Monday, August 27, 2012

Upper Colorado and the Fraser River

Gore canyon

 I set out this weekend to catch some bigger fish.  I have spent most of the summer exploring small creeks for native fish and fishing the Poudre.  I decided to fish Gore canyon up stream from the Pumphouse put in the Upper Colorado.  I went on a float trip up there in June and caught some really nice browns that mostly went about 13-15 inches.  I got camp set up by 1 and fished until dark.    I tried just about everything I could think of, most two nymph rigs with various larger heavy flies trailing other smaller nymphs.  I didn't have much success.  I caught two smaller browns but nothing of size.  Just before dark at my campsite there were a few risers and I picked up my largest fish of the day (all of 11 inches) on a para Adams.  I did hook a decent sized fish right at the launch by he got off after a few good thrashes.  Almost counts.

I'm sure with more experience in the area I would do better or at a different time of year maybe.  It's still a beautiful place with lots of places to explore.  Gore canyon did have quite a bit of pressure, which I was not expecting way out there.  I saw at least 7 other fisherman along about a mile of river.  Way to crowded for my taste.  However, that probably means there are some big fish to be had if they are eating. 
My camp site right next to the upper colorado. Beautiful.  

Amtrak passengers with a great view of the river.

My next stop was the Fraser river near Tabernash.  I had heard there were big fish to be had around there so I guessed on a spot and ended up getting lucky.  Unfortunately, the Fraser is a slimed cesspool of didymo and algae.     Every rock, branch or log in the river was covered in slime an inch think.  Nearly every cast I had to clean off my flies.  The filth sluffs off in the current and keeps the visibility at about 3 feet.  On top of all that, no cutthroat either.  I caught one big rainbow and one decent brown but will not be going back.  Maybe someday I'll find a beautiful clean mountain stream that has big native fish but for now, that seems impossible, in CO at least.  The rainbow was pretty big though.  I'll have to do some measuring in the photo but the fly I caught her on was a #20 so I might be pretty close to the famed 20/20 club.  
Fraser river.
Looked at a bunch of rocks and there were case building caddis everywhere.  I bet that hatch in May or June is epic.  

Nice brown.  Nice close up of the slime that covers everything too.  

My big Rainbow.  Doesn't look very big in the picture unfortunately.  Sort of curled up in the net.  She was too big for me to get my hand around to lift up. So, yeah, pretty big.

Lots of pictures from a float trip with my buddy down the Colorado.  We floated Pumphouse to Radium.  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

How to tie an Elk Hair Caddis

Sometime switching to a #12 PBR is all that works.....

I recently started to tie flys again and now remember why I stick to nymphs and streamers.  Wrapping hackle is hard, it costs too much and I just can't manage to not crowd the eye on a #18 Parachute Adams.  There is nothing worse than having the right fly that you know would work but you can't tie it on because the eye is totally covered with material.  I found a piece I wrote a while back about tying Elk Hair caddis flies.  There are a few stages in fly tying.  Everyone starts out as a beginner and rarely does anyone become an expert.  I'm pretty much a intermediate tyer which means I can tie serviceable nymphs  buggers and Clousers.  Thats about it.  Here are two versions of how one should go about tying an EHC, one for the beginner and one for the intermediate tyer.

Start with a size 8 2x long heavy gauge nymph hook.  (only hook left in Cabelas fly tying kit)

Wrap half a spoon of tread to coat the hook shank. 

Tie in a purpule marabou tail. (strictly out of habit because all you tie are wooly buggers and purple is the only color that came with the cabelas kit)

Cut off marabou

Tie in copper wire (no extra fine silver)

Tie in brown rooster saddle hackle at the base of the feather that is about 2mm thick.  (Again, the only feathers you have are for wolly buggers and you already tried partrige and that looked dumb)

Wrap saddle hackle forward and tie off. Cut excess and watch it unravel. Rewrap and tie off too far back.

Trim saddle hackle to the right length since the barbules are big enough for a 2/0 pike fly. 

Add 2.7 oz head cement to secure and matte down what you are loosely referring to as hackle

Cut off 3x too much deer hair (whats the difference Elk, Deer? same thing)

Don’t stack the hair.  I know, “what do you mean STACK the hair?” Don’t worry about it you don’t have a stacker anyway.

Don’t trim it just tie it in too close to the eye

Loop twice around like you read and pull down with slight pressure. SNAP

Screw it.


Start with a size 12 dry fly hook.  This is the only size you have and its two sizes too big for the water you fish. 

Don’t use gel spun thread.  I know, “what’s gel spun thread?” You don’t have any. 

Wrap on pearl flash

Tie in wire at bend

Tie in dun cabelas brand bargain dry fly feather back from the eye.  At least it’s the right size…..

Wrap hackle back and secure by wrapping wire forward towards the eye.  Secure wire

Cut elk hair and stack.

Measure and cut to proper length. 

Make two loose wraps around hair pull to secure


You can try this a few times but go ahead and get some GSP.