Saturday, April 25, 2009

Flies for a friend - FOTD

Having just been to the Bighorn and had great success with a new pattern I created, I wanted to repay a friend of mine (David) for floating us down the river on Friday. These are pretty simple midge patterns, but they are killer on the Horn. These are 5 dozen of my best in sizes that range from 16 to 20.

These are my newest creation - no name yet - but I was thinking maybe the "Simpleton":

These of course are my Killer Midges:

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Super Float Stonefly - FOTD

Ivanbogda is one of my favorite fly tiers out there - I think this is the 2nd or 3rd fly of his that I have linked to - I have wanted to link to more, but don't want to promote the guy too much until I get a few of his flies as payment (hint hint - kidding of course, but donations are always welcome).

This is the Super Float Stonefly that is just a great looking fly - it was a little salmonfly in it and is an amazing tie. I'm not sure how he gets the biot tail to stay in there - but it looks great.

Check out all of Ivans flies at Fly Tying Forum.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

April 16-19, 2009 - Bighorn River, Ft. Smith, MT - PART 2


We had high hopes for Saturday, as it was supposed to be the best weather day of all - with temps in the mid 60's and low winds. Unfortunately that was not how it would turn out. We got a late start, trying to figure out boats and when toleave. We got word from Alvin the campground owner that David had left a message the night before saying that he had to rush home to Billings because his wife was ill and he wouldn't be there to float. (Just to let everyone know his wife is ok, althouhg they can't seem to figure out what is wrong with her). Chad went with Jason & Eric again, Bill borrowed Willy's single man pontoon boat, Steffan went with Sid & Don, and Willy and I broke in his new 3 seater raft. We got a late start - probably closer to 9am - leaving from Afterbay bound for Bighorn Access. Just as we left the cabin, a huge burst of wind kicked up rattling the monsterous Cottonwood trees at the campground, it sounded like a jet plane, but never stopped - it was a steady 25+ mph wind. The weather was still below 40 degrees and this wind made it seem much colder.

We met Tim (tplane), his dad and buddy Tim at the boat ramp - where Tim showed me pics of the whitefish trophy winner - a 17 inch beauty that he had caught the day before. I taped it based on the picture of the fish against his net - this would be tough to beat. Willy and I pushed off and Willy used his new oar locks and oars on the raft, but it was quick to be determined that this was not the best method. We switched to paddle style and it worked much better. Although, neither of us would be able to fish out of the raft as we each needed to paddle.

All of the normal spots were well stocked with people - as there seemed to be a lot more people than normal out on the water. We skipped the Meat Hole, and settled on the right hand bank of the Aquarium just below Suck Hole. Unfortunately we had no luck after about an hour. Bill kept warm by cracking a beer at around 9:30am. We moved down again and again, with little luck. Finally we settled at 3 Mile Access in the same run that David had fished the day before. I set Willy up with a nice rig and his first indicator (a tiny thingamabobber) and had him fish the same stretch. He had a couple of bumps, but no takes. I fished just ahead of him in the riffles - and hooked a monster rainbow that took me 60 yards to land. When I did land him, he had the tippet wrapped in his gills and I saw a little blood come out and paniced, I just cut the tippet and let him go - he bolted out into the middle unfazed.

We moved down again, this time to a spot just under some cliffs. Tim, Tim and his Dad were stopped just across river from us enjoying lunch. It was starting to warm up and the wind was off and on. The wading was tough since we stopped at the cliffs, basically all of the boats fish this bank, but no one could get out because it was too deep to drop anchor - but with a raft it was perfect. I missed a brown right off and then Willy had a big hit - I heard him give a little hoot and I waded down to the raft to help him net his fish. But this fish wouldn't move - it basically stayed deep and he couldn't turn it's head no matter what he tried. The fish basicaly stayed within a 10 foot radius, and moved a bit up and down, but it took Willy about 7 or 8 minutes to land the beast. When he did it was all worth it - it was a legit 20 inch brown with beautiful coloring and a nice hooked jaw. Willy had broken in his new rod on a beauty!

We moved on again, this time stopping at the pool just after the Drive In Hole. This spin out held lots of fish and I was hoping it would be an opportunity for Willy to catch an easy one - and he sure did on his first cast:

It was a nice 16 inch rainbow and Willy was on the board again! I had quite a good time in this hole. The weather was now clearing up and the wind was down. I fished the whole stretch - all the way past the two downed logs to the end of the pool - I picked up 6 or 7 fish and missed some hogs as well. Here are a few:

We kept moving - jumping from spot to spot with not much success. We saw a great hole where the big flat turnout on the left is with a huge shelf and the boats land on the shelf and fishermen stand arm in arm and cast into the flat pool - it was stacked with 4 boats so we drifted by it about 200 yards and again landed right on the cliffs. This time there really wasn't any place to tie off the raft - so we made a tie off with sticks and large pieces of shail. No boats could land here again because it was too deep to drop anchor, but every boat fishes this section as the swing by. Steffan/Don/Sid pulled in across river from us.

We had to walk next to the cliffs and slightly in the water to get to the slow parts of the run, but Willy did and caught a little guy right off. Then I started hammering them - I caught 4 18-19 inch rainbows on the red midge, and 1 little dink brown. The fish were beautiful and fiesty and I didn't think I would land them after they would run out into the deeper/faster water - but I managed to land them all.

After that we kind of made our way down river - stopping a couple of times, but not having much luck. There is a deep section of river that is towards the end of our trip - there are huge flat rocks next to the shoreline that run a 100 yard stretch or so and they drop off into 15+ foot water. While coasting over one of them I saw a huge carp (had to be about 3 feet long and over 30 lbs) just kind of slide off the rock he was sitting on down into the deep water - the fish was just so huge that you couldn't miss it. The day was winding down, we were hungry and in need of beer and we landed at Bighorn right around 7pm. Bill was waiting there for us. We loaded the truck and were back at Cottonwood around 7:30pm ish. We had a nice turkey bruger dinner, shot the crap with Sid and Don, and reluctantly packed most of our stuff in the truck in preparation of a long drive home the next day. We hit the sack around 11pm.


Got up around 7am, on the road by 8am. As we were pulling out we saw Jason's nice camera bag laying just past his camping spot at Cottonwood - so Chad grabbed it. It was an uneventful drive - stopping a few times for gas, food and potty breaks. About 2 hours into the drive we finally got cell service and Steffan listened to his messages and found out his basement had flooded - 2,000+ gallons had to be removed after the power went out and his sump was useless. He stressed the whole way home about it, and there wasn't much he (or anyone) could do as the damage was done. Dropped Steffan off in Longmont at 2:30pm, Chad and Bill off in Denver at 3pm and was home by 3:30pm. Of course the kids were asleep - so I went right to the carwash and spent an hour detailing Jen's truck.

15 inches of snow had fallen in Highlands Ranch, and there was still some left on the lawns and in huge snow banks where the snowplows were nice enough to leave them. Water was flowing out of every drain, sump, lawn and down our street like a river. When you stepped on any exposed lawn you sunk in at least 6 inches.

Ahhhhh, so nice to be home.

Monday, April 20, 2009

April 16-19, 2009 - Bighorn River, Ft. Smith, MT - PART 1

Flows 3,000 cfs, clear.


Wednesday night around 10pm I tried laying down to get a couple hours of sleep - of course I was fully packed and fully clothed. I never really did get much sleep, maybe a couple of hours before my 4 month old son woke me up around 12:15am. I handed him off to Mom and got my shoes on, grabbed a Pepsi and out the door at 12:45am. Hit the gas station, and made it to Chad's house at 1:20am. Bill (Flashbck) and Chad (ChadTrout) were out front waiting with headlamps on - they threw their stuff in the truck and up I25 to the 119 Longmont exit we went. Steffan (Naffets) was just pulling into the park and ride as we pulled in too. It was just before 2am and we were on the road.

The weather reports were iffy, but we were just getting out ahead of the weather. In Cheyenne we stopped at the normal gas station and grabbed gas and snacks and the potty. Just outside of Cheyenne we hit some fog that seemed to get worse and worse. The roads stayed relatively dry, and the fog came and went until about Casper, where we stopped again to fill up and hit the head. The weather outside Casper started getting nasty, so Steffan took it easy for an hour or so. The weather cleared nicely after an hour or so and we had it cranked back up to 75 mph as the sun started brighting the cloud cover up. We hit Sheridan making decent time at around 8:30am or so and hit our normal Rock Stop gas station - where we saw this familiar face:

I'm not exactly sure why the sculptor decided to bronze out a tiny little penis on this guy, but it doesn't do him justice...

Knowing that the MT border was 25 minutes away we hit the road - hit the Lodge Grass exit and were in Ft. Smith by about 9:45am. We hit the parking pass machine, then Bighorn Trout Shop for a hat, weights and small thingamabobbers, then on to Cottonwood to check in. Our cabin was open, so we threw are stuff down - got our waders on and Chad's buddy Jason and Eric show up with their popup camper - great timing.

We all hit 3 Mile Access by about 11am. It was still chilly and the water was ice cold (38 degrees), I knew this because within a half a minute of stepping in the river I had a left foot full of water. Within 30 minutes of trying to not stop fishing I had to give up - the water was creeping up my leg to my jewels and was coming in just too fast. I left 3 Mile and headed back to Cottonwood - but, their cheapest pair was $200 Dan Bailey's. I headed to Bighorn Angler where I found some nice Simms waders that were mis-priced. A little pissed because of the bait and switch the shop guy went in the back and brought out $140 Simms that I could tell were 100X better than my Hodgman's hip waders.

I was back on the water by 12:30pm or so and met back up with Steffan - we weren't having any luck at all and decided to fish to the easy dinks just down from the boat ramp that were slamming the top water over a 100 foot stretch. I just took my weights off and slid my indicator down and landed a bunch right off. I had Steffan do the same and he was suddenly into tons of fish. Steffan pulled out a beauty - a 15 inch brown that was hidden among the dinks - not a bad little fish, and a great fight!

We decided to hit Afterbay at around 4pm and all 4 of us drove up there. We hiked down to the Meat Hole and had it to ourselves. The hole has changed a ton, the shelf is much longer and the pool at the end much smaller. Worst of all, we didn't see a whole lot of fish. Chad caught 5 fish before we got there, and I managed 1 nice brown of about 16 inches on a red micro tubing midge. We didn't have a whole lot of luck and it was getting dark quickly - we headed back to Cottonwood at around 7:30pm. We were exhausted, so we made dinner - stuffed halibut with asparagus (by Steffan), drank some beers and then passed out.


We woke around 7am all ready to go - but the cold weather kept us in the cabin and David (BlackOtter) showed up around 8am. Kyle (Kyo) and Doug (OliveBugger) showed up a couple minutes later and we suddenly had spots in boats for everyone. Steffan and I fished with David in his boat, Chad/Jason/Eric rented a boat and Bill went with Kyle and Doug. David and Kyle's boats lauched from Afterbay while Chad's boat launched from 3 Mile. Steffan and I were into fish almost immediately - as we traded whities right out of the gate:

Steffan's whitie was 15 inches while mine was 14 inches - so he had an early lead. I managed a nice 17 inch rainbow as well - I was off to a good start, as I always seem to fish well with David.

The fishing was hit and miss throughout the first three miles - with most of the good spots already spoken for. Steffan picked up a nice brown out of the boat and at least someone was catching fish (I wasn't).

We didn't really hit another spot for all of us to fish until 3 Mile Access where David picked up a fiesty brown on the island drop off next to the main channel - she was a beauty and he got her on his first cast.

As we pulled out of David's spot we slid next to the boat ramp and tried hitting the slow/deep stuff just next to the ramp - it is easily 12 feet deep here, so I put a ton of weight on and put 10 feet between my indicator and flies. I hooked and landed a beautiful rainbow that went 19 inches long - I hooked him on my Killer Midge that David likes so much.

We kept on moving, hitting the Drive In Hole where we all picked up some fish - Steffan hooked a nice brown (below) and David was trying to pick some lunkers off with a streamer, with no luck. I managed a nice brown as well.

We kept moving down river - settling in across from the Colorado Club where Steffan and David tore it up - David pulled 4 18+ inch fish out on 5 casts, I had 3 decent fish on (including a lunker of a rainbow that was a boot licker) - but couldn't land any of them.

David let me row the rest of the way down the river and it went pretty uneventful - I only did 3 360 degree turns, but didn't bump into anything and actually avoided a spin out that the guys were betting I'd hit. All in all it was a good day, although the fishing was so sporadic and the weather was teetering on cold/almost warm. It was partly sunny, but there was a steady 10 moh wind and it was only in the upper 40's. Back at the cabin we were greeted by some more RMF board members including Don (flybop), Sid (MTNole) and Willy (WillyC). We all at a nice pork roast dinner and drank our share.

I somehow managed to drink 16 beers, including about 6 in the last hour or so before bed. Chad/Jason/Eric pulled in late shit-faced on 2 bottles on Maker's Mark before noontime! Sid and Don had to have their arms twisted to drink our beer, and Bill was feeling preety happy as well after a nice day of catching fish!

4 advils later, around 11pm I was out like a light.

Saturday is coming up next......

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I love everything about Canada, the beer, the hockey, the ladies in the Montreal men's clubs, the fishing, the outdoors and so many other things. My ancestory is French Canadian - although from Nova scotia as well.

I also love their flag - straight red and white with a nice maple leaf. Simple.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Chatfield - scouting the water levels

I hit Chatfield today to take Cabo for a swim, headed to my carp flats because I wanted to see the condition of the water and if the flats were filled in yet - HOLY COW! The water level was at least 8 inches higher than it's highest point last year. I tried walking through to my little bay, but couldn't get there without waders.

Rumor has it they filled the other reservior on the other side of C470 and they are keeping some of the water for themselves. Of course they will probably open up the flood gates in May and push a ton of water out of there. It has to be close to carp season on Chatfield.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Ants in Your Pants - if you are into that sort of thing - FOTD

I'm not a big ant fan, I don't think I have ever used the pattern in my life - but these Forest Ants are sweet!

That has to be some sort of epoxy on the butt (I'm wrong - it's hot glue stick - which actually makes this fly even harder to tie!!), that is an amazing job getting the color so even and getting it to be that polished. perfect hackel, nice antron and the red body is sweet. Did I mention the photo is sharp, in focus, multiple flies and has a good background? That's the grand slam of fly tying photography! Very nice job and my FOTD!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Hot Damn, I'm in Love! Diving Raffine Caddis - FOTD

Ok, I'm still searching for the perfect fly, and I found another - yup, it's a caddis, it's small, and it is beautiful. Size doesn't matter in ff, think golf and your score - smaller is better!

I found this beauty while searching another members blog buddies, damn is it nice. This is the Diving Raffine Caddis from Dave Wiltshire Fly Tying Blog and I like the simpleness and the use of the Raffine wing/case.

This guy has some amazing photos on his blog - he does some amazing caddis patterns that don't look too hard to tie (but I couldn't tie them), but look like they will definitely catch fish.

And I saw this little guy below that I would like to get a closer look at.

Thanks Mr. Wiltshire for some great looking flies!

A Wicked Stoner - FOTD

Ok, so I'm checking out all the blogs that people who belong to my blog belong to (confused yet?) and low and behold - there are some awesome bloggers out there with relatively unknown blogs.

Here is one by Luke C at Proven Patterns Blog that is just fantastic - there are so many good things with this fly that I can barely type I'm so excited - for instance, the lighting and color matted behind the fly is awesome (not distracting and highlight the fly perfectly), the biots are completely straight, the legs point down and are great, the body is well dubbed, the scud back is perfect and she is as sexy as blonde in a little black dress. Ok, I might have gone overboard there, but you get the point.

Oh, and did I mention he was a hell of a photographer as well? Check out his Flickr page for some unbelievable photos, like this Sulphur.

Originally uploaded by Tuberson1

For the Love of Caddis - FOTD

Just saw this beauty on the Fly Tying Forums.

I love caddis pupa/soft hackles - the lime/chartuese green bodies are so easy to tie - and better off they really do mimic the natural. If you have ever gotten one of those little cone shucks on your hook when fishing and you think it is a stick - take it and squeeze it from the bottom up and see what oozes out. It will have a black head and a lime green body - exactly like this fly.

I would tie this slightly different - I would use the micro-tubing instead of vrib to add less bulk and make the gap between hook and body slightly larger.

Even better! Brett just sent me a link to his site with tying instructions on another pattern. Check out The Trout Addictions Fishable Flies Blog.