The Magic Button

One of Davie Mcphail's emergers and a new favorite guide tie. Quick, easy and deadly. 

Remember that kid back in the day that could pick up any stick, club or ball and make it look like he'd dated it forever? Smooth, effortless motion, speed and strength screwed firmly on a clear head under pressure. When I was in grade school it was the Burke brothers of the 19th ward. Junior high was Steve Anderson and in high school it was Tittle and Kermie. While everything came naturally to these .001%ers the rest of us practiced and worked hard to be at least good enough to be on the team when something great happened. Some guys would skip the work expecting the magic button to turn it's self on and end up with a sour taste for the experience.

 The challenges of fly fishing require practice, dedication and attention. When you put the work in you are rewarded be it with fish, incredible natural beauty or a set of perfect presentations. Two dudes putting the work in right now are my friends Theo Anest and Brandon Soucy. They both make fishing and guiding seem effortless, I have been witness to both. These youngsters are that .001% of our sport but they have worked hard to stand there by spending hundreds of days a year with a rod in hand  Lately they have decided to take the show to the limited competitive fly fishing circuit and have been racking up wins for a few years. Their latest win came last weekend at the Frostbite on the Ark. To go along with the "huge" prize money ($1000, plus $250 for the big fish by Soucy) they were rewarded with a few grenades. I'm not going to be that guy to add to the drama with specifics, some other ass munch on a losing team beat me to it. The tournament is in existence to raise money for TU, not to make fly fishing legends of a bunch of Wanna Be's who simply don't have enough game. Do you need a reminder of what's really important (water & fish) and who helps protect that (TU)? The reality of it is our sport is filled with more punters and high school golfers than dudes willing to go in the corner and take a hit. If you are going to enter and compete bring your version of Tigers old game, practice hard and  shut it.

  Everything worth doing  requires work; tying flies, parenting, running a business, guiding, rowing or enjoying a great relationship takes time, patience and practice. I thought the other day as I continue to teach my boy to skate that "this is going to take a while", then I took him to the High School game and thought about how soon it will be. Unfortunately in my world  most people show up without practicing and that's fine, but like learning to skate, expect to fall. I guide in a tourist trap, not north of here, and its my reality that some people think they can shoot a few pars on their first trip. My boat has no room for the magic button, I bring the jelly beans instead and  normally only share with those who try. Thankfully the experience is worth it and most people have no expectation of catching  fish like Theo and B, hell I dont.


If you can make it.....Go

We need snow real bad here in the Mountains of Colorado and not just for the ski industry that we rely on so heavily to put clothes on our ankle biters backs. Or for Denver (see above). As the early winter that wasn't continues we have made the best of it. The team has managed a failed float, 2 trips to local tailwaters and a 5 boat float on an ice free Big Mud, all in January.

The failed float turned into an incredible afternoon on the Frying Pan. The Pan is a delicacy I don't treat myself to enough and I always leave wishing I could guide there. As usual we arrive at the Dam with a boat in tow from some put in down stream that was jammed with ice. It at least draws attention away from my truck covered with stickers from that "other valley". It was crowded so we didn't get the best beats but it didn't seem to matter, we all had nice eats.

The rest of the report is  standard, typical winter fare. The Blue through Silverthorn is still my favorite place to go shopping. This fishery is very healthy and equally as popular on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Don't believe all the reports, I found plenty of fish in real fast water wedged between people fishing classic runs and pools. Take what you can get at the tailwaters. The float was your everyday January float.....except it rained cats and dogs. Nice to guide with my old buds Pete Mott, The Big Zim, Will Sands and Kyle Holt, true professionals.

Yet another shitty fly for the winter. By all means do not attempt to put traces of blue ice dub and Ostrich in your winter midge patterns

Red Quills

So why is it a guy can't find a Red Quill nymph pattern to tie or buy? Have I discovered some over sight in one of the most OCD of all hobbies? Sure, there are a good number of dry fly patterns available but most guides will tell you they will not get assaulted. They are almost always there in good numbers and you will often see the emerger take a month to dry its tall grey wing. I never see fish really key in on the Dun; this bug really must taste like shit the closer to oxygen it gets. The only fly I can actually say I have faith in during this hatch is an emerger pattern that I can only find through Orvis. Its a beautiful quill body with a long gray soft hackle collar, fish it deep or shallow, it smells right. It's suppost to imitate a Hendrickson, an Eastern fly and I am sure it was named  after that stripped quill body. Some shmuck like me got to wondering the same thing years ago and ordered what he thought was a Red Quill and the valley got lucky. There was a nymph a few years ago with a real skinny body similar to the Burton PT , that dog hunted  too. The similarities in the imitations seem to be their thin abdomen, but thats about it. So I decided to dig into old books and the magic that is the web and look for a blockbuster of a Red Quill nymph for the 2012 season.

Red Quill Emerger from Orvis

I discovered that there is essentially, no real patterns out there for this black sheep of the Mayfly world. I dug deep into some circa 1950 stuff, I went East coast, West coast and read some Latin. I waded through some incredibly bad web content and worshipped all the groovy new fly catalogs.and basically got skunked. Weird for a bug I see so often. Latin wise it seems to be in the Rithrogena gang with March Browns, but the nymph patterns are all very fat. Most of the Hendrickson patterns look a whole lot closer size and color wise but I'm afraid they are bloods and not crips. I'm not looking to get wacked here for crossing a line with the Ephemera gang. Truth is, I still have no idea what it is we are trying to imitate, I just know there is not a nymph pattern of what I'm not sure I'm seeing. Superflys (tung, soft hackle PT's) work all summer long in the right water type so maybe there isn't a better mouse trap after all.

A friend of mine was fishing size 12 PT's with an over sized bead one summer when the Quills were around and he was killing it deep. Something or other he read he said. "These bugs worked real hard at getting back under things on the bottom in fast water" he says. Real similar to the March Browns back East, but no closer. Time to call my buddy the Bug Man. Either way, all this research and thought spawned that  Bead Head Red Quill for use this summer.....probably wont work, but I've got 3 dozen of them.

JMacs Girdle

Quick and easy guide fly this week. I got fancy for the picture and put wing cases on, only because I needed to play with the new UV clear coat Kit got me for Xmas. The quick and easy going to loose them any ways version does not require as much fluff. 3 materials and some lead and you have a different spin on your Pats Rubberlegs, Bitch creeks and Girdle bugs, which we all use alot.

December 30th and its going to be a bluebird 48 degrees on the Roaring Fork, fourth in a row according to the only other guide on the river. Hatching Midges, 38 degree water, perfect clarity and no pressure on the next to last day of the year.  Convinced beyond a doubt that magic began at the end of the boat ramp, Jmac and I KNEW it was on.  I'd love to tell you that's how it went, but it didn't. Id like to tell you that guide fly worked wonders,but believe me, nothing in the box smelled right. We did tail hook one on a streamer and I might have farmed another but that was the whole story. Seven beers in the cooler and we took 4 home........ Fishing

tough to tell but that rock is still 25 ft above the water.
Last day Canyon fishing for 2011