Sunday, September 16, 2007

Great Warm Water Fly fishing

Well the weather was cold, cloudy and with just a slight mist in the air, perfect fishing weather for this Scotsman. I got up early and headed for the local fly fishing store (Yes they have those in Kansas as well) and picked up some flies that I thought would work in my little hidden pond. After a little chatting and my looking at the fly tying equipment with envy thinking on of these days I headed home and called the Crazy Irishman that I been trying to get out to try this type of fishing. About 5:30 we headed for the pond. I started with a little popper that I had had great luck with in the recent past but the fish were not taking it at all. The Irishman was fighting to get his cast going and using a bigger bug just under the surface of the water and getting a bite or two but nothing in yet. OK time to change. I went back and tied on a brown beaded gig and headed for the overflow out let. First cast and boom a small little crappie. Well the Irishman decided to give the same area a try and boom he caught his first ever non-trout fish on a fly rod. You could see the excitement as he looked up and told me that was more fight than he expected. We continued on for about 1 1/2 more hours we lost count since we were catching a crappie about every 3rd cast. This is the type of fishing that just keeps you smiling, you never feel the arm tiring and my hands were getting so slimy from getting the fish of the hook that we were worried about the grip on the rod but you just can not stop. Finally we have to call it a night since it was getting so dark that you can not see the fly even hit the water. I still had not caught the one thing I wanted, a large mouth bass so I decided to give one more throw. And the line took off as soon as the fly hit the water. The fish was fighting like a bass but had not come to the top of the water yet. Then the surface broke and the fight was over. The damned fish spit the fly out like it was nothing. Damn fish. Well it was now fully dark and a nice cup of coffee was sounding better and better so we headed home. Maybe next time I can get another fight of a life time from that monster bass I know is lurking in there some where.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Vicious Tag and Great Fishing

Saturday morning and I am up, though after the night that I had I was not happy about it. This was one of those night that you just wish that you could turn around and start over again. I am not proud to say that I was fooled by a plastic tag. Part of camping in the RMNP is that they give you a plastic tag that says how many are in your group, what camp site is yours and for how long. This tag is to be carried on your backpack on the way up and down and hung on your tent while at the site. During this particular night the wind had come up and I was awaken by something scratching at my tent. Thinking that it was one of my fellows trying to be funny I gave a questioning query to which I got the reply that they didn't hear anything. Well no wonder with the way they were snoring. So being the pitch of night, a bit chilly and my bladder deciding that it needed to be full I listened and at the next scratching session set to making as much noise as possible to scare the fearsome creature outside my tent off. I tried and tried several time to no avail. Well my bladder was not letting me off the hook so I decided to brave it. I put on my boots, grabbed the head light and headed out to face this persistent creature. Well I get out, look around and nothing. Not a thing was moving. I look around and just as I was turning to face the tent, scratch scratch scratch. Aw Ha, I have you know, and around the tent I scramble. Nothing. Then I see it. That damn plastic tag is fluttering in the breeze and in doing so is scraping the side of the tent. All I can say is, wow what a moron I was.

Well as I stated it was morning and I am not at all rested. We make a quick breakfast and I head for the stream with my trusty Fly Rod in hand. Here again, Disappointment. Wow am I feeling the relaxing moments or what. The fish are not biting on any thing that I am slipping them. Ok, well the sun is just now reaching the stream bed and warming things up so, yes it is time for a nap. An hour and a half later, I am feeling truly better with life having just made up on the sleep that I missed. So on ward I go. Well mother nature must have decided to take pity on me as she started having the fish bite. An they were not picky at all this time. Black ants, black spiders, Grasshoppers. They took them all. I love this river is all I can say, just do not fish it early as the fish are apparently not morning fish and need a bit of sun and a couple cups of coffee before feeling hungry.

Monday, September 10, 2007

And we are off in RMNP

It is 11am and we are off on the Lawn Lake trail in search of the Greenback Cutthroat trout and a quite weekend. For those that do not know this trail, let just say OWWWWW. It starts out right away with a whole set of switchbacks to climb 1200 ft in less than a mile. Now that may not sound to awfully bad for some but for those of us that spend most of our time at sea level where there is this wonderful thing called oxygen, this is a bit of a climb. The true reward of this is the views that you get along the way. As you climb you get a full panoramic scene of the valley and the mountains that surround it. Absolutely beautiful. It is 3 miles from Trail head to camp site and the last 2 miles follow the Roar River. This river is a bolder field to say the least. It is fed by Lawn lake where in the past history had a dam break that caused the Big Thompson flood. All sights in the Rocky Mountain National Park have to be reserved as there are very few of them but the ones they do offer are first class for back country. The sight we were using was just over a little wood bridge that crossed the roaring. The sites all have pads set up that are leveled out for tents and to our utter astonishment, they have privies. Now I have done a bit of back country camping in my time and usually the time you need to spend with nature to relieve ones self is done by finding a tree for support and digging a cat whole. But here we were treated to first class accommodations. Well with camp set up it was time to see how the fish are biting.

Friday, September 7, 2007

A New Day and the excitment is starting

It is 6am and I am finally in Denver. Now being of Scottish decent this is an annual trip for me as the weekend after Labor day every year is the Longs Peak Scottish Festival in Estes Park, Co and I am a regular attendee. This year is different. I am traveling with my long time Friend, a damn Irishman at that, and is father and we are going to back pack up to the Roaring River in Rocky Mountain National Park. I have done quite a bit of Fly Fishing out here but this time I am really excited as we are going after a fish that I have never caught, the GreenBack Cutthroat Trout. This is one of only three native fish that are still around in Colorado. They were thought to be extinct due to their habitat being taken over by the non-native trouts like Browns and Brookies, but were rediscovered and have now been successfully re-established in several streams. The Roaring is one such stream. I have camera in tow as these fish are catch and release only, which is the way I fish anyway, and so will want record of the catch. Look for posts later this weekend to see if we were successful.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Practice turns to Wonder

In preparation of my up coming and highly anticipated trip to the Roaring river in Rocky Mountain National Park, I took some time this weekend to go and practice my casting. I have a secluded little farm pond north of where I live that is full of all sorts of small "game" fish. Now I truly love trout fishing with my fly rod. I attribute it to the places that I get to go when fishing for the ever elusive barracuda of the fresh water. The high mountain stream are in some of the most breath taking country that one person could ever get to see. That alone makes it worth it, but throw in the excitement of seeing that lone trout gliding just under the surface of that crystal clear stream come up and snap the fly off the top of the water and you truly know peace. But with all of that, there is still a great deal of excitement to be had just catching a fish, and large mouth bass on a fly rod has got to rank up there just below the trout. This fish is known for its mind blowing takes on the top of the water. Throw in the strength and fight this breed has and you got a winner. This weekend I planned on just going out to practice. I started out just short casting to get my timing down and then moving further and further out. Well that was the plan. My first cast was anything but perfect but I decided I needed to practice the retrieve as well so I started moving the fly across the top of the water. I had just got the tention out of the line when BOOM, I had a strike and the line was running fast. Now I had no intention of catching anything but maybe some blue gill so was only using a 4wt rod. Well this fish had my 4wt bent to the breaking point and the line was running out as fast as I could let it. I fought this fish for about 3 minutes which seemed like an hour the whole time thinking what a monster and if I can only get it in I would have a trophy to show. Well we fought our battle and finally the fish decided he had enough and came to shore. I was so excited, fumbling for the net thinking if he is that big I need to be careful and get him netted quickly. Well I did everything right, got the net down and under and lifted the fish out of the water. This is where the wonder of this species of fish always makes you go wow. The fish only weight 2 1/2 pounds yet had given my rod and me a work out. That is fishing and I will always take fly fishing for trout any day but with out that option, give me a Large mouth bass any day.