Gazette Article - How To Properly Handle Trout!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Frosty The Flyfishing Guide

Hey everyone Frosty The Flyfishing Guide and the Kleis family wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas!

Give Frosty one good cast right there!


Epic over the shoulder view

A good guide always needs his polarized fish spotters

Merry Christmas all you trout bums!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Small Stream Fish Spotter 12-16-2011

This one is pretty easy.  I just like the photo so I figured Id put it on for fish spotter.  Also I made some cosmetic changes to my blog to include more videos and larger photos, and cleaned it up a little.  Hope you guys like it!

Click to enlarge

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Kokanee Salmon Populations

I was having a conversation the other day with friend and fellow guide John Gordon about the dwindling Kokanee Salmon run that comes out of 11mile reservoir.  The last 3 years have been dismal at best and it seems to be getting progressively worse.  The most salmon I had seen this fall in the Dreamstream was a pod of 15-20 fish that were staged right above the gauging station bridge.  The following week I searched the entire river from Spinney dam down to 11mile reservoir expecting a large late run of Kokanee and spotted a total of 3 fish.  The days when the river turned red making it almost impossible to cross without stepping on a salmon seem to be a thing of the past.  The questions we should be asking are why and what can be done, if anything, to bring back those epic runs?

I told John G. that I had talked to several different game wardens about 4 years ago and they told me that the fish in the reservoir are suffering from gill lice.  Not knowing much about gill lice I did some research and they are nasty little critters.  The lice are typically found when water conditions are poor, and they damage a fishery by making homes in the gills of the various fish species making it harder for them to breath and absorb oxygen.  But all indications hint that the gill lice hold on 11 Mile reservoir is over and has been for the past couple of years.

When the question was posed on the Anglers Covey forum (why are the runs weak?) it was also brought to my attention by owner David Leinweber that the current stocking program for Kokanee is not ideal for good Kokanee runs.  The current program has the state stocking larger Kokanee into the reservoir to try and keep the population of hungry Northern Pike from destroying salmon numbers right out of the gate.  The problem with that is when it is time for salmon to spawn they tend to migrate to where they were planted.

If they were planted in 11 mile reservoir then do the math...  The program is great for the guys trolling around in boats on the lake but what about the rest of us anglers that like to sight fish and catch kokanee in the river?  John sent me an email the following day of an article he found that provides very promising news that there is still hope to recover what we have lost.  The most intriguing part of the article is the fact that this year was a record year for harvesting Kokanee eggs for breeding in Colorado.  And that they plant almost as many fingerling salmon in the East River by Roaring Judy Fish Hatchery as they do in Blue Mesa Reservoir.  Blue Mesa is where the mature salmon live and migrate from as they work their way up the Gunnison and East river back to the hatchery where they were born.  Blue Mesa is also home to the current state record Mackinaw which is another major predator of the Kokanee.

The reason we still see the occasional kokanee in the Dreamstream in the fall is because even though they were stocked in the reservoir they also have instincts telling them to migrate up river to spawn.  This has me wondering why they don't do the same thing for the South Platte that they do for the East.  And that is stock as many salmon in the river as they do in 11 mile res. and stock them as fingerlings.  That way the year class of kokanee that were stocked in the lake would theoretically follow the salmon that were stocked in the river up to spawn and we can all bend our rods on these insanely strong fish without having to drive 3 hours once again.  If they can do it for Blue Mesa inspite of the large predatory Lake Trout then they can do it for 11 Mile with its Northern Pike.

There is one more thing that has always bothered me I feel needs to be changed that I want to share and then I will get off my soap box.  The current limit for harvesting salmon in 11 Mile Reservoir is 10!  That number is way too high.  Not that most anglers trolling around in their boats are pulling in those kind of numbers, but if the limit was 2 on a day when some guy managed to land 7 then that many more salmon will live and have a chance to spawn.  I'm sorry guys I know salmon tastes amazing but 10 fish is an extreme overkill. 

The current salmon limit also opens the door for unethical fishing practices because when a salmon is only in it's 2nd or 3rd year of life and has not fully matured it looks remarkably like a trout.  It is way too easy for someone to keep more than the legal limit of trout by claiming they thought they were catching Kokanee salmon. If you're asking me if people deliberately do that kind of thing I would respond with, "I have seen worse".  At the risk of making some greedy state politician or brass from the Division of Wildlife angry, I would urge any sportsman or woman that pay the high cost for a fishing license every season to demand more for our fisheries. 

If enough people wrote the Division Of Wildlife and pushed for some kind of effort to be made on fixing problems such as this, and maybe even provide some kind of intelligent solutions we would all benifit.  Click here to read the article John G. showed me about this years record harvest of eggs.  For more information on all things flyfishing including ways to improve our states fisheries please subscribe to

Tight lines and screaming reels!

Monday, December 5, 2011

2011 Christmas Flyfishing Buyers Guide

Another fishing season has come and gone and it is time for all us last minute shoppers to buy that special angler in our life something they will actually like (not including grandma's sweater) for Christmas.  This is not my personal wish list but if you want to make a non tax deductable gift donation to Jon Kleis's troutbum fund you can leave any item on this list at my drop box at Anglers Covey Fly Shop on the corner of highway 24 and 21st Street...  I tried to cover all the bases and include gift ideas that will earn the gift giver respect and admiration.

If there is one fly rod on the planet that most dedicated anglers could possibly want from Santa it is Sage's new model that is literally named the "One".  Sage's One is an incredibly light and fast action rod sporting their new technology called Konnetic.  This new tech makes the rod one of the most accurate I have ever casted.  The 9 foot 4 weight One has the perfect balance of power and finesse and would be a great all around rod for fishing in Colorado. 

Package that new One fly rod with the new Orvis Access mid arbor reel.  In 2011 Orvis replaced the old Battenkill mid arbor with the Access.  It is essentially the same reel only they bored a few more holes in it to make it noticeably lighter, and added a few more washers to the drag system to increase strength.  The drag system itself is completely sealed which helps keep out debris and protect it from the elements.

Next on the list is the Simms Windstopper fleece jacket.  If you haven't noticed yet the Colorado Rockies get cold.  One of the most important things you can remember when dealing with the ever changing elements in our great state is to dress in layers, and this jacket would serve as an excellent outer shell for those of you brave enough to face the legendary winds in Park county for the pursuit of trout.  Ladies if you're reading this I bet your man would much rather have this Simms jacket than that little number you picked out at Macy's.

Sticking with the Simms theme, the next item on my Santa's wish list is the new Boa wading boot.  Simms and a few other companies have taken ski boot technology and put it into wading boots which makes them insanely easy to get in and out of.  I like the Simms version best because I am a huge fan of the Vibram sole that they put on their boots.  It gives you a sturdy platform to walk on and the tread has many biting edges to help keep you from taking a cold swim in the Arkansas river.  With the option to add cleats this is a great and affordable Christmas gift.

For the fly tyer in your life HMH vises are some of the best you can buy anywhere.  They are simple and efficient, and made with quality in mind.  You can get them with either a pedestal base or c-clamp for attaching to a table.  The majority of the vice is composed of stainless steel, and has one point for angle adjustment.  The midge jaws sold seperately are the best I have seen available for any vise in the market. 

Next on the fly tyers list is the entire line of Oasis fly tying benches.  If you are like me and despite all your efforts you have issues keeping your tying station clean and organized then highly consider these.  Save yourself a lot of hair and hassle by keeping every tool you can imagine along with everything else in its place and right in front of you with these gorgeous benches.

A good stocking stuffer for the holidays is a solution to epoxy called Clear Cure Goo.  It doesn't actually cure and harden until it gets hit with a U.V. light.  Sunlight or the U.V. light sold in the kit or sold seperately will work.  My biggest complaint about using epoxy aside from the short window for using it after you have mixed it is the smell of the compound.  Clear Cure Goo smells like tree sap which I think smells great.  I've been tying with it for almost a full season and I can assure you it is a viable substitute for epoxy and the kit would make a great gift.

Last but not least for stocking stuffers we have Scientific Anglers System X fly boxes.  They are double sided and completely sealed when shut making them waterproof.  They come with pre-slit foam and are a great all around fly box for the money.  They have clear shells so you can see your flies making it easier to see which side you need to open to grab your Caddis or Stonefly imitation.  Some System X boxes also come with little compartments that are great for holding things such as strike indicators.  Ask most anglers and they will tell you that you can never have enough fly boxes.  Take it to another level this Christmas and fill that new box with flies and watch that special someone light up like a tree at the Broadmoor.

I hope this helps at least one person that is lost and looking for a great gift idea for the holidays.  Please remember that the best way to support our economy is to keep it local, and even though many big chain stores would like the entire month of December to be cyber Monday we have the country's largest pure fly shop right here in Colorado Springs in Anglers Covey so please show your support.

If you have a flyfisher that you are convinced has everything you can always give the gift of a guided flyfishing trip or class.  For trip availability and rates if interested shoot me an email at  Tight Lines and Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Winter Midge Fly Tying Class Dec. 7th

Hey everyone I just wanted to post a reminder for those interested that I will be teaching a winter pattern fly tying class at Anglers Covey Fly Shop on December 7th starting at 6 p.m.  Learn the art of tying extremely small flies to fool extremely selective winter tailwater trout.  It's a 2 hour class and the cost is only $25.  The class is geared towards tyers with a little bit more experience tying, and bringing your own vice and tools is recommended though not required.  We will be tying two of my creations that have been tried and true trout slayers for me over the years, Kleis's Redzone Midge and Mojo Midge.  We will explore various techniques for tying with goose biots, and learn how to tie the Snowshoe Midge down to a size 24.  Call Anglers Covey at 719-471-2984 or send me an email to to sign up!

Redzone Midge size 26

Redzone Midges on a dime size 26

Olive Mojo Midge size 24

Snowshoe Midge size 22

Biot Midge size 22

Friday, December 2, 2011

Toxic Chemical Spill In Sand Creek And The South Platte Through Denver

I just learned that there was a toxic refinery spill in the Denver area that has effected Sand Creek and the South Platte as it runs through Denver.  I guess the oily substance (comprised of benzene and toluene) was found last week and clean up efforts have been made.  The report I just read said that it hasn't had an immediate negative impact on anything but the posting I had just seen on facebook that got my attention had a photo of a dead carp.  The refinery known as Suncor produces jet fuel, and other oil based fuels and officials are concerned that there might be an underground pipe that is leaking fairly large amounts of petroleum into the South Platte.

Aside from being an important drinking water supply this stretch of the river has gained huge popularity as an urban fishery producing large carp and other warmwater species, and even large brown trout in certain areas.  It would be a massive loss to all of us if we lost this stretch of river and demands our attention.  EPA officials have given the company 60 days to clean up or else so lets hope they respond quick and no significant damage is done.  Click Here for the full story I found on google.

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