Nov 27, 2010

Fishing With Andy and Happy Birthday Bigerrfish Blog

Today is the birthday of my blog. It seams like its been longer than that, I want to thank all of the readers of my blog. THANK YOU! I also, want you all to know, that when you to visit the blog, be prepared to come along on a journey of a day of fishing. I strive to write in such a way that a fly fisher on any level can in some way, relate to. I have met a few good friends and learned one thing or another from every blog that I follow. When I first started up, I figured I could speak my mind and show off some fish. That very quickly turned to, Learning all that I can from reading fishing related posts. Because most involve recent experiences that are fresh in the writers mind, there is even more to be learned. That being said, My writing is a result of what I have learned and what I am learning... Let's get to the Fishing! A few of you might know of a site called It's Colorado based, owned and operated by a guy that has nothing to do with the "industry". His site is souly based on fun and fly fishing, with a little kayak talk to go along. Anyone can sign up for free and then post pictures and comment on photos. The site is user friendly and a great place to come and see what other people have accomplished with there fly rods. You should stop in, just to see what goes on in Utah. (localwaters). There is also a little points race that gets kinda fun. Andy and I met on his site and talked fishing for almost two years. Black Friday, he made a trip to my place and we headed for the tail water. 15 degrees at best the sun was our only hope and it shined bright all day. When we arrived at the stream, things looked pretty quiet, silent in fact. The silence was sharply broken my the scream of a Bald Eagle, flying up and down the river. The eagle was there for all the same reasons as us and had the smarter bigger fish on edge. Looking for holding areas with cover, we slowly work the water, moving upstream. Reluctant to release my flies from there holding position on the guides, Andy makes a few casts to a shallow run that shelved off to about 4 feet deep. Nothing at first but pulled a fish toward the bottom of the run. With no cooperation from the sun, fish are difficult to spot early morning. Moving upstream is a good call and I began to walk slow as Andy finishes off the run he's in. As I stand and observe the river, I decide to throw a cast straight out in front of me. Thinking there could be something tucked under the far bank. My first cast sucked but I fished it anyway. I realized that my rig was a bit too heavy for this spot and need to adjust something or walk on up. With cold hands the adjustment I made was to let my flies snag on the bottom then just pop them loose and let it happen again. I finally got one to go along the far bank and stacked a little line. The flies stuck to the bottom three times but that third time wasn't the bottom.

what a way to start the day huh? Andy got a great release shot of this trout on its way home. Working up the river, the fish became more plenty, to say the least, we were both quite busy for a while.

As the day grew long, we made the call to leave the place and head down river, to a private section that some really nice people own. I knew there was a shot for Andy to get decent brown. A goal for the both of us.

The water a bit colder and the air warmer, the fish are probably going to be deep. Trading off and working up, I managed to hook a fish that was big enough that I couldn't keep it off the far bank as it drove me in there like a truck and unbuttoned the fly. Lot's of snaggers in here were making it hard to stay stealthy but on our last hole as the sun was setting... Andy was rewarded by this healthy, wild, class A brown trout. It was just great to spend the day, in the happiest place on earth, with someone who just wanted to do what we do.

Nov 18, 2010

Snowed In

Awaking to the sound of bugs flying around in my head. I look towards the morning sky, in hopes of stars.

A bright overcast lights the sky and the flurries begin. Temperatures are reading high 20's as the morning breeze begins to whistle. Dawn arrives, the Snow flakes grow, the wind, tamed by the snow, comes to a halt, and a beautiful blanket begins to form on the earths floor.

Today is a work day!... Unless it snows a bunch, then my brother in-law and I are both looking for something to do.

I get the call about 7 or 8 a.m. that my brother in-law has a snow day and won't be reporting for work today. I send him over for a cup of coffee and began a plan in my head, a plan of how to drag him out in the snow to fish.

As we stand and marvel at the size of the flakes, we begin to wonder how we could kill some time. I watch his eyes wonder toward the PlayStation. I quickly intercepted his mind and said, "wanna go catch a trout?" His eyebrows went up and he asks, "In this?" I said "nope, in these" and hold up my loaner pair of waders.

Rigging up like we were going to fish in the yard, we loaded up and headed for some easy access hot winter fishing.

We arrive at the river to find the snow coming down at double the pace and each flake twice the size. The temperature is do-able but the water is cold. One fly rod is enough for two guys to have a good time in here and That's is how we did it. Craig is up first and we need to get that skunk gone real quick. Fishing two flies, one that will work for sure and the other, just an experiment to see if they will take a generic bug tied well with red Ice dub.

It only took about three drifts to get rid of the skunk, and Craig was super happy to fish the 4wt Scott rod and land a fish in the snow.

It starts to come down harder and harder, so hard in facts that, I have to switch his indicator from white to orange because we cant see much past 10 feet away.The weather is perfect, the smiles are big, and the boys are happy.

We walk up a little bit and Craig gets a hold of two more trout.
Then, his cell phone rings... You know how weird that sounds at 8:30 in the morning, in the snow, in the middle of the river? I'm fine with it and figure it will only be a minute, as he tucks the rod under his arm. I instinctively snatch the rod at rest.

I remove the indicator and peel out some line. Carefully deliver it 10 feet ahead of the sweet spot. Make three snappy, mends, raise my arm and wait for the J. The J is the slightest curve in the butt section of my fly line.
The J forms, and the music starts. Craig's conversation got a little interrupted during this escapade. This fish was pretty large for the 7x tippet and honestly larger than I thought we would find in a place so local.

I begged and pleaded to the fish to be on my experimental pattern but it was not, hooked just barely in the bottom lip. The fish did not give up easily and actually I missed it with the net the first time, it took off and I had to do it all over again. Got some photo's and on we went.

Check out the dorsal fin on this trout!
A perfect mark, for a challenge to catch it again.

Moving up to a place with much different current and a depth, I adjust for it and begin to look for fish as my partner makes drifts. The river bottom is made up of half clay and half river rock. That means food for fish in the river rock , we might as well leave the flies off of that slick shell like stuff, because the fish don't like to hang out around it. If a fish swims over a piece of this clay, it sticks out like a smashed thumb.

I then spot a flash come across a vein in the clay and call out to Craig that there's a decent brown down here and it a eater. After the first attempt at this fish Its obvious that the fly isn't getting down in time, a one foot adjustment to the indicator and another chunk of shot is all that is needed to hook the fish after just two tries.

The snow didn't stop but once all day and neither did the fish.

That is how to fish on a work day.

Nov 16, 2010

Just A Worm, 101 and Info

This is post # 101 for me and not a one of them talks of anything but fishing.

I'll leave you with a worm that came out of my vise. I most likely won't fish this fly
but could give a 100% guarantee that you might catch a fish with it.

This worm will out perform a traditional night crawler, or salmon egg's

Hook- Its a worm so just about any hook will be fine. One with some curve is better.
The Rest- Ultra Chenille and three glass beads, a dab of ice dub to cover the joint.

Easy one!
Grab up your glass beads in sizes to fit 18 and larger hooks from your Wal-mart craft section, were talking like 2 bucks for a lifetime supply.
Why your there, grab up a pack of foam sheets, be careful not to get sticky back ones. Before you leave look over the bead storage boxes and find a cool container to keep your hooks in, most of the bead boxes are designed, not to spill.

Nov 15, 2010

Bump and Grind

The last two days I was on the water, bumpin and grindin to freaky fish in skinny water with freaky company.
It's true, for the first time ever, I lowered my standards to temporary letting myself get pulled into the egocentric little world of fly fishing. For the first time I fished with rules, none of my own. Letting my head travel to a land where it has never fallen before. If felt as if I was playing a game of pool for a 1 dollar bet.

Two guys splashing about, One with head and one with heart. A whole bunch of fish to fall victim to a game. A sad soul at the end of a day.
Repeat that process for one more day, and Its sure to make you think.

I realize this post is hard to understand. Just and example of what comes from fishing in the wrong frame of mind.

I learned a lesson from this. I'm yet to know what that lesson was, A lesson none the less.

Nov 13, 2010

Twas the Night

Christmas Eve 2009.
What is the best day of the year to fish some of the most heavily fished water in Colorado? The water with some of the biggest trout in the country. The fish are smarter than people and the people are always plenty.

Something screams holiday to me. Let's think this out thoroughly, and get a good plan. If we head up Christmas morning, we should be good. Right? No wife is going to let the man skip out on Christmas dinner and go fishing. Next, we better take into consideration the area. Located high in the mountains of Colorado, the town known as Gunny is made up of a large number of retired folks, who moved there just to fish that water, with not many other reasons. Their wives may understand. The rest of the fishing population is made up of kids attending the local college. I wonder if they leave for home, or stay and fish on Christmas? They probably stay and fish.

What about Christmas Eve? Hmmm... Last minute shoppers, in a panic to get their items together before the big day. Possibly, husbands who knows they may be gifted a rod or reel on Christmas Day, need to get to the Prada store to even up the score. That might get you in the clear for missing dinner.

The choice is made! Christmas Eve. We’re heading to the coldest place in the state and we’re leaving at 5 a.m. The snow's a commin, so dress warm. Leave the camera behind, because they still don't make one that is freeze proof. You better bring two sets of waders and boots too, case you fall in. Bring two rods because ice cycles break real easy.
1 hour and 30 minutes in four wheel drive, in the snow, to reach the parking lot at 645 a.m. To find the company of one other die hard, go getting angler, already stomping down the trail.

Rigging up in the dark while it’s 7 degrees. Are we crazy? It was way too cold to get out of the truck in street clothes, so we wadered up in the truck. If it had of been a van, well then that van be a rockin. We tied our flies right on to the leader while still on the reel. The rods waited in the back. We then, hopped out all dressed and beanies on, screwed the reel on, fed the flies through the eyes, and hit the trail.

Our heads both foolishly turn towards the sky, as if the sun was going to show its self for a minute. It would be nice to get a blast of sun to warm the neck and maybe spot a fish. With the snowy backdrop and the overcast lighting, visibility is next to nothing. The whole point of fishing here, (especially when it’s cold like this) is to spot a 35 inch fish and see if you can at least get a cast to drift by before it slaps its self in the face with its tail and coasts all the way to the dam. Maybe even get it to breath you fly in to its mouth and stick. However, we are forced to throw a fly blindly and mend in hope.

As we walk, the water in my eyes is trying to freeze and I want more coffee. I just want to hurry and get a fish on, so the adrenaline can warm my system. It's hard for me when it’s that cold, because a heart valve that requires me to thin my blood. So basically my blood gets cold fast which drops the body temperature.

Vowing to take turns casting at first, it is my turn to wait. My friend hooks a really nice brown with a hole in its head on one side. "Turn that thing around and let’s get a picture. Oh yea, no camera.
I'm up to fish and I'm freezing. I'm fishing with 6x fluorocarbon and not feeling too confident in it. After a couple 2-3 drifts, I watch my leader and tippet get three times thicker than normal while still underwater. Gee, ya think there are some signs that we could die out here? I Don't know why, but the water wouldn't make the ice go away, so now and then we need to slide our hand down the leader, breaking off all the little ice chunks. That's good on lines.
So, I land a smaller fish during my turn and then we agree that it’s too freakin cold to stand here and watch each other catch tiny ones, so we both began to fish. This is where things got hot, obviously not the weather. Both of us receiving a fair number of takes. We were doing good and getting just the right amount of action to keep ya going. There for a bit the fish were really flowing to the net.

Still unable to sight for fish, we continue to fish blind for a monster Rainbow Trout. We move on to a new spot and after a dozen drifts to figure out the current, we were able to land a few more decent fish. The anticipation builds for a jaw dropping take. A take by a fish that will break you off. With these steroid induced, hybrid, Super Trout. It's a question of how long you can keep it on, with cold 6x. It’s not a question of landing it or not.

My fishing buddy gets the first one of these giant takes and I'm pretty sure he forgot about the cold for a moment. His fish takes off upstream, just like they all do in there. He was able to turn it around and get it to swim back down stream. With Rocks everywhere, he begins to panic, as the fish goes around one rock and through two more, around one of those, bob weave, bob weave... A big ol sigh, as the line gives way. What a disappointment! Yet rewarding, fulfilling, and satisfying, and just flat out intense!
I saw that fish and can vouch that it wasn't quite 30 but all of 28 inches.
This is when I crossed the river to get one of those freakin bugs from him. He tells me, "We only have four more of these, so tie a good knot”. Then he hands me one. Good knot tied, I worked my way up to the next little spot. A deep hole with mad current that has the power to throw the flies and the split shot back up and over the leader. When I finally get the right series of a half dozen mends, I get the flies to sink deep and watch as the drift seems never ending. Slowly stripping line towards me… I can feel the ice scratching through the guides. I was quickly reminded of tying a string between two tin cans as a kid, and talking to my sister down the hallway. Wondering if the fish could hear that sound in my tippet, the scratching made a sound that sounded like "here fishy fishy"... The end of my fly line makes a cute little J and I crisply set the hook in a downstream manor. Ice breaks free from the rod and the line, as things become tight. Sprinkles of broken ice crystals shower the water in slow motion. It's time to clock in and do work!

I have a mule on my line here that I cannot stop. My rod held as high as I can, it curls over to the breaking point. My eyes go back and forth from the fish to my reel, a little bit in shock as the wraps are disappearing before my eyes. My drag is set as tight as I can get her and my rod is at its max. I'm at a fast walk up stream, in two feet of snow, trying to gain ground, snow, water and line. I reach the boundary cable where no man or woman-ess shall pass. I stand there and wait for the fish to turn around, or break my line. As my backing knot ticks through my eyelets, I must consider giving this fight to the fish. I come to a decision on how much longer I'm going to let this go on. I let the fish strip about another 12 feet of line, then saw the 80 dollar price tag on a new roll of my favorite Rio Gold. This is where I point my rod at the fish, as if it were a gun and say "You! Yea, you". I then squeezed down with the trigger finger against the cork and shot the fish with broken line.
I'm cold now and I want to go! We came, we saw, we went. Fishing on the Taylor River on Christmas Eve.
I'll go not catch big fish like that again anytime.

“This Blog entry is my submission to the Sportsman Channel and Outdoor Blogger Network writing contest.”

Nov 10, 2010

The Situation

No! Not the meathead from the reality show, Jersey Shore. I don't watch the crap but seen a meathead call himself "The situation".. what a fairy.

Here is my situation.

Skinny skinny water, spooky fish, and birds of prey.

The flows are down as low as they ever get. Spring run off- 2500 cfs. Summer fishing- 400 to 800 cfs. Right now 45 cfs.

Bald eagle's will fly up the river and grab a fish with just about every pass. Bald eagles are very abundant around here this time of year, for the Kokanee salmon waters are rich with spawners. Low flows make the trout easy targets until the salmon start to die off.

The blue herons patrol the eddies and pick off next years fun fish. Just like a trout keys in to a hatch these birds key into the feeding patterns of fish and are eating them up.

I was standing there, watching a fish work a run, letting him eat three naturals, then offering my pair once. While waiting my turn, I suddenly see this fish bolt up stream. It acted like the little midge it ate had a hook in it.. I look up and there it is... A probably, 10 year old bald eagle all beat up from the years of duking it out with it rivals.

He was just making his run, at the same time gave my fish a case of the runs too! I actually followed that running fish up to its next holding area. I seen, as it took off it bettered 20 and was worth hunting for the rest of the day. Parked neatly up against the far bank, and as deep as it could go. I watched and waited for it resume its feeding. I then began to fish to it 50 yards up river from where it was. On my third attempt I hooked it, but not very well. Im almost certain that the loss of confidence in the set, stayed in my head and probably the cause of the fish freeing it's self. I had him on for a good bit and had my crap pretty well together, a good bend in the rod and the perfect angle on the fish in relation to the river. Suddenly I see the fish pull a trick that I have seen quite a few time's usually they'll pull this crap in the catch and release tail water fisheries... He stops the fight, lays motionless, with hook in lip, the fish awaits my mistake. I think whatcha doin fish? I try to turn it, only to be denied by three very hard head shakes, and a leader around my face. The mistake being I should have done nothing right along with it. 20/20? The fish well practiced at this wait for you to move your rod straight upstream and then to this, right at the surface.

Funny part is, once he shook the hook, it didn't take off. Kind of just sat there. It just got through running from an eagle and I guess decided to stay put. I watched for a minute as it resumes its feeding pattern. I gave three more cast to it. Something didn't feel right about this one, and the one on one conversation between a fish and I so came to an end right there, figured I would walk on, and maybe give it a shot on the way back. Try to at least see it, if nothing else. I'm sure the thing was all stressed out and need double the time to clear his head.

In a super stealthy way I sneak up the river. Fishing to water that I think holds a fish rather than risking the fish seeing me first, and possibly taking me for a bird. This environment makes for long casts and crazy mends in tiny water but, worth the effort, especially if you see a 20 inch fish hightailing it up river and your the reason it split. Hanis on your fly line though. Rubbing on the ground at the waters edge often causing extra motions to get it of a dry rock, mid drift.

As a slowly approach the next little run, I begin to fish directly upstream, cutting the water completely apart like a pie. Leaving my fly line and most of the leader out of view of any holding fish. I first, pick the bottom of the run apart, make two steps upstream and make another cast. A big brown slammed my bead head like a dry, on the fall, right after it hit the water. It took off upstream in a crazy way, a tiny turn of the drag knob as I watch it head for the snagger branches to my right. I had to slow it down more somehow, so I made the decision to bend the rod a bit more and put some breaks on with my trigger finger. That brown made it to the snagger, wrapped me up and popped my line. Hey this is a way to keep the tippet fresh! At this point I have hooked four fish brought two tiny ones to hand and lost both the big ones.

Still on a mission, I walk on up on a hole that is the reason for this post called The Situation...

I stand there looking at a big deep hole and needed to spend the better part of 5 minutes figuring out just how to fish it. The rivers next corner is going to dictate witch side of the river I must stand. Its the only way I'll be able to land anything big and It's still going to be a ride if it goes downstream. That puts me on the wrong side. On top of an unsafe pile of fallen trees. Once I get my feet in place on this mess. I must use all nine feet of my rod to reach over the branches. Hooking a little fish I was able to lift it all the way up to me and flick it back in. Second a 12 inch brown grabs my bug and leaps over a branch and breaks my line. I shouldn't even be doing this. Then I feel the big tug! and Its time to clock in and go to work! The fish runs toward me and under the mess. I use my rod as a push tool to get the thing the heck away from me. I feel like a dog catcher. As soon It comes out of there I make a flying leap off the pile of pick-up sticks, directly down stream from the fish that is still hanging deep and not willing to submit inside of my time frame. I grabbed a cup of coffee and opened a book for a minute while it wore its own butt out.

Finally, the fish comes to hand, and to my surprise it's a cutbow. I never, and I mean never see cutbows in this spot in the river. I have to guess that it came through two diversion gates and swam up 15 miles from town, or 2- it made the 15 mile journey down from the dam, or last, a Cutthroat and a rainbow did the nasty right here on the farm. Note that It's been 7 years and 67 days since I seen a pure cuttroat in here and back then I was fishing a streamer and landed a 6.5 lb one, yea back then we didn't do inces and called it "tawsed em back" All of that doesn't matter too much I guess, but boy, was I in a situation, one I wasn't sure I could win.. Rewarded with a cutbow that had a ton of heart!

Hot flies: S&M's, Rs2's, Pork Chops and Hot dogs.

Nov 7, 2010

The Coast Is Clear

Lets eat!
I fished the Gunnison, at the forks yesterday. A choice made purely by challenge. Not going for numbers, but to spot the spawning browns, which usually becomes cheep entertainment. Those things are just acting flat dumb right now. Pretending that there getting spooked and fearing for their lives.

This part of the river is absolutely infested with brown trout, I'm talking 50 browns to 1 rainbow if you ask a guide that spends some time on that stretch you'll hear the Rainbow fishing is getting so much better, and a ratio that states 5 to 1. This is just to get some change in the pot for the next years stock truck.
As I walk the river staring down at the dumb browns. Ultimately I'm searching for feeding rainbows but occasionally find a young screechy voice brown feeding near a rock, I'll pick this fish off if I can.

I chose this location this time of year, as an experiment. The browns will hardly eat, If one is seen of any size it's so busted up, its bear bait. They might just die my the hands of an eagle, or perhaps a member of the raccoon gang that apparently has been patrolling the banks all night every night.

I come to witness the rainbows that are there to steel the show. They know whats going on, they know that there counterparts don't have their heads in the game. They know that their tail fin is safe. If they want to move up and take the hot spot in front of a rock, the coast is clear and the belly will fill.

I actually think that November makes the Rainbow trout relax a bit. Let me explain. Like I said the browns aren't running them off. And the belly begins to fill effortlessly. A day or two of this and the rainbow is thinking, "Right on, I got the place to my self, I got all this energy and the coast is still clear, I think I'll move up to the faster riffles and eat out of 8 inches of water and really grow this year".

Then when you hook one of the things they just don't get it, "I thought the coast was clear, and now there is a sticky sharp thing in my mouth. They spaz out and a 16 incher can really make you work in river that big.
That was my mission for the day. To laugh and make fun of the strung out browns and to hunt down the rainbows that think, The Coast Is Clear. I landed 5 fish all day and lost none. No lunkers.
Hot flies: They didn't want the usual so I gave them a glass bead pt with gm wings. When the coast was clear they ate it.

Side note on Fishing for spawning browns:
Some would say leave browns alone during spawn time... How?.. Stay home?
Well here is my serious take on that. Knowing that I live in a place where the browns are, like I said, infested.
Pre-spawn, Its really cool to watch them move with such a mission. It really is OK to fish for them in the month of September, there just moving around and trying to eat for winter as well a Pre-pair for spawn, the next month, November, the full grown adults are going all out at it and are probably so far upstream, or took a turn up a ditch. With that, you don't have a chance at messing up their business. Now if your fishing a Redd to a Brown that is lying motionless, then this is what your learning how to do and this is useless information. Do yourself a favor and Walk away. Try catch a fish that is eating.
December rolls around and An angler is beating the cold, a fish of any kind is a reward when your hand are freezing.

So, is it OK to fish for browns during the spawning months?
If any fish is feeding and you can get it to take your fly, then by all means do it!
Dragging a bait through water in hopes of something biting it... well now that's what separates us from you. The famous brown trout is one hardy fish and I'm pretty sure that a little fly fishin isn't going to destroy a hot spot. Is the Coast clear?
I fish for Rainbows, Cutt's Browns, Brookies, and Bass. Fish seriously for them all year, If I were to get all stuck on spawning subjects I would be walking in circles trying to figure out which species was in season. So I opt for fishing to feeding fish, which is and will always be fair.

Nov 2, 2010

It's a Date

How about this? I get a text message on Tuesday afternoon from my beautiful wife, that read, "how bout u an me, lunch on the river Friday" . I texted back.. "It's a date". The rest of the week dragged on and on on. Friday just wouldn't come fast enough.

Friday morning, the flows were going to change our plans, they were dropping as fast as we could refreshed the web page. So we decided to fish a little closer to home where the fish are less effected by the drop and realistically, we would be able to relax and fish more, before we have to bail out.
Waiting for the light of day I hustled to get a fresh leader on the 5wt good batteries in the camera and a good days worth the bugs ready for this stretch of water. What kind of a date would it be with out those things? The sun appears only to show the common drop in temperature, causing us to wait an hour for the freeze to leave.

Arriving at the water, to find it running higher than they said and relatively difficult to cross. Hand in hand, we made the journey up river to a safer place, passing up one crap load of fish along the way. After making it to the far side, Summer hooks up with her first trout, behind the first rock, actually she hooked and landed three behind that rock. The water was just a tad off color and it made the fish go nut's. She hung so many trout with out moving her feet, She wanted to stay on that rock all day. It was obvious that she had caught all she could reach, pretty much tore this spot up at by now. I had to drag her 25 feet up stream, where the same things happened all over again.

All decent little trout and good practice for something real nice.
I then get her in to quite the situation, A spot that holds a fair number of trout but with no back cast and no where to submit the fish once hooked, they all have to get walked back down that 25 feet to calmer water. We walked a few of them down when the largest rainbow known to me in this familiar stretch, gets bumped in the face by a stone with a hook in it and takes off like a bat out of you know where. I freak out and take off after it leaving my wife standing on the waters edge, puzzled with a singing drag, "comon we gotta chase it".... pop!! "no we don't" as the leader hits her in the face! We just look at each other in disappointment, which quickly turns in to a satisfying smile and that's what this stuffs all about!

We walked on, picking up a few more trout along the way, ate our lunch and then found a calm flat trail to the truck. No that was a date!