Monday, April 26, 2010

headin' home!

shoulda been here tomorrow buddy

this place is ready to explode- caddis houses are empty & larva are teeming in underwater debris. Wed looking like D-Day~ shoulda been there tomorrow!

clear skies cold temps

tough fishing today with the inbetween weather- too sunny for bwo's & too cold for caddis

Sunday, April 25, 2010

pupa on the swing!

found a small hatch @ Texas Creek right @ 3pm- caught four on pupa just like that before clouds shut er down. Here's hoping for sunny skies tomorrow!


Saturday, April 24, 2010

golden stones

golden stones ruled the day above Wellsville- netted som schweet fish. Drove down to Parkdale- no caddis, bummer. Found a few right @ Cotopaxi incl egglayers but water is turbid late in the day this low. Will fish around Cotopaxi in the am, move above Wellsville in the pm.

beautiful 'bow

big bow


17" cuttbow on 4th cast!

geared up

try my hand hunting bwo's this pm

sangre de christos- san luis valle co

good sign

milagros coffee house- alamosa co


Old mill in Antonito, CO

good morning!

Jemez sunrise

Friday, April 23, 2010

houston, we have go for launch

Checked the weather one last time- amazing how three different weather sites can report three different forecasts, guess that's Springtime in the Rocky Mountain West for ya! Best I can figure, the storms have passed on thru last night, this am, leaving the water up a good deal, dropping the temps way off for today. Tomorrow promises mixed with warming trend. Sunday-Monday mostly sunny, warming throughout, schweet. Here's hoping those are my glory days!

Checked RGA's website one more time, sounds like the hatch has trickled its way out of the Gorge at least, I'll begin hunting for it in that tight canyon water midway down from Texas Creek. Not that it'll be hard to find if it's out at all- just drive until your windshield's all gooped up, turn back around, get after it.

This year's hunt is goin' all hi-tech: have Arkanglers, RGA's, USGS Ark river flow websites all bookmarked onto the phone, should help a good deal if I have trouble finding the best action- nothing like having NORAD watching your back, huh? Now if they can just hear me now down in Sheep's Canyon...

Truck's just now packed with camping & fishing gear, firewood. Fly tying gear, caddis flybox are next in (for godssakes man, don't forget the box!), then duffle, leaving food and pillow (yes pillow- a touch of home while away in The Wild) wait for the morning.

Batteries charged, camera flash card cleared, ipod refreshed, what else? That sounds like the critical stuff, anything else is just fluff at this point.

Predicting near zero sleep tonight, standing on the threshold of a long awaited and familiar trip. Caddistime on the Ark!

See you all on the river~

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Caddis, Brachycentrus, #16

This installment of In The Flybox features my two favorite nymph patterns for caddis: Pulsating Caddis Pupa and Latex Larva.  Here tied in #16's to match the black caddis up on the Ark. 

5 cents on the quarter- seriously, if I'm saving so much bank by tying my own, why am I eating PB&J's all weekend?

Pulsating caddis starts with a gold bead, a few pearlescent green beads- size and quantity as required to suit hook.

Loosely dub sparkly haretron in between the bead, leaving beads semi-exposed.

 Wrap in a bit of partridge or hen hackle softhackle style, then tease out some dubbing to create a bird's nest appearance.  Note the beads shining thru, schweet, no?

My Latex Larva is a variant of the popular pattern, I've been using sparkly green & black barred sili legs to great affect.

Start with black bead, thread base, tie down sili leg back to bend.


Wrap sili leg back to head.  With a bit of practice, you can wrap to leave the black bars on top, with lightest green left at belly- to a totally realistic affect.

Next, dub the thorax with peacock haretron. 

or you can add partridge softhackle, dam that's a schweet looking fly!  Has me hooked anyway~

Dead drift the larva, fish the pupae on the swing.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

it's on

Good golly Miss Molly!  Finger on the trigger this week, ready to pull....

HT: Bill @ Royal Gorge Anglers  Thx Bill!

HatchMaster 2010 remains zeroed in, tracking the hatch as it moves up out of the gorge past Parkdale, on up to Texas Creek.  Time to break out the vise, get my caddis on!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

hellllooooo mr robinson!

UM played their Spring Game last night, awesome to see the improvements over last year. Did not think it was possible to improve so much in a single off season, but D Rob looked like a playa allright. Looks like UM most likely has a new starting QB this Fall. Add Devin Gardner into the mix, watch out B10!
Thanks to Greg @ MVictors for the schweet photo

Saturday, April 17, 2010

cross training

Team Roughrider pounded the pavement at the Los Ranchos de ABQ half-marathon this AM. The girl & boy both placed 1st in their age group in 5K- great job kids! I placed second (in age group) in the 5K, simply could not overtake my competitor- he was a machine. I ran behind my time from last race, been slacking off on the lunchtime runs, guess it showed a bit.

As for our fourth team member- Mrs Wulff competed in her first !evah! half-marathon. 13.1 miles, cannot conceive of running for 13 miles straight- how bout you guys? We all cheered her to a strong finish at 2:14! Good work Hon! and good work team Roughrider!

my rabbits

mrs wulff 1/2 marathon today!

all laid back and relaxed prior to running 13.1 miles~

Friday, April 16, 2010

things are shaping up nicely

I keep getting calls seeking to draw upon my extensive experience fishing the Ark caddis hatch, ie: when is it all gonna break loose? And what about this early-season runoff spiking the graphs, what'rewegonna do?

No worries! I just fired up the Hatchmaster 2010 and am pleased to report the happy convergence of stars, planets, tides, weather, runoff, reproductive urges of said caddis, and.... wait for it....

my planned fishing weekend 04/24!

But don't take my word for it- see for yourself (click to enlarge):

Being of scientific bent and to silence any skeptics out there (why do you hate Science, hmmmm?), I even tested the accuracy of the Hatchmaster 2010 software by adjusting the dates of my planned fishing excursion back a week to 5/2. The results were exactly the same! So you see, no need for handwringing over the anticipated dates of the imminent emergence, just know it awaits the arrival of yours truly on the river.

Who knew meteorology and entomology could be soooo simple!

Monday, April 12, 2010

dos amigos on the juan

The boy and I had some domestic responsibilities Sat AM, making 0ur arrival at the pumphouse parkinglot on the Juan precisely at 2.30 PM. The thin overcast skies had me hoping for a baetis hatch, so we targeted the lower flats area for the afternoon's fishing. I had fun playing guide, showing the boy Dad's 'secret' shortcut to the river, winding thru the beaver trails and willow tunnels to break out at the lower reaches of the flats precisely at 3.10. And right into the lap of another angler- oops! pardon me my friend! Where'd you boys come from? Dunno, got kinda turned around I guess...;-)

We round the corner only to find an angler in each of the three pockets we were hoping to start out on....welcome to springtime saturdays on the Juan, boys! No worries little man, let's just set up on this pod of risers right here, look at them go!

Looking more closely, the water is all milky, from lake turnover, darnit. For those in the know, sight fishing can be half the game on the Juan. I've found fishing with indicators only gives you an idea of where your float is, to really achieve success you need to observe the fish to pick your hookset: it might be the wink of open mouth, or sliding out of the feeding lane, an up or down-turned nose, you get the picture. Those fish are so wily, they often will take and spit the hook while your indicator just sails merrily on its way, oblivious to the scene below.

With the occluded water obscuring most of the fish, looks like our skilz will really be put to the test this weekend. Which is not at all what I was hoping for my young Jedi in training.

So we work our way up the lower braids, managing to find a few fish feeding in shallow pockets overlooked by the crowd. The first two proved to be too much for a youngster with 6x tippet, and part ways after the first coupla runs. I set the boy to fishing another smallish hole, scout up river looking for more willing pupils. Hey Dad! Looking back I see the rod bent double as the boy gives the fish da business. Schweet! and there's the !pop!, and the boy ducking the rig flying back, the fish leaving a wake across the pool. Shoot! Nice fish, gotta let em run when they want to buddy!

No baetis that afternoon, we head on up to the Texas Hole parking lot toward dinner hour, see if we could squeeze a real kid into the Kiddie Pool. No go however, as the pool was lined with a bunch of 30-something 'kiddies' casting fruitlessly about. Jeeez o pete!

We head on over to my series of honey holes, the boy landing his first fish of the trip, maybe fourteen inches, but the grin said twenty. Fun! Finally had our chance in the Kiddie Pool towards dusk, to no avail, bummer.


Whaddaya say we go get a burger?

Now for those of you who haven't been, the Sportsmans' Inn is a literal icon on the Juan. Seems everyone there fishes the river, even the matronly waitress can give you 'catching' advice, solicited or no! Saturdays are almost always crowded in-season, with anglers from across the country sharing their day's stories, laughs, outlining plans for the next day's outing. To top it off, virtually half the establishment is wall-papered in dollar bills, all decorated and plastered up on the wall by patrons (plastered themselves from the looks of many of em), dating back to the 80's at least.

As the boy soaked it all in, over and around his Reuben sandwich dinner, we laid plans of our own to return and post our saga the following day.

Sunday AM, we wolfed down an angler's breakfast. For the uninitiated, an angler's breakfast differs from say, a rancher's breakfast or banker's breakfast, in that an angler's breakfast is made purely to stuff fuel in ya, so you can get on to the day's business at hand- fishing. Like, duh! I've found a coupla packets of instant oatmeal, coffee or hot chocolate to your preference, and a power bar on the drive down to the river seems to fit the bill. Breakfast? Sheesh, we don't need no stinkin breakfast- you can eat that tomorrow! ;-) But I digress...

I chose the Cable Pool area for our morning's fun. A good plan I still maintain, excepting the catching part. On the river by 8.30am, I had two fish only, LDR'd, before 11, not cool dude. The boy was starting to lose interest, I figured we better change venues. We took a roundabout route back to the truck, just to walk by some different water, come round this small island to see a nice pod of two-pounders rising in the small tongue of current. Shhhhssh, watch this! I pitch in, one of the larger fish slides over, there's the wink, fish on! Now that'swhatI'mtalkinaboud!

We set up slightly behind the pod, angling from our perch on the raised bank. We manage to hook and play two more trout (!pop!) before our upstream wading silt muddies the pool. We rest the pool, waiting for it to clear, chomping more angler's breakfast, enjoying the day. The boy can finally stand it no longer, counting 4 ghosts finning once more at the head of the pool. I rig up a fresh red hot and zebra combo, pitch it in, fish on! The boy wrangles a good 20incher around the small pool, hand off the reel....he's a big your hand he'sgonnarun.....!pop!.....dammit! he was huge!

The boy stands crushed, no thanks to his Dad, not my proudest moment let me tell you. Ah, buddy I'm sorry, he was just sooo very big. We both take deep breaths, I coach him carefully thru another dry run of fish darts and runs, how to best fly by the seat of your pants when all hell is bustin loose on the end of a 6x tippet.

Cmon, buddy let's go get another one.

And we do just that, on our very last red hot and zebra midge combo. Fish on! and never was a 15-incher played, brought to hand with more deliberate skill, aplomb and ultimately, pride, than that one fish Sunday, on the fabled San Juan river, New Mexico.

Epilogue: The boy and I sat down to a well-earned angler's dinner (Bartender! Two Reubens, with onion rings, root beer, por favor!) that evening at the Sportsman's Inn. There we recorded our saga, added now to the annals of the Juan. You can see it there, posted in the SE corner of the dining room, proudly announcing not just the results of our trip, but also the promise of trips to come. Mike and Will, 2010: 5 landed of 17 hooked, largest at 17".

captura y libera mis amigos~

Thursday, April 8, 2010

mother's day caddis

While the boy and I are away on a weekend road trip headhunting on the Juan (booya!), thought this might get your blood pumping RE: upcoming season on our doorstep. From Bill Edrington's Royal Gorge Angler's newsletter:

With the Blue Wings in the mix, next comes the annual event that many label the "Mother's Day Hatch" and as you know by now, it is a "Tax Day Hatch" that begins around April 15 or so. I have next Thursday at 3PM in the shop pool. That should be good but my gambling skills being what they are, I could still screw up. The hatch always begins around the Canon City/Parkdale area, but because of low water, it could appear over the entire 30 mile stretch up to Texas Creek on the first few days. It would not surprise me if it did. I suspect that you will see good hatches in Salida by the 20th. Caddis cases are not closed in the Canon City area today, so it could be a little longer. Since these little bugs are aquatic moths, they will spin a silk like closure on the cases' open end in order to trap heat and pupate. This process usually takes only about 5 days, but if cold weather sets in after the closures, it could take much longer. The bottom line is that they will eventually hatch when they build up enough thermal units to do so and not before. Water reaching into the mid fifties temperature ranges will generally do the trick.

When Caddis hatch, you will see fish up on the adults for the first few days, but as the hatch matures, they focus on the Pupae. That’s why you should have the Larva, Pupa (more of these than anything), the adult, the egglayer and the spent with you for a full day's fishing. As the hatch goes on and on, through the month, the fish really move to the pupae and the egglayers. They take less effort to eat than the adults, which fly away pretty quickly. We'll keep you posted through the hatch with short newsletters that are to the point and will allow you to follow the hatch up the river. For daily and sometimes twice daily reports, refer to our river reports on our website at ... We'll keep it all current so you can have a better time.....after all that's what this is all about.

Bill's The Man on the Ark, don't take my word for it. I appreciate his efforts via blog, website, newsletters gettin The Word out helping traveling anglers target his hatch on this distant river. This year I aim to be geared-up ready to hit the road the moment that 'just-right' report comes in, just as long as it's the weekend of 4/24 ;-)

Fishing the caddis on the Arkansas can be a bit of a spectacle, but that's exactly what I love about it- it is a festival of sorts: of spring, of trout, of fly fishing in general. Makes for a great road trip to open the season, my drive up is always full of anticipation of the possibilities about to unfold. And the fishing is usually great: you arrive too early- no matter, fish the baetis. Arrive late- target the egg layers late in the PM. Weather all over the dial- fish tandem #18 BHFBPT and #16 Pulsating Caddis

It's looking like our Rio Grande caddis hatch will get blown out by runoff already bustin' down the gorge, making the Ark a must-do this year. Meeting my Dad up there, hopefully big bro too. Can't wait!

But in the meantime, time for some Jedi training the boy on the Juan. May the Force be with us!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

prime time

This took me back to a past life: bustin-out on some steelies on the PM near Baldwin, MI.  Except maybe not me tying into four steelhead in a single hole.  Or landing any 12pounders, either.  Or leaving the river with any photographic evidence at all, come to think of it.  Hmmm.

But I did in fact live in Western MI and listen to Led Zeppelin, at one time in my life (causality there?), so I have that goin for me~ ;-)

A few clips from March 10th, 2010 from Steve Fraley on Vimeo.

kidding aside, that took me back a few years allright-  March-April is, was, hopefully will always be, PT time on the PM.

Monday, April 5, 2010

black is the new black

This installment of In The Flybox features two, yes two!, of my favorite patterns for the San Juan.  Just 'cause I'm the giving type-  I know!

the venerable Zebra Midge: black thread body, grey dubbed thorax, with silver wire rib.  Here tied in #24:

From In The Fly Box
and a WD40 variant, in black with pheasant tail, again in #24.

From In The Fly Box

$22.45, in black.

From In The Fly Box
Gonna give them a workout tomorrow- wish me luck~