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………

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.

Davidson River Club Trip – December 2013

JD’s Report

Bob “Taj” Prator and I braved rainy skies to travel up to the beautiful area of Brevard, NC this past Thursday. I had my doubts. It was pouring as I left my house and I was wondering if the trip would be a wash out. I’m very glad I continued because for the majority of the long weekend, the rain only came at night, and the fishing was unimpeded during the day. In fact, when we arrived at Brevard, the skies were turning blue.

Davidson River with Alex Bell
Fly Fishing on the Davidson River in December

Taj and I headed up to the Davidson, close to the hatchery. The fishing was pretty tough, but very interesting. I got 5 or 6 with some on a copperhead softhackle midge dropper and some on an Adams. Nothing big, but interesting, challenging fishing. Taj had the major excitement, with one hitting his dropper and breaking off (I think that was a pretty big one) and a really big boy hitting his Adams and Taj fighting it for a while before it threw the fly. I know that was a big boy (18-20 something or more) because we saw it flash.

We ate supper with Tyson “skinny boy” Reed and Rob Kissel.  (see their trip report below) They had come up on Wednesday and fished with Alex Bell (the presenter of the NC fly fishing trail at the club meeting). They had nothing but praise for Alex as a guide and a great day on the NC Pigeon, a dh stream. They also fished on Thursday with a guide from Davidson River Outfitters. He had them throwing size 22 and 24 midges with a touch of weight and using pinch on strike indicators. They were successful at this fishing near the hatchery and even saw a 26 inch bruiser. In the afternoon they hit the shop’s private water and pulled in some big boys.

It was good to see Jerry Sherman and Mike Behan at the campground. They had a good day on the Davidson.

On Friday Taj and I fished really hard, I mean really hard on the Davidson and we might have gotten one strike between us. It was made even worse when Rob Kissel pulled in 6 and had a really big boy on (he estimated 20+) until it threw the fly. Rob had a very good day, especially when the guy at the fly shop said he also had a tough time that day. Sonny Marshal and his friend, Wally, came in the campground that day. It was good to see them.

Taj and I were so frustrated that on Saturday we headed to a dh, the East Fork of the French Broad. This small stream is south of Rosman, NC, and is a bit of a strange fish. It is country, but there are several farms and houses around that make you feel you might not be in public water, but it is still a dh and the fish loved the y2k. Between Taj and I we had 30 or 40 fish in a couple of hours fishing. Taj had to leave at noon and I had enough of catching dh fish, so I headed back to the Davidson.
I fished 2 hours when I got back to the Davidson without so much as a nibble. I changed flies over and over and never had a hit. My last choice was a desperation choice, the San Juan worm, and it worked to my surprise. I had 8 or 9 fish before it got too dark to fish, including my last and biggest fish of the weekend, an 18-19 inch brown.

Sonny was kind enough to invite me over for some of his spaghetti that night and it was really good-I mean REALLY Good! Thanks Sonny. Wally and Sonny went the fly fishing show in Asheville that afternoon (it turned out the show was only 17 miles from the campground) and they had great time at the show. Thanks to Jerry and Mike for having me over-I sure enjoyed the fire.

Sunday I awoke to 38 degrees and rain and the rain didn’t seem to be stopping and that was confirmed by weather radar so I broke camp and came home.

All in all it was a great trip and I think everybody who went on it had a good time. If you really want to get to know people in the AFFC and make fishing buddies, I encourage you to make it to one of these trips. The next one is tentative for the 2nd weekend of February on the Nantahala, details later.

JD

Tyson’s Report
The brookie, fly photo, and Kissel with the guide from Davidson River Outfitters were from the Davidson River. The others were from W Fork of the Pigeon River where we fished with Alex Bell that spoke at November’s meeting.

Midge on the Davidson
Midge on the Davidson
Tyson Reed on the Davidson
Tyson Reed on the Davidson
Rob Kissel on the Davidson
Rob Kissel on the Davidson
TysonReed_Davidson4.jpeg
TysonReed_Davidson4.jpeg
Club
Rob Kissel wi
Rob Kissel wi
Nice December day on the Davidson.

Kissel and I fished Wednesday afternoon with Alex Bell of AB’s Fishing. The generation on the Tuck didn’t cooperate, so we fished the DH of the West Fork of the Pigeon River near Waynesville, NC. Great afternoon. We caught lots of decent fish and several large fish despite fishing behind the morning fishers. Thursday we fished with Ken Hardwick of Davidson River Outfitters on the Davidson River.
Thursday morning we fished near the fish hatchery. What a learning experience. The lightest sets you’ll ever imagine needed. We both probably broke off six or eight fish before kind of getting the hang of it. Tiny flies–sizes 20-24. EXCEPT when the hatchery discharges into the river…then it gets nasty. Ken had us switch to pegged beads above a size 10 or 12 bare hook like fishing in Alaska. Crazy…but it worked! Apparently some of the browns were still spawning…or at least the rainbows thought so. That afternoon we fished their private section. While we did some nymphing, we actually got to cast dries instead of that mind-numbing high stick nymphing! We caught several nice fish late in the day there.
Friday we caught up with JD and Taj for breakfast then headed back to the river. The weather wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t nearly as pleasant as the first two days or the following day–Saturday. Tough day. I may have stuck one and missed a couple all day. But seeing Kissel miss a GIGANTIC trout was priceless. I turned to look just in time to see the small breaching whale of a trout splashing back into the river then Kissel jumping with frustration and excitement. Of course, he spent a couple of hours again Saturday trying for that same fish!

I had never fished the Davidson before and was a bit intimidated by its reputation. But it is easily accessible and a comfortable sized water. While the areas near the hatchery can get crowded, there are plenty of really good stretches all the way down to town.

Montana Road Trip

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JD, Ed, Eric, and Rob go to Montana

Months before the departure

The first question is how to get there from Atlanta, where to fish, then where to stay…

Aug 3 leave Atlanta, stay around Kansas City
Aug 4 stay around ?Wyoming? ? South Dakota?
Aug 5 arrive Big Horn, stay in Cottonwood Campground
Aug 9 depart for Dillion, stay KOA in Dillon
Aug 13th depart for Rock Creek, stay at Ekstrom’s

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Montana Road trip

This was close enough…

Eric's camper

Part 1-the Big Horn

This August Ed Chamberain, Eric Davies, Rob Kissel, and I headed to Montana. Our first stop was the Big Horn, reported to the the best river in Montana, maybe the West. Our experience with the Big Horn did not damage these reports.

The first day we both had guides on the river. We wanted to have a good dry fly day (like Uncle Miltie and I did last year) but it was not to be. The cool summer had cooled the water and caused the dry fly action to be delayed. The water temps from the dam was around 43. It may have slowed the dry fly action but the nymph action was great. Ed and got numbers in the 40’s and I think Eric and Rob got even more.

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Ed with a nice fish

Fish on!

The next day Eric and Rob decided to wade fish and they had a really good day with around 13 each, with several on a dry. Ed and I had a guide trip and unfortunately the guide decided to experiment with us. We went on a jet boat ride on the lower river in search of dry fly action. We saw little dry fly action and in fact, it was pretty slow all day-especially for the Big Horn.

The last day Ed and decided to rent a drift boat. We managed to make it down the river but I do think Ed would have caught more fish with an experienced boatman. We did get 25 or so each with a nice 19 inch bow on a dry and a big 22 inch bow on a nymph. The guys who did really well was Eric and Rob. They caught so many on a nymph they told the guide they wanted to use a hopper. The guide was not too excited about the use of a hopper but he finally agreed. Bam, Rob gets a nice fish. Then double bam, both Eric and Rob get a 20 inch brown on a dry. What a day.

Again, in my opinion, the Big Horn is the best river in the Montana, maybe in the West.

Ed in front of the dam
BEAR

Seldom seen bear on the Big Horn

Back at Home…
We had to miss our club meetings and unfortunately left a few good friends back at home.  A few of our club members also decided to join us.

Uncle Miltie

Uncle Miltie missing his friends at a club meeting

Part 2-Dillon
After having a great three days on the Big Horn, we were excited about going to Dillon, Montana. Dillon is in SW Montana and is centrally located to several very good fishing rivers-the Jefferson, the Ruby, the Big Hole, and the Beaverhead. Dillon was also located just outside of Twin Bridges, Mt, the home of Winston fly rods. We stopped in just before closing time and had a great time looking at the historical pictures, items, merchandise, and testing rods. Ed cast a sweet B2t (by the way, that rod is going on close-out) that got him thinking. Rob got a date on one of his rods and Eric, Rob, and I got some Winston hats. All in all, the Winston factory was a great stop.

On the way to Dillon we saw several up-rooted trees. Seems they had a “micro burst” that had did damage to several buildings and trees in the Twin Bridges area. I guess wind does damage to places outside the South.

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Due to the lower water and high water temps we were only able to fish the Beaverhead and the Big Hole. The Beaverhead is reported to hold the biggest brown trout in Montana and probably the West, but you could not have proved it by us. We had a tough time with the Beaverhead. A few fish caught, but mostly frustration and lots of removal of moss from the fly.

We did have a Nascar sighting while in Dillon. “Nascar” Bob Chambliss and Tom Gage had flown to Montana to do some fly fishing. We did hear from Nascar now and then but had little physical contact except for one day we did eat breakfast with Nascar and Tom. We did hear from Nascar that he was chased by an 8 ft. rattlesnake on the Beaverhead, well, make that 6 ft., well, make that 5 ½ ft. Nascar and Tom did pretty good though fishing at the corral.

Bob Chambless
Beaverhead at the corral
Beaverhead at the corral

Not everything was a loss; We met a couple in the KOA in Dillon. The man’s name was Seth Simpson and he and his wife were on tour to pottery shows and between shows he was getting in some fly fishing. His method was to go out at dust and throw a leech. He had pretty good success and pulled in a 24-25 brown, much bigger than we saw.

Rob liked Seth’s pottery so much that he brought a vase. You can see his work at www.arcataartisans.com/artists/seth_simpson/ 707-601-2535 We enjoyed talking with Seth and his wife at the campground, and maybe we felt a little jealous.

The Big Hole

The next river we fished was the Big Hole. The Big Hole is a very beautiful river, but areas of it were shut down at 2pm because of the high temps. The section we fished was open all day and we had a pretty good day. I finished with around 15 with a couple of nice fish on a dry. I even caught a few “whitefish”-more on that later. Rob told me a story about seeing a big fish, making a tough cast, and having the fish hit and be landed. It wasn’t so much about catching the fish, but the excitement of doing several things correctly and winding up with the fish is wonderful.

The next day we headed back to the Big Hole and we caught plenty of fish, but they just happened to be mostly whitefish. For example, Ed found a hole and I thought he was killing them. He was doing great but mostly they were whitefish. For those of you who don’t know about whitefish, they are a native species that are considered a “trash” fish. They do grow large and fight hard but are not as valued as trout.

Working a seam

Ed catching whitefish on the Big Hole

I think the Big Hole is the whitefish capital of Montana. We had some unusual weather in Dillon. Almost every afternoon a storm would come up with lightning, rain, and in one instance, hail. Although Dillon is a wonderful area, I won’t be going back unless it is a normal water year. This is the 2nd year of a Winter drought in the Dillon area.

Ed in front of the dam
Tom joined us for breakfast

We did have some of Uncle Miltie’s steering wheel sized breakfasts in Dillon.  I high recommend the Long Horn Saloon-if the cook shows up on time. Well, on the last stop of the trip.  Tom recommends a Mexican bus on wheels for lunch.

Great lunch

We also enjoyed an ice cream parlor near the university, but the recommended steak house was only good for the scenery and not the food.

Decorations in a steak house in Missoula
Entire town came out for ice cream

Trip Pictures

Home » Montana Road Trip » 2013 » 2013-Aug
Bob Chambless
Bob Chambless
Nascar on the Beaverhead
Beaverhead at the corral
Beaverhead at the corral
Looking Upstream on the Beaver. This stretch fished very well while wading. Called the Corral
Beaverhead at the corral
Beaverhead at the corral
Looking downstream from the corral. Bob is working a seam against the opposite bank. There was a strong current near the bank, but wading out got you into smoother water so you could fish the seams.
Big Hole
Big Hole
Rob Kissell on the Big Hole
Clarke's Fork
Clarke's Fork
Nascar bringing one in on the Clark's Fork just below where the Big Hole enters. Rowing is club member Danny who now lives in Missoula
Decorations in a steak house in Missoula
Decorations in a steak house in Missoula
We went to a steak house outside of Missoula. Scenery was great but the steaks were all either over cooked or under cooked. Not a great experience.
Entire town came out for ice cream
Entire town came out for ice cream
Downtown Missoula had this ice cream shop that you would think they were giving it away
winery in Missoula
winery in Missoula
Hills outside of Missoula. Great winery in town worth visiting
Bob Chambless
Bob Chambless
Probably on the Beaver
Great lunch
Great lunch
A local favorite for Mexican food. Great restaurant in down town Dillon worth stopping at
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Heading up to the blow down on the big hole
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upstream on the big hole
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If you look carefully, you see Rob being stealth against the rocks. Rob knew how to get fish in clear water!
Eric Davies
Eric Davies
Eric Davies working a seam using nymphs
JD, Ed, Eric, Rob
JD, Ed, Eric, Rob
the guys ready to break up camp at the KOA. This is an outstanding place with an even more outstanding restaurant!
Heading up the road on Rock Creek
Heading up the road on Rock Creek
Pretty tame....
JD hamming it up
JD hamming it up
JD... he may have set the hook... but you never know!
BEAR
BEAR
That small black spot on the ridge is the bear
Ed with a nice fish
Ed with a nice fish
Ed in front of the dam
Ed in front of the dam
Ed working a hole
Ed working a hole
Working a seam
Working a seam
Fish on!
Fish on!
Ed had a pretty good day.
Uncle Miltie in Colorado
Uncle Miltie in Colorado
Uncle Miltie in Colorado
Uncle Miltie in Colorado
Lookin' for a ride...
Uncle Miltie
Uncle Miltie
Uncle Miltie did not join us for the Montana trip having gone fishing with Dave Peacock earlier. He later joined JD in Colorado. Pretty sad picture waiting for his friends to show up at the club meeting!
Montana Road trip
Montana Road trip
Trip looked something like this...
The star of our stay at Rock Creek
The star of our stay at Rock Creek
The restaurant at Rock Creek has a fantastic chef serving 5 star meals. Our waitress was one of the most pleasant individuals you would ever want to meet. (and is a damn good fly fisherman!)
Tom joined us for breakfast
Tom joined us for breakfast
Eric's camper
Eric's camper
Packed up and ready to start the long trek home to Atlanta

Basalt Colorado fly fishing with Cameron Cipponeri

While there may still be some fishing tomorrow–cutthroat in Maroon Bells/Aspen area, private water here on the Frying Pan, or further upstream where we’ve fished twice–we have had a good and interesting three days of fishing.

Day one was supposed to be a full day float on the Roaring Fork.  But recent rains…yes, I know, what a shock!…made the better option to full day wade the Frying Pan first with Cameron Cipponeri of Frying Pan Anglers–the speaker at the club meeting in April.  What a great guy and a very good guide.  Sadly I am the most experienced of the three anglers with one guy being a fairly recent interestee in flyfishing.  So he needed and got lots of one on one time with Cameron.  We all managed to catch some nice fish.  I probably caught 12-15 fish.  A nice 15-16″ rainbow.  But the “one that got away” was really big.  I managed to hook it in a small pool Cameron pointed out.  He said to try that pool for a bit then left to help the other two that were 30 and 40 yards downstream.  (We have been spread apart several times because all other waters usually fished by those in Denver and Vail have been blown out, so they have to travel here to fish.) Within a few minutes I got the big’un to take a BWO on my 4wt Sage ZXL (Great rod rec, JD!).  I fought the fish in the 30 feet of river around me for 4-5 minutes while hollering downstream for them to send Cameron up with the net.  That’s when the real fight started.  That fish began making runs nearly into backing–once barely into it–downriver.  I had to start stumbling downriver.  That fish and I covered 40 or 50 yards of river before it wrapped on a stick…within arms reach of Cameron with the net.  Gone.  I was devastated.  I had fought that fish for almost ten minutes only to lose it at the guide’s net.  In his defense he had to run upstream about 20 yards after hearing my dilemma relayed by the middle fisher.  He saw it up close and declared it to be in excess of 24″.

Day two was a 14 mile float on the Roaring Fork.  Again Cameron took on the least experienced fisher while Rick Conner and I fished with Eddie Deison–who also guides at Matlacha, FL (Bonus find!).  I had apparently impressed upon him how much I enjoy streamer fishing because with the exception of only two short episodes of nymphing like the others did all day, I threw streamers on my 6wt all day.  Thought my arm and right shoulder were going to fail.  I wasn’t chucking and ducking like on the PM, but the weight of those two ridiculous (but mostly effective) streamers was something.  One of them is best described as a black multi, plastic beaded zonker strip bugger with a spinner blade at the front.  I probably only caught a dozen fish all day–no real notables.  Rick only caught two Kissel-fish–uh, I mean whitefish–all day.  The “newbie” managed three or four, I think.  Lots of fishers again due to flooded waters elsewhere.

Today we half day waded with Cameron on the Pan.  The weather started off chilly but real nice…then got colder and windier.  Despite that we managed to catch fish.  I pretty much stayed with dries (Drake and BWO mostly) all afternoon and managed 8-10 fish…maybe a few more.  Then we finished the day further downriver playing around with rising behemoths (18″-36″, no kidding) just above Bass Pro Johnny Morris’ private section.  The wind was hellish.  I managed to land only four or so there, but no big’uns.  I did hook two or three, but yipped my way out of landing them.  Rob S, I caught a few 14-15″-ers on the little Hardy 3wt even.
While it did rain lightly and briefly a little today, the wind was the monster…until dinnertime.  It began to SNOW.  It actually lightened up and quit as we drove back into Basalt for dinner.  Since our steak minded appetite could not be satisfied in Basalt, we drove another 25 minutes to Aspen.  It began to snow pretty good on the way there and a few flurries on and off while we were eating at Jimmy’s ($ome famou$ place).  But five minutes into the return trip about 8:30 local, it turned into a full fledged snowstorm…a la Duck Lake!  We drove back all but the first five minutes in a blizzard…road coating, hypnotic driving big flakes…at 20-25 mph.  Crazy.  So our plans for tomorrow depend on what we find in the morning after tonight’s 32 degree freeze warning with rain/snow in the forecast.

I highly recommend staying here at Taylor Creek Cabins.  And I would probably put Cameron in the top five guides I have used.  He kept needlessly apologizing for the conditions which kept us out of the “real experience.”  But I am completely satisfied with what we’ve had.  Lots of fish, big fish, fish on dries.  Just a really good trip even if tomorrow is a bust.

I don’t have many photos–only a few on my iPhone which I have not hooked up and transferred.  Wifi here at the cabin but not good enough for the iPhone to transmit and no cell service until you get close to town.  We’ll send Tom some later that Larry took.

Tyson Reed
AFFC Membership Chairman

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Club Fly Fishing Day at Gregg’s bass pond

Good day, everyone.  I would like to take a moment to say that I appreciate your coming out to to fly fish and ride kayaks.  The weather was good and the fish were biting!  Rob Stroupe was giving fly casting clinics (Meredith had a great time).  Tom caught 5 bass on one of Michael Orr’s flies.

I caught two more (a bluegill and a bass) after ya’ll left.  One other person showed up after lunch.  She got several bites but lost them on the reel-in.  Bummer.

Feel free to fish the pond any time you wish.  I need not be present for you to come.  In the rare possibility someone confronts you about fishing there, simply tell them you are “Gregg’s guest.”  They know who I am.

In the meantime, be safe and tight lines!!

Take care,

Gregg

Greg, Meredith, Rob

 

White Top Laurel

Several club members attended the recent trip led by our notorious Trip Leader JD Forrester.  Milton Sams, Ed Chamberlin, Phil Sehenuk, Dave Lash and I traveled to far southwest Virginia in search of good times, good fishing and good food.  Luckily, none were in short supply.  We planned on being there from April 22nd through the 28th.  While not all folks were able to be there the whole week, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.  Time makes its demands on us all (some un-retired folks more than our retired brothers…) so we were fortunate to have as many as we did for as long as we did.  This is especially true given the distance by car.  It took most of us 5 ½ to 6 hours to get there.  Believe me when I say, it was worth the trip.

White Laurel JD Forrester

The primary fishing location was White Top Laurel Creek in Virginia.  The creek flows into Tennessee and all areas fished well.  By fishing well, I mean that a 15 fish day was about as slow as it got.  There were certainly several folks that exceeded twice that.  Having said that, the river was not giving up her fish easily.  The mornings were generally cold (upper 30’s to low 40’s) and the afternoons would get into the 60’s and 70’s.  You all know what that means…  The mornings were spent either straight nymphing or using a dry dropper combination.  While you can’t call the catching active, everyone caught fish before lunch.  On several afternoon sessions, risers were seen and switching to dry flies proved effective.  As far as nymphs go, the Hare’s Ear, a BH prince, and a soft hackle seemed to work consistently well.  Light Cahill’s, Adam’s and March Browns were good flies for the afternoons.   Highlight fish of the trip were JD’s 18 inch Brown caught on a Hare’s Ear and my 15 inch Rainbow on a Light Cahill.  The majority of the fish in this creek were in the 9-12” range.  JD got the Smokey Mountain Slam on Friday with Brook/Brown/Bow.  That was the only Brookie I heard about being caught on the trip.  Other fishing opportunities awaited on the Beaver Dam, Laurel Creek and the Middle or South Fork of the Holsten.  There is so much un-crowded water that we never left the White Top Laurel.

White Laurel JD Forrester

Let me take a minute to describe the river we fished.  By Blue Ridge/Smokey Mountain standards the White Top Laurel is big.  Many places were 30 to 40 feet across with lots of pocket water, long deep runs and lots of riffles.  The banks of both sides of the river are dense with Rhododendron and Mountain Laurel.  We were probably a couple of weeks away from full bloom, but I can imagine that would be quite a sight to see at the right time in the Spring.  Along one side of the river was the Virginia Creeper Trail which is a highly successful Rails to Trails project that coincidentally was land donated by my employer.  The trail is gorgeous and gave easy access to the river while making for comfortable hiking as well.  Dave brought his bike so he was covering a lot of ground in a short time.  While there is a lot of overhang that provided good shade to much of the river, it wasn’t so much that it made casting a nightmare.  I will say that JD was not unhappy that everyone was losing flies at a 6-8 per day rate.  I know he will get an order for replacements from me.  The Appalachian Trail came through much of the areas we fished so we ran into a lot of outdoorsmen.  The closest town, Damascus VA is known for its support of the trail and the hikers that walk it.  As a result, there were some decent places to eat, and good outfitters.  Despite anything JD may say, there is a well stocked fly shop close to Abingdon called the Virginia Creeper Fly Shop.  The proprietor, Bruce is both knowledgeable and a genuine pleasure to talk to.

I believe these trips are one of the major things that separates our club from so many others like it.  To say the least it can be difficult to throw together individuals with divergent backgrounds and tastes and expect then to get along well.  Without exception, every trip I have been fortunate enough to go on has been a real pleasure.  This trip was just like that.  Everyone pitched in on the cooking, cleaning and the most important part, stories and drinks around the campfire.

Special thanks to JD for pulling the trip together in the first place and ensuring we had more delicious breakfast than we could possibly eat.  No thanks to Seahunt for the hamburger he didn’t cook Ed and I just because of a little rain.  Nothing like processed ham on a piece of bread when your mouth is watering for a burger grilled in the woods…  Thanks to Ed for the scrumptious Red Beans and Rice with Keilbasa we had on Tuesday.  No thanks to Kubota for making me drag an extra tent all the way to Virginia on the chance that he might join us (we missed you dude!).  Dave, Thanks for the Thai Shrimp Stir Fry.  We ate like kings.

Do yourself a favor and get on one of these trips.  You will have a blast and possibly make some new friends, learn some new fishing tricks and store some long term good memories.

Michael W. Greene

First of all I want to thank Mike “MGD” Greene for the great write up. He was completely true in what he said except for the fly shop. I must warn you that if MGD or Ed Chamberlain go searching for a fly shop, it would be best for you to go another way!

We had a fantastic time together and White Top Laurel did nothing to change my mind as the best wild trout stream in the Southeast. In fact, I think we were 2 to 3 weeks too early or it would have been mostly a dry fly time. Still it was a great time on the stream. For example, you see a large rock in the middle of the stream and it looks like good holding water is on the right. If I can just put the fly above the rock and get a 12 inch drift beside the rock, then maybe something would give the fly a look. Luckily for me I got a good drift and bam, got a 14 inch brown. It doesn’t get any better than that!

The only thing wrong with the trip wrong with the trip is we did not have more people. (Kubota, where for art thou? Are you alive?) You are really missing out on fun by not going on one of these trips.

JD

Holcomb Bridge Report

I was very pleasantly surprised at the turn out for the AFFC club trip from Jones Bridge to Holcomb Bridge this Saturday. I wish the fishing had been as good as the participation. The club generally has a local club trip the weekend following club meetings. The purpose of these trips are to help introduce new members to other club members.

Eric, Dwight, Mark, Ed, Korey, and Greg waded. From what I heard the best catching from a wader was around 5 and it went down to 2 or 3. Pretty tough fishing. But we did have some significant events. Eric did really well after his hip replacement-a bit sore, but hung in there and the future is bright. And speaking of a bright fly fishing future, Korey got his first trout on a fly rod-way to go Korey!

Phil, Ron, Milton, Mike, Steve, and JD floated and the catching was not much better. The most we got was around 10 and it went down to 5 or 6. Again tough fishing. But I think everybody had a great time and it was good to be out on the water.
Join us next time for an AFFC trip.

This is Korey’s first Trout

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JD

Float the ‘Hooch

We will have a float trip Saturday (1/12) from Jones Bridge to Holcomb Bridge. Be at the Fulton County side at 9:30am sharp. Bring your float tube, pontoons, etc. Jones Bridge also has plenty of water to wade for those who don’t want to float.

As an added bonus, Ed Chamberlain (FFF master caster and AFFC casting guru) will be giving casting lessons starting at 8:30am (Jones Bridge, Fulton County side also). Come early for casting instruction and stay to fish! What more can you want?

Since turnover has just ended, I would venture to guess that some of the flies that might work are y2k’s, zebra midge, copperhead soft hackles, Sawyer pheasant tails (and regular pheasant tails), blue assassins, lightning bugs, princes, hare’s ear, and maybe-adams and october caddis.

Hang around after the trip is over. We will go out for some vittles!
JD