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Wednesday, November 20, 2013


There is a lake in Colorado near where I fish each summer that is close to 11,000 feet in elevation.  And in my opinion could be listed as one of the 5 most beautiful spots in Colorado.  Maybe in the top 3!  The spot is a great hiking destination.  From the lake you can continue your hike by scaling through rocks on the almost nonexistent trail on the way to 13,000 plus feet.  It also serves as a gateway to a summer skiing destination on the remaining glaciers.  Of course, it also has some of the finest fly fishing you can imagine.

I fly fish at this lake about 4-5 times each summer.  It is a nice break from trudging through the willows, hi-lows and cow pies encountered on the way to begin fishing in the rivers.  I fish this lake with my fishing partner, Jack.  He is definitely the " Yoda" of our group. I am not the most proficient fly fisherman, but I do a pretty good job having fun landing these cutthroat.

The hike begins after a rocky and bumpy drive over rocks, through ditches, over bridges, through water and around downed trees. This brings you to about 10,250 ft. elevation.  The perfect start to the fishing experience.  The trail head begins in an open area.  If you are lucky you will spot a moose, a deer, a mountain sheep and, of course, there is always the possibility of seeing a black bear.  The hike starts with a short walk before you begin the trek up the rocky switchbacks for 3/4 miles- here you rejoice as you see the sign that reads "100 Yards to the Lake."  It is there that the scene takes your breath away!!   

The lake is glacier fed and the water temp in July is about 42 degrees. Believe me when I say it is that cold... I have fallen into this lake. (Luckily, I was smart enough to pack an extra warm shirt in the back pack!)  In July and early August there is a spawn.  The fish look like you can reach down and scoop them up with a net.  But they have other things on their minds.  If you wade out to the area where the shelf ends (careful not to go too far) you can see the fish in the crystal clear water.  When they come up they either look at your fly and reject it or strike immediately.  What a thrill.  Be careful not to become so spellbound watching the fish that you are too slow on setting the hook.  It is an amazing thing to watch and experience.

                                                          THESE FISH ARE AWESOME


                                       ALL FISH 19 - 20 INCHES

                                                                  OHH!  WHAT FUN

Now you have to agree it is well worth the hike.  If not for the fishing, certainly for the view.  So have fun on this adventure when the time is right.  Wait...."Where is this gem?" you may ask.  Well....I can be bribed.

Here are a few tips that I use when fly fishing in a lake :

  • When fly fishing in an area where the fish are bubbling up, try to catch the insects that are landing on the water.  Examine carefully and try to match them with your fly selection.  If you are so inclined to tie your own fly, have at it!  You will have much better luck once you know the fish " bill of fare".  Some fishers cut open the belly of the first catch to see the diet of the day.
  • If no insects are around, try and try until you find one that gives you some action.  I always start with an adams size 16 - 18.  If no luck, I go to a terrestrial, usually an ant or a white winged mosquito.  If those two don't work, it is whatever I think looks appetizing.  Remember, that is why it is called fishing.
  • Dry flies will begin to sink after a few casts or if they have been used over a period of time.  Always carry in your vest pocket some type of flotation substance that you can apply to your fly to keep it's buoyancy. 
  • If you are fishing in still waters, like a lake on a calm day, and the water is like glass, try using a technique called "dapping".  Just cast out enough line so your fly touches the water, pull back and repeat several times.  You will be surprised with the results.
  • Always remember when fly fishing, your leader, including your tippet, should be the length of your rod. 

Hope these tips help. May you find your spot that is as inspiring as the spot Jack and I enjoy.

                                           SOMETIMES YOU HAVE AN UNEXPECTED                                             FRIEND AFTER YOUR APPLE AND JERKY

Try it!  You'll like it

'til next time



Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Few Quick Reminders


We have returned from our yearly outing to the beautiful mountains and valleys of Northwest Colorado and, boy, was it ever an action packed summer.  There were plenty of family visits, campfires with friends, starry nights, frosty mornings, chipmunks running scared from Dottie and Ruby (the family dogs), wildlife sightings, delicious dishes from family recipes and, most importantly of all, plenty of trout fishing! 

What a sight to behold early in the morning.


A friendly moose gives us the eye on the way to the stream!

                        A couple of young bucks stare us down.

Pretending not to see us.  Clever.


 Now that I have returned and have had time to contemplate the days that I was out fishing, there are a few tips that come to mind.  As we all know there are plenty of small things we need to do to be successful in the water.  Let me remind you of a few:

- If you are walking the river or stream and you reach a junction where you merge with another river or stream, there probably will be a deep pool that results from the two coming together.  Fish it well because there will be a predator or two waiting in the deeper section.

- Sometimes, you will see a nice overhang of bushes but it is across and down stream.  You just know there is a lunker hiding under it.   If you are going to try and reach it with a cast, use two hands.  This will improve your distance and your accuracy.  This works well for me since I usually have a Rapala lure on the line. 

- If  your cast does make it through those bushes and you do get a strike, it will not be easy to set the hook.  Make sure your lures always have sharp hooks and you know how to set the hook with a quick motion.  Practice this as much as you can and you will soon see good results. 

- As you progress down the stream, be aware of the outside bends that form in the river.  There will be pools that develop and hold some very nice fish.  Fish the flow of water into the pools, as there could be a larger fish feeding.  Fish the entire pool all the way to where it once again begins to flow downstream.  There could also be larger fish in hiding and feeding here as well. 

- So, if you think you are in a nice stretch of trout water, TAKE YOUR TIME and fish the seams, the deeper runs and feeder channels, and of course fish the entire pool that forms at the end of most runs.  If you hit an area that has smaller fish, remember that this is what the larger fish feed on. 

- The waters in a trout stream do not always have to be filled with deep pools, large feeding channels, and overhanging bushes.  Streams with rocky bottoms and shallow waters still have plenty of hiding places for trout.  This offers you a change of pace to catch some larger fish.

- As evening comes and the sun is setting on the waters you are fishing, keep an eye out for emerging fly hatches.  If the fish start to boil up to feed, it is time to break out the fly rod and reel. Always be prepared. 

 Looks like a good place to bed down ... except for those fishermen.

An evening sunset over Northpark Colorado.
Picture taken by my wife on an evening drive.

...And a few fish for dinner

Try it!  You'll like it

'til next time

Monday, May 13, 2013


Special Announcement

The Third Meeting of the RTD Fly Fisherman Group will be on May 17th.  The Group will meet at 11:00 am until 12:30 pm.  Conference- CCP 10th floor (confluence)

The Tiger Trout


I'll bet you that if you asked one of your fellow fishers about the Tiger Trout, a blank look may appear on his or her face.  It certainly did on mine!

My wife and I were watching a fishing show called "Fishful Thinking" and it surprised both of us when the host began talking about the Tiger Trout.  He commented that he had never seen one in all of  his fishing experiences.  I was intrigued, so I decided to do a little research.

The Tiger Trout is a cross between the male Brook Trout and the female Brown Trout.  The cross hybridization can occur naturally but it is a very rare occasion.  It is usually completed by the Fish and Wildlife departments in the states that stock the species, using the eggs of the female and the sperm of the male.  There are only fifteen states that boast of a healthy Tiger Trout population.  One reason for the limited distribution- it is not cheap to produce this species.  A strong catch and release program is encouraged.  Fortunately, Colorado falls into this category and gives it fishermen another species to pursue.   

The Tiger Trout has a grayish-brown color that is blended into somewhat of a labyrinth pattern.  It has a square tail fin and a blend of yellow and orange in the belly region, and a spotted head which it gets from the female Brown.  And of course the male is the more striking of the species, as the female tones are a more tan to light brown.  They can get up to three pounds, mainly because all the nutrients they consume is for growth not for reproductive purposes.

Well now you may ask "Why is this fish even around"?  In Colorado, it is used to control the fish populations of certain waters.  They will consume other species of fish on a regular basis.  For instance, in the program we watched, they were used to control the overwhelming Brook Trout population.  The Brook Trout reproduce at a high rate and can put a lot of stress on the lake's environment.  So enters the Tiger Trout.  They will thin the overpopulated species and all will be back to normal.  They also consume larvae, insects, and some invertebrates.

This fish has now found a coveted a spot on my fishing " bucket " list.

Try it!   You'll like it!

'til next time


Sunday, April 14, 2013



Let's Catch the Brookie

Well, we have talked about the Brookie for a few posts and everyone should know that fishing for these rascals will be a real blast.

So let's finish up on a few more ideas to go fishing for this one:

Choosing the right rod is essential.  You have to look at the surrounding terrain, the water, the weather and have an idea of what size of fish you may catch.  I usually fish with a rod that is between 7ft to 9 ft - it depends on the area I am fishing that particular outing.  I will carry two rods of different size to adjust if needed, 4 to 6 weight rods.  I usually have a 8-10 foot tapered leader with a 4x tippet.

Do not limit your selection of equipment to fly fishing rod and reel- have a light weight spinning setup that can be used for a change of pace.  These can be as productive as any fly set-up.

Brook trout are really not choosy about what they will go after. This leaves your selection of flies or lures wide open.  Carry several types of flies or lures that have been recommended or successful.

Now that you are ready to go get the Brookie, let me give you a few more tips if you are planing to catch and release.  Remember that it is ok to keep a few.  Nothing caps off the day with a few fish in the skillet.  However follow these steps in assuring the fish survival:

-  Use your pliers to squeeze the barb down on your hook
-  Wet your hands when handling the fish to prevent the removal of  the fungus that protects the fish
- Land the fish as quickly as possible so the fish does not wear itself down
-Use a landing net- I find the rubber netting easier on the fish
-Unhook the fish under the water while it is in the net
-After removing the hook, wait a few seconds until the fish swims away.  If the fish turns over, gently move the fish, face first, back and fourth into the current- this should revive the fish 

NEW!  "Did You Know?"

Did you know that if you are fishing for a "record setting" fish and another angler touches your rod and reel, that will disqualify you from earning the prize.  Handling the leader, helping with the netting, and helping with gaffing is permitted. Thought you would like to know.

 Try it!  You'll like it

 'til next time


Monday, March 18, 2013


Fish 'N Tips Special Announcements

Announcement #1

The date for the RTD FLY Fisherman Club meeting is:
Thursday March 28th  12:00 p.m. - 1: 00 p.m.
Conference Room  CCP 10th floor (Confluence) 
Bring leader, a fly, nippers (cutters) and a tippet.
Mike is going to show us how to tie some knots and give us some helpful hints.  For those of you who are experts, please come and help us rookies.  Our goal is to make everyone self sufficient in terms of fly fishing.

Announcement # 2

Good news!  Cabella's is opening not one but two stores in the Denver area.  How exciting is that!?  The store up North is at exit # 226, or the 144th street exit.  Down South, they are building at exit #192.  Two Cabella' within 34 miles!  Aren't we lucky?  Both stores are opening by this summer.  No longer do I have to drive to Grand Junction or Sidney, Nebraska to visit one of my favorite stores.  (Although, we always enjoy a "road trip" adventure.  Even the pooch can ride along since Cabella's provides dog kennels) 

Visit www.Cabella' for more info.


Male Brookie in Fall Mating Colors 

Let's continue our discussion on the Brookie.  Review the blog post on February 25, 2013.  That particular post talks about the ideal conditions for finding the Brook trout.

Always remember that there will probably be other species of trout in the waters you will be fishing.  Rainbow and Brown come to mind.  If your are new to Brook trout, it could be easy for you to mistake a small Brown for a Brook.  So, let's talk about some distinguishing traits. The body can vary with olive, bluish grey, or black color above a belly and lower fins that are reddish in color, and the latter with white leading edges.  Bluish halos surround red dots along the flanks. But the real tell tale signs are the spotted dorsal fin and the short worm like markings along its back.   Look for a whitish bottom.  Also notice the square tail.  During the spawn, the male Brook will turn reddish to orange along its sides. (see top photo)  Seems like a lot to look for, but trust me when you hook one ..... you'll know.   They are very streamed lined and the  large mouth extends past the eye.  Brook trout can live 7 or 8 years.

As you can tell, I think the Brookies are an amazing species, and I am not shy about pursuing them.  I usually use a fly rod to fish for them, but truth be told, I landed a 16 1/2 inch Brook with a Rapala No. 7 on a spin combo.  I was actually fishing for Brown and Rainbow.  Boy was I surprised, but certainly not disappointed!  What a beautiful specimen!! 

This is the Rapala  #7 lure that I used to catch my 16 inch Brook.  These are readily available at your favorite fishing supply spot. 

I usually fish for the Brook in small streams that are tributaries of larger rivers that run through some of our state parks or National forests.  These shallow trout creeks have lots of brush, fallen trees, and areas that have a lot of exposed gravel beds. This is where I use a fly rod and reel.  Because of the tight areas, I usually use a 7 ft. rod with a floating line. This enables me to make accurate casts and provides more maneuverability given all the obstacles that are along the shoreline.

Looking at all of the trout species, Brook trout fishing, with flies, may provide you with the best action you are likely to encounter during the year.  Knowing the season will help you to be successful as well.  For instance, in early spring they gorge themselves on bottom dwelling insects, so make sure you have nymphs that will match.  As the season progresses, insects will vary, so match what you see.   

I usually use dry flies.  My favorite and most successful is the Adams in sizes 14 - 16 .  I am successful with these because I fish mostly in July and August which is a prime time for the dry fly.  Now, a lot of fly fishermen will tell you that Brookies love a Hopper dry fly.  Never used one so I can't comment on this fly. And, my philosophy is: If it ain't broke, don't fix it!  However, something to think about if the Adams fails me.  But the thing to remember is that Brooks are easily taken on a variety of flies.  You just have to find the one that produces the most fish for you.  Keep the time of year and the water levels in mind when deciding on your flies will also help.

Some of my favorites are: 

Adams Dry Fly

Blue Wing Olive
 Black Ant

 Elk Hair Caddis

Make sure you enter the water slowly and quietly.  Too much splashing or quick steps will scare the fish.  Walk to the center of the river if you can.  Don't worry if it is shallow, you would be amazed at where these fish can hide.  Slowly work your way upstream as they feed facing into the current.  Earth tone colored clothes will help you avoid being seen by the fish.  Be sure no suntan lotion or insect spray has come in contact with your fly.  They will detect it and shy away from your presentation.  Just remember that if you cannot get into the water,  you can fish from the shore.  But be careful while moving up the shore line while moving through the bushes and brambles, you do not want to spook the fish by being noisy.

Here is where I put things into practice. 


Jack with an awesome Brown 
This is my fishing pal Jack.  We refer to Jack as  the"Yoda" of fishing.  Never misses. We go out for Brookies a couple times a year, and I must confess, we keep our limit.  Daily limit for Brook in Colorado is 10 fish 8 inches and smaller.  I have always said in my blogs that there is nothing wrong with keeping a few fish to enjoy (see blog from 6/20/11).  Brook are the tastiest trout in my humble opinion.  Nothing is better than smelling my wife's sliced potatoes and onions frying in the pan and the fish in a pan over the open fire.   

Best tasting fish in these parts

Here is an excellent recipe.  My wife Carol has used this recipe for years:

1.  Gut and clean the fish / leave heads on 
2. Rinse thoroughly / pat dry
3. Mix the following : 
a.  1/2 cup flour
b. 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
c. pinch of salt
d. pinch of pepper
4. lightly cover bottom of frying pan with vegetable oil
5. heat oil but do not burn
6. coat fish with mixture inside and out
7. cook on each side for approx. 3 minutes
8. flip over onto belly and cook approx. 2 minutes  
9. when fish is flaky, serve piping hot
10. enjoy 

Send in your suggestions for your favorite flies, techniques, pictures,etc.  Let's discuss.  

Try it!  You'll like it

'Til next time 

Grandpa's Fishing Tips

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


A few of  the members of the " RTD Fly Fishermen and Wannabes" have sent pictures to share with the rest of us.  Let's take a look: 


Frank recently went on a fishing trip to Alaska and sent these awesome pictures from his adventure.  Nice job Frank!
Is that a smile on his face?!? What a fun time he must of had with that fly rod.  Notice the streamers hanging out of his pocket?  Especially note the one in the fish's mouth! 

Same smile, different fish. We would like to know the weight and size !  What a beauty.


Frank, you've convinced us to start saving our pennies for a trip to Alaska!

The Grayling is a species of fish that is very aggressive.  They are limited in Colorado, but not in Alaska.  There are a few locations you can fish for Grayling in Colorado, but they are not in every body of water.  Check with your fishing buddies or trusted guide.  I am sure from the looks of it, Frank can give us some tips!!

And of course a beautiful Rainbow.
Thanks for sharing Frank.

Cory arrived in Deckers and hit the water just before dark.  Seems his timing was "right on".  If it is not your secret weapon, Cory, maybe you can tell us what you used to catch this beauty.  
Nicely done!

And another from Cory! 

Jerry landed a nice one as well.  What a healthy looking trout.  This is also from Deckers.  Looks like we better get down there soon before Jerry and  Cory spook all the fish.

Hope you enjoyed these photos as much as I did posting and commenting on them.  I hope this inspires you to get your pics in so we can share and brag about  your "trophies".  Tell us the story, flies or lures used, and location (if you so desire).

Try it!  You'll like it.

'till next time

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Get "Hooked"

Hello?  Anybody remember me?  I am back after a unofficial leave of absence.  It is just one of those things. You know the old saying, "Sometimes life gets in the way"?  But, I am ready to renew the Fish 'N Tips blog and have some fun times with you.  'Nuff said.  Let's get to it!!
It is true.  There's nothing much sweeter than getting into the water and pursuing the elusive trout with your favorite fly rod and reel combo.  Whether you are after a big Brown, a stealthy Rainbow, a colorful Cutthroat or a well marked Brookie (one of my favorites), you're sure to have an exciting experience.  But I have to be honest...... I have a lot to learn about Fly Fishing.  It takes practice, persistence, and patience- for which I am not always known.  Maybe I could read about it from a good number of authors who believe they have all the right techniques.  Or, try a few lessons to learn rhythm and form from a professional.  I could take some time to watch a few TV shows that talk about fly fishing.  Who knows, by watching those shows and commercials, I might end up with a collapsible rod and reel outfit guaranteed to fit in my back pocket.  How about a family movie night?  "A River Runs Through It" comes to mind.  And finally, tips can come from fellow fly fishing buddies.  You may find some of your fishin' buddies' tips better or more helpful than others but, rest assured, each one will come with a good story or an interesting anecdote.

But in the end, it takes getting into the water with the gear you are comfortable using, having fun and even accepting that sometimes, you are going to look like a fool!  I have often times caught every tree and shrub that surrounds my favorite fishing hole!  My hat has fallen victim to mishaps many a time. So far, my ears have escaped the wrath of an errant cast, but my thumb and hand have taken a few serious hits (perhaps some stories for another time).  In short, no one is perfect.  When you set out in the morning, perfection is not the object of your desires.  Work on it.  Enjoy it.  Develop your own style, be true to it and believe in it.  Once this is achieved, once you have gotten your first trophy, out in Nature's finest arena, trust me- you will be "hooked". 

Over the next few blogs, we will stay on the subject of Fly Fishing.  So, send in your tips, stories and anecdotes to be published.

 Try It!  You'll Like It

'Til next time