Monday, November 20, 2017

What's that bug?

Arkansas River, 2017

The photo above was taken this summer on the Arkansas River.  I had been fishing lots of caddis larva during that time and had been doing quite well.  I didn't know that the large, dark green bugs were water snipes.  I assumed that they were cranefly larva, although they didn't look like what I knew were cranefly larva, I didn't argue with the fish.  They were eating my cranefly larva patterns so I kept using them and they kept eating them.  If you look for water snipe patterns at your local fly shop, I am going to bet that they don't have a specific fly pattern, much less even know what you are looking for.  I had no clue as to what a water snipe was before this summer.  Now, even knowing this, I still use a smaller cranefly larva pattern to imitate these bugs.  You can even upsize your caddis larva patterns and have things covered if you know they are in the water you are fishing.  If I were fishing this water again the same or next day, I'd make sure to cover all my bases and fish a cranefly larva, a caddis larva and a baetis nymph.  And I bet I would have  great day.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Winter Fishing (Repost from 2011)

This is a repost from 2011.  I found that the information here is still very relevant.

I don’t do it nearly as much as others.  I have nothing against it, but the cold. 
I have never fished below 10 degrees, and as I see it, I probably never will.  I don’t think any fish is quite that important to be out there in freezing, freezing weather.  I fish in the winter months of November through February.  Now, I added November in there because it can be pretty cold during that month.  In the last few years, it seems like both November and February have been pleasant.  Or at least I think they were.  We often forget how cold and how hot it was once a new season rolls around.  I was out a couple of weekends ago on the Arkansas River in Pueblo, Co.  I was a bit over dressed with my rolled down waders and Patagonia Cap. 3 long sleeve shirt.  I expected a cool day, but with the temps pushing 70 degrees, it didn’t feel much like winter, except the low angle of the sun.   
With colder weather and water temps, it is important to dress appropriately, even on a “nice” day.  I start off with a base layer of moisture wicking pants and a shirt.  Simms and Patagonia offer some of the best.  Next, a fleece layer to add warmth, especially on the legs help to keep you warm.  On the feet, I use the same system.  A liner, then fleece, then a neoprene booty, and then my waders.  I have to have a bigger boot to fit all these layers in them, but it is worth it.  If your feet get cold, it’s over.  I have had days, were I couldn’t feel my feet, but everything else was warm and the fish were eating.  Can you guess what I did?  Yea, I quit.  I actually suffered a touch of frostbite in my younger days with leaky waders, cold water and feeding fish.  I won’t make that mistake again.  For the upper part of your body, again a base layer helps wick away moisture from your body so you don’t get cold and clammy.  Next, I like a thin fleece layer, depending on the weather and then maybe a heavier fleece layer.   I like to use a 100 series fleece as a light layer.  It can come on or off as needed and make a huge difference.  If you don’t need or have a waterproof shell to help brake the wind, a windproof fleece is a great investment.  Most companies offer great products, but both Simms and Patagonia offer some of the best.  A lightweight down or Primalot jacket are a great addition to the mix.  I always carry different jackets with me to use and once I hit the water I can decide what I need.  For my head, I like to use a windproof hat. There is nothing worse than having a warm head but when the cold wind blows, it slices through you like a hot knife on butter, but only it’s cold…..really cold.  I'll bet you know what I mean.  A hood also helps when the wind blows, but so does a nice warm vehicle.  To finish up the outfit, make sure you have some gloves.  Again, Simms offers the best ones, which is a foldover mitten, with fingerless gloves underneath.   You just have to try them to appreciate them.  

Fly pattern selection is crucial during the winter months.  Gone are the days of throwing # 14 Humpies and #8 Chubby Chernobyls.  Midges are the name of the game.  Attractor flies also work as do mayflies, but for the most part, its midges.  On the South Platte River tailwaters, it usually size 20-28.  Some days the fish are eating #26 midges.  Other days, it’s a #22.   Having some popular patterns in a few different colors and sizes helps to be prepared.  Some of the most popular patterns include a Mercury Black Beauty Midge, Black Beauty, Rainbow Warrior, Juju Midge, Miracle Midges, Top Secret Midges and Brassies.  

Some of my personal favorite midges are KF Midges, Biot Midges, UV Pearl Jam Midges, Bling Midges, Johhny Flashes, Foam Back Emergers, and Floss Back Emergers.  Other patterns I don’t want to be without are small Baetis patterns like a Mercury RS2, regular RS2, Sparkle Wing RS2, Sniper Baetis and Splattes.  Eggs and worms are also always with me, just in case.  I also carry some adult patterns just in case I see fish eating on top.  I always have Griffiths Gnats with me, as well as a pattern I call the CDC Shucker Midge.  Basically, it’s a black RS2 with a longish white wing and an amber shuck.  It has proven to be an excellent pattern when fish are eating emerging adults.  I like it in a size 20-24.  It’s easy to see on the water, despite its small size.

The best time to be on the water is generally 10-2, depending on where you are fishing.  In the canyons, light on the water is dependant on the stretch you are on and which direction the water is flowing.  A trip to a tailwater can include a warm breakfast on the way, possibly followed by a late lunch or an early dinner.    Some of the best fishing can be when it is gently snowing.  Most people are at home, the temps are not too brutal, the wind may not be blowing and the fish just might be rising to midges.  Tie up some midge patterns, gather up your layers and find a good breakfast joint to stop at because there is no need to be on the water until it has warmed up a bit.  Winter fishing is fun as long as you are prepared for it.  Make it a point to get out this winter and enjoy some of the water that is open and enjoy those fish, which are still eating.  

Mercury RS2--Must Have!

Rojo Midges

Foam Back Emerger

The smaller, the better!

Make sure to keep a well stocked fly box.  You never know what the fish will want.

Friday, November 3, 2017

The Slim Shady 5.0

Yes, I am still around and this blog is still alive!   Sorry for the lack of posts, but I was a bit busy this summer.   I spent about 200+ days on the water this year.
Hopefully I will be able to continue and post interesting things!
I am going to start back up by posting the tying info for the Slim Shady Baetis, 5.0

I've been fishing the Slim Shady 5.0 for most of the year and have had some really good days with it. It's a baetis pattern but when are South Platte fish not eating baetis?  I've even gone so far as to tie it as a Split Back pattern and and updated Ice Emerger 2.0 pattern.  More on those patterns later.  For now, take a look at the fly and the recipe for the Slim Shady.  The "Slim Rib" material is not available in any fly shops, so if you need some, send me an e-mail.  I will be selling it.

Slim Shady Baetis, 5.0
Hook:    TMC 200R
Thread:  MFC 8/0 Light Brown or Veevus Tan 14/0
Tails:      Split Mirco Fibbets, Black
Rib:        Slim Rib, Brown
Thorax:  Thread
Wingcase:  Black 1/32" Holographic Tinsel
Legs:      12 Strands of Black Flouro Fibre
UV Resin:  Deer Creek Diamond Fine
Other colors I tie in in are:  Light Olive, Rust, Purple and Olive Dun.
Real or Fake?
Just add water
The bug on the left looks fake.  I mean, look at his pose.  Sassy.  

The Money $hot Baetis.  2 Diamond glass Beads

Light Brown SS 5.0

Money $hot

PMD Slim Shady
PMD CDC Loop Winger Emerger, SS 
PMD Split Case SS
More 5.0s

And more 5.0s