Winter Light

I like to hunt with my camera as much as a rod and winter is a great time of year to take advantage of all that great reflected light. At last the days are getting longer and brighter here at 8000 feet making it more appealing to be near all that cold water with a camera or a fly rod. Winter is also a great time to day dream while the fly boxes fill back up. I like to take pictures of that kind of crap too.

Here's some of the poop that's been falling from the jaws of life.



Still dig the jig, especially a size #18


Bead head Pheasant Tails in a variety of flavors


Not sure how many RS2's have fallen out of the jaws


Purps

During the summer months the golden hour of photography and the golden hour of fishing cooperate nicely. Winter Trout feed primarily mid day but luckily the low sun angle can provide good light even at lunch. 


I swear they only come that color on THE Eagle River


Mouth full of Pat


THE Eagle River and THE Rainbow Warrior


Not the best composition and the light is all wrong but I never get the fish in the air shots. 

I have been lashing white beads to bugs since I read about how trout see and what color they see the best. Trout see whites and pale yellows best in all lights and depths.
Hot spots are hot. Who says it cant be white.
Mayflies and Stoneflies go through a molting process where they basically out grow their shuck. When they need more room they wriggle out very pale white until they harden and darken up in their new clothes. I'm not sure if bugs do a lot of molting in the winter but white nymphs definitely produce when its cold.
White beads are not just for Snow cones and you can fish them other places than stillwater. Just saying.


Molting Mayfly?


Size #18 John Barr Bend from Umpqua


Pale Yellow Rabbit, dark wing case and black bead


The Roaring Fork has been better than bacon.

For those of you lucky enough to be heading my way in the next few weeks call or email soon. The prime months of March and April are starting to book up. This is especially useful for my front range friends as the weather can change quickly and turn things on or off. Despite the warm days our snow pack in the Colorado River Basin is above 150% so run off could be a doozie if it comes all at once.The weather as of late has included above average temperatures and they are supposed to continue which could give us a nice bump of water to float on earlier than usual. The short fishing report, wade or float is A+. Seriously, get here and get your fish on in between powder days these are every guides favorite days of the year for a reason. 

Carry On

Trout are slightly smarter than stone


I have been trying to learn from people for almost 50 years now and there are certain experiences and conversations that I will never forget. The majority of those conversations came from one man usually during a cup of coffee, very early in the day before the chaos woke, in my "special" place.

The way I remember it, most of the meaningful bombs of wisdom he dropped were in late summer/ early fall when the Northeast humidity loosened its grip and let the early morning, relaxing breeze blow cool. My summers back then were busier than my summers of late (if you can believe that). It always seemed like the first real breath I took after any insanity was on that back deck over looking a ravine of 100 year old Oak trees. It was a place and a time with a person that helped me relax and gain perspective on the complications of my 20's and early 30's. He explained how one day all this serious, end of the world as we know it shit would be side splitting hilarious to look back on.
 God was he right.

I was a handful, so there was a lot of advice for me to choose to believe in or not. Like the quick and easy internet learning path of today. I always listened. I didn't always learn.

One glorious morning with the conversation centered around my financially challenged, non-college educated, yet entrepreneurial business sense; he explained something that has stayed with me to this day.

"Robert.........you just need to be smarter than your product"

I was a mason at the time and you might think it would be an easy chore to be smarter than rock, right? Wrong. I had to learn it was not rock at all, but stone before I could make it work for me and not against me. As I stopped fighting it and found out things about how it lived, I found ways to trick the stone into doing what I needed it to. I began to master it and found joy in the time it took to learn even when it felt like hard labor.

With the help of many masters I would go on to out smart wood, tile, and renovating old homes as well - which brings us to fish.

While I will not claim to have mastered the trade of fly fishing, I can say I have learned how to not get the beat down as often. I have listened to many fish masters, some wise and some not; in my long search for THE answer to out smarting fish (my product) with feathers. But; it wasn't until I actually started understanding the proper path to out smarting something with the brain the size of a pea was to put less thought into it; that I would find the secret ways to trick trout into doing what I wanted.


I seriously ask a lot of questions.

Trout are only slightly smarter than stone but none the less I struggled for a long, long time in our battle of wits. So after nearly 30 years of paying my dues, as well as really close attention, I now realize they are pretty predictable creatures and the days I over think things, usually are the forgettable ones. Dumb things down, use your pea sized brain, start thinking like a trout and the answers will come but, you have to find joy in the process of chipping at this giant stone we call fly fishing first; for the knowledge to find you.

In today's day and age, patiently learning one million tricky little things without a reset button is not a comfortable or common way of going about things. The countless dirty tricks required to fool stupid trout can't be learned quickly or on this computer machine. Going home after a suck show and beating your head against a wall wondering about the what's, why's and where's is not going to bring you closer to the light either. Time and experience will learn you that ultimately its the power and mood of mother river that decides who wins and when. No one can out smart that so stop trying to over think it and get some sleep.  



I promise when you look back at the struggle you will find it side splitting hilarious how easy it really was.

Happy Birthday month KMB, I miss you. RIP 

Carry On







New Years Resolution

New Water Policy for 2017 !!!

Every single one of you who leave half empty water bottles in my boat or truck this year will be forced to finish it before we part ways.



Just kidding.

But there will no longer be bottled water served on my guided trips. This little drink toss game ( I toss you a bottled water and you toss half down and leave the rest) has to end. I just can't be part of the problem anymore and I hope all of you understand and if you don't here are some of the facts.

*Bottles used to package water take over 1,000 years to bio-degrade and if incinerated, they produce toxic fumes. It is estimated that over 80% of all single-use water bottles used in the U.S. simply become litter.

*Recycling is only feasible in limited circumstances because only PET bottles can be recycled. All other bottles are discarded. Only 1 out of 5 bottles are sent to the recycle bin

*U.S. landfills contain over 2 million tons of discarded water bottles alone

*It takes over 1.5 million barrels of oil to meet the demand of U.S. water bottle manufacturing

*It is estimated that 3 liters of water is used to package 1 liter of bottled water

*Bottled water is not safer than tap water. In fact, more than half of all bottled water comes from the tap.

*Bottled water can cost up to $8 per gallon, compared to fractions of a penny from your tap. That makes bottled water thousands of times more expensive than tap water.

* Tap water is tested more frequently than bottled water. In fact, in the United States, our drinking water is continuously monitored and treated according to federal standards. If local tap water is unsafe then water companies are obligated, under federal law, to notify the public.





As with anything else there are going to be a right and a left to this decision. Some people might think I am cutting costs and maybe messing with their health and to they I say.....

* Don't like my new water policy? You can bring your own along

* You people trust me with your lives every day I put you in that boat. I hope you can trust me to clean those re-usable bottles and provide quality drinking water.

* I like most of you. I love my family. The water for both comes from the same tap.

* Minturn tap water is simply delicious.


Lets all do a little more this year to save water and reduce our personal carbon footprint.

Carry On, just don't carry a bottled water.


Redfords Butt Crack

I have a serious problem.
I can't get Redford's Butt Crack off my mind.

I am guilty of not only thinking about it when I wake but I have been playing with it, poking at it and tweaking it and then working it hard all day in an attempt to wreck it. Something tasty comes to my attention and I have to have it, lots of it, like crack 😝

Redford's Butt Crack has me spinning out of control this Fall.

I just can't be on the outside looking in feeling like I am missing something hottt, so when I heard how much play Redford's Butt Crack was getting I had to figure out how to get a look at it and maybe start messing around with it before everybody hears about it.



Sorry cupcake, this is not about Robert Redford or his ass.
This is all about Duane Redford's Butt Crack Baetis and it's crushability during a BWO occurrence.


Duane Redford's Butt Crack Baetis with a Bobber twist....

Guide, Coach, Author and Good Friend Duane Redford is one of the fishiest dudes I have had the pleasure to trade lies with. His attention to detail makes him a next level player in a world where observation rules who wins consistently. D man and I have only been trading next level crap for a few years now but it is always quality poop worth trying on the river and at the vise.

"I don't know what I don't know about fly fishing yet" says Duane at most of his speaking engagements.
That speaks volumes when our club has so many self proclaimed experts. The guy continues to learn and I need that shit piled up around me so I get better too.

You can get all the stink too!
Duanes Blog, The Fly Fishers Playbook

Check out Duanes Books, The Flyfishers Playbook, First and second editions

Duanes speaking schedule is usually posted here on Fly Fishers Playbook facebook page.


This whole thing started with little bits of white foam and beads that started getting stuck to flies dropping off the vises of Redford, Fly Doctors Scott Thompson, Alex Forsberg and myself two summers ago. Trout see the color white extremely well but sometimes the bead was too much so we started tagging white foam to all sorts of nymphs with great success. 


Two bits of white has to better than one. D man 's abdomen and tail is like the picture. I am responsible for the  Hare's Ice Dubbing Grey, his is a touch different.

This things still under wraps per say. He's not giving up his crack to just anybody as it is currently under consideration by a major fly distributor but he thought it would be safe here since there is only four or five of you who read this pile of scat..  


A couple of strands of  some crystal braid help to form the hair in the crack.
 I used rootbeer, Duane don't


I have even busted out the beads for this hot little piece of....

What? It helped it get DEEP.

This has started to go to far.

Seriously, give this little concept a try next time you are out parked on some picky BWO eaters and hopefully look for it in your favorite fly shop soon.

Carry On Perverts


The Politics of Fly Fishing


I don't travel to the big city of Denver very often, so when I do I use a guide. I have no problem admitting to giving up the drivers seat to my lady as soon as the land flattens and the traffic starts to resemble a Trico swarm. Kit loves the big city and doesn't mind driving once I am overwhelmed. Someone once said "Listen and let your guide work" or relax and let all the responsibility ride on the shoulders of someone who's comfortable with the surroundings. I try.
So after checking into our favorite down town hotel Thursday evening we looked for our first guide of the evening to take us to the Project Healing Waters auction. There outside the hotel sat six taxi cabs, all empty except one. My tortuous adventure would start as soon as I knocked on the window and politely asked if he was on duty.
After what seemed like 20 minutes "Ted" finally got the window rolled down so I could ask if he would take us to Mile High Station and the many beers we were going to partake in for an extremely good cause.
When he explained he "didn't know where that was" I thought he must be joking.
"What the hell is a rookie doing out here in the middle of downtown and how the hell did I get him? I thought.
I had a bad feeling my guide had no idea how to row and thought about changing boats but I felt like I might be violating some sort of cancellation policy so I stayed with my drift. This was his office after all so I started my ride with high confidence he would find the damn take out which we were told was only a short walk away. By the end of my ride I would be thoroughly convinced  I have eaten strips of bacon that were smarter than that cab driver.
The 1.5 miles took one professional gps unit, 2.5 human brains, two smart phones and 25 minutes to complete mostly due to the unexpected demonstration of  hate literally blocking the one safe route to my night of fun. Thousands of pissed off people with their political panties in a bunch with nothing better to do than get together and lick each others wounds forced us to make three more wrong turns and end up lost in an empty dark parking lot under the interstate. We would see riot gear before our night ended.
What were they trying to accomplish other than confuse Siri and my cabbie's already shaky sense of direction?  It's a free country and if you want to march around with a blow horn and a sign that's your right. Feel free to show your emotion and contempt in public even if it's pointless. Seems that's part of the American way thing we all have a right to.

It got me thinking how much time we as a society spend on hate and how once again real life mirrors fly fishing in my simple mind.
Fly Fisher People love to be hateful, political, demonstrative assholes as well. especially when someone else is doing or using or looking different than their parties beliefs.

I'm not sure exactly how our party lines are aligned but I know for a fact we have them.
Are the Republicans anti worm?
Do Democrats hate rafts?
Are Conservatives Dry Fly snobs?
Do the liberals fish junk one day and bugs another?
Pretty sure the Millennial's support Tenkara.

Our little club has some significant lines drawn in the sand and it often seems there is a bunch of hollering, finger pointing and lobbying going on justifying some small nuance of the art that just comes across as hateful noise.
There is Rod hate, Boat hate, Guide hate, Client hate, Fly Shop hate, Private Water hate, Bobber hate, Comp hate, Stocker hate (guilty) and my all time favorite, Fly hate, just to name a few.


"Trib Nuts"made beads a fly when they were lashed to the hook

You all know the fly hater; That dude who will never use a streamer, the misguided fool who doesn't fish eggs or worms and has no problem calling you a cheater for doing it that way. Get a sign, start a petition but trout eat smaller trout, eggs and worms, I approve this message.



My party cares not what color your squirm is.

Lets debate.
"I hate Squirmy" say some anglers.
"Why? You have a box of San Juan worms in your pack" say I.
The confused change of stance come back sounds like, "Yeah, well Squirmies fall apart"
In the right situation, in the right conditions, in the right color with the proper drift and a great angler on the stick the squirmy always out performs the San Juan. Serious, that's my vague, drawn out, non committal, political take on that matter.
Yes it falls apart. Save the hook and set aside 15 seconds to tie another when you get home. Helps to balance the budget.



The Mop. I'm going to get some materials in a blond color and call it Trump next year

Recently there was quite a stir in the force regarding a particular fly created from a mop. People all up in arms, protesting like it was a bead head in the early eighties or something. Getting all political on it is again pointless. It was created at a vise by putting material on a bare hook with thread and then tied to some tippet attached to fly line and rod thus making it a fly. That shit is in the constitution of fly fishing somewhere. It's been voted on.


I am proud to be affiliated with the Egg Party


Carry On Haters
Breathe America




Fly Tying for BOB

Tying season is officially underway, so bring your bags of dead bird and some game and tie for BOB.


Joe, a vet who fishes with Project Healing Waters Denver......not BOB.

I will be hosting Underground Tying nights here in the Eagle River Valley (we might stray further) all winter long with the hopes of filling a fly box with filth from some of the best tyers I know. At the end I hope we can auction off the box of  Black Op Bugs at a swank Project Healing Waters event sometime next year.
We may even have a special guest or two.


Tie Big

Underground Tying Nights (because the first one will probably be held in my dark basement apartment) will be twice a month starting soon and will require an RSVP if you are tying. If you just want to watch and learn please feel free to come and soak up some dirty tricks. Bring a friend, your kid or your lady. Swapping is encouraged (Flies).
There is no theme. Just bring your twisted ideas and spin a dozen for a great cause as we share some stories and a legal beverage or two while we try and take the edge off the winter months.


Tie small

Locally we have some incredible talent on the vise and I know most of you well enough to know a bribe is probably necessary to get you to show up. Umpqua has been very good to me and I plan to hand out goodies weekly to the best fly of the night.


 Swag

 I hope to get things rolling before the holidays and the venue will be different each week. We could be held up in a fire station, town hall, brew pub or some shed in Gypsum so stay tuned, maybe even look for an email from me about this crap.


Carry On

Fall BWO's

CRIP KEEPER 2.0
Years ago I started tying a bug I called the Crip Keeper, check out the video from 2013. I love fishing cripples during the PMD hatch as they are notorious for not being very successful at emerging. A stuck in the shuck imitation just under the surface has paid many a truck payment for me especially during a heavy hatch.
Since the Fall Baetis hatch is in full swing I figured I would tinker with the old pattern and make it look like a BWO that didn't quite make it. I have tied a few with a trailing shuck but the traditional abdomen and tails seem to work better. The wings are burnt swiss straw tied spinner style over some partridge to keep them out to the side which helps keep the profile. The wings can be a bit delicate and after a fish or two one or both of them become rather tattered or are pulled off with hemos. By putting the partridge under the wings you are left with a more traditional nymph profile once the wings wear out their welcome.


 The body of the fly is a stripped peacock herl from Natures Spirit that is dyed Blue Wing Olive. I coat the abdomen with UV Hydro. I coat the wing case with Fluorescing UV Clear for a touch of bling only the fish see.


This fly has been doing most of it's damage in the riffles. That could be because thats where all the fish are right now though. I have been running it number two in a three fly rig behind something heavier like a Walts Worm, Bareback Pats or a larger Caddis Larva through riffles that are no more than two feet deep with great success.

Showing off the new art work for the business. For now this is where the money from guiding will be funneled into with high hopes for a boat repair division in the near future

Check out the details for Belize 2017

That's all I got knuckleheads, go fish.

Carry On