Gazette Article - How To Properly Handle Trout!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Fishing Report - 11 Mile Canyon 11-16-13

Photo of saturday's client in 11 Mile Canyon

11 Mile Canyon is fishing good. Flows have been hovering in the upper 30 c.f.s. mark, and the water is very clear. The brown trout spawn is over and fish have moved into their typical winter holding water. Deep pools with dark bottoms and a healthy flow of oxygenated water are your best bet. The midge hatch was sporadic, and those tiny bwos that were hatching strong two weeks ago starting around noon have slowed down as well.

Nymph fishing with a two fly rig under an indicator is a great way to go. Bring your 6x fluorocarbon, smaller split shot, and small nymphs. We used apricot colored pegged beads as our attractor, and size 22 Chocolate Mojo Midges or Top Secret Midges as our dropper. Ratio of fish to eat the pegged egg vs. the variety of midges we threw was 70/30. Even though the spawn appears to be pretty much over, the egg fooled most of our fish. Our two best fish were a skinny spawned out brown that had a ton of color, and a fat healthy 17-18 rainbow. Fish count for the day was 9 to the net, and at least that many long distance releases. Not to shabby for a cold windy day with someone who had never fished in Colorado!

To keep the fish porn, education, and honest fishing reports coming, please subscribe to our channel and "Like" our Facebook page. Tight Lines!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Fish Porn 11-12-13

Took a couple of nice shots of a decent brown on the South Platte, and we figured we'd share them with you guys.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

11 Mile and Spinney Reservoirs are Closed to Boating

As of Oct. 31 both 11 Mile and Spinney Reservoirs are closed to boating. The only exception are float tubes without trolling motors. Fin powered only until the ice comes, so get out there and enjoy it while it lasts belly-boaters!

Map Of Fountain Creek

Friday, November 1, 2013

Quick Flow Update For the Arkansas Tailwater and South Platte River 11-1-13

Hey trout bums,

Flows are looking a little better. The flows in the Canyon and Dream Stream can come up, but 37 c.f.s. sure beats 16...

11 Mile Canyon - 37.3 c.f.s.

Dream Stream - 52.3 c.f.s.

Deckers/Cheesman - 108 c.f.s.

Pueblo Tailwater - 135 c.f.s.

Syllabus For My Fly Tying 201 Nymph Class at Anglers Covey

Here it is! Just in case any of you taking the class wanted to purchase your own materials before it starts November 2nd at 10:30 a.m. sharp. If interested in taking my class follow this link for sign-up and additional info.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Some Fall Colors

It's been a beautiful week here in Colorado, and yesterday's guide trip was no exception! Hope you're all having a great fall and a Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fly Tying 201 Nymph Class!

Anyone interested in learning how to make their own flies this winter should stop by Anglers Covey and take my free Fly Tying 101 class at 9 a.m. this Saturday Nov. 2nd! This free 1 hr class will be followed by my 201 Nymph class. The Nymph class is only $30 and starts at 10:30 a.m. The 201 will last 2 hours, and will go over 3 basic nymph patterns -the pheasant tail, the Hare's Ear, and the Mercury Black Beauty. For all the information and to sign up go to  Hope to see you guys there!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Flow Report Update - 10-16-13

Things are most definitely not getting better on the flow front... 11 Mile Canyon is down another couple c.f.s. to 20.9

Dream Stream - still 33.3 c.f.s.

Deckers/Cheesman - 66.6 c.f.s.

Pueblo Tailwater (Arkansas River) - 224 c.f.s. up from around 100 c.f.s... Again, be careful when wading this stretch of river which is going through pretty drastic flow changes. Clarity is also kinda cruddy but we have received several reports that fishing has been good.

Monday, October 14, 2013

27" Brown 11 Mile Canyon

Because the water is so depressingly low right now, and I can't fish 11 Mile Canyon at a flow of 22 cfs with a clean conscience, I was sitting here looking through some old photos and videos taking a stroll down memory lane.  One of my favorite memories fly-fishing just so happened to be recorded on video thanks to my good friend Chris Holman, and I still get chills watching and reliving the experience! Here is the story...

My fishing pals from Arkansas came to Colorado during fall 2008 to hunt for trophy fish. We hit all of the usual places including the Dream Stream, and the Taylor Catch and Release. During this week of hog hunting we landed some gorgeous fish, but expectations were high and we didn't land that "holy crap" fish many anglers dream of, the one we were after. That is, not until the last day of the trip in the last place any of us expected...

For anyone who doesn't know much about 11 Mile Canyon, the average fish is around 12", with a trophy being anywhere between 18-20". Seeing a fish over 24" is an extremely rare thing. Rarer still is seeing a 27" fish, then hooking and landing said fish on a size 22 fly with 6x tippet. Throw onto that the fact that I had several witnesses, one of which had it together to pull out his camera and start recording, and you have one hell of an adventure.

One of the things I think that we as fish story telling anglers appreciate is those moments that nobody can take away from you. When you reach a pinnacle after so many years of due paying and hard work, the stars align, and you accomplish something truly amazing. I will never forget seeing that fish, and seeing the reaction on my friends faces when I told them about the monster before I pursued it. Looks that said, "yeah right jk, a fish that big in 11 Mile Canyon? I'll believe it when I see it."

Motivated by those faces, and the fact that this was the last day of a weeks worth of hard work and slight disappointment, I found my fish and did everything perfect. I kept a low profile while approaching it from down stream, presented my fly far and soft enough upstream to keep from spooking the fish with my line, and reacted to the subtle twitch of the indicator that told me my size 22 Barr's Emerger sitting 6 inches beneath the surface was just inhaled by the fish of a lifetime.

Heart racing and hands shaking I am chasing this fish everywhere. Wading out almost past my waders just to get into the best position possible to land the fish. With steady pressure I managed to pull the goliath out of some weeds where it popped up to the surface and I summoned what strength I had left to bring it to the net. Then something happened that usually doesn't...

My close friends will tell you that I'm soft spoken, humble, and friendly. I can count on one hand how many people have seen me so animated that I'm yelling at the top of my lungs. However, when this fish came to the net I screamed louder than I've ever screamed, "GET SOME!" Not to show off, because it was literally something I had no control over. As if my spirit knew the enormity of what happened and how truly special it was. This surge of energy started at my cold wet feet, traveled up my leaky waders, and then took over my vocal cords and I shown my excitement.

So weak from the fight and so taken by the moment I couldn't get it together to take the hook out right away because my hands were shaking. During the quick photo my friends gave me a hard time and said, "give us the biggest cheesiest smile you can muster. A smile that says I just caught a 27" brown in 11 Mile Canyon." So I did. Here's the video...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Quick Flow Report 10-10-13

Dream Stream - 33 cfs

11 Mile Canyon- an anemic 22.9 cfs!!!! ARGH! Is that legal?

Cheesman Canyon/Deackers - 92 cfs down from 150 cfs

Pueblo Tailwater (Arkansas River) - 90 cfs down from 210 cfs! No surprise there either...

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Solid As a Rock

I invest my time and energy into my family because I love them. Because I have a strong, intelligent, and beautiful woman to confide in, and a beautiful daughter who's discovering eyes I can see life through. I know that in this world I can count my real friends with both hands. Life is to short to waist dealing with titans of industry when enlightened. Industries like ours. Selling pipe-dreams to part-time guides as they come and go. Expecting everything in exchange for nothing. I do this for myself. Because I love teaching and I love good people. However, a castle is only as strong as it's foundation, and mine is located over solid granite. I will always choose spending time with my family in this short and precious life, worshiping the ground they walk on.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Dream Stream Sunset 10-3-13

In Case You Were Wondering Why The Flows Are So Low...

It appears that we have mother nature to blame for the flows dropping right before the spawn really happens. According to the Colorado Division of Wildlife the rain we so unpleasantly received the last couple of months has the lower city reservoirs to full to accept any more water from the high country.

The current flow rates are:

11 Mile Canyon - 36.5 cfs
Dream Stream - 34.3 cfs
Deckers/Cheesman Canyon - 150 cfs
Arkansas River below Pueblo - 208 cfs but has been going through drastic fluctuations over the last couple months...

Obviously your best options are Deckers/Cheesman Canyon or the Arkansas if the flows stay steady, but water temps are cool enough in 11 Mile and the Dream Stream to fish. Just don't cast to any trout on spawning beds, and focus your attention towards the backs of deeper pools in order to catch those rainbows looking for eggs to drop. Land fish as quickly as possible and handle them as little as possible!

Your other options are to fish any one of the many great lakes and reservoirs we have. The Mackinaw should be going strong at Rampart res. Streamers and egg patterns will do the trick. I hear the upper Arkansas has been fishing great as well.

Are They Ill Tempered?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Dream Stream Troutosaurus Rex!

October 2nd was an amazing day on the Dream Stream! The morning started out the same as every other morning we go on our family fishing adventures. Dragging a cranky sleep deprived toddler out of bed way before sunrise, making several stops on our way up the pass due to a lack of preparedness the night before, and arriving to our select fishing location with an "anything can happen" mindset.

Today anything did happen... Namely this!

Rick and Kristen with a monster from the deep!

This is Rick Bayley with a ginormous, huge, Dream Stream fish-of-a-lifetime brown trout, and Kristen doing the honor of holding the net for the photo. A few months ago Rick and a buddy of his spent a day with me as their guide on the Dream Stream, and I told him then that their trip with me would be a brutal lesson in playing big fish, and it was... The pair lost several large fish that day, a few of which could have been in this same trophy class. I literally spent the entire day yelling, "Get that rod tip up!" Well, I think he learned his lesson. 

Here's a photo of the fish he landed right before sore lipping his brutus that is similar to the fish they landed that fateful guide trip with me. A 16-18 inch fish like this is a great catch by anyone's standards.

But do the math...

It's such a cliche' thing to call a big fish a "fish-of-a-lifetime." To me every time you hook a fish, every fight,  and every unique experience you have makes each fish the fish of a lifetime. However, some experiences are more unique than others, and Rick may never catch a trout that large on the Dream Stream or anywhere else again. Neither will 95 percent of the anglers that fish here. Safe to say it made today very special for him, and for our little family!

This fish was so big it startled Bree when Rick brought it over to her, and the look on her face says it all!

What started out as a Kokanee salmon expedition, turned into a memory that we will never forget. Proof that anything can happen -especially on the South Platte river in Park County. The irony being that I was telling a story this very morning about how I ran into Rick at 11 Mile Canyon during a guide trip with a set of different clients where Rick hooked a nice rainbow from across the stream on a dry fly, and was quick to point out how he was holding the rod tip up. The first time I've ever had a client from a previous trip show by example what they had learned from me to my current clients. Safe to say he had their attention... Also a very cool experience!

Today though Rick wasn't my client, he was our fishing partner and an honorary member of our troutbum family. I saw on facebook the day before that he would be heading up to the spot to catch some kokes, and since our family had this fishing trip planned for a few days we decided we would surprise him and beat him to the punch. We saw his car pull into the parking area soon after we arrived, and an hour later when he hadn't made an appearance I decided to look for him and extend an invite. Turns out he wasn't far, and he just didn't want to bother me in case I was with a client. Great etiquette from a great guy!

I returned his kindness by giving him some flies that were working for us, and introduced him to Kristen and Bree. The flies I handed him were apricot glow bugs that I tie on razor sharp, wide gapped, barbless competition hooks. First cast he hooked and landed his first Dream Stream Kokanee! Afterwards, we spent the morning taking turns and rotating into the spot the salmon seemed to be concentrated, landing several nice fish.

As the sun got higher the fish seemed to change their color preference from orange to red; a fact made obvious by the decent brown I lost, followed by the landing of a decent salmon on a red worm pattern I tie that friend and fellow guide Dave Caraghar has dubbed the "Kleistodon." A name he came up with because every time I refer to a huge fish I usually use dinosaur terminology. Troutosaurus Rex being my favorite and most obvious.

So I handed one to Rick to tie on and immediately afterward he was back into salmon. Despite the fact that I had jumped a 10 lb brown before it broke me off prior to inviting Rick up earlier in the morning, none of us expected what would happen next. He would land that first brown, and a few drifts later he hooked something that made a wake that only a fish that size can make, and I knew immediately what he had on. 

I thought to myself that I should have grabbed the carp net, but it wasn't the time for those kind of thoughts! When you hook a fish like this time seems to stop and also move incomprehensibly fast. My guide instincts kick into high gear and I start shouting things like, "give it line if she takes off" and "be steady." Notice I didn't say keep the rod tip up?

To Rick's credit this was very much a team effort. I may have shown him how we were set up, and given him our flies to use, but he spotted the fish, fooled the fish, and was now playing the monster fish! He played it to perfection, managing to get it along the bank in calmer water right in position with me and the net. As I was approaching from down stream this giant fish, which Rick had only been playing for a couple of minutes, started doing massive violent head-shakes like a sleeping titan coming to life.

The timing couldn't have been more perfect because right as this was happening I scooped up the massive fish as Rick wisely let off a bit to allow the fish to settle towards me! Had the stars not aligned, and this fish had woken a few seconds sooner, Rick surely would have been in for the ride of his life, and this story could have had a very different ending. After a few quick photos and a release, we had time to calm down and I told Rick I couldn't help but feel like a proud papa! My only regret is that he didn't catch this fish while I was on the clock. Can you imagine the ransom these photos would have held?

Take a look at the rest of the photos from this trip!

Photo by Kristen


Bree has to kiss the fish before we release it for good luck!
A second look at Kristen's big kype jawed kokanee!

Tip up jk!

In case you smartasses were wondering yes I did land this fish with Bree's pink princess rod...

As always thank you everyone for following our site and for your support!  For questions concerning guided trips with me this fall shoot me an email to

Tight lines!

Monday, September 30, 2013

11 Mile Canyon Fishing Report 9-30-2013

Recent photo of a client 11 Mile Canyon.

11 Mile Canyon is fishing fairly well. Flows have been in the low 60 c.f.s. and dropping. Cooling water temps mean that all of that awesome grass you nymph fisherman love is dying off and floating down river making it difficult to keep clean flies for more than a couple drifts. Good news, on days where it hasn't rained the night before we have excellent dry fly action.

From sunrise until about noon tricos are on the menu; on cooler days they will last as late as 1 p.m. Make sure to downsize during fly selection. As the days get shorter and the water gets cooler the tricos get smaller. From late July-August they are size 22, from September until the first freeze they are a 24.

From the end of the trico hatch (noon-ish) until about 4 p.m. look for those tiny blue winged olive mayflies otherwise known as pseudocloeons. They're also close to a size 24. A Parachute Adams will do the trick.  Midges erupted during this time frame so a good trick to try if you aren't getting looks at your Adams is to clip the tail to shorten it's profile and imitate a midge. The last hour of sunrise you should start to see tricos again, and a size 24 Barr's Vis a dun behind a hopper or caddis fished tight against the bank can be deadly. Be sure to move a lot!

I didn't see much evidence that the browns have begun spawning other than a migrating fish or two and a few landed small ones starting to show color. If you see any circular spots on the river bottom where all of the moss is missing and it looks like there is a depression in the gravel do not wade on top of it. There's potential that a fish has spawned there, and we need to protect future generations. Tight Lines!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pretty Photo Of A Kokanee Salmon

Jim Browning took a recent photo of a Kokanee that we shot and made it pop with an app he uses to add wavy effects and color. We took it a step further, even though his rendering is beautiful, and since I keep seeing photos on social networks of dudes holding fish where only the fish was in color, I decided to try my hand at it. Here is Kristen's, Jim's, and my teamwork in action!

Windy Defeat On The Dream Stream

Here is a short clip of a day spent battling the wind chasing a particularly big cutbow followed by heartbreak, crying like a big baby, and pitching a fit in frustration. Like everyone keeps saying though, "it keeps us coming back". Very true... Sorry that the video quality isn't up to our standards, I had missed a few chances at this fish and nobody expected for an opportunity at strike 3. We just wanted to show everyone that these things happen, even to guys with a photo library of big fish who have been fishing for a long time. The river humbles all!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Gunnison and Taylor River Trip - Mid Sept.

For anyone who may have missed all of the photos and short clips we have posted on our fb page we decided to share these on CFFM -including a few we didn't get around to posting. We had an amazing first trip to the Gunnison river valley this year and look forward to a few more visits as it's only going to get better! Unlike many of Colorado's rivers the East, Taylor, and the Gunnison from the confluence down did not get devastated by flooding.

They still have the blockade in place on the East river at the Roaring Judy fish hatchery, and they are again not letting fish get up stream from that point so don't bother with the East if you're looking for salmon. Flows on the East averaged anywhere from 200-300 c.f.s. but expect that to come down to it's usual fall levels if we can avoid getting another 16 inches of rain in a single day... The Taylor river coming out of the dam was running around 198 c.f.s. the entire second week of Sept. which is an excellent flow, and the crowds were aware of this also. The parking area was full by 8 a.m. both days we fished it.

It was the typical Taylor river experience. There were dry fly purists, guys deliberately foul hooking fish, and we didn't see a whole lot of rods bent most of the day. I did lose several fish in the 10lb class in and just above the Avalanche hole, and managed several 12-18 inch colorful browns to the net as we moved around the C and R. We still had a ton of fun despite these things! The Taylor river is always a challenging break from salmon slaying on the Gunni.

Salmon fishing on the Gunnison started slow for us. Flows were kind of high compared to previous Septembers and locating fish was difficult, combined with the fact that it took adding 5-6 BB sized shot on our leaders to get down low enough and quick enough with our egg patterns to catch fish. Once we figured all of this out we were in salmon and having a blast. It was obvious we were still early because the numbers of fish were low, and the fight in these Kokes was impressive! As the days get shorter and the water gets lower and colder look for more salmon to be there from the confluence down.

This was a family experience as most of our fishing trips are, and the fun we had really shows in the photos. Our little family drastically needed this vacay! Kristen has been working her tail off in her full time job as a NICU nurse taking care of sick babies, and this was by far my busiest year as a full time guide, writer, tyer, and photo/videographer. Things don't seem to be getting any less busy so being sure to take some time to have these little adventures together has been important to us.

It's so rewarding to see other anglers reactions to Bree being on the water while we fish! The typical reaction being "starting her young?! I like that!" For those of you who we haven't told this story, Bree's inaugural trip was on Antero Reservoir in early April during a cold windy day two months after she was born! She's no stranger to the outdoors. It's also cool to see how excited Bree is to play with other anglers fishing companions a.k.a. puppies. We don't have enough space at home yet to own a dog so Bree loves playing fetch and having fun with them. And -knock on wood- Bree hasn't shown to much of her dark toddler side yet, not that she has too much of a dark toddler side to begin with...

The best thing that anyone can do who is trying to get someone into fishing is put them in a spot where they can catch fish, and salmon fishing on the East river before they put the blockade up is exactly how I got Kristen turned into a true troutbum. She looks forward all year to Kokanee salmon fishing like I look forward to carp fishing or throwing size 24 Tricos in 11 Mile Canyon, and I can't say that I blame her. These fish pull hard and are beautiful. Here's a few photos from this Sept. on the Gunni...

Kristen with big fish of the trip!
My first Gunni river rainbow and man are they colorful!

This first short video clip above is a blooper reel that I thought was awesome! Kristen was a head dodge away from getting some face jewelry as this salmon jumped and spit the hook at her while I was recording in slow motion! Quick reflexes indeed... Check it out in HD!

This clip is me hooking up with a dry fly on the Taylor. We had to share it because Bree was playing in the background and being adorable. Thankyou again fellow anglers and readers for your support!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Cheesman Canyon Guide Trip and Fishing Report 8-23-13

Ralph's first fish of the morning!

Had an amazing day on the water with client and friend Ralph T. at Cheesman Canyon! We started the morning out nymphing and landed some beautiful 16-18 inch rainbows and browns. Nymphs/emergers of choice were Barr's Emerger PMD in a size 18, and a small Trico Emerger size 24 that I tie that is yet to be named. Barr's Emerger picked up the most fish while indicator fishing.

Between 8:30-9:00 a.m. is when things really started to get interesting. Trico Duns littered the water and some very large fish were coming up to them. In between the usual break-offs that happen while using 6x tippet Ralph managed a few more fish in the 16" category and two very nice Cheesman fish on a size 22 Snowshoe Dun. As per the norm after the spinner fall finished and the sun got high in the sky the fishing slowed down, but anything after the type of morning we had wasn't going to excite. Ralph even admitted that it was his best day of fishing ever, and who can blame him! 18-20+ inch fish on dry flies in Cheesman Canyon isn't anything to scoff at! I'm feeling so blessed to be able to work with people and teach fishing! Thanks again Ralph!

One of two nice fish he landed on a size 22 dry fly!
A closer look at that brown dun eater.
Ralph's second fish on a 22 dry!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Photos of Today's Happy Clients 8-11-13

Graham with first fish of the day.
Sepia Canyon shot.
Bob casting to trout sipping spinners.
Bob's trout on a Jon Kleis special Trico.
Saying his goodbyes.
Like father like son.

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