Sunday, April 29, 2012

Frying Pan Fiasco

Friday, 2:00 p.m.: We've finished packing, and now it's time to head out. This ride will take us four hours away, to the Frying Pan river in Basalt. I have a couple rods, lots of weight, and tons of flies, along with some other stuff.

8:00 p.m.: After dinner and a few bathroom breaks, we're at the infamous Toilet Bowl. To my great surprise, I'm the only one there. The weather is freezing, the wind is howling, and I have the headache to end all headaches. However, I'm on a mission. I need to catch a fish before the night is over. Luckily, my quest doesn't take long, because I catch a nice brown on my tenth cast. I keep fishing, catch a few more small(er) fish, and head to the Green Drake hotel.

Saturday Morning: I wake up bright and early at 4:30 am. getting my gear on takes about five minutes, and then we head out. When we arrive 15 minutes later, my early start seems to have paid off. I hop in the river with my glow in the dark Thingamabobber, and try to catch some pigs. I catch a few, but decide not to take pictures because the temps are in the single digits. at around nine o'clock, I meet Pete and Cale. Cale is out with his father, picking up trash along the river. Upon talking to him some more, I learn that Cale is quite the celebrity, and has been recognized by all sorts of people for his trash clean-up work. Nice work buddy, keep it up. Oh, and did I mention Cale is only like 9?!

Weird Expression

Saturday Afternoon: Next, I meet Phillip. He is one year older than me, and equally into fly fishing (something very hard to find these days). We get to talking, and spend the rest of the day hammering fish together. It's also a big help to have someone net your fish, and he was great at aiding me when I had a big fish. Here are a few photos from our adventure:

Phillip and I Double Up

"Average" Bow

Saturday Night: I get a text from Phillip while I am at dinner saying that he convinced his mom to let him stay the night, and that he will see me again tomorrow. Far those of you who are a little old for texting, it's like the new version of the Pony Express. For those of you who are a little old for the Pony Express, it's like the new version of dropping a cave painting off your velociraptor into your neighbor's cave. I hop back in the car after dinner and head back up, ready to take another shot at night fishing the Pan.

The fishing is the best I've seen it so far, and I hammer six big rainbows on my first seven casts. I fish until it's pitch black, then wade back across the river. I manage to survive that trip, but fall in two times and get soaked to the bone.

Sunday Morning: I get up around the same time, get dressed in my now wet waders, and head back to the Pan for on last day of fishing. It isn't long after the light comes up that I see Phillip pull in, and not long after that we both start catching fish. We call it quits around noon, promising to hand out again soon and get back on the water. Check out some more photos and a very short video below:

Some Sort Of Disease??

Nice Brown

The Pan

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ah, the Memories

If you were to take a look at my computer, you would notice there are tons of random files filled with random folders filled with random pictures. Frankly, it looks awful. So the past few days I've been working on naming and transferring my 3,000 photos to iPhoto. It's not done yet but it's definitely getting closer. The folder I have so far include the Dream Stream, the Blue, Pella Crossing, and one big file with all my panfish. There are way too many too name but those are just a few. As I go through all my photos, it's brings back some great memories. My first trout on the fly, my first experience with nice sized trout, and some of my favorite kids from camp (they were all great). So as I keep working through my pictures, I'll put a few up with some stories. For now, here's a few that I've found so far:

First Colorado Float Trip

One of my First Trout on the Fly

First Nice Sized Trout

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Word About Summer

Most of you know that my Summer is filled with Kid's Camps. I teach them for about 7 weeks out of the Summer, 4 days a week. The other days, I'm either working in the shop or fishing myself. What most of you don't know, although I'm sure you could've ventured a guess, is that I used to be a camper myself. I have been on both ends of multiple camps around Boulder, and I can tell you without a doubt that the Rocky Mountain Anglers Kid's Camps are bar-none. You learn about bug life, the science behind the fishing, but more importantly, spend way more time on the water than with other camps. I have seen kids go from not knowing what a fly was to pulling out a rainbow trout the size of their arm in just a few days. Learning the basics is key to success further on, and that's what our beginner camps teach. For kids who have some experience with the sport, our advanced camps offer a more intense program including a fun over-nighter in Rocky Mountain National Park. Classes are filling up fast, but there are still a few spots left in each camp. Far dates, prices, and any other questions you may have, check out the Rocky Mountain Anglers website at here.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hit the Water Before the Weather Hits You!

If someone had told you that the temperature in mid-March was supposed to reach 90 degrees, you would have... well, you would have believed them. It never really got too cold here in CO this winter, but this is ridiculous. The temperature (according to the only weather station I trust anymore, Wunderground) is supposed to hit 88-90 tomorrow and Wednesday. Seems like it's time to put away the long underwear for the season and move on to warmer (and greener) pastures. In other news, the fishing on Boulder Creek has been on fire! Lots of action on dries, tons of eats, and even a few nice-sized fish out of BC the past few days. This time of year, I try to hit the water every day after school, or at least a few days a week. Tomorrow, I'm hoping to head out to some still water and get down and dirty with some poor man's bonefish. In the mean time, get your ass out to Boulder and enjoy our warm weather, great fishing, and local crazy people hippies Boulderites!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

How The Coffee Sparkles

Important: The big fish I caught at the Dream Stream will be up within the next 5 days.

If you were to take a look into my streamer box (actually boxes), you would notice something. There are no Wooly Buggers, no classic Wet Flies, and for that matter, not much that has only one hook. I carry things like the Totally Articulated Bunker Rainbow, Circus Peanut, and yes, the Sex Dungeon. One of only few exceptions to this rule however, is the Coffee Sparkle Minnow. I know I have mentioned this fly before, but it deserves its own post. The flashy action this fly puts off in the water while maintaining a true baitfish look is unbelievable. I have always liked the Sparkle Minnow, but it really hit me yesterday at Sylvan Dale Ranch.

On the RMA group trip we held yesterday, I did a lot of kicking. And running. And netting. For a good part of the day, I didn't fish. And if I did, it wasn't very hardcore. When we arrived, I swung a sink tip with a Sparkle Minnow off a deep ledge. Cast number two had a follow, and number five brought a 20 inch rainbow to hand. Seems like a good time to take a break. A few hours later, while walking along what I call Bass Point, I hooked into a nice fish. A few seconds later, it popped off. Figuring it was just a largemouth, I cast in again, and immediately the same fish hit the fly. That's actually is pretty usual of the bass in this pond, so I thought nothing of it. I did start thinking though, when the net pulled up a 17 inch 'bow instead of the largey I was expecting. That just shows the power of the Sparkle Minnow.

The icing on the cake was at the end of the day, when most of the clients left and I got to actually fish from a belly boat (rather than just net fish). "All right, Justin, you and me. Let's make this competitive," my friend Peter said. "Sure thing," I responded, picking up a fat 15 inch rainbow that hammered the Sparkle Minnow on my first cast. We laughed, casted to risers, and wasted the rest of the evening while I hammered 6 more nice fish on the Sparkle Minnow.

The end of the day came when my buddy Klinker hooked up a pig on a TAB Rainbow. "He's a head shaker," was the first thing out of Klink's mouth. Looking at the bend in his 6 weight, I knew something was up. As I kicked over, I was greeted by an eruption of water and a head to toe drenching from 15 feet away. The next five minutes were spent with Klinker and I screaming like 7 year old girls while we kicked bank to the bank and took pictures of this big hen:

Crazy Fish, Klink!

That last bit wasn't about the Sparkle Minnow, but it definitely deserved a spot in there. The TAB Rainbow (Totally Articulated Bunker) is another favorite of mine, as I mentioned earlier.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Rate My Hawg

No matter who you are, it's nice to get a compliment every now and then, right? Now I'm sure you've all had the same experience I have: You show your friends a picture from your last fishing trip, and get responses like "Gross" or even "Is that a big one?" Well wouldn't it be nice to show off our pictures to people who know what they're talking about? Fear not, my fellow angler. There's an app for that. Now available on the App Store, "Rate My Catch". All you have to do is make an account (takes about 30 seconds) and upload your photos. They will automatically be sent to the front page, where other viewers can rate them on a scale of 1 to 5 and add comments. Pretty sweet, if I do say so myself. The app is very new, so it currently doesn't have a monstrous amount of members, but it will soon. And if you stop by, be sure to check me out.

Disclaimer: I was not payed or compensated in any way by the creators of "Rate My Catch". Merely, I found it today on my phone and thought it was a great idea. The review is just (hopefully) dishing out some more folks to the app. 

P.S: I am thinking of setting up a deal with a fish related (THEY DON'T TASTE LIKE FISH) drink company and selling them on the blog. Would there be any interest in that? I'll definitely be doing a more detailed post within the next couple weeks, but just comment your thoughts.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Three Ugly Mugs

A couple days ago, I got the pleasure of fishing Boulder Creek with Howard from Wind Knots and Tangled Lines, and Sanders from Up the Poudre. We met up at around 10 at Rocky Mountain Anglers, and headed to one of my favorite sections in town. Things were a little slow early on, but they quickly heated up and fish started coming to hand. Howard kept up the tempo by catching various shrubbery and leaves, since he doesn't fish to many nymphs. In a few months, we'll be able to fish dries and that won't be a problem. Anyway. here's the photo roll:

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cold Hands on the Blue

Lower Blue River rainbow trout. Photo M. Miller.
Photo Stolen From Courtesy of

When I woke up at 7:30 yesterday morning, I debated whether or not to look outside. I knew it was going to be cold and snowing. After about ten minutes, I decided to check anyway. Outside, I saw sunny weather and 60 degree temperatures. Shit! That meant my ride was probably already on its way. Cursing and tripping around the house, I gathered some warm clothes and fishing gear. Luckily, my ride was also a little late, so it worked out perfectly.

A little over an hour later, we arrived at the top of the Blue River in Silverthorne. Now it was snowy, windy, and cold; more like I had expected. I hopped in, armed with a mysis shrimp pattern and a size 24 Top Secret midge. I picked out a riffle and started casting. Within ten minutes, my reel was singing and I had a nice 16 inch rainbow in the net. I hammered fish for the rest of the morning, catching 15 fish between 14 and 22 inches. The best part came during my last fish. This bright red, 19 inch rainbow was swimming at my feet, with the mysis in his mouth. I reached down to grab him, and he shot off once more. The trailing midge managed to find its way into my left thumb, and broke off. The fish was still on, so I fought him while trying to push the fly out of my thumb. After the fish had been released, I sat down on the bank to keep working on the fly. Luckily, the 20 degree weather allowed the hook to slide both in and out of my thumb with no pain. Victory for the cold fingers!

Dream Stream

Catching a lot of fish is fun. Catching a big fish is awesome. Catching a lot of big fish is amazing. Catching a lot of big fish by sight casting with flies you would usually use in Alaska? Well, that's the Dream Stream. Since I did this last time, let's try the timeline again.

2:00 am: Wake up, get dressed, hop in the car. We have enough food for two days, two rods, three reels, and lots of flies (No Buckskins. That will be important later).

5:30 am: Arrive at the Dream Stream. For the first time ever, we are the first ones there. That means it's time to start fishing.

Day One: Fourteenth cast, the indicator drops. Hook set, and we have one hell of a fish on. Within five seconds of me being unprepared, the rod tip has dropped and the fish is off. Time to keep fishing. The fishing stays quite consistent, and my third hookup brings a fish to hand. A nice 19 inch rainbow takes off the skunk early. We keep fishing, and nice fish keep coming to hand. One more cast, and my indicator has dropped again. I set the hook, and the tight drag on the reel starts to sing. A minute or so later, this bad boy came to hand:

Two casts after that pig, the indicator drops yet again. One more hook set. If I thought the reel was singing a minute ago, it's taking full on Dubstep now. And for those of you who live under a rock or listen to real music, Dubstep involves a huge bass drop that will rattle your teeth. I fight for almost five minutes, and the biggest trout I have caught in a long time finds its way into my net. Now, you were probably hoping for a picture of that monster, weren't you? Well, you can have one. Soon. We need time for the drama to build here, folks (plus my buddy hasn't emailed me the picture yet).

We fished for the rest of the day and caught some real nice fish, but I definitely wasn't playing my A-Game anymore. A big fish will do that to me.

Day Two: I'm up early again, out on the water before the Sun. I fish the same hole as yesterday, and catch a few more nice fish. After a few hours, I notice a familiar hat-jacket combo coming down the river. For those of you who don't know Big Fish Bobby D and Monster Trout Hunter Todd, they are the masters of big trout. These guys go to some of the most famous rivers in the state, walk into a crowd of people, and nail a hawg. They invite me to fish with them, and I gladly except. They are picking off some nice fish in a riffle, and I don't want to just go in and high-hole them. Instead, I fish a deep slot below them. I'm casting to a dark shadow, hoping it's a fish. My third cast is on target, and I see the shape move toward where I think my flies are. The rod goes tight, and a few minutes later a solid fish comes to the net. This seems like a good way to end my day, but I decide to tag along with Bob and Todd. We walk around on the high bank looking for fish, and quickly find some. Todd hooks up first, then I wade in. Looking closer, I think I see a long shadow. "Is that a fish?" "Where," responds Bob. "Right there," I say, as I set the hook into a 22 inch rainbow. This seems like a good way to end the trip.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Rocking Out

Another great year at the F3T! I met some great new people, hung out with friends, and watched some amazing videos. The party started at about 4:15, when the grill fired up. People started coming in, grabbing a beer (I believe we went through quite a few cases of Up Slope), and talking about fishing. The first thanks of the night goes to Randy, who hung out at the grill and put together some of the best burgers ever. Around 6:30, people started to head to the Boulder Theater for the big event. Now, if you were there, you probably heard one group making quite a bit of noise. Well, why didn't you come say hello?! Like I said, I met some great people and watched some cool videos.

The next shout outs go to Jesse, Brian, Chet, Ben, Jack, and Randy (again), for keeping the party rocking all night long. It was a sweet party guys, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I do. I also hope you don't have the same headache I do this morning (though I'm sure you do). And finally, I'd like to thank the bartender for cutting off my Red Bull supply before I did any damage.

If you weren't at the party this year, I'd love to see you there next year! In the mean time, get your hands on the video "Doc of the Drakes" as fast as you can. It's a truly beautiful and inspiring experience

Outstanding Video

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

F3T Madness

It's that event that everyone here talks about. The one time where all the Boulderite fly fishermen, pros and amateurs alike, come on down out of hiding to watch some of the year's best fly-films. If you've never been before, I highly recommend it. If you've been, well than you know how fun it can be. Now, you've all probably seen a fly fishing video or two. Maybe you're thinking, "How can I watch almost two hours of those?" This is not anything like watching a short video on your computer. This is real film crews, the highest quality videos on a HUGE screen, and really cool adventures. And don't forget, you're surrounded by 400 fly fishing guides who are drinking and excited. Now, I've been to two or three of these things, and let me tell you what I've noticed:

The first part of the show is alright. It's just like watching a movie with some buddies. Not much talking, not much noise, not much excitement. By the end of the third video, you're ready for a rest. Luckily, they give you time to look around with an intermission. Now, lot's of people look around. But everyone, and I do mean everyone, heads for the bar. The adults buy a beer, and the kids (which includes basically me and possibly a few friends) grab a Rock Star. This is like alcohol for us. After a little while, they call you back, and the videos start back up. There is a new form of suspense surrounding the room. The fly is moving down the river peacefully. Suddenly, a 24 inch brown hammers the fly. The crowd goes WILD. Screams, cheers, and lots of fun. This is when you know that the show is going to be a blast.

I have my tickets, do you? If not, you need to get them soon. The FINAL batch was delivered today at Rocky Mountain Anglers. Tickets are only 13 bucks! Come on in to the most fun video event of the year. The show starts at 7:00 pm, the doors open at 6:00, and RMA is hosting a happy hour party starting at four.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Search And Destroy Caddis Step By Step

Status Update: Unfortunately, due to the fact that my camera can't take a picture to save it's life battery, I don't have any step by step pictures. Instead, since you are all good fly tiers, I'm just going to write the steps and let you work off the picture from yesterday. I have faith in you!

Step One: Put the glass bead on the hook, then put the hook in the vice. Who would have guessed?!

Step Two: Bring the thread to the back of the hook, doing your best to put one wrap behind the other. Next, tie in the pheasant fibers for the tail. It is very important to try and keep the wraps even, so you can build a better body later on.

Step Three: Build up the body in an even taper all the way up to the bead. I can't stress how crucial it is to make the body nice. Don't get me wrong, it will catch fish either way. I'm just critical of my own flies. If your not, you're a lucky bastard that's great. I put way too many flies in the "no" pile because of minor things. But back to the step-by-step.

Step Four: Cut off a small piece of the micro braid, and tie it in a little behind the bead. clip it to the length you want. I tie mine with so the braid goes back to where the body ends and the tail begins.

Step Five: Dub the head of the fly loosely. It looks better when there's a few fibers sticking out. Tie off the fly, and you're set! Go rip up some Spring Bows!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Search and Destroy Caddis

Here is the materials list for the step by step instructions I will put up tomorrow. I'm hoping this gives people a chance to pick up any materials they don't have beforehand. Also, a Dream Stream fishing report should be up within the next week. Thanks!

Hook: U101 Size 14
Thread: Light Olive Uni 6/0
Bead: Small Clear Glass Bead
Tail: Pheasant Tail or Similar
Body: Tapered Thread
Wing: Antron or Micro Core Braid Olive (both shown)
Thorax: Ice Dub, Caddis Green

Sunday, April 1, 2012

If You Encounter...

A shirt-less, short-wearing, fly-fishing snow boarder this weekend, stop and say hello. Because it's me.