Member Fly Fishing Blog

Colorado Trip Report

Several Club members drove out or met up to fish together in Colorado. The group included Ed Chamberlain, Rob Kissel, Eric Davies, Mark Stevens and JD Forrester.

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We all gathered promptly at my house at 6 am, well make that 6:15 am, well make that 6:30 am, excited and ready for a great trip. As Eric said, “I’m so excited, I can’t sleep!” We pushed hard that first day and wound up in Lawrence, Kansas for the first night. Late the next day, we arrived at the Fort Collins KOA, a quite different place. Guards at the gate, razor wire on the fence, rules (“no you can’t park on the grass” and “no we can’t turn off the sprinkler system and sorry about your ruined items”). But we were greeted by Mark Stevens who flew in to meet us. It was great to see him.

The next day we gathered at St. Peter’s Fly Shop, a unique and great place. St. Peter’s is housed in a beautiful, older house that used to be the mayor of Ft. Collins residence. This shop is highly recommended and we all enjoyed shopping there. Last year during the flooding they really helped me and Uncle Miltie out by giving us a refuge.

After visiting the shop, we headed to our first stop, the Cache La Poudre River. The Poudre is a high gradient stream that starts at 10,000 feet and drops to 5,000 feet over the course of 50 miles.

The river is in a canyon and is spectacularly beautiful. It is also spectacularly steep and can be hard to wade, much less drive. In fact Ed and I witnessed a large Pepsi truck, off the road in a place where it shouldn’t have been. You have to be aware when you drive the road, there are places where there are no guard rails and one slip up could land you in the river.
The water seemed high and wading was tough. When we finally figured out the water, we discovered that the fish were not out in the middle of the river, but located right on the bank. A dry dropper worked pretty good thrown right next to the bank. The first day I had around a dozen, a pretty decent day.

The second day on the Poudre was much tougher for Ed and I. I think we got 6 to 8 fish each but it was hard work. When we hooked up with Rob, Eric and Mark, imagine our surprise when they all had a great day with many fish caught. Mark even missed a big boy on a dry.
Although the Poudre was beautiful, it was pretty tough to fish and many though it was due to the flood that hit the canyon last year.

Anyway, we still enjoyed the Poudre and I can’t leave this part of the trip without pointing out a very good steakhouse in Ft. Collins, Sonny’s Steakhouse. Sonny Lubick was the high successful Football Coach at Colorado State for many years and he has opened an excellent, if a bit expensive, Steakhouse in downtown Ft. Collins.

On the Wild Blue

Eric, Rob, Mark, Ed, and I headed to the Blue River. The Blue comes out of Lake Dillon in Summit County, Colorado. A little background info is needed here. Summit County is the highest elevation County in Colorado and is full of ski resorts such as Breckenridge, Keystone, Copper Mountain, and Arapahoe Basin. The campground we stayed at, Heaton Bay, was around 9,000 ft. Last time I was there with Uncle Miltie I froze to death in my summer weight bag while Milton was comfortable in his 0 degree bag. It is a beautiful, high altitude area.

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Ed Chamberlain off to conquer the Blue

One reason I came back to the Blue was when Uncle Miltie and I fished it in the Fall, it was one of the most beautiful rivers and area I have ever seen. The Blue is surrounded by the Gore Mountain Range and the slopes surrounding the river were covered with golden aspen trees. The vivid color was spectacular.

Ed and I searched for available water on the first day and settled for a stretch just outside Silverthorne. It was a nice looking section of water and Ed headed downstream as I headed upstream. The action was pretty slow for me until I got 200 yards upstream then bam! I was catching fish, big fish. Now these fish were only 18/19 inches long but that wasn’t the whole story.

These fish were so big, they needed to be measured in pounds, not inches. They were so big around I couldn’t even begin to hold one. One active fish jumped 5 times to my eye level, then finished it off with 2 more jumps. I was feeling pretty good about myself when I heard Ed call me on the walkie-talkie. “Uh, JD, I’m talking to a local and he says you are on private water”. WHAT? I never saw a sign, or a fence, or anything marking it as private water. But duh, no wonder the fish were so big. I hurried out of the water with my tail between my legs.

As best I remember it was a pretty tough day of fishing for us. But that was soon forgotten by looking at all the stars that come out at 9,000 ft.

The next day Ed and I headed out of town to a favored spot. The spot didn’t favor us too much and after fishing really hard I had managed only 3 fish. Ed suggested we head to town and get some info from Cutthroat Anglers, a great shop in the middle of Silverthrone. To our surprise they recommended fishing right behind the shop, which is in the middle of town, with people everywhere (in fact, I walked out of the river in the middle of a wedding). Ed hit a hole right next to a pedestrian bridge. I headed downstream and to my surprise began catching fish immediately and even missed a 17/18 inch big boy. Well that was nothing compared to Ed. He hooked into a big boy, and I mean big boy. The fight went on so long that people were cheering him from the bridge. Pretty soon after that guides were running out from the shop with a long handled net and Ed had a 23 inch cutthroat. You might see this epic fish on the Cutthroat Angler’s website, since they filmed the struggle.

(Ed says they did a good job of filming the fish, but never got a shot of him!).

Eric, Rob, and Mark headed to the Colorado outside of Kremmling and it sounded like the fishing was pretty tough, but Eric did get a nice 20 inch brown.

All in all, the Blue fished pretty tough. I know it holds fish, but can be a challenge. But it is well worth going there, if just for the scenery.

The Crystal was not Clear and Rob was Roaring on the Fork

After fishing the Blue we headed to the final destination on our trip-Carbondale with the surrounding rivers-the Crystal, the Roaring Fork, and especially the Frying Pan.

We camped at Crystal River KOA and I think we all enjoyed this campground the most of all, even over the 9,000 ft. elevation at Heaton Bay. First this campground was very laid-back, easy to be at. But most important was it was on the banks of the Crystal River, just under Mt. Sopris, a close to 13,000 ft mountain. A magical spot.

Ed and I set up the tent then hit the Crystal, which wasn’t too hard since it was 10 feet from our spot. The Crystal is a freestone stream that is beautiful trout river and easy to wade. After struggling with the Blue, I really enjoyed the Crystal. I finished with around 15, on dry dropper. Nothing too big (The Crystal is not known as a big trout river.

The biggest fish was around 15 inches. Ed has similar success. Although I don’t think the Crystal holds a lot of large fish, I would not hesitate to fish it-unless it rains.

On a different day we fished near Redstone, a quant mountain town upstream on the Crystal. It was a beautiful place and Ed and I decided to fish there. Eric and Rob decided to take a day off and head over to Crested Butte. Ed and I struggled on the Crystal that day, with around 3 or 4 fish each, so we decided to head downstream. We got out just as the muddy water hit the Crystal. We headed downstream and found clear water but not great fishing. I think we finished with around 7 or 8, but it was tough fishing.

We had decided to try the Roaring Fork, a local freestone stream. To give you an example of why is it called the Roaring Fork, this river drops more in its 70 mile decent than the Mississippi does over its complete decent. We were not very optimistic because it had rained hard the night before we hit the Roaring Fork, and flood warning were issued for the area. As we traveled to Aspen rain pelted us as well as several pro cycling teams preparing for the USA Pro Challenge. We wasted a morning sight-seeing and waiting for the rain to stop. To kill time we went to the Woody Creek Tavern.

I must digress here and talk about the Tavern. Woody Creek is a small town just outside of Aspen and the Tavern is right next to the Roaring Fork. The area was the one time home of Hunter S. Thompson (some of you may have to google him) and the Tavern saw entertainment by John Denver when he was off tour. On another trip, my mountain biking buddies saw several horses tied up outside, and several cowboys inside. Because of the rain, we decided to eat lunch there, which wasn’t a great idea, since our normal pattern was a large breakfast, snacks for lunch and a big supper. In other words we were full but decided to solider on anyway with a lunch. Two of our group got hot dogs, kind of akin to ordering meatloaf at a seafood restaurant. So Woody Creek Tavern was not the hit I thought it would be, but I highly recommend you visit there if you are in the area.

It was still rainy when we left the Tavern, but I said, I’m going fishing and headed to the Roaring Fork. We got lucky and the clouds parted and the sun came out. That didn’t help my fishing much, with only 4 fish. Ed did better than that, and Eric woke up from his nap and got one fish and quit. Rob was hot that day and found some holes and pulled a ton of fish out, including a nice 18 inch ? bow? Rob had a very good day on a technical river with a buckskin caddis.

We headed back to camp to get a good night’s sleep to face the AWESOME Frying Pan.
TO BE CONTIUED………

Dynamic Strike Indicator – Jake Darling

First of all, I want to give a big thanks to Tom Tkacs for giving us a very interesting program. It was information that challenged us and gave us much to mull over.

The info came from Jake Darling, a Unicoi Outfitters guide, and it involved a “new” way to nymph fish, the drop shot. I think this technique came from our “Bass Pro” spin fishermen. If I completely understood Jake, he takes straight 35 lb. mono and uses it as a leader. He ties a slim beauty knot  smaller mono down to the first nymph. He ties the first nymph in and then ties a smaller mono to the first nymph eye (important). He then ties the lower nymph into that mono. He then ties a pretty small mono to the eye of the lower nymph and puts a split shot on that.

Slim Beauty Knot is required to tie thick 35# test to smaller line

He uses a yarn Dave Whitlock strike indicator that has a small piece of old fly line nail knotted to either side of the indicator, and he slides that up or down to adjust to the depth.  The shot is tied to the end of the rig with no knot below it (so that if the shot gets hung, it will fall off without loosing the rest of the rig.)

WhitlockTelStrike3

The positives of this system are fewer flies lost since the shot is the lowest item on the rig (Jake said his clients only lost 4 flies last year). He also said you can get the flies lower in the water column and a better drift. Interesting.

There seems to me to be some short-comings to this rig. First if you are in an area where all you do is nymph, it would be perfect. Or if you were in a drift boat where two fly rods are easy to carry, you could have one for nymphing and one for dry fly action. But if you are a wade fisherman or can only carry one rod, you run into a problem. Say you are nymphing, and the dries start to go crazy, the only way to easily switch is to cut off the whole rig (35 lb. mono does not make a good dry fly leader), then put on a dry fly leader and re-rig. Also, there are a lot of knots in the Darling nymph rig and for those of you who are knot impaired (like Copperhead), it could be a challenge.

I have modified his rig and found that it seems to work pretty good. I went to Buford Dam, used a regular 8′ 4x leader and tied the nymphs and split shot just like Jake instructed and the thing worked pretty good.  I used 6 lb. fluoro to the lower nymph and 7x to the split shot. Pretty easy casting and no tangles. On thing I did change was to use an insta-set strike indicator. It allowed me to put the strike indicator where I wanted on my leader (and I tie my own leaders, which means knots) and not kink my leader. You can also set it to indicate your drift and when to mend and it can be set up for 90 degree nymphing. Insta-set indicator info is on-line. Now, if you want to change the rig out for dries, just cut the flies off, add some 5x tippet and there you are.

I enjoyed the modified drop shot method and will use it in the future. I would enjoy hearing your thoughts on this fishing technique.

JD

 

Fly Fishing Check List

FLY FISHING GEAR CHECKLIST

Instructions:  Please place an “X” or a “√” in the blank.  If not applicable, please write “NA” in the blank.

____ Fishing license/permit

____ Fly rod & storage case

____ Fly reel

____ Fly vest, chest pack, or lanyard

____ Leader(s)

____ Tippet(s)

____ Nippers

____ Forceps

____ Split shot

____ Floatant

____ Strike Indicators

____ Zingers

____ Knot Tying Tool

____ Proper assortment of flies

____ Fly boxes

____ Landing net (with magnetic retractor)

____ Waders

____ Wading belt

____ Wading staff

____ Wading boots

____ Boot guards

____ Bungee cords for the boot guards

____ Cap/hat (regular cap, thermal cap, cap with neck shades, etc., according to the weather)

____ Polarized sunglasses (including a glasses strap)

____ Buff

____ Gloves

____ Stringer

____ Measuring “tape”

____ Weight scale

____ Digital camera

____ Thermometer for measuring water temperature

____ Insect repellent (preferably deet-free repellent to minimize chemical degradation of fly line)

____ Sunscreen/sunblock, when necessary (SPF of at least 15, may want to go higher)

____ Proper fishing shirt and pants/shorts (depends on the season and/or weather)

____ Plastic sandwich bags (for protecting fishing license, electronic car keys, and cell phone)

____ Dry bags for clothing/gear

____ Complete change of clothes

____ Lunch

____ Bottled water, soda, juice, etc.

____ Beer

____ More Beer

Greg’s Winter Montana Trip

Please share these pics from my Montana Trip from late November 2013 captions transferred with the pictures I sent you.  So, permit me to give you a caption for each picture.  Feel free to edit the captions.

Picture #1:  The Big Horn River also borders some private land, including cattle ranches.  These are black angus feeding on moss in the river.  The river is wide and deep so the cattle cannot escape the confines ofGE DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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Picture #2:  The view toward the parking lot/ramp from my brother-in-laws drift boat.  It was a pretty day.

 

Picture #3:  My brother-in-law, Dave.  Good critic, even better fly fisherman.

 

Picture #4:  First rainbow of the day, caught using a double nymph rig.

 

Picture #5:  My brother-in-law netting that first rainbow!

 

Picture #6:  Another Big Horn rainbow on the same nymphs.

 

Picture #7:  These nymphs kept landing the rainbows.

 

Picture #8:  These nymphs work everywhere I go! Montana, Wyoming, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee!

 

Picture #9:  Brown trout liked the same nymphs the rainbow trout liked.

 

Picture #10:  Another brown trout caught on these nymphs.

 

Picture #11:  Dave with a nice brown he landed on a clouser minnow (finally something other than those nymphs).

 

Take care,

 

Gregg

Reminder about JD’s Hot and Cold club trip

I just spoke to JD who is at the Turkey Creek Campground in Almond, NC….. and they are catching fish!!!

The AFFC Hot and Cold water trip will be held June 17th through June 22nd. The first part of the trip will be the Cold Running Water which will focus on trout. Some rivers in the area are the Nanty, ‘Tuck, and all the water around Cherokee, NC.

The second part of the trip (19th-22th) – The Hot Running Water (actually cool) will be the the Little Tennessee River which has a reputation of being one of the best smallmouth rivers in the South East. We will be really close to tons of shoals that will offer great float or wade fishing. Best of all, we will have our very own Tyson “Muley” Reed to lead and educate us on how to fish for smallmouth. Tyson spends a bunch of his fishing time on warm water and loves to catch smallmouth.

This will be a camping trip to North Carolina (although there will be plenty of motels in the area) around the Nantahala Gorge/Bryson City area. If you want to just fish trout, no problem. If you want to fish smallmouth only, no problem… we just would enjoy your company. The campsite is Turkey Creek Campground in Almond, NC.

June 11, 2014 Club Meeting features Unicoi Outfitter’s guide Jake Darling

June 11 Fly Fishing Club Meeting features Jake Darling of Unicoi Outfitters

Our fly casting instructor, Ed Chamberlain is assisting the TU youth fly fishing camp this week and therefore we will not have our usual casting instructions.

Jake Darling in action

Jake Darling of Unicoi outfitters will explain all about Dynamic Indicator Fishing.

  • What is it?
  • When do you use it?
  • Why do you use it?
  • (and I suspect the others… who uses it and how they use it…)

Related subject… here is a great writeup in Midcurrent on indicators

Should be a great meeting, please join us!

 Unicoi Outfitters , who has been a long time supporter and friend of the Atlanta Fly Fishing Club, prides itself on educating new fly anglers.  They offer a variety of learning opportunities, and our staff includes several FFF certified casting instructors, graduates of the Orvis guide school, and graduates of the Joan Wulff school for fly fishing instructors. We are extremely committed to helping you learn as much about the sport as you’d like.   Our speaker this month is one of the most outstanding guides in the state and promises to give you a new technique to add to your arsenal for fly fishing!

tom

Jake Darling of Unicoi Outfitters

Allen McGee, May 14, 2014 Soft Hackle Flies, Atlanta Fly Fishing Club speaker

May 14 Club Meeting – Allen McGee, Riverfly Angler

Allen McGee is a well known author and expert at tying and fishing. His book “Tying and Fishing Soft-Hackled Nymphs” has helped thousands of fly-fishing enthusiast learn the craft of fly-tying. He has created a collection of original fly patterns that are made to catch fish. There will be a fly-tying tutorial at 5:00 for those who have signed up. His presentation is always educational and fun.  His book is reviewed by the Ohio FFF with great endorsements!

Tying and Fishing Soft-Hackled Nymphs

Allen is also a well known photographer as you can see in his blog posts.

Caddis

April 9 Atlanta Fly Fishing Club Meeting

Fly Casting Instructions – April 9 Meeting begin at 5:00 hosted by Ed Chamberlain

Ed, one of the club’s certified FFF fly casting instructors will be hosting sessions at Manuel’s parking lot at 5:00 preceding the club meeting with Gordon Tharrett.

Tune up your cast!  Just beginning or experts …. you can benefit from his instruction.

April 9, 2014 Club Speaker – Gordon Tharrett – Green River, UT

Gordon has worked a number of rivers over the years, but Utah’s Green River has been his home waters since 1993.  He is also one of the most highly rated guides on the river with repeat visitors extending over 15 years.  He operates and guides out of Green River Outfitters which serves the Flaming Gorge section of the Green.  Traveling to Flaming Gorge is one of the most scenic sections of the country if one lands in Salt Lake.  The Gorge is also unique with some of the most crystal clean water that lets you sharply see fish 15′ below the raft.  The fishing is EPIC!!!

Come join us.  Meeting starts at 7 pm, however, most come at 6 pm for dinner.  Manuel’s tavern.

David Edens; Fishing the Georgia coast for Tripletail

March 12, 2014 Club Speaker – David Edens; Fishing the Georgia coast for Tripletail

Arrive before 6:30 PM and program starts at 7:00 pm.  See club events for location information.

Capt. David Edens is the Coast Guard licensed captain of Fly Cast Charters and is an Endorsed Orvis Fly-Fishing Guide. He has received 5 out of 5 ratings on the Orvis sight. A typical day of fishing with Captain Dave will be spent sight casting to feeding or cruising red fish. If the tides are high enough, we will look for Tailers on the many grass flats in the area. As the tide changes, we will target either Redfish or Trout with a fly rod or light tackle.

Tripletail reach a maximum size of 40 pounds although the average size is much smaller. Tripletail, as the name implies, have a body that appears to have three tails. This is actually just the anal and dorsal fins. Tripletail are common in the Gulf of Mexico but are a species that gets little fishing pressure. Most tripletail are caught as an incidental catch by anglers targeting lemon fish or sometime snapper fisherman if they happen to be in the right place at the right time and stay alert.

David Edens fishing for red fish in St. Simons Island