Stocking Stuffers

The need for a stocking stuffer for Uncle Alan has given me a reason to screw around with the Unibobber. The good people at Hareline sent a complimentary pack of these mini thingamabobbers made for tying with my last order. The pictures are deceiving, they are small, at most 1/4". These are all tied on a #14 emerger hook but i am sure you could go as far as #16. Sweet little spring creek indicator for back home, maybe i can even test it on Spring Creek behind the hatchery,it's been a long time. Who knows maybe these babies will be all the rage on the tailwaters, help me out Theo. The only secret i will give on these holiday recipes is i used 9 year old Chocolate Lab hair for the dubbing, extremely buoyant stuff.

Not much to report on the fishing up here, i have had a hammer in my hand more than the Hellboy. There are plenty of open spots along the ice rink we call The Eagle river and the fish are stacked. The water below Basalt on the Fork and the Lower C below GWS look very good with little to no shelf ice. Heading back to my roots on the North Coast without a rod so i am sure the fish will be in.
Merry Christmas! May you get bent good in the new year.

More good bugs

So here's a few more bugs from the vise for winter. We used to get a dubbed body version of the top bug way back when Perry ran the ship, it was lethal. JC adopted it as one of his favorite winter morsels way back when. We nick named it the Baboon, JC still asks me on occasion if i have any and there usually are a few hidden away. Now the new version for winter 09-10, the JuJu Baboon. The middle snack is the #22 olive Wee Wee, it's been deadly as of late and is a winter go to in Olive, Grey, Purple, Blue and Black. The bottom fly is Sam's Tungsten Sally #16. I wrap this up in #14-#20. I'm looking forward to throwing this in a #18 this summer when i see those Micro Sallies again.

Slip and Slides

Before Sam and I drive through “Big Buck alley” on the mornings I pick him up down in town, we stop and pick up the local papers in front of the Eagle Pharmacy. We have been doing it 3 days a week for 7 months but it wasn’t until this morning that I looked down and noticed the storm sewer had a fish on it. On further inspection I noticed in proud, bold, raised India steel, the words “no dumping” and “flows to river” flanking that fish. I wonder how many other people haven’t noticed that? I’m thinking some paint would make it stand out more. Most trout fisherman understand we have some challenges that face our sport, they don’t need a storm drain to tell them that surface run off is BAD. It’s everyday Daryl I wonder about. My wonder grows from experience with road and river clean ups. If you look from someplace other than a car window traveling 65 miles an hour you will see most people are pigs. Fish counts in reliable historical area’s have been dropping steady when shocking is performed directly downstream of society and it’s storm sewers. The “old” problems like mines, golf corses and sewage treatment are not issues like they used to be, thanks to people. While we have been congratulating ourselves for a justifiable job well done, a new problem has been silently working over places like Arrowhead, thanks to people. I guess Daryl look's at all of the fancy treatment plants and assumes we are doing everything within our power so he lobs a cigarette butt or some chewing gum out of the car window. I once listened to a biologist describe exactly what was in a sample of foam from I-70 and it was sickening. More Klingon than human. The newspaper box is only about 2 miles from my house but it’s probably 500 ft below it. There are several fancy steel grates with the fish on them before the road goes dirt and mother nature takes over. I began to think about shit flowing down hill and the unfortunate and often taken for granted fact, that there is a trout stream at the bottom of it. I look at my dirt road and it's "mother nature engineering" and it makes me think; things were bumpy but better before concrete. If I was to dump a 5 gallon bucket of nuclear waste up here, it would take Sam's lifetime to register (dont worry i used what i had already). Mother natures filtering system seems infinately larger and a whole lot more efficient than these slip and slides the municipalities love so much. I think we should paint those grates chartreuse. At least someone who may not know any better will notice them when they stop to get the paper.
As for the fishing: The weather and the fishing remain hot. We guided a few trips over Thanksgiving but the crowds are light while the fishing remains stellar. Nymphing is the rule and small is king. Baetis, Midge and eggs hung under what else? A Bobber.

Early Winter Bugs

A couple of tasty treats to wet the whistle for the up coming winter season. Zim sent me the picture of "Midge Magic" up top, very cool stuff and absolutely no info as to where it came from or who's responsible. I guess Charlie Craven is responsible for the middle one even though I tied it. Super Hair bodies have become all the rage. Tying them is simple and the great range of colors make for incredibly lifelike imitations. I just add things like Tungsten beads in the Thorax, trailing shucks and softhackles. The last pic is the #20 Blue Wee Wee. Blue is this years purple which everyone knows was the new black the year before that. I think all that started with the color red

I'm looking for good pictures of your favorite PRH patterns.

Think with yer rod tip......Jimmie

Sorry, but little loud Scottish dude scrambling around whacking people makes me laugh. It's true marketing genius when my old man does not hit the mute button during a commercial.“ That’s thinking with yer dip stick….Jimmie” has me thinking about a teaching tool passed along from a more knowledgeable master once. "Tactile" I think he called it, using physical contact as a teaching aid. Touching adds to the moment’s sensation and can make it more meaningful in certain instances. I learned this in a casting demonstration where the instructor would touch the area of concern, whether it be a wrist, forearm, finger or grip. The sensation of touch made the moment more significant and people learned quicker. My elbow once touched someone and it became one hell of a moment and everyone learned something, but I’m not supposed to talk about that. When you start to break a bird dog with electricity you begin to get in that dogs head. You push a button and he starts to understand that his master can be an influence even at great distances, he begins to listen. I am NOT saying i have secretly wished to put a shock collar on everyone who has sat in my boat, but that would make me laugh like i do at little Scotts and his dip stick. By adding the sensation, or pain in a dogs case, the learning process has a definite down side if he does not progress. A wet handshake after a great fish will always be part of the moment you may remember. A firm hand on your shoulder during a fast water wade say's i'm here with you. A partial hug from another man clearly explains you have been to battle together. A 4 shot night and an open hand grab on some biker chicks back bumper will probably lead to a lesson of some sort. So wouldnt a good whack with a 4’ piece of graphite just crystallize that special moment when you forget to mend for the 200th time? I think so. One guy I know has a naughty seat in his craft, but an old rod tip trumps that. A small thoughtful handle of duck tape on an old buggy whip tip and you have got yer self a perfect attention getter. At the very least you have your buddy acting like a wet bird dog fully expecting some voltage.
Seriously, making people aware of the tip of their fly rod has helped “some” peeps go to another level. Where is your tip pointing? How high is your tip? Can you move your tip quickly in a straight line to an abrupt stop? Can you feel your tip move as the rod loads? Where does your tip stop during the plane of the stroke? Lots of tip shit there huh? It’s often hard to control something consistently that far from your hand, but you have to in order to operate a fly rod. Raising your tip off the water can happen quietly with just your wrist or like some crazy Yoga move, it’s based on the situation. To much Yoga on a move that should have been just wrist leads to less fishing and more casting. Hand anyone a rod and ask them where all the money is and they will tell you the handle, it makes sense, it's usually surrounded by bling. Nice cork, titanium, gold up locking hoopty with sweet paint, obvious and common choice. Most people are not privy to the tip flex coefficient taper regulation flow chart , nor should they be, so I’ll tell you. The brains of the operation are about 9’ away from that bling. The more you think with your rod tip…..Jimmie, the more this whole game will make sense. Marketing schemes only last so long so I better whack some one soon, otherwise I may have to explain further, I did that for a year with the elbow thing.
A quick note on Jimmies: This is all much funnier to anyone who knows Fieldsy. For at least 2 hilarious years , long before this Valvoline thing, he called everyone he didn’t know…..Jimmie. One of the greatest men I ever knew… Mr Simmons i have missed you since i last saw you. My favorite person in the world to hunt with(top 5 anyways) Jimmie T, I miss your radio jabber. Kirk was an awesome Jimmie. Morrison and Hendrix should be mentioned. Number 12 in your program #1 in your heart.....Jim Kelly. And everyone know's, Jimmies make a good frozen custard better.

I can't get any higher

I was tempted to turn my head lights off the moon was so huge tonight. Driving east from Glenwood Springs up through the Canyon the moon hung in just the right position I was bummed there were tools in my truck instead of a rod. A giant harvest moon, spawning Brown Trout and a streamer rod and I am late for work tomorrow morning.
I took a quick drive to Basalt to check out an open house for a new Water Use Commitment on the upper Colorado River tonight. I won’t bore you with details that I needed an interpreter for and there are 100’s of these issues on the table here in Colorado alone. They all look the same in the end, we are running out of liquid. The “shuffling” of water around on a couple of water sheds on my turf is going to make things look different in the near future. It’s happening everywhere and the experts say “the glass isn’t half empty, it’s almost dry”. We already cheat the laws of gravity for the sake of Kentucky blue grass on the front range. Water that naturally flows west from our side of the divide is pumped and sloshed through an elaborate maze of tunnels and ditches to faucets in Denver and surrounding areas. Western communities survive by collecting water, basically every year. It’s not like there is an insurance policy the size of lake Powell stashed away for low water years. We modern age western folk basically live pay check to pay check as far as H2O goes. I once read that each American uses 1500 gallons of virtual water daily. That’s the water in all the little details that make up your day, from the shirt you wear, the cool aid you make your ankle biters to the wrapper on your Whopper Jr. So as we continue to flock west, each person requires a certain amount of water. Each small fry born to the mountains of the west must be accounted for in the budget and almost 2 years ago I messed with it myself (i guess Sam's mom is part responsible). I think about what fishing here will be like for Sam when he is 40. It largely bums me out. The needs of man will continue to mess with these delicate watersheds and it seems inevitable that the business of recreation on these gems will be the first to loose, along with Sam.
On most water sheds that are bumming you can usually bank on finding good water and fish by going higher. There is a definite purity to everything as the elevation increases. The Colorado is a huge river and I’m already along way away from the drain, I can’t get much higher.

Sell it like it is

It’s no secret that all of us are going to be wearing rubber soled wading shoes in the very near future. While felt has been the traditional bottom for all purpose traction, it’s terrible for the environment. Felt carries ick around like a kindergarten student without Kleenex.
Wader companies have always taken grenades from fishermen who wear their waders more than 25 days a year and they just can’t win. Boots fall apart, waders leak. They should just put that on the label and supply some aqua seal. River bottoms, weather, temperature, snow etc will vary so much that the "ultra grip rubber"marketing campaigns are destined to fail. Sell it like it is, Rubber, Eco friendly and great in winter.
The men who make water proof pants are rallying the same way a high end university pubs their star QB for his Heisman run. Adjectives are flying like leaves, Gripper, Sticky, Non slip and Traction to name a few. Does this leave a vulnerable part of the industry even more susceptible to criticism? Don’t promise Sticky when High Float and Never Leak did not work, it’s just never going to satisfy an already tough crowd like fishermen. What happens when Dime Bag Daryl takes a header in his “Ultra stick Eco track tread boot” and wants an explanation? After years of unofficial testing most guys will tell you they slip all over the place in felt and expect the sliding to increase dramatically with rubber. The Teva sandals I run for boat shoes are no better than roller skates on my dog, but they leave a cool tan line. Since the weather has gone straight to winter and I am back in waders for a while I decided to field test a few of my own ideas. I am starting with a pair of hybrid 2006 Henrys Fork's with felt on just the left sole and Patagonia laces, Call a spade a spade. Rubber is not felt so slipping is inevitable. If they sell us "the best damn sole for the environment" then we will have to take their word on it, if the sticky isnt grippy we will notice. Let's not loose sight of why all this came up in the first place and thats to protect our fish and their fragile habitat. I'll slip around for that. Maybe this will lead to a new division for the industry..... helmets. I’m calling Under Armor, maybe they can shoot a commercial of Lew getting out of the drifty done up Adrian Peterson style. Someone should come up with a $29 wading staff with a Eco friendly rubber tip.

Fishing was good over the weekend. Managed a trip west of Glenwood with Scott and Steve (thats them in the pic) on Sunday and the last couple of hours made the trip. Mid to late day fishing was best and the streamer action was consistent once the water heated up (i guess). Not may bugs besides a few waves of BWO's and Midges. It didn't matter as we landed quality fish on big rabbit.I counted over 20 beds on our float so the spawn is in full swing, be careful where you wade.

Hasselhoff was the man

I have been cranking on it hard lately, the vise that is. Sam has even been interested enough to sit on my lap and patiently play with tweezers while daddy makes "ffwhys". This time of year makes me think of what fly i used most, what i relied on in third down situations and weapons i wished i had in the arsenal. We saw a small yellow Sallie this year and there was just no nymph close enough, so yellow Barr Emergers and Yellow Pheasant tails went on the list. Soft hackles have been around forever and have made a serious come back as of late. Natural materials like Partridge, Hen saddle, Ostrich herl and even Wood duck can add life and action that's very different from regular nymph ties. Playing with tried and true patterns and trying to customize them to make them all the more sexy is an old practice. Hasselhoff was the man but eventually Brad Pitt works better. The fact that you can buy Pheasant Tails in 4000 different styles proves all bugs go through an evolution, even an Elk Hair can grow rubber legs. Barr Emergers, Pheasant Tails, Hares ear etc… can find these bugs by the billions in every fly shop on the planet, why tie them when you can buy them? I agree, I never get wet with out the above mentioned baits in my box. They have all been proven 1000’s of times over, but some of us always think we can twist some innovative magic on the shank. A little flash, a softhackle, a bead, epoxy or some glass, there are so many ways to help our favorite flies leave the box with a more confident swagger, because it’s different, because it’s special. Personally i have begun just using black tungsten beads and cones. The stuff sinks like 2 week old fly line and the color can make it just that much different.The latest science experiment is the Tungsten JuJu Softhackle and as Zim would say "it rocks". It’s always great to explain to your boy that "the fishes are biting on my JuJu” not the store bought model. That size 18 Tung JuJu Softhackle was probably my best fly on the Fork Thursday afternoon. Same exact float on Saturday and I could not buy a fish on it. That’s fishing. We managed a few fish on streamers but I didn’t try real hard either day, nymphing still rules and the small bugs are being eaten by some very big fish on the Fork right now. Still leading with 16's and 14's tungsten stones and quills even a few eggs. A beautiful Cutty just above town rounded out the slam on Thursday.

"My fly is stuck in the drapes"

So how would you feel if a couple of artist type’s offered your community a boat load of money to show their art in your back yard. The hitch is their art is approximately 40 miles long and it’s going to cover your favorite trout stream. Seriously, two frenchies, Jacques and Jean-Claude want to hang draperies to form a roof over miles of the Arkansas river. I’m not sure if they are French, maybe they are Canadian but most Canucks I’ve drank with have more sense. Of course there is a lot to be discussed and approved, the BLM is going to have miles of paper work on this one. So what’s it worth? The artist’s estimate 560,000 visitors and 195 million to the state in travel revenues. That more than doubles the visitor numbers for rafting in the area. And they estimate people will spend 4-5 additional days in surrounding area’s with their jingle. That’s money to my fishing guide ass, but then again they are not proposing making my favorite trout stream a dome stadium. I did not read anything about how long the “art” would be displayed or what time of year, I assume not winter. They did say that they were working with all the recreational businesses that depend on the river to make as little negative impact on their lives as possible. Maybe they will pay all the raft guides summer rent (camp site and fire wood fees) and put them on salary for chillin instead of rowing the river of no sun. I know I would not be the only one hemorrhaging if the Eagle was their mark. I could just see it, no sun screen, sunglasses optional and side arm cast’s only. I’m sure when the wind howls those drapes are going to flap so loud I would have to supply ear plugs. If this thing is planned right, they could run some electric and we could do night floats. “Oh no sir we do trips 24-7 now that we have a roof and you can leave your 400 dollar rain jacket home”. Just think of it, fishing mice could become a daytime affair and the blue wings would hatch all season. Sam’s 7’ 5 weight would be the rod of choice anything longer and you couldn’t even roll cast. Occasionally I float under a bridge or a power line and I feel compelled to let peeps know that it’s “in play”, a roof would just put me over the edge. You can get all the facts and read more about it in the latest issue of Trout.

Reel Recovery

Big shout out to the guy’s at Reel Recovery for putting together another great retreat here in Colorado; Stan, Coy, Andrew, Rob, Rees and who ever else i forgot, great job!!! Reel Recovery is a national non-profit organization that conducts free fly fishing retreats for men recovering from cancer. All of us who enjoy this sport understand, casting a fly has some "healing powers" in spite of it’s tangles and Reel Recovery helps introduce that feeling to men in the battle of their lives. The RR Gang have found a nice prescription for distraction and to ease the worry symptom, they provide a huge dose of hope and faith in a pill called fly fishing. From a "buddies" perspective, the medicine RR Retreat's push works, even on perfectly normal guides (if there are any). As a buddy you spend part of the day acting as a guide for some amazing fishing but you are also there trying to talk about some pretty personal poop, which is definately a different angle on a normal guide day. It was great to have Pack Man along, nothing like a day away from the shop on private water, I know the guy's he spent the day with apprieciated it for lot's of reasons. Does the owner of your favorite guide service or fly shop give back?
I have only participated in the Colorado retreats so I cant comment on the whole program but I see a great increase in the amount of Buddies that show up, Kudos’s gentlemen!!! Our shop was introduced to the program by the Big Zim. He of the large calve tribe and his side kick Sasha are great ambassadors for Reel Recovery here in Colorado, every state should have a buddy with the heart of a Zim. This was my second trip to guide the headwaters in the last few weeks, very very cool stuff (guiding private water gets that type of reaction). The retreat fishing took place on the Reeder Ranch which operates as a private club on 2+ miles of the Colorado just below the Williams Fork. What a spot!!! Hat’s off to the Reeder Ranch and the Bar Lazy J for donating their time, facilities, kind staff and incredible water to Reel Recovery. You don’t have to donate your kick ass club water to help. You don't have to give a portion of every trip you sell. You don't have to keep your resort open an extra week for free. Just check out the website and get involved. Help out as a buddy at a retreat, attend one closing ceremony amongst these men and you will get it. Hear men speak in forums that are usually uncomfortable, experience what it’s like to come out of a shell and open up all because of fly fishing. I have never forgotten the first time I heard one of these gentleman thank me for spending the day with them and saying they didn’t think of cancer once. Our sport has a true meditative sense about it and it truly can have healing powers if we let it. This is the kind of thing that can really help a dude appreciate his health and man kind who give a fuck. Once you have participated you will never want to miss another opportunity to help.
What came first, the Floro fibre midge or the JuJu?
Is my Thingamabobber dragging my junk around more than yarn used to?

What does Aunt Sally expect?

So you decide to give your favorite fly shop a call and get a fishing report. Are you expecting ol' John to tell you the fishing sucks? He probably never will. If you are dialing one of today’s “Boutique” fly shops, the after hours recording can provide more info than Lance, who’s just working the register in between his modeling gig’s for Patagonia. If the voice on the phone explains he has no idea what the thread count on the newest Gucci wading jacket is, listen. If the dude say’s JuJuBee is a candy, hang up. A shop that operates a guide service is privy to some pretty specific information from very reliable sources. The fact that most fishing guides are optimistic to a fault should be a clue as to what type of answer to expect. Hope and luck play such a huge part in this game no one should ever say "it sucks"and besides there are to many variables to say everyday can be as good as yesterday. Clients are different, conditions, guides, locations and time of day or year, change. All can be factors affecting the data, not to mention that poor shop dick needs to figure out who’s lying before he can confidently give good tips. The leader jockey starts deciding who’s a reliable source in the large pool of guy’s trying to impress someone and that aint easy. Once his broker starts providing info he can back up, he sticks with him, you should do the same. Obviously a lot of my info comes from guides I work with, but not all of them. A few are to uptight or suspicious and a few do the same shit everyday on the water so there really is no reason to chase them for answers. You have to read between the lines but try and trust somebody at the same time. Local guys who seem to beat you to the river everyday are good friends to have. Guides who fish on their day off or after a trip probably need another fishing buddy, believe me, introduce yourself. Shuttle drivers at least know what color the water is and who’s where. It can be anyone, George the bagel guy, Tommy the restaurant owner, a bar manager, a map maker, a newspaper photographer or your Aunt Sally. I actually get a ton of info from guides who work for other companies so don’t insist that your buddies need to wear the same colors as you. The team handbook say’s to always have hope, I expect my info to be laced with it.
What are your expectations for the day? Your guide or that shop dog have no idea how good you are, so a bit of honesty is useful. "I’ve been to Alaska 5 times” only makes us nervous and a touch skeptical. "Lefty taught me how to double haul" sounds like more missed hook sets. “How many fish am I going to catch today?” is like asking the caddie you just met how many pars you should expect to scribble on your card. If you can’t deliver the bugs, mend for a dead drift, strip the bunny or even set the hook then, what you get might not be what you were hoping for. Expectations should be different based on where’s, what’s and who’s. If my skinny ass is heading to New Zealand I expect to catch the biggest Brown of my life, sight fishing in real drab clothing with a guide that won’t let me cast until we see the fish. If I’m after some fish on Salmonfly drys then I expect that would be IN the spring and not ON a spring creek. If I’m fishing in the back seat behind Aunt Sally who has dragged her package through every good spot in front of me, I won’t be expecting to catch a bushel of fish on a size 20 emerger. I’m floating you down some of the most incredible freestone streams in the country, i love fishing and guiding them all, but honestly I don’t expect them to fish like the Big Horn or the Green.
Guides and fly shops don’t possess a hidden power to control the weather. If your report filled with glee came 2 weeks prior to the gale force winds you are now facing, don’t shoot the messenger. Weather can force guides to change tactic’s in an attempt to keep your 2 dollar flies working for the cause and that can jiggle the expectation fulfillment gauge. I would not expect to throw a size 20 dry fly in a rain storm and 40 mile an hour winds, you shouldn't either. Adapt to the conditions, the river and the other nuances our ever changing sport throws at us and you can still shoot par, unless maybe you are an Aunt Sally.
Get information directly from the source when possible and that’s your guide. Ask the shop dog you are booking the trip with to have the guide call you the night before, the good one’s do anyways. In most cases your Sherpa will have more details than the dude on the phone. That poor guy has the hardest job in the industry 2 months a year so cut him some slack.
That is not Aunt Sally pictured

Mend that cord

So I heard my fly line referred to as a cord again this week. I didn’t correct the dude, not once all day. "Mend that cord" I would say or "your just leaving too much cord on the water sport". I got a kick out of it, By this time of year I really don’t care what people call fly line as long as they can mend it. It’s easy to get people to mend, you just have to tell them when (2 person full day trips average 1035 times). I hope it doesn’t come across like I short changed my boy by not correcting him, it was just a nice way for my tiny brain to stay entertained. I’m not sure if the guy in the back of the boat knew any better or not, he never said anything. At least no one called my Helios a pole.
The first picture is of JMac who is a weapon with the big yellow bug. The other picture is of Sheldon from a float this week on the Colorado, Grizzly Creek - Two Rivers. We were the only boat fishing that stretch and it’s a great one in the fall. Sheldon and his wife managed a few fish dry dropper style before the conversation turned to streamers, 6wts,sinking leaders and a bug I like to call Sam’s High Tail. Shannon either bowed out because the next inning sounded a bit testosterone heavy or she was scared to death. The whole thing was easier to mange one newbie at a time anyway. The newbie at least played ball with SU legend Billy Owens so i decided in advance there was material to work with. Shannon ended up having a great time watching as Sheldon picked things up right away and soon had fish chasing wet rabbit. Everyone in the boat understood why streamers are so much fun, it’s the chase and the brief throb of a fish that pulls free. You don’t have to touch every fish to be pleased when twice a day you have a major hog chase your junk to the boat. The high light of Sheldon’s first day streamer fishing was his biggest brown trout ever (picture). A size 4 Sam’s High tail in Olive or Fox Variant worked great as a lead and the Kobe Bryant rig continues to produce. Still loving the Rio sinking leader which now that I think of it, is a lot like cord. If you have never chucked streamers with the Helios SW 6 (Hell Boy) give it a try, it’s a great pole

Bob-ber Talk

That’s right I said it, Bobber. I have never been accused of being an old school fly fishing purist. “Old School Purist” in this case would be someone who would never be caught dead buying an indicator. I’ve tried to sell the idea to the Joe Humphreys crowd. Trimmed yarn wont tempt them, stick ons that are cut down into micro tags don’t work either but dumping a handful of large thingamabobber's on the counter makes for a great reaction. Let the old guard buy thier size 10 Adams and come join me as i watch a bobber. I am from a generation of fly fisherman who grew up with indicators and I am now very comfortable calling the damn thing a bobber. This blog is all about fly fishing and how to get better and have more fun, from a guides perspective. I didn't need any convincing about the worth of a good "cork" growing up Steelheading the tribs of the North Coast, it was the only way to hold all that lead up just off the bottom. I have since read that we fisherman still miss 61.418% of our strikes and i need all the help i can get. Like fly fishing, life is all about what you do with your opportunities and I’m sure we all have wished life came with a bobber. As a full time guide over the last few years I have come to realize that the measure of my fishing success directly corresponds to the amount of opportunities I provide. I teach this game daily. I teach it to young and old, experienced and not, even a few purist's. This blog ends up being another opportunity for me to spew another gallon of nonsense about fly fishing to a few more people. There have been occasions in the past, where i have been accused of giving to much information. My defense was always "if they can't get a drift, the info won't work anyways". Techniques and tips are only valuable if they are explained in a language you understand, application is up to you. I’m not going to give away any secret spots or the zip code of Mr Bubba Troutzilla, enough people want to kill me already. I am however, a fly junkie and i love to tie so you will definately get some of my best dribble about which bugs are working and maybe even how to tie some. I guide for Minturn Anglers in the Eagle River valley (Vail for some of you) on 100’s of miles of some of the most incredible rivers in the central Rockies. The Colorado river, the Roaring Fork, Gore Creek, numerous other creeks and my favorite THE Eagle River.They have been the back drop for some great memories with friends new and old. I am surrounded by a cast of characters in the fly fishing industry, guides, owners, competitors, reps, clients, brothers, girls, dogs and a young Jedi (Sam). Hopefully their stories will help a few people feel like they understand the sport better and maybe feed a growing passion. Let me apologize in advance for my grammar and spelling. I stared at many a chalk board dreaming about fly fishing. Now i spend many a days staring at some guys indicator(bobber) dreaming about finishing school.

As far as the legal stuff goes:

To RA Beattie, you will always own the video rights to the Bobber Talk idea.

To Sam, the copy rights to all my crap is probably all you will get for an inheritance so pay attention.

Anybody considering a law suit based on my expressed opinions, beliefs or stupid bullshit should consider having my ex wife's amateur law firm handle your case. She's very thorough and there is already a file started.

To Joey Macomber, i promise to someday repay you for your creative genius.
My name is Bob and i approve most of this message

Streamer Mike and the Enema Bugger

Every so often someone or something lives up to the hype. This perfect fall Sunday it was Mikes turn. An odd day off the river for me started with an invitation to “ride along” with Kevin and his long time client Mike for some streamer fishing. Some clouds and an approaching front at least made me feel like we had a chance, otherwise I felt like we were a little early for full blow streamer mania. Lets just say Mike has an absolute understanding of how to throw streamers, 3 at a time. 6 miles down our epic 17 mile float and he had 30 fish in the net, it was a true pleasure to watch him live up to the hype. I don’t count, Mike loves to. But for this one day I really got a kick out of it. The numbers got up there. The chasers were in the 100”s, the number of beasts that came “unbuttoned” had to be 90 and the final tally to the net was 43. One of those days we are blessed with once in a while. All the stars have to be in line for mere mortals, Mike does it every fall. We as guides try and rationalize it, give credit to weather, time of day, the bugs, the flies or the way the peep may be holding his mouth. Anything to explain further why the good days can be so good sometime. They don’t come all the way from Florida to streamer fish in the middle of July or course, they do their homework. I wont say where we floated and i have sworn never to speak a word of the Enema Bugger other than it kicked ass on the right side of the river. This was day one of 4 with Kevin this fall. Mike’s brother in law Tommy will take my spot the rest of the week and they will probably murder them, legend has it they always do.

Tommy, you can come to me anytime, I understand what you go through fishing with Mike. He kicked my ass.

Kevin, I would wear the helmet.


What about fall makes us and these big predator brown trout think about large bugs? Fall means shorter days and colder nights. It still makes me dream of whitetail and turkey in the hardwoods and ravines back east. At the vise, the Fall season brings the size 4 hooks from hiding and the Magnum Rabbit begins to hatch in multiple colors all over my kitchen table. As a fly tyer I look forward to retiring my 8/0 thread for a couple of months. The color grey starts to creep into a majority of the day light hours, but not our bugs. Patterns like Teqeelie, Autumn Splendor, Lemon Drops and Goldielocks start to mimic a fall day back in those eastern woods. We always throw 2 at a time, one big one small, one bright one dull, one heavy one light everyone has a favorite combo. It always takes a bit more to get your buddy out or to convince your client that the weather is just going to make it better. Once you get them there, it's always worth it. The picture is of a very early streamer run with Mc3, it was still August, bright and sunny, but we had to. The flow of the river definitely said "don't go" but there was just 2 of us and Cam the Lab, we had to do it. Chalk talk was simple, streamers or bust, besides i had been tying streamers every night. We were going to get stuck, no way around it, THE Eagle river doesn't get floated much this time of year. I didn't really regret just bringing a 6 wt and a streamer box until the fish started rising, but you've heard that before. Mc3 rowed all day (3 hours), thanks Joe, we only boated 2 fish but they were both Bubba's. Fall is by far my favorite time to fish the mountains. You have an opportunity to catch fish three ways, there are less crowds, happy fish and usually lots of bugs. But the true draw for Fly Fishermen has to be hurling streamers from a boat and it's going to be here before we know it. I guess we all get a bit impatient when we have a box full of junk we absolutely know is going to work as soon as it touches the water.

Streamer fishing is the polar opposite of the days of summer and the dead drift. We don't necessarily trust a heavy streamer rod with 2 wet socks to just anyone, it's just dangerous. The people we do trust have probably chucked a few before and everyone has their own style. Some are short strippers, some have a long patient pause. Some guys dance em all the way to the boat and beyond the bow. I see sinking lines, floating lines, purple flies and even trailed midges. My favorite technique(from the boat) is to heave said bugs at the bank and allow the fly line to belly downstream so my first few strips of the fly make it travel downstream along the bank, wounded like. This is by no means the right way or the only way, everyone has their own style. One of my last commercial trips down The Eagle was a streamer float and it definitely wasn't my style. I ended up on The Eagle since i had just one peep and the weather forecast was butt nasty with a chance of crap. Perfect streamer weather. Dude ends up being a Kelly Gallop prodigy, fresh off the book, video series and armed with a handful of Zoo Cougars from Kelly himself. While standing at the put in, Kelly Jr explains to me how it's going to work as the lightning sirens from the Valley Course made me want to get back in the truck. He showed me his rig. GLoomis rod, sinking line, stubby leaders and huge unweighted flies, "just like Kelly does". I have never seen double 6" articulated monsters levered out of the front seat before, but i was about to. Let's just say i saw a lot of new stuff that day and i'm a believer. Of course i'll tell you my system would have caught fish that day but it really was great not losing a single streamer, i think i only looked into that grubby box of fur twice. Sex Dungeons and Zoo Cougars articulated and not got chucked. I even saw a 6" Rainbow trout version that i would have eaten. They all worked. The only thing i would have changed is the sink rate. Things never got quite deep enough for my taste. Just goes to show you predators are predators when the weather is right and even an old dog can enjoy the day in someone else's streamer box.

Yoga and Fly Fishing

A fresh mix of extreme athletes dedicated to making things much harder than they really are, have began the march to be recognized. Anyone awake in the 80’s has experienced this before, they called it “cross training” combining two or more sports on the same day or in the same event. Now it seems that cross training has reached a spiritual level and people are starting to blend Yoga and Fly Fishing. Worst of all, it seems to have started in the bow of my boat. Fly Fishing and Yoga have been around a very long time and both have their own special soul or feeling, I am just not sure they should be mixed. Combining these two very old practices can lead to some dangerous moves left only to people who hear on a different frequency than most guides talk. I have spent enough time with people who enjoy Yoga and I’ve tried a few moves like, “Down Dog”, “Cat” and “Cow”. It take’s practice, a nice mat and LEVEL ground. That has not stopped a few people from taking it to the next level by trying to pull this off in a moving boat with a fly rod in hand. Here are a few moves I’ve seen recently.
THE LOON: The beginning pose usually involves standing off balance, in the front of a boat, on your tip toes with your casting hand 3 feet above your head. Your other hand is blindly scrambling around your waist trying to find the tangle in your line. The slack is in your mouth. The fly rod is pointed straight up at the August sun in a desperate attempt to collect slack from the cast that just landed next to the boat. Now with a mighty 3 inch power snap of the wrist, accelerate the pile of line up off the water and around the tip of your rod, which is still above your head. If this does not work on the first pitiful attempt, you are probably not using enough calves. I think this is called the LOON because of the strange bird like noise most people make after the cast, not the way they look.
THE ROCK CHUCKER: You can always tell what move an ex linebacker will settle into as the cast begins to come apart. The stance widens, the hips begin to open and close like a beer league softball player and they begin to grunt a bit. The arm motion becomes long and much too strong producing huge gentle loops that land in pretty little piles. I’m not ashamed to admit I have spent a few day’s quietly day dreaming about “ribbon dancing”, which I think was an Olympic event at one time, still no reason to do it in my boat. Apparently the rocking motion their cast is causing doesn’t feel proper until they slip out of the leg locks and throw the balance of the boat completely off. The waves from the rocking boat put a gentle jigging motion on their buddy’s nymph rig.
THE SIT AND SPIN: This is a very important move to know your directions, your left, right, front and back. This is much easier in a raft with a fishing frame, it’s not practiced in drift boats for some reason and it almost always happens in the back seat. The move starts when the guide begins to pull the boat from it’s drift down the left side of the river and say’s “right side”, yogi say’s “what side?”, guide say’s “right side”, yogi say’s “that’s the other side, right?”, guide nods. After a 20 second pause to absorb the complicated vocabulary going on, lift your knees to your chest while keeping the rod pointed at the left bank. Now while sitting, spin yourself to the right side by swinging your legs outside of the boat past the dangling anchor, keep your rod pointing at the left bank. Now since your casting arm is behind your head gently swing an underpowered, backhand flip with your fly rod. Your cast should either tangle in the anchor or pile up on the guide’s oars and it should always be followed by “this side?”
Before I have every Yoga instructor and their legions stealing the plugs from my boat please know I don’t hate Yoga. There is just no room for it in my boat. If you are exhausted after getting out of the boat on the first day of a three day fishing trip you are obviously doing a little too much………Yoga. If you properly move that special piece of graphite, whether it be a 10 wgt or a 5wgt your casting arm should never get weary. The only thing that should hurt after a day in my boat is your ears. Believe me, you are better off training for that trip by building a shed with your cousin the carpenter. That’s the only motion I teach, the swing of a hammer. Start your motion from your elbow with a strong wrist, follow an accurate swing plane and use your eyes. I may reach as far into my bag of tricks to put a golf ball in your arm pit. The effort of trying to keep a wet golf ball under your arm will help most people stop using muscles that should be relaxed. I understand we are all getting busier and multitasking is a way of life. Decide intelligently what pleasures you mix and most importantly, where. Please help keep Yoga out of the boat.

The picture is of my nephew Jason doing his best Claka Bow Pose. Thanks for the dance kid, you made me smile all day.