Dedicated to the relentless pursuit of fish on the fly. Welcome to the obsession, I hope you enjoy the pics and ramblings. If you like what you see (or really don't), feel free to drop me an email at And when you're done, get your waders on and get out there, cause the only way to catch 'em is with your bug in the water.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Rainbows Again

Mark and I headed out today to some seldom fished water and while it wasn't exactly the best all day, there were a few highlights.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Well, it was slow going most of the day today, but....

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Slayin It

Here we go, day three in a row just KILLING IT! Josh and I headed out and hit the river today despite the nasty little snowstorm that rolled in and once again, it was silly good. The weather cleared just in time for the fish to start hitting. Old Slim didn't make an appearance but his buddy the fatass cutty decided to give Josh a run for his money. I was beginning to wonder if he was going to chew through the leader it took so long. The action was pretty constant, mostly browns in the 14-18" range with a couple of seriously hyper bows thrown in for good measure. Josh had to turn in early, so I headed down to another spot and proceeded to watch brown after brown taildance like crazy upon being hooked. It was ridiculous. After seven browns in the 16-20" range landed and several more lost, I spent almost two hours fishing to a monster bow that was posted up on a sandbar. I never would have thought that making an 80' cast with a nymph rig would be a good idea, but it was about the only chance I had. Unfortunately, I just couldn't get a good drift to him and eventually he moved off. I can't really complain, though, all told it was an awesome day.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Aah, the hog farm. Swarms of chironomids buzzing in your ears, baitfish zinging along the surface, and it's March. It just doesn't seem right. Josh Hattan and I decided to check it out and while we didn't find any hogs this time, we did find some fun little piggies. No sooner had I said something about the possibility of winter kill than a head broke the surface and we knew it was on. We hit a bunch of absurdly hard-fighting bows on leeches and even broke out my old go-to chironomid rig for some, shall we say, relaxed fishing. It turned out to be the chironomids that cleaned house. Aah, stillwater, and here I thought I'd have to wait for May.

Granted it's way too early for stillwater in my opinion, but you take what you can get and you have to throw what they're eating. And when they're eating chironomids things can be either very easy or very frustrating. While some folks frown upon the style in which I fish these big midges, I find it to be quite effective. Particularly if you're looking for that big boy. I'll get back to that in a bit. Since I fish these bugs almost exclusively in still water, good fluorocarbon is mandatory. (This wasn't intended to be another shameless plug for Rio, but again, Fluoroflex Plus is the only thing I'll even think of using. That stuff is amazing.) I'll start with a mono leader, typically 9ft. 3x tapered. I'll tie about four feet of 3-4x fluoro to this with a triple surgeon's knot. At the end of this I'll tie another piece of tippet and make sure to leave a fairly long tag end at the knot. The first bug goes on the tag end. This makes sure that it is free to move in the water and isn't being pulled down by the rest of my rig. I then repeat this step at the end of the tippet, add a second bug, and tie the third at the end of it all. This system allows me to cover different depths with each fly to find out where the fish are feeding. As usual, I try to make the bottom fly the heaviest to help in casting. When you start pushing 20+ feet of leader it makes a huge difference. Which brings me to the next step. I attach an indicator somewhere above the whole mess and adjust it according to how deep I want to be. Ideally, there's plenty of leader between the indicator and the fly line so as not to spook fish, part of the reason for making it so long. Once you adjust to casting this setup, it's about as easy as fly fishing gets. I just cast into the wind and let it bob back towards me as if I were fishing a drift on moving water, albeit much slower. Once I've hooked a few and figured out which fly is the preferred meal of the day, I'll usually switch the other two to match it. This simply increases my odds of hooking up. In areas where the action isn't hot and heavy, this can really help.

Ok, some folks are totally anti-indicator. Some purists scoff at the idea of indicators on rivers, let alone lakes. That's fine, more fish for me. Chironomids are just big midges. The next time you notice a puddle full of mosquito larvae (also midges), watch what they're doing. Chances are they're just sitting in the water wiggling. By adding an indicator, you use the natural surface ripple to replicate this effect. Hmmmm, aren't those purist guys all about imitation? If you really want to strip your flies or are fishing a competition where the no indicator rule is in effect, you'll quickly find that to be productive takes an insane amount of patience. As slow as humanly possible is usually a good way to think about it. Although a bit of a departure from my normal style, I prefer to sit back and relax with these bugs.

Besides the fact that I catch more fish this way, there are a number of reasons I like this system. The hook orientation in the water is such that the flies sit with the hook point facing directly up. This greatly reduces missed takes due to the fly being pulled out of the fish's mouth sideways, a la streamers. When you set it, the hook is driven directly into the upper jaw, so I set firmly. Most of the fish I catch this way get it right in the front of the mouth, which I honestly think is a better place for a piercing than the softer, more delicate corners of the jaw or the tongue. If you're fishing barbed hooks, the top of the jaw sustains much less damage in removing the hook and during the fight than most other places do. And no B.S., I've only ever lost one fish due to the hook coming out with this system. Rigging the flies independently on their own tippets greatly reduces the chance of a fish trying to take the fly and bumping a tippet that is tied to the bend, as is fairly common in rigging multiples. This can simply prevent the fish from taking the fly in. Many times while stripping flies, the fish will have to chase it down and the take exerts more force against the leader, ergo, a higher probably of breaking off. Most of the fish that I've hooked on my setup seem to be cruising and lazily munching whatever they swim towards. Larger, more experienced fish (see, I got back to it) often feed this way so as to exert less energy than, say, a fish chasing down faster prey. It's a matter of sheer quantity of food rather than the size of the food. More often than not, my average fish numbers and size go up when I go to this type of setup over stripped flies.

I've had very good success using this technique on still water of all sorts, from highly eutrophic lakes (think warmish, shallow, weedy, and lots of bugs) to deep, rocky high alpine lakes. If there are trout in there, chances are pretty good that they're going to pick the easier meal over the big one, whether it's a chironomid or some other nymph. Just remember, when you see that indicator plunk under, be ready for a fight. Lake dwellers can be extremely strong fish; in open water, the fastest survive.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Here we go again.....

So it's March 16th and I'm wearing shorts. In Wyoming. I'm not kidding. And what always goes with the first day of wearing shorts? La Cerveza Mas Fina, of course. I don't know why, but a cold Corona is really hard to beat after a day of spanking fish. Oh yeah, I fished with Kyle Somers, one of the Jack Dennis boys today and had a blast knockin the socks off good sized bows and browns. I'm pretty sure at least two of the fish we caught have made prior appearances here, further confirming my suspicion that they're stable residents. Imagine living your life in a 40'x100' area when you could very easily take a cruise as far as you wanted. At least we can provide some excitement for them. I guess with the rivers icing off already this means it's officially trout season again. Oh wait, isn't it always?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bug Lab 2010

After a rather pleasant day on the snake that we spent nailing about a billion whitefish and a few cuts, Mark and I decided it was time to get serious. We converted the dining room into the bug lab and got busy. It's amazing how a little organization can lead to more motivation to tie flies. Mark's gearing up for a trip to Texas to beat up on some bass so spinning hair is the order of the day. We're tying up huge hairy topwaters, crawdads, and baitfish like they're going out of style. Mark's even trying a silicone covered bunny strip for a texas worm rig setup.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Further Down the Rabbit Hole

I'm afraid I've created a monster. Mark's started building some rods and is becoming, shall we way, quite addicted to this silly fly fishing game. He's currently working on a 4/5 weight that he's hoping to finish up for this week's trip. While he's doing very well with it, I do get some quality entertainment out of the little oops moments. He'll be sitting there intently working and suddenly blurt out some great exclamation when something blows up. Thinking back to my first attempts at rod building, I don't feel too bad about laughing at him. At least he's got someone looking over his shoulder instead of trying to figure it all out on his own. If only I could have been so lucky...

It looks like another trip down to Utah this week and maybe a quick run up to the Snake, the midges are blowing up around Jackson and it should be great dry action if the weather cooperates.
Quit reading this now and go fishing