Archive for November 2012

Landing feesh!   Leave a comment

Made a video today down on the South Platte.  I took about seven minutes to talk about tips and techniques used to land fish on a fly rod.  I honestly think it’s easier for beginners and intermediate anglers to hook fish than land them.

Hope the video proves helpful:

Couple other items:  1.  If you haven’t already, be sure to read my new article in my last post.  2.  Tis the season to buy stuff for the fly fisher you know.  May I suggest The Fly Fishers’ Playbook?



Posted November 24, 2012 by duaneredford in Uncategorized

Crocodile tears and snot bubbles…….   1 comment

Happy Black Friday folks!  I’ve decided to celebrate by writing an article I plan to submit to a certain website.  I’ll let you know details later.  It looks like I’m going to fish and film tomorrow.  Hope to post this weekend, stay tuned. 

Here’s the article, feel free to respond!

“Crocodile Tears and Snot Bubbles”


I showed up at the fly shop bright and early, looking forward to a fun day on the river.  The gentlemen I was slated to guide had arrived a day early, spent the night in one of the cabins that the fly shop rents, and had fished quite a bit the day prior.  Now, this can be a blessing or a curse as a guide, because the finicky tailwater I guide can turn on or off without warning.  After introductions and handshakes all around, I set to rigging their rods.

Noticing right off, that they had the proper flies already rigged up under an indicator, I asked how the river fished the day before.  I was told that there were “crocodile tears and snot bubbles” per fly fisher.  They hadn’t caught a fish.  Whoever at the fly shop sold them the flies had done his job by leading them in the right direction, as the bugs they were running were the same ones I planned to throw this day.  Why in the heck did they not hook up?

I guide by the notion that “if you change nothing, nothing changes”, and judging by the flies they had rigged, I was able to quickly throw that out of the equation.  The reason they were skunked the day before, lousy drifts aside, had to be a function of depth and speed.  When I am nymph fly fishing I live by the depth, speed, profile and color formula.  Those four factors play a huge role in my success as I guide or fish.  Remember, depth, speed, profile and color.

Once to the river’s edge, I quickly went over the tenants of a good nymph drift, and we spread out to work the run.  Noticing right off that these guys could manage a decent nymph drift, made it clear that depth and speed were the culprits of yesterday’s poor outing. Over the years, it has become apparent that you can throw the right bugs at improper depths and speeds and have a tough day on the river.  Conversely, you can throw the wrong bugs at proper depths and speeds, and still manage a few.  I adjusted the depth and speeds of both rigs, and we immediately began to move fish.

The rule of thumb for depth is to have your distance from your weight to your indicator at one and one half times the depth of the run your fishing.  I take it a step further and insure the weight is ticking the bottom from the top of mid-drift through the swing for my particular nymph rig.  My particular nymph rig consists of, in descending order, the indicator to the weight, to the two or three flies (see the Fly Fishers Playbook).  Again, the key to the depth is to make darn sure the weight is ticking bottom throughout the majority of the drift.

Depth is depth, weight is speed.  Once you have the depth dialed in, you can then dial in the speed.  Speed is simply controlled by weight.  More weight equals more drag, which equals slower speed.  I like to get my indicator moving at half the speed of the surface water.  Because of the nature of flowing water, the water at your feet is moving roughly half the speed of the water at the surface due to drag caused by the atmosphere.  Pick out a leaf, stick or bubble, and fiddle with the weight until your indicator slows to the proper speed.  I like to have a split shot above the leader to tippet connection, and micro-manage the weight with a tungsten putty to really dial it in.  I refer to this as slowing down the game.

So now I have the depth and speed dialed.  Next is to dial in the profile of the bugs that I am trying to match.  You have to discern what they prevalent bugs are where you’re fishing and go from there. I’m lucky, I get to be on the water a ton, so I usually know what’s coming off and I work backwards from there.  On this day the bugs that were going to pop where caddis and blue wing olives, so I simply did a bit of reverse-engineering.  Soft-hackled pheasant tails, and blue wing emergers were the flies I chose to run under the indicators.  Those bugs, at the proper sizes, were precisely what were on the menu.  Couple this with the right speed and depth, and you’re dangerous.

Once you have depth, speed, and profile locked in, you should be moving fish.  If you have one of those days where the fish are looking for all of the above AND colors, then you’re going to have to really get technical.  Honestly, it’s not terribly often where specific color plays a large role in catching fish, but it does happen.  There have been days when the fish will readily eat a blue midge larva over a red one, but thankfully, that is not the norm at least where I guide.  If you are sure your depth, speed, and profile are perfect, and you’re still not hooking up, look to decrease profile sizes and change fly color.

We fished the same flies all day, never changed anything but depth and speed, and had a wonderful time.  This systematic approach works.  The next time you’re on the river, try to employ this approach, it’s a safeguard against “crocodile tears and snot bubbles”!

Duane Redford guides out of Flies and Lies in Deckers, Colorado, on the famous South Platte River.  He is the author of The Fly Fisher’s Playbook, A Systematic Approach to Nymph Fly Fishing.

Posted November 23, 2012 by duaneredford in Uncategorized

Fishing skinny water…….   Leave a comment

  Although it’s not historically supported, low flows are not uncommon in the winter months on freestones and tailwaters alike.  It’s a fact of life, although it’s not always desireable or easy to fish.  You just have to employ a different mind-set.

I still fish 3 bug nymph rigs, but I will use lighter tippets (6x), smaller, bugs, and smaller indicators.  My distances between bugs diminishes because the water columns typically consolodate.  Bugs that are usually separated by 12″ are now drifting about 8″ apart.  Indicators are still yarn, but are trimmed to a low profile and are not as thick as before. 

When you locate fish in shallow water, it’s not a bad idea to scoot your indicator further up the line, or take it off altogether if the fish is unusually spooky.  Most times I’ll fish to those fish with a typical set-up, but I really focus on the set-up and fly rod flash, in an attempt to not bust fish.  Keep drifts short on sighted fish to really control your presentation.  Fish to the fish.  Meaning set on fish movement or if you see “cotton” or the white of the fishes mouth opening.

Your thermometer is a great tool this time of year.  Water temps really drive the fish feeding, so getting a good handle on your particular waters feeding temps is important.  Document that stuff, it’ll pay dividends later.

It’s a great time of year to fish.  get out and cover water, sight fish, and enjoy the great outdoors.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Winter holds….   3 comments

  Winter holds what?  Winter holds for trout.  As the water gets skinny, every trout has to move to winter holding spots to survive.  Look for deeper cuts of river downstream of an oxygenated riffle.  Or, better yet, look for fish.  Get some good polarized optics, and work on your fish spotting skills.

On the South Platte we are still seeing baetis, or Blue Wings.  Not as prolific as before, but still lurking.  Don’t be caught without the ability to change rigs quickly when you see them start to pop.

You gotta fish like a ninja from here til basically run-off, so you might as well start working on fish spotting and sight nymphing.  Sight nymphing is the epitome of nymphing.  Have to find the fish, sneak in, present bugs, and set on movement. Fish to the fish.  Great fun.  If you haven’t already, look at a short video at

I would like to hear some feedback on my podcast.  The link to listen in is  Pass it around to your friends!

Have a great week folks, you never know what WINTER HOLDS!


Posted November 13, 2012 by duaneredford in Uncategorized

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Colors of Fall   2 comments

What a great time of the year!  The weather is really holding and the fish are carrying the colors of fall.

The rainbow on the left ate a brown leech pattern behind an egg.  Guess it figured it would eat the ham first.  Picking up a bunch of fish using that technique.  Just put the leech about 4″ below the egg under an indicator. 







Here’s Pat with a super fish picked up on the North Fork.

Not a bad fish.  Pat really tore ’em up.  Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. I believe this fish ate a leech as well.






No doubt you need to layer up to fish this time of year, but the rewards can be fantastic.







If you get a chance listen to my 2 part radio podcast at

Fear No Water!








Posted November 7, 2012 by duaneredford in Uncategorized