Monday, April 29, 2013

DId You Hear It?


For the last month I have been fighting this inward burning desire to get out of town and acquaint myself with new fish.  I think this need has come on for two reasons. This first  may be instinctual due to the fact that most years the river blows up (run-off) and we can’t safely fish it for a few months.  The second reason getting out of town seemed desirable was just to be in a place where everybody DOESN’T know your name. Don’t get me wrong, I love this river with all my heart, and I love all/most of our customers but after nearly two years of being on it seemingly everyday, I just needed to get away. Luckily for me, Cat was also feeling the burn and so we decided to head down to Wahatoya Lake on Sunday.  Wahatoya is one of those can’t lose lakes that sometimes feels like taking candy from a baby. We fished out of our pontoon boats which can be real nice since we are sitting instead of walking.  Reaching the lake at about 9:00a.m. we headed straight for our favorite spot.  Once there however I didn’t see any fish on my fish finder.   We stayed in that spot for a while and after nutten we decide to move down the bank. We began picking up a few smaller fish here and there the whole time wondering where the bigger fish were. We were kicking across the lake when I finial started spotting fish real deep.   We anchored up and set our rigs up to dangle between eleven and fourteen feet. We started getting hits immediately but we had forgotten the intensity of the hook set needed when you are fishing that deep. After figuring that out and letting the new 6 weight B3-SX work like it was designed, the fishing was easy for a while.  After about an hour the fish seemed to move up a couple of feet so we moved a little and started catching again. Depth was the key all day long. We didn’t catch anything of size but just enjoyed the different scenery and tactics for the day. Wahatoya was not as easy as usual but it sure was nice to sit back, relax and see the sport in a different frame of mind.

  ** A crazy thing happened while we were on the lake yesterday.  All of a sudden at 3:00p.m.  our heads snapped up in unison as we heard this loud rusty screech that was followed by a swoosh.  Talk on the street is that this noise was heard simultaneously by anglers all the way up and down the front-range.  Hearing this sound caused goose bumps to rise on my arms as I had the eerie feeling that something had changed on my home water.  It wasn’t until this morning that we found out what the noise was.  It seems that large quantities of WD-40 were sprayed on the gates at the reservoir and they were then jarred open. (ok it might not have happened quite like that .. J)   The result of this influx of water was that our little piece of amazing tailwater has once again become a river. At 3:00 p.m. the flow under Pueblo Dam was increased 350 cfs, and I could not be happier. Fishing may be difficult for a day or two while the fish resettle into new feeding lanes and gorge themselves on the influx from the reservoir, but the fish should quickly get acclimated and with the lowered clarity won’t see us coming.  On the horizon new storms are predicted for later this week and these should ensure fish friendly flows throughout the summer. Do not let the increase scare you off the water, as an FYI the river typically fishes well up to about 700cfs, and after that you need some special tactics. This river has been fishable for two years now and with the amount of traffic it has seen, these fish have become very very smart. Saturday I had a couple out on a guide trip and I was explaining to them about how this river has become a “true” tailwater, and in order to do well on it you better bring your A game every time.  Our section of river has in many ways become the Augusta National of fly fishing.

 After hearing …. hehe the river being increased I began thinking about how many people we have watched enter the sport/addiction since the last time the river was unfishable. During that two year span we have aided cowboys, nearly professional golfers, newly retired, dry fly snobs, women, college baseball players, gang bangers, pilots, and even an auto mechanic (that looks like he has no business on this river) pursue the eight mile stretch of fish we hold dear.  If we actually get runoff this year I will feel partially responsible for the fishing detox that all of these individuals will go through.  For these new individuals the shock of looking at a muddy high river reminiscing of the times they were able to wade across it may be coming.  Being a skier as well, I follow snow fall and snow pack levels with diligence.  This also helps me have a better idea as to what I can expect from the river. The April storms in the mountains have put the Arkansas River drainage at 88% of normal and with the storms predicted later this week it may put us over normal or close to it. So what does that mean for us river rats? This is only my guess, but as we near Memorial Day I think the river will be adjusted to runoff stage, it might take a little more WD-40 to open the gates however.   At runoff levels the river will be unfishable for several weeks (I can sense Alex shuddering as I write).  

So, what should a shaky, withdrawal ridden fisherman do when runoff comes busting in?

  Going back to the Augusta National analogy, if you learned how to play golf at Augusta National and a fungus problem shuts down the course, that doesn’t mean that you have to stop playing golf.  Instead you could go play Hilton Head, TPC Sawgrass or even make a cross country trip and play Spyglass or Pebble Beach.  You may even consider some of the less well known masterpieces like Walkingstick.  When golfing these new places you would broaden your horizons and it could even make you a better golfer all around.  Yes, with the maybe upcoming runoff, a feeling of sorrow may hit you but don’t dwell on it.  Now is the time to be thinking of other wonderful places to toss in a line.  We understand that they may not give you the same EPIC fishing as the Arkansas Tailwater, but they will broaden your horizons, give you new experiences, and at the very least take the withdrawal shakes down to a controllable level.  

Over the next month I will put out a few ideas with a some pics of other waters within a few hours of Pueblo that you may want to consider and I will start with a little info on the gem we fished yesterday:

The Wahatoyas are a pair of lakes located in La veta, the lower lake is a warm water lake that I have never fished but the upper is full of browns, bows and a few northerns. The lake is best to be fished in a pontoon boat equipped with a depth finder but can also be effectively fished from a float tube or off the shore. Chrinomidges are the bug of choice right now but moving from May to mid July Calibaetis and Damsels are the menu. The coves are shallow enough to wade in and you can use almost any dry May through July with great results. Evenings can be dynamite with your favorite dry but remember to dress appropriately; it cools way down in the evening.  The scenery there is nice but definitely not the prettiest mountain lake in the state and for the family guys there is plenty of shoreline for the kiddos to safely play on.

Prior to the last few years of drought conditions we at the Drift spent a lot of time learning different waters around the state. We are experts in float tubes, pontoon boats, and even reservoir fishing for giant wiper, bass and carp. I hope that if we do experience runoff this year that you use that time to broaden your horizons and learn a new way to fish.

As always, Connell, Cat, Winston and The Drift Fly Shop would like to thank you for reading and we want to continue to help and support you in your fly fishing adventures/ addictions, so as changes come we hope you continue to lean on us for all your angling needs…..

 

Attention!!!:

A good friend of ours has recently lost his St. Croix rod with reel attached.  The rod went into the water at the first big bend below Valco.  Due to high water he was unable to retrieve it.  The rod may float down a bit or stay in the hole.  So if you are fishing this area and end up pulling out this rod, or if you spot it PLEASE contact us at The Drift (719) 543-3900 or bring the rod to us and we will return it to the owner.  Thanks so much.     







 
 
 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

FOD Kind of Day


  Just wanted to give a quick report on the river and the best word I can use to describe it is inconsistent. Fishing over the last few weeks has brought some great days and some what the heck days. Winston and I got to the water today at about 12:30 and the first half hour was easy money. Fish were feeding well on True Bloods and J Bombs. 2:00 to 4:00 found fishing to be tuff but then I noticed the birds starting to hover at about 4:00. I decide to take my own advice and threw on a FOD and a RS2 and the fish really liked the FOD all afternoon. Hooked quite a few fish today but am still losing almost half. I did hook the prettiest fish I think I have ever seen in P-town but lost him at the net. Birds were still eating bugs when I left at 6:15. I did hook one bird in the air today but luckily when the bird turned the fly popped off with just a couple of small feathers. Not sure why we are seeing inconsistent hatches but beginning to think it is Gods way of telling me I should spend more time on the water experiencing His glory. As always thanks for reading, Connell, Cat, Winston and The Drift Fly Shop…









Thursday, April 18, 2013

Making People Laugh!


  The year was 1978, it was a simpler time when there were no cell phones, mp3’s, cable tv, personal computers (no you tube) and there was no such thing as pirated entertainment. Yep, tv entertainment consisted of abc,nbc,cbs and pbs and if you missed anything it was gone forever and at that time, the funniest man on the face of the earth was a young man named Steve Martin.

  When Christmas eve rolled around I open my first present and saw it was the Wild and Crazy Guy live album from Steve Martin and I was thrilled, see even as a wee lad, I loved comedy. When the gift opening was complete, most of the family headed to my brothers room where he owned the only stereo and turntable in the house. In preparation for hearing King Tut, my younger brother and I grabbed towels and string and made our own Egyptian royalty headwear. We played King Tut over and over while doing the King Tut dance and when we finally had enough we went on to the rest of the album. I remember the Cat Juggling skit and then his next skit he came out and began talking about his new girl friend. He said she had the best p**sy that he had ever seen. My mouth dropped and a million thoughts raced through my head; first was, did he really just say that, and then oh crap, my dad is going to smash this album, and then back to an inward giggle as I knew he just said a bad word. Once again, it was a simpler time and I had only heard this word at school. Well the crowd gasped with a huge huhhhhh and then a pause followed by Steve saying, “oh you people are sick!! You filthy minded people; I was talking about her cat, I can’t believe what you people were thinking”. Well the album did not get broken and I listened to it over and over for years.

  So why am I talking about Steve Martin in a flyfishing blog? Well earlier in the week I posted a blog about a new fly I had been working on and I was shocked to hear the reaction to the name I gave my new fly. I could not believe what filthy minded, sick people actually read my blog. To this day, I still daydream about the firework that I named the fly after. I remember the first time I experienced that firework, I was alone and a little nervous that I would get caught; I lit the fuse and watched with amazement when the rocket shot up in the air and then exploded. After the rocket explode I had to find the remains in order to hide any evidence of what I had just done. I thought this was the most awesome thing I had ever experienced and started daydreaming when I could light another one. I could see how wars could be fought over those fireworks, and to this day I still get excited when I see firework advertisements all because of that first rocket.

  Well on to fishing for the clean minded, Cat and I spent her birthday yesterday on the river. The day was not exactly what we expected, when we woke up and saw the clouds we started lathering up in anticipation of the best day ever.  We were on the water from about 10:30 til about 4:00 with really strange results. With the cloud cover we were not able to spend the majority of the day sight fishing so we had to rely on our experience as to where the fish would be. We caught fish but not exactly what we expected. The bwo’s began to pop around 2:00 and the fish only seemed mildly interested. Cat landed the 2 biggest fish of the day, a 20 and 21 incher and I caught a lot of fish and a couple browns but nothing bigger than 18. The flies of the day were the True Blood in a size 16, the new fly, and Cat caught the 20 incher on a size 16 FOD.

  Now back to the Steve Martin skit, after another long pause he said “that cat was the best **ck I ever had”. Now for our readers I try to keep this blog G rated but do know that on occasion I get a little off track. Some of our readers might get offended but I want to remind our readers that other than the fishing reports, nothing I write should ever be taken seriously. My entire life has been spent trying to make myself and others laugh. As you can tell by my writing, satire is what really trips my trigger. So enjoy, and if you are offended maybe in the future I can highlight just the fishing stuff…but I think that would be really boring. As always, thanks for reading, Connell, Cat, Winston and The Drift Fly Shop….





Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ode to Cat!!! I Wish You the Happiest B-day Ever!!!!!!!


  This may be the most enjoyable blog I ever get to write because I get to thank, tell a story or two, toss in some timeline pics, and generally brag a lot about the most incredible person I know in anticipation of her 30th birthday. Yes, on April 17th, midnight tonight my wife is finally moving out of the spring chicken and into that middle aged hottie phase. My wife and I don’t really do the gifting thing and so I will try to use this medium as a way of showing Cat what she means to me. I wanted to start by telling a story or two about a few of the events that have shaped our last ten years together.

  In the Fall of 2002 I was playing golf at Walkingstick and Cat was along for the walk (this was while we were just dating), I was telling her that usually this time of the year we see tarantulas crawling all over the golf course and how cool it would be if a person was not be terrified by them, let one crawl on their back and then walk up to someone else and start talking to them, and then watch the reaction of the person as they see it crawl over their shoulder and they *oop themselves. Cat sang “she wasn’t scared of spiders or snakes” and then said she really wasn’t scared and that she would let one crawl on her if we saw one and I was like, no way. A few weeks later Cat, Brandon, Zack and I went up to Beaver creek to hang out and play in the water. As the late afternoon started to cool us down and we got back to the car, Cat and the kids took their shoes off because they were soaked and getting chilled. We started driving out of the canyon on the dirt road I could see something up ahead that looked like it might be a medium sized rodent but as we neared I could see it was the most gigantic tarantula I had ever seen. Trying to be funny I stopped the car and told Cat to get out and show us that she was tough enough to play with the monstrosity. She said sure and went ahead and jumped out with Brandon following her. Cat walked up and bent over and tried brushing the tarantula on to her hand. The spider reared up and lunged at her and just barely caught her sock as she jumped out of the way. Brandon had shot back into the car and locked the doors before Cat had even hit the ground. At this point we figured she was done but Cat was not going to let that spider make a fool out of her. She knelt back down and brushed the spider onto her hand and started to walk over to the car to show us. At this point I rolled up all the windows and triple checked to make sure the doors were locked. Cat stood outside my door playing with that tarantula for what seemed like an eternity and had the most incredible grin on her face, the grin could only be rivaled by the one Paul Newman had after eating the 50 eggs in Cool Hand Luke. It was a grin that I will never forget and the go to vision when we are away from each other for any extended period of time. As we were driving back to P-town that day, I looked at her and realized how incredibly special she really was.

 Shortly after we were married Cat expressed her interest in joining one of my fishing adventures so we decided to head up to Grape creek to camp a night and fish. The first evening we were there, Cat caught a small brown on a spinner and I got skunked. And believe me, if you think I pick on Cat when I out fish her, I am still trying to get even from the things she said to me that night. We didn’t sleep very well that night because we had two bears around the van all night, but the next morning we got an early start and headed up the creek. We were up a mile or so and I found this nice bend with an undercut bank and started tossing a Hopper to the inside seem. Every cast and the little bows were taking it like they were starved. I knew Cat grew up bait fishing and had never really seen what flyfishing was all about so I called her over and told her to watch and as the next cast hit the water another rainbow came up an destroyed the hopper. I looked back at Cat and her eyes were bulging and her jaw had dropped about 4 inches, she looked as if she had just had a face to face with Jesus himself. Cat spent the rest of the day in a daze with the images of rising fish streaming through her mind. The next day we went to the flyshop and bought Cat’s first set up and she has not looked back since.

  The last ten years have been the most incredible years of my life and I owe so much of it to my wonderful wife Cat. If I tried writing about all the ways Cat has impacted my life I think I would crash my computer from TMI. I am lucky enough to have this medium to share my gratitude for her on her birthday. Cats 30th birthday is tomorrow on the 17th and I will add some pics from our lives together and some from when she was younger, some are not as flattering as others but hopefully they paint a great picture of Cat’s life. Cat’s schedule at the shop will be a little strange this week because she will be out of town celebrating her b-day this weekend. I have heard so many stories over the years as to how Cat has positively affected different people’s lives and I think the comment section of this blog is a great place to relay b-day wishes and even better, short stories as to what Cat has meant to you and I hope we crash the comment section of this blog from so many thanks. I will always be grateful for the time I get with Cat and hope the next thirty years will be awesome for her as well!!! As always, thanks for reading..Connell, 30 year old Cat, Winston and The Drift Fly shop……..








 
 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Something New....


  Wow, what a day on the river! Over the last month or so I have been noticing way to frequently the fish feeding on some type of bug and not really having any clue as to what it was. Luckily for me I have a biologist wife and a friend and boss that love collecting bugs. Last week while Cat and I were fishing Cat seined the water and showed me the culprit of my frustration and so that night I started working on a new fly. I came up with a pretty good matching pattern and then after seeing another sample Alex collected later in the week I was able to fine tune my masterpiece. I have developed several patterns over the years with the FOD and the Ninja’s being my pride and joys and have not really found the need to stray too much from those patterns. I finished the bug the other night and while trying to decide what to call it I started thinking about one of my favorite fireworks as a kid called the Jizz Bomb. In hopes that this bug can fill me with the same childhood delight as the Jizz Bomb I could not have thought of a better name. The next step was trying it out.

  Got to the water about 10:30 and was glad to see Peek-a-boo was empty. I noticed that the water had come up a little and was a little stained. First cast and nutten, second was money, not big but was happy to see about a fifteen incher with the jizz Bomb stuck in his mouth. I landed a few more in that hole and then started moving down. I saw a lot of fish in really shallow water and went ahead and casted to one. I knew I short casted him and was ready to pull the drift and then I watched him move about 3 feet and grab my stuff. Jazzed to say the least, and when I got him in and saw he had taken the new bug as well I just had to smile. The new fly picked up fish all day with the exception of the half hour BWO hatch when the fly of choice was a RS2. Fish did not seem to be sitting in normal feeding lies today, caught most of the fish today in 10inches or less water. This was definitely the best day I have seen on the water all year, even though the piggies kicked my tail today, I still probably hooked fifty or so with about half to the net.

  I often state that the only thing constant in flyfishing is change. We have watched some many different things happen over the last several years and I am so thankful to have been able to watch the changes. I am not sure if the Jizz Bomb will continue to be a great fly but I do know it was totally awesome toady. I will continue to test it over the next few weeks and if it continues to produce I will share it at May’s open tying. As always thanks for reading, Connell, Cat, Winston and the Drift Fly Shop…..
 
                                    Jizz Bomb 1-3




                                         RS2
 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sweet Memories...


            Memories, how accurate are they?  I remember a par three golf course named Westwood that I would play when I was a kid. From memory the course had a little bit of everything, I remember one hole backed up to apartments and thinking if I skull the shot I may end up breaking a window, hole number 2 was a huge 110 yard carry over a creek. Hole number six I remember as being really long where I would tee off with a wood and then two or three long irons to the green.
           A few years ago I was back in Omaha at the same time as my brother and we decided to get a little nostalgic and go play Westwood again, the first time since we were kids.  The first five holes played like I remembered but going to the long number six I could not believe that it was only 160 yards. A hard wedge was all it took to reach the middle of the green, and I asked myself how was my memory so bad?
        The years I lived up in Winter Park I got to ski almost every day. There was a run on the backside of Mary Jane called Coupler and about half way down there was a boulder launching pad just above a steep drop off. I remember hitting the jump and being what felt like fifteen feet off the ground, my knees still hurt just dreaming of it. A few years back I took my oldest son Zack up to Winter Park for the day and part way through our trip we found ourselves at the top of Coupler. When I realized where we were I got a little lump in my throat and told Zack we had to take the run so I could show him my favorite big air of yesteryear .  We made it down the first pitch and around a few trees and as we came into an opening you could look down and see the boulder and the run disappear below. I asked Zack if he would like to try it and he declined. We skied down to the rock and it was even higher than I remembered, I must have been a total idiot launching off that rock.

         So why am I thinking about memories? If you have been in the shop over the last month and asked me what the fish are eating than what you probably heard me talk about the midges that are currently hatching and then my eyes would start bulging and my mouth would start lathering up and then with a slight drool I would start talking about the BWO’s that should be here any day.   Like the revolutionaries screaming that the red coats were coming I would be shouting the same about the Blue Wings. So with the last few weeks of expectations and the hatches not really materializing I started to question as to how accurate my memory really was. Was it the low water, the bright sunny days, the pressure, why have we not seen what I was dreaming of? I even began wondering if the fish really do gorge on BWO’s as much as my memory serves me. Well I will have to say that I got my first minor glimpse of my good memory today. I got to the water about 1:30p.m. today and the fish were actively munching on midges. I worked my way pretty quickly up the river catching fish everywhere I casted. I got all the way to the Glory hole and started picking up a few fish when I spotted a few BWO’s. About that time noticed several very nice fish move into the feeding lane and I went ahead and switched my rig to a FOD, RS2 and a midge dropper and the fish just tore it up. For half an hour every other cast produced strikes. I would love to tell you that I landed them all but that wouldn’t be even close to the truth, I was still losing at least half but was just too excited to really care. These super picky fish were feeding like crazy. The feeding frenzy only lasted about a half an hour and then they went back to picking at the tiny size 24 midges.

  As I worked my way back I started to think about how special those BWO hatches really are on this river, and I am thrilled they can be as wonderful as I remember. The next few weeks should be outstanding on the river. With the lower water  I don’t think we will be seeing quite the massive hatches that we have seen in the past but just make sure you are fishing when they are popping.

My hint for the blog is for people that aren’t quite sure about signs that the BWO’s are hatching. Watch for the birds, thats right, if the birds are swarming and diving and feeding on something, I can almost assure you that over the next month it will be a bwo hatch. So watch for the birds, get on a FOD or your favorite bwo pattern and hold on…it’s gonna be fun…

As always, thanks for reading, Connell, Cat, Winston and The Drift Fly Shop…………….




 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Out Of Cat's Head....


One of Cats favorite songs of all time is a song by ELO called “I Can’t Get It Out of My Head." The chorus goes like this:

And I can't get it out of my head,
No, I can't get it out of my head.
Now my old world is gone for dead
Cus I can't get it out of my head.

                  If you are a follower of this blog than you know about how difficult I have been on Cat while she was transitioning back to fishing her Z-axis. Every bounced fish I would look at her, shake my head and tease “Remember when you were fishing my Winston and you could land those fish." After several trips out I began to notice that my teasing was sinking in as Cat actually starting to wonder if maybe it was the rod.  To make it worse each time she would have a fish come off I would sing "she can’t get it out of her head" reminding her that it was her rods fault. Now I don’t believe in curses but I do think sometime when a person starts to believe something they can curse themselves.
              Webster defines curse as evil or misfortune coming as if in response to a curse. I remember growing up and every September hearing about the curse of the Bambino and the Cubs curse. I don’t remember the year but I remember Moises Alou going into the corner for the second out in the eighth when they were up 3-0 and 3-2 in the series against the Marlins. A fan reaches over the edge and snags the easy second out of the inning and the Cubs fell apart. The Marlins went on to score eight runs in the inning and then go on and win game seven. Watching the looks on the player’s faces it was as if they knew the curse was going to take them out of the series. I also remember the moment that the Red Sox ended their “curse”, they were down three games to zip to the Yankee’s and down in game four when they went on a roll and won the next four and then I think they swept the series, one hundred years of curse talk out the window.

           Today marked the end of any Winston curse talk for Cat. I think the word epic might be the second most overused word in the English language but Ironically, I don’t think I could describe it any other way. Oh yeah, I think Ironic is the first most overused word. Cat and I got to the water today about 10:30 and from the very first cast the fish were cooperating. Fish were sitting in feeding lanes most of the day and all we had to do was get the bugs in front of them. It seemed every third cast was money it seemed as if the majority ended up in the net. Cat landed the biggest fish today that measured out at 21 inches. Every time I looked over she looked like Manny Ramirez grinning and saying “curse this." Size 22 Ninja and size 24 cream Bling midge were the ticket today. Cat ran her seine through the water today and found quite a few BWO shucks and lots of cream colored midges. We saw a few bwo’s but the wind was blowing pretty hard so we didn’t see a many flying around. We don’t normally keep count but I would guess we may have steered 40 or more to the net, really glad I went fishing today. With the epic day now in the rear view mirror, I hope Cat will be able to start listening to the ELO song again and enjoy it without the image of me holding a Winston out and smiling at her. The Cubs still battle with their “curse” but the “curse of the Winston is over….

      April is here and fishing is turning on all over. Yesterday I went with Cat to a big wig meeting in Silverthorne and fished while she was in her meeting. I have fished the Blue on several occasions but have never seen so many feeding fish. I only landed five but hooked and lost one that was definitely over 20. One of our friends was up river on the Ark yesterday and said it would be more difficult not catching fish. I started looking through some of his pics but my ADHD made me quit looking at 15. Fishing here in P-town should remain very good throughout April as long as the Water cooperates. As always, thanks for reading and I hope your days on the water are blessings and never curses. Connell, Cat, Winston and The Drift Fly Shop….






 
                                         Prize on the Blue.....