Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Trips To Take: Bolivian Golden Dorado

Trips to Take: Bolivia for Golden Dorado

The newest edition of American Angler magazine showed up in the mail last night and I was immediately drawn to the impressive photo on the cover:

I read the article and found it quite interesting. In August of 2009, American Angler contributor and filmmaker Dr. Grant Wiswell traveled to the remote Bolivian headwaters of the Amazon River on an exploratory trip in search of Golden Dorado. As I am trout fly fisherman I thought it was pretty cool how these huge Dorado behave similar to trout in the river. I can only imagine what it would have been like to cast to these huge beauties who had never seen an artificial fly before!

I did a little more research today about it, and the trip is no joke. It's an intensive trip into the middle of nowhere, in what has been called "Cocaine Country". What little reading I was able to find on the subject didn't sound all that dangerous though, but it isn't cheap. The author and a small party of angling adventurers stayed at a newly opened camp on the Itirisama River called Tsimane Lodge ( The lodge offers a 10-day trip, not including air time from the States to Bolivia. The site doesn't include pricing which lead me to believe it's not something I will be able to afford in the next say....20 years? Certainly not before the kids are out of college or I win big in Powerball *crosses fingers*, plenty of time to brush up on my Spanish.
Anyhow the article is interesting and I'd recommend it as it is a quick read.

Apparently they are creating a film of the journey as the trailer can be found here:

Yep, I am pretty sure I could handle that.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Wire, Wire, Wire

I had been meaning to post something on wire ever since Brandon blogged about the Wapsi Ultra thread ( a few months back. There has been some discussion recently at RMF on the very topic which reminded me to get on it (

When I first started tying I didn't know much about wire so I just used the Danville wire that came in my beginner's kit.

I immediately found that if not properly re-wrapped and stored the design of the Danville spool lends itself for quite a mess when the wire fell off the spool and got tangled with everything. For this reason alone I don't use Danville wire much any more, though I do have a fair amount of it. It's cheap, easy to find, and works fine as long as you store it properly though I make enough of a mess tying and don't bother with the tangles any longer.

I quickly discovered UTC Ultra Wire, the key material for Barr's Copper John, which is my primary wire of choice now simply because of the size and color options available (see chart below):

Charlie's Flybox (a.k.a. the greatest place ever carries just about every spool available for a decent price. My tying cabinet is now stock full of a variety of colors and sizes, though I always seem to accumulate more. I really like the UTC wire as it is easy to use and store and doesn't come untangled nearly as easily as the Danville wire has for me. Plus with the size and color combinations the possibilities are endless. Brassie size is perfect for hook sizes 18-22. For sizes 16 and up, and for stonefly and streamer ribbing, go to "Medium". Small size ultra wire is perfect for ribbing Gold Ribbed Hare's Ears, Zug Bugs, etc. I use X-Small for tying Zebra Midges, and for midge patterns smaller than #20.

More recently I have begun using Largatun Non-Tarnishing Wire. I am not as familiar with the options and colors available, though I think Largatun makes a fine product though it's a little more expensive. They make a wire even smaller than UTC that is easily manipulated. I have stocked up on a few spools, particularly of their X-Fine size because it's smaller than the X-SM UTC wire and less messy than Danville. I really like the sheen of the wire, which apparently comes from the amount of polished precious metals, and it seems to hold up better than Danville. The length of wire on each spool is 7 yds. for small size, 10 for fine and 15 for X–fine and is available in 3 finishes: cold, silver, and copper.

According to Scruffy Fly of RMF, the diameters of some of the different sizes are as follows:

UltraWire XSM = .004"
Largartun Fine = .005"
Danville Fine = .005"
UltraWire SM = .007"
Largartun SML = .007"
34 gauge = .007"
UltraWire BR = .009"
Dnvl Brassie = .009"
UltraWire MED = .013"

The only other wire I have been using is a lead-free wire wrapped to add weight to nymphs and streamers. I know Hareline and a variety other companies put similar wire out. I got a whole box with a variety of sizes from Cabela's a few years back and haven't had a need to replace anything yet. Lead-Free = Good.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Hatch

"Once a year, an epic insect hatch invades Colorado's Black Canyon sending tingles down the spine of every trout and every fisherman who brave the nearly vertical 2,000 foot scramble into the Gunnison River gorge. This film is a tribute to this incredible place and the people who will fight for it's future as a unique ecosystem."
I recently purchased my own copy of "The Hatch" documentary which was produced and directed by Travis Rummel and Ben Knight and available through Felt Soul Media and absolutely loved. It's only about 18 minutes in length but is very well made. The documentary centralizes around the annual Pteronarcys californica (salmonfly) hatch along the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Having experienced this unreal hatch first hand I can tell you this documentary does a great job of capturing the awesome chaos that unfolds during the hatch.

While the film focuses on the beauty of the Gunnison River as it flows through the Black Canyon and has a great deal of fantastic fish, huge salmon flies, and breathtaking scenery, the underlying message is the extreme importance of water conservation. It is rather disturbing to think about how much water we waste and it's impacts not only on the Gunnison but all other rivers. The film does a great job explaining how our water consumption can devastate such a pristine environment and experience the Gunnison offers today.

"Fly fishing to me is something that is so special that I don't like to share my section of stream with a lot of other people, and that's my love of the Gunnison." - Woody Pattishall

Best Documentary Gotham Film Fest NYV 2005, Official Selection: Banff Film Festival, Banff World Tour, Telluride Mountain Film Festival, Taos Film Festival, Durango Independent Film Festival.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Size Conversion

SwitterB posted the above graphics on his blog and I am posting them here really for my own reference for no other reason than I am too lazy to consult with a ruler to determine millimeter to inch conversion and appropriate bead or hook sizes.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

High Alpine Trout

The above video was posted over at the Rocky Mountain Fly. Pretty cool stuff. I would love to make this trip or one like it sometime. Some really fat Goldens caught up here on the video. He even goes through items he brings on his high alpine lake hikes, which I found interesting and helpful.

Zach Even Art is a pretty cool site, too.

Friday, November 13, 2009

South Park

Hit the Dream Stream, finally, with Dave. Got there about 7:45am and was 3rd car in the lot. The other two guys were practically standing on top of each other at the hole beneath the bridge. We walked all the way down to Elevenmile and worked our way back in search of Kokanee. On the way down we spooked a bunch which were sitting in skinny water and riffles. Also on the way down my rubber net apparently eroded it's screw away and has been lost somewhere on Spinney Mountain Ranch - not cool. Anyhow, as we worked our way back we saw a lot of the resident trout and a couple large Bows but the only Brown we saw was a very diseased fish sitting inverted in the water column, clearly on its last legs.
The Kokanee had moved from the riffles to deeper pools by the time we were making it back. They seemed to frequent the sporadic assortment of white rocks on the stream bed. As the majority of the Dream Stream is weeds, silt, and darker rocks it made sighting the fish pretty simple, really. Dave sight-casted to one who took his Orange Stimulator on the first cast. It turned out to be the only Koke we landed all day. I thought it was odd that drowning a Stimi with a splitshot a few inches in front of it would trigger a strike, evidently it did. The Koke was dropping eggs like crazy. It was interesting that they looked almost identical in color, shape, and clarity to the eggs dropped by the Rainbows at Delaney a couple weeks back.
We continued up stream and ran into a huge elk likely dieing in the field just south of the river. Pretty impressive animal, but it looked like he too was diseased or had been shot and wandered to this spot. He repeatedly stood up and laid down, but that was about it. One of the gentlemen who pointed the elk out to us mentioned that we would contact the DOW about the wounded elk.
After speaking a couple friendly local guys we ran into it sounds like the Browns have returned to Elevenmile and the Kokanee run just isn't what is was a couple years back, though better than last year. When I fished for them in 2007 flows were around 150cfs, which may or may not effect the salmon run? Sounds like we missed prime time by a couple weeks tops, flows were 73 cfs which are a little low. I have heard rumors that the gill lice really affected the Elevenmile Kokes so it was good to see at least a few in the river.
We didn't really fish for the trout in the river due to the ridiculous amount of people on the water so we decided to try the our luck at Spinney. Our lot had grown to at least 15 vehicles and there were now a good dozen people fishing the hole under the bridge! We saw a guy fighting a fish and stuck around because the way he was acting as though it was sure to be a trophy. Turned out to be a 6" whopper and we promptly left. Headed over to Spinney by the dam.
I have fished Spinney more times than I can count but never this late in the year so we were pretty blind. Tried by the Dam and South Ramp with little luck so we decided to move over to the main ramp as we had seen some risers on the way in. Started out slow there, too, but all of a sudden we started landing fish after fish all of which were 12" carbon copies of each other. It took us a few minutes to realize this sudden pick-up in action was perhaps directly due to the fact a large DOW truck from the hatchery was unloading into the lake, lol. After a pretty slow day it was pretty entertaining to catch eager fish cast after cast after cast, even if they were stockers. I had been told that the often caught Spinney Bows that have stubs as fins and are clearly beaten up were due to run ins with the Pike. This is clearly not the case because these stockers bear the same damage. Dave and I figured this was probably due to living in the concrete channels (or whatever they are called) at the hatchery. I found this interesting. I contacted the Park to get more information on the truck and this is the response I received:
"That truck was the last of several trucks that just stocked 45,000 - twelve inch - Hofer X Harrison Rainbow Trout. These are 3 year old fish from the Rifle Fish Hatchery. We have found that this cross (Hofer X Harrison) grow longer that previous strains stocked. "
I am quite excited to see how big these Hofer/Harrison bows can get! The current fish are fatties but only grow to average about 20" though I have caught fish up to 22.5" and heard of bows landed in the 24" range. If the little guys are any indication of the new strain's potential, they have a voracious appetite and will grow quickly under the ice this winter. Hopefully the Pike's metabolism has slowed and this new arsenal of Bows can dominate Spinney in the coming years.

Side note: Tons of hunters around today, far more than I have ever heard out there.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Did You Know...

I was reading up on the Colorado Division of Wildlife website about Spinney Reservoir and I came across the above graphic which had been included on an old Fishery Management Plan for Spinney. I thought it was an interesting tidbit of information, kinda cool!

The Fishey Management Plan, though outdated, was also pretty interesting:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Stillwater Sam

A friend of mine, Sam, was kind enough to help me tie one of his patterns he uses on stillwater. Since I am not sure what he calls it, I creatively dubbed it Stillwater Sam - I hope you don' mind, Sam. Below are my takes on his pattern and I am excited to get out and try them. As the pattern is not my own I don't feel comfortable posting the recipe, but you can get a pretty good idea:

Friday, October 30, 2009

Cool Flies

Vasies Pupa Pattern by Lucian Vasies

Came accross this fly at SwittersB's blog and thought it was very interesting. I have not seen a fly with a braided flash back wing case before and I like the ribbing idea - very cool. Fact of the matter is the whole pattern was foreign to me, check out the tutorial:

I can't read any of it, as it is Romanian, but you can figure it out.

Here's the're on your own for the translation.

Materiale: Carlig Caddis #14 Daiichi D1130
Ata: de corp Devaux galbena si 17/0 UniThread
Coada: barbule de cocos de Leon sau cocos indian
Subcorp: ata de corp Devaux
Corp: lurefil oliv
Torace: dubbing super nymph sau din ureche de iepure amestecat cu super sintetic nymph dubbing
Gheb: barbule de fazan sau pearl scudback
Greutate: bila de tungsten de 3mm

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wyoming Cutt Slam

Something I would like to do in the near future over a couple seasons is the State of Wyoming Game and Fish Department's Cutt Slam program. What you do is catch Wyoming's four cutthroat sub-species in their native range in Wyoming, document the catches with pictures and submit the application. In return they send the above certificate detailing your catch. I think it's a pretty cool program the state puts on, I wish Colorado had something similar! I have been told to expect to drive all over the state, but I figure that's the point of the program to see Wyoming and these fish in their native habitat.

Here's a map of the relative range of each species:

More info:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

101+ Places to take a Kid Fishing in Colorado

Interactive map of places accross the state recommended to take kids fishing.

Cutthroat Chapter Trout Unlimited Auction

Usually a good time with some cool stuff.

Also very entertaining to watch Doug blow through a grand on trips he never takes!

Kevin Birznieks Taxidermy/Photography

Kevin came very highly recommended to me by the guys over at Rocky Mountain Fly. I asked him to create a mount of a large Bow I released from Spinney a couple years ago based on measurements and pictures. It turned out great.
I would pass on the recommendation to anyone looking for a mount, and hope to send more business back to Kevin as soon I catch a qualifying fish!
Kevin has won numerous awards for his work and is also an accomplished photographer.

Below are photos of the Bow Kevin did for me, I took one of the head and tail to show the detail.

Jason Jagger Photography

If you aren't familiar with Jason Jagger's photography I'd highly recommend checking it out at the link above. I was lucky enough to be the high bidder on one of his prints last year in which an unsuspecting Callibaetis was about to become a snack for a nice trout. It is currently hanging on my wall.

You've probably seen his work at Charlie's and various other outlets.

Dude must have ridiculous patience.

Gummi Egg Pattern

Here are the patterns that were so productive at Delaney. The first is an apricot colored gummi egg tied on a size 16 TMC 2488. This fly originally had a veil but the veil was snipped.

Here is the kiwi colored gummi with the veil. This fly is slightly larger, 4mm egg tied on a size 12 TMC2488. The veil is simple egg veil material.

This is the gummi material used to tie the patterns. It could be easier, you just tie in some veil on the hook behind the eye, then put a drop of zap-a-gap on the shank where the egg will go, slide the gummi egg over the eye and bring the veil forward to tie off.

Note: I would add an extra drop of zap-a-gap behind the egg once completed. I had a problem with the egg sliding down towards the bend after the fish would hit it a few times. I missed a couple fish I beleive because the egg slid too far to get an acceptable hook set.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Delaney Buttes

Fished Delaney with Brandon, Scott, John W., and Dave Thursday night into Friday morning. We didn't have much luck on North but caught a bunch of Bows and Cuttbows in South. Egg patterns seemed to be the ticket. The most successful pattern was a gummi egg either with a veil or without. Evidently the Bows are spawning, too, as evidenced by the number of eggs dumped on John's leg. Interesting coloration in my opinion. The males were jizzing all over us, too.

Tried to troll huge streamers for big Browns in North Thursday night. We weren't able to land anything, but I got the hardest strike in my life, had the monster on for a second or two before the 4x snapped - but after catching a bunch of 18 inchers it was definitely a different caliber. Oh well, he's still in there for next year.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Rio Grande June 2009

My buddy Brandon recommended that I start a blog to chronicle my fishing adventures, so here we go!

After leaving early to fish Antero, which was less than stellar. I had the opportunity to fish the Rio Grande in June. We stayed in Creede, Colorado, which is beautiful and you should make the trip should you find yourself able to do so.

The wind was unlike anything I had ever fished in my life. Even the guide who had fished the canyon for over 20 years said it was the worst he had ever seen! Oh well, such is fishing - it was better than staring at the computer screen from behind a desk.

We threw big bugs (#2 Sofa Pillows and Stones) as close to the banks as we could muster in the wind. Saw a number of Pteronarcys hatching and bumbling around, but not many risers. Caught our fair share of Bows and Browns.

Ultimately, we missed the prime water by about a week according to the locals and guides as the water was still too high after all the moisture from this past winter and spring. It was however a great trip and we had a great time.

Note: When fishing with Doug you must expect him to show up 9 tall rum and cokes down upon arrival. That is just how it's done.