Archive for April 2013

You’re fishing.   3 comments

Hidy ho good flyfishers.

A River Runs Through  It was a great movie, no doubt.  It did wonderful marketing and spurred the fly fishing industry.  Fantastic acting, scenery, and of course the epic fly casting.  Ah, the fly casting.  Proved to be the strike point or brand of the film.  However, I think it has scared away many would be fly fishers.

I have folks come into the fly shop and tell me that they would love to learn to fly fish but aren’t capable of the rod handling that they saw in the movie.  Had a nice lady ask me last year if she should book back to back days on the water, because she figured we would work the entire first day on casting. My clients today said I better think about just tying on one fly (instead of three) because they aren’t capable of casting three fly rigs.  I told them that if you can say “three bug rig” you can certainly cast it.

I admire good casting skills as much as the next dude, but all an nymph angler needs is the ability to utilize a water loaded roll cast.    Stick your elbow in the slot, get your thumb as high as your hat, pick a spot, and put your thumb on it.  It really is that simple, and I find folks pick it up rapidly.  And yup, you guessed it, the minute you roll cast you are officially fly fishing.  I have a video or two on youtube dealing with casting.  They are easy to find, if you want a refresher.  Just type my name and youtube for a search.

The South Platte is fishing great.  Blue Wings are coming off any time of the day depending on conditions, and the fish are on them.  Trips have been very productive nymphing in the morning and looking for noses to cast dry flies and dry-drops to in the late morning, early afternoon.  Pheasant tails and baetis emergers are the ticket.

I am busy working on a new technique, nothing earth shattering, but it works.  I’m having clients utilize it in certain conditions, and it is proving to be effective and fun.  Think I’ll keep R&Ding it and maybe include it in my next book. Time will tell.

Probably going to post every other week, because I’m getting very busy.  If something happens that just needs to be shared, I’ll certainly post it.  Please feel free to contact me, and comment.   Until then, Fear No Water! Duane



Twice pricked…..   Leave a comment

So, I’m trying to get some sight fishing video last weekend before a guiding trip and I run into this nutty fish.  I watch this trout slide up the edge of the rock-to- sand line, witness him stage-up and proceeded to prepare the attempt. 

The South Platte below Deckers, Colorado is unique, in that, it has an inordinate amount of sand. Decompossing granite actually, left over from erosion deposits after the Hayman Fire.   Those that fish it regularly know that when fish set up on the rock to sand edge, they are there to eat. 

I get the camera set on a tripod, strip out the line I need, and the rest is history.  I rolled that fish.  He ate hard, I set, and on his intial move the bug came unbuttoned.  Usually, at that point the fish will disolve over the rocks, or slide downstream to the nearest pool to pout.  After watching this fish react for an instant it became obvious the he was not going to flush. 

If you watch closely, I change my angle slightly, to change the drift characteristics a bit.  A subtle change in angles can make the difference.  I also move closer to this fish, and a bit more behind him.  Make the appropriate moves and fish with confidence. 

Once the depth and speed are dialed in, little changes in angles can illicit even pricked fish to eat again.  It’s unusual, but like I have said before, trout are funny people.


Here’s a nice rainbow that ate for my client later that day.  Only had to prick her once!

To see the video of the twice-pricked fish, go to:

 Hope you enjoy, and Fear No Water!

New water, old tricks.   Leave a comment


  During the winter, I’m not on the water as much as when the season is ripping.  That being said, when I do have gaps between trips, it sometimes feels as if I am guiding on “new” water. 

About a month ago I guided on a stretch of water that I hadn’t laid eyes on in two years.  To say I was a bit aprehensive would be more than accurate.  But, over the years I’ve learned a few tricks that ease the pain and usually gets us into fish in a reasonable time frame.

First off, no matter the size of the river, learn to break it down into “runs” in longitudinal sections.  River left, river middle, and river right.  I learned that reading Bill Edringtons’ book about the Arkansas River.  This will help you manage the river and your emotions.  Just pick it apart from down-to-up and in-to-out.  By this, I mean to pick one run in one section, and fish it up river from near to far. 

Fish to your strengths.  I’m fairly adequate at nymph fishing, so I am absolutely going to dial in depth and speed.  You can catch fish with the wrong bugs at perfect depth and speed.  Once I do a bit of reverse-engineering, or recognizing adult bugs and working back to the nymph stage, I should be picking up increasing numbers of fish because of the right fly choices.  If you’re good and confident at throwing streamers, dry-drops, or whatever, use it to your advantage  to pick up fish while you learn more about the river. 

Apply what you know.  For example, if you know how, where, and why fish set-up around an obstruction or in a bend, then concentrate on that water.  If you’re proficient in riffles, then find and fish them.  What you know breeds confidence and allows you to systematically attack the river.  No guesses, only the next option. Enjoy the experience.

Make sure you can identify caddis, mayflies, midges, and stone flies.  Learn their stages, and simple flies that mimic them.

Last and certainly not least,  employ fish spotting skills.  I am a much better guide and fly fisher when I can see fish.  No big mystery there, but good polarized optics and the accompanying skills are paramount.

Just a few thoughts on using old tricks on a new river.  Try it sometime and Fear No Water!