December 28, 2012

Dual-Sport Flyfishing

I recently bought a dual sport bike for a belated graduation present to myself. It's a bone-stock 2009 Suzuki DRZ-400s with 1000 miles. I've been wanting to get a dual sport for quite some time and finally pulled the trigger. I started out riding a '78 Suzuki 185 enduro when I was 15 and traded that in for a '85 CR250. But after breaking my arm trying to jump over my friend on the CR I sold it. 15 years later I finally got another ride! I'm excited to combine my love for flyfishing with riding to explore the area around me and hopefully find some new places to throw a fly. Connor is pretty stoaked as well...

December 26, 2012

TFM Winner!

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope the holidays were good to all of you. I opened my shipment from TFM yesterday as part of the festivities and I'm excited to use my new gear! Thanks for putting this on Cameron!

September 21, 2012

     I was able to fish Clint-creek last Monday solo...well Oakley came along but he let me have first shot on most of the multiple honey holes. One fish, or at least one hole, has eluded me all summer. The first time fishing Clint-creek this year, I missed a good sized fish in said pool and then Sam hooked a hog the pool above. Since then, my luck remained the same, rises but no sticks. The current runs in from the head of the pool and slides along an undercut bank with grass and willow branches. I cast a few different flies through this run, but nothing moved for my flies.
    I've had a stoned-hopper in my box most of the summer. It was a leftover from a fly swap I participated in at the first of the season. I knew it would work for me eventually and every time I tied it one I would think to myself something like "this is when this fly is going to work and I'll catch that one great fish". This dialogue went on through my head many times, but failed to ever come to fruition.
     I tied this particular stoned-hopper on once again and repeated my mantra. As the fly landed, the current caught it and pulled the fly into the bank. A flash and my fly was gone. I lift my rod to the resistance of the fish that eluded me for far too long. I pull back with everything my 3wt can muster to keep it out of the willows. After a few strong runs and shakes of it's head, I land it in the shallow pool below.

After a few shots with my G'zone Commando phone, which is a far cry from my lost waterproof camera, I released it back into its home and I went home. I got what I came for and couldn't be more ecstatic to finally hook that elusive fish. Not the biggest fish but it is a prize to me.

July 17, 2012

Cutt-Creek, Pillsbury Pond, and Clint Creek

Sam and I decided last minute to head to the Boulder Mountains to try and put Sam into the brook of his life. The forecast called for a lot of rain all weekend, but we decided to take our chances. Sam grew up catching little brookies and cutts at his family cabin, but just recently caught a terminal case of the flyfishing bug. His poor wife is now in the same fly fisherman's widow club as my wife.
We decided to stop at Cutt-Creek on the way to the Boulders. Just two days prior, Sam and his sister (my lovely wife) stopped to fish my favorite hole of the stream on the way back from a family hike outside Bryce Canyon National Park. They both hooked into nice fish in the middle of a rain storm. We saw some nice fish come up to inspect our flies, but only small rainbows were willing to play.
We decided to head forward to our main destination of the trip, Pillsbury-Pond. As we arrived at the little pond, two spin-anglers were walking back to their trucks with smiles from ear to ear. This was a good we thought. We both got into some small cutts and I managed to fool one brookie. But it was far from what we anticipated. After a little "pruning" of troublesome back-cast obstacles, we made camp with plans to exact our revenge in the morning. On the hike back to Pillsbury, the light of day was just showing through the pines and aspens. We again met two anglers hiking quickly away from the pond. "You give up already!" I shouted as they hurried by. "We've had our fill" as they passed us, the second holding a stringer with the largest Brook Trout I have ever seen in person or photo. I felt mixed emotions of jealousy and disgust that a fish that large was being taken out of this system.
We again flogged water with little reward but a few 12-14" cutts. Sam started casting dry flies and picking up more action then the usual brown seal leech was producing. I decided to give up on the big brookies and started fishing the trust purple haze. I began stalking the edges waiting for willing fish to cruise by. It's so rewarding to spot my prey and then will them to a fly!
Just as we were leaving, I noticed a cutt just under a patch of salad in the stream leading into this small pond. I cast my fly to it in hopes of sticking one more fish before leaving. The current was so slow and casting so difficult, I wasn't able to get my fly to land right. But after a leader reconfiguration and a switch to a tootsie roll, the water exploded with one last fish. It was still colored up from the spawn with deep blood-red markings on its gill plate and belly. This was the fish of the I thought.
On the way home, I called the Mrs to let her know we were a couple hours from home. But two hours turned into six as we stopped at Clint-Creek to try out luck. I've fished this stream a few times without even seeing a fish. I heard from others it held some nice fish, but I never experienced it for myself. But within the first hole, Sam and I started catching fish. 12" cutts with the occasional brook and cutt-bow were found in most likely holding spot. I had broken the curse of never seeing a fish. I saw a 16"+ cutt rise for a natural and then watched as it rose for my fly, only to spit the steel before I could set it. I tied a new pattern on in hopes if fooling it again while Sam walked up to the next hole. It wasn't much later that Sam calmly said "Mike, look at this..." as he held up an 18" Cutt.
I had to catch one of equal or greater size before I could leave this stream! I switched pattern after pattern and fished hole after hole without my goal met. My knee began to give out and I knew I was in deep sh*t with the Mrs. for being gone so long past our ETA. I tied on a stonedhopper earlier without success, so i didn't imagine my newest hopper would do much better. But I finally tied one on and decided to fish one more stretch before I threw in the towel. There was a small hole about 2' in diameter just below a large willow bush with a narrow channel running through the middle. I cast my hopper pattern in and it was immediately hit by a nice Cutt. I thought it was about 15" but I didn't hook it. I repositioned and tried the hole once more. The same fish bum-rushed my fly and carried it over the small falls below the hole. My 3wt bent in half and soon after I had a 17.5" cutt to hand...good enough to go home with a smile!

First Half of Summer

I can't believe we are in the middle of summer already! I've made it out to wet a line about weekly and finishing school leaves me with a new schedule giving me 3-day weekends. I'm offically a Registered Nurse! I get it! not the most masculine title, but I'm happy to be done and I recieved a nice fat raise. Katy has really caught on this year and it's been a treat to watch her progress in the sport. Fishing is such a wonderful way to make memories with the family. With my luck I'll drive my family to distain the sport. But I'm livin' it up now that I still can!

The boys are now both equipped with waders and loving the freedom to roam along the banks without suffering from hypothermia. I think Connor is more into the flyfishing gear then the actual catch. But it's fun for him to get all his gear on and hit the stream.

June 28, 2012

Undergunned with a 3wt

I finally finished school and received my nursing license. I am so excited to have my life back! I've done a lot of fishing with the family the past couple months, but haven't taken as many pictures as I wish. Tonight I got out after work for a couple hours. I wanted to try somewhere new and heard some big fish were being caught at a local stream. This was my first time to fish this section of the stream and I was rewarded with some great fish! Unfortunatly I forgot the camera but was able to snap a few pics with my phone (which has horrible picture quality). The fly of the evening was the Stoned-hopper. In total I caught a few chunky bows, one 15+" tigar trout, a 14" brown, and a few nice cutthroat. I had a hard time controlling the bigger cutts with my 3wt and was cussing myself for leaving my net in the car. I had to run down-stream a few times to land these guys. All and all it was a great evening!

March 9, 2012

Hook-up Foam Frog

I came up with this foam frog fly pattern a couple years ago with my grandpa's pond in south Georgia in mind. I was my boyhood dream to fly fish the pond and I've been able to get there twice with a fly rod in hand. The first time it was choked with lilly-pads, so I came up with this style of foam frog fly with the hook riding up. I don't care for the mono weed-guards with the hook riding below because I seemed to still get stuck, or miss strike. I was probably making the guards wrong but who cares now. I've sat on this foam frog fly pattern too long and shared it with too few people. Stay tuned for detailed tying instructions...but not sure when I'll have it available. Until then here's a taste of what it looks like.

Recent Spawn From The Bench

February 26, 2012

FNA it's good to get out!

I was able to get out for a couple hours today. It was colder and even slower then last time. I thought I would have things dialed in this trip but no such luck; but that's fishing. I was glad to catch a couple Bows and had a nice break.

February 20, 2012

First Ice-off Fishing of 2012

I was pleasantly surprised to find some soft water this afternoon. It took some time for me to figure out how to hold my jaw but I finally found my ju ju. Used the 9' #6 Cabelas Stowaway 5 I built last month and really liked it. I picked the blank up for $30 out of the bargain cave and with all the fixin's I was in the rod less then $80. I can't wait for the next time I can sneak out!

January 30, 2012

Latest trip with Oakley

This past Christmas break has probably my busiest ever but I was able to get out a few times and make some casts. My lovely wife and I bought our first home and it's been a dream come true. I'm pretty excited to have an office again to study in and more importantly tying flies and other tackle-craft projects. Oakley, our 4 yo golden retriever paid the price as we didn't have a fence at the new house so we had to leave him at the old house until we were completely moved in. So I decided to let him tag along during my latest adventure. Oakley hasn't been the best fishing companion in the past. But this trip he did very well. I don't know if it was the 38* weather, a taste of freedom, or just maturity, but Oakley kept by my side and seldom went ahead to check out and usually spook the pool ahead. I was able to catch bows, browns, and one cutt in about 4 hours. Looking forward to many more fishing trips to come this year!
My favorite fish of the trip was also the largest. There is a lot of brush fallen into this slow-moving stream and behind one pile I could see a shadow moving back and forth in the current. I cast down stream and used the tension to load my rod and fling a cast right up the butt of the brush. I let the #6 brown semi-seal bugger sink for a moment.........strip....strip..strike! I love how visual streamer fishing is!