Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Going out with the kids

This is something that I should do more of.  All of us get caught up in our busy lives and often take time for ourselves.  I often go out alone to relax and to get away from it all.  At the same time, I miss out on the opportunity of taking my kids out with me.  On this trip, my wife and 2 of 3 kids went with me.  My eldest son was traveling the U.S. with his grandmother and will be able to do a trip with me, just me and him.  A late start and a short journey up the hills put us on a beautiful small lake I visited a few weeks ago.  While we were there, we caught two fish, the only action I noticed.  both fish were taken on the Hopper Juan of course!  We left soon after we arrived as the weather turned and the rain was fast approaching.  The littlest one was cold and tired and wanted to go home.  I could have stayed all day, but this was not about me.  What it was about was building memories.  
Jackson checking out the 1st fish.  
Jamie checking it out.
Did you bring a jacket?
Look at that roll cast!
Strip, strip, strip!
It's not always about catching fish.
Jackson working the kinks out. 
Not sure on this one!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Red Headed Damsel Nymph

Red Headed Damsel Nymph

With summer here and the summer stillwater bugs getting going in many places, I thought I would share with you a pattern that is a local favorite.  The Red Headed Damsel nymph is one of the best sellers at Ghillies Fly Shop.  While I don't know who should receive credit for the original pattern, I now lay claim for this variation of the pattern.  I guess I claimed it since I tie it for everyone else to use and have never seen it in anyone else's fly box or heard claim of them coming up with the pattern.  These are available at Ghillies and if you want, they can be orderes and mailed to you.  That is of course, there are any left!  Once the word is out that the callibaetis and damsels are out on the South Park lakes, all those patterns suddenly disappear from the bins.  

This is a really easy pattern to tie and that makes it a good fly to have on the water.  Below, is a little write up I did for the local T.U. newsletter a few years back on how to fish and tie the pattern.  

How many times have you opened up your fly box to look for that one fly that is just a bit different and might give you the edge during a hatch?  Many times, I have stared into my box at the usual flies that every fly shop carries and almost every angler on the water has in their boxes.  One day as I was fishing damsels, I was facing the same dilemma.  I needed just one fly that might be a bit different from all the others.  The Red Headed Damsel was just the fly.  It had the damsel nymph characteristics; the long marabou tail, segmentation and a thicker thorax.  What made it different was the bright red glass bead on the head.   It made a difference that day, as well as many other days.   
I often fish this fly on a floating leader, making short twitches, always retrieving towards the shore.  Natural damsels migrate towards the shore, looking for anything that might be used as a hatching platform.  Often times, they end up on your waders if you are float tubing.  Others who make the journey towards shore are intercepted by cruising trout.  Those damsels who make it to shore, climb up rocks or other dry land to emerge into the adult tenerals, often tan or olive colored, before turning into the brilliant blue we often see as they fly around.  
One other popular method to fish these is to hang them 
under an indicator and slowly retrieve them towards you.  A damsel nymph followed by a callibaetis nymph offers the fish a choice of their meal of the day.   
The Red Headed Damsel is a very easy fly to tie and only takes a few minutes to tie up a few.  So grab some materials and get tying and fishing.

Hook:  Dia Riki 270 #10.
Bead:  Medium Silver Lined Red Glass Bead.
Thread:  UTC 70 Denier, Olive.
Body:  Marabou, olive or brown.
Rib:  Small Red wire.
Wing:  Leftover Marabou from body.
  1. Begin by placing a bead on the hook.  Tie in a 6” piece of red wire.
  2. Wrap wire to opposite of tip of hook point.  Using two wraps of thread, tie in marabou.   Make sure it is not too thick of a feather.  Lift up marabou and wrap thread to behind bead.  
  3. Lay marabou down and make three wraps of thread over marabou.  Your thread should be behind the bead.  The marabou should be tied down at the rear of the fly, and now behind the bead.  
  4. Make a wrap of wire over exposed thread wraps at the rear of fly.  Continue making wraps forward to behind bead.  When wrapping the wire, your marabou should “cup” over the hook shank, forming the body.   
  5. Tie off marabou, making sure you leave a bit of space right behind the bead.  Don’t crowd this area.
  6. Cut marabou close and cover butts.  You should have a little space behind the bead for the next step, placing the wing. 
  7. Lay the marabou wing on the hook shank.  I use the remaining piece from the body.   Make sure the feather is tied in the same direction as you did to tie in the tail.
  8. Make several wrap directly behind the bead to secure the wing.  Cut the wing length about 50% of the fly.    
  9. Grab 2-3 individual marabou fibers to use as a dubbing to cover up the thread and make a finished tie off.  

Monday, June 14, 2010

What I did on my summer vacation

I write this as I am trying to recall the last 5 days of fishing.  Where did I start?  Oh, yea, it started with the family making an annual summer trip to Los Alamos, NM for a week and by me taking some time off from work.  This past Thursday began with a question in my head, as did almost everyday thereafter.  Where do I want to fish today?  WIth the rivers changing daily, even hourly, in flows, where to go?
Day 1-Thursday I woke to wind and not just a breeze, but a howling wind.  I scratched off the reservoirs off my list for the day.  Looking at the flows, 11-mile canyon looked to be perfect.  The flows were up to around 250CFS.  I arrived and fished the lower canyon.  Lots and lots of moss in the drift.  No fun.  Had more than a few fish look at a Hopper Juan, but no solid takers. I went to it after getting fed up with the salad in the water.  No pictures for the day, no good stories either.
Day 2-Where to fish?  Called my preacher buddy and joined him on a local creek where we threw dries all day long.  I also used a dropper most of the day.  Many fish were caught and overall a great day.  Much better than the day before!!!!

Here are the flies used.
"Juanitos"  #12 Great small stream fly.
Fish's View

The dropper.  Started out as a red lightning bug type fly.  

Day 3-Where to fish?  Deckers sounded good.  Flow was about 500CFS.  Ok, so Deckers it is.  I just jumped in my car and left.  All my stuff is in the car right?  Has been there for the last three days.  Wrong!  No waders!  Crap!  Maybe I can cast from the banks, then the rain started.  Screw this place.  Maybe I'll just go home.  I can't go home.  No one is there and no one needs me to be home.  Maybe a stop at Manatou Lake.  I have $5 in my pocket this day for the day use fee.  I stop and actually have a good time catching stocker rainbows on mini leeches.  A day saved!
Day 4-Where to fish?  I have never been to Rosemont Reservoir and want to check it out.  A short trip through town and into the mountains.  After about an hour, I find the parking place.  A short hike to the water finds me casting to rising fish.  After about 20 minutes, the rain and sleet start. It was cold and very wet.  No pictures and I am glad I didn't take out the camera today.  After about 20 cutthroat and brookies, I called it a day.  Once back at home, the day actually turned out to be nice.  
Day 5- I had a plan!  The plan was to fish Rainbow Falls with a fellow guide from Anglers Covey.   Rainbow Falls is a private fly-fishing club located between Woodland Park and Deckers.  The plan was to do some work and then fish.   We worked for a while and fished a little but the rain came and forced us to some shelter.  After a wonderful lunch, we headed out to fish some more.  I fished a couple areas on some of the ponds.  The fish in these ponds are strong and hit like a freight train.  What a blast!  There was some moving water that I wanted to check out that I saw earlier.  It was loaded with many good sized fish.  The water looks like perfect 2wt. water, but you better bring a 4 or 5 wt. to haul in the big fish.   I caught some on a woolly bugger and then switched to a Hopper Juan.  That was fun.  Here are a few pictures of the day.  After a few days on the water, it was time to come home and prepare for the work week.  I heard that the evening rise was something not to be missed, but maybe next time guys!  Thanks to Dave H. and everyone else for this nice visit.   

Trout Creek

More water.  

Buddy checking this out.  

On the Hopper Juan 

Another one on The HJ.

This was about an 18" Brown.

Same fish

Very colorful brown.

The last fish of the day took the hopper as it was "kicking"!

The last Rainbow.  

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Extended Body Foam Green Drake

Since is is getting very close to that time around here, I figured some might appreciate me posting the video for Ben's Green Drake.  I have tied this fly before and made it come out very close to the patterns from MFC, but I knew that I was missing something as the tail material was really loose and there had to be a better way to secure them and keep them from coming off once I tied the body to the hook.  I asked Ben if he could tie this pattern when he was down for Ghillies Fly Shop's anniversary party a few weeks ago and he said he would.  I am so appreciative that he did since he had planned to tie streamers.  Watching him tie his own patterns was great. I learned a lot of new tricks and learned how he secures the tailing material on the extended body.    While watching the video, note that he does not cut the long tag end from the needle. He leaves it long and uses it to snug up everything once he pulls the body off the needle.  Try it  a few times and see what a genius he was by doing this.   Enjoy and let me know if you have any questions.  I might be able to answer a few. :)

Ben Furmisky's Extended Body Foam Green Drake from Juan Ramirez on Vimeo.
Ben ties up his awesome pattern for Green Drakes. This can also be tied for Gray and Brown Drakes.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

New Tying Video: The BDE

Ben Furmisky ties up one of his signature patterns.  In this video, Ben ties a larger size BDE.  The BDE is a great pattern that can replace a lot of your more complicated patterns in your box.  A simple fly to tie and one that works this will be one you want to carry this summer.  Ben was gracious enough to tie his dry fly patterns for me when I asked him. He tied four patterns.  Those videos will be posted once I finish editing them.

Tying the BDE from Juan Ramirez on Vimeo.
Ben Furmisky's BDE pattern. This pattern can cover almost all mayflies and can take the place of those patterns that are unused and in your box just in case. Ben is a member of the Montana Fly Company design team and is one of the best tiers out there. Ben is also the Co -Director for "The Fly Fishing Show".