Gazette Article - How To Properly Handle Trout!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Epic Video of a Salmonfly Hatch!

Great Spring Time Baetis Emerger On the South Platte

Anybody who has shopped at Anglers Covey has at some point been recommended a Cheesman Emerger. I know we have featured it on CFFM before, but now is a great time to include these in your arsenal. It's an insanely effective and easy pattern to tie. Check out the video!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Deckers Fishing Report 3-27-13

We had another one of our family fishing days and decided on a change of scenery. Deckers was our destination and it's running at a crystal clear 60.2 cubic feet/second (click here to get updated flow rates).  Just like 11 Mile Canyon, all of the fish are stacked in the "deeper" runs. We fished above town along Y-Camp rd. and managed to get in the first bend run. There was a solid baetis and midge hatch that came off around noon which lasted a couple of hours. We netted 6-7 fish, and long distance released (ldr) at least that many. Fly patterns that fooled fish were Barr's Emergers BWO size 22, Stalcup's Baetis in a size 20, and Cheesman Emergers size 24.

Bring 6x tippet and small split shot! Most of the fish we landed we were sight fishing to, and not relying on the strike indicator. The takes were so subtle that if you rely on your indicator your'e not catching fish. I say bring small shot because even though the fish were stacked in the deeper runs they weren't on the bottom. They were about a foot off the bottom with their noses up. Just watch their behavior and make your adjustments accordingly. Also, they were pretty shot shy so you will double your chances by downsizing your weight.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Short Clip Of A Stonefly Nymph

Working the kinks out but will be including some pretty up close and sweet footage of fish food in action!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Antero Reservoir To Be Closed!

According to an article from Denver Water will be draining and closing Antero Reservoir this year. Antero has historically been a reservoir that is subject to high evaporation because it's so shallow, and with another drought year looming they aren't taking any chances. Slot limits will be opening to 8 fish per angler per day, and then the rest of the fish will be relocated.

The water will then be stored down river in 11 Mile and Cheesman Reservoirs. Seemingly forsaking Spinney which is rumored to be closed this year to any boat with an electric or gas powered motor. Spinney is already somewhere near 10 feet lower than it normally is, and the snow pack for the South Platte is sitting near 70 percent. Lets all pray for a wet spring. For the fish and our sake!

Here is the link to the full story.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Dream Stream and 11 Mile Canyon Fishing Report 3-15-13

11 Mile Canyon is running at 65 c.f.s. and the Dream Stream is sitting around 50. The Dream has a great dark green color to it because of ice melt, and the Canyon is crystal clear. Much of the lower portion of 11 Mile that was covered in ice is now open, but as we all know a week long cold front could change that. The two tunnels area fished fantastic! Crowds were an issue the further upstream you went from Springer Gulch, but compared to the Dream Stream there was plenty of open water.

The Dream Stream is showing signs of life, but desperately needs more water to really get the fish going. With flows sitting at 50 c.f.s. and with the extreme over crowding, what few lake fish have moved in won't be staying long. If you're adamant about going there focus your attention on the deeper runs with baetis nymphs and emergers, and midge larvae and pupae. Barr's Emergers, RS-2's, JuJu Baetis, Copper Johns, Small Black Beauties and Top Secret Midges will all work. These same patterns were what was on the menu in the Canyon as well.

5x and 6x fluorocarbon come highly recommended! Try and get as close as you can to the bottom without dragging on the bottom to minimize foul hook-ups. Note: newcomers to catch and release fishing or fly-fishing in general, no matter where you fish this spring be mindful of the fact that if you hook and land a rainbow or cutthroat it is important to wet your hands before handling the fish, and if you want to get a photo be sure not to squeeze it, and keep it out of the water for a short a time as possible. 

When releasing the fish do not rock it back and forth. Instead, find a slightly calmer spot where there is still plenty of oxygen in the form of moving water and release the fish. Trust me you do more harm than good if you spend a bunch of time handling and rocking the fish trying to revive it. If it shows signs of bellying up then find a spot with decent current and hold it facing up river until it takes off under it's own power. Remember to pinch your barbs on any hook larger than a size 20 to make things easier on spawners. We have an amazing resource in those two stretches of river so let's do our best to take care of it. Tight lines everyone!     

Monday, March 11, 2013

Recent Macro shots of a Stonefly Nymph

For more photos like these Like us on Facebook and subscribe to our site! For rates and availability for a guided adventure on the South Platte or Arkansas rivers send me an email to

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Arkansas River Fishing Report - Salida 3-7-13

Howard with fish in net.

Got a recent report that the Arkansas River near Salida is starting to come to life. We drove by it on our way to Gunnison, and I'd be lying if I said it didn't look tempting. It was pretty much completely free of ice, and running at a good clip for early March. Flies on the menu were small tungsten bead stoneflies with either a JuJu Baetis, or a small black Zebra Midge. Pre-spawn fish are starting to move into skinnier water, and big fish are looking for stonefly nymphs. The beauty of fishing just about anywhere on the Arkansas up stream of Pueblo Reservoir is it that it's easy to find solitude. There is so much water that goes unexplored by most anglers on the upper Ark. If you haven't had a chance yet, mark a day in your calendars to get up there and enjoy some excellent fishing. Thank you to Howard Stringert and Alex Walker for the great report and photo to share with our readers! Tight Lines!

A List Of Great Blogs and Informative Websites to Follow

Anyone who follows our site probably notices that we don't keep a sidebar of additional blogs and websites to follow on the page. My reasoning behind this is that we like the current layout, and we worked really hard to keep the site clean and user friendly. That doesn't mean we don't follow other peoples sites and keep up with all the latest. The amazing thing about the internet is that it makes it incredibly easy to communicate with other like minded anglers, and to learn something specific and new to add to your arsenal. There are a ton of amazing blogs done by great anglers who we follow, and when we're inspired by any of their great work we share it. Here is a list of our favorite sites for you to check out while you're bored sitting in your office...

First, Anglers Covey fly shop here in Colorado Springs has done a fantastic job of rebuilding their website, and Dave (shop owner) hired some help to keep the A.C. blog up to date and loaded with content. Vince Puzick is in charge of that show, and it turns out he was a great hire. He does a great job of relaying important information that pertains to all of us as anglers, and has a very neutral and upbeat tone in his writing that I respect a ton. To follow Vince go to

If you are looking for a website where you can learn a thing or two about insects check out They have some incredible photos of insects, and a great blog of their own that's definitely worth a look-see. The site is also very clean and user friendly, and there is enough content on there that would take weeks to go through.

Next on our list of websites worth following is They probably have one of the best all around sites for fly-fishing on the web. In fact, I dare you to go on there and find a fly-fishing related subject that they haven't at least addressed. With subjects such as How to Hook Fish on Tiny Flies, they have a ton of relevant info. that would help us Colorado tailwater trout bums.

For the tyers scouring the web for information there is a fantastic blog, and a equally as fantastic website, both of which are loaded with helpful fly tying goodness, the Hopper Juan, and Charlies Fly Box. Another great blog is done by Carl Pennington I think he finds a lot of his inspiration from the Hopper Juan and Charlie Craven, but he puts his twist on popular patterns, and every time we check out his site we find some fishy looking bugs.

Gink and Gasoline! Do we need to say anything else? They run a great website covering a wide range of topics, and feature some great photography. Subscribe to their page!

Last but not least, we would like to leave you guys with a short list of blogging newcomers that we have been keeping an eye on. Let's start with one blogger that is into hog hunting, Jamie Roth with Jamie's Journal. He seems to have a great sense of adventure, and loves to chase big fish.  So there you have it! Our list of trout fishing awesomeness for all of you to check out if you haven't already. Enjoy all of the free great information out there that is a buttons touch away!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Taylor Goodness 3-7-13

I spent the last two days with my family at the 3 Rivers Resort in Almont, and we had a blast! Our cabin was huge, complete with a loft, and it was amazing. The Gunnison River across the street was a solid block of ice with a narrow channel of open water that you would have to risk your life to get to. Of course, we were on a mission to harass fish at the C&R section of the Taylor River so no worries.

The report said that the Taylor was moving at a raging 50 c.f.s... It was extremely low and clear, and with a few exceptions, the bulk of the trout brave enough to live in the C&R were stacked in the Avalanche hole. We knew the night before that we were going to have to leave the comfort of our cozy cabin earlier than we wanted the next morning in order to get our spot.

Still rocking the new Orvis waders and loving them!

Arrival time was around 8 a.m. and we had the entire river to ourselves -which might have had something to do with the fact that it was 2 degrees outside, with a windchill of freezing balls cold. We braved climbing a massive hill of snow and ice standing between us and the fish, and immediately I take a spill while holding Bree. Thankfully the baby ended up being ok, and all I broke was my butt-cheek.


Because I was trying to recover from falling on the ice and sacrificing my body for our baby, Kristen took first drift. On her first cast she landed a 14 inch brown on an Apricot Egg. Four to five casts later she hooks up with a Brute of a male brown on a size 24 red midge. After ten minutes of battle we got it to the net. This was her first Taylor hog so it's safe to say she was stoked!

Kristen and her Taylor Hogasaurus Rex! Yes, her face and hands were actually that shade of red two fish into the trip. It was that cold! Fricken stud!

As if my butt wasn't already sore enough, she would continue kicking it the rest of the day. I'm not only humble enough to admit it, but I'm the first to express how proud of her I really am. As I told her during the drive home, "this probably won't be the last time you out fish me". It's not like I didn't have my chances -twice at fish over ten pounds, and both times I broke off on the hook set. Aside from Kristen's big brown, she matched me fish for fish on the 12-16 inch "dinks". Here is to many many more times of Kristen kicking my butt! Not too many women would even be willing to get out of the car to watch someone fish in 2 degree weather, let alone get in the water, land a monster trout, and then stick her bare hands in the water to pick said fish up for a killer photo op.

One of many trout that fell victim to Kleis's Mysis

After she landed her big fish, I made the mistake of trying to climb up the hill of ice to grab a pack of leaders I left in the Jeep, and slammed so hard that I broke 2 fly boxes in my waist pack, and may have potentially did work on my wrist. Don't you love those kind of days? There was no way I was gonna let a little thing like a potentially broken wrist get in the way of fishing.

Thanks for breaking my fall. Ouch! Scientific Anglers makes one tough box.

In case you were wondering, we used size 24 red midges, apricot eggs, and a size 12 Kleis's Mysis, and nothing else. Half of our fish were taken on my Mysis pattern even though conditions were far from perfect for fishing shrimp. This was pretty much the only thing I had to hang my hat on from a fishing perspective the last couple of days, and believe me I'll take it. The fishing was extremely technical, and the takes were equally as subtle. Que the abrupt ending to this blog post because I need to go ice my bum and wrist...

As always if you have any questions or would like to schedule me for a guide trip send me an email to

Show your support for this blog by subscribing to our site, and by liking the Colorado Fly Fishing Mag Facebook page. Tight lines and be safe everyone!

                                                                                             -Jon Kleis

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Doh a Deer

We got out to enjoy this beautiful weather and look what we came across. Love me some Colorado!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Selecting The Right Camera Lens For Fish Photos

I've been getting a few questions lately about photography. Specifically, people want to know what camera is best to carry fishing? My answer is, and always will be, a Digital SLR (DSLR) -a Nikon DSLR in fact. Today I want to dive into what makes a good lens to own for taking great photos of anglers and their fish. The reason for my focus on lenses rather than camera bodies is simple. Ask any professional photographer if they would rather have a feature rich expensive camera body with average lenses, or a more basic camera body with great glass, and they will always tell you option B. I won't go into detail about the reasoning behind that; instead if you would like a little more insight about this philosophy I will leave you a link to check out at the end of this post.

From a fishing standpoint what makes a great lens, aside from high quality glass, is the speed of the lens. The wider the aperture the faster the lens. Aperture is often referred to as f/ or "f stop" , and the f/ is followed by a number. The smaller the number (f/2), the wider the ring opening and the more light that gets in. The larger the number, the narrower the opening becomes and less light gets in. Here is a great video showing a perfect example of what I'm talking about.

Not all lenses are created equal as far as speed is concerned. A lens with a maximum f/ of 5.6 means that the widest the aperture ring can open is f/5.6. This simply means that it won't perform as well in low light as a lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.8. So why go for the faster lens with a wider maximum aperture? Because trout bums are notorious for fishing early in the morning, or late in the evening when there is hardly any light. Early bird gets the worm, or fish... Having a lens that can open all the way up to f/2.8 or wider means that you are getting brighter cleaner images when the fish bite.

If you take a closer look at the aperture video, or some of the above photos you will see another great benefit to having a lens capable of shooting at wider f stops. The foreground is in focus, and the background is blurry. This effect is called Bokeh. The wider the aperture opening the more anything in the foreground or background is blurry compared to the subject you are focused on. This is great for bringing attention to your subject.

If you look at the top photo of two of my clients holding a nice brown during a guide trip with me on the Dream Stream, you will notice that even though you can tell what's in the background, there isn't any detail in it, as compared to the two happy clients with the big fish. The photo of Kristen and our gorgeous toddler Bree is another great example. If you look at the background, the bushes that go around the bend start out really blurry at the far left where it's furthest away from my subjects, then comes more and more into detail the closer it gets to Bree on the right side. Again, remember when you are selecting your lens look for the lens that has the widest f/ or aperture you can afford. An ideal f/ would be anywhere between f/1.4 to f/2.8.

Last I would like to talk about what is an ideal focal length for portrait photography. It's been my experience that anything between 50-85 mm does the trick. Right now I am shooting with a lens that has a fixed focal length equivalent to 60mm with a maximum aperture of f/2.8. When a lens has a fixed focal length it is often referred to as a "prime" lens. Prime lenses tend to be more affordable than zoom lenses if you're looking for something with a wide maximum aperture. The trick is to pick a lens with a focal length that will get close enough to keep the attention on your subject, while allowing enough of the background to be in view to make the photo interesting. Both Nikon and Canon sell fixed 50mm f/1.8 lenses for around $200 that would be perfect for just about every situation you could come across while on the water.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule me for a guide trip email me at

Here is the link to a recent article I wrote that might point you in the right direction as far as camera selection is concerned!

Tight Lines!

                                                                                                     -Jon Kleis

Friday, March 1, 2013

11 Mile Canyon Fishing Report 3-1-2013

Yesterday was our third official fishing trip of the year; it was our second in 11 Mile Canyon. Flows were in the low 40 c.f.s. and the water was crystal clear. Spotting fish was a little difficult because of massive glare bouncing off the 6 inches of fresh snow. We had a late start to the day so it was obvious that in the two spots we fished below the dam that we were fishing for scraps, but it was still a killer day!

Apricot eggs, Black Beauties, Mojo Midges, and Mercury RS-2s all fooled fish. There was a pod of trout rising in that slow moving water below the top bend that were begging to have their lip pierced by a size 26 Parachute Adams, but two anglers near the spot were fishing heavy nymph rigs so I didn't let the temptation of pulling out the dry fly rod get to me. A lot of the fish were anchored to deep slow moving pools with dark bottoms. I say most because we did manage a few fish in shallow faster moving water. 

Our combined fish count was 8 to the net, and at least that many "long distance releases" in 3 hours of taking turns starting at 1 in the afternoon. Safe to say, anyone with 6x leaders and tippet and a small amount of experience fly-fishing would have an epic day if they got on the water by 9 a.m. Just to give you all a feel for the day and how gorgeous it was up there I took a few minutes to slap together a quick video of some footage of Kristen landing a fish, and footage of a crane taking off that kept harassing us. Also please forgive the music! It was a drum track that I made on garage band that I never really did anything with, and I figured that some sort of beat is better than the sound of the underwater housing to our gopro cameras being jostled.


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