Sunday, September 17, 2017

Dream Stream Salmon

I really have not been fishing a whole lot for the Salmon. I pay attention to what my friends are telling me. People are walking the river and sometimes seeing stretches with nothing and then, all of a sudden there is a whole school of them and the water looks red.

And red seems to be the color for flies: Red copper Johns, San Juan's, midges and eggs.  Dead drift is the usual technique with lots of weight.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Southern Gentleman Respectively Makes Great Catch At Deckers South Platte River

My client, from Georgia, had a great morning on the South Platte at Deckers landing numerous trout from 14-19 inches. He did not count them or measure them. He was a perfect gentleman. It was a perfect morning.




Thursday, August 31, 2017

Fly Fishing During the Dog-Days of Summer: A Gentle Approach

This is the time of year when the fishing is tough on the South Platte. The fish have seen a lot of flies and anglers. Flows are dropping. A gentle, patient approach is needed.

A common mistake I see among beginners is making weeping over powered hook sets and trying to force the fish in. We need to tone it down and use a gentler approach. We need to make the most of the few opportunities we might be given.

Sometimes we need some common sense. The fish are in the river, in their home feeding on tiny midges and  mayflies. Remind yourself how small the flies are, so you do not use too much force. Why do we think we can yank the fish in, out of their world with 3 pound test tippet and a size 24 hook? The last thing a wild fish wants to do is come out of the river and visit with us so we can take its picture.

Therefore, we use a gentler approach. We are patient. Use gentle parachute casts that land the fly gently on the water. Or if we are using nymphing rigs we use smaller striker indicators and we try not to slap our casts. We keep our casts short and try to keep most of the thick fly line off of the water.

When fighting a fish,  we learn to go easy, go with the flow, and try to move with the fish and pick cross current angles. Too many folks dig their heals in and try to pull a fish up river,  against the currents and are then surprised when the fish breaks off. We can try to respect the fishes instinct to remain in its watery world.

We might as well make the best of each opportunity that comes our way.  If we are gentle and patient we might then be granted a brief  visit with a wild fish as its leaves its bubbly, flowing world and enters our world.

But quickly and gently revive the fish. Place it back in its world so it might not remember the visit to our overly nervous and controlling  world.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Apocalyptic Fly-Fishing: Eclipse 2017



Long before the approaching Eclipse of 2017, I have entertained apocalyptic thoughts regarding fly fishing the South Platte River. And now, as the eclipse is about to occur, my thoughts turn some-what more gloomy.

I am not referring to the end of the world. I am not crazy. But I have considered that we may be seeing the end of an era in fly fishing. I don’t know exactly when it happened or what that era was and what fly-fishing has changed into today. I cannot quite put my finger on it. I can’t quite remember.

But several things have changed.  It seems that many folks have a “bucket list” mentality of checking off various activities before they die or get too old, or the fishing goes to hell.  This feels apocalyptic to me. So the hoards come and they keep coming. Ever see the crowds at Deckers, or 11 mile canyon on even a winter day? Or what about the crowds on the Dream Stream during the Spring or Fall spawning runs?

Maybe it is all the social media hype of posting fish all over the internet where it now seems more important for people to post their claim and accomplishment rather than experience it. Perhaps this virtual reality is all that matters now and the true experience and laboring process of casting alone on a river has suffered an apocalyptic death. All that matters is the picture posted. Forget the actual experience and process.

Maybe it was all the guiding. Norman Maclean in “A River Runs Through It” quoted his Father as saying that no one who did not know how to fish should be able to disgrace a fish by catching it. I know as a guide I often take someone who does not know how to fish, to catch fish. I’m not saying they need me to make catching fish possible but, rather it is that now many people are not willing to even try on their own. But they are willing to throw substantial money at making certain they catch a fish without really doing the work.

Perhaps we are seeing the death of an era; a time when it was an honor to explore a river by oneself, put in the hours and hours and perhaps catch nothing.  Sometimes at the end of all those hours, days, and weeks, finally, we might catch “some-thing,” and that fish was caught by our own doing which made it quite special.

To me it sometimes feels apocalyptic watching the swarms of people looking for one fish as though we are starving. Of course, this is not truly apocalyptic. I don’t think anyone among fly fishers is starving. But perhaps, with these kinds of crowds, we have seen the end of everything we once thought was wild and free and pure about fly fishing.  

Fly fishing has sadly become overly commercialized and economized, and has sank into a virtual reality. Even the fish do not seem wild anymore. The banks are overrun with people. The anglers argue with one another. It feels combative and apocalyptic.  The wild west of Colorado has died.

Not sure we will be able to rise out of those depths. All I can do is remember what it once was, and perhaps when this eclipse clears, the sun will shine brightly on what we have become and what fly fishing truly means for each one of us.