Monday, December 27, 2010

Urban Tailwater 12/26/10

Christmas had come and gone, the celebration of the holiday weekend has come to a close, it was only Sunday with sunny weather and I had a day to play.  What else is one to do?  I took off early in search of that one last gift.  I headed south driving on freeways and through cities.  This is not my average start to a day on the river, but being the middle of winter and BWO's hatching consistently, it was well worth it.  Besides I had some new fly patterns to test.

I pulled into the parking lot not far from the Pueblo dam before anyone else.  This was surprising to me as this once secret spot is far from secret anymore.  If it was, I would not be openly giving up exact locations.  Regardless, I was glad to find the place to myself for the short while I did.  This allowed me to fish some of my favorite holes before the fish have seen a thousand flies before mine.  The flip side is I found myself breaking ice out of guides for the first hour or so. My first rig quickly broke off to a rock partially due to gauging depth and structure in the water being difficult with no sun on the water.  I quickly re-rigged with a gold cdc emerger I received from Avril at Reel Sisters Colorado and hooked up my first fish of the day on the next cast.

By 10:00 the sun was bright and good hatches of midges starting coming off followed by consistent rising.  It was also around this time when I looked around and found myself surrounded by at least 6 other anglers and a steady stream of anglers still showing up.  I took off walking to escape the crowds and hopefully get some circulation back to my feet which were numb.  There was no way to get away from people as there were always a half dozen anglers in site at all times no matter how far I walked.  I decided to jump in and fish the less desirable water that has seen fewer anglers.  The good thing is there seemed to be fish every where I cast.  During the warmer part of the day a good number of BWO's that hatched earlier returned to the water to lay their eggs.  The fish were eating on the surface consistently.  I was able to fish a size 16 BWO dry with a dropper and fool fish one after the other for the next 2 hours until the sun got low and temperatures started to drop.  I re-rigged to a nymph and caught fish on the way back to the parking lot ending with four fish in the last few minutes.

Overall it was a very good day with at least a couple dozen fish to hand.  Most of them were in the 10 to 12 inch range (hence no fish pics) making for an action packed day on the water.  I didn't hook into any of the larger fish, but I wouldn't want to eat either with people walking in and disturbing the water every couple hundred feet most of the day.  A great conclusion to the holiday weekend and that one last gift to myself.

Flies:  They ate everything I threw at them including streamers, Czech's, BWO's, midges
Water Flow:  ~90 cfs
Weather:  Mid to low 50's, mostly sunny

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A few things coming off the vice

On Friday my dad convinced me (that was real tough for him) we should run to the hills and wet a line.  It was a nice day out, little breeze and mostly sunny.  With the days only getter shorter (only 6 days left until the days start getting longer) there were more shadows on the water than sun.  We got a late start on the day so we didn't start fishing until 11:00ish.  We both found some fish and had some hookups and missed strikes, but neither of us successfully brought a fish to hand.  We decided to head down river to a stretch of water neither of us has fished in some time.  Upon our arrival we found a river mostly choked out with gravel only leaving small pockets and seams of deeper water.  These small pockets were the only places where any vegetation was able to survive.  When you did find deeper water compared to the shallow gravel choked stream bed, you found fish.  There were not many and they were very spooky.  The day went quick and the sun dropped below the ridge shortly after 3.00 making things that much more difficult.  Only one fish was landed all day between the two of us and I'm glad to say it was not me.  Yes, I got skunked.  It doesn't happen often, but it does happen to all of us.

By the time we made it back home I already switched mindsets from fishing to tying.  Since I have no great fish stories or pictures to share, here are some recent ties coming off of the vice.

 A couple dozen midges tied with Saturday morning coffee.

Here is a Crawdad pattern I'm working on.  These are still in the testing phase.  Tie some up and let me know.

This is the Drop Nose Dace originated by Gary LaFontaine.  It hooked 50% of the largest fish I got into last year and is now a permanent staple in my box.

Here is a random shot of some flies recently off the vice.  Some drys, midges, caddis, RS2's, Todd Special,  Bugger variant, Golden Stones, Hairs Ears, etc, etc.

It's winter.  Short days, tough fishing and plenty of time at the vice.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Todd Special a BWO Emerger

Todd Special: 
Tying Materials

Hook:               Tiemco TMC 100 #20
Thread:             Uni Thread 8/0 Gray
Tail:                  Dun Hackle Fibers
Body:               Thread
Rib:                  Gold Wire BR
Wing:               White Foam
Thorax:            Gray Dubbing of choice*

*The original pattern was tied with Super Fine Dry Fly Dubbing

The Todd Special was named by my friends and fishing partners with the understanding that it can easily be viewed as a variation of several other patterns out there.  It originated after tedious study of real Blue Wing Olives on the San Juan River including lots of trial and error sessions tying new flies and testing them in water until I was satisfied with the results.  I finally got a fly matching the samples I was working off of, so it was time for the real R&D; what do the fish think?  The Todd Special became an instant hit with the fish and has probably landed more fish to date than any other fly I’ve ever fished.  Now that is making quite the statement. 

1.  Place hook in vice and crimp barb.  Wrap the hook shank with thread.  Remove a clump of hackle fibers from the stem of a large rooster neck feather and attach to the top of the hook shank.  I find that 15 - 20 hackle fibers to be about right.  Wrap to about the 60 percent point on the hook and trim off the excess material.

2.  Attach a piece of gold wire at this same point on the hook.  Wrap the wire to the hook bend completely covering the wire.  Palmer the wire back towards the eye of the hook and tie off.

3.  Cut a small piece of white closed cell foam.  Attach to the top of the hook shank as shown below.  Trim and tie down any excess foam.

4.  Apply a small amount of gray dubbing to your thread.  Wrap over the foam wing forming a thorax leaving the foam exposed towards the bend of the hook.  Whip finish.

5.  The finished fly.