Sunday, April 24, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

snow day

bwo day

What a day! Snowed most the day, still snowing @ 6pm. Did I mention I'm camping? Or that I forgot my gloves? Insult, meet injury: took 2 dunkings & tweaked my ankle.

That said, ~12-15 landed, LDR'd 3 big fellas- woooot!  Just finished stalking risers on schweet BWO hatch. Here's hoping more o the same tomorrow!

road trip!

heading up to the great state of Colorado to chase caddis on the Arkansas

Thursday, April 21, 2011

biking for science

While it would appear things here @ Dry Flies & Fat Tires have been on a decided Dry Fly bent of late, the below is humbly submitted as au contraire monfraire.

contemplating Science
My best girl is hip deep into this year's science fair exhibit.  This year's puzzle: the affects of gearing, both perceived and measured, while mountain biking.  She selected our local fav, Blowchunks Hill, as the best venue to demonstrate said affects.

And no, I had nothing to do with it.  The fact the boy's entry is about the efficacy of various dry fly dessicants vs gel floatants is pure coincidence, I swear! ;-)

Been out a few times this week, collecting data with gps & heart rate monitor.  From the looks of it, it might be a good idea to increase the data pool by sampling those runs a few times in each gear.  
applied Science
For good measure as it were.

What I won't do for Science!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sunday, April 17, 2011

last call

Found a way to make my way down into the Gorge to chase the caddis hatch one more time, before done.

Jumped down in that stretch between John Dunn and Wild Rivers Rec Area.
Found good numbers of caddis streamside, with caddis hatching out from 2.30 to dusk.

I swung a larva + pupa for a while, to no effect.  Kept getting distracted by the fish rising in the softer water against the bank.  
Ditched the pupa, tied on a dry, and that's all she wrote!  Caught every one of my fish on the dry this day, that is indeed a banner day on the Rio.

Nothing too large, still plenty of dinks, middlings.  But when the dry fly action is so hot on an otherwise stingy river, you somehow don't seem to mind.

Stalked fish along the bankside boulders during the golden hour.  Spooked 3 separate fish that pushed 18" to 20", actually had the opportunity to cast over a solid 18incher rising steadily in the pillow fronting a boulder.  Talk about buck fever!  Was not to be as my first cast was rebuffed, repeated casting just put him down, bummer.  The big ones are in there tho!

Fun day, especially given the (caddis) key to unlock the Rio's potential.  I'll be back.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

droppin in!

heading back down into the gorge chasin the hatch.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

spring caddis on the rio

Taos Box

With all signs pointing to a major caddis emergence this week on the Rio Grande, I borrowed some time Tuesday to head on back out there.

Traffic jam on I25 had me arriving at Embudo Station later than wanted.  Hate that!
ne'erdowells looking for some action
Thankfully I found a fair amount of bugs hanging around in the willows and junipers along the bank, in the lee of streamside boulders.  Water temp measured 48 at 11am, too cold for caddis, brrr, it better warm up!

I stopped a coupla more times on the way up to Pilar- @ the county line, and swinging bridge.  Each time I noted a fair amount of caddis representing, turns out the hatch has already spread out from Velarde to Taos Junction Bridge- whoa that was quick!
In an attempt to get ahead of the hatch a bit, I elected to hike into the lower part of the Taos box, into an area offering equal parts new water and adventure alike.

ansel adams landscape

typical 'beach'
Viewed from above, it takes a bit of commitment to begin that mad scramble down, as there is absolutely no-one around to haul your ashes out in case of accident or emergency.

Mid descent, I wonder again if I shouldn't just invest in one of those skater/climbing helmets as insurance against the foolhardiness of the whole affair.  If not for vanity, I just might do it.  Ever see an angler sporting a hard lid? Me neither, not sure I'm to be the first either!

Once safely grounded at the bottom, I breathe a sigh of relief, for the safe landing and streamside caddis both.  Whew, sure would be a bummer to have made that scramble to find a gorge devoid of life, huh?

I begin to rig up for the day.  Hopper-dropper combination jumps immediately to mind: one of Ben's mini-hoppers trailing golden stone (thx for the tip BCFN!) + pulsating caddis.  Almost immediately I begin to get some looks on the hopper, am soon hooked up, noice!
mini-hopper par-tay

No interest in the droppers, so I remove the hopper and go deep.  But man I couldn't buy a strike!  The indicator itself received enuf follows and flashes (oh for godssakes, it's a fluorescent pink ball you guys!) that I transitioned back to the mini-hopper, flying solo for a while.  Which worked well enuf, for an Arizona fly in New Mexico. ;-)

AZ fly rolls another NM victim
Most all the fish proved of middling size, making up for it with the unbridled enthusiasm of youth.  I eventually migrated to my favorite catch-all, the Root Beer Float, in an attempt to lure something bigger to the surface.  Not gonna happen, and I would be remiss if I did not report I landed more fish on the mini than the RBF.   So thx Ben!  As for quality over quantity, I'll let you all be the judge ;-)

Early afternoon, under the constant assault of middlings and dinks, I began to worry I had over-run 'the action' better found back downstream with the bulk of the hatch.  I guess the perception the grass is always greener applies to fly fishing as well, huh?
on the swing!
So mid afternoon finds me eyeballing some of that schweet water downstream of the racecourse below Pilar, smack-dab in the middle of the hatch.  I'm munching a late lunch, monitoring water temps and caddis, slowly realize the sporadic hatch activity is heating up.  No risers though.  Huh.  No action on the dry, I get back to swinging the pupa.  Just a coupla grabs, one landed (middling!) for the better part of an hour.  In the middle of the hatch!  Darnit!

Dejected, I sit the bank and stew a bit, mulling my options in the face of such obstinacy.  Too late, tired to head back into the Box, guess I can wait it out til sundown and the golden hour.   For those in the know, the Rio's fishing almost always turns on when the sun leaves the water, the fish moving towards the shallows to prey upon the more clumsy caddis swarming the bank.

Determined to stick it out, if not to fish blindly, I settle in for a little daydreaming.  Am awakened by a friendly local prowling the bank- he reports no better luck, mostly dinks too.  A lifelong Rio angler, 'Fisher' offers his opinion the water wolves in the Rio are beginning to crash the trout population.  Quite possible as I was just as disappointed by the average size of my victims as dejected by the lack of cooperation.  Man, I'm old enuf to reference the good ole days myself, sure hate to think they remain in the past where the Rio's concerned.

Fisher proved a bit curious as to this fancy-pants fly flinging angler's intent lolling bankside in the midst of the famous caddis hatch.  I fill him in on my planned intent to stalk the bank towards dusk, figuring the last light of day just might turn my luck.  A bit skeptical, Fisher wishes me luck nonetheless, and we part ways, my confidence left sounding a bit hollow in his wake.

Conflicted, I prowl the bank myself for a bit, desperately seeking for signs of rising fish.  None, nada, zip.  I stroll downstream to where the shadows are finally creeping across the canyon, settle in on nice perch to watch for the beginnings of the evening rise.  Nope, not a thing, upstream or down.  Huh. 
golden hour on the Rio

Eventually, I'm bathed in the encroaching shadow, realizing it's now or never.  Dusting my spent caddis adult one more time for luck, I begin casting into the gathering gloom.  Alpenglow from the surrounding rock walls continues to light the canyon, lighting my way.   I make my way slowly upstream, and begin to flick out to likely slicks and eddies around the bankside boulders.

Second cast has another dink nipping at the heels of my fly, sixth cast has me tight to biggest fish of the day- a bonafide 13incher.  Coupla casts later I prick a nice bow and send him rocketing up to spit the fly, schweet!  Later as the light fades, I miss a slurp and bubble, send the caddis back in there to seal the deal. Fish on! and he's tail-tumbling his way out of the pocket, stripping line as he goes.  A bit of bull-dogging, head shaking, the Rio Grande born-and-bred wild brown eventually bows to the inevitability of the moment. 

Sixteen inches of early season snakiness

Thinking patience remains a virtue when chasing fins, huh?  A lesson that never gets old~

Epilogue: Taos Fly Shop is rating the fishing Epic on the Epic-fishometer,  even if not so much for this particular angler, this day.  The caddis will be working their way up the Gorge, there might be as much as a coupla weeks left to fish it.  So get on out there before it's gone for another year! Or seven! 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

she's gonna blow!

Well, my Plan A dint go off as intended: caddis still baking with a bit more time still on the clock, it would appear.  
calm before the storm

Stopped back by the Rio's Embudo Station on the way home from Sunday's Plan B.

stellar flows and aquamarine clarity

Found a smattering of caddis on the rocks, looks like the bulk of the hatch is ready to erupt any day now. Like tomorrow I'm guessing, certainly going gangbusters by Tuesday.
females are a solid #16, black body, green egg sack

Water temp: 53d @ 6pm, better look out, they're gonna blow!
creeping toward the magic 54d

Yep, Plan B worked out well enuf, thx for askin.  More on that later this week!

In the meantime, time to get some pulsating caddis pupae off the vise, head on out there everyone, it's gonna be a great week!

no caddis this day

Checked streamside from Embudo Station to Orilla Verde- no sign of caddis this AM. Flows are simply awesome right now- low and aquamarine clear.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

decisions, decisions

So what's it gonna be boy?

create a free poll on

scheme formulating to sample all three- thanks Jay!

Friday, April 8, 2011

this just made me laff

Nice to be on the receiving end once in a while.  Just sayin~
Hat Tip: everyone in the Michigan Blogosphere.  Plus

Backstory: decided underdogs UM advance to NCAA hockey finals, taking down heavily favored North Dakota 2-0.  Scooter Vaughn having just scored on an empty goal to put UM up 2-0.   Whatchagonnado?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

scorched earth

We had an eventful week alongside my usual foothills trail route this past week.  

Amateur rocket launch set off a 2 acre blaze early in the week, then some copycatting reprobates set another fire on Saturday, not 100 yards from the previous.  

looking north @ scorched earth
looking south from same location at what once was
Hotshot crews and heliflights fought that 40-acre fire thru the night, saving our Sandias western slope from the devastating winds that followed on Sunday.  Hearty Thx! to all you responders!

Had my first chance to check the damage after work today, stopping short in shock, even though I thought I knew what was coming.

before, in the height of monsoon season

after, in the depths of stupidity
Nothing but raw, scorched sand where once was high desert prairie.

Most of the (wide) singletrack in the area was widened out by the firefighters to serve as firebreaks.  What once was singletrack, now more resembles jeep trails.  The vegetation might eventually recover, but I bet we've lost that singletrack forever.

schweet singletrack, gone
All in all, maybe a coupla miles of singletrack loop, few acres of prairie affected.  Bad enuf on the face of it, even more scary to think how much worse it could have been.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

through the lense

Been a bit slow on the fishing front lately, what with springtime winds, yardwork, work stuff. 

To help rekindle the stoke, I humbly tender some doctored shots from my last San Juan trip.  

 All photos courtesy Ben @,

.....shamelessly doctored by yours truly.