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Archive for May, 2010

Didn’t I write something earlier about not liking to tie the prince nymphs since they used a lot of materials and were difficult to tie ?  Hm.. and here I am tying a Copper John, even harder pattern. Oh well, the mood stuck me to tie something different, and the Copper John came to my mind.

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Someone once said that any trout fly tied with peacock herl is a deadly pattern. I couldn’t agree more.  Sometimes people get lost in the new materials, fly designs and forget about the old and proven patterns. I have been fishing with prince nymphs for a long time, but man, do I hate tying those flies. Ever since moving to Colorado and fishing small hardware, aka. simple patterns, I stay away if anyhow possible from tying anything that incorporates more than a few simple steps and/or materials. However, the prince has proven time after time to be a great producer, and every spring I tie a dozen or so.

This year I am going to change things up a little, and instead of prince nymphs use a few other peacock herl patterns such as Zug Bugs and Diawl Bachs.

Diawl Bach (Welsh for ‘little devil’) is a  all round nymph attractor pattern. There is a mystery over who originally created this excellent fly. Was it Jimmy Evans at Chew in 1950, Glyn Isaac of Pembrokeshire or Albert Horne from Cardiff in South Wales? This fly is commonly used in Europe as a still-water pattern. Little devil is as popular in Europe (Britain) as the prince nymph is in the USA.  The secret to this fly’s success is its sparse, nymph like profile making it a fly for all seasons and waters.

Zug Bug was invented by Cliff Zug in West Lawn, PA during the 1940’s. He used the zug bug to imitate a cased cadis and a caddis larvae. While it is an effective as an emerging or diving sedge pattern it also works well in representing other trout foods such as dragon fly nymphs, mayfly nymphs and midge pupa’s.  Zug bugs can work very well when allowed to free drift along slow banks, or when fished in eddies below faster water. Bead headed zug bugs are best in fast water, as they sink down to where trout look for caddis pupae.

Since I have not fished the little devil before, I hope to try this patterns out in the very near future. I hope these easy ties will replace the prince nymphs in my fly box.

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Saturday morning Oreo, Zoe, and I headed north to Carr for a training session. Due to bad weather, high winds, and a few fishing trips, our last training session was about three weeks ago. I was interested to see Zoe’s fetching progress in the field, but was most interested in advancing Oreo’s training to the next level, blind and long range retrieves.

We arrived at Tim’s house around 9:30 a.m., and since Tony wasn’t there yet, Tim and I used the time to catch-up and talk about the club.

As we got to the field I planted birds for Oreo, two fliers and two clips. I am working on opening Oreo’s pattern an additional 5-10 yards, and planting a birds (clipped wing) at a desired distance down wind, but close enough in front that he will smell it on the first cast will get the job done. Using this technique, I am setting him up from the get-go to think that the birds are further out and giving him confidence to go the extra yardage. Oreo is a dog that is very in-tune with his handler, and willing to please all the time. I have noticed within the last few training sessions that he is “falling” for this training and opening up. I am sure it will take a few more sessions, but we are getting there.

Due to me over-dizzying the fliers, Oreo trapped all four birds on his first run. Since he needed a reward, for them that is a retrieve, Tim rolled a bird in for him. He flushed the bird and was steady to both, flush and shot. Bird dropped at about 55 yards from the gunner, making it a 75-80 yard retrieve for Oreo.  This was the exact thing Oreo needed. I sent him on this long retrieve and he was 10 yards short. Started circling and taking more ground. Had a nose full of scent, where I saw the bird land, but  didn’t produce a pigeon. I walked towards him making him go just a little bit further back to a down wind position where he can smell the bird.  The bird wasn’t dead, and walked off 10-15 yards  down wind from where we saw it drop.  Oreo managed to sort things out on his own and find the crippled bird. Upon return, Tim pointed out that I should have huped him as soon as he was of course and handled him like a blind retrieve. If I haven’t mentioned this, I am fairly new at this game, and have a lot to learn! It is all about the dog handler team work.

On the second run , I planted the birds a little lighter and they all flew like they are suppose to. During the training session our goal is to change things up, and make the dog fail. It is not always bird, bang, retrieve. Repetition is what trains the dog , but repetition is what ruins the dog as well. Too much of the same stuff and they start “reading” you.

During the first run Oreo broke on a shot and had to be corrected. The second time around everything went smooth. He made a nice long find, and Tim dropped it about 40-45 yards behind us. Since we are working on semy blind and long range retrieves, I made Oreo leave the bird and continue hunting up the course. Next was a clip and about 50 yards further up the course another flier. The second bird flew to the right and was dropped 40 yards away from Oreo.

During the previous training session, after I made sure he was steady, he would be sent on a retrieve, but today was different.  I whistled him back to me, making him leave the bird behind. Oreo heeling on my side, we walked back towards the first fallen bird.  That bird was a good 80 yards away from us. I gave it my best to line him up, but it didn’t work. We tried it a few more times, and since I have not done it before I was making a mistake without even knowing it. Instead of huping the dog, and then moving towards him, I tried to get him to come to me and be positioned just the right way.  Being under pressure didn’t help the matter either, as a result I was getting a little frustrated. That is the worst thing someone can do in this situation. Tim, as cool of a trainer as he is,  walked up told me told me to  just relax and proceeded to show me how it should be done. Oreo took a straight line 60 yards back, but came short. Keep in mind, this is his third or fourth time taking a line and it is a great success. With every cast we were a little closer, during this whole process Tim incorporated some new commands such as over and back.  On a third cast with addition of over Oreo was in a downwind spot and able to smell  the bird.  Then he was off to retrieve the second bird. He did better on the second bird since we were down wind from the bird.

This was Oreo’s first attempt at a double retrieve, and he handled it very nicely. His handler (me) on the other hand has a lot more to learn.  I am excited and can not wait for the next training session.

Next was Zoe, we have been training in the controlled environment (aka hallway) for some time now, and today was the moment of truth, will she deliver the bumper to hand out in the open country. As the first bumper left my hand, she was on a hot pursuit right behind it.

*Side Note: That dog is so fast, I can not imagine how fast she will when fully grown. It is scary to even think about it. Good luck to me. I think I will need to work on closing her  pattern in, unlike Oreo’s where I am trying to open it up.

On the way back, she started going towards me, but passed me on my right about a foot away circled around me and delivered it to my left hand,more or less like the labs do. If I was a lab trainer I would be pumped, but since I am a springer trainer we don’t like to see that. The delivery needs to be straight back and to my right hand. Second attempt  and the same thing happened. On the third trial she remembered the training and delivered it to my right hand. Then the question was should I do again or quit at this point? Oh what a heck, I gave her another try, again she delivered to the right as she is suppose to do. We stopped at that. Two good retrieves, and we finished on a good note.

There was another highlight during the training, it is snot always about my dogs 😉 , training with Tim I witness a lot of great dog work,  but what I saw on Saturday blew me away. It was one of Tim’s dog, she flushed a bird and the gun on the right hand made a great shot way out there.  The bird dropped behind a big sage bush. This dog took a line and went straight towards the sage brush. She was in front of the brush (bird is downwind from her) thus couldn’t smell it. Then she did something amazing, to me looked like she gave up too easy, she went all the way back to her starting point looked at at brush realigned her self and took a second line. She did all of this all on her own. The second line put her right in front of the brush pile where the bird was. That retrieve was just WOW, I wish I had my camera on me to record it.

As always, it was a great day out in the Colorado grassland with friends and our dogs.

Till the next time.

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While checking out the Front Range Anglers Blog, I saw another great pattern tied by Jay, the clown shoe caddis. It looked like an easy tie, and a great dry fly used in a dry-dropper setup. I gave it a try and this is how it turned out.

Material used:

Hook: TMC 2487 (#12, #14 and #16)

Abdomen: Medium Lt. Olive D-Rib

Thread: 6/0 Olive and 6/0 Black

Wing: Dun dyed elk hair ( I used deer)

Hackle: Dun saddle hackle

Post: Flouresant Cerise McFlyfoam

Thorax: Black Superfine Dubbing

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Zoe is progressing in the fetching department. I have been going back and forth with the training, getting her used to the bumper and dead birds, but we are back in the hallway and bumpers for now. She needs to be 100% in the hallway before we move the training outside, and get her on some clip-wings etc. I rather spend the time now then fix things later. I was expecting her to be further along by now, but she is learning at a certain pace, so I had to slow down and let her tell me when we are ready to advance. She is still very young, just turned 8 months last week, and very much puppy like so the training is more play than anything else for her.  She has grasped the heel , hup, come, and some whistle commands. I am very pleased with her progress so far and in no time she will be in the field chasing live birds. We are both looking forward to that.

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After lunch I decided to take a drive up the Canyon road and check out Boulder creek.  The plan was to try and catch a few trout. In about half an hour I was up in the canyon away from crowds and fishing this spot.

I started off with a size 20 BHPT and a 22 chartreuse zebra midge. They couldn’t resist the zebra and within a few casts the first fish was on.

This is an average size fish on the Boulder creek. They might not be big , but they are great fighter. After a few more fish out of this hole it was time to head down stream. Every deeper hole had at least four or five fish in it. Since the flow was low, it was hard to get close enough without spooking fish, but I was rewarded with one of these gems every time I managed to cast without spooking them.

I managed to fool 20+ fish in the 2.5 hours I fished. On the way home I stopped at the 6th street bridge. Since the water level in town was a lot higher, and muddier, I changed to a San Juan worm and a golden stone .  Both of these flies produced fish , but the stone fly outperformed the San Juan.

A few more pictures of today’s adventure and Boulder Creek.

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Darren, Dave, John and I met at the Wal-mart parking lot  about 5:30 am despite the bad weather, we decided to precede with our plan and fish the Delaney Buttes lakes for two days. By the time I unloaded and moved my equipment and camping gear into Darren’s car, Dave and John showed up. The weather was bad from the get-go and we encountered slick, snow packed, and iced over roads.

On our way to Walden, CO

On our way to Delaney Buttes, Darren showed me a few more fishing spots and explained the best ways to get to it.
We arrivet at the south lake around 9 a.m.  Since the temperatures were low, the crew decided to spend the night at the North Park Inn and Suites.  Quick phone call and reservations were made.

Since Dave and John have fished these lakes in the past they were the trip leaders and decided to start fishing on the south lake.

South Lake Open Water

There was enough  open water for all four of us to fish and keep us entairtained.

South Lake

I never fished the lakes for trout before, and didnt have the best chronomids selection, I decided to strip some streamers. On a third or fourth cast I got a bite, a nice fat rainbow. I have never seen a rainbow as fat as this fish was. Hopefully Dave will send the picture of me holding this fatty. As soon as I get the picture I will update the post. This was the first fish of the day. Shortly after that Dave got his first fish on a streamer as well.

Both John and Darren “bobber” fished. As soon as Darren tied on one of his “Natural” chronomids he started landing fish left and right.

CutBow-SL

Darren lands another one

Around 2 P.M. we decided to try our luck on the north lake.

Dave

Darren and John

I was there too

Fishing was somewhat slow, but Darren once again managed to hook a few nice fish.

Locals dont even take the camera out for such fish

It was getting colder by the minute, but we decided to tough through it and fish the “Power Hour”. It is the hour after the sun goes down and the big fish come out to play. Some people tough power hour is the same as a Happy Hour and were catchin buzz instead of fish.

Happy Hour

As soon as the sun went down the fish started jumping all around us. Rigged with a big black bushy streamer I entered the water and within few minutes had a nice fish on.

Fish on

This fish was very acrobatic and jumped out of the water a few times prior to landing in my net.

Brown trout

Soon after I hooked into this fish Dave started chucking streamers and showed us all how it is done.

8 wt rod bent

Biggest Fish of the day 8-10lbs

At the Inn we had a few of cold ones and tied a few flies.

Tying Flies

The next morning, after getting some hot coffee at a local store, we headed to the lake . The temperature were worst then day before and the south lake had a skim layer of ice on it.

Temperature in deg C at 10:39

Friday was John’s day, he was catching one after another on a Jumbo Juju chronomid.

Action

Nice Bow

While everyone was catching fish, I managed to tangle my line countless times and oos my flies on the sage brush behind me. I think I was retying my stuff more than fishing on Friday.

Lost another fly

John and I

We wrapped a good day of fishing at the North Lake. Due to a even colder front moving in the fish stopped biting and the crew decided around noon that it was time to head home to palm trees and sunny beaches of Denver, CO 😉

Till the next time.

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