Friday, September 18, 2015

Is bigger really better?

In the late summer time when everyone is ready to throw big, nasty hoppers, I like to take it down a notch and throw some small hoppers.  Why?  Why not?  Around my neck of the woods, especially on the South Platte River, the fish have seen a billion imitations of cranefly larva to BWOs by the 4th of July.  On certain sections, Hoppers really don't get the love.  There just isn't many of them out there and the fish don't necessarily need to eat them.  They will if it is an opportunity to them and they are looking for anything to eat, but I have seen them completely ignore a big meaty hopper when they are eating Tricos and PMDs.  On other stretches of rivers, I just like to offer them a smaller bite, something that they are willing to eat.  More than once I have seen them half-heartidly attempt to eat a size 8 hopper, but when offered a size 12 or 14 hopper, there is no hesitation.  
The pattern below is a smaller version of my Hopper Juan.  I tie it on a short shanked size 10 hook.  It's an easy modification of the original and quite easy to tie.  I like the short shanked hook because the hook gap is large while keeping the body short and small.  I'd say it's more like a size 14 2X hook, but with a gap to hook fish.  
It's not too late for hoppers right now.  I am still offering them to fish and they are still eating them.  Tie some up and go have some fun!

Hook:  Size 10 Short Shank Hook
Thread:  6/0 MFC Sand
Body:    Med. size cut 2mm foam
Under Wing:  Pearl Krystal Flash
Wing:   MFC Widow's Web, Tan
Indicator:  MFC Gator Hair, Hot Pink
Legs:   MFC, Small Barred Tan Sexi-Legs

Pierce foam onto hook shank and make a layer of thread

Secure with 3 thread wraps

Add super glue to secure the foam to the thread

Add 2nd piece of foam and secure with 3 wraps

Add more glue and repeat

Once you get 3 segments, tie off bottom foam with several wraps and cut close

Use micro tip scissors here

You will have little "nubs" from the cut

Secure with several wraps of thread

Add more glue and secure top piece of foam

Take thread back to middle segmented add some flash

Add your overawing of Widow's Web.  

Add legs to each side

Secure wing and foam with more glue

Fold back the top section of foam and secure with 2 wraps

Add in the indicator material

Whip finish and cut material to length 

Top view

Bottom view

Fish's view


Friday, August 28, 2015

What's the Word?

I thought I would have tons of time on my hands when I made the job switch.  I thought I would have lots of time to tie flies, to do all the things I've been putting off for the last several years.  I've found out that that is not the case!  Just like retiring, you find more that needs to be done.  But, I have been having a good time guiding.  It's not easy, but the rewards are great and enjoyable.  The Tricos in Elevenmile Canyon have been great.  I've been able to fool them with Parachute Adams, but some of them are getting pickier after getting fooled once or twice.  

Also, my Sniper Baetis has been money!  This thing has been fooling them left and right.  Along with a Squirmy Wormy, it's been great.  
The Tricos are still going strong, but the spinner fall depends on weather.  Warmer mornings gets things moving earlier and cooler mornings take it a while to get moving.  A #24 parachute or a 180 Degree Trico have been working well.  The smarter fish eating single spinners require a bit more precise imitation in a size 26!  They will eat it, but hooking them is a bit challenging with the small hook.
#24 Parachute.  You can't get these in the shop! 

The Arkansas has been fishing great as well.  If you can cast, there are hungry fish all around.  Some fish have been taken on big dries, but most have been on droppers such as the PMD Barr Emerger and now, anything with red on it.  Think tungsten to get down where the fish are in faster water.  Pocket water is key! 

If you would like to learn more about these waters, let me know and we can get out and learn a few things!
Fishing The Ark's Pocket Water

Elevenmile Canyon misty morning


Happy Client

Saturday, July 25, 2015

New Guide in Town.......

I've decided to trade the computer screen for sunscreen, my dress shoes for boots with studs, my Dockers for Simms G4 waders and my pen for a fly rod.  As of next week, I will become a full time Fly Fishing guide.  I've been trying to make this change for a while, but now it is finally happening.  The timing isn't great, but that couldn't be helped.  I'd welcome anyone here to call me up or e-mail me to book a trip.
I will be guiding through 3 services:
Anglers Covey Fly Shop on the South Platte River
 The Broadmoor Hotel on the South Platte River
and Royal Gorge Anglers on the Arkansas River above Canon City.

Along with guiding, I am going to do some limited tying for people.  E-mail me for more information on custom tying.

Please let me know if you are interested in a trip and let's do it!


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Bluewater Lake State Park Tiger Muskies

Check out this cool video by Matt Pelletier, owner and operator of Fish Enchantment Media, LLC about a special fishery in New Mexico that offers great opportunities to hook up with some monster Tiger Muskies.  Check it out and if you are interested in a trip, do it because I have being seeing photos from this place for a few years now and it blows me away!  Check out the Facebook page here:, for more photos and info.

Friday, July 10, 2015


Home from Juan Ramirez-Hopper Juan on Vimeo.

Springer, New Mexico 2015
This is where I grew up.  About a 1/2 mile north of this point.  This is on an overlook, a big bluff, overlooking the river.  I was up there looking for our missing cows.  They had escaped through "the water gap" a term we use where the property lines meet at the river bottom.  The property to the east, where the video starts belongs to the "late water gap man".  That is what we had always called him.   I have no idea what his real name was.  Now the property belongs to "the water gap man's son".  Whoever that is.  If I start playing the lottery, and win it big, I am going to buy all of that property and place my porch right there.
In the video, it start's out looking east, towards Texas, about 100 miles away.  Our property and home is to the north, looking towards Colorado.  Fisher's Peak near Trinidad is directly North.  To the Northwest, is the Culebra Range in Colorado.  From here, you can see the southernmost 14er in Colorado, Culebra Peak.  The Culebra range is an awesome sight from here.  It's difficult to see in the video, but they are there.  To the west lies the Cimarron Range , which includes Philmont Scout Ranch.  Just the early morning of this video, there was a flash flood in North Ponil Canyon which claimed the life of a 13 year old Boy Scout.
Further South is the southern end of the Sangre de Christo Range near Mora, NM.  The Pecos Wilderness covers most of this area of the high peaks.   It's a great view that video can only hope to capture.  There aren't any trout in the Canadian River, but to the west, there are plenty including native Rio Grande Cutthroats.
To the south, lies more of New Mexico.  It drops in elevation and turns into more of a high desert climate.  Just a mile or less, the Canadian River joins the Cimarron River and heads southeast a bit, carving a large canyon, Mills Canyon. The rains of Spring sure made this place look like the old days!  The cows are happy and now back at home until another big rain comes and blows out the fence and the cows head to greener pasture.  Just a tid  bit of info here.  In 1965 this river just downstream from here peaked at 172,00 CFS!!  As you see, the flood plain is huge.  No wonder there are no trout in here. Thanks for joining in on the tour!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Goodbye to the Hardy Zenith?

Recently, I have heard that my favorite rod, The Hardy Zenith is being discontinued.  Like all great rods before it, it has come time to replace it with a newer material, a newer idea. While I have done many "experiments " on different rods over the last two years, I found that this rod is just a perfect all around rod for me.  Specifically, the 9' 5wt rod is perfect as an all purpose rod that can handle anything.  My favorite rod in the series is the 8'6" 4 wt. rod.  Perfect for the dry fly fishing, it is delightful.  The rods will be going on sale at your local Hardy dealer, so I'd try to find one if you can. Otherwise, you could wait for the latest and greatest to be announced.  I it appears that there will be two new line ups in the Hardy world.  The Hardy Zephrus is what I assume is the replacement for the Zenith.  It uses Sintrix 440, which was used in the Zenith series.  I am assuming that these rods will be similar in sizes and price.   Hardy has not released any information yet, so this is only speculation on my part. (I have confirmation that this is the case).
One other rod that will be released is the Hardy Wraith, a high dollar, ultra fast action fly rod.  Think Sage one and Sage Method style.  This is based off of Sintrix 550, which is the best material available in the Sintrix line up.  If you remember, Hardy used this material in the Hardy Artisian, which was featured in the Yellowstone Angler a couple years ago and got awesome marks for feel, even better than the Zenith.  The Artisan was produced in England so the cost was prohibitave to most of us and I've never even seen one.   So hang on and go grab a Zenith rod or wait to see what is coming out later this year.  I am sure they will be something special.


Thursday, June 4, 2015

Fooling the Fish: A Colorado Angler's Road to the River

I was approached last month to do an interview with Colorado Collective, a local online magazine.  I gladly agreed and made plans to join up with the writer and photographer on the water.
That was followed up with a tying session at my office and an interview.  I really enjoyed the interview and wish there was a transcript of it.  I touched on a lot of different points and poured my thoughts out about fly fishing and the industry.  If you click below, you will be taken to the article.  
Thank you for following this blog and for supporting me over the years.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Morris Anato May video

This little pattern is cool!  It passes for small baetis nymphs in the smaller sizes and covers the smaller stoneflies in  a bit larger sizes.  It's also a family simple pattern to tie,  If you can tie a PT nymph or Hare's Ear nymph, you will ne able to tie this pattern.  I fish it on a 2 nymph rig.  It's possible to fish two of these patterns to cover both stones and beats.  A lager size 12 or 14 in cream as your first fly and a smaller size 16-20 as your second fly to cover the mayflies.  Tied with a Tungsten bead, you can drop it off the back of a hopper or bigger dry fly to fish pocket water.  Let us know how it goes.  Enjoy!
P.S.-Turn down your volume a bit before playing!

Anato May from Juan Ramirez-Hopper Juan on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

How to Sharpen Razor Scissors

One day several years ago, I got home from work and sat down to tie some flies.  As I started, I picked up my rather new razor scissors and cut the thread.  Or at least I tried to cut it.  It merely folded over the blades.  WTF!? What happened to my scissors!  I yelled to my little girl who was about 5 years old then and asked her what she did to my scissors.  She said she din't use them, but told me that her mom did.  I asked her mom if she used them and she said she did.  She used them to cut out paper snowflakes.  I told her that they were ruined and wouldn't even cut butter.  I sat there for an hour trying to force them to cut thread but nothing.  They were shot.  As a last resort, I picked up a small file I had for hooks.  I ran the blade across the blades at an almost 90 degree angle.  I figured it was worth a try and when I cut with them, they felt like new!  I had saved them!  After that day, I have had to use that sharpener to touch up my blades from time to time.  The razor scissors are awesome, but one of the main complaints are that they don't stay sharp and become dull soon after using them. Using this method, I've been satisfied with the results.  Now, my blades are always sharp and my kids and wife know not to use them for arts and crafts.  The file I use is available at most stores and is only about $7.00.  It's a tool that will always be with me when I am tying.

How to Sharpen Razor Scissors from Juan Ramirez-Hopper Juan on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


They are here on the Arkansas.  They have been around, but this week, I was there and they were too.  It was great.  Every fish in the river was up, eating and having a great time.  My clients were too.  They enjoyed throwing dries to splashing, greedy fish.  The wind was harsh at times when the caddis were out in full force, making the casting a bit difficult but skating the dry worked quite well.  If you are planing to hit this, make plans to be out within the next week or so as it will move upriver quickly.  Good flies were your basic Elk Hair Caddis as well as X-caddis in size 16 & 18.  Dropping a pupa would be wise as well.  My Royal Gorgeous was working very well.
 Check out the photos of the pupa.  Don't forget to include the BWOs as well as they are plenty and the fish are eating them in the mornings and afternoons.  Have fun and hit me up for additional info if you need.  Also check out Royal Gorge Anglers for more info.

I am trying really hard to get out!!!

Natural and artificial