Archive for the ‘#flyfishing’ Tag

Money where your mouth is……   2 comments

Hidy Ho Good Neighbors,

Been a while since I last posted.  A lot going on, but that’s not really a good excuse.  Truth is I’ve changed fly shops.  Not that I didn’t absolutely respect my old fly shop, but I am the kind of person that enjoys a new challenge now and then.  I now work for Minturn Anglers in Minturn Colorado.  Unbelievable amount of water to guide, and quite frankly, I am being stretched to my limits.  You know, I go all over the place giving presentations about fly fishing and because of the “new” water I’m fishing, it’s time for me to prove what I spout about technique is not just smoke.

More often than not, I am given a stretch to fish or someone recommends a stretch to fish, and off I go with clients to make it happen.  Just last Sunday I was on Gore Creek as it flows thru Vail.  Bob Streb and Joe gave me the boundaries using Google Maps, and as much info as they could.  It was up to me to really dig into the how-to’s, what-to’s, and the when-to’s to get my folks on fish. Not ever stepping foot into water that you need to produce fish for folks is more than interesting. That’s a challenge, and I look forward to it!

I always tout the importance of historical, seasonal, and conditional data when it comes down to successfully fly fishing a river for the first time.  I have found this idea to be the most important factor in getting clients on fish in unfamiliar waters.  If you snoop thru the archives of this blog, you’ll find more info about the data I’m talking about.  The techniques are roughly the same, I’m finding that the data is of the utmost importance.

Sure, I may run bugs a bit deeper, or the sizes may be different than what I’m used to, but the chance to pick peoples brains about how a river fishes, at various times of the year is HUGE!  I’ve gone from tailwater to freestone fly fishing, if folks don’t think that’s a big shift, then they haven’t been paying attention.  This challenge is exactly what I want and need.  I am getting better as a guide, getting stretched, and I’m rejuvenated.

All this new information is going into journals and presentations to eventually become my next book project.  I’m really excited to get that moving.  Folks, all I’m really trying to say is get out there and stretch yourself as a person and an angler.  Fish new water, see new sights, meet new people.

Below are some pictures of folks with nice fish from the Eagle River and Gore Creek……..

FEAR No Water!

Duane

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Winter transitions…….   Leave a comment

Baby it’s cold outside.  So cold that the Blue Wings are bygone, the PMD’s stopped popping, the Stone flies are stoned, and the Tricos are trippin’.  What to do?  Well, now’s the time of year to hone your skills on your favorite tailwater.  Winter affords you the opportunity to work on skills that you’ve been meaning to get to.  I enjoy fly fishing through the winter, here are a few reasons why.

  • Less crowds.
  • Gin clear, skinny, challenging water.
  • Research and Development.
  • Simply beautiful.

Although the calendar doesn’t agree, it’s winter for trout and the insects that feed them.  Water is cold and the bugs are less prolific, except for one little tiny giant of a bug, the midge.  Tiny in stature but a giant in sheer numbers, midges feed trout year round, but are mostly the only game in town during winter months.  Trout depend on them as a food source.

Let’s talk water characteristics before we go too deeply into midges.  Where I guide, the air temperatures don’t mean much at all compared to water temperatures.  When the water hits about 39 degrees, the trout start to feed in my favorite tailwater, the South Platte.  Not a bad idea to carry a thermometer, hit water that has sun exposure first, and get used to layering up to stay warm.

Obviously, the river is going to be a lot less crowded.  This is important for several reasons, but two come to mind directly.  One, it’s a great experience to slow down your fly fishing because you don’t have to bust tail getting from one spot to the next, and you can slow your cadence to match the river, because you’re not constantly looking over your shoulder.  Two, there’s a lot less pressure on the fish as well.  They will settle into winter holds, and when conditions are ripe, they eat readily.  You have a chance to hook a fish of a lifetime.

Winter holds are just that. Places where fish have to migrate to in each section and run to get a crack at the best food, oxygen and shelter.  They ALL migrate there.  Big, medium, small will inhabit the same winter hold.  Look for areas that contain the big three needs, and confirm that by locating fish.  I always tell folks to fish 4 seasons, especially on the same river.  You will see characteristics that don’t present during the other seasons.  You’ll notice new scoured out areas that consistent low flows create, obstructions that aren’t always visible, and you’ll locate prime lies because of gin clear water.

With these river conditions come new challenges in presenting bugs.  You may have to drop in tippet size (6X), decrease indicator size or go with yarn, and you get to hone skills throwing small dry flies, or ripping big streamers after bigger fish.  Gin clear water helps you locate fish, but presenting without spooking is easier said than done.  I always set a winter fly fishing goal I want to work on.  Last year was nymphing without an indicator.  This winter I’m not sure, but I’m leaning toward working on photography skills. It’s a great challenge.

Back to the tiny giant.  The midge, or chironomid, is nothing more than a non-biting mosquito.  Where legal, I’ll nymph a 3 bug rig under an indicator.  This rig consists of an attractor nymph like a scud, egg pattern, or San Juan worm, followed by a midge larva, then a midge pupa pattern spaced as shown in my crude little drawing.

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Speaking of crude little drawings, I’ve added a couple of my favorite midge patterns and the recipes to tie them.  Remember, the pupa is your last fly in the rig because it is generally highest in the column.

mambasketch

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It’s my favorite time of the year to fly fish.  Fly fishing in a mild snow fall is an unbelievable experience.  Barometric pressures seem to play a bigger role in effecting winter time fishing than other times of the year.  I try to fish as a low pressure system approaches, or pressures have been stable for a couple days.  You can catch fish any time, but my notes reinforce my approach to fishing and barometric pressures.

Well folks, Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Winter time fly fishing, and don’t forget to pick up a copy of  The Fly Fishers Playbook for your favorite angler for Christmas!

ffplybookcoverscan

Fear No Water,

Duane

Present and Set   8 comments

Hidy Ho Good Neighbors,

Been a while since my last post, but glad to get a minute to slap some words down.  T’was a great summer (I know it’s not officially over), caught a bunch of fish, met some super people, worked nearly everyday, remodeled 2 bathrooms in my house, AND got the house up for sale.  Pretty productive.

The Fly Fishers Playbook revision is going well.  The addition of around 10,000 words is fairly easy, it’s the pictures and illustrations that are proving difficult.  Hopefully, I can find some time to fish on my own to get more pictures.  Should be done in a couple months, I hope.

I learn something every time out on a guided trip.  The prevailing theme this summer has been set, set, set.  I am dedicating a large portion of the chapter in the book about hooking fish to the simple yet all important set.  Trying to impress upon folks to set the hook quickly, firmly, yet not too hard as to snap off, isn’t really as easy as it seems.

Most folks new to the game expect to feel the fish eat.  Those folks are easy to work with and fix because you can just keep practicing the set over and over again.  They will eventually figure it out, but usually remain just a bit slow.  That’s also simple to work on by decreasing indicator to weight distance, and finding faster moving water for them to put in some time.  The less distance increases their reaction time allowance and faster water will help fish hook themselves.

Intermediate folks are tougher to deal with because they tend to not set because they invision the bugs simply bumping on the bottom.   Oft times I will call for a set and the response will be something along the lines of “That was just the bottom”.  Drives me crazy.  How do they know that?  Can’t possibly be able to tell.  Those of you that fish under an indicator a lot know that fish will often eat without the indicator even pausing.  They eat and spit stuff all day, and our flies are no different.  Set on everything.

Advanced nymph fly fishers have learned to set on every bump, twitch and pause.  Advanced nymph fishers rarely make it through an entire drift without a set.  Advanced nymphers also have learned to set on movement , flashes or subtle changes within four feet of the indicator.  Simply put, they set, and don’t question the indicator.

I think that’s how beginners work toward advanced status, fish one rig consistently so you know it very well, and don’t question the indicator.  Jeremy Hyatt will ask his clients, “Why are you arguing with the indicator?”.   That is the main point, react to the indicator when you can’t see the target fish.  If you are sight nymphing and can clearly see the target fish, then try to watch the fish and your flies while keeping the indicator in your peripheral vision.  This way you can set on fish movement as it eats, and your indicator becomes a safety valve in case you don’t recognize the eat.

Present and set.  That is all it takes.  Doesn’t matter to me what it looks like getting to that point, but presentation and the set are crucial to all types of fly fishing.   Yea, there are certainly more effective methods of presentation than others, but really, it doesn’t matter how pretty your 20 foot roll cast is.  The key is that it gets into the slot you want to drift.  As for mending, it’s the same thing.  What you can’t lift off the water, you can’t mend, so high stick as often as possible.  It isn’t pretty, but it presents the bugs, AND sets you up for an efficient set.  Present and  set.

That’s plenty for now.  Thanks for tuning in again, and I’ll try to get  more regular entries as summer wanes.

Fear No Water,

Duane

Some summer pictures……….

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July? What?   10 comments

Hidy Ho, good neighbors,

Wow, where the heck does the time go? Last post was before fathers’ Day, I look up, and it’s after the 4th. Been working my tail off. Not complaining, mind you, but flat out burnin’ daylight.
Had the distinct pleasure of guiding some great folks from Tomahawk (Middle Fork of the South Platte), to the Dream Stream, to the South Platte below Deckers. Some excellent fish hit the bottom of the net on diverse rigs and diverse bugs.
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Mustache fish or wearing a disguise…….?

 

 

 

 

Pale Morning Duns (PMD’s) have been popping pretty well for the last 2 weeks. I love this big mayfly because it’s easy to fish and the fish really dial into the emergent and adult stages. Several fish were hooked on throwing a size 16 dry followed by a Barrs PMD emerger about 18 inches behind it. Just tie some tippet (6x) off of the bend of the big dry and tie the dropper to it.
I watch for classic fish eating behavior to dial in on what phase of what bug their eating. In most cases, early in the hatch, when the PMD’s are really coming off, the fish will be eating the emergers just below the surface. You’ll see their backs roll out of the water as they eat bugs, but rarely will see their mouth out of the water. Telltale sign of emerger eating. When you begin to see their noses or mouths break water, then that means they are beginning to eat the duns. The beauty of the dry-drop rig is simply being able to fish to emerger and dun eating fish. Like I’ve said before, just stay ahead of the hatch by reading the fish, the river, and the bugs.
Another rig I have been throwing a bunch recently is the “mini rig”. This rig is so versatile and effective. I will throw this in low to high water conditions and from bank to bank. You can effectively fish different bug species, bug phases, and water columns with one rig. Usually, the top bug is a good floater like Amy’s Ant, Fat Albert, or the Foamulator. I will follow that with a soft hackled pheasant tail, and finally the emerger of choice as a point fly. The fish will readily eat the big dry, but most of the action is sub-surface and the big bug acts as a strike indicator. My favorite rig is an Amy’s Ant, tied to a soft hackled pheasant tail, followed by a brown RSII.

 

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Really starting to get into Trico season. Starting to see big columns of mating Tricos over the river, won’t be long before the fish are really onto the spinner fall. More on this later.
As for other business, I have been producing a new powerpoint presentation, giving presentations, and have inked a deal to begin writing the first revision of The Fly Fishers’ Playbook. It’s gonna have a bunch new information, new pictures and diagrams, and a ton of new text. Probably will have it done by November….I hope. Hopefully, folks will like it as much as the first.
I’ll try not to be absent for so long this next stretch, and until then, Fear No Water!

 

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Duane

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

mikeandtim4

 

Pick it!   Leave a comment

Hidy Ho good neighbors,

Little tardy with the post this week.  This time of year gets tough, in that, I am combining fly fishing, upland game, and speaking engagements into a 24 hour day.  Not complaining, but I will be happy when guiding pheasant hunts is over the end of this month.  By the way, I guide on a private ranch, so seasons are longer than public stuff. 

Had a couple great fly fishing trips last week.  The fishing has been good.  I really focused last week on working the angles with my clients.  By that I mean we worked runs effectively and efficiently utilizing typical depth, speed, profile, and color principles (D,S,P,C), but added in angles. 

All else being equal, a slight variation in a casting angle can change the presentation just enough to illicit a fish-eat.  It’s the next step in becoming a good nymph fly fisher.  The ability to pick or squeeze out the last bit of fish holding water can make all the difference in the world in the number of hook-ups.

Let’s say you’re fishing a run, have the D,S,P,C dialed in and feel as if you’ve picked the run apart perfectly.  Before you walk away, try to change angles.  I suggest subtle movements, left, right, forward, back, or a combination of those to fully cover the water.  You may have prefectly drifted a seam, but missed a feeding fish by mere inches.  Maybe the fish is swinging 6″ right and left, and you are drifting just outside that zone.  Since, you can’t be exactly sure where your bugs are throughout the entire drift, a simple angle change can make the difference.  Folks that fish with me will attest to this, it is amazing how many fish we pick up after a subtle angle change.  “If you change nothing, nothing changes”.

Also, I see clients continue to pound the same part of a seam, and every time they are hooking up on the same obstruction.  A subtle change will get you past that obstruction, and because of how fish hold around obstructions, it’s not unusual to catch a fish after an angle change by that very obstruction that was “in the way”.

In the picture I am posting about how to attack a bend, really look it over as to how to cover the bend completely.  What is left out is how to finish each stage by subtle angle changes, before moving to the next stage.  Just too hard to show graphically.  Look at it this way, after you’ve finished a stage, use your intuition to dictate to you what angle change is necessary to completely cover the run.  Sounds silly, but it works.

The longer you nymph fish with the same set-up, the more “intuitive” you become.  You begin to “see” your bugs underwater, and realize the angle change to finish the run.  It’s called angling for a reason. 

I explain this concept further in The Playbook, and will sometime post a video.  You may not catch fish in each run, but I promise you’ll walk away from it knowing you fished it well. For now, Fear No Water!  Thanks for dialing in.

Duane

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Long line nymphing work……..   4 comments

Hidy, Ho good neighbors.  Sitting here watching Braveheart and trying to get over whatever bug is kickin’ my tail.  Hit me like a ton of bricks while on the water yesterday.  Thankfully, I feel a bit better than then.

As promised, I am going to give you a link to a video dealing with long-line mending.  I apologize beforehand for the audio.  I used a tripod and camera in the river, and picked up a lot of water sound.  Surprisingly, the times I viewed the video, I got used to it, and was able to fine tune the sound.  You should too.

Couple of tips on mending:

  • You can only mend what line you can take off the water.
  • Mend to produce a drag free drift, I don’t care how you get drag free, just get there quickly with as little wasted line left as possible.
  • Don’t try to over do it, move your feet closer before you try to over extend the drift and your capabilities.
  • Learn specialty casts (reach, tuck, etc) to minimize mending.
  • Learn to mend vertically.
  • Mend like you’re mad at it……

View the video at:  http://youtu.be/xtGOBORMFU4

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 Have a great week.  Fear No Water!
 
Duane

All dimensions.   2 comments

Hidy ho, good neighbors.  I had a great conversation with two fly fishers in the fly shop yesterday.  Both had read my book, but wanted further clarification on the dimensions of the nymph drift. 

I used to only think about the “horizonatal mend” during the drift.  The mend that allows you to place line above, below, or a combination of both, of your fly line to get a drag free drift.  By the way, I don’t like to use the term “dead drift”, I want those bugs to look “alive”, real.  So, to achieve a “live” drift, the angler must either take line off the water, and/or mend the line to allow for minmal drag on the flies.  Drag, simply put, happens when your flies are forced to go too fast or too slow and look unnatural to the fish.

Mastering the horizontal mend comes with time and attention to detail.  As you become proficient you become to “see” the bugs in your mind’s eye.  Don’t call me crazy, it’s true.  You begin to have experience and expertise that allows you the chance to know exactly where your bugs are in the drift.  However, and this is a big however, if you don’t realize the need for a vertical dimension within the drift, you will never really master the nymph drift.

If you took a cross section of the river and studied the dynamics of water speeds you would notice that the surface speed of the water is travelling roughly twice as fast as the water at your feet (grade).  If you look at the diagram you will see what the forces are doing to your leader sub-surface.  Yup, it’s creating drag.  So, you could have your weight dialed in perfectly, but STILL be getting ugly drag on your bugs.  The longer the drift, the more vertical drag you add to the drift.  That’s why I employ the “pause mend”.

The pause mend is just that.  Somewhere in mid drift, all you need to do is pause the indicator for just an instant.  You will immediately see a difference in the drift.  What happens is the paused indicator allows the leader to catch up to the drift, and you simply “release” it to finish the drift.  Once you have it you will not only start picking off more fish, but you will become better at all facets of nymphing, especially sight nymphing.  It’ in the Fly Fishers Playbook, it should be in yours!

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Fear No Water!

Duane

Posted January 14, 2013 by duaneredford in Uncategorized

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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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WO37uE9eR_E&feature=plcp

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

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

Duane

Posted November 13, 2012 by duaneredford in Uncategorized

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