Sunday, October 25, 2009

North Park - Thur & Fri October 22-23, 2009

North Park - Thur & Fri October 22-23, 2009

The boys and I planned an overnight trip a great stillwater in North Park back in early September, and the day finally arrived. Planned for two weekdays (Thursday 1/2 day and all of Friday) of getting off work, I was very surprised that I managed to talk 4 of my buddies into skipping out and playing hookie! Shows how much of a good influence I am on them!

The plan was for Werm and myself to drive in one car, Kratt and Dave in another and Scott to come by himself with the boat. We all left at various times on Thur, but we all managed to land in North Park within 30 minutes of each other. Werm met me at my house around 12:30, I changed quick, threw everything in my truck and we were on the road by 12:45 or so. We had a pretty uneventful ride - went very smoothly and a stop at the Fraser Taco Bell.

Pulled into North Park around 4:30, and not 10 minutes later Kratt and Dave pulled in. We chatted, set up tents, pulled out gear and of course started drinking. Kratt, Dave and Werm all hit the shitter at various times to start the trip off right. Scott pulled in after taking a lap around the lake (the scenic route) about 25 minutes later. We chatted some more, put on our gear and hit the lake. Scott and I jumped in the boat and trolled the "outhouse". While the others belly boated-up and hit various spots on the lake. As soon as we set anchor I was into a nice fish on my nymph rig - and although I didn't get him to the boat (14' tippet/indicator rig) I did see he was a nice fish. Not a minute later and Scott was dragging in his first of the day on a streamer.

This was Scott's attempt to make the fish look longer. The crazy thing is that this fish crushed a size 4 streamer that had to be about 5 inches long! The fish were fiesty! Soon I had on a beauty on a streamer as well. It would prove to be my only fish landed on Thursday and one of my best for the whole trip.

Scott tore it up for the next 2 hours or so - working streamers off the bottom. The hot colors were orange/brown streamers, and the fish nailed them pretty good. Each fish got larger than the last and Scott kept pulling them in. I of course did my best net boy immitation and landed them all. It was great to be catching fish, but it was cold and it got dark there very very early (it seemed) and was pitch black by 6:30 or so.

The fish here are all around this size - 18 inches or so and fat as pigs. All are well fed, and they all vary in color and agressiveness. One thing that didn't differ is that Scott and I only caught rainbows - which is a disappointment because this time of year the browns are as colorful as ever.

We all met back at camp around 8pm, had some beers and decided to fish the North side. I have had luck here before, stripping streamers in the moonlight just off shore. It wasn't very good tonight and after only an hour or so, no hits, and getting cold - we all decided it was time to eat and drink. We got a roaring fire going and just sat around and talked smack (most directed at me).

Great headlamp pic of everyone chilling instead of stripping....streamers.

Scott feeling a little fuzzy, maybe it was all the Crown??? You think?!?!?

Dave and Kratt. Kratt always has the drunk smile on his face.

Somehow the flash worked on this pic, and caught Werm off guard!

8 jalepeno sausages later, 2 cases of beer, a bottle of Crown and some frost bite, and I called it a night (yes, I am the party pooper) - I rolled into the truck at midnight - the first to call it a night. I got a lot of ribbing for that, but I'm not much of a drinker, and those guys were passing around the Crown and were nice and warm. Plus, it was going to be a long day tomorrow.....


Friday started around 8am - which is when I rolled out of the truck and out into the frozen tundra of North Park. It had snowed slightly the night before and in front of me was a pile of lawn chairs, wither waders/boots/vests/belly boats and other gear frozen solid and covered in snow. We got the fire rolling and the sun popped up over the east mtns. You couldn't actually feel the sun in the 20 degree frozeness, but the fire was nice. We all put our gear around the fire to defrost and we ate breakfast - and Kratt broke out the Coors Lights. Yikes.

Around 8:30 we got a visit from Mark as he was rolling by headed to North. He was wide awake, and showed us some killer pics of the 23 inch brown he had caught the day before. This fish was spectacular - the kind of fish that most guys put on the wall. It was in full spawn colors and had a black under side to it - absolutely beautiful fish and a trophy for anyone except Mark and his posse who fish this place 50 or 60 times a year and know it like their remote control (in the dark, after a case of beer, even with out all their facilties - they can still push it's buttons!). I was so nice of Scott to get the hell up around 9:15. Of course he wasn't mobile for another half an hour. Crown Royal makes Scott's eyes squint for at least an hour or so after waking up.

It was a nice morning - just cold. Mark mentioned that they were dumping water into the lake and we should start at the inlet to try for the fish that were feeding near the highly oxygenated water there. The boys headed off to wade fish and Scott and I jumped in the boat. We pulled into the inlet and the guys started hooking up - Dave had the first, then Kratt, then Werm - all were slaying them. The fish were all beautiful and took the edge off a cold and windy morning.

Scott too started hooking up, including two beautiful slabs out of the back of the boat - both over 18 inches.

This is Scott's hangover fish, after this he was feeling a lot better!

I, of course, was pulling the big goose egg. I couldn't hook up with anything. Basically I was netting Scott fish and taking his picture, and he was letting me know it. Thank God he didn't ask me to tie on his flies or make him lunch. We kept fishing. We tried moving the boat over to North, but after launching it, we decided that the 2 foot chop was probably not our best bet. Werm and Scott fished a spot near the dam (where we did see a gorgeous 20 inch rainbow in about 4 inches of water - and a foot from the bank - fanning it's tail), with little luck. Werm did manage an ass hooked brown - the only one for all three of us. I moved down, fishing closer to the fence, but had zero luck. I was starting to get a little bummed and worried I'd get skunked.

We all met back at camp to eat some lunch - which was kind of a joke since we didn't feel like stopping fishing, but the bite was off. Werm decided to hit the spot right next to camp - and he parked there for 3 or 4 hours. Scott and I decided to try our luck on the far side of the lake, under the cover of the bluffs and scrub brush that provided some wind relief. It didn't provide any fish relief for me - and we both stunk it up. We decided to troll over to the inlet and I did manage a dink on a streamer. Of course 3 seconds later Scott yanked in a beast of a fish - this one had a beautiful black belly on him.

We trolled the bluffs next to the inlet and hooked and landed a couple more fish - nothing fancy. A few friends were fishing the inlet and we stopped to say hello - MarkB, Sam and Shoe were all on their way out, just trying their luck at the inlet before heading home. It was great to meet up with some more RMF guys and put faces with screennames. We peaked at the browns that had run up into the skinny inlet and were trying to spawn next to the irrigation water flow nozzle. Damn things were colorful as hell and probably 20 inches and 7 lbs each. Of course you can't fish there, or net them, but they were fun to watch. We shot the shit for a bit, and then decided it was time to keep fishing as the day was winding down, and the wind was somewhat tolerable. We said goodbyes and jumped back in the boat.

We decided to troll over to where Werm was fishing next to camp, he was constantly into fish and we knew the spot was on fire. We got up close to him and set anchor. Scott again was slamming them - hooking one of his biggest fish yet - this thing was the size of an oar - literally!

Notice Scott still has the hangover face!

I did managed to get the skunk off in a good way, landing a few 16'ers and I did miss a much bigger fish that I had to horse because it was headed for the anchor.

Werm continued to tear it up to - he was nymphing an egg pattern no more than 70 feet away from us and had on 14 fish the whole time we were there. Here is one of his pics:

We were about done around 5:30 and headed for the boat ramp. On the way there we decided to troll streamers for one last chance. We got about 100 yards away from the boat ramp when I got a slam, then Scott got a slam, then I lost my fish, then I had another fish on, then Scott landed his (a nice 16er), then I landed my fish (a dink of 13 inches), then we turned around and troll back (had to hit the spot again!).

I threw a cast into a foot of water and had a fish on immediately (another dink). We trolled down about 100 yards, and turned abck to the boat ramp. Within minutes Scott had a tank on, this fish was big and wasn't giving him an inch. The fish took forever to reel in, yet never showed itself to us. The boat was going in circles as Scott faught the pig. He got it within 15 feet of the boat, but it was getting too dark to see it - and finally it broke him off. He was pretty bummed, but not nearly as bummed as I was when my line got caught in the prop and broke off. We knew that was a sign the day was over and headed in. We trailored the boat and headed back to camp.

Kratt and Dave had already headed out, Werm had broken down camp and was drinking anything with alcohol in sight, and we knew the day was done. We said our goodbyes, and hit the road at around 6:20pm. It was already dark and the ride home would be a nervous one crossing Willow Creek Pass in the dark. Werm and I hit McD's in WP, and then I had to do a slight pitstop on I70 somewhere in Evergreen to drop a biscuit - it was a brief stop - yank the truck off the road, hit the hazards, grab the tp, drop the drawers, squeeze, wipe, back in the truck. (Ok Werm, are you happy???). We hit Jenny's Market so I could finish and Werm could smoke 6 cigarettes that he couldn't have in the truck (nearly killed him too).

We were at my house at 9:30 and Werm was on his way back to the big P a few minutes later.

It was a good trip - the fishing was ok, nothing spectacular. We didn't catch the big one, no one caught a fish over 18 inches or so. Actually we all had big fish on that we all swore would have broken that 20 inch barrier - but of course the big ones always get away. It was ok weather, so sun, a ton of wind and freezing cold. The best part of the trip was the company - we all (except Dave) knew each other from the RMF board, but none had fished together (I was the guy who had fished with Scott and Werm) or even met each other. We all had a blast - ripping on each other when needed and keeping the egos in check. I did receive a FryFish beat down by Scott, who has now passed my in # of fish and size of fish in our brief angler buddy history. He was quick to point this out, just as I was on previous trips. We had some good laughs (Kratt falling on his ass off the bank and into the water), some bad laughs (I scared the shit out of Scott about 15 times jumping around in the boat - he thought he was going in), and some bad luck (Scott's boat ate Werm's and my fly lines!), but it all worked out! Everyone got there and home safely, everyone caught fish, everyone shortened their lives by drinking too much and eating jalepeno sausages.

Thanks for the good times boys!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Poppers - FOTD

I don't do any popper fishing, but these beauties by LuciV are some great looking bass/panfish flies. Not only that, but they were made in Transylvania! Which is cool in it's own right! Thanks for some great looking poppers.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Hot Wire Stone - FOTD

Awesome pattern by Fly Slinger over on FTF.

I saw a great pattern this past weekend - a golden stone tied by CarlP - and I really like this pattern as it adds a ton of weight with the wire body. Also, you can get very creative with the colors of wire - I would tie this pattern with hot yellow wire - I just like that color!

Thanks Fly Slinger and welcome to the FOTD!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Grouse Fly - FOTD

ON NO! The roughfisher done it again - another brilliant tie. Simple, sexy, and they catch fish! And, he's recycling! Or reusing? Or something like that! Nice road kill and nice ties! Thanks again for a brilliant (yes, I used the word twice) pattern!

Oh, and I'm a sucker for Chartruese......

Brassies - FOTD

I know I posted some similar flies like this from Dave Wiltshire - but these pics are amazing!

Dave continues to be one of my favorite tiers! Thansk again Dave for the great patterns!

Monday, October 12, 2009

October 11, 2009 - Fly Tying Night

Last night I had the boys over for a fly tying night. I was expecting between 7 and 11, and got 5 that showed up (6 with me). It was a pretty good turn out - and if I had too many more I wouldn't have had room for all the food on my back up fly tying table!

I don't have any pics of these guys ugly mugs, but I got pics of their flies! We had a bunch of great tiers (CarlP, Scott, Darren, Tim), a crappy tier (me) and a newb (Steve - actually Steve has never tied a fly in his life). Here is what they all tied:

CarlP tied up his killer golden stonefly - and man was it nice! He did one with and without a bead, and both are unreal looking flies. The photos do not do it justice - look at the one with the funky background to really get an idea of how this thing looks!

Scott (FryFish1971) tied up a bunch of patterns, including his orange rabbit scud (which is straight from an orange rabbit pelt - that he went home with only half of since Darren, Tim and I stole most of!), his famous Chatfield shad pattern and a red yoke egg. Yeah, the egg looks pretty simple, but it has a red glow bead under there that looks unreal when wet.

Darren (TheFlash) tied a killer Stimulator that is straight off Charlies website, with some slight tweaks. That puppy took a full 20 minutes to tie - mainly because I asked so many damn questions! He also tied up a killer spawn egg that has some white egg yarn that he forgot to leave me some of!

Tim (TSyl) tied up his famous Dirty Matini that he had shown me once before. That was all Tim tied - as I think he was scoping everyone's materials out! He made out pretty well!

I tied...nothing. I was too intimidated by all the great tiers, and my micro-thread midges weren't going to cut it tonight. I had fun hosting, ribbing Scott and Darren and getting my ass handed to me at the tiers table!

A couple thanks to Darren for bringing the 200 fly boxes - I only managed to give away about 30 of them, so I have 170 more in a trash bag in my basement (um, thanks). And thank you to Chad (ChadTrout) for sending me a whole bag of goodies and samples that everyone took a little of, showed me how to tie some eggs with and some materials we thought were cool but have no idea what to do with or what to tie!

Everyone had a great time - and I can't wait to do it again. I wish we all lived a little closer as we could do this more often. Scott came from Conifer, Steve came from Denver (like 120th Street), Carl from Lakewood, Darren from Littleton and Tim from one street over in HR. Quite a wide range, luckily I was kind of right in the middle.

Thanks again guys and thanks for leaving all your flies for me!!

Friday, October 09, 2009

My Hometown....and the foliage

Keene, NH is one of the most beautiful places for fall foliage. I lived a block from this church for 8 years. I didn't appreciate it (Keene or the foliage) for the time I was there (ages 7-18), but thinking back it was a beautiful place.

Monday, October 05, 2009

A good idea for everyone...

As most of my friends know, I'm a numbers guy, and all those numbers mainly relate to money. And, as most of my friends know, I'm cheap, so saving a buck and helping the environment at the same time is always a good thing.

Lately we have been seeing lots of ways to help the environment, mainly be reducing our dependency on oil and reducing the wasting of energy. One great idea are these Energy Dashboards that people are starting to invent/create/hack/use.

These are great ideas that could help all of us reduce our energy needs and reduce energy waste. Of course these things aren't available yet in our area (although I think Boulder, CO has something similar) and they aren't 100% as useful as they could/should be. But, they will get better and I hope that all utility companies find a way to get these gadgets into everyone's homes. Although - what is the incentive? The energy companies don't want to fork out the dough for this box and give it to you - and they don't want you to stop using the gas/electricity (lowers their revenues and profits). The utility companies will not be pushing these on us, and this is where capitalism will fail us.

Luckily, we have a world full of hackers, inventors and idea people and they will find a way to make these things work - and work well with your utility company, it is only a matter of time.

Personally I can't wait to get one of these. I know the first day I will be running around unplugging stuff and seeing how much my usage goes down. The sad part is, that I should probably just unplug all that crap now - or put the items on those powerstrips with on/off switches.

I guarantee that everyone who uses one of these (or something similar) will become more energy efficient. Being more efficient is not just a way to save the world, but to also save a little more money and spend that money in the economy (on fly fishing stuff) and thus pump those funds back into the vicious circle of our economy.

There, I said it, now I feel better.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Ultra Thread Company by WAPSI

I have had this spool of UTC thread for a while - but honestly, never used it, mainly because it was pink. It's not a normal pink either - it is a nuclear pink. I tied up some of those midges last week that I had success on Clear Creek - and really liked it. I liked the way it laid flat and was virtually inpossible to twist, the wax in the thread really added to the durability and strength - and it takes nail polish well also - leaving it look nice and shiny. The stuff I bought was the 70 denier stuff, which I think is the equivalent of 8/0 thread. But, it is easily as strong if not stronger than regular 6/0 threads.

Well, I headed over to Discount Tackle today and got some more colors - including chartuese green, steel grey, olive brown and a tan color - I can not wait to tie with it. I was disappointed to find out that they either didn't carry, or were out of plain old black.

If you've never used UTC, check it out at the WAPSI website.

Although the thread was around $2 a spool, and my thingamabobbers were $1.25 apiece (I got 12 of them), I did get some great deals. I'd tell you about them, but you wouldn't stop drooling. Discount (on Santa Fe) is a dump, but man, you can get some killer deals in that place!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Thursday, October 1, 2009 - Clear Creek

Thursday, October 1, 2009 - Clear Creek

The day started out for the suck - I managed to get the day off from work (even though it is the day after quarter close). But, I still planned to get up early, work for an hour or two, and then leave for the Blue with my buddy Darren. Unfortunately when I got up at 5am, I couldn't log in to my work server as it was down. I called Darren and told him I needed another 30 minutes. The work guilt was starting to set in and I called Darren back in my allotted 30 minutes, and luckily this time he allieved me of my guilt by talking me out of going - he really wanted to go, but he told me the weather in the high country was plain bad - ice packed and slick. So we decided to put it on hold, and I decided to go into work. I hit work normal time, and luckily the system was back up and I finished my stuff by 10:30. I gave Darren a call and he was up for anything - so we decided on Clear Creek.

The wind was ferocious, blowing through the I70 corridor down from the high country - it was actually spitting snow off and on, even though the sun was mostly out the whole time. We landed at about 11:30 and started fishing just West of Idaho Springs. This river is always a bit off color, and this time of year it had leaves, twigs, etc blowing through the water - making it virtually impossible for the fish to see our flies. But we managed, and had a great day. I brought Cabo along too - it is an easier river to keep her out of the water - so that made it an easy decision - she really enjoys being outside, in the water and getting to see the fish. It was a beautiful day (except the wind) and the colors were all changing up in the foothills/high country. The water was relatively low and ice cold. Our hands burned after handling and releasing fish.

We started right off at the parking lot with the tree in the middle of it - for those that know CC, you know exactly where this is. Darren was onto a fish immediately - and soon was changing up his rig to take advantage of the excellent dry/dropper "hatch". He caught fish all day - often times doing the "round the world" move on an unsuspecting little brown. For those that don't know the move - it is when you go to start picking the dry fly off the water for your back cast and you have a dink fish on and he ends up getting tossed over your shoulder, and you just save it by swinging the little guy back over the water. If you are lucky, he is wiggling so much that he pops off over the water and you have a clean release, if you are unlucky you flip him in the bushes and have to rush after to him to save his little life. But more often than not, you just swing him in a vicious circle again and again as you try and get him closer to you so you can catch the line and release him. Darren did this move at least 6 times today - it was quite entertaining.

We were into fish all day - they weren't huge, but were willing, dumb and fun. The most memorable fish is the one below - it was my first cast with the pink midges I tied the other night - I hooked and landed a pig of a rainbow - 14 inches and fat. That is a big fish for this river and was the biggest fish of the day. On my very next cast I caught an identical rainbow only about an inch shorter - I actually used the net on both fish!

The wind started getting to us around 3:30, so we packed it in and headed home. Had a sandwich in the truck, shot the sh!t on the way home and just enjoyed being outside and not working. A day of fishing is better than any day of work - I don't care what you do for work! Good company helps, and Darren and Cabo provided that too. A bit of an extreme weather day, but it was well worth it for a half day trip. Thanks man! Oh, and Cabo got to kiss many fish today, she was a happy girl.

Pics courtesy of Darren, I didn't even know he had a camera!

Just a note on Clear Creek - on September 9 Trout Unlimited did a river clean up on the Clear Creek River - I have done it 3 of the last 5 years, but was unable to this year. The river is filthy dirty and is in a sad state of cans, bottles, glass, etc. Also suffering are the fish. On three occassions today I snagged bait casting equipment - I hooked some 15lb test line/hook/weight that was snagged on the bottom, then hooked another hook and swivel that was snagged on a stick, and finally I actually landed a small fish by hooking the swivel eye that was attached to the line he had sticking out of his mouth - in which he had a hook down his throat (I clipped the line as close to his mouth as possible) - amazingly the little guy was still alive. If anyone thinks bait chuckers aren't deteriorating the environment that we all fish in they are kidding themselves. 15lb test? Egg containers laying around? It is a shame. Clear Creek deserves better.