Monday, November 29, 2010

Deckers 11/28/10 - Thanksgiving Weekend Escape

I arrived at Flies N Lies around 8:30 and restocked on some 6X tippet.  Due to not fishing the South Platte much outside of the winter months I try to support the local shop when possible.  The river report from South Platte Outfitters is worth supporting the store all in itself.  It’s not your typical fishing report, but if you look closely at the amount of information over time, the value becomes obvious.

It was time to fish, so I crossed the highway traveling the dirt road upstream from shop.  There was only one other car in the entire stretch of river extending up to the Wigwam Club.  I had the upper portion to myself.  This has never happened before, so I got on the water quickly.  It took about ten minutes of casting before I started seeing fish.  Missed fish and hookups started soon afterward.

I fished my way downstream rarely making a cast unless I could see fish.  When fishing blind I was spooking more fish by slapping the water with a weighted fly and indicator.  When I could see the fish feeding, drifting the fly into its' feeding lane was much easier and the stealthier approach increased hookups.  On the South Platte you often need a near flawless drift to fool fish.  With all the boulders and different currents getting a drag free drift more than 4 or 5 feet is difficult, especially at the proper depth.  I always recommend fishing for one fish at a time regardless of how many trout you see lying in a slot, eddy or riffle.  Here are a couple of fish caught along the way.

After working my way down to the campground I crossed the river and fished my way back up.  By this time the sun was getting low on the horizon, the wind started to pick up and clouds dominated the sky.  No weather passed through, but it felt like it could snow at any moment.  Sight fishing was tough, but still doable as soon as the wind would stop, allowing the sun to peak from behind the clouds on occasion.  By the time I made it back to the day’s starting point it was about 4:00 pm, getting colder and once again I had the river to myself.  This time I was leaving instead of just getting started.

Sure enough on my trip back home I drove through some snow.  There was just enough to cover the roads and cold enough to create some black ice.

Flies:        Golden Stone #10, RS2 #24, Pheasant Tail #20
Flows:      168 cfs
Weather:  Partially cloudy with a cold breeze and scattered snow showers in the area.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cheesman Canyon 11-19-10

I decided to take the day off of work, so I took advantage of the nice weather and spent the day fishing the canyon.  I arrived at the trail head around 8:30 to find only two other cars in the parking lot.  After wadering up and building my rod, I headed into the canyon.

I got into the canyon about the time the sun was trying to peak out from behind the clouds coming over the ridge.  While rigging my rod on the banks of the river I found out the hard way I was out of 6X tippet as I pulled the last 6 inches from the spool.  It was going to be 5X and 7X tippet for the day.  I rarely fish 7X tippet as 6X fluorocarbon is sufficient in most situations, but today I had no choice.  With the water clarity 5X was too big for a size #22 fly.

With the limited number of anglers on the water I was able to fish all of my favorite spots on the river, which is a rarity due to the number of fisherman the canyon sees; especially on the weekends.  Luckily it was a Friday.  Made my first casts of the day in one of them.  I started the day fishing one of those spots.

After failing to move any fish besides the one I spooked out of the shallows, I walked up river around the corner to flatter water where I knew of a few slots in the gravel and some less obvious structure that usually holds feeding fish.  While working upstream looking for any movement in the water I started finding fish in the shallows, unfortunately I was spooking more of them than I was able to get a cast to partially due to flat light and a lack of stealth.  Once the sun got high enough in the sky some of the water’s glare reduced making site fishing the name of the game.  Fish started appearing in all the likely spots around rocks and in channels with ample cover.  With so many different currents, making good casts is easier when you can see the fish.  Sometimes seeing the fish is the only way to get a drag free drift in the feeding lane.

The fish below was feeding in a deep tail out along with 4 or 5 other fish.  I had to cast straight up stream taking the risk of lining the fish and spooking the whole pod.

There were some sporadic risers throughout the day that came and went with hatches of midges and BWO‘s, but nothing consistent enough to re-rig a dry. I crossed the river and continued to fish my way upstream.  I spotted more fingerlings than normal as I worked my way along the bank..  Some of them were even eating. 

I fished parts of the river generally past up, but I did so as some huge fish were spotted feeding where a descent cast could be made to them.  One of the larger fish I spotted during the day I was able to hook, but the fight was short lived before he spit me.  After what seemed like a drawn out chess match came to an end resulting in the fish winning.  I was ready for a break.

The day seemed to be flying by as the sun got closer to dropping behind the ridge already hiding behind the clouds making it seam like it was a lot later than it was.  It also seamed as if the fishing slowed down as the shadows got longer.  I notice some of the same fish spotted earlier in the day suspended in the water column feeding now laying still on the bottom of the river.  It was time to start fishing my way back downstream.  I caught a few small ones and missed a couple comparatively larger fish as I worked my way out of the canyon. 

Once the sun dropped behind the canyon walls it became difficult to see through the glare on the water’s surface.  I switched out to a small streamer to finish the day.  There were some aggressive, but inconsistent risers and sight fishing was no longer an option.  This allowed me to cover the entire river quickly and work my way down river at a faster pace.  As much as I love throwing streamers, it appeared as if my fly was spooking more fish than it was attracting , so I accepted that the day has come to an end and started the walk back to the truck.

Overall it was a great day.  The weather was nice with a mix of sun and clouds, very little wind, and a high in the mid 50’s.

River Flow:            110 cfs.
Flies Used:            #10 Golden Stone, small RS2 (20 - 24), black midge

Thursday, November 18, 2010

For those of you who don’t already know me; let me introduce myself.

My name is Todd Lansing and I live on the front range of Colorado.  I've been a fairly serious angler now for 21+ years, tying flies for 12 and rowing boats for 10 years.  I'm predominately a trout fisherman, but also enjoy fishing for anything with a fin.  As with most anglers I've progressed in techniques and what type of fishing is most interesting to me.  As a kid fishing the smaller streams of southwest Colorado I spent almost all of my days fishing dry flies as the excitement of watching a trout break the surface to eat your fly is hard to beat.  As I explored more waters and starting fishing larger rivers (compared to the streams as a kid) I was forced to adapt my fishing techniques from the small stream dap to exploring sub-surface and nymphing.  I always knew nymphing was a more productive way to fish, but with the excitement of what seamed like an endless supply of Brookies willing to take an Elk Hair Caddis, Royal Wolfe, Trude, etc. slowed my progression and learning curve.  It wasn't until I was fishing the fabled San Juan consistently that nymphing became a mainstay in my fishing tactics.  Nymphing became my method of choice, so much so, my pals starting calling the nymph maniac and for good reason.  For several years I nymph fished almost exclusively and wouldn't switch up to a dry unless conditions were too good to pass up.  Of course, the learning curve continued as my diversity of fisheries, the number of days fishing from a boat, different species, and the types of water explored continued to grow. 
I'm becoming a more well rounded angler with each passing year.  For years now I've been working on streamer fishing techniques.  It all started nymphing Wooley Buggers dead drift, which not only saved some slow days, but opened my eyes to a whole new world.  The realization that trout eat more than Midges, Mayflies, Caddis, Stoneflies and terrestrials.  This was not new knowledge, but something that was oppressed due to small streams, tail waters, and those influencing me.  Not anymore!!  Streamers are always my first choice especially when fishing from a boat.  This is not to say that I don't fish drys or nymph, but come on, how fun is staring at a bobber while the boat is moving at the same speed?  Yes, it has its advantages and its place, but to commit a day to it; I don't think so.  So for now its streamers (or large dry flies) from the boat, nymphing the holes and slots while wading, and drys are generally saved for the opportune moments in a hatch that draw so many to the sport.

My goal in writing this blog is to provide quality information about my experiences as a fisherman including trip reports, photos, flies, boats and everything else that goes with the entire fishing experience.  With that said, I am a fisherman first and foremost, not a photographer or a professional fly tier.  I will be posting fly tying instructions on some of the flies I have either designed or have great success with.  I understand many of the flies I have designed will often be looked at as a variation of another fly or someone else may claim the design as their own.  That’s fine with me as I’m a fisherman first and a fly tier second.  I’ll let the pros decided what is a new fly and what a variation of existing flies is.

Welcome, hopefully you will find some useful information between the lines when reading this blog.  Any comments good, bad or the other are always welcomed.