Instead, I spent the day finishing up a birthday present for my sister - which required a little time at the workbench - and then got about the more serious business of filling up the fly boxes. I've done quite a bit of tying in the past several months for other people, but my own stock has suffered. Between Christmas and birthday presents for others and a few mini-boxes tied for some folks interested in getting started, I've ignored my own supply, which at current levels will be gone in a flash by mid-summer.
I managed to get about three dozen bugs whipped up over the course of a few hours. That's a pretty good clip for me at this point in my "tying career," particularly since I chose a couple of patterns that are labor intensive for someone at my skill level.
My first focus was the RS2. Since learning about it and beginning to fish it in earnest last year, I've become a big believer in its versatility and productivity. From what I've read, it's particularly effective on Colorado tailwaters. I haven't had a chance to do any field research on that yet, but I've had some good results on the Poudre - a freestone river - when fish are kissing the surface but not quite rolling dramatically over dries. The tough part has been mastering the tie, particularly the split tail. I also figured out that the dubbing I was using (i.e. ice dub or hare's ear) was turning out flies that were excessively furry. Switching to some really fine dub, applied in very small quantities, made a world of difference. This one turned out particularly well, at least by my standards:
With a few notable exceptions of huge rainbows taken on dry flies, most of the large (16 - 23 inch) trout I've taken on the Poudre in the last two seasons have come on variations of two classic nymphs: The Prince Nymph and the Pheasant Tail. Both have been highly effective during late June and all of July during the high water post run-off time frame. I've found that the PT really draws the attention of the trout on the Poudre when it's adorned with some bells and whistles - beads, flashback, and red or green ribbing:
Finally, the weather over the past week has made it clear that we're nowhere near the end of winter here in Northern Colorado. Even the lower Poudre in town became pretty well iced over this past week, thanks to a string of sub-zero days. Just before this latest deep freeze, I was able to entice a few nice little fish with some small midges. It was new ground for me, having done very little fishing with small midges. Since two of my three fish of 2011 so far have come on Poison Tung patterns (blue, specifically), I finished up the day's work with a dozen - six blue and six black. I think they're getting better.
So, with apologies to the Steelers, Packers, and football fans everywhere, I can't tell you what the score is here at halftime. I can tell you, however, that the halftime show (which I admit to watching out of sheer curiosity), was completely incomprehensible and confusing.
I'll catch you on the open water!