Sunday, September 13, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009


I am writing this from McMurdo Station Antarctica. Fishing season is over for me. Actually ended about a month ago when I left Colorado for the east coast.
The trip to visit friends and family was a good one. My friends are looking older and a little more adult like. Kind of freaked me out a little. Kids and mortgages really make the top of the list as the years roll past.
I enjoyed seeing all of them. A friend of mine said that I looked relaxed. I laughed at him and said "I should look relaxed, I have not worked for months and I have been fishing just about every day." He smiled and agreed.
So like I said. I am writing from the most southern continent on the planet. I think the temp is somewhere in the -30 range. We have seen it bottom out around 90 below already this year. That is the wind chill not the ambient temp. Still a sharp shock to the face when you head outside. All the days on the H2O this summer serve as a mental rolodex of images that I flip through often down here. I am glad to be back working and making a paycheck again. I am trying to avoid the temptation to daydream about trout,streamers,tarpon,permit,cold beer,and all of the other things in my life that I do when it is warm.
So for all 3 of you that read this I will tell you a little about McMurdo. Right now we have some snow on the ground. May seem like a shock that I mention that at all. In the middle of the austral summer we are dealing with more blowing dust than blowing snow. The snow melts and the brown ground beneath us makes the place look more like a mining town than what you might expect down here. We are on an island in the Ross Sea. Actually not on the continent of Antarctica. You could make the case that due to the permanent ice shelf that extends from the continent to us we are connected to Antarctica. For anyone who disputes this trivial detail I say go stuff yourself.
Anyway. I am here for about 6 months. 6 months of working 6 days a week 10 hours a day. Sounds a bit like a sentence. Feels a bit like one too on some days. I like my job though. I say that now as I sit in a warm building with fingers that are not too cold to type. There are other days when I cant feel my fingers that I wonder where I went wrong. How the @!#$ did I end up down here??!! I can not explain the cold any other way than to say that it, to me is just different levels of pain. The colder it is the more painful it seems to be on my skin. Well at least until you lose the feeling in your fingers. Seems to almost always hurt the face when on a tower. O.K> not all the time but at least those are the times I remember the most. So like I said 6 months down here. I will do my best to hold off thoughts of travel and fish for at least a few more weeks.
I have my complete fly fishing arsenal in storage in New Zealand. I will fish again in a few months. I just have to make it through the next few months first.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Put down the streamer.

I cant help but keep fishing streamers. Each morning I rig up either a dry/dropper or a nymph rig. Each morning I fish said rig for at least a handful of casts. I then decide that I would like to move some fish and cover some water. I then tie on a big piece of bunny fur. Usually I end up hooking fish pretty quickly. Today I was using what was pretty much a saltwater fly. Caught a nice brown right out of the gates. I then tried another new streamer with only a few strikes and no fish. I am sure that some folks look down on this type of fishing when the bugs are active and the water levels are at summer flows. I read that streamer fishing is to dry fly fishing what rock and roll is to Beethoven. I agree.
Tommorrow I will fish again and try to resist the urge to throw big wet chickens through the air. Not sure how long it will last. I am trying to learn how to guide people on these rivers. Casting streamers means being able to cast within inches of the bank,work a big fly, and hopefully handle bigger fish. None of these are what the first timer should be concerned with. Well when the day comes to take out my first guided trip I will have to resist the urge and put the streamer box away. Not this summer though. Next year maybe but not this year.
"Its only rock and roll but I like it"

Feed the addiction.

I have now fished somewhere in the neighborhood of 45 days this summer. I am running out of time. My deployment to Antarctica is edging closer with each day. I have not counted how many fishing days I have left. I am going to try and fish as much as possible before my summer comes to a screeching extreme stop.
Last week I fished the Taylor river. Sat morning and the river was full of fisherman. I knew what to expect but decided to give it a go anyway. I caught a couple of fish before tragedy struck. One of my reels decided to stop working. I think that the drag mechanism seized up. The reel came with a Sage rod as a combo from Cabelas. I bought the combo about 3 years ago. Not very long ago and certainly not long enough to justify the end of the line for the reel. Needless to say,the day was taking a turn towards the toilet. On the tailgate of my truck with a leatherman I tried to open the reel up. Not the best idea. I then came home and called Cabelas about a warranty or a repair job. I was told that they dont repair their reels. ??? I was given the option of sending the reel in for a look and they will decide if it is worth anything. The kicker came when the voice on the phone said that the process will take 2 or 3 weeks!! Not an option. I then went out and bought a new reel. Wow what a difference spending a couple of hundred dollars on a reel will make!! I am now the owner of a reel that looks as good as it feels. Landed a couple of big fish on it so far. Caught a nice 20 inch bow yesterday. The drag worked like a well machined piece of equipment. Very happy with the new purchase. O.K. I need to get on the H2O. I will let you know how the fishing is at a later point.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

3 Weeks left

Summer is going fast. I am leaving the gunnison valley for a trip East 3 weeks from yesterday. The trip is one that is I am looking forward to. Visiting family and friends before heading back to Antarctica. I wont be doing much fishing while I am out East. All the more reason to try and fish every day while I am here. Today is my 30th day of fishing so far this season. Not going to set any records but I am enjoying being on the water.
Still thinking about guiding next summer. We will see how it turns out.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Paint when you can.

I did not fish today. I ended up working late on the house painting project. We are going to start a little late tomorrow. I don't have to be there until 9 a.m.. Which means if I can get some food in my belly and then get into bed I can get up at 5:45. With a little luck and coffee I can be on the river for a couple of hours before work. Not sure what the fish will be doing. I will most likely pound the banks with rabbit fur. Perhaps a big sleepy eyed brown will make the move for a breakfast meal when given the chance.
Company coming this weekend. No fishing until Monday next week. Tomorrow morning is the last chance for a few days. Better not get myself into this position too often this summer.

First week of Summer.

The 4th of July arrived with sun and warm breezes. Now really feels like summer in the mountains. Interesting how when the warm weather arrives so do the out of town visitors. Is there some phone line that they can call for an up to the minute report on the conditions in town?
I have not fished much this week. Fished in a lake on the 5th. Nothing on a fly. Caught some on some metal flies. Went out with a group of friends. Helped a buddy with his cast and talked about fly fishing with him. Not bad day at all.
Fished in the East on Tuesday. The bugs are pretty thick at times and the fish are full at times during the day. I have been on a big streamer adventure lately. To the point of trying to only fish with the big flashy fuzzy flies. I tried the chuck and duck technique to no avail on tuesday. I tied on an Elk Hair Caddis and started poking around a little. Two likely spots held nice fish. The second spot was not much more than a foot deep if that. A little log had been lodged against the bank allowing a little eddy to form. I cast my fly just upriver of the little eddy.Sure enough a nice brown made the move from the cover of the log and took a swipe at the fly. The rod bent over with much more force than I expected. I thought that the current combined with an excited fish was the cause of the extra force. Then I saw the fish flash as he came out away from the bank. This fish was much bigger than I thought. The current was a factor in the weight on the end of my line but the fish that was so doggedly pulling towards his log and undercut bank were much more of the reason for the weight I was feeling.
So after a little downstream scramble and some frantic rodwork(I really did not want to lose this fish) I was able to bring him to the net. A nice 18 inch brown. Not the biggest fish but a nice fish just the same.
I am in the process of helping a friend paint a house. I have been enjoying the work quite honestly. I am not fishing as much as I was last week or the past few weeks for that matter. I think the break is good. Actually this is probably the best week of the season so far. Water levels are down and water color is clearing. The crowds are coming too.
The river that I have fished the most has changed so much with the lower water levels that it seems like a new place. I am going to have learn the river again at this new level. I am going to fish this evening. Next week I am going to be back on the fishing every day schedule.
I hope I can make it that long.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Ah spring in the Rockies. While the rest of the country is well into barbeque season, things out here are a little different. When I first arrived in town spring run-off was on the downward slope. The rivers were still high and a little off color. I wanted to fish and fish I did. Not anyone else around and the fish were at least a little willing to eat flies.
Water levels were coming down. Each day I would look to the mountains and see plenty of snow. Snow that will have to come down into the river at some point. Well as luck would have it this was one of the least enjoyable Junes in quite some time. Everyone in town is eagerly awaiting the start of summer. This last month was full of rain,cooler temps and plenty of overcast days. Now I cant tell anyone this but I was secretly reveling in the poor conditions. The locals were calling the last month Junuary.I knew that the weather patterns were keeping the snow on the mountains and out of the rivers. I also knew that the time would come when the snow made the long journey that turns snow into water and that water turns into muddy fast moving un-fishable water. The last two weeks have been full of muddy fast water. Water levels are up to where they were about 15 days ago. just today the dipped below the 1000 cfs mark. So I will say that it now looks like things are going to shape up this week. I had forgotten that summer does not start in some parts of the country until 4th of July. So lets hope that we dont have an abnormal July. I think we are do for some good weather.
Have a good summer.

Watch your fly.

Since the last word party about tailwater fishing I have been to the same section of river 4 times. I fished hard for 3 days straight. Hooked a couple of giant fish. Saw them flash once or twice while they were shaking their head in an attempt to dislodge the little hook in the corner of their mouth. This technique is actually very succesful. A little something to think about if ever you are in a similar spot. The first day I was pretty much down to the last seconds of the 4th quarter deep in my own territory when I finally was able to get a fish to the net. Wasnt the fish of a lifetime but none the less a nice 18 inch bow. Made my day. Also made me want to come back the next day even earlier. On the following trip I was able to land 3 nice fish. Oh I actually picked up a fish on a dry fly.
The 3rd day was starting out on a good note. On my first cast I hooked up with a fish. I can still picture the bruiser in my head. I can also picture his head thrashing back and forth in the current behind a rock until my line snapped!!! I hooked up with a couple of other fish that morning. Then the rain came. Came and came and came in sheets. Fished for a little while but decided that I had seen enough.
So I took a couple of days off for the weekend and went back this morning. Nice thing about not working is that you can get off the water on the weekend just when the crowds of good decent working folks get on the water. I like being on the opposite schedule as the teeming masses in the real world.
Today I landed one fish and hooked a couple more. The river had been raised by the keepers of the dam. Not too much but maybe enough to change things a little. The fishing seemed a little slower. I was not on the water until 11 and the sun was high and hot. Maybe too bright. Not sure.
I still am learning more about tailwaters and the giant fish that slurp the smallest bugs I have ever seen.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tailwater Lessons.
The river that I would most like to fish is back up to levels that make things a little difficult. Off color and fast water make for less than ideal conditions. I did manage to catch a couple of nice fish the last time I fished. I suppose that is one of the benefits of fishing a stretch each day for a few weeks. You become familar with the little seams,pockets, and bends that can and most times do hold fish.
Well I have decided to make the attempt at fishing below the Taylor dam. They call this place the hawg trough. Typical tailwater fish. Fat and picky. These big dogs will sit and eat the mysis shrimp that were introduced in the resevoir above the dam. A little side note about the shrimp. These little shrimp were introduced to help sustain the kokanee salmon population. Good idea? A little more research should have been done. The shrimp are very sensitive to light. They stay down deep during the day and then move up into the shallows at night. Just the opposite of the fish they are supposed to sustain.
Well the Taylor river hawgs dont seem to mind. The fish grow big and fat below the dam. I am going to try again to convince a few of these trout to eat a well presented fly today. I will not be alone on this section of water. I am hoping to get there a little before the crowds and pick a spot to fish. All of this fishing is going to be done with 6x or 7x tippet. 2 lb test and a 5 pound fish is going to be tricky. I have rerigged my leader system. I still am new to the tailwater experience. We will see how much I pick up. Seems like each time I go I learn something new. In all honesty fishing side by side with a bunch of others,while we all are staring at strike indicators ie. bobbers is not my favorite way to fish. Due to the flow of other rivers this seems like a good time to give it a shot. So if all goes well today, my head will be full of new ideas and at least a couple of good fish tales.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The East river is back up to around 1100 cfs. I fished yesterday and was a little put off by the color of the river. Things were really starting to come together. Clarity was getting better each day. Levels were dropping. The fish were starting to look up. On the drive home though I would always look up at all of the snow still hanging in the high country. Knowing full well that it will have to turn to river water at some point. I am not going to complain about too much water in any western state. I dont know if that is possible actually. Now it is making the big journey from the mountains down into the rivers. The weather did not turn summer like until just recently. The last two weeks we have been dealing with clouds,rain and snow. Therefore the false sense of spring runoff being over. I knew that we had not completly finished with the annual spring rite.
So now we fish in other creeks and maybe in the dam controlled Taylor. Actually fished the Taylor yesterday. Pretty fast water right now. I was able to persuade a 19" bow to take an elk hair caddis. He came up took a look,passed on it and then came back and inhaled the bug. I saw the fish and new he was of decent size but from the amount of line going out I thought he was much smaller. Not sure what the deal was. Hell he may have been caught that morning by someone else. He gave it up pretty easy though. Made for a quick release for him though without too much stress on him.
So today we will go for a hike. I will most likely fish a little creek this evening. Caddis have finally made their appearance. I know of a little spot that wont be blown out too bad.
I have fished the last 13 0f 14 days. I think those are pretty good numbers. One must get in as much as possible before the Texas floodgates open and we are shoulder to shoulder on the water.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Well Hello. First I should say that the little picture of me is obvioulsy not anywhere near the Rockies. I was fishing in Key West a couple of years ago and landed my first Tarpon. I have caught a couple more since then but figured since this is my first attempt at a blog I would share a photo of my first Tarpon.
Now what is the point of this blog? Not exactly sure. I do know that I am fishing every day and each day I write down what I caught where I caught it and what I was using. So maybe this is just an extension of that. I will try to keep it to fishing as much as possible. There is a chance that I will get fired up about something and then unload on the keyboard. Oh well this is my blog afterall.