Gazette Article - How To Properly Handle Trout!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Finding Reasons To Stay Positive

Hey fellow readers I wanted to share with you why I have chosen not to harp on the Waldo Canyon fire.  I am a Colorado native and this has been my home my entire life.  Let me assure you that my choosing to talk about happier things is not an attempt to take away from what may go down as Colorado's greatest natural disaster.  It is not an attempt to be insensitive or offend those who have lost their home, or who are waiting to find out if their home is still standing.  I can't imagine having my house burned to the ground.  Anger, sadness, and confusion are just a few items on a huge list of emotions Colorado residents effected by fires throughout this state are feeling.

Fire isn't the only thing that has hit us where it hurts.  A short snow season hit us with a left hurting the ski/snowboard part of our economy.  Relatively no spring runoff hit us with a right when it comes to white water rafting; another huge part of our economy crippled this year.  And of course the huge uppercut has been this massive fire.  And unless the gods bring us our classic Colorado summer afternoon rain showers we are probably in for more large and destructive fires.  It is still only June!

People throughout this country turn on the t.v. and they see MASSIVE FIRE all over the news, so it's a safe bet to say they might choose a tropical climate to vacation in this year.  I refuse to give up on the things that make me and so many of you happy.  I refuse to give up on Colorado.  If you lost your home you have my deepest heart felt condolences.  I am so proud of how people in this city and people effected by fires throughout the rest of Colorado have responded to this devastation.

Families have opened their homes to evacuees.  People have supported the cause by donating to shelters, and to our brave firefighters.  These are all things I'm sure we will continue to do until our home state has grown some greener pastures.

We must also continue to live our lives, and support our local economy.  We need people fishing now more than ever to support our economy, and to provide funds for the state to help protect the places where we play and live.  Colorado is an outdoor's kinda place.  We live to: run, ski, hike, climb, kayak, cycle, fish, and the list goes on.  If you get a chance to take your mind off of the negativity around you by doing the things you love you will feel better.  You will inspire.  So from this point forward I will continue to pray for those who are suffering, and only write about the things that make us all happy.  Here is to greener pastures...

Photo I took 3 days before the fire.


Fish Porn From The Last Week 6-28-2012

I have had the fortune to guide some awesome people the last few days, and we got into some amazing fish!  Did my first trip at Boxwood Gulch with 5280 Anglers out of Denver, and I seriously think Boxwood might be one of the best kept secrets in Colorado.  The property is immaculate and the fishing is insane!  Huge fish everywhere and some great guides working that water so if you're ever up in Denver look up 5280.  Click here to check out their website and rates.  Here are the photos from that trip...

Nelson releasing a Boxwood bow.

Drew with his pig.

Also I just wanted to make sure that all you Colorado Springs troutbums know that we at Anglers Covey are still 110 percent open for business!  Guide trips are going down to the Arkansas below Pueblo every day, and even though you might have to work for the big fish they are in there. Check it out!

Andy with a fat sassy 21 inch bow!

Another pic of Andy's bow that does it a little more justice.

Dave with his first fish on a fly rod!

Creating memories...

If you're getting tired of sitting at home and watching the depressing news and want to get out and enjoy yourself there are still ample opportunities to do so.  Grab a friend and split the cost of a guide trip, and get out on the water with me and lets harass some fish.  No previous experience is necessary and I provide all the gear!  If interested shoot me an email at

Tight Lines!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My Experience At The First Annual Sangre De Cristo Hopsice Celebrity Tournament

The Sangre De Cristo "Celebrity" Tournament is a bass tournament that was held at St. Charles Reservoir number 2 and 3, and is located ten minutes south of Pueblo on I-25 in an area known as Stem Beach.  The lakes are private and have been closed off to public fishing for close to seventeen years.  A fact that many of the anglers were aware of, so the excitement was palpable.

The day consisted of three rounds of fishing from either the bank or a float tube.  The morning and afternoon rounds belonged to the adults with a mid day break to allow for a youth tournament.  The first adult to land a largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, white bass, striper, and wiper all over 15 inches during the course of the entire day won a $20,000 dollar boat!  During the morning round, there was also prize money given away for catching the largest of any species of fish that reside in the lakes.  This included all of the typical culprits such as trout, perch, sunfish, black crappie, white crappie, walleye, and carp.

Seventy-five entries allowed for spin casting, and seventy-five allowed for flyfishing.  Standard Colorado fishing regulations apply with an emphasis on catch and release. There were only six flyfishers representing at the tournament, myself included.   The lack of anglers carrying a fly rod was a shame because this was literally the most fun I've had fishing all year!

We were greeted with a gorgeous sunrise and a nice breeze.  However, cool morning air quickly gave way to extreme heat, and there was a sense that fishing was going to get a little tougher as the sun got higher in the sky.  Even with the sweltering heat and less than ideal conditions, everyone seemed to be catching fish, so the day was still a success.  

Five casts after the starting horn sounded I landed a fifteen and a half inch largemouth that didn't count.  This fish was also my first bass ever landed on a topwater fly.  The rules are that a judge has to be present to measure the fish with their ruler, and to take the photo.  Kristen and I measured it using the stripping basket from my float tube, and we took the picture.  We didn't know that the judge had to be present, and that the bracelets given to competitors during check in with our assigned numbers had to be showing in the photo.  Safe to say that this was a huge let down but we stayed positive and great things happened.

My fish total by the end of the morning round was eight bass averaging thirteen inches, a nine inch black crappie that won me a fifty dollar prize for big fish, and a twenty-two and a half inch common carp that won the big carp prize good for two hundred and fifty dollars!  My carp was also the second longest fish landed in the morning round.  The money was nice, but it pales in comparison to the memory of walking up to the stage with my family and accepting my prize to a round of applause from the other competitors and their families. 

I seriously hope that Sangre De Cristo Hospice continues to do this tournament!  The coordinators and volunteers were very friendly and did an amazing job.  All of the other anglers and their families were super friendly as well.  It would be a lie if I didn't admit that I was a little concerned about feeling unwelcome because I'm a flyfisherman participating in what is -at it's heart- a bass tournament, and that simply wasn't the case.  The occasional curious smile and a friendly "hi" is all we received in what can best be described as Colorado's version of southern hospitality.  Spending time on the water with so many friendly people that come from all walks of life and share our same passion for fishing and conservation was very refreshing.

This was the first time I have been in a competitive fishing environment and still felt calm and relaxed; they did an excellent job of making it a great family atmosphere.  I know most of you guys and gals are just as guilty as I am turning on ESPN and watching a bass tournament.  This is your chance to participate in one of those events without all of the strict rules and regulations on rod length and method of take!  Warmwater flyfishing provides unique challenges that will help you grow as an angler and add weapons to your arsenal on a trout stream. Also, I think you will find that bass and carp put a pretty decent bend in a fly rod.

For more information, or to sign up for next years Sangre De Cristo Hospice "Celebrity" Tourney click here.  Based on their website it appears they do a ton of amazing things for their community as well, so your small entry fee is going toward a great cause.  Because Kristen took so many amazing photos that tell the story ten times better than ever I could, I saved the best for last.  Hope to see all you trout bums representing to the fullest and having a great time at the tourney next year!  Tight Lines!

Click on photo to enlarge and take a closer look..

Gorgeous free hand pic of the sunrise shot with a DSLR

Bent rod five casts into the tourney!

My first bass on a topwater.

Same bass

 Photo of me playing a fish I hooked while making good use of
the stripping basket in my William Joseph Flux pack!

Go Daddy!

You're number one!

All this cheering is exhausting...

Money carp!

Landing my big crappie from a float tube.

Another bass..

Bree begging mommy for a snow cone.

Mommy giving in.

Bree accepting daddy's check!

For questions concerning this tournament or to find out my rates and availability for guide trips send me an email at

Monday, June 25, 2012

11Mile Canyon Is Open

The Canyon is open and as luck wouldn't have it highway 24 is now closed because of the Waldo canyon fire. There are a few different long ways around if you live in the Springs. I think that a two hour drive to the spot would be well worth it considering it hasn't been fished in a week. If any of you get up there I'd love to hear about it!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

1st Annual Sangre de Cristo Hospice "Celebrity" Fishing Tourny

Im proud to be participating in this tournament on June 23rd! Thank you to the folks at Sangre de Cristo Hospice for hosting this event. When they told me that they were having troubles getting competitors from the flyfishing community I was stunned! As flyfishers there are very few opportunities for us to participate in bass fishing tournaments. The location we will be fishing is Stem Beach which has been closed to anglers for almost 20 years so I expect there is going to be some amazing fish caught! Im stoked to see how these bass pro guys carry themselves and prepare for these events! Thank you to Hymark Motorsports for sponsoring me into this tournament. Time to start filling my meat box and I don't mean the freezer. I'll keep you guys posted. Tight Lines!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Springer Fire Update 6-19-2012

So far not so good. The fire is still completely out of control and the terrain the firefighters are forced to navigate is treacherous. Here is a link for you to check what has seemed to be a fairly up to date report.  According to the area affected map its in the canyon. I dont know guys tell me what you think?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Springer Fire Update Monday June 18th

So far what we know is that the fire has already burned close to 500 acres and is 0 percent contained. It started just north of springer gulch campground but not in the campground. It appears to not be moving towards the canyon but we don't have any details because there is no access to the canyon which they evacuated yesterday. Stay posted

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Yet Another Fire At Lake George - 11mile Canyon Evacuated

Hey trout bums start saying prayers and crossing fingers we are currently experiencing another fire near Lake George Colorado.  This one is supposedly just south of 11mile Canyon and they have evacuated several homes and the Canyon itself is closed for business until further notice.  Ill keep you guys in the know when I find out more.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Learn How To Tye The Hybrid Hopper!

My two favorite attractor dry flies on the planet are the Parachute Hopper and the Stimulator.  To this day it is impossible to find a more realistic hopper imitation than Schroeder's Parachute.  Like many people I have only ever had one complaint about this pattern.  The wing on the Parachute Hopper is made from mottled turkey feather that falls apart and absorbs water after only landing a few fish.  The obvious solution is to change the wing material.  Other changes I made to the design were to use the hook (TMC 200R) and the thorax of a Stimulator.  

Tying a parachute is a time consuming step so I figured why not simplify the parachute hopper and lose the chute.  I also love the contrast between brown hackle and any bright colored dubbing used as an under body.  It is for this reason that I combined the two patterns to make the Hybrid Hopper.  Making the abdomen and legs similar to the Parachute Hopper, and a wing and thorax similar to the Stimulator.  My advice to all you trout bums is to sleep in late on your next day off.  Show up anywhere on the South Platte river after 2pm with a dozen of these, and take your time wadering up.  Maybe even have a chat with one of the many early birds that are now calling it a day.  Then spend the rest of your afternoon pounding the bank and covering water while you have the entire river to yourself.  I promise it will be one of the best trips you do all year!  Tight Lines!         

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Kleis's Korner Gear Review - Half Hitch Mag Bobbin

One of the most convenient tying tools I have bought in the last 6 months is the Half Hitch Mag Bobbin by the Rite Bobbin company.  The tube is made out of thick surgical stainless steal and comes to a slight taper at the business end.  This taper makes it easier to use the end of your bobbin as a half hitch or whip finish tool.  I almost always use a whip finish knot so I haven't tried doing the half hitch with this bobbin. Where the Mag Bobbin really shines is when you want to do a whip finish when tying dry flies such as a Parachute Adams.  This technique makes it extremely easy to slip a properly tied whip finish knot under your parachute wing without catching any hackle fibers.

On the steal tube there is a series of rubber washers that work as a grip that feels great in the hand.  Tip: always take the bobbin out of the package before you buy it and see how it feels in your hand.  Comfort is extremely important when you're sitting in front of the vice.  The rubber washers also double as a thread holder so your thread doesn't slip back through the tube when you have finished tying or when you're moving stuff around.  The end of the steal tube is rounded off really well which is great for being able to apply tension without breaking the thread.  Tension is easily added by turning the screw dial on the side of the thread rest.

I love the fact that the bobbin only has one arm which is the steal tube.  Most bobbins have two arms, and the moment you lose thread tension on a tradition bobbin your thread jumps over either side forcing you to take it off to untwist it.  This is one of the more frustrating and time consuming issues when tying because more often then not you are forced to start your thread from scratch.  The Rite Bobbins design helps eliminate that annoyance. I've been tying for a while now and I literally can't find anything I would do different with the Mag Bobbin.  And as if you needed any more reason to purchase this product, they are also made in Montana.  Take my word for it these are worth a spin!

Check out the video provided by Rite Bobbin to see this thing in action!

For more great products from this American company check out their website

Tight Lines and Threads!

For questions or to schedule a guided trip shoot me an email at

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Buying A Fishing Camera

This shot was taken with my Nikon D90 DSLR

I was inspired by my friends at and decided it was time to write an article on what to look for when purchasing a camera to take with you on the water.  Do you buy a compact point and shoot camera, or a larger Digital SLR?  What about low light?  Do you want your camera to shoot full 1080p video?  How important is it that your camera is water proof?  These are the questions I will attempt to answer along with giving you suggestions on the current options available for purchase.

First lets start with what I have talked about in previous articles, and that is the simple fact that most point and shoot cameras aren't much better than the cameras built into many of the current generation smartphones.  I say "most" because there are a few extreme exceptions to that rule.  Does that mean you can carry your iphone with you everywhere and you're good?  It depends on the quality of photo you want and the size of the prints you plan on making. When a "point and shoot" or smart phone camera has 8 mega pixels it doesn't mean that it will make better prints, or produce a higher quality photo for sharing on the web than a DSLR with a larger and more accurate sensor that is only rated to 6 mp.

If you're reading this and you're thinking, "Jon Kleis what the flying french toast are you talking about?  What is a sensor?", then let me share with you fellow trout bums that a sensor on a digital camera does the same thing that film does in a 35mm camera.  When you press the shutter release button on an old school 35mm camera the shutter opens and the image is captured on a piece of film.  Digital cameras record what your eye sees through the viewfinder onto a sensor, and that information is then transferred to whatever storage device it uses (ex: a SD memory card).

Digital cameras come with different sizes of sensors the same way that film comes in different sizes/formats.  Smart phones and "point and shoot" cameras typically have smaller sensors than a Digital SLR.  Larger still is a "full frame DSLR", which is the digital equivalent to 35mm.  Many of you will not need a full frame digital camera unless you plan on making wall sized professional prints.

In other words the size of the sensor in your camera will greatly determine how large a print you can make.  Point and shoot/smartphones cameras = small sensors which are fine for small prints up to 8x10 inches, DSLR's = medium sized sensors which are good for making up to poster sized prints,  Full Frame DSLR = HUGE sensor and huge prints which won't be necessary for most fishing applications.

This is why I carry a DSLR when I fish.  The second reason I prefer my Digital SLR to most "point and shoot" cameras is because they tend to perform better in low light conditions.  Many huge fish are landed either first thing in the morning or during that magic hour before the sun sets in the evening.  For this reason it is my humble opinion that a camera that takes high quality photos under low light conditions is extremely important.

How well a camera does in low light is determined by its ISO range.  The average point and shoot/camera phone will have an ISO between 50-800.  A good camera for shooting in low light has an ISO between 100-3200.  The higher the range typically the better the camera does in low light.  Tip: you can find the technical specs such as a camera's ISO range on the box it is packaged in or online on most manufacturer's websites.  Both of the following shots were taken in low light free hand during sunrise with my 6mp Nikon D40 DSLR.

Dream Stream Sunrise

Guy Fishing The Surf On The Outer Banks North Carolina

The downside to carrying a DSLR with you on fishing trips is that these cameras large and can be heavy.  If you insist on having a more compact camera to carry with you everywhere, and still want to capture amazing professional looking photos there are a few "point and shoots" on the market that have a lot of the same capabilities as their DSLR counterparts.  The Canon Powershot G12 has a high ISO range up to 3200, built in image stabilization, and shoots 720p video with stereo sound.  Honestly I don't think there is a better point and shoot for the money other than the camera that will ultimately replace the G12 which is the Canon Powershot G1 X.

Because the G1 X has: a larger sensor, a high speed USB connection, ISO range up to 12800, and shoots full 1080p video it is the ultimate fishing compact camera.  The G1 has an elite price tag though at $800.  The G12 currently sits at $450 which is a steal, and that price will probably continue to drop so my advice is to go for the G12 for almost half the price.  Neither camera is waterproof, but the only scenario I can imagine you would need it to be waterproof is if you are shooting underwater or taking your camera out with you on a float tube in which case get a real submersible camera like the Gopro Hero 2.  Ninety percent of the time if you are wanting a picture of a big fish you will be dragging it to the bank so leave the camera there where it's safe and dry.

DSLR's have many benefits for someone wanting to get the best possible photo of their fish or their beautiful surroundings.  The first benefit I previously mentioned and that is that they are considerably better for shooting in low light.  Next you have the option of interchangeable lenses which is huge because the glass your sensor records the image through is every bit as important as the sensor itself.  You will see a tremendous increase in the quality of your photos if you invest in good lenses for your camera.  Last but not least another huge benefit to keeping a DSLR with you when you fish is the fact that you can crop the image and still keep a high quality in your photos.

Their are two major players in the DSLR market (Canon and Nikon), and they each have a cult following neither of which I subscribe to.  That being said I have only owned Nikon cameras.  It is my opinion that Nikon does a great job of including options in their entry level cameras that make it easier for new photographers to learn the technical aspects of photography.  However both Nikon and Canon have the option to take pictures in full Auto which is what most people will be shooting in anyway.  I believe that Nikon has extremely good quality glass in their entry level lenses as well.

Almost all of the entry level $600-$800 Digital SLR cameras come with a kit lens that will get the job done.  Just about all of the 2011 to 2012 DSLR cameras shoot video as well.  Another sound piece of advise I will give you is not to buy the camera based on its video taking capabilities alone unless it is your intention to start shooting and producing your own fishing videos.  Many of these cameras shoot great video but they are built as still cameras.

One of the many downfalls shooting video with these cameras is that if you are shooting with the lens set on full auto focus you can hear the lens focusing as background noise.  Video on DSLR's is just an option that is great for catching those family moments, or the moments no one will believe unless they are seeing it unfold.  If you want great video the best way to go is to purchase a dedicated video camera.

If I were to purchase a new entry level DSLR based on my experiences and knowing what I know now it would be the Nikon 3200.  Seven hundred dollars gets you the camera body which has an ISO range of 100-12800, 24.2 mega pixels, full 1080p video, and a built in guide mode that teaches you how to use the camera.   A great 18-55mm lens with built in Vibration Reduction which will also help you get clean looking hand held shots in low light.       

I have read the reviews, seen the sample photos, and looked at the tech specs of both the Canon Powershot G12 and the Nikon 3200 and would recommend either one of those cameras for fisherman.  Not taking video into consideration I give a slight edge to the Nikon 3200 based on its user friendliness and the quality of photos.  But if you want a camera that you can throw in your fishing pack that won't take up a lot of space the G12 is still an excellent choice.  For more gear reviews and helpful tips subscribe to my blog at




Contact Form


Email *

Message *