Thursday, February 28, 2013

Amateur Hour....

  Sometimes a person needs to take a sec, sit back, reflect for another sec and then just burst out laughing at themself. One of my favorite sayings of all time is that if you don’t learn to laugh at yourself, you will miss the greatest joke of your generation. Today was one of those days. As a so called knower of all things flyfishing(yeah right) I expect every encounter with the water to be nothing short of perfection. I was able to sneak out of work after lunch and headed straight down to the Nature Center. When I got to the water I already had everything ready to go. I began sneaking up the river and trying to spot fish on the other bank when I just happened to catch a glimpse of something in front of me, it actually startled me just a tad. Another two steps and I may have flattened about a twenty incher. I quickly moved back and then snuck up to the side and dropped my flies in front of his nose. He took it and immediately ran me into the rocks and broke me off. I rerigged and moved up a few feet and recasted, great take and snap. I rerigged again and casted back into the same hole and I hooked another. At least this time he only popped off and left me with my flies. Another cast and déjà vu quick run and he popped off. At this point, whether Fieldman believes me or not, I just had to laugh. Ten casts with two breakoffs and two fish unbuttoned. Amateur hour to say the least, I am sure the fish were laughing as much as I was laughing at myself. I moved up a little further and finally landed my first fish of the day, it was only about 14 inches but I nearly broke out in the bull dance(from Happy Gilmoure fame). I expected that now the ice was broken that I would not miss anymore but I could not have been anymore wrong. The next two fish spit it back at me but then I landed my fish of the day. It was a healthy, beautiful, big shouldered rainbow that measured out at twenty one and a half inches. And yes, if you are keeping track it still was not as big as Cats from Tuesday.

  I moved up from there and landed several more quality fish. The surprise came when I s found myself in a killer midge hatch but the fish seemed to shut down. Not sure what was up with that but still had a great time on the water today. As I keep saying, fishing is very good but not easy. Fish can be had using small black midges and true bloods. Thanks as always for reading, Connell, Cat, Winston and The Drift Fly Shop…..


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Arkansas Tailwater February 26, 2113

  Hello all and as always thanks for reading. Was really busy last week with the soccer tourney coming to town and was not able to fish, so was really looking forward to getting on the water today. Was sure excited to see the clouds this morning, the warmer days seem to be bringing out the crowds. Cat and I fished with a friend today and thought fishing was good but definitely not easy. We wanted to fish the new improvements and so we started just above the Nature Center. Didn’t see anything moving the first half an hour or so but at about 11:00a.m., the midges started hatching and the fish went to town. The stretch just above the flag hole was full of feeding fish. I hooked several and landed about half of them. Jim moved up across from me and hooked a couple in just a few minutes; he landed a nice 18 or 19 incher. We moved up river pretty quickly because we wanted to cover a lot of ground. We landed several out of the Glory hole and continued to move upstream. We got all the way up to Peyton’s place and that is where the excitement started. Cat moved into the main run and spotted a piggy right away. A couple casts with no takes and she then made a slight change to her setup. First cast and BOOM!!  I could not believe how smart this fish was it took her straight into the rocks and was bumping the rocks trying to break the line. She continued to bounce around as to not let the bow get the angle that it needed to break her off. She maneuvered the fish through the weir and I breathed a quick sigh of relief. She finally had fish into slower water and she was able to net it up, a beautiful 22 inch rainbow. Cat would tell you that it was her expertise and only her expertise that landed that fish today.  What I would have to add is that she has been fishing one of my Winstons since Christmas when she broke her Z-Axis. Is it a coincidence that Cat has landed two of her largest fish over that time? Is it the great Connell juju from my Winston? Or is it just that the girl ROCKS?

  Well if that were a multiple choice question there would be no wrong answers, just arguments waiting to happen (hehe). We moved back down and hooked fish in almost every spot we stopped. Even fishing my one of my other Winstons, I did not sniff anything close to Cat’s twenty two incher today. Thank goodness for Cats modesty so I was still able to thoroughly enjoy my day, even with only a twenty in the net.  Fish today were keying in on the SOL, black tube midge, juju bee and the True blood. Tried huevo’s for a while with no success, maybe it was more my lack of confidence in that fly. If you are seeing fish and they are not taking your stuff, try removing your indicator. We found quite a few indicator shy fish today. Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy your time on the water. Connell, Cat, Winston and The Drift Fly Shop…….


Tuesday, February 19, 2013


  With the stream improvements starting on the Arkansas last week, Cat and I decided to take a walk on the river to see how the changes have affected some of our favorite spots. I am not very good with change and so when we got to one my favorite holes, I was saddened by how the structure above changed the way the water was moving through one of my favorite drifts. I started complaining to Cat and with her typical positive outlook; she told me that she believes that sometimes it takes change to make things better. I don’t know if it is because I am such a crappy listener or my ADHD but I stopped listening and my mind drifted off to football. I always tell myself that I think to much about football but more than anything I was thinking about how somtimes chang can be a good thing.

  A few years ago the Broncos drafted a guy named Tim Tebow and I remember thinking what’s up with that. I watched the guy in college but could not see how his skills would transfer to the pros but the publicity and love for the guy was like nothing I had ever seen. I could not turn on sports radio without most of the segments being full of Tebow talk. Training camp started and very quickly I started hearing stories about how bad he was and that the Broncos made a huge mistake. Even though I don’t consider myself an opinionated person (yeah right), I made it known to all who would listen that Tebow will never play in the NFL. The Broncos had high hopes for that season but started out terrible. The fan rumblings and calls for Tebow came fast and furious but the back scene news was that Tebow wasn’t even second string. Well the season tanked and the coach got fired and the new coach went ahead and played Tebow. A few plays here and there but nothing seemed NFL worthy. 2011 started worse than 2010 and the screams for Tebow were too loud to ignore and he finally got his chance. His first game was horrible, I’m not sure he completed a pass until about four minutes to go in the game. Two quick scores later and the Broncos won. The next several weeks were up and down with Tebow mania being possibly the biggest think in sports since a guy named MJ. One crazy come from behind win after another and even a win in the playoffs. Tebowmania was rampant; I even saw one guy wear a WWTTD bracelet. Well the season ended in New England and the star gazers were all talking about how great Tebow will make the team in the next few years. The off season came up and the Broncos began to pursue a guy named Manning and the scream from the Tebow fans was nearly deafening. How could they dump Tebow after how great he was, the team will be terrible now, my mother(of all people) said she would never watch another Bronco game because Tebow is gone. In this instance, I was pleasantly looking forward to Manning in Denver. The season started just a little rocky and the Tebow fans were calling for the head of Manning. Even I, a Manning supporter, turned off the tv halfway through the San Diego game in disgust. Well as most of us know, the lights turned on and the Broncos went on a roll, the forward pass was reinstituted to the Denver offense and huge comeback win was followed by ten wins in a row. Unfortunately, the season and a possible trip to the Super Bowl ended with a poor angle from a defensive back. The Tebow cries seemed to disappear as the season rolled on and we were all blessed with the appearance of a true NFL offense. Not only was it fun to watch, but Manning dominated most of the games he played in and got most of us Bronco fans hungry for next year to start and see the Broncos as world champs once again.
  With the new stream improvements upon us I could not help but worry about how they will affect the river. I have spent so many days guiding and fishing this river that I seem to think I know every nook and cranny of it. It is always fun taking a client into a spot and before they even cast explain to them where the snags are and what direction the fish will run. The expression is priceless when the fish and the river actually follow my predictions. Well once again Cat the optimist reminded me that it doesn’t really matter what happens because the techniques we use work at every tailwater we have ever fished here in Colorado. Cat went out and fished the newly changed area a little on Thursday and was very pleasantly surprised with some of the new structure. In one of the new structures she hooked the biggest fish she had ever hooked but could not get the hog landed. We tried to fish the area on Sunday and again today but it has been difficult to find an open space. I got in the weir this morning and hooked and lost a nice fish right away but very quickly a large group moved in and I decided to move on. After Cat fishing the new structure on Thursday and both of us fishing on Sunday and me for a short time today, I have decided it is time to lose the gloom and embrace the changes that are taking place on this river. It took a little time for us Bronco fans to get used to the forward pass again, but it sure was worth it in the long run. We were so happy with the new rock structure that we decided to name it Peyton’s Place. Yes I know it is a play on the name but hopefully it reminds us all that sometimes we have to usher out the good to allow space for the GREAT!!!!


  The river has been fishing off and on very good the last few times out. Sunday was a little more difficult because of the amount of traffic but the fish seemed willing to play if you could get into some fresh water. Today was much the same where I would go and hour without seeing a fish and then catch five in a ten minute stretch. I only caught one fish over twenty inches on Sunday and none today but have caught a good deal of gorgeous 14 to 18 inchers. Fish are moving to eggs, and still on the tiny black midges. As always, thanks for reading. Connell, Cat, Winston and The Drift Fly shop…..




Sunday, February 10, 2013

Cat's Run Redeemed

Hello and thanks to all for reading.   

Cat and I take the blessing of guiding and working in the fly shop very serious. We try very hard to communicate to each and every customer on a level that we hope is the most comfortable for them. It can be difficult sometimes because we have to gauge each person separately and have to be careful not to talk over their heads or to talk down to them.  As a lot of you know, there was a Flyfishing tourney on the tailwater yesterday.   Cat was one of the judges and she had the first section under the dam. Cat’s job for the day was to walk back and forth and deal with any of the problems that may have come up. One of the sections that Cat was walking past all day was a run called “Cat’s Run”, yes it was named after Cat herself. Now as a judge, Cat is not able to influence the contestants at all and is not allowed to tell them when they are missing fish. (A silent situation we are not used to).  After walking past Cat’s Run all day long and not seeing any of the competitor’s throw a single line into the run her feelings were a little hurt.  Are you kidding me, you don’t name a run after Cat unless it is totally hot! Now I know that nobody likes a back seat driver and the “pressure of a tourney thing” can be a little more difficult but I am sure Cat wanted to thumb her nose a little at the contestants that were denying her run for showing its glory.

  So this morning we decided to give Cat’s Run a little redemption.  We got to the river about 11:00 this morning and found the run full of fish. I hooked and landed a 16 incher on my second cast and then Cat called me up to a bunch of feeding fish. The indicator on her first few casts seemed to spook the fish so she went ahead and removed it and first cast she hooked and landed a 20 inch rainbow. After she released it I jumped in and after a few casts I hooked and landed a 22 inch rainbow. Totally psyched, Cat jumped back in and landed another 22inch rainbow. Back in for my turn and I landed an 18incher. A 16,18,20 and two 22 inch fish in the first twenty minutes on the water. I know she would never do it outwardly, but I’m guessing inwardly she was sticking out her tongue and giving out a little nanner, nanner, nanner. Skipping Cat’s run,tsk,tsk.

  Well the glorious day did not stop there, the fish got smaller but were just as fun all day long. Brandon showed up and had some fun as well. Fish in the morning were keying in on the black tube midge and the SOL in a size 24. After about 1:00 they seemed to switch over to a size 24 Marklar. The day was so fun that we went ahead and put together this short video. Hopefully you enjoy. The river is a little early coming out of its Winter slumber as we are already seeing some fish on redds and others feeding hard to protein pack in preparation of their turn to spawn.  If we continue to see the warm weather the river should just explode over the next few weeks. Sight fishing is the way to go so if you are not seeing the quality of fish you are hoping for then this is going to be a great time to book a trip.  Our trips do a great deal of teaching and focus on giving you the ability to catch fish not only here, but in tricky tailwaters across the state.

As always thanks for reading. Connell and Cat..

Enjoy ……

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Whats In a Reel?

The Hatch Finatic 3plus

Many many years ago I remember walking into a flyshop and inquired about upgrading my setup. The owner, who still to this day I respect probably more than any other person in this business, explained to me the ideal way to distribute your money among your gear if you are purchasing around a budget. He explained that a person needs to spend the majority of their money on the rod and line, and that since the job of the reel is basically just to hold line it gets the smallest portion. I took his words as Gospel and bought my first high end rod and line. Back in those days, most of my fishing consisted of the upper Ark, small creeks and one of my favorites, San Isabel. As I fished these waters I was convinced that I was THE MAN, several times I had hundred fish days and if I walked away from the water with less than forty fish I was having a bad day. With all those little fish that buying advise held true as the cheap reel was never a problem and I loved regurgitating the whole don’t worry about your reel statement to other flyfishermen.

After several years of that type of fishing, Cat and I decided that we wanted to learn to catch big fish. We made several trips to the Dream Stream, the Taylor, and the Yampa, unfortunately with very little success. Then finally, after many attempts things started to click. I remember being so excited after hooking and landing fish in the 15 to 18 inch range and then it all changed when I hooked a pig. Unlike any of the other fish I had dealt with before this big guy was to the reel in a flash and working on instinct I quickly tried to palm the reel. It slowed him for a sec and then he exploded across the river, the reel screamed, backlashed and SNAP(followed by a few choice words..... you can ask Steve Fieldmen what I might had said :) ). I spent the next day and a half fighting the reel because I could never get the drag set correct. When Cat and I got back to Pueblo I headed straight to the flyshop and purchased a Ross Evolution. We headed back to the Taylor the next weekend and I could not believe the difference when the drag worked correctly. Since that day, Cat and I have purchased several Evolutions and have felt like they were all the reel we would ever need...... I no longer tell people that reels don’t make difference especially when chasing pig.

Alex brought the Hatch reels into the shop a while back and Cat bought one for her saltwater rod right away. While playing with it I was immediately drawn to the look and the solid feel of the reel. I went ahead and purchased one for myself in the smaller size (Finatic 3plus) and got it in the other day. Today I got to get out and test the reel on the water. One of the draws of the reel is with the way the bearings are sealed the reels are good for saltwater and should not freeze when they get cold (couldn’t test that today). I found feeding fish in one of the first spots I stopped and after just a few casts I hooked about a twenty incher that I was able to get to the reel very quickly. I played him for a short time but he was able to get me into the rocks and eat my lunch, not the reels fault. I hooked and landed three more and the drag worked flawlessly. A few more fish and one spit hook I was very happy with the performance and smoothness of the drag and found it very easy to adjust the drag. It truly felt like the reel could handle anything this river could throw at me. I am happy with my new purchase. I still have a special place in my heart for the evo, but no buyer regret here.

For a quick river report, I found the river to be in complete flux today with a different surprise around every corner. I got below the first bend at Valco and found fifty or so very large fish suspended in a total prespawn slumber. I moved back up and into a set of rocks and found several aggressively feeding fish. I also found fish in deep runs, hooked a few in riffles, and even found a dozen or so that were actually on redds. It looked as if today was the opening day of spawn. If you get out make sure you fish the entire river. The redds seem a little early to me and still is up to the angler as to whether or not to harass them while they are getting busy. Remember, the TU fishing tourney is on Saturday so if you are fishing that day make sure you go below P Blvd. As always, thanks for reading. Connell, Cat and The Drift Fly Shop