaining it to someone else. However, I do hope that this puzzle has many 1,000's of pieces, and that I figure it out slowly and enjoy every bit of it.

I'd like to insert here what my passion means to me, but I think it is much like every other fly fisherman's passion, yet very unique to me and my experiences. I'd like to explain my experiences, but there are too many of them, all different, and all with sensations overwhelming my 6 senses - which created a unique memory in my hard drive. No two fish are/were alike, no matter how much they mirror each other - sure they may blend in to one memory, but they are millisecond frames in our memory playback.

So, next time someone asks you if you "kept any", say "yes", that you kept them all, because that is the truth and would be easier for them to understand than saying "no". Now, if they ask "how'd they taste", you are on your own.

Chatfield - Sunday, May 31, 2009

I shouldn't really call this a fishing report, since I didn't even take the rod outof the truck - but I scouted some different spots in the neighborhood, including Redstone Park and some other areas at Chatfield. I didn't see a whole heck of a lot honestly - besides a few hundred people with spinning rods sitting in lawn chairs (I can never understand how people can just sit there).

The flows/elevation were about the same as Saturday at 5,431.63 ft. They seem to be going up as we speak though. The bays should be perfect depth for the carp to start coming in - last year they were getting their grove on June 15, so we are close to that time. No grass growing in the bay yet, and not a lot of other plants poking up out of the water. Hopefully these plants start growing, because it makes it a lot easier to see the carp poking around in them. I can last another 2 weeks or so.