The Ramblings of a Fly Fisherman

North Platte River - Wyoming

I finally made the North Platte trip a reality. What can I really say about it? Matt and I took the float from Bennett Peak to Saratoga staying the night on Treasure Island. The trek is approximately 24 miles long. This area of Wyoming is absolutely beautiful and the river was easily navigated for a novice such as myself. Fishing was a little slow in the beginning, but I attribute that to our unfamiliarity with the river and the wind… boy was the wind bad the first day! For the first few miles, we saw lots of surface activity from trout. Most were targeting Caddis, but as the Green Drakes started to arrive to the party, the attention soon turned in their direction.

On the second day, we started out a little earlier and the temperature was quite a bit colder. The magic combination seemed to be a Pat’s Rubber Legs in tandem with a size 14 Prince. Once we tied this up, nearly every deep seam appeared to result in a nice hookup. Most of the trout that we caught were in the range of 16+ inches with one breaking off, that we only saw briefly at the surface, that appeared to be in the 25 inch range. I am sure as time passes and that story gets told a few more times, he will grow even more.


My Trip to the Frying Pan

I visited the Frying Pan River over the weekend with my friends Matt, Connor, and Adam. First of all, the scenery was beautiful. The water was perfectly clear and running at 95cfs, the surrounding cliffs were unforgettable, and the weather could not have been better for fly fishing. After a night of limited sleep suffering through Adam’s snoring, we hit the water at about 9:30am. Things started out slow initially, but after a few hours, we began to get a little activity in the pocket water lining the river on the opposite bank from the road, no doubt attributed to the quickly rising temperatures in the area. After seining a few spots and experimenting with a hand-full of patterns, I was able to start enticing trout to my line using the rojo, CDC pheasant tail, and a bead-head zebra midge. Nymphing these patterns showed some limited success, but the river bottom itself was so covered in silt and algae in most areas, you would actually spend more time cleaning your flies than fishing your lane. Using a dry-dropper was far more effective and allowed for a more variable presentation at the bottom by doing nothing more than changing the dropper length based on the area being targeted.

Overall, we caught about 30 trout all together. We caught both browns and rainbows ranging in size from 10 to 19 inches. I would call that a successful trip and a fun weekend out with the guys. I hope to do this again soon!

Eleven Mile Canyon

This was my first time out fly fishing this year. Alyssa and I headed down to Eleven Mile Canyon to see how conditions this time of year would be and to try our luck using a few new patterns that I tied over the winter. What I liked most about this trip was the fact that not only did we catch some nice trout, but we nearly had the whole place to ourselves. The best producer by far during this trip… The Barr’s Emerger!

I have read a lot over the winter about the Barr’s Emerger. It is a pattern originally created by John Barr and is intended to imitate a partially developed dun. I didn’t see a lot of surface activity this weekend, but after seining the water, I did discover many varieties of mayflies floating though the water column nearing this stage of development. After tying one on and allowing a mid-column drift, it was clear what the trout were focusing their efforts on. This remained relatively consistent throughout the day.

The Barr's Emerger
Cutbow at Eleven Mile Canyon

The Rogue Stone

It has been a while since my last post, so I figured I would start updating you on my latest creations. Since winter set in, I have been refilling my fly boxes that had become greatly diminished throughout the summer and fall due to the many trips around the state. Alyssa and I visited the Taylor where we spent some time hooking up with several nice rainbows and browns. We also fished the Big Thompson, the South Platte, Clear Creek, and Bear Creek. These are all great areas here in Colorado! However; let’s not forget our time meandering through the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee where the fish may not have been monsters, but the tranquility and solitude that the area provided more than made up for the lack of trophy trout available for us. Overall it was a great season!

Let’s see… While tying a few hoppers, I realized that I had never tied any salmon flies and this is odd because it is a hatch that I love to fish. When these bugs are on, the river comes alive with activity and you feel almost as if you are in a Wild West shoot out as you cast toward so many aggressively feeding trout. The pattern that I started working on is called the Rogue Stone. This is a great fly to fish and it follows my theme of practicing more extended body patterns.

This pattern was originally created by Jack Schlotter as a durable imitation of the black stone flies he witnessed in his local town of Medford, Oregon. There are many different adaptations to this pattern, but some of the most recent that I have fished actually alter the wing to look more damaged or splayed adding to the realism. After all, stone flies don’t often land on the surface of the river with their wings perfectly folded, but rather they appear spread out and sometimes even stuck within the surface film. Add a little color variation and blacken the last segment to imitate a cluster of eggs and you have a fly that will reap havoc anywhere salmon flies are being targeted.