Gazette Article - How To Properly Handle Trout!

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!

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