Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sun, Snow, Trout & Blood

-Pretty much all photos by Nick Turner

Meet up with The Boogieman for some fishing Friday night. Always a pleasure.


We start pounding some familiar areas of river with streamers. Good omen.

Night Bow

underwater night bow

She hit this simple concoction of marabou, lead, and tungsten:


Saturday my brother, The Boogieman, and I meet up with Kevin. The suns a shinin, the waters a sparklin, and we find ourselves wonderfully secluded.

Mountain walk


We stumble upon a remnant of some sort placed right in the middle of an apparant game trail convergence judging by the tracks of animals large and small littering the snow.


25 yards away on the far bank of the river...

bloody snow

Bloody Hairy Mess

The snow is still dripping blood, we must have just missed breakfast. Or, rather, missed being breakfast.

A few hours in we come across a deep bend. The water is tropic clear and the sun is a shinin' jes riight so you can see right down in there... yet there appears to be layers of different currents that are screening the rocks on the bottom with a blurred effect much like heat rising off hot pavement. Down in there, tight to the very bottom, are a pair of lime and pink stripes flexing and bending in illusion, and slightly shifting from side to side. The opposite bank is lined with bushes reaching out over the area in which a proper drift needs to land.

My first cast goes out and wraps around a twig, I hold my breath, then it miraculously flings itself off in that way that happens about one out of fifty times. I play a few casts short to be safe of the bush and see if I can get a hit, but the flies float through untouched. I go for the gold and shoot for the gap between the bushes. Luck would have it the line lays down perfect.

A Cutbow smacks the #6 vladi worm.

female cutbow

It's pretty rare to get storybook setups like that so I take particular joy in recounting it.

Moments later Kevin sticks a bow.

Kevin bow rod

We jump in the truck and relocate.

rods car

bow underwater swim

We all start tossing streamers and The Boogieman hooks into something right away.

mack streamer

Soon after I stick one on a streamer.

mack purp bugger

underwater mack

We thought that these fish were just strange looking browns but after reviewing the photos an esteemed colleague of mine pointed out that these fish are in fact little Mackinaw, a.k.a Lake Trout! This was a new species to add to the list for both Ryan and me. Gotta love gettin some strange!

Kevin picks up another mack small white bugger.

mack dangle

Then, Kevin hooks into the fish of the day. She put up a hell of a fight taking him through several pools and over several falls, but he netted her before she got sucked under the bridge.

Kevin Pig

pig cheek

Good Meeting you Kevin. I'm sure we'll be fishing again.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Is it Spring yet?

Photos by Nick Turner



Some sleepy Elk


It's cold, cold, oh so cold. Ice blooms from the guides and climbs the rod itself like some horror film ivy that's alive.

Dog don't mind.

Matter of fact, one could argue that Bosco is outright thrilled with the temperature.

Brett picks up a female threading his flies through chunks of ice.

Things aren't warming up and the ice just isn't flushing out, so we relocate and explore some water completely new to me. We come across a midge hatch, and even some risers are spotted, but we opt to work some deep runs.

A mutant male bow clobbers a vladi worm.


There's not enough daylight to attempt underwater photography with the new waterproof camera, but I try a first time trial run with filming a release.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

"You Cold?"

This trip report was written exactly one year ago in January 2009. For reasons that don't matter at this point, I did not post it to TANGLER.Blogspot at the time. Since it's January again, it has regained its relevance. In my last post I mentioned that -5 degrees is my absolute limit for cold temperatures when fishing... this was the morning when I discovered that limit.


Winter fly fishing is not for the faint of heart. Nor is it for the faint of blood circulation to the feet. However, Winter fishing does have its subtle pleasures. The first of which is always the sunrise. I try to make a point to photograph first light on my way to every fishing destination. It's a new day, a new chance, and the first promise of the peaceful time on the water that lies ahead.

I jump out of the truck to take my photo of the horizon and I'm not wearing my shell. The very soul of Winter passes through my fleece and sends me diving back into the cab. It seemed colder than usual.

My buddy, Jason, and I park the truck, gear up, and get on the move. The moisture lining my nostrils instantly freezes which isn't the most uncommon thing in Colorado. On the bright side, you don't have to deal with a runny nose. I begin to wonder just how cold it really is as the tip of my nose and my pinkie fingers start executing electric twangs of pain.

"You cold?" I ask Jason over my shoulder as we trudge along the snowy bank of the river.

He responds with some slurry syllables followed by a grunt and a sharp gasp. It's incoherent, but undoubtedly in affirmation.

We trek on and finally arrive at the hole where a robust rainbow stole my fly, tippet, and heart the prior weekend. The river is gushing steam and chunks of ice are clumsily bobbing the surface. Some brief, panicky thoughts of 'why am I here so early, is it too early?' flash through my mind. I brush it off, strip out some line, and start working the hole. I'm noticing that my line is seemingly getting heavier with every cast, like it's turning to lead. I inspect my rig and discover that my line, leader, split-shot and flies are coated in a rather thick sheath of ice. Now I've had my guides freeze up just as much as the next guy, but solid ice all the way through the rig and encasing the flies under water? This was a new one to me.

My miracle nymph looking less than miraculous in its ice coffin.

Right about then, Jason tells me that he's got a knot... and it froze, and he's going back to the truck to eat some food. I briskly jump out of the water without protest and walk back with him. My feet have never been so cold. The pain was no longer limited to my feet, it had moved into my shins. The day was forecasted to be relatively nice with highs in the 40's, but the cloud cover just wouldn't move out. It even looked like a storm was starting to brew to the West. After about an hour of waiting for the sun to break out and radiate some heat to no avail, we get out of the truck and brave it back over to the spot. This time, the line isn't freezing and we are able to get some actual drifts. Still cold, but at least we're playing ball now. My indicator slightly dips and I connect with a sluggish rainbow. I pose for a photo with an excruciatingly cold hand that took quite some time and about a dozen profanities to bring back into operation.

I wasn't aware, but I dipped my spools of tippet in the water at some point in that first hole. I would find out later.

That first fish must have pleased the river gods because, as if on cue, the clouds evaporated and a blameless blue sky remained.

Jason pulled a brown soon after.

Around midday we did some hiking and explored some new territory.

I'm standing on the bank trying to figure out how in the world to address my cube of ice tippet spools when a ranger glides up on cross country skis with a rambunctious black lab and a grinning, "Howdy."

After some casual conversation and a license check he boasts, "Sure was cold this mornin', was hangin' 'round fifteen below, you know?"

"Oh, wonderful." I reply with a cheery smile and a dollop of sarcasm that only a keen East-Coaster could detect.

He slides off to head upstream and wishes me luck. The black lab gives me one last curious glance and then gallops along through the snow by his master's side. I meander upstream and meet up with Jason. We decide to call it a day and head back to the truck. Sitting on the tailgate we share a good laugh at each other as we take turns trying to pull our frozen waders off of our frozen feet with frozen hands. Just then a train comes passing by up on the canyon wall. I can make out contorted faces pushed up on the windows undoubtedly thinking that those two guys down by that river are crazy, and maybe we are, but all I know is that a freezing cold day of slow fishing is still a Winter day well spent in my book. A perfect day.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

January Tailwater

I've found that my limit for tolerable fishing temperature rides right around the -5 mark. This morning's temp. rode that limit, but we got some quality fishing time in none the less. Toe warmers sandwiched between 2 pairs of smartwool socks are helpful.

Here are some clips of a morning with Brett and his mutt Bosco. Bosco is actually a very good fishing dog. He knows to stay away from the water unless he's right behind or next to you. Most of his time on the shore is spent rooting through the grassy banks for critters, or gazing into the water for fish or crawfish. However, he has been known to occasionally dive head first into the water after intensely gazing in from the bank. I always wonder if he is actually spotting fish or just being tricked by the dancing light...

I shot this with my new Canon Power Shot D10 (Thanks Santa-Mom). This bad boy is waterproof so 2010 will be filled with experimentation with underwater footage and photos. I foresee a learning curve, you have been warned ;)

*I feel obligated to mention that it's never a good idea to lip a trout. It appears as though this bow was wrapped in line and Brett lipped him to get him quickly untangled.