Photo of the Month: Autumn Slab of Gold

Photo of the Month: Autumn Slab of Gold

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

This is Home


Thanksgiving is a time to spend with friends and family.  This year it was also a time for me to return home after the big move to Colorado this past summer.  The priority for my trip was to spend time with friends and family but a side trip to the Smokies was also in order.  The Smokies are and always will be my favorite place.  Sure, when I'm knee deep in a Colorado river catching 20" trout, it may be tough to think too hard about why the Smokies are better.  Still, I will always consider the streams of the Smokies to be my original home water, the place where I learned to cast a fly rod and fool a few fish, and also the place where I took innumerable camping trips as a kid and got into backpacking as I grew older.  

The pool above is one of my favorites.  When someone talks about their favorite pool, they normally launch into a story of a monster fish caught there or some other memorable occurrence.  For me, its more about the fish I didn't catch.  Yep, there are some monsters in there, and I even saw one on my visit.  However, it is also one of the most fished pools in the river and it does not give up its trout easily.  

By the time I reached this pool with my buddy Jayson, we were starting to grow weary of the search for big fish.  Several large fish had already been spotted and even fished to, but they were far too spooky and we had come to that point where the stench of skunk was wafting our way.  Never to fear, the rainbows of the Smokies always seem hungry.  

On this day, nearly every big pool had lots of rainbows sitting high in the water column rising to midges and the occasional BWO.  I had tied up a collection of tiny parachute BWOs early this fall after getting into a great hatch on Clear Creek above Golden.  Rather proud of the little flies I had coaxed out of feathers and dubbing, I was happy for the chance to tie one on.  My buddy Jayson had already made the switch and missed a couple of nice rainbows and landed a couple more.  He had also caught an elusive brown.  It was not the monster we had originally hoped for but was still nice to see.


The four weight was in the car ready to be put together but I was slightly lazy and stuck with my 5 weight Legend Ultra.  Extending the leader to 6x tippet, I tied the fly on and started casting.  The trout were sitting just out of the fast current, waiting for the bugs they somehow knew were coming.  My fly must have been tasty looking.  In the first 6 casts I had 6 hits but no fish!!!  Nevermind that dilemma though because when fish are feeding this well you know it will happen.  

Of course, it eventually did.  I was happy to hold and admire one of the gems of the Smokies again.  Yes, the Smokies and Tennessee are home I thought as I watched the fish dart away.  A few rainbows later, I was ready to head back home and spend more time with those I don't get to see very often anymore.  Another time, I'll be back and spend more time in the Smokies.  Until then, I can keep remembering all the good times...


Monday, November 26, 2012

What A Trip!!!


Thanksgiving break was incredible in so many ways.  Seeing family and friends was the best part, but I also was able to get out and rock climb two days and also spent two days on the water.  One day was spent in the Smokies with my buddy Jayson.  During that day, I probably saw more truly big fish out than on any other trip.  The other day was spent on a relaxing float down the Caney Fork with David Perry.  Big fish were caught (he has had clients hook and land fish into the 25 inch range this fall and NOT off of redds either...) including one of the prettiest rainbows I have caught on that river as well as a big brown by David P. that took us for a ride with me rowing furiously in pursuit.

Before the trip, I took a trip with friends up to Estes Park and have pictures to share from that adventure as well.  Of course, as much as I enjoy blogging, other things will come first so don't expect all the updates at once.  Hopefully by the end of the week I'll be caught up though...


Friday, November 16, 2012

Trending Cooler

The weather is approaching that of winter.  Comfortable temperatures are lingering after each snowstorm.  However, piles of snow are still found in sheltered ares, suggesting that while it feels great in the middle of the day, the daily average temperature is a lot closer to the freezing mark.







Wishing to be out fishing has never been as good as actually going.  The final hard charge into Thanksgiving break has kept me busy enough that I have not been on the water for almost two weeks now.  Now dreams of Tennessee are keeping me focused.  Great Smoky Mountains, here I come...



Sunday, November 11, 2012

Late Season Opportunities

While winter is rapidly approaching, the weather is still bi-polar.  The cold season has not yet arrived in force, meaning that one weekend is perfect with highs in the 60s on the plains and 50s in the mountains and the next weekend it snows with frigid overnight lows.  Last weekend was one of the good weekends, at least if you're an angler.  I made it to the mountains to a favorite stream to chase the browns.


Watching a fish get fired up over a streamer is one of my favorite aspects of the sport.  Accordingly, I headed to a stretch where I could toss some streamers and see what would happen.  In the first pool, I watched a fish shoot out of the back of the deepest part to attack my streamer.  Somehow it couldn't find the hook though.  Several casts later, with the fish repeating its behavior, I finally just gave up and moved to a different spot.  Sometimes fish just want to chase but not eat.

Over the next couple of hours, I covered a ton of water.  Several nice fish were out and about and a few smaller ones were even on redds.  The largest fish I saw made me gasp in amazement at how a fish of well over 20 inches could live in such small water.  In another spot, I watched a pod of big runner browns swimming in circles in a big pool, just waiting for the right moment to move up and spawn.

The fish that I hooked all wanted to attack whichever streamer I happened to have on at the moment.  Others had the same idea, but streamer fishing is not usually a high percentage game.  I generally expect a lot of follows, refusals, and the usual swing and a miss.  Enough fish found the hook though to keep me interested.


Later in the day, I moved on to a more sheltered stretch of stream and hoped for some blue-winged olives.  The hatch didn't develop, or perhaps I was too late.  A few stray midges were coming off, and I did trick one small brown on a midge, but that was it.  The consolation was a great sunset and beautiful reflected light on the stream.  I spent more time behind my camera lens than fishing during the late day hours...



Friday, November 09, 2012

Lots Happening

The fishing trip last Sunday was a success...I just haven't had time to report on it.  Between teaching and a bout with the flu, blogging was unfortunately quite low on the list of priorities this past week.  Hopefully that will all change soon.  One more week and then I'm on Thanksgiving break!

The plan is to head home to spend time with friends and family and probably a side trip to the Smokies will happen as well.  Being away from home for an extended period of time is a good way to remember how amazing Tennessee is, and I can't wait to fish my "home" waters again.

Between now and then, I probably won't be doing any more fishing as I have too much going on, but I will be tying flies for the trip home and hope to share some of those patterns on here.  The browns should be about done with the spawn by then, and with any luck they will be starving for some of my favorite patterns.

I'm also starting to plan some December fishing trips here in Colorado.  Finding accessible tailwaters will become more and more important as the weather turns sharply colder.  This weekend will really start to feel like winter as the temperatures on Sunday struggle to approach freezing with the likelihood of fresh snowfall.


Sunday, November 04, 2012

Gone Fishin'

About to head out to fish.  We'll see where the Trout Mobile takes me, but hopefully it will head for a stream where the fish are hungry and rising to BWOs!!!  Report to follow...

Friday, November 02, 2012

October Sunset

Here in Colorado, the sunsets are often just as spectacular as those back home.  In fact, I'm beginning to think that my proximity to the mountains gives me a distinct advantage when it comes to seeing great sunsets.  The mountains create enough of their own weather that there are usually a few clouds around to gather the suns last rays as it sinks in the west.  Here is one shot from a few days ago.


Each morning, I'm also noticing that the chance of an amazing sunrise is also quite high!  Whether or not it is worth getting up early enough to enjoy the sky is a different story...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Cold Up There

Last weekend was the end of the most recent bout of cold weather and, yes, even snow.  The mountains were beautiful in their fresh white coat, but the wind was bone chilling.  Stray snow showers were lingering over the highest peaks even late yesterday based on what I could see to the west.  Things seem to have mostly cleared out though.  Here are a few pictures from Saturday afternoon.








Stolen Drift Boat

Some low life has stolen a very unique drift boat.  Please check out this link for more information and if you have any information please please please contact Carl Warmouth at the email address provided at the end of the article.  Here's hoping that the bad guys get their just reward...

Even more importantly, even if you don't know anything about this, PLEASE pass along the information.  Drift boats don't just fall out of the sky so I'm guessing someone has or will see this boat.  Thanks!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Huge Sale

There is currently a huge sale going on at the Orvis Sale Outlet.  I just found some killer deals on tungsten beads and some extra wading boots for a friend.  Currently, everything that is already on sale is eligible for an extra 25% off but that special deal is only good through THIS Sunday.  In other words, you only have today to take advantage of anything you need to get.  While there aren't tons of great things available, there are some killer deals on wading boots and a few other items.  If you need to pick some boots up cheap for your kid or anything else, now is the time to do it!!!