Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Why am I not fishing?

Often times we have so many things to do, we can't do the "fun" things in life like fishing.  In my life, and I would bet yours also,  there is always something else that needs to be done.  As a new homeowner, I have finally figured out that there will always be something that needs to get done.  Over the last few months, I had a big project that needed to get done.  There was this big tree right next to our house that needed to be taken care of.  It had to come down.  We prayed it would come down on the date we scheduled it to come down and not before.  This was a big tree!

There were two trunks that made it even more dangerous.  The trunks split about a foot off the ground.

The second trunk almost took out the cherry picker truck.

Now after the crew was gone, all that remained were about 30-40 logs.  My plan was to chop all of these up for firewood.  Little did I know how hard that would be.

In between the tree coming down and splitting the wood, we did many things.  One weekend we traveled to my parents house in New Mexico to help pick up hay from the fields.  I always know that a good days work is in store, but looking back, it was pretty easy...compared to splitting all that wood.  It's not all work when we visit and I found some time to go out shooting with my cousin who was there that weekend.  I tried to trade a few fly rods for his rifle but it didn't work.
"SWAT shot"

The Colfax County Fair was that weekend and we checked out the parade.  We ate steak for dinner  and had a good time.

Now to this past weekend.  Wood splitting time.  Luckily I had some help from the neighbors and it made it easier, if I dare say that.  
This was about the average size.  Some were much bigger though.  

This was one of the bigger, lower logs above the split about 8' from the base of the tree, and it had an "inner core", the wrist sized beginning of the massive tree.  
We estimate that this tree was planted around 1960 and was near 90' tall.  It was a beautiful tree, but so close to the house. It was about 18" from the outside wall.  

This is the beginning of the wood pile.  It is now about 4 times that amount.  We were unable to use the fire place since the tree was basically right over the chimney.  Hopefully this wood will provide the warmth as I sit at the tying bench tying hoppers for the upcoming season and wishing it was summer time again.  
I will wake up tomorrow and feel better than I did today.  I should be able to walk near normal and not have to worry about getting across the street before that car that is pretty far away will run me over like I have the last few days.  I should be able to get out of my chair at work a little easier and the first few steps won't kill my legs like they have the last two days.  Man, I was a sore sucker.  I still am.  

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What would you do???

If you had 5 days on the Bighorn River in Montana?  If you were lucky enough to go with fellow blogger, Dave Zielinski at The Happy Trout Chronicles, you would have fished Hoppers all of those 5 days.  Dave and his party gave the Hopper Juan a good workout on the Bighorn.  Take a look at his most recent post at The Happy Trout Chronicles.  http://thtchronicles.blogspot.com/2010/08/montana-bighorn-river.html

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A couple tips for you.

Since I can't think of any good fishing stories or have any new patterns ready to unveil, I thought I would toss a few things out there for you that might be helpful.

The first tip I want to share with you is the sizes of the foam bodies I use for The Hopper Juan.  While many people don't have the foam  cutters I use, I recommend them for the ease of making these bodies.  If you can't obtain them or would just rather use scissors, here are the sizes that you should aim for.

For size 6 Hopper Juan's, I use the large cutter, which is roughly 7mm in width.  For my favorite size, size 8, I use the medium size which is about 6mm.  The small is about 5mm, and I use those for size 10 Hoppers.  If you want to cut these bodies straight, I recommend using a piece of glass or a self healing mat and a very sharp razor and a metal straight edge such as the one in the picture above.  Measure the widths and run the blade down the straight edge and try not to cut yourself.  It doesn't take much using a sharp bade.  Using these tools, you can make several strips of foam for hopper use.  

 The other tip I will share with you is the use of Water Shed on your dry flies.  I use this on all my dry flies and I do believe that it does help.  If you want proof, just put a drop of it on an untreated fly.  It soaks it up like a sponge. The same thing happens when you put your untreated fly on the water for the first time.  I even go so far as to treat my hoppers with this stuff.  Elk hair and synthetics soak up water and if you can help prevent that, then you are a step ahead of most people.  Your flies will still eventually soak up water and may need to be changed, but I usually don't mind if it's the fish that are causing that problem.  Water Shed is distributed through Hareline Dubbin Inc.

Friday, August 13, 2010

A day on the Middle Fork of the South Platte River

Middle Fork, S. Platte River
The only Hopper Juan-ish type I had in my box.  I wonder where the rest went?   
Tungsten F.B. Pheasant Tail Nymph #16
I suppose this could pass as a midge with the dark head...or a small caddis larva.......or....

I love the soft wings on the RS2s.  
A worthy trio


Black foam Caddis worked well also.  

Friday, August 6, 2010

New patterns available from MFC, Spring 2011

Montana Fly Company (MFC) is adding 5 of my patterns to their 2011 catalog and I'd like to share those with you.   I am honored to have fly patterns picked two years straight with them.  I believe that they are one of the hottest companies moving up in the fly fishing industry, if not the hottest.  Just take a look at their website here and see what products they have out.  From fly boxes to tying materials, they are adding innovative and useful products to it each year.  So the flies you ask, well here they are:

 Juan's Midge Ice Emerger 
This is a great fly to use during the winter or even during the trico hatches.  We all know that midges are in the water year round and the fish know that too.
 Juan's Chocolate Floss Back Emerger
This is a great fly to use during the BWO and PMD hatches.  I love to put this behind a parachute when the fish are eating emergers and will not take a dry or a deep running nymph.  By doing this, you can sight fish and watch the fish eat the fly.  

 Juan's Grey Floss Back Emerger 
Again, just as with the chocolate version, this one can be fished high to fish eating emergers, or it can be fished deep in a double nymph rig.  These are very versatile flies.  

Juan's Ice Emerger, PMD
The second in the Ice Emerger series, this one sports a yellowish wing bud of Ice Dubbing to represent the emerging body or the wings.  Fish may take this as a cripple or as an emerger.  It's up to them.  You can also fish it deep or behind a dry fly.  That's up to you.  
The Hopper Juan
Thanks to those fly shops that demanded that MFC carry this pattern so they could offer it to customers, it will soon be available to you.  I couldn't keep up with the demand and I only have one or two in my box.  I hope that this becomes one of your favorite flies.  I love to throw this thing all summer long and put a heavy nymph behind it like my Glossy Back and fish those areas where the nymph fishers just can't hit.  Oh, it also works well as a stonefly and a hopper.  It's just buggy and big and fish like it.  

These flies will be available this coming spring at your local fly shop if they carry MFC flies.  If not, just look up someone that does and order from them.  

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tying the Mercury RS2, PMD

Here is a short video on tying the Mercury RS2.  This is the PMD version, but you can change colors easily to match any insect you want to .  I only tie these in PMD and Adams Gray color.  Maybe black as a third color.  Do me a favor and tie your tails a bit shorter than I did.  I didn't notice that they were a bit long until I looked at the fished fly in my hands.   I was in a hurry to get this done.  See what happens when you rush things?

Tying the PMD Mercury RS2 from Juan Ramirez on Vimeo.
A quick and easy tie, this is a true guide fly.  Easy to change colors and to get a different look, this thing is effective in PMD, gray and black to name a few.  I would keep the tails a bit shorter than what I did here.