Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lots of H2O!

So, here's how it went.

I left work at about 2:30 on Friday and drove directly to the Poudre to do some scouting for the weekend.  We've had our first few days of real heat here in northern Colorado, and I arrived at the river to find a blown out, muddy flood of mocha-colored torrent.  The river reports suggested flows of nearly 1900 cfs, and I'd believe every bit of it at this point.

I know I previously spouted some nonsense about "hell or high water," but it's just too high for my tastes, not to mention the low visibility and lack of clarity.

I did some more tying instead, and focused on some gardening.  Pheasant tails, Stoneflies, and a new garden berm.


Temperatures are dropping into the low 70s for a high today, so I'm hoping it will slow some of the snow melt up the canyon and give the water a chance to drop a bit and clear up a little.  If everything cooperates, I'll swing back down tomorrow and give the high water a shot.  If not, I'll keep playing the waiting game with Arnie.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

More nymphs...

I can't take it anymore.  As the saying goes, I'll be on the river this weekend, come hell or high water (more likely the latter).  I've got a box full of heavy, bead-head nymphs and stonefly imitations that I've been tying the last few nights, so I'll be high-sticking them along the near banks of the high-flowing Poudre.

Hopefully I'll have some trout pictures to show for my efforts in the near future.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Gold Stoneflies

Making preparations for some nymphing here at Flywriter HQ.  I caught some beauties on this type of fly last summer here on the good ol' Poudre.  I picked one up from Hatch and the guys down at St. Pete's and brought it home to try and replicate with the materials I have on hand.  As usual, mine's uglier than the pro's version, but I think I can make this one work.  It's actually a pretty easy pattern to tie, as much as I hate working with goose biots.  With a little fine tuning, I think I can mass produce a bunch of these.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Pheasant Tails

I've always loved hitting the Poudre with Pheasant Tail nymphs.  I seem to have great success with them, which is probably why I've never taken the time to try and learn how to tie them.

In keeping with my pledge for the season to fish only the flies that I tie myself, I bit the bullet and stopped by St. Pete's for some supplies and some advice.  The gracious folks there were generous with both, and wished me luck as I headed home after work.

I'm happy to report that I think it's a fly I can master with some practice.  I can see from the photo that I probably went overboard on the thorax with the peacock fibers, and there's probably too many fibers for the tail, but I'm reasonably happy with it.  I used some red wire rather than copper - I like the way it looks - but otherwise it's a standard pattern.

Despite the waters running so heavy right now, I don't see myself being able to stay landlocked for too long.  If I can drag one of these down deep and get the drift right, hopefully I can avoid the runoff doldrums.

UPDATE, 5/20/10:

OK, hopefully we're getting closer on these.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Haven't had much chance to get out on the water lately.  The weather here has been super weird, even by Colorado standards.  I'm hoping that no more snow comes our way, but in mid-May it's hard to tell around here.

I tied a bunch of renegades tonight.  Have you ever had one of those experiences where you work on perfecting the smallest details on something only to lose sight of the bigger, more important picture?  That happened on this "confused" renegade.  I think it looks pretty good - as nicely trimmed as I could make it with my dull scissors.  Sadly, I got my hackle colors mixed up.  The white should be on the front.  And just as I was about to be so proud of myself!

The second fly is a stimulator pattern.  Both the renegades and stimulators have been good to us in the past up at Hohnholz Lakes, and my grandfather is dying to go up there, so these should come in handy during the next month, with the Poudre running a bit too full for my tastes/skills (or lack thereof).

Friday, May 7, 2010

Uncivilized House Guests (or, the Flywriter gets hit by terrorists)

Some may have wondered if I was being a little paranoid in demanding background investigations for cairn terriers prior to allowing them anywhere near the vegetable garden. 

Tonight, I had a couple of them visit the house, causing me to fall victim to a low-level domestic terrorist attack.  They came to the house under the guise of needing "dog-sitting" while their owners (ahem) ventured out on a "getaway" to an unspecified mountain resort community.  I say unspecified to protect the innocent.

A mere two hours after infiltrating my quiet abode in an operation utilizing unprecedented espionage tradecraft, the terrorists struck.  Their intended victims?  Two large bunches of entirely innocent dry fly hackle; one white, one bi-racial.  The aftermath was sheer carnage:


I'm happy to report that with prompt medical attention, both bunches of hackle are expected to survive, although they have been permanently disfigured.

The Flywriter is offering a reward for the successful prosecution of the suspected saboteurs, identified only be the nommes-de-guerre of "Brooke" and "Kyra."


Additional investigation indicates that the suspects caused more carnage than originally thought, likely the result of a separate, coordinated attack on the garden. Exhibits A and B for the record document surreptitious entry into carrot and corn holdings.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Falling stock, taking stock, and stocking up...

I've had an excess of free time today - normally the perfect excuse to throw the waders on and do some trout stalking.  On days like this, however, I decided to take some time to simply breathe.  Samantha (the cat) has been acting up lately and doesn't seem to be feeling all that well, and with Arnie still somewhat on the mend from an unpleasant procedure on his backside, I decided to stay close.

I watched - using the term loosely - some news coverage earlier and saw something I'd never seen before - a complete Wall Street panic, with the Dow dropping so rapidly that commentators speculated about a potential temporary stop in trading.  It was dramatic - irrelevant to me, but I imagine pretty harrowing for the tycoons in the financial world.  At one point the index was down by over 1000 points, and finished at -347 or so.  It's mostly Greek to me, and as it turns out was mostly Greek to everyone.  The Greeks are rioting in the streets at the idea of having to tighten their spending belts a bit in order to qualify for a loan from the EU and avoid bankruptcy, and the working folks didn't like the government's legislative response.  It was fascinating to watch the ticker drop by the second.

Mostly though, I took stock of my rapidly declining fly boxes and decided to do some tying.  I've made a commitment this season to fish only what I tie myself.  That's almost as scary as watching the Dow drop 1000 points.

I'm not terribly worried about catching trout - at this point I can tie a few patterns that are prevalent on the Poudre and the Thompson with enough proficiency to catch fish.  I'm more worried about being able to tie bugs for the other waters that I plan to visit this summer.

I worked on a bunch today.  I re-stocked some BWOs and tied some more cream-colored pale duns.  That will take care of the local waters, but my hope is to branch out and fish some streams in North Park (South Platte, Illinois, Michigan rivers), and return to the White River near Meeker.  I'll have to get into tying Tricos and some different nymphs.  Fortunately, YouTube has some great tutorials.

I'm happier with today's results - I think I'm getting the hang of some basic patterns, but the proof will be on the water.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

(Very) Pale Dun

Before the water level in the Poudre rose so drastically, I was having a lot of success with some cream-colored pale duns that I picked up at JAX Outdoor in north Ft. Collins.  My compliments to whomever tied the flies.  I can't make a perfect replica, but the attached photo gives you the basic idea.  I found that it drew strikes from trout nearly as often as the BWOs, being the same basic pattern, but was even easier to follow on the surface.  I tied a bunch tonight and look forward to floating them later on in the season. 

I don't know about anyone else, but I've been struggling on the Poudre lately.  Tuesday was particularly tough.  It seems that every time I go out, the wind decides to blow, and when the wind blows, I suck.  I managed to hook up a couple of times running some bigger nymphs along the bottom, but lost both.  I also had more than my fair share of snags on rocks and sticks, even in the faster water.  Guess my high-sticking needs a little work.  

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Fishing Fun with Dogs

ome might call me sick and twisted.  They might be right.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the world's first (at least to my knowledge) Arnie Hair Caddis Fly.  Tied with olive thread, brown hackle, and genuine, bona-fide Cairn Terrier hair.

Poor Arnie had a rough day.  He's a little woozy after having an abscess lanced and drained of fluid and being placed on antibiotics that have left him less than his normal, chipper self.  Still, his coat is in great shape right now, every bit as coarse (and virtually the same color) as the batch of deer hair I normally tie with.

I'm still perfecting it, of course.  In my haste to get the prototype out, I wrapped some hackle around the hook.  But you get the general idea.

Fishing report to come...

Thanks for the donation, Arnster!