Fart Certified

I have been asked by the High Council of Salty Old Guides to take part in a review regarding some interesting stuff coming up for the Fly Fishing world.  There has finally been some cooperation between SOG and the National Chapter for Tormented Clients, which could lead to long over due changes to the "lying game" that goes on before a guide trip and the future of an Angler Ranking system.

At their routinely rescheduled 10 year board meeting, SOG introduced an interesting amendment to the American Development Model requiring Anglers to be "ranked or qualified for any participation in the art through real time training programs". In an effort to reduce the growing rate of Premature Guide Burn Out due to an overexposure to clients who lie about their talent level, the Council is recommending every Angler interested in taking part in a guided trip, take a Fly Fishing Skills Advancement in Real Time class. It's being called FART for short.

FART is a program dedicated to helping Anglers learn how to learn without a computer, in real time, while also providing an universally certified ranking system that Guides anywhere can believe. FART

I mean how great will it be for your favorite guide to never hear the words....
"Practice? Well no, but I watched a ton of YouTube videos. I'll be fine"
Now this guy can just take a FART

It is the Elder's hope to more accurately and honestly assess an anglers talent level before they are allowed to advance to the real fun this sport has hidden for the worthy. Guides have been spending too much time deciding what clients can realistically absorb instead of doing their job. This has resulted in some guides' programs growing stagnant and specialized in the dark art of distraction instead of guiding people and catching fish. The Council hopes that FART classes and certifications will help anglers and guides by better understanding and truthfully identifying client skill level. Trusting your FART score will help correctly match guides and anglers insuring the best possible experience for everyone involved. All through extensive live FARTing.

Classification of anglers used to be post trip parking lot stuff and it was really simple, an angler was either an AFC team (awesome freakin chances) or an NFC team (no freakin chance). The current system of  Beginner, Novice and Pro is not working when most people self-rank themselves a Pro after just a few hours on Orvisnews. All parties are in agreement that Pete Kutzer fellow is a world class instructor and Rosenbauer is really Yoda but a good three day FART goes way further.

This is the stink on what the proposed vocabulary may look like for Angler re-classifications:

Dabbler (thank you Kirk Deeter for your theory on The Three Knot Angler ) This is a first timer, probably only timer. Best matched up with a rookie guide who has resort level babysitting qualifications.

Bucket Listers. More than likely super nice peeps on vacation, not anglers. Usually a low key, enjoyable, easily met expectation kind of a day for all. Nice place for a guide with experience who might need an easy day or your cookie cutter 3rd year, not so fishy Guide who does that crap everyday.

Back Seater. No learning, non listener, know it all. The float guide in this case will have to be experienced and brave enough to keep this guy behind him or her all day trying to forget he's even there since he already knows everything. A 5th or 6th year guide about ready to lose his marbles from too many days with Dabblers is perfect if you want some fireworks.

Virtual Angler. The reason this program is being considered; Lots of click time but has no idea what cork feels like. Virtual Angler meet Virtual Guide (lots of these also) you guys can compare stats and Twitter hashtag stuff about your argument over what a hot spot actually is.

Caster. Not a great classification unless willing to learn a few new tricks. A caster is a fella who has actually practiced, usually on dry land and has probably been guided before maybe even some salt water experience. The Caster has a great understanding of how to make a fly rod cast 60' of line but can't get a good drift in moving water if there was cash on it. I've said this for years "Great drift" is high praise from a guide while "Great Cast" usually means you are boring me. Great casters rarely catch as many fish as a peep who throws half as far, but can control his flies drift. Good spot for Patient Guide with praise on playback and an uncanny tolerance for watching people get close, but not close enough.

A Stick. Experienced angler who very often down plays his experience level resulting in pleasantly surprised guide.  These rare, humble humanoids are around and they allow a guide to actually guide instead of hold hands and distract you from your suck. Guides should guide these types. Guides with mad real time experience deserving of spending the day with some true talent. Old guides with dirty tricks.

You just go fishing with a stick

10 Percenter. Catches 90 percent of the fish and enjoys 100 percent of the experience. These guys and gals don't need a guide but, chose to use one. In my opinion, they are the only demographic of our sport besides Military personnel that deserves a discount on their guide trips. Every guide, no matter the experience level, should get a chance to spend a few days a year with a 10 percenter.

Three 10 Percenters

Hater. Not everyone likes guides. Like the DB that tried to steal my boat. Or the DB who keeps taking the Colorado Angling Company stickers off my truck and the DB that stole wallets and slashed umpteen tires on guide vehicles this summer. Oh and the outfitter who complained to the BLM about this stupid blog.
Probably scared to FART
Don't be a hater, but if you are that guy, comfortable with the hate, I would hate to see you have any fun so if you want a trip, ask for me, you'll hate it.

Guiding is a fun job, when I get to do it. I don't mind wearing different hats per say, I just like to put the right one on before I leave the house. Don't blow sunshine all over the situation by trying to convince your guide you are a stick because you have gear fished your whole life. It's Apples and Oranges and it's OK. This sport is like none other and in many ways you need a guide or a good FART to make those giant steps to being a 10 Percenter.  Enjoy yourself, no matter your new ranking, there is a guide for you. Being guided is fun, I hire guides and LOVE it. Go with the intention of having fun but try going prepared. There is no substitute for going outside and practicing.

So where do you think you will grade out after your first FART?

What if I told you there was going to be a school that will help you score high on any FART certification?

Check out PREP SCHOOL on Colorado Angling Companies school page. Two opportunities that are guaranteed to take the suck out of your game and have you fishing better than your guide.

Winter small

Winter has finally come to the Central Mountains........... sort of. 

Baetis have taken a back seat to the Midge here on the Eagle in the last few weeks. It is still a useful attractor nymph along with Eggs and small Stones.

Less is more in winter

Everything is smaller in winter.
The days are shorter, making for a small feeding window and the water is lower as flows slow to a creep and turn absolutely Gin clear. The deep hole from July is usually 75% smaller in the cold months here on my home freestone, obviously effecting the depth and speed of my rigs. The tippet gets smaller to match the available naturals which happen to be on the extremely teenie side for the next 3 or 4 months. The low clear water  combined with the lack of vegetation in the drift allow trout to see a higher percentage of available microscopic bugs but you can scare low water trout easier by showing them too much. I believe the menu of small appetizers narrow a trouts focus, helping them see small bits better, but it also makes that steak sandwich stand out on a buffet table of jelly beans.
It takes me back to my roots on Spring Brook in Caladonia NY where if your size 22 was the wrong shade of the right color you were screwed. This little spring creek was where I discovered midge fishing with super small patterns, long fine leaders and tippet for technical trout. Being a spring fed creek we fished it all year long but especially in the winter when the tribs had no fish in them. I learned a lot from that place.

Miss this place

Winter also begins to blow around my tying studio (that is what they call them in "tieland" nowadays) Cold weather patterns are served up #18-24 with little to no bling and super small beads. Low clear water means fish will have a great advantage noticing all the imperfections in an anglers presentation but I believe they also see bobbers and split shot better. I use small bobbers during the winter and in certain conditions I color the bottom with a black sharpie. Eliminating the bobber and using a small piece of yarn or better yet nothing at all has huge benefits if you can play that game.

Try hiding your bobber in a floating nymph in the winter.
Never tried it, but I own a couple that I must have spun up during some bout with the voices in my head.

Split shot is a vital tool when it comes to getting nymphs into a zone where the fish are but in the winter it can be too heavy as well as too noticeable. I fish at least one bead head fly in my winter rigs, sometimes two, and I always tie with tungsten, mostly black in color. A very large percentage of the junk falling from the vise during fourth season is tied on TMC 100 or TMC 101 light wire dry fly hooks with small 1.5mm-2.0mm slotted tungsten beads.

Yep those are light wire dry fly hooks for nymph patterns.
I like slotted beads in 1.5mm but you can find a small plummeting tungsten beads. The metallic brown one makes for a sexy PMD in the summertime.

Just a touch of flash. Use a good dubbing with some guard hairs like Hare Plus from Hareline and you can skip putting legs on your smallest nymph patterns.

It creates a different game plan at the vise as well as on the river when you are trying to solve the depth issue without split shot. Building small, dull colored beads into the profile of my bugs help camouflage the necessary act of getting my tools to the job site with out highlighting the bead like I might during high water.

Carry On
Book a Trip

Global Warming & Egg Whites

Glorious Global Warmth has my neighborhood on fire.

Seriously, get in touch with me and book a trip the fishing all three ways could not be better right now.


 If yer gonna feed them feed them well, I have been trying to reduce my trouts bad cholesterol by using more Egg Whites

Just a dash of Oregon Cheese

Had a great trip to Texas last week part of which included a trip to the coast and a trip with Alvin Dedeaux. Book a trip with All Water Guides for some Redfish. 

The best single day of Redfishing I have ever experienced. I have no idea how many shots I had but I tried like hell to ruin that Clouser. Look Alvin up, you will not be disappointed.

Join us at Colorado Angling Company Headquarters this afternoon for some Fun, Food, Flies being tied and a great giveaway from Umpqua.
There's Beer, Coney dogs, Kitty's Homemade Mac Salad and a load of BS
Come see me if you are around.

No we are not burning Bones

Full page of love in this years Umpqua Catalog is nice.
Buy my flies!!!

Carry On

Where's your Beaver been?

One of the most important tools I have laying around the production department is H2O. There are many instances where getting your fingers wet with saliva can help materials like dubbing, soft hackles and marabou be more cooperative but most are fur and and feathers from dead animals. While the phrase 'dead animal" should be obvious enough, there are other chemicals including bleach and dye that can make you sick with all that oral action. I just adore some good bunny tail and never mind the beaver that has followed me around for years but I have no idea what they were up to before I got to play with them so I prefer dipping over spit.

I usually leave a shallow 4"x 6" tupperware container of water on my left side while I am tying which makes it convenient for my working or left hand. I leave a sponge in the middle of the puddle to make it easy to reach and get my fingers wet without looking. Any little bit of efficiency helps get flies done quicker and this little trick can even prevent you from getting an upset tummy. The wet sponge also serves as a good place to leave materials like stripped herl in damp storage. The fact it also acts as a micro humidifier here in the high mountain desert is just a bonus.

#22 BWO Soft Hackle-ness for the recent mania. The dry fly action all around my neighborhood has been fer real good.

Carry On 

Ambassador Hashtag

Joined the hashtag nation this weekend. I am on Instagram.

I happened across a young guides social media post the other day and was so blown away by the 75 hashtags I never noticed the fine trout in the picture. It made me realize that in some cases this hashtag thingy can be a lot like an endorsement., I hope that isn't me in a few weeks. One shop I know of makes it's guides "Ambassadors" of a certain company in the industry that they sell and expects that a camera and # are used often. I get it, but don't expect me to be a hashtag whore, unless there is much love. I have the luxury of not being affiliated with a fly shop and their specific products making for a pretty non-bias hashtag. I love Sage, Orvis, Winston and Scott because I can.


We have 1/2 off private water wade trips available this fall and the dry fly fishing has been beyond wonderful. Great fall weather, as well as a strong BWO and Midge hatch, have the fish happily rising and all of our Colorado Angling Company anglers very excited.
I'll endorse that.


There is sure to be some # love for Umpqua.  I can start with the joy for my new Surveyor 2000 day pack. I just finished up guiding out of it for three days up north with my good buddy Bruning on some of the prettiest trout water I have ever walked. Most of the water I was guiding was an aggressive bush whack and a sweaty hike from the truck so everything had to go. I usually guide out of a good size sling pack, but my current pack's zippers have seen better days so I tried guiding out of a back pack for the first time. There was plenty of room for a camera, tripod, jacket, water, snacks and more fly boxes than I ended up needing. The clam shell design allows for easy access while bush camp is set up and it's simple outside design helps with the snags while blazing trails.

Savage Lakes 

On a recent hike up to Savage Lakes with Kitty, the Big Zim, Sarah and Kush; I packed for a day hike plus some lake fishing. The pack is comfortable and completely out of the way when fishing in it.

Need a new pack for hiking and or fishing? Check out Umpqua's great line of packs and bags by fishermen, for fishermen, also very hashtagable.


So the new administration seems to have begun the process for the Pebble Mine to move forward and possibly destroy Bristol Bay. Get informed, be heard.

TU's Form Reply quick and easy. Get it done


Check out this cool version of a Pats Rubber Legs by Tim Flagler at Tightline Video. Cool little technique for an extended body with chenille.

Carry On

2017 Summer All-star Team

Damn strong talent on my warm weather team this year and as usual the offensive coordinator has been calling plays out of a Dry Dropper play book for the summer season. I don't tie too many dry flies during the busy months but I try and manufacture all of my droppers, weighted or not. As the season starts to warm up the dries get bigger (Hoppers) and the droppers often get smaller (Tricos) which can end up looking like a tangle fest. Small beads (1/16th and 5/64 tungsten) on super small nymphs (20-22) as a third fly or second dropper often helps the flies land separated and has become a necessity in my summer rigs, dry dropper or nymph.

Here's a few who have gladly sacrificed themselves so a few of you could have an epic day

#20 & 22
5/64 Nickel Tungsten Bead

Great dropper during summer Trico Season.

#16-18 Jig Hook

My solution to the small black Caddis and the weeds during mid summer float season 

Knocked off Lawson and Roy Palm for more Little Black Caddis love.
Can't beat a good old X2 Caddis or the Palms Special Emerger I just thought they needed to dress different for the summer.
An Ice Dub/Zlon blend for the shuck caught more fish especially on sunny Eagle River days.

#16 Jig Hook
Black Tungsten Bead

One of my best searching patterns all year long

#18 John Barr Bend  (love this hook)

This little extended body fooled lots of fish in the film. Not sure if they were eating it as an emerger or a cripple nor do I care.

#16 John Barr Bend

Still slamming white beads on shit

TMC212Y hook #17

A fly built for the film and foam. Started messing with the tried and true Griffiths Gnat when I got a batch of dyed red peacock swords. The extra long splayed tails, spinner wings, red quill trailing shuck and clipped hackle help this small fly stand out and up in the big foam pockets on the Colorado

38 degrees this morning.
Fall is coming

Carry On

Cut me some slack (line)


The crowds of people on this 16 mile stretch of river is officially out of control on Saturdays and Sundays. There were so many people up there last Saturday I am sure I saw a spike in the USGS graph.

We have been trying to ruin this river for 200 years now and this is just a different type of abuse. While an excessive amount of people on the water does not impact the river as severely as the amount of water we draw from her it does damage the experience people expect especially when they are paying good money. I have always tried to avoid this section during the summer weekends but on occasion I am forced up there by someones request.

For those of you who book through outfitters please listen to thier advice. Guides are in the business of catching fish but they also have to fill other expectations and those expectations simply can not be met on this stretch of river anymore during busy summer weekends.

I don't want to show my age here but the music is killing me. There are so many rafts blaring thier music it sounds like some new hybrid genre cross between country and reggae. Its just loud and annoying noise. The place not only sounds like a concert it smells like one too.
Pot is legal in Colorado and we are allowed to participate on private property. Your boat does not qualify. I started thinking my people were just not understanding me last Saturday when I realized they were both high as kites from the second hand smoke cloud.
Boat after boat of intoxicated ding bats passed me and the only creature on board in a life jacket was the strong swimming, stone sober Labrador Retriever. I saw a keg in a boat that had a life jacket on.

Is that odd to anyone but me?

Having to limbo under one of the two slack lines in the hot tub canyon during a 20 boat traffic jam was my last straw. It is against the law to string anything across a river in Colorado.

So who is responsible for policing this shit?
We all need to make sure our brother boaters are safe but I am way to skinny to be a police man. Raft companies and outfitters that pay for permits to be there are not the problem but they are often the easiest to monitor and scrutinize. Ultimately it is the BLM Kremmling office that is in charge of this section and I am pissed off at the fact they are no where to be found on busy days. I understand its a government agency and there is a budget but this just is not working when they are not. There are just responsible guides and fishermen there during the week so why not take one of those days off and put like 10 people there on the weekends.

Please understand there is no reason to avoid this wonderful stretch entirely. If you have to use it on the weekend try fishing late afternoon- dark once the riff raff has retired to the trees for the evening.

If you give a hoot write a letter to the Kremmling BLM office demanding they start to actually manage this section responsibly. There are people breaking the law.

Kremmling Field Office
Stephanie Odell

Field Manager
2103 E. Park Ave.
P.O. Box 68
Kremmling, CO 80459
Phone: 970-724-3000
Fax: 970-724-3066
E-mail: sodell@blm.gov

Carry On (somewhere else on the weekends)

Tips for the PRO Fly Fisherman

My favorite guide on mother earth is a beautiful old man by the name of Sam Dawson and one of these days I will find the right words to tell you about him in full. He is the toughest SOB I have ever spent the day with.  I think of him and getting back in that boat on Permit Alley every single day even though I know the beat down is coming.

I hire fishing guides not babysitters.

The first time Sammy shut the engine down and opened his mouth is something I think about every morning I meet up with clients.

"You Pro's?" he asked the G and I, but it sounded more like "You Dicks?" to us.

We could have easily said yes, after all, we are paid to play with fly rods. We said No because we have heard so many of you tell us how good you are and how much you fish only to watch you proceed to suck. Neither of us were interested in being that guy so we strapped on our bullet proof vests, opened our ears and shut down the ego. We humbly tried our best to listen and ended up learning about so much more than catching Permit. We learned how to let the guide do his job in his own style, and frankly, Sammy's style is a lot like his philosophy on surviving women and catching fish; "You got to harden your heart and soften your dick".

If you read this crap on a regular basis you know I don't write a lot of "How to Stuff".  I have always figured there were guys that have more experience than I do taking care of that. But after a few days of guiding knuckleheads, and since that conversation with say it like it is Sam, I realize the demographic in our sport that needs the most help is not the beginners. It's the ever growing number of you PROS with hard dicks and soft hearts.

In honor of Sammy Dawson I give you my JULY PRO TIP.

For the Four Millionth time..........If the boat is moving and you are lucky enough to be in the front please cast to the future, not to what's "past" you by. There is a great benefit to occupying the front of a trout craft. Simply put, if your flies get to the fish before they see the boat or your buddy, you have a better chance of jumping unsuspecting fish. Most of you pros spend way to much time trying to hit the bank to make your dick hard instead of looking and casting on an angle that lets you anticipate. Every time you aim across from yourself or back on an upstream angle from a moving boat, you lose the advantage and start to crowd the angler in the back of the boat. Just because you have the ability to cast to the bank doesn't mean that's where the guide wants you. I mean if you were wade fishing over there on the bank you would be trying to throw the flies where my boat is, right? Find a good drift on a good angle and stop trying to impress me when you are actually boring me.

Check back next month when my Pro Tip will be about not beating your guide to the shop.

Aunt Sallie has been hot!

Carry On

Yeti stole my boat.

It has been a long couple of weeks, scrambling to put my raft back together after her unfortunate theft or ghost ride and ultimate scuttling. The whole team came together to have the old girl put back together by opening day of dry fly mania on THE Eagle river, amid an incredible amount of speculation as to what actually went down in the wee hours of June 10th. Being slammed with late June clients luckily made for days too busy to launch a full scale search for the dick head responsible for such an act.

With my boat (recovered the rubber) finally on the trailer being used to feed the family again I resigned myself to the fact that it was going to be hard for the local po po to find the perps so I tried to put the whole thing behind me.

But after finishing up a float late last week I received a little gift from the gods which ultimately led me to some answers. There on the dash of my new truck payment was an old school pager flashing a number at me with the code 411. The computer generated message would lead me to a midnight meeting with "Winston Orvis Simms" and the answers I had been seeking.

"Mr Simms" explained he was a high ranking official from the American Shuttle Drivers Association and they knew just about everything going on in the world of fly fishing by having access to vehicles for so long. He told me that my boat had an elaborate tracking system secretly installed several years back by PETA after I purchased a huge amount of Beaver dubbing from a fella suspected of selling patented fly patterns under new names on the black market. Anyways, they had recovered the Float Recorder Data from the black box deep within the rowers seat and this incredibly brave dude was risking his sweet shuttle gig by giving me the goods. I traded him 14 dozen "Lu Lu Beatis" and the left over "2 Bit Prostitutes" and we called it even.

The data revealed that somewhere in the middle of the night the raft was uncovered by something with a very strong stench of ass. Something or someone very large then effortlessly moved the raft with one very large and hairy hand. The black box recorded the DB sliding the left oar into the right oar lock which can over ride ones ability to successfully maneuver my boat. This move set off an on board alarm that automatically identifies the rowers certifications with the Bureau of River Log Legitimacy. The black box showed she ran a diagnostics check based on the size of the rower and it came back with 2 possibilities, Paul Zimmerman or Yeti. It would appear she thought it was the big Zim taking her for a gorgeous late night cruise through Tressel Rapid at first. She seemed happy to be on an adventure but not yet sensing the worst was about to happen. When the systems double checked the size of the rowers calves and realized they were to small and hairy to be Zim's she started to panic. I spent over 10,000 miles in that old raft without having to hit the panic button. I am truly sorry I wasn't with her when it finally happened. It seems she became an impossible bitch to handle with those oars on the wrong side and she purposely veered into 2 rail road bridges in an attempt get Yeti out of her.  She kept her path wide of the take out at Climbing Rock when she spied Bigfoot and a leprechaun waiting next to an empty trailer she figured was for her. The last bit of the recording show the old girl staying right at the entrance of the I-70 rapid and ultimately taking the hairy beast out on that low hanging dead tree but at her own expense. The data goes dark after she went upside down.

So mystery solved. Yeti is a non rowing, boat stealing dick bag and my boat took him out.

It would be easy for me to intensify my hate for nasty people after this mess but the outpouring of love and help has been overwhelming.

Big thanks to my Colorado Angling Company Family, My Rock Kitty, my Mom, Brian Culp, Kevin Duncan, Shawn House, Traci Greenwood, Chrissy Mitchell, Jean and Alan Blumenstock, Toni Leasure, David Truscott, and the 100+ people who shared my situation on Facebook and the numerous awesome people who offered boats, money and support.

Huge thanks to Vail Mountain Rescue who spent the day risking their lives in high water. Thank god nobody was hurt during that super fun event.

Enormous thanks to John Packer of Fly Fishing Outfitters for giving me a frame to replace the one that is now part of the river. This was beyond generous and proof that Ol Packman is a Vail Valley treasure. Thanks.

And finally thank you most of all Big Zim. Without your help and friendship this would not have been put back together as quickly as it was. Forever buds big fella,

Can't keep a good boat down. 
FU Yeti. 

Carry On

Shop at the Gap

Lets get right to the point

The Manual states that when fishing higher, stained and even muddy water conditions it is a good idea to over size one's Junk. The prophecy according to some ancient with a beard and a vest says it's prudent to use larger rods, leaders, tippets and flies if you are fishing the high waters of spring. If you tie flies, run off is an opportunity to whip bugs together that match water conditions, not necessarily a hatch. So seeing as the trout aren't seeing so good, a crafty fisherman starts fishing larger patterns on heavy gauge hooks with a gigantic hook gap.

Gap is where its at

Two and Three fly nymph rigs commonly are put together with the larger fly first and the smaller flies trailing it.

Ever notice that deep breathe your guide takes when he see's that the fish is hooked on the first fly?

That's because he knows your critter is attached to the biggest hook in the set and probably with 3x or better. Add a good gap and that guide is probably thinking about whats for dinner instead of frantically assisting you in your little trout tussle.

Try tying your favorite attractor nymph on a hook different than the recipe calls for; something with some holding power. This Bareback Pats is one of many I tie during run off on a size 2 Intruder hook. Notice the amount of space between the hook point and the wraps of .030 Lead Free Wire.
Lots of room for meat.


BBP Spicy Pickle on a pig sticker hook

Everything about run off is bigger, including the current. Having a solid wire hook with a significant gap can up an anglers odds at landing good fish in a pushy river. Shop at the Gap during run off you won't regret it.

Big shout out to Ed Nicholson, founder of Project Healing Waters for his well deserved honor of being One of PEOPLE'S Magazines Heroes Among Us

Congrats Ed

The battles over water are not just a western thing.

The Delaware River is in a big time struggle to stay world class and if man takes anymore of this fabled water it may be history we are making, bad history. The first time I ever took up space in a drift boat was on this river. I saw how much there was to this sport as I was humbled by 2 magnificent fishermen during a spinner fall in the Junction Pool. It is a time and a place I will never forget.
Read up and speak up for this special river..

The Battle over Water on the Upper Delaware River

What is your guide serving for lunch or dinner? More on this important part of a Fly Fishing trip in my next bit of nonsense.

Great adventures should include great food.

Carry On