Tag: hatches

The overabundance of PMDs filled the tent with noxious fumes

There is a time for dredging flies – a healthy supply of free-living caddis and stonefly nymphs lingering around is one of them. Big chunks of lead are required; bobbers indicators are optional, and recommended. At dawn and dusk (and noon) slinging raw meat is ok too – flies with names like Zoo Cougar, Stacked Blonde, and Sex Dungeon add to the fantasy. But when the bugs are so thick you wish you had a tanker truck of DEET sitting in the lot just to spare the aggravation, the previously mentioned fly fishing methodologies should be filed under “last resort.”

Tis’ summer, and summer means insects. Ripe, juicy, egg dropping, hatching, flying creatures. Bugs so thick you are blinded by desire. In this case foreplay is packaged in a well-greased eleven foot leader. Ready for surface action.

To watch a trout sip your dry fly is to understand perfection. Sheer like Hustler Magazine apparel for tippet, a Dwight Howard driving from the free throw line single-handed dunk for a cast, and a drift so drag free that Lockheed is using it to model the next stealth fighter. Wrapped into one, ready and raring to rip a lip upon serving.

Last weekend’s adventure was comprised of checking the weather, noticing expected highs near 80F, and then scratching our head from the parking lot as carload after carload of anglers donned waders, vests, full-on packs, and marched the 200 yards to the stream to sweat their ever-living butts off. We on the other hand traveled Tibetan monk style, with a handful of PMDs and a few Barr’s Emergers similarly colored, to lay a Letterman-esque embarrassment upon anyone and everyone who dared stake out water within an eyeshot of us.

Somewhere along the way someone noted that it’s all about being there. To which I declare hogwash. Fly fishing is about catching fish, and doing so means being prepared. If group after group of anglers step into holes, get skunked, and we follow up by charging into those same spots and clearing a dozen or more fish out of the place in the next hour (while they watch in dismay from the sidelines), so be it.

Doing so with dry flies is just icing on the cake. See you at the bar, masters of the obvious. [Note: obvious means a plethora of fish, visible from the bank, in a certain hole on the stretch; not so obvious to the tourists crowding the hole is that said trout have seen every pattern in every fly box from here to Timbuktu.]

Commiseration, camaraderie, companionship? How’s about a couple of thirty fish days using rods labeled “noodle” in black Sharpie across their tubes? Taking an hour thirty for lunch, and quitting at three. Or just leaving Sunday at noon, passing dozens of geared-up muthas fiddling with their fly boxes. As you head to the lot…with a shit-eating grin on your face.

If I need another friend I’ll pick my dog up from the sitter’s. Heck…I don’t even expect to make friends with the trout, and as the PMDs and midges were blanketing the water so thick we considered trying to walk across their backs to the other side of the river, the fish weren’t exactly inviting us over for tea either. It was undeniable dry fly mayhem.

The world is a constant balancing act – yin and yang, right and wrong. The fishing was out-of-this-world, and many trout now have sore mouths. Two nights in a row the Colorado State Parks service booted camping spot reservations to accommodate us, and some anonymous folks might opine that a certain sheriff’s office needs to get their officers brushed up on a obscure law of our land entitled the 5th Amendment to the US Constitution.

Trout feasted on a seemingly never-ending meal, fit for kings…

And the anglers responded, likewise aristocratically…

We forgot, however, that the fish don’t have to share space in a barely two-person single wall tent.

MG signing off (to air out the gear)

The early birds caught the trout, but the old guys had better snacks

Tim Marek whispering fish onIf you’re going to hit the upper South Platte, might I suggest getting up early. Notoriously windy afternoons aside, it’s been clear in South Park the last few days. The water is running around 200cfs, and just as spotless as the afternoon sky. The fish are spookier than a Steven King flick, but there is still plenty of opportunity…particularly for the early bird.

On last visit, main man [Tim] Marek and I picked up measly half-dozen fish. And we missed probably twice that, which was particularly ugly since we were sight fishing a good portion of the time. When you make three casts to a rainbow that’s hopping between feeding lanes like a stock car making up ten places in a crowded pack, only to look away the very moment it actually eats the fly, you deserve every denigrating comment your spotter throws your way thereafter. I spent the majority of my day on the receiving end of what we’ll hereinafter categorize as blunt criticism.

Nate Taylor and a classic South Platte footballMeanwhile, lieutenants Greg Drapeau and Nate Taylor, who we expected to bump into there, were wading in shorts and beach sandals. They had their flies weighted down like a mob accountant’s feet after turning state’s evidence. And while they didn’t fare any better than us from noon to dark, their description of the morning made us think that breakfast isn’t necessarily for champions. Greg reminded us (with fervor) that he had picked up ten fish between 7am and 9am, and before Nate even got on the scoreboard, but conceded his partner in crime caught up quick. Any twenty fish day on the South Platte is a damn good one, particular since anything under fourteen inches is considered a dink in this section (and usually gets eaten by their cousin the predator unless it hides six inches below the stream bed for the first two years of its life).Greg Drapeau and a sweet rainbow

Flies of the day for our South Platte jaunt could be summed up in one word, caddis. While Tim did get one trout to sip a stimulator, up or down the key to success was everyone’s favorite early summer bug. Hatches occurred throughout the day, but winged sightings were sporadic so we fished a lot of pupa and larvae patterns. And while we did pick up some stonefly larvae in the grass, the fish just weren’t interested in bonafide meat – even a dusk time jaunt down river with big rods and even bigger flies didn’t produce a single strike.

Hindsight is sometimes 20/20, but in the case of fly fishing half the battle is just plain luck of the draw. The aging (or should we say realistic about their age) half the crowd got lucky at our traditional pit stop the Silverheels – there was a wide selection of lunch fave, the gourmet Millonzi’s sandwich, to choose from. Our meal kicked butt as a result, while I imagine the younger crowd snacked on crackers and Cheez Wiz. Knowing the lay of the land always makes for a fine day, and is a definitive product of experience.

Or at least that’s what we told ourselves repeatedly during the drive home, drowning out the reality that we got plain out-fished because we’re old it takes a dozen cups of $10/pound coffee to get us started in the morning.

For the love of bugs

Snow fell here two nights ago, and although signs of it where gone by midday the next, the message was clear: winter isn’t over yet.

Some pass the time tying flies, while others drink beer and watch fish porn. But the klan is really just waiting for the bugs to bust out.

bugfest-on-my-knee

You know, the majority of humankind doesn’t wish for bugs.  Although considered consumable delicacies in many parts of the two-footed terrestrial world, bugs generally get a bad rap.  Meanwhile, they set the fly fishing set’s hearts aflutter.

We want them so thick that they harass and harangue our eyes and ears.  Get sucked up our noses, and rest on our sandwiches.  Found floating in stream-side beverages, and then tossed into the lions’ den.  They come home with us, attached to the windshield interiors.  Discovered dead in our gear bags, sometimes weeks later.

Friends we call them – best friends. When and where there are bugs, there is bliss. As long as you fly fish.

Spring is officially just one month away.  Yet I’m still buggin’.