Gazette Article - How To Properly Handle Trout!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Giant Carp Out Of A Local Lake Landed 6-25-2011!

 This pig was landed on my 5wt. Z-axis and 4x tippet on my carp fly!


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My Barry Reynolds Inspired Carp Fly

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Orvis Flyfishing App Review

I recently downloaded an app for my iphone4 called iflyguide and to put it lightly, it sucked.  The app was suppose to give up-to-date reports and hatch charts for rivers all over the country.  Not only did it not give accurate reports but the hatch charts were so completely wrong and misguided that I got right back onto itunes and gave it a huge negative report and left a comment asking for my $5.99 back.  Unfortunately, I didn't get a refund. 

This started me on my search for an app that would quench my thirst for what I wanted in the first place, a great fishing app for any flyfisher.  I found what I was looking for ironically in the one place I should have looked before anywhere else and that was with Orvis.  The Orvis Flyfishing app itself is a pricey one at $10 but is worth it. Aside from the fact that you get the $10 you spent back in the form of a gift card good for $10 at any Orvis store, this application has everything I thought I was getting with iflyguide.

As a flyfishing guide on the South Platte River do I really need a report on the South Platte?  No of course not, but when I checked the report out of curiousity I found what was an amazing and extremely detailed and up-to-date report similar to one that I would give while working in the shop.  I was floored the moment I started reading! At first glance you see a pic of a gorgeous rainbow and underneath a map of the location and a nifty temperature gauge that shows a reading of how well the spot is fishing. 

Continue scrolling down and you will see the water flow in cubic feet per second, water visibility, water temps, best time of the day to fish, and the best flies to use amongst other useful information.  The fly selection is exactly what I would recommend for customers coming into the shop June below Spinney Reservoir with the exception of a few shop specific guide creations such as my Mojo Midge.  This insanely awesome app even gives you the name of the nearest airport to your fishing destination! 

Want to hire me as your guide? Keep scrolling and you will get a list of Orvis endorsed guide shops for the river in question.  Last but certainly not least the fishing report gives "tips of the week" including a 7 day forecast and a detailed description of the river aimed at anglers that haven't fished it before.  The total accuracy of the report on my home river gives me confidence that if I get on my iphone to look up a desired fishing location that Orvis will be arming me with the correct info I need when I plan on exploring new water.   If the fishing report section of this application alone doesn't get you pumped then you're smoking Cheech!

There are complete video tutorials on casting that include many kinds of casting situations and are designed for the beginner and the more advanced angler alike.  Easy to follow video animations of every fishing knot you will ever need on the water add icing to a massive Orvis cake and will serve as a very useful tool for me personally to show knots to customers in the shop.  The podcasts from Tom Rosenbauer are great and provide excellent information on a wide range of subjects such as entomology and reading the water. 

The Orvis app has a list of the top 100 flies fished in the U.S. which you can buy and have shipped to your home straight from your iphone.  Each fly has a short description, and then the app tells you what situations to fish each pattern which could be a huge help to first and second year anglers still learning their bugs.  Last but certainly not least you have complete access to the Orvis online store.  Standing in the middle of the river in a pair of leaky waders?  Grab your phone and order a new pair and be dry and happy and back in the water in as soon as two days.

Not only is the Orvis app a great fishing tool but it is far the coolest app I have on my iphone, and in my opinion this program is well worth the ten dollars that you basically get back in gear.  I highly recommend this to anyone passionate about fishing that is tech savvy and living in the iphone era.  Here is the link to check out more about this product from the Orvis website. Tight lines!


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Breath Of Fresh Water

The South Platte River is an amazing fishery with great variety and abundant challenges that keep anglers coming back.  One particular stretch of this river was devastated by a massive fire in 2002.  The Hayman fire was the largest and most destructive fire ever recorded in Colorado history. The debris and sediment from the fire that washed into the South Platte from Cheesman Reservoir down past the town of Deckers layed waste to what was once a healthy trout population that called this stretch home.  After the fire came flooding which added insult to injury by spilling tons more sediment into the river from Deckers down stream and fishermen of all types began to wonder if the once legendary fishing in this region would ever recover.

Hayman Fire burn area photo by Kristen Patrocky

Ask anybody fortunate enough to fish Deckers before all that destruction and they will tell you about the glory days when abundant plant life produced great beatis and trico hatches and the fishing was epic. Most experienced guides and fishermen like Colorado Springs resident and professional guide Rick Murphy who has seen Deckers in its prime agree that quote "it will never be the same river".  Anglers Covey shop manager Steve Gossage told me that he talked to a fishery biologist that said it would take at least 25 years for Deckers to make a complete recovery.

Hayman Fire burn area photo by Kristen Patrocky

Every single person that said Deckers will never be the same is still right.  Years later it isn't the same river but It has made some semblance of a recovery.  The water is a lot cleaner than it used to be and a lot of the vegetation and bug life that was prevalent before the Hayman fire has been replaced by gravel and wood debris.  The same gravel and wood debris that several different caddis flies use to make cases.

David Eggers a passionate angler and client of mine with a nice Deckers
 bow caught on a caddis larva.

In-fact the caddis hatch has become so thick above the town of Deckers in the spring that it rivals the famous "Mother's Day" hatch on the Arkansas River.  If your fishing a nymph rig and you hit bottom you have my 100 percent guarantee that you will come up with a caddis case every time... Just kidding.  Never trust a fishermen that claims he is good with numbers.  Especially when it comes to the measurement of inches and pounds.   You will notice that a good portion of the times your rig scrapes bottom you'll have either an empty or full caddis case attached to your hook.  In other words there is still great dry fly fishing to be had here if you fish in the spring or during a calm late summer/fall evening.

There are still sparse Blue Winged Olive mayfly hatches or "BWOs" as well.  However I haven't seen a single trico hatch anywhere lower than the family hole in lower Cheesman Canyon which is a few miles up river from Deckers past the Wigwam club.  The Wigwam club owns a private stretch of the S. Platte which is located between Deckers and Cheesman and is known for holding large browns and rainbows that will occasionally stray down or up river where there is public access.  Fish like this lit up rainbow landed is a common occurrence!

Last winter I went on a trip to Deckers and found beatis (BWOs) and midges with eager and respectable trout.  It was a gorgeous 45 degree day with no wind and lots of sun.  The kind of day most winter warriors dream of.  We put in at the first parking area above the bridge and worked our way up stream while throwing a combination of either a red SanJuan worm or an apricot Bling Bug followed by small red midges or a gray RS-2.

Jon Easdon owner of Blindside Ski and Snowboard and myself are not the only people aware of the fact that this place is still fishing great and due to its close proximity to Denver Deckers receives a lot of pressure from anglers, and even though there is a lot of fishable water most of these trout have first and last names and zip codes.  One of the things I have never minded as long as other anglers demonstrate proper fishing etiquette is the crowds.  Pressure on the fish means they will be tougher to catch and I enjoy the challenge.  As Jon Easdon said when I met up with him soon after he released a fish "I forgot how much fricken fun this is!".

It is common practice by guides and fishermen that live within reasonable driving distance during the peak of summer to not take trips or fish in the area if flows are low and water temps are high so as to give the trout the best possible chance for survival.  If the flows and temps are adequate casting a nymph rig with some form of PMD (like a pheasant tail nymph) with a midge dropper behind it (such as Murphy's Bubbleback midge) in faster pocket water can be deadly.  If your one of those guys that just wants to throw big beefy streamers looking for bigger fish then the summer months can be a great time for that as well.

Large stoneflies are in the river system year around and good nymph imitations are Prince nymphs or a Pat's Rubber Leg nymph.  Again when Im fishing these patterns it is usually during the warmer months or higher flows and Im typically looking for actively feeding fish in faster pocket water or I am dredging the bottom of deeper pools with a lot of weight on my leader in order to get down to bigger fish.  I haven't personally seen an actual stonefly hatch but it doesn't hurt to have adult imitations of the bug.  Good Patterns for adult "stone's" are Amy's Ants or Stimulator's.

Pat's Rubber Leg Stonefly photo by Jon Kleis

Yellow Stimulator photo by Jon Kleis

The warmer months are great for wet wading.  Waders are awesome for keeping you warm and dry, but when the high temperature for the day is in the nineties it feels great to walk around in a pair of shorts with an old pair of tennis shoes or a good pair of wet wading shoes and stand in the river to keep cool.  When you are wading be careful during higher flows.  Last year during spring run-off Deckers got well over a thousand c.f.s. (cubic feet per second) which is a very dangerous flow to wade and makes fishing a lot tougher as well.  Fish tend to stay close to the banks or they hang out in front of boulders where there is breaking water during high flows and playing a fish in fast water under those conditions with light leaders and tippet and small flies doesn't usually spell success.

One of my favorite pics of me playing a Cheesman Canyon bow
Photo by Daniel Zimmerman

Ideal flows for this region are from 150 c.f.s. to 250 c.f.s.  For stream flow reports go to the Colorado Division of Water Resources at  As for gear during chilly conditions when its important to stay dry Simms sells quality breathable waders made with layered Gore-Tex that come with a great warranty and are extremely durable.  Orvis also has a new boot foot wader that has a cleated Bog boot that will keep winter anglers warm and dry.  Bring a 9 ft. 5 weight fly rod and 9 ft. 5x and 6x leaders and tippet and some split shot.

My Mojo Midge photo by Daniel Zimmerman
Flies to have in your box are: Elk Hair caddis size 14-18, Barr's Graphic caddis size 16-18, Buckskins size 18-20, Pat's rubber leg size 10, various Stimulators, Prince nymphs size 12-16, Apricot eggs size 16-18, San juan worms size12-16, Pheasant tail nymphs size 18-22,  RS-2's in black and gray size 20-24, South Platte Brassie's size 20-24, Murphy's Bubbleback Midge size 22, Kleis's Mojo midge size 22, Parachute adams size 20-26, Olive and Black Slumpbusters.

To set up a guided trip with me on the South Platte river shoot me an email at

Jon Kleis Orvis endorsed guide, author, and Colorado native


Monday, June 6, 2011

Kleis's Korner Gear Review - Trout Hunter Tippet Material

I recently did a test comparing the new Trout Hunter tippet material to Rio Fluoroflex, and Orvis Mirage Fluorocarbon.  I tested all three brands for knot strength, diameter, and flex in 5x and 6x.  One of the things that stands out right away is the packaging.  Trout Hunter comes in a sealed waterproof and UV resistant package.  I'm not sure how much that helps because I have always been under the impression that fluoro doesn't have a shelf life which to me makes packaging obsolete. 

I will say that right out of the package Trout Hunter seemed to be very supple.  The other thing that stands out is the price tag.  Trout Hunter carries a hefty $22.95 price tag.  Upon close inspection you will notice however that Trout Hunter comes in 50 meter spools where as Orvis Mirage comes in 30 meters, and Rio comes in 27.4 meters.  Fifty meters means less trips to the shop to pick up tippet material which is a feather in Trout Hunters cap.

The math turns out to be 55 cents/meter for the Rio, 46 cents/meter for Trout Hunter, and 33 cents/meter for Orvis which means that even with the high retail price point Trout Hunter is still a great deal.  As for knot strength I did my test by tying double surgeons knots in the 5x and 6x for all three brands and then pulling until the tippet broke so my entire testing process was done by feel and was not done with any real scientific measurements.  The Rio and Orvis have great knot strength and seemed to be comparible.  I had to use slightly more strength to get the Trout Hunter to break at the knot.

To measure the diameter of the tippet I used the Fishpond Tippet Gage.  The 5x and 6x for all three brands fit in their designated spots on the gage.  The Rio seemed to be a little bigger and was a slightly tighter fit than the Orvis which I'm told Rio is made larger by design.  Trout Hunter is closer to Orvis in size.  Again I measured tippet flex by hand and didn't use any other forms of measuring.  Rio definitely lived up to its Fluoro Flex name and was noticeably more flexable than both Trout Hunter and Mirage.  Trout Hunter came in a close second, and the Orvis Mirage was the least flexable of the three. 

Trout Hunter also makes 6.5x which is the first time I have ever seen tippet done in half designations and it fits easily in the 7x slot on the tippet gage.  It also seemed to me to have the same knot strength as the Trout Hunter 6x so if you're concerned about spooking a leader shy fish then 6.5x is the obvious choice.  The flex was the same as the other Trout Hunter tippet sizes.  Flex in tippet material does play a role in setting the hook and playing fish.  Some anglers prefer more flex while others prefer their leader material to give less.  I personally like the middle ground. 

Please keep in mind that this review is in no way a knock on those other brands becuase they all offer unique features and value and are great products.  Orvis is the most affordable and is still excellent tippet material.  Rio has the most flex if you want your tippet to be more forgiving.  Trout Hunter is simply another great option that you should definitely consider if you're looking for a good all around tippet, especially if you burn through spools as fast as I do.

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