Sunday, April 27, 2008

Czech Nymph for First Time

I had arranged to go to Cheesman Canyon with Jim today. The Cheesman Canyon is known for its very, very large trout. Jim is known for his expertise in Czech Nymphing (CZN). The Cheesman Canyon trout are rumored to be particularly susceptible to CZN. It was all coming together masterfully until the dam that feeds the Cheesman Canyon tailwater started releasing Friday night. It generated up to about 520CFS (yes I monitor these things throughout Friday night). That flow is way too high to fish in the Canyon.

Then, this morning Jamie calls me and says we are meeting Jim on Clear creek. Then I get a call that says that Clear Creek is a wind tunnel and isn't fishable.

I finally head out to a tucked away spot I found on South Boulder Creek and Jim decides to come meet me there. While I'm waiting for him to arrive in the mountains I shot these three pictures. This series occurred in a 10 minute span, for real.

The clouds just poured over the mountains like molasses, the wind picked up, and it started snowing. Pretty bad ass if you'd like my opinion. We hiked down the gorge about a mile and started fishing in the snow. It makes for some divine scenery.

Conditions such as snow, clouds and rain can actually be beneficial when sight fishing because the water will have less glare for sighting, and the trout will feel safer under the apparent cover. This will lead to them feeding more out in the open. In addition, the dim lighting allows you to get much closer to the fish without them noticing.

Jim had offered to teach me how to CZN after a conversation we got into about tying the CZN flies online, and he knows all the ins and outs of the technique. He really gave me a solid understanding of how to apply the method. He detailed nuances that a book could never convey.

He wrote a report about today on the forum that was so detailed I'm going to have to cut and paste it here:

So. Boulder Creek 4-26-08
« on: April 26, 2008, 09:05:15 pm »

Oh man what a day! New water, beautiful fantastic scenery, and some of the prettiest fish i've seen in a long time!

Met with Tangler to teach him some Czech Nymphing, and he sugguested one of his spots to try it out on. Oh, i'll be back there soon! You'll get tired of me saying what an amazing little trek this place is Smiley

Anyway, got on the water about noon, light flurries and a touch of wind. Hike in was about a mile or so, again, great scenery!!

Water temp was 41deg, not perfect but not bad either. Walked along the river a bit getting a feel for it, flows were a little quick ( guessing 150cfs) and the clarity was gin clear!

Spotted a few fish rising in some back eddies, bright red bows! Thought they were brookies at first, just bright red bows! Really added to the majesty of the area. Spotted plenty of fish, a couple pushing 18"! great to see in this area.

SO we got to chuckin some flies, Tangler picked up on the new technique pretty quick, and had tied up his first Czech Nymphs as well to test out.... they worked! Got into a couple pools that kicked out some beautiful 13-16" bows! That completed Tanglers homerun : 1) learning a new method of fishing, 2) Tying some specialized flies he'd never done before, and 3) catching fish on them using the new technique! Very cool day.

Walked about a mile or so of water, and as the day progressed, the snow stopped, the wind died and the sun came out. Really made for a near perfect day on the water. Enjoyed the heck out of it!!

Some pix :

One of the larger bows, landed a few of them around 16"+
Tangler stalking a few real nice fishPerhaps the most vibrantly colored Brown i've seen, taken on the Brown Suga (of course)! The fish in this area are amazingly colored!
Tangler with another good size Bow, bout 14-15
On the way out, there was a good herd of Mulies and Elk on a hillside


I couldn't have put it better myself, he nailed it!

Side notes:
-"brown suga" is a fly that Jim ties that has an ever-growing reputation for slaying brown trout.
-"Mulie" is a nickname for the Colorado mule deer. Seeing them mixed with a herd of Elk was a special surprise indeed. Even the animals are laid back here.

Being taught how to CZN by Jim felt like the scene in The Matrix when they upload the martial arts to Keanu Reeves' brain and he turns to the camera and says, "I know Kung Fu". Except, I know Czech Nymph.

I'm really grateful I got to be tutored by a master in the privileged art of CZN. The on-water direction is irreplaceable, and the technique is deadly.


Background on the "Czech Nymph":

It was developed by one of the European National fly fishing teams for international competition. The technique was so effective that others started copying it. Apparently several countries have claimed credit for method, one of which is the Czech Republic. You will also hear people referring to Euro Nymphing.

The purpose was to have a fly weighted within the body (because in tournament fly fishing no visible beads or weights are permitted) using lead, and to have direct contact between the fly and the rod at all times. The direct contact was beneficial because they fished for grayling which are notorious for very soft and difficult to detect takes.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Czech Nymphing

Making a head first dive into a new technique: Czech nymphing. The technique is quietly discussed in online forums, and I've heard multiple, first hand accounts of glory accrued from it's application. After fishing the St. Vrain, along with another "Stream X" that I frequent, I decided to make the move to adopt the method.

The basic idea behind the madness is 3 heavy nymphs tumbling along the bottom of the stream bed. I'm tying them up tonight and I will test them on some places that I have in mind on Saturday. I don't have too high of hopes since it will be my first time tying these flies and using the Czech nymphing technique so there may be a lot of trial and error.

Very stoked to add this to my aresonal though!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

St. Vrain in the membrain

The St. Vrain is a river about 15 min. North out of Boulder that runs through a small, country town called Lyons. Oddly enough, I had never fished it until today. This is largely in part because whenever I drove past it the section I saw was always a low flow. I knew if I went 15 more minutes up the mountain to Estes I could hit the Big Thompson tailwater.

So I get a tip from a guy online about a specific section to fish. I look it up on my topo map and it seems legit. The hike in is about 2 miles and it's in a narrow canyon. That alone deters great numbers of other anglers. This specific stretch is a whole different beast from what is viewed from Lyons.

*trekking into the gorge*

The river is in a narrow canyon with very high, smooth cliffs. It also sports huge, smooth boulders. It all looked very similar to the canyon walls of a hike up Mt. Evan I once did. I had been told that the walls there on Mt. Evans looked like that due to glaciation.

...Anyway, I'll start with birds since I did last time. I've really started to enjoy the presence of the birds all around me while I fish. They are very interesting to observe. Every time I see a bird I've never come across before I feel like I'm discovering a new species.

I came around a bend and ran into a pair of Merganser ducks swimming around in a pool. The female has a red head with spiked back hair, and they both have bright white bellies.

I also saw an American Dipper. These birds jump around on the rocks of the stream and then dive underwater to eat the same insects the trout do. They're like a big flashing light informing that there is insect action underwater

The fishing was strange. I saw no fish feeding, holding, or spooked for the first hour. I was running an elk hair caddis I tied with two droppers. There were brown caddis naturals all over the boulders around the stream.

Finally, I got a lightning fast take from a dark over-sized brown on the caddis. The brown was much bigger of a trout than I expected and it caught me very off guard. The colors were a deep golden brown.

About another hour went by without spotting a single trout. I then came up on a nice deep , gushing pool in which I had to make an awkward cross current cast. The instant the caddis hit the water it was slammed by another brown of similar proportions. This one fought very hard and made me have to play it around the boulders and overhangs to avoid its attempts at hanging me up. Both takes were aggressive and decisive. I was able to cleanly se tthe hook in the corner of the mouth both times.
This brown had scars on its mouth and lower jaw from the rock bottom of the stream. These markings are usually on older, bigger, and wiser trout. In addition, the jaw was very strong and the entire body was very muscular.

As I worked my way upstream a bit more I realized that my arms were getting burned. I had only brought a tee shirt and had nothing to cover them up with, so i was forced to change back into my hiking gear and head out.

It's a good thing I left when I did because my arms are both burned as hell right now. I think the sun was reflecting off the water and hitting them from the underside as well. I learned a lesson the hard way, as usual.

This is a unique stretch of river. I wasn't able to spot a single trout, but I caught two of very nice size relative to the size of the water. They were both very wild and dominant fish. Maybe this stream is only inhabited by wary, selective, big trout.

I stumbled across the remains of a big horn sheep out there... cat food?
*24 CFS -- Nice flow, but wouldn't mind seeing it up near 60.
*Weather was bluebird, need to try it in different weather.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Colorado River

I went on a solo mission to a stretch of the Colorado River today that J was kind enough to point me to. It was at an area near Grandby, I can't disclose any details beyond that due to a code of confidentiality.

Wow, what a beautiful place. The wild life was thriving there. Right when I stepped into the water a hawk flew over the river that was as big as an owl. I have never seen that type of hawk before. There were also animal droppings I have never seen before along with a jamboree of different footprints scampering along the shoreline in the snow. I kept scanning the mountain faces in hopes for a unique animal.
The section of water that I dropped in on had pretty much every feature in the book. There were slow, deep sections, shallow riffles, deep riffles, pools, and fanning tails all within eye sight of where I was standing. The water was a greenish opaque color which is actually a nice change from the recent winter's gin-clear because the trout are less alert to an angler's presence.

I got to use my new RIO WF5F line for the first time today. It was awesome! No sinking.

(On a side note, I went fishing twice after work at Boulder Creek with my new RIO DT4F line earlier this week and it was up to par as well. Also, my brother finally got a pair of waders and boots. He will really be able to fish now. It was just in time too because my waders sprung a leak in the left thigh so I was able to use his. My boots are going to shred to pieces any day now too. It's insane how many miles/hours I've put that gear through already.)

What a difference it makes to have line that I don't have to fight - in cohesion with the upgraded drying system my Dad hooked me up with. Them browns didn't stand a chance. I managed 4 browns before the wind kicked up so hard that I was "casting" by just letting my line fly in the air like a kite upstream, and then just resting it down to the water. That isn't very fun. Plus, the guides on my rod kept closing up with ice and I'd have to chip it out with my fingers.
Needless to say, I didn't much enjoy that combination of complications. It's all good though, I had a great time there and spent about half the time just wandering around the shore looking at the views and wildlife. I saw another mountain bluebird, about 25 robins and about 15 mule deer. Colorado sure isn't short of impressive wildlife. I can't wait for the day I run into a mountain lion... I think.

*10 CFS -- needs to be much higher. At least 100.
*Weather was sunny and very windy.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Goodbye Orvis Wonderline

So I read a post on the Colorado Fisherman message board talking about how they dislike their Orvis Wonderline a few weeks ago. They said that the tip of the line sinks. There were unanimous posts following this one singing to the same tune and referencing how they replaced it with RIO.

I especially enjoyed this one:

"In my experience, Wonderline is one of the worst lines I have ever used. I'm as big fan of Orvis, but I use Rio lines, they seem to be greatly superior. I have a Wonderline on my 4wt. I have to constantly dress it and clean it...I don't have to maintain my Rio lines (Or even my cheap Cabelas line) as much.

Overpriced! I would never buy one again.


Now, in forum speak this is harsh jargon towards a piece of equipment in which I own. At the end he says, "RIO FTW" in which he is referencing the superiority of RIO brand fly line, and then carelessly throwing in a devastating blow of "For The Win".

Come to think of it, I own 2 Orvis Wonderline Advantage lines, and had an additional one stolen from me a few years back. At $60 a piece I've spent $180 on this product.

The last few times I've gone fishing I was catching myself doing constant, upwards line mends in attempt to counteract the sinking of the tip of my line. It was a motion I had accepted as my reality of dry fishing, and a motion that was causing twitches of drag on my fly while drifting through the strike zone.

One of the guys also mentioned that if you send the line back to Orvis they will refund it. They recently replaced my broken Clearwater Classic rod with the thoroughly superior Clearwater II free of charge, no questions asked.

Hell, this is on their website:

The Orvis 100% Satisfaction Guarantee

For over 150 years we have offered the strongest return policy in the business. We will refund your money on any purchase that isn't 100% satisfactory -- any time, for any reason. It's that simple.

...and it's not hidden.

I'd also like to mention that I own 2 Orvis rods and have bought 4 Orvis reels and one spool, two of which were stolen from me. (getting my gear jacked still bothers me to this day... can you tell?)

I love their rod and reel products, but the line don't cut it. I spontaneously shipped my 2 lines of Wonderline back to Orvis today for refund, and bought two new lines of RIO at Front Range Anglers here in Boulder on my lunch break. I'm what they call a "buyer" in the customer service industry.

When I walk into a store it's because I want a product that they have. The only reason I'm here is because I can get it faster from you than I can through ordering online. Otherwise, I would have ordered it in the middle of the night last night when I reached the verdict of what had to be done. I have done the research, I'm here to buy, please show me to the register.

They had to order the line from Denver because they didn't have want I wanted there. I left my reel with 2 spools at the shop and they will wind the line and then mail it to me.

I made the move so seamlessly because I recently made the switch from Orvis' mono leader and tippet to RIO's fluro leader and tippet. That shit is expensive!

However, I have been consistently catching a bigger and bigger average size of trout. Lets face it, I'm hunting trophy trout, and like it or not, these trout are big because not many anglers have been able to fool them. It's so greatly a matter of just being informed. A matter of always placing yourself in a position and a mindset to adapt new tactics, and to constantly refine old ones. And a matter of spending a little dough on gear for performance.

After Orvis refunds me for the Wonderline I will have spent $25 for the dual RIO line upgrade. That sounds good to me. I spent more than that on a set of RIO fluro Leaders.

And all of this because of a few moments of drag on a fly the size a sunflower seed. Curious.

I purchased a RIO Double Taper Selective Trout II line for my very full action 4 weight, and a RIO Weight Forward Gold line for my mid-flex 5 weight. I use the Orvis BBS III reel for both.

Oh yeah, my Dad and Step-mom were visiting town this weekend and bought me some dry shake in combo with a Samadou drying pad as an upgrade from my floatant goo. I learned this drying method from fishing with J. I'm confident that the high ride of his drys was getting him into more fish than my low riding dry. Being super dry will also be very beneficial when dropping two nymphs below. It allows a dry to serve as a very reliable indicator, as well as having a chance for getting a strike rather than a chance for scaring trout away like a big neon indicator might.

The Samadou is so hot that the guide who was trying to solicit me as a client in the Estes fly shop stepped in line behind me to buy one for himself. Hah.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

It's gonna be painful

My Dad and step-mom are coming into town to visit for the weekend. It's gonna be nice to see them and to show off the area. There's lots of things to do to entertain them. They'll love it.

However, this means I won't be able to fish this weekend coming up. I did two full days this past Saturday and Sunday in attempt to wash my system clean for as long as possible. Didn't work very well. I'm fiending hardcore as usual and it's only Tuesday. That phenomenal day on Sunday was just gas on the fire.

I drove to Lyons on my lunch break today and bought a limited (600 person) pass to a lake about 20. min from Boulder for this year. We'll call it BURP lake. It's a 2 mile hike to the lake from the closest parking area, artificial/single hook only, catch and release only, no boating or any type of floating, and another 3 mile hike to the lake's inlet. All these regulations along with the limited amount of passes and "long" hiking excites me. The lake should be low pressure with potential for big trout. The lake is open for fishing May 1 - October 31.