Gazette Article - How To Properly Handle Trout!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Streamers On The Arkansas River

This is a video I shot with Steve on the Arkansas River.  We initially set out to shoot a movie about the techniques of streamer fishing and the day ended up being a tough one as far as fish and shooting went and we didnt get the footage neccesary to accomplish our goal.  We only landed a few fish mostly because we were fishing during a cold snap.  The fish were reacting to our flies but were lethargic becuase of the cold resulting in a lot of short strikes and not a lot of hook ups which shows in the video. 

You do get to see what the upper Ark looks like and you get to see some pretty sweet casting and line handling.  And even though we didnt get the footage we were after as I was going through it I soon realized it was begging to be turned into something.  I am a huge Dr. Dre fan and I found the perfect song complete with some western rattle snake sounds that fit the footage.  If you listen to the song it tells a story about how things arent the same which from all my conversations with the old timers in the shop really applies to flyfishing past and present. 

(Warning if you dont like cussing or gangster rap in general turn back now because this particular video is not meant for you.)  Join this site for more videos like this and for some with more friendly music...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Highway 9 bridge above Hartsel 8-28-11

I recently got a tip from Dave Eggers that the South Platte above the highway 9 bridge below Antero was on fire so I took my last two clients there for some hopper fishing.  The 20th of august the water was up to its bank and fairly clear with one of the most epic Trico hatches Ive seen.  And it was loaded with extremely gorgeous and gullible trout eager to take a dry fly.  The first fish we landed was a nice little brown on a hopper around 7:30 a.m. 

Yesterday was a different story.  The water was lower by about 6 inches and murky from the previous day's afternoon shower.  There were Tricos coming off but not in the numbers I had seen last week, and when I did a kick I could'nt come up with any Trico nymphs like I did the prior trip.  As I did the kick I scared a 4 inch brown out from under a rock and watched him burry into a weed bed and vanish before my eyes. 

That was a perfect indication of what the day was going to be like.  Few fish were rising but dredging with tandem nymph rigs still produced a lot of fish.  We used two flies all day while nymphing.  An apricot egg and a size 22 black RS-2.  Both flies brought fish to the net.  Before the trip ended we decided to throw hoppers and cover a lot of ground and that produced fish as well especially in the faster pocket water.  Tight Lines!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Can you spot the fish?

Took this video in 11mile canyon and after going through it I realized this would be a great test for you guys to see how well you are spotting fish.  If you can spot the fish in this glare and fast moving water with shaky video then you're well on your way. haha  Tight Lines!
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Friday, August 19, 2011

Get Some.

I recently downloaded my favorite band Chevelle's live concert movie called "Any Last Words?" and I got to the song called "Get Some" and it reminded me of a very special moment that I shared with a group of my good friends from Arkansas, Chris Holman and Jeff Shy.  A while back I landed a 27 inch hen brown in 11mile canyon on a trip with my two pals. 

The story goes that they were here in our beautiful state of Colorado visiting in the fall mostly because they were inspired by some of the pictures of large healthy trout that I had been flashing at them.  The planned three day trip started in 11mile canyon and took us on to several other locations including the East river for kokanee, and the legendary Taylor river and South Platte river below Spinney to do what I affectionately  refer to as "Hog Hunting".

Though we landed fish none of them were the size and quality we were after so to me the trip up to the point of the video I'm about to show you was a failure.  If you fish the Dream Stream in the fall or the Taylor river and you don't come home with pictures of a ten pound trout then the trip was a failure.  Guys would tell you otherwise but they're full of crap.  Most anglers that spend any amount time at those two fisheries are there to catch those legendary pigs that these rivers are capable of producing.  Don't get me wrong you can still enjoy yourself, and any time spent fishing is time well spent, pig or not.  But don't kid yourself because the odds are good you have already seen the pictures and heard the stories and most of you go to those places for the same reason I do.  Hog Hunting.  Moral to the story you ask?  We got our butts kicked almost the entire trip by large crafty fish.  Yep Im man enough to admit it.  Butts kicked.

Of course if you want the fish to bite just turn your head and let yourself be distracted by something and you're garunteed a strike.  "Oh look at that Bald Eagle soaring over our heads"  then you look down to see your indicator rising up from the bottom of the river and the flash of a fish turning to it's side and spitting out your bug...  Irony in flyfishing?  No way!  As irony would have it on the third day we went back to 11mile canyon to fish where we had started.  This is the last place any of us expected to land a pig after 2 days worth of fishing to pigs.

I told the fellas that I had seen a great white shark in the canyon that first day but had spooked it when I walked up on it.  When I told them the actual size of the mighty fish they all listened but didnt look convinced, besides mentally they were at the Taylor river where they knew for a fact there are hogs.  A 27 inch fish in 11mile canyon is pretty hard to believe even for me and I landed the thing.

So on the third day after getting owned by stretches of river that are known for piggies I was more than a little cranky and had my mind set I was going to try and salvage the trip by sneaking up on the hog I had seen on day one, and at the very least bruise the big guy's lip and it's ego. And I did. Chris Holman who I've known for a long time knew what my intentions were the moment we all decided we were going back to the canyon so he positioned himself in a good run where he could see the action if it happened and 20 minutes after I started working the fish he looked up and saw my rod bent down to the reel and immediatly started recording.

You want to talk about pressure.  Our morale was low and my friends drove all the way from Arkansas to see an epic fish landed.  And there I was with an 11mile canyon fish of legend wrapped around my line on the last day of a tough and dissapointing trip with my fishing buddies recording all the action.  I was so nervous and yet so focused on the fish I could feel myself breathing heavy, and yet I wasn't aware of my surroundings outside of the water I was wading in and the fish.  It's so surreal to completely let go and just react to whats going on when doing battle with a big fish, and that's a feeling that will never go away.  I was so pumped and relieved when the fish came to net that I had this overwhelming surge that started at my feet and traveled all the way up my spine to just scream, "get some!"

These are the kind of experiences you will never forget as an angler and I still have people asking about it in the shop to this day.  Some of you readers may have already seen the video and not known that it was me attached to the other end of that fish so here it is.  Produced by and starring me (Jon Kleis) with music by Chevelle.  Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fishing With My Love

Took my sweetheart out on her first real trip flyfishing in her brand spanking new waders and boots.  Who knew that the love of my life, my best friend, and the mother of my child would also be a killer flyfisher and pick up fly casting in like 10 seconds and then land her first fish on a fly rod not long after!  She was amazing and definitely the best "client" I've had on a "guided" trip.  Here are some photos we took from a insanely fun days fishing on the South Platte.

Kristen's first fish on a fly rod and it was landed on a size 22 dry fly.

It's tradition to kiss your first fish.  Good thing we took the hook out...

Not the reaction I expected...

She's already casting better than some guides I know.

Fish On!

Another dry fly fish.

My two cuties.

Then we got stuck waiting out a nasty thunderstorm by 11mile res. trying to do
a little carp fishing and started shooting macro.  This Callibaetis was not
camera shy.

Got bored waiting out the storm and started shooting abstract flyfishing
macro.  This is my disgusted with loosing that giant fish look.

My fish spotter(s)

Her fish spotter(s)

Gatorade G

RedBull gave me wings!

This thunderstorm is driving us nuts!

Simms Fish

Our turtles hanging from the rearview.

The lake with the shadow of a monster thunderstorm hanging over it.

My to be named carp bug...

This photo presents the opportunity to tell a long and very entertaining story.
So it may look all rainy and peaceful in these shots but actually we were waiting out a
storm that was super nasty.  So nasty that the rods hanging over the top of the car
were humming and making cracking noises from the electricity running through
them as I stood outside of the car.  Needless to say I jumped in the car like a mad
man dodging bullets in a Die Hard movie.   Being a flyfishing vet and CO native
I know how serious to take lightning.  When I told Kristen about it I got the
impression she thought I was exaggerating until the wind knocked over the rod in this pic
sitting to the right.  She opened the car door to pick up the rod and get it out of the road
so that it wouldn't get run over by passing cars and ZAP CRACKLE POP her hand got
zapped!  I say ZAP CRACKLE POP because that is the exact noise it made as she
got shocked.  She threw the rod down and looked at me with a stunned look on her
 face and showed me her now red fingertips! Its a safe bet to say that Kristens first
flyfishing trip was electric. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Kleis's Back To Basics "Bug Parts - The Adult Mayfly"

Ive decided to write several short articles aimed at helping people that are new to the sport better understand what everyone else is talking about.  There is so much hidden meaning behind what anglers say amongst each other and in the shop, as well as more acronyms than I think even the most experienced angler could remember in a lifetime so this is my attempt to help people just getting into the sport get caught up to speed.

This segment called "Bug Parts" is for new tyers.  When tying flies you hear people referring to what materials they used for the various parts of the bug they are tying.  For instance, "I used black fine and dry dubbing for the Trico's thorax".  For the second year tyer that might make perfect sense but for the rest of the human population what does that mean?

Photo and fly by Jon Kleis
Mayflies in both their nymph and adult stage's are divided into several different parts.  We will start with the adult mayfly.  The first and most obvious part is the tail which is followed by the abdomen.  The abdomen on the fly pictured is tied with black thread and a crystal flash overbody that is wrapped forward (wrapping a material forward is sometimes refered to as palmering or palmered) around the hook shank.  The second obvious part of this imitation of an adult Trico is the wing which in this case is tied with white Antron yarn and is laid out on either side and imitates a spent spinner.  The thorax is just behind the head of the fly where the wing connects and is the thickest part of the bug and is tied with thread for this example.   And of course the head of the fly is where you finished your bug and tied off your thread using a whip finish knot.

Click on photo to enlarge for a better view
This next photo is of a natural Trico spent spinner.  Adult mayflies become "spinners" when they mate and lay their eggs.  The mating ritual is towards the end of the mayflies life cycle.  After they lay their eggs they fall to the water from exhaustion in what we refer to as the "Spinner Fall" and then die.  The aerial dance combined with how the bugs look as they fall to the water to deposit eggs and die is how this stage of the hatch was named.  If a fly is tied like the one I made in the above photo with the wings splayed out to the sides it is refered to as a spinner.

Here is another example of a spinner.  Can you correctly identify the parts of this bug and what materials were used to tie each part?

Before Mayflies become spinners they emerge to become Duns which is the first adult stage of the bug after it has emerged and is free of its nymphal shuck.  The Dun trico has a short tail and tends to be a light olive or tan color instead of black like you see on a spinner, even though my favorite fly to fish all the way through the trico hatch from start to finish is the John Barr pattern called the Viz-a-dun and is black in color.  Duns also have strong wings that stand mostly upright.  The parts of the Dun as it pertains to tying are refered to using the same terminology as a spinner (tail, abdomen,wing, thorax).  Just be aware that there are different colors and traits such as the upright wing that you are imitating while sitting at your vice tying duns.

Click on photo for enlarged view of this Parachute Adams
The parachute adams is one of my favorite bugs to use when I know Baetis (also called the Blue Winged Olive, or B.W.O.) are emerging.   Around March on the South Platte River you will see tiny blue gray Baetis hatching starting at mid day.  Parachute flies are tied by anchoring your wing material (in this case white calf body hair) so thats it's facing up at a 90 degree angle.  Your hackle which normally forms your dry fly's thorax  is now being wrapped or palmered around the base of the upright wing to form a "parachute".  What is great about tying parachutes to imitate duns is that they have the upright wing and they also sit low on the surface film like the naturals would right after they emerge. 

Barr's Viz-a-dun Trico.  Notice the hackle is palmered around the hook to
form the thorax?  This is how it's done on most traditional dry flies tied with

If there is anything I want you guys to take away from this read it is to have a better understanding of the four major parts of an adult mayfly pattern and also a clear understanding of what a parachute fly looks like and its benefits.  A really good book to purchase for tying mayflies is the late Shane Stalcup's book called "Mayflies Top To Bottom".  Also Ed Engle has a great book out that will help you get started tying those really tiny bugs for these technical Colorado tailwaters called "Tying Small Flies".  Both books are more advanced but still have helpful information for beginners. If you have enjoyed reading this post or my blog in general help keep it going by clicking the join this site button and subscribing!

To book me for a trip on the South Platte river shoot me an email at

Thanks again and tight lines!

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