Cha Ching

This guy is a proven 1st stringer in my streamer box, especially in the spring. Nothing more than a Tequeely knock off, but it's what we had on the shelf at the time.

There's more garbage and some photographic evidence on this bug here:

This one's for you Mark Shaw. All the materials you need are on the fully stocked shelves of a cool little fly shop in Min'urn Colorado

Hope you enjoy the groovy beat that is royalty free music.

Big Bird PMD

An easy guide tie for PMD's using the same Ostrich Herl method. Quick, easy and deadly.

Big Bird Midge

Some winter pattern love. Quick , cheap and easy, like guide flies should be.

Got some Spirit?

Yeah I should be christmas shopping for Kit and the lad but they don't need anything from the "Tie Flying" material shop. Boxes of goodies have been strewn about with new materials and I just couldn't stroll by this again.

Natures Spirit has some cool shit

Hook: TMC 2488 #20
Tail: Yellow PT Fibers
Abdomen: Stripped Quill
Rib: Thread tag colored black
Wing Case: Thinskin
Thorax: BWO Peacock Herl

Little soft hackle love for Budniakiewicz

I'm always on the hunt for new stuff to make old stuff better, case in point Mr BWO, THE most important bug we all carry and pitch.

Crip Keeper

Got off my ass and shot a tying video. There's work to be done but I've sat through worse.
This thing has honest to goodness been a go to for me for several seasons. During the early PMD hatch here on the Eagle this little bitch has fooled many a picky eater. Running it in the film works best but tossing it under a bunch of weight doesn't suck either.

Braedon's Big Adventure and NY Porn

So here is the highlight reel and a few stats.

Fish camp day 1

Steelhead alley and a nice view of Lake Erie

2nd double in 5 minutes

Braedon 's smile may be permanent 

I had an awesome time watching Braedon get his Ninja Card. It was a pleasure getting to know you better bud, your part of the family now.

Almost gets boring doesn't it. We hit it right for the Browns and got extremely lucky, everything worked out. Special thanks to Mark Lagana for the access trick, Ford Focus (survived us for 41 hours, 1600 miles, and a lot of abuse), my family for feeding us, Joe Olivero, Delerium Tremons beer and my hometown.

 Before I started editing I had over 400 exposures from 7 days of this adventure, but Porn, no matter how colorful can get old, so enough of the Browns....have some Steel. 

These guys were around with the Browns and became a bonus.

We went looking for this guy, congrats Scotty 
So there it is, at least the highlights. Want in on the fun next year? 

We will be offering this trip for 2 weeks next November.
The trip price will include 2 Days chasing Brown Trout, a day of Pheasant Hunting and 2 days chasing Steelhead. Each week will be limited to 4 anglers, details and prices coming soon, don't miss out.

Fish of a lifetime

Seven days of some of the most consistently ape shit Trib Fishing is hard to write about. There were so many incredible moments during this trip that I may need a few weeks to actually wrap my mind around what just happened back in NY. While editing pictures I realized there were a few compelling story lines that my camera captured, but the one it didn't, is on my mind.

Breadon Martinson will never be the same
 After 6 days of hardcore Brown Trout fishing we decided to take our game further East and target some Steel. After a three doughnut drive, we eventually lumbered our way (long after daybreak) to a very popular stretch of a very popular river. Paradise was what we hoped for, filled with giant fish and a light crowd of post holiday swing junkies, nice hats and cigars included.

We happened across a couple of guys with room next to them and decided to strike up a conversation before we started crushing the beat next to them.

Shack, Slim and Smiles were just like us, a group of three buddies finishing up a great week of fishing together. Things had been amazing for them also and they seemed genuinely happy to share some space with us.

It pays to be agile, hostile and mobile

As we were game planning in the bushes for the probable ass whooping we were about to apply, the huddle upstream of us blew up. Shack had hooked into his fish of a lifetime and everyone in earshot now knew. It was pure gorgeousness as everyone dropped what they were doing to join in the party. It took a friend or 2 to handle these fish all week long, add a camera man and all of a sudden there are 3 guys sharing in the joy every time a fish was landed. The love from total strangers for a dude with bent graphite almost brought a tear to my eye as we all anxiously awaited the beasts arrival at our feet.

I snapped a quick pic of Braedon shortly after he helped Shack tail his fish of a lifetime.

 It is an incredible experience to be truly present and genuinely happy for a buddy, let alone a total stranger, in a moment he will never forget. Everyone in that pool had been chasing that same euphoria and knew the significance of what had just happened to one of our brothers. Slim's very expensive camera was documenting the chaos and the photo shoot looked like something out of a fly fishing magazine, we were as high as you can get.

And then it happened. With out a word or warning, Shack turned, grabbed his rod and stepped back into the hole. Having shared everything for a week of hard fishing Slim and Smiles were expecting a shot at the glory hole and a chance at a beast of their own. It was uncomfortable to watch. If the seven deadly sins of fishing had been elves, Greed, Gluttony and Selfishness were hiding in the bushes of the Paradise Hole that morning. Kind of made us sick.

Only needed a shoe horn, no Vaseline 

So later in the day as Breadon and I were taking a skunking and enjoying it, ol Slim and Smiles appear in the bushes behind us. They left Shack alone after the incident to land fish and take pictures on his own for the day. They were all smiles which surprised me after finding out they had not had any success or even fished much at all. We were all pretty well spent from a hard week and our dials were set at chit chat instead of cast endlessly to finish the day. They explained to us that Shack was Shack and he may have shown that side before, but he was a good friend and added greatly to the life of any trip and would always be welcome.

 "To good to leave home" said Slim as he winked and explained how they got him back.

Seems before the lads split up that day, Slim told Shack his camera malfunctioned and the pictures of his fish of a lifetime had been lost. They stayed long enough to watch him squirm and panic then wandered away to a hole on the river where numbers and ego don't matter as much as friendships.

Not sure how long he held out on that picture.


Planning a destination trip (or 3 knuckleheads go to NY)

Planning, prepping and packing for a destination expedition with fly gear can be the most important process of your trip; it can also be a giant waste of time. Often times we are faced with an abundance of questions about flies, timing, tactics, weather and such that we as type A (anal), fly fishing types will almost always over prepare.  Phone calls, intranet research, fishing reports and he said she said bullshit about flows, temperature and the probable “run” can lead to some sleepless ness when you are going into the unknown with fly rods. This trip has been different for me, I’m going home; home to the tribs of Lake Ontario and her Migratory fish that originally got me into this fur and feather bullshit. Not fishing my home waters on the great north coast for several years has not made my prep any easier.

EQUIPMENT: Be prepared to break shit. I have four rods, multiple reels, extra fly line, more than enough flies, leaders, floro tippet 1x-4x and enough weight to sink a boat. Sacrifice the underwear and goggle map the nearest laundry mat  to make room for more fishing stuff, you won’t be sorry. This trip is all about research for 2 weeks of client trips next year and the data we collect will help the trips sell or not, so the pile of camera junk becomes just as important as the rods.

FLY TYING: This step in your prep can be one of those big wastes of time. 99% of the time you spend weeks trying to wear your bobbin out only to arrive and find your money patterns are two shades to dark and local knowledge says don’t play them. Flies for Great Lakes Tributaries are not the techy patterns my vise is used to seeing and it was a great time getting back to my roots of tying. Large blue and black Prince’s, Soft hackles in in every crayon color I could think up and of course egg imitations. This trip’s whole sale fly would be something we have coined the Bead Bug or the beaded soft hackle. There are over 100 of them jammed in my egg box so based on the moon phase and my over whelming confidence in the way they look I am relatively positive they won’t work. If you don’t tie flies this is the type of trip to start. Migratory fish don’t seem to care as much about how ugly your head is finished or if you splayed your Coc De Leon tails. Dig out a bunch of large hooks, some thread that won’t break and as much of that chenille that came in your original starter kit as you can recover. Sucker spawn, egg flies, small buggers, stones, comets, nuclear roe bugs and soft hackles with whatever twist you can dream up works just fine if you are on fish.

Softhackle Bead Bugs

PACKING: Clothing can make or break a trip comfort wise. Being prepared for wet and cold weather that the north coast very often throws at you can be the difference in finding a little solitude in one of the busiest combat fishing zones on the planet. On days when the weather is shit those who are not comfortable in the elements stay home, giving the river to those who know how to spend money on good gear. Good waders and boots, under layers of fleece and poly, good socks and a worthy rain jacket all make the trip no matter what, everything else becomes expendable as the majority of my fifty pound checked bag is equipment. I can buy a tee shirt if it’s too warm, I don’t want to buy gear. Buy a nice carry on bag that meets your airlines regs and  will fit your rods and reels. For this trip its in charge of getting 4 rods, 4 reels, camera equipment and some tying stuff there safely; things I can’t afford to have lost for the first 3 days of a trip. I would also highly suggest shipping stuff to your destination in advance. This comes in handy when you want to use longer Switch and Spey rods that you can’t always pack or carry on.

PLANNING: I will start by saying the websites, updated material and the poor response to phone calls has me a touch let down heading into this. Being in the guide game in someplace like Colorado has taught me the importance of good information on a unique website that is updated responsibly, NY doesn’t have a clue. Being from the area helped as I still have a few contacts on the ground but we are going places I haven’t been in years so a chit chat with someone who you have some confidence in goes along way. It took a contact in Colorado (Jmac) to ultimately make a connection with an outfitter who will be floating us on our last day. It’s all about who you know.

PERSONNEL: Have a good team, guys who all bring something to the table that will add to the success rate. It can be at the tying table at night, the willingness to contribute without fishing (camera time, exploring, cooking), netting ability or a positive, patient attitude when things are tough. One sour apple makes for bad applesauce.

TIMING: Chasing Migratory fish is a tricky business, if they aint there, you aint going to catch them. No water, no fish, bad water temps, no fish are things you will need to be prepared for.  Going in historically prime times can help but that’s what everyone else is thinking too. Don’t get stuck in one place when you are chasing Lake Runs, have an open mind and the ability to change locations to find the fish. For this trip that may mean going away from our primary target of Big Brown Trouts and may put us in a Steelhead mode(we’ll deal with it).

So blog season begins again for me, this year I kick it off with some nonsense from a destination home with old friends, family  and Scott Thompson and Braeden of Minturn Anglers fame.  I hope to check in with some updates and of course some pictures as this debacle unfolds, it's going to be interesteing.  

Choose your friends wisely

 Already looking ahead to those hot summer days when it all starts to look and feel the same, realizing I will be drifting off to days like these. Three straight on the Eagle, pre-run off, three great sticks and a consistent streamer bite....damn enjoyable. Year after year these are the few trips that begin a long season of rowing, and they are always the best of the year, sort of the way Nascar starts their season out with Daytona.

Chef with one of many, on a run that was to short.

Problem with fishing around incredible fishermen is you see proof that it can be done, and that justify s the time plopped in the rowers seat trying to believe a cast 3' further for someone who doesn't quite get it. But it doesn't work that way with this sport, you have to put in the time and participate and at the end of the day some dudes are just better. Having an appetizer this good can leave a guy feeling hungry later on while wishing JK or Chef were back in his ride.

Even I found a few this week

 So maybe it's that hungry feeling that creates low pressure in the boat some days. Guide has seen it done. He has seen casts go into prefect spots time and again; he has seen cast's land where he was thinking, no words necessary. He has been there when the struggling bird caused fish to breech like great whites for a seal; he has seen the game played perfect,with the only reward being a 20' chase. For the best anglers, missing fish becomes a novelty if they are hitting every bucket on the course, the other 90% of us will be left with some questions. That's probably why a guide might press you for a little more, they know there are only so many A+ spots and he wants you to hit them all, just like his buddy did in the beginning of the season.

 Don't blame the guide, blame the quality of friend he has been choosing to allow in the boat while you are not around.

World Invasion

Super, super excited to hear Vail Colorado and my friend JKnight have been awarded the 2015 Youth World Fly Fishing Championships AND the 2016 Adult World Fly Fishing Championships.

I have enjoyed living on the fringe of competitive Fly Fishing but it has just been around blokes from the states.It has been great fun starting to understand the process, the rules and the players here so I can only imagine things when the world gets in my boat. For the guys that have put time in traveling to Colorado the past few years I hope you guys have some home field advantage and I am looking forward to being part of the process. I know for sure tournaments like America Cup just became very valuable on every teams calender for the next few years.

Checkout Troutlegend for great updates on Comp Fishing

Al Gores hunting Buddies

Going into another tough water year here in the Central you believe in climate change?

Switching 2 Double Dries

Spent the last 3 Days with time on my hands so i wrapped them both around Ms. 4wt Switch.


There are still some minor issues but so far this thing has done everything I've asked including some dry fly action with my boy Spacc.  Switch line might not be for delicate situations but by making the leader 12' long we could manage to present flies to sipping fish in slow water. Double Dry/ Dropper, a hybrid double spey, Midgezilla and Raisin Run all to ourselves on a 45 degree March day= Heaven. It's still all about the Midge.

The fishing this week has been pretty consistent. There were definite lulls in the action at times which is predictable with the late winter/early spring conditions.With daylight savings and some warmer weather, the system is going to be a tad confused which results in little periods of down time. Clarity on the lower river is starting to look like spring and most of this early color can be cold water. We fished from edge ice most of the time Tuesday and I couldn't get the sound of rain drops out of my head. I realized the cantilever of solid ice was about 6 inches above the water and it was raining down there. All that ice melt equals cold water. Mother nature can try and trick us during the early, very fish- able period of pre- run off. She warms us up enough to take the heavy jacket off and fools us into thinking that's what the trouts are doing too.

Didn't take Spacc very long to get back in a groove

A few of you have been asking the when question. We are sitting around 70%  of our snow pack for the Colorado Basin at the moment and the fingers and toes are crossed in hope for a snowy March/April. Simply put we are still way behind in our numbers and its looking like another tricky year. We are looking at 3-5 more days of very warm weather and some rain/snow mix after that here in the Eagle River Valley. The next few weeks will give us a better clue, but it's feeling like things are going to be early again.

Common Sense is Dead

An Obituary printed in the London Times.....Absolutely Brilliant!!

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
 - Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
 - Why the early bird gets the worm;
- Life isn't always fair;
- And maybe it was my fault

 Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge). His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

 Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun tan lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.
 Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches were treated as businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.
 Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.
 Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

 Common Sense was preceded in death,
 - by his parents, Truth and Trust,
 - by his wife, Discretion,
 - by his daughter, Responsibility,
and - by his son, Reason.

 He is survived by his 5 stepbrothers:
 - I Know My Rights
- I Want It Now
- Someone Else Is To Blame
- I'm A Victim
- Pay me for Doing Nothing

 Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

Lower Mud

March has finally arrived and the fish have happiliy waited. I had a great time on the lower Colorado with my good friend Scott Thompson and his Buffalo buddy Joe last Sunday. This stretch of river below Glenwood Springs is a true gem when it's clear (she is nicknamed the Big Mud for good reason) and March/April is one of our favorite times to play. We floated Dino-Newcastle choosing a short 2 miler with frequent stops and left the streamer rod in the 4 Runner which always feels weird. With the Roaring Fork being freakishly low, the Lower stretch of Mother River has been seeing a bunch of traffic and Sunday was no different. We fished around the ramp with the switch rod and managed to trick a few while we waited for the rubber hatch to move downstream. The eddy at Dino continues to be one of my favs and for good reason. Scott and Joe hammered that seam with precision and dragged a couple of nice ones to the net as we slipped up and down that glorious buffet line. In short report......she is ready for winter to be over also, book your trip.

winter skinny but still Colorado strong

Also winter skinny and strong

Clean and fresh with a tint of chrome

Exotic species of the day was a fine fighter. Sorry Joe.

 Every time Mr Thompson  is in my boat I laugh hard and the fish jump on his junk; he is a "fishy" dude. Look for his patterns with Montana Fly Company at your local fly shop, the Forky Baetis is a strong player anywhere you find BWO nymphs (everywhere) 

Extenze for Fly Fishermen

The Revolution has reached the Upper Eagle River Valley.......I'm offering two handed fun this season.

While I wait for MR. Scott L2H 5wt, I have been really enjoying my time with Ms. Mystic 11'3" 4wt here in the hood. It took 17 minutes to realize how much fun Switch Rods are going to be for chasing my local trouts; the practical applications for the water I guide is going to change everything. The radical applications are going to be a potential blast. The 4wt has handled a heavy tip/streamer as well as a nymph rig/bobber. I understand that may make a 2 handed purist cringe but the whole system is a mutant offspring of tradition any ways so just be patient while someone gets the rule book written. Honestly the last technique I'll be teaching will probably be the swing unless maybe the bugs look like little wet flies. We fish streamers a certain way around here and the program is strong so I can't see some junior spray pole replacing our tradition. Most of the action these tree branches are going to see (at least in my program) will look  like what their little cousin the 9 footers have been doing for us. Can't wait to chuck a dry with it.

While I know there are a few of you who will love picking up new techniques and tactics, I have no illusion of turning anyone into a mediocre spey caster; every single hand roll cast has been a miracle the way I teach.

For one reason or another we have all struggled with the search for more, all guys have sat and thought about life with a few more inches, guides just do it everyday.Well my dim light came on when I quickly calculated I could just buy 27 more at the store. Never mind the ability to mend at 80', the length of the rod makes traditional movements like water hauls, roll casts and single hand casts instantly 16.834' longer. Add double handed casts like a single/ double spey, switch cast, snap t and BANG...... all my fishing friends are on an All Natural Cast Enhancement System!!These things are the medication that can promise feet.

Down side?
It is a relative nightmare to match up with a line and I can see some spool changing depending on what its being abused for. A switch line, a skagit, speydicator and a wallet of tips also means a  new piece of luggage.

Two people peeling from the boat is not anything I want to be invovled with. We'll just stop alot.

Hook sets just got further away.

Damn Rods are as long as my boat.


Lost track of an old buddy a few years ago and I have been wondering what might have become of him. His name is/was John "Mayday" Malone and he scared the shit out of me.

When I first met Mayday at Guide School he wasn't as terrifying.  He appeared to have come straight from an Orvis Catalog; wind proof hair, perfectly pressed Logo shirt, high end rain jacket even on nice days and a face that kindly accepted the largest pair of Cocoons sold. He was a 70's Fly Fisherman avatar in a fully loaded vest......exactly what you would sketch if you needed a trout guide cartoon character. He was polite and honestly charming with a knack for making you listen every time he rambled, even if it sounded exactly like yesterdays poop.

"Guy shook em off all day Bobby"

Perry gave him the boot one year and he somehow got a gig at Elktrout for the summer. I'm sure  looking like Mr LL Bean in Barbour slacks helped them decide to skip the back ground check. He eventually migrated back to us and his rock below Wolcott where they climb. He's not there anymore but I'm sure his boot prints are. I smile when I float past.

No one was sure exactly how he came to be in the Eagle Valley, he just appeared one day. According to Mayday he used to be a golf pro in Fla and a fishing guide back in PA. The only place he really considered home was a small hunting cabin somewhere in western PA, it wasn't until the end of his days in Colorado we learned he was actually from Ohio. Everything was a bit mysterious with the old fella. He had very few friends, no family to mention, an ex wife with no legs and he was supposedly Ray"Boom Boom" Mancinis Cousin. He had a post office box but cashed most of his checks and never signed a lease, which made us all think he escaped something. He slept a lot of places including some crazy Irishman's basement, his truck, expensive motels, several couches and the fly shop floor over the years. Everyone extended a hand to Mayday, at least in the beginning, before it started to feel like you were just buying him another round. He never had a problem finding people who genuinely cared, a holiday meal or a place to stay until the Booze started pushing him around real hard.

I had some "things" going on in my life and I guess he thought it might be OK if his life went into flames at the same time. My misery wasn't looking for company and my patience level was the door man so it was hard to get equal playing time, but this sweet old man was part of the family and needed help. Watching someone in their 60's sell all their worldly possessions (which fit in part of an old Jeep Cherokee) was sobering enough, seeing him chase nitro pills with a Budweiser made me think clearly about tightening things up (or trying to). I honestly would close my eyes at night and think to myself that could be me and if I am not careful I might be the one "watching the shop for the night."  I would hate to hurt his feelings if he is still around, I doubt he has one of these "machines" (his flip phone was gremlin enough),but his hot mess started to help me out of mine.

It's been a couple of years now since I last heard from John; I wonder about him often, even calling his cell now and again. Drunk or not he never let our friendship wobble, he supported me no matter in some dark times, which is more than I can say for a few of my "good friends" in Colorado.The last time I saw him was the day my Dad drove him to the bus station in Vail. He had tickets to his hometown, Youngstown Ohio and a treatment program to get the demon out. I know he checked in and 3 months later checked out and then disappeared. Some people around here want to know he's all good, so if you are a dry cleaner in the PA/OH area and you read this crap, please keep an eye out for a nice old fella who might come in to have his rain jacket pressed.......tell him to give me a call, Karma misses him.

There are 9024 pictures on this hard drive and not one of Mr Malone, if anyone from back in the day has a picture of Mayday send it to me so the FBI can have something to go on.

Rally Utah

Well Done! Makes me want to drive to Utah this morning.

Guys with beards get it done....maybe I'll grow a beard.

My new rival

Woke up excited and READY for a float on the Roaring Fork Thursday morning and then found this:

This was my third bullet from Plow King Paul and this terrorist act was due some measure of retaliation. Armed with a fresh cup of Joe and a schedule to keep I turned to a weapon of mass destruction I am very highly certified to use. Anyone from my past knows that I have moved a Superdome's worth of dirt with a shovel in my time, this was nice, light, clean, cold and easy. 45 minutes later Ol Sadam of Snow needed to scrape most of that parking lot again since it looked like a Scud missile had been lobed into his sick joke. My neighbors quietly smiled and shook their heads as they walked the kids to the bus stop. Each toss of giant clumps of plow snow was meticulously placed in a nice neat 40' radius from the original crime......It was gorgeous work. The enemy was not pleased as he re cleaned what he could while waiting for me to move the rig I strategically left in the way for 22 mins. He got my biggest grin and a wave from Sam as we FINALLY moved so he could finish for a second time. 

Test drove the new Mystic 4wt Switch once on the water. Love it, need to spend more time with her.

Nice to be back in the boat with my good friend Josh Miller. The Fork gave us much love early and then paid us back for my evilness late......we were better than that.