Squirmy goes to Belize

As the resorts in the Mountains of central Colorado close for skiing, the work load slows down for a piece, opening the doors for some fun time and after a busy first quarter I sensed the team could use a much deserved break..........In Southern Belize.

Gonna force feed these to a baby Tarpon or two......in theory.

Two of my best buds, Scott Thompson and Anthony Mazza have left Minturn Anglers to pursue a dream in the salt water of Belize. These two fine gents are putting the work in for Blue Horizon Fly Fishing and I am taking the big show on the road next week for a visit with Kitty, The GJMac and yes, I am taking Le Squirm on a vacation. Hope he doesn't melt.

I'm paying Sam to make legs and claws next time.

The fishing with Blue Horizon includes all  equipment as well as flies but you know we couldn't just go empty handed. So after several weeks of sniffing super glue while banging out "BauerMcMerkenToadSliders" and "CrazyGotchaBunnyDecievers" it's time to pack it all up and go for it. 

As with any destination fishin mission,chances are not one of these bugs will be "proper" and we will just end up using the guide's flies but turning a $100 Hareline Order into $500 of worthless Shrimpsicals was super satisfying. 

Time for some Permit.
Wish us luck

Carry On

Fishing with a Yeti

In April 2000 an Eagle Colorado man discovered Bigfoot tracks along the Eagle River while fly fishing. To be honest I am surprised more sightings are not reported by fly fishermen, I always see Yetis and Leprichans on the river.
Read all about it

My friend Yeti Joe showed up in the Meadows the other day for some dry fly fishing (says he will never be caught dead with a bobber rig) and told me that Eagle story was just a big hoax Vail Resorts drummed up. Always trust a Yeti.

Since we were already pillaging his hole he decided to help me guide for a minute. 

Sightings 15 years ago were always during warmer months when Sqwatch was comfortable wet wading. Recently the Ol Fella has been seen during colder weather thanks to his new Simms waders and boots from Minturn Anglers.

Get your kids off the couch and maybe experience something REAL for a change.

Thanks Yeti, great seeing you again, till next time you hairy bastard.

Carry On

Don't let your Dog turn into a Dick

There has been a dangerous virus spreading through fly shops that can mess with the natural evolution of our shop staff or shop dogs as we refer to them. If you are aware of what to look for it's treatable. Let me help.

I have worked around a few Fly Shops, visited them in 18 states, a few in foreign countries and every single shop, big or small has one, a Shop Dog. They come in all shapes and sizes, some smart enough to sit, stay or fetch, some not. The Shop Dog is obedient, wide eyed, helpful and eager. They can be so much fun to play with! and you really don't have to pay them much when you bring them on raw like some shops love to do. They show up early and excited, ready for an incredible day on their dream job. They are into everything, happily doing the little things to please everyone and most importantly they don't make much noise. Heck in the beginning they even like the broom, the phone and putting away waders. They love everything, everybody, clients and guides alike. Like a good ol Labrador.

Somewhere along the way the little Shop Dog grows cocky and morphs into a Shop Monkey. This can happen in a week or a few years and thankfully not all dogs turn into Monkeys. This stage almost never involves a raise in pay but rather a self imposed promotion based on the fact it has become comfortable with the circus that is working in. The Shop Monkey performs cool tricks to disguise the fact it doesn't actually know anything but is hungry to be seen. The Monkey no longer wanders the shop helpfully, it just sits on the stool behind the counter trying to be funny. Shop owners and managers who know of the curse and recognize it's on set can use Monkeys for their gain. They can manipulate or convince a loyal Monkey to do just about anything, especially stupid things, for as many hours as they want. After all there are lots of Monkeys, when one breaks down there is always another one waiting and wanting to do tricks in a fly shop.

The final and often tragic stage in the Evolution of the Shop Dog is when it, he or she becomes a Shop Dick. The Shop Dick knows everything but stops doing tricks like the Monkey. The Shop Dick knows everything but stops doing the fun things it did as a Dog. It's mostly angry, tired, impatient and is the authority on everything fly fishing even though it hasn't fished in weeks (except behind the shop). The Shop Dick confidently holds court on topics it  knew nothing about before it heard a guide talk about it, problem being most guides who talk to much are the young ones who dont know shit. Bold predictions and even bolder promises based on hearsay and goggle poop begin to dominate it's program, further confusing clients and guides with in ear shot.  Making things up becomes the norm in an effort to build the ego thought necessary for the position when being kind, polite and humble would keep it in biscuits or bananas. The self absorbed Dick is no longer cuddly or cute but still posses the loyalty gene shop owners like, so handling things without a good shock collar should be left to the super experienced. The dick needs to dominate something during its daily grind and they often begin to bark way to much at bigger dogs, sometimes even alienating themselves from the ones that helped potty train it. 

I spent sometime with Jack Dennis way back when and we had a chance to talk about this subject. He explained they hired from within when staffing the shop. It was a form of reward for putting time in with the craft. It was a way to say thank you but still know what you were getting because the guide put in a few years actually doing what he would be selling in the shop or on the phone. Plus dude had a chance to already prove he wasn't a Shop Dick long before sitting on the stool.

Meet Zach, one of the funnest Shop Dogs ever. Never became a Shop Dick

This does not happen to all shop people, some are great at what they do and don't let their ego complicate their day. They are humble and are a huge part of the success generated by that fly shop. Hell some of them even manage to break away and become guides and those that do understand this blog topic more than most because they had to shake off the know it all funk to survive on the water.

Don't let your dog turn into a dick.

Carry On

Better Mouse Traps

It's no secret how important Pats Rubberlegs are to fisherman who have bigger insect life tumbling about their home waters. The movement the legs give this fly is deadly especially in high dirty water when naturals are often swept from safety and into feeding lanes. Most guys in my locker room have them in several sizes and colors, including the "Spicy Pickle" and "Cat Poop", both of which have proven themselves day after day. Still, if people never tinkered with perfection we might all be listening to cassette tapes still.


Black on Brown #8
Brown Thinskin
Buggy Nymph Legs, Brown
The 20 wraps of .020 lead free weight is flattened with pliers to open the gap as far as possible and better mimic the flat body profile most large bugs have.

Mottled Yellow Fino Skin, Rust wire rib and Root beer Buggy Nymph Legs.
Dirty water Salmonfly filth.

#2 Spicy Cucumber. 

This crap has been falling out of my man purse ever since I invested in a few boxes of pig sticker hooks and decided I didnt actually like tying or fishing pigstickers. Any big hook with a sexy bend and large gap helps the old lady bend at the hips for a more seductive look (I think). This is the first season with Harelines Buggy Nymph Leg providing the movement and I have become a big fan of the colors, the smaller diameter and durability of the junk. New materials have become the best way to build better mouse traps and every year the industry provides us with new bells and whistles for our mad science experiments.  

 "Bareback Pats", Not in stores near you.

Still messing with Golden Stones on Jig hooks for spring. Now carrying them in #12 and this new #8 Wishing someone would make a long shank jig hook since not everyone ties a jig like a euro comp dude.

The main mission around here is to be a step ahead of mother nature on the vise. Trying to prepare for conditions like runoff ahead of time makes it easier to feel prepared when it arrives.

Carry On 

Daily Doubles

"For good days there are no words, for everything else there are stories"
Not so sure who said this but I am sure he was a fly fisherman.

Now a days there is digital photography

The ultimate thrill for any guide is having two rods bent at the same time. Getting the elusive picture without killing things takes it to a different level.

#1, Feb 19, 2016

#2, Feb 19, 2016

#3, Feb 19, 2016

I have been involved with multiple doubles on trips before but I have never successfully captured all of them on film. Getting them both in the bag is one thing, having everybody balance a pissed off fish while smiling is another. If the stars are going to align you want it to be with a father and his son. These guys crushed it, great job Sam and Ron.

Here's a few of my favorites from the past few years.

The Knights

Pearls, Private and Redford

Pretty stupid morning 

No fake grins here

These things don't just happen, an immense amount of proper cosmic energy is required to pull this kind of trickery off. Cameras, Sun angle, nets, moving water, expensive fly rods, scared fish and skiddish city folk with cold hands all have to be perfectly choreographed for the glory shot to be got.
Good Luck and may the force be with you.

Come double up while the weather is acting like April.

Carry On


I recently completed one of my continuing education courses required to keep my pro status. This months certification was in Slush and it's effect on Trout behavior or Slushology.

The definition of Slush according to Webster's Dictionary :partially melted snow or ice

Urban slang dictionary definition of slush : a promiscuous female, who is easy to bed.A woman who is a mixture of a slut and a lush

A Winter Fly Fisherman's definition: a daily pain in the ass

The trick with slush is forecasting the end of the daily hatch. The slush hatch is very thick early in the day, sometimes dense enough to give your flies a boat ride instead of a scuba. The last thing you want to be doing in this situation is waiting stream-side while the fish are keyed in on Midge slurpees.
The basic formula for leaving the comfort of the igloo goes like this;You are looking for lows in the teens. Anything colder, especially for an extended period of time may leave you at the vise. High teens as a low usually means the slush will be gone between 11-12 in the morning as long as the high temps reach 30 or better. Sounds simple but it can trip a dude on a non adjustable summer schedule. We are constantly explaining why we DON"T want to pick you up at 6 am during the winter. Sleep in people, enjoy your vacation, the river is not ready for you, it's slushy out there.

Waiting for the slush to burn off after dragging the boat through the snow to the point of no return can be painful

I don't have one of those World Class Tailwaters in my back yard, Mother Nature runs the flow show around here. There is a daily ebb and flow almost like a high tide and a low tide which in turn effects water temperature and slush. In the summer months it's not uncommon to see a 8-10 degree fluctuation in the water temps and when daytime air temps get warmer you want to be fishing water temps as they fall. Winter water temps and flows bounce around too, just not as much. A water temperature change of 3 degrees is about all you get during winter but it makes a difference. During the winter a smart angler is there when the water is the warmest.

Don't let warm air temps fool you into thinking the water is warming up also. When some tease of a weather pattern slides in and tricks everyone into thinking spring has sprung, the water temps are actually dropping. Warming water rises and bangs against the bank ice cooling the water temps instead of raising them. If you start to change your tactics assuming the fish are as comfortable as you are before the water is ready, you may be in for a long day.

Embrace the pace of winter fishing.

Being Retro can get you on the Jumbo-tron

The snow tends to pile up here in the little village of Minturn Colorado, so do the flies below the jaws of life. Winter is my time to actually feel like I am getting ahead on reloading all those blank spaces in my fly boxes so you people have stuff to lose. I begin with my immediate needs then blast through the basic necessities until my boredom gene is prompted to step out on a limb and try something new. Since everything's been done, new for me is often old so it's almost always a traditional technique I haven't mastered or rarely employ. This winter's merit badge looks somewhat like Winged Wet Flies.

Nailing wings to patterns that sink is nothing new, you just rarely see it anymore. I love to fish drown spinner flies with a tungsten bead head which is nothing more than a modern age wet fly. I have always believed one of the reasons they "get ate" is the profile, flash and movement a set of spent wings bring to the subsurface game. It's funny how we put so much emphasis on dry fly wings and fish can't see them but we often leave details like wings off our subsurface bugs where fish get a 360 degree view.
Ever notice how good that Adams dry fly works when its drowned?
The best way to get noticed and maybe on the jumbo-tron after all is to stand out in the crowd and Retro is all the rage now a days. Make room for some tradition in your lockers lads, tie some wet flies.

Some insects spend time under water with a visible wing. whether it's prior to it's emergence, crippled or drown, egg laying or spent and most fishermen that tie don't bother to bang a wing on subsurface patterns.

Egg Laying BWO?

Diving Caddis?

Crippled PMD? next to some Red Quill Emergers?

Google wet flies and check out the whats, wheres and whys on some really cool patterns and then throw tradition to the wind if you want. Equip your favorite soft hackle or nymph with wings of Poly, Swiss Straw, No Fray, Web Wing, CDC, Mallard Flank, Hackle tips, Burnt wings or the very traditional married Duck Wing technique.

Burnt Hen Hackle and Partridge

CDC on a subsurface fly is basically doing what married duck did for our foretyers. Some of these modern materials are better suited to whipping up a wet fly quickly but I still think Duck looks the best and learning the "old" ways was fun.

This junk usually sits and patiently waits for warmer days. It's fun to find stuff like this months later and relive the eternal hope that goes with winter tying.

Snow piled up on your boat too? 
Tie some flies, day dream.

Carry On