Monday, December 31, 2012

New Zealand Holiday

The first fish of the trip that was netted

Finally something to talk about

The smaller fish is the size that I would get in the USA typically and the bigger one is what I typically expect in the North island of New Zealand
I have been traveling around New Zealand fly fishing at all the old streams that I use to fish. The South Island turned out to be a complete failure. We only saw one fish on the Ashburton. Dickey's road looked really good this time of year and on the second cast I had a fish hooked, but it was jumping like crazy and got off. We had a few large trout chase down our flies, but give up at the end. On the way back up to the Picton ferry we stopped at a lot of places. At the Ashley river I got a 2" fish on a size 14 caddis, not the start we wanted but it looks like we were finally going to get some trout. We stopped at the Wairau River that had a nice wide holding area and it did not disappoint. The rise started just after we got there, but even if I could cast my whole floating line I would just be getting to the fish. Still it was amazing to see what looked like 3-4lb trout rising all over the water. So that was our South Island and it kind of blowed like the strong winds that can come through.

Now based in Taupo you would think that we would be fishing the lake, but without a boat and trying to keep away from the other anglers we stayed out of the Taupo region. Therefore, we also did not have to pay for an additional licence. Taupo is fishing amazingly well this year with people reporting limits with in a few hours of starting to rig (not fly fishing). We decided to fish dam to dam up the Waikato river and we started to see a lot of rising fish and even started to get a few larger trout. Still hoping to catch at least a +5lb trout before I leave, not sure I will get that +10lb trout, but that would be great.  

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Salmon Fly

I ordered some feathers from and they turned up about two days after ordering and they were an amazing quality, so I started on a fly that I had seen in a few books. Did make some changes to suit the material that I had and then I decided to tie it on a 4/0 hook, even though I had a 7/0 that the pattern requested. I really like how it turned out and plan on getting some more peacock eyes to set if I can make the 7/0 version.


Friday, November 16, 2012

The 2nd fly as promised

This took some time to actually get around to photographing. It is another freestyle fly to practice a few techniques and get ready for some real patterns once I get together all the material required.

Initially I did not have the throat, but since the mohair did not comb out as much as I wanted I added the throat to try and balance the fly. The topping on this fly was almost where I wanted it, but it seems to disappear at the head and that is something that I need to work on still with all my flies. The tippets in the tail seems to short and splay out. I can not wait to get the right size peacock herl as this looks really bad. Also, it would have looked better if the body had some tapper to it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Freestyle - salmon fly

This is my latest fly off the vise. It is more of a practice for getting the wing to sit properly and trying out body types. I actually put the topping in boiling water this time to straighten out the stem so it would sit straight. I still have an issue with getting it to sit how I wanted it to. I am really happy with the fly and hope to have a photo of another fly I tied over the weekend up later this week. Also, I finally found a mono filament that makes a good gut substitute, also three is better than one.

Monday, October 29, 2012

St Varin - CO

This week saw a  bit of a snow storm come in and we had a couple of days of snow and then a pretty cool weekend.

The original plan was to go to Lagerman Res. and hunt down some pike before ice formed on the lake. So I got up pretty early and drove down to Vic’s to grab a coffee before heading towards Lagerman Res. Upon arriving at the lake the sun was peaking over the hills and there was no wind, however when I got out to have a look around it was a lot colder than I expected. So the plan changed, and it changed to trout; but where to go. So I headed home, grabbed a bunch of fly boxes, waders, more socks and clothes to fight the cold. I consider the St Varin home water, but I have not fished it much and what time I have spent on it has not been very successful. So I drove to a few spots and looked around and finally decided on a section to fish. The first section was pretty low and lacked any sign of fish, however I did end up catching a trout without even seeing it or knowing about it until I went to cast again. This was my first time back on a trout stream for a while so I was feeling like a beginner again and also it seemed like I was walking on marbles half the time.

After my first fish I got into so good water and started to see trout where I expected to see them. Out of a bunch of there was a pretty sizable one at the head of the group so I decided to pick on that guy and forget about what happened to the rest. After a few fly changes I found that he was interested in a midget larva pattern (basically a holographic bead head, thread body and copper ribbing). The fish gave a pretty good battle and it was all worth it. The rest of the time was pretty hard going as the sun was pushing my shadow further in front of me making my presents known by all the fish before I could see them. All that I saw was the wake from the trout as they made for the rocks and holes.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Lagerman Res. - Longmont - CO

I was looking through the maps on for a place to go fishing for pike and I found that Lagerman Res. was close to where I lived and they do stock pike. So I set off to see what it was like. Right now it is pretty free of vegetation and one section of the reservoir is closed for a period of the time during the year for birds, but it is open now. From what I have read, you can catch walleye on the east side, but the normally closed of section looked good for cruising pike. I fished all the way around the reservoir and only saw a couple of dead pike on the rocky sides. When I got around the the flats I did see a cruising pike, but it was not interested in what I had on. The flats look great for cruising fish and once I saw some carp I turned to a small crayfish and was able to bring one to the net. I also spent some time casting to an orgy of carp, but they were either not eating or were to busy eating something that I did not have. Looks like I will be back here to see if I can get some more carp and a possible northern pike.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hygiene Lakes - Longmont, CO

Another weekend and another day out trying to get some big fall bass. The wind had pickup this week and the action had slowed off. I did see quite a few bass close to shore, but nothing was really taking any thing. If you know the lakes and the back lake there is a feeder pipe that the bluegills like to hang around, but today there was about three pretty nice sized bass and I was happy to get one. I did not have my normal camera and the one I had was on my super crappy DVD recorder.

Looking about going out and trying for some Fall crap at McCall tomorrow (I have no idea if you can catch fall crap), or possibly go to Lagerman Res. to see what it is like and if it is possible to get some pike. Originally I was planning on going to Gross Res. for salmon, but I am not up for the drive; could try during the week on the way home.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Hygiene Lakes - Longmont, CO

Over the last couple of weeks I have been out at Gross Reservoir hoping for a chance meeting with a school of salmon that were running to their breeding grounds. However, it seems like either the water is not cold enough or the water level is too low for the salmon to run far enough up the inlet. All over the shore is schools of small (3-4”) trout that are willing to inspect anything thrown their way, but to inspect before running for the depth of the lake. Until the salmon start to run there is still the thrill of fall fishing for bass. At this time of year the big bass are packing on the pounds and are looking for that big fat meal with not effort, therefore slow moving fish or crayfish hiding out between the weeds. This weekend was my first time out for the fall bass and it did not disappoint. On Saturday I went out for the last two hours of daylight, but it was the last 10 minutes before I was able to fool a bass into taking a white rabbit strip stream fished slow and deep.

Due to the late success of the day before I decided to head out a little earlier, also today the sky was completely blue which may hinder the bite, but only time would tell. Armed with a crayfish pattern freshly tied off the vise, I decided to hit up some of the other lakes around Hygiene that I have not really visited. I saw several bass waiting close of the shore and some patrolling the shallow waters, but every cast sent them running or running before I even got a cast off. The first fish came when I let the crayfish settle to the weedy bed.

I decided to move on through another two lakes, but did not see or feel a fish. Moving to the final lake in the set I spend several hours casting into the dark depths of the lake, but with no luck. I then decided to change to the white rabbit strip streamer that worked the day before. Balancing on a downed tree about five meters from shore the white rabbit did the job. Not a big bass, but a bass none the less.

By now the sun was low in the sky and the number of fisher people was picking up. Additionally, my time on the lake was eating into dinner making time. On the way back to the car I decided to throw out the white rabbit into some nice looking water filled with bluegills. The third and final fish of the day succumbed, victim to the wiggling lure of the rabbit strip on top of the glittery white chenille body.

All in all, the first trip out for some fall bass was a great success. Now back to the vise to fine tune my crayfish pattern and to fill my boxes with rabbits for all those hungry bass.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Parvin Lake

This weekend was all about getting a fish to bite and then let it go about a minute later and not getting it landed.

I went out to Parvin Lake, which is part of Red feathers lakes, last weekend and really did not get up to much apart from see what it is like. This weekend I decided to go again and walk around the whole lake. I was mainly casting a brown or black heavily weighted rabbit. I got around half of the lake and had only hooked one trout which broke off before I could get the fight under control. However, the surprise of the day was yet to happen. As I was standing waist deep in water thinking about where the hell all the trout were I looked down to my right at a submerged tree and right next to it looked to be a something that had a very fishy shape. I was not really too sure what it was, but I noticed the back fin was waving so either it was a really big trout or a Tiger muskie. So I tossed out the streamer I had on and got the fly to go past the front of the fish, the fish moved its head to the left and gave away that it was a muskie. So I replaced the streamer I had on with a more heavily weighted black rabbit and one with the biggest hook I had, a size 6 (barbless). Now if I got this muskie on the line I was thinking that it was going to be a very short fight as I was using a 5 wt line and a 5lb leader, but it was worth ago. So I tossed out the fly and this time the muskie took the streamer and with a big jerk of the rod I had my first muskie on any kind of fishing gear. The first thing he did was go aerial and after one big splash I thought that was going to be it for my fly line. But I and it held out and it looked like he was trying to bury his nose in the lake bottom. As I moved in to make sure I was not snagged he took off again and with this jump the fly came right back at me and hit me in the body.

After that the fishing did not pick up for me, but people on float tubes started to arrive and catch trout out in the middle of the lake and that was kind of where I expected them to be. All in all it was a good day, but could have been amazing.

For those that have not see a tiger Muskie here is a photo of one from someones website, these guys are not small. Makes the pickerels that I was catching in PA look like babies.

Monday, September 3, 2012

More bass

Had a bit of time during the weekend to get out and go bass fishing. I found the only fish I caught sitting close to the shore and watching bluegills. However, the first time I cast to him he took off, but he came back after about 10 mins and this time he went start for my black rabbit strip stream. It was a nice fish for where we were.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Salmon fly number 3

Since my fly boxes are full again I decided that it was time to get back to tying some salmon flies. The fly I tied was done over about a week to get everything the way I wanted it. The only thing I am really not happy with is the cheeks are not sitting in the right place on this side of the fly, while the other side looks better. This fly has been mounted and will end up on my wife's desk at her work. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Walker ranch and Sandbeach lake

4.5 miles and 2000 ft in higher elevation leads to a lovely little lake called Sandbeach lake. When we arrived there were a few people around, but they were not fishing. From what the guide book said, this lake should hold greenback cutthroats and it could get really windy. For us it was nice and calm and the fishing was pretty good. Casting a hopper with a pheasant tail nymph trailing you could watch the trout come up out of the deep and make a charge at the hopper. I was having some really issues with hooking fish as I go about six trout, but five were on the nymph as I was to slow or fast with the dry fly.

Included in this post are some photos of walker ranch in boulder county.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Bass, bluegills and trout

The old trout rod has been getting a bit of a workout, with trips out to hook into some bass and trout. With the bluegills sitting on their nests the bass are getting up close to the shore and easy to spot. Even though I am really no expert at catching bass on the fly my wife and I have had some success. So far our best bass have been a 17" and a 14". The 14" was the first bass my wife got to the net but it was about the 5th bass of that size that she has hooked and lost before getting to close enough to net.

As well as getting into the bass we have been exploring south boulder creek in walker ranch and this weekend we had a lot of good water to ourselves. We ended up getting a reasonable number of decent sized brown trout to the net. The day did end with us watching a thunder storm roll in and a mad dash to get off the river and out of our waders. The storm held off for a few minutes to allow us to start the one mile climb up the hill before the rain came and then some pretty big lightening strikes before we made it to the car. I feel pretty sorry for the people that we passed on the way out, as our car was the only one in the car park so they would have had at least a 4 mile walk to the next car park.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Carp on the Berry

Looks like I have been neglecting to post how life is in Colorado, to say the least it is hot and full of smoke, but that has not stopped me from getting out and fishing.

I have been trying for ages to get a Carp on the fly rod and over the last two weekends it has finally happened; TWICE. The first time I did not have a camera so it was a bit hard to say it happened. However, on with the story. I had been fishing at a lake pretty close to my apartment all summer and noticed a mulberry tree near the waters edge, and two weeks ago I noticed that the lower branches were loaded with berries and it kept bobbing up and down. It was not due to a bird, but there were 3 carp under the branch picking berries. So I got out the biggest blackest fly I had and gentling placed it under the tree. After about 5 tries one carp looked skyward and looked at it before moving back to the real deal. By now my fly was more of a sinker instead of a floater and this turned the table. As I watched my line float under the tree it took a right angle turn and it was CARP ON!!!!. I have heard carp could either be fighters or duds, this guy was in the fighting category. He took me in and out several times, but never to the backing. The old 6/7 weight rod was like an old man at his fly tying desk tying size 26 midges, all bent over with not an inch of flex left in him. Finally after 20 mins he beached himself and I was able to let old golden go. First carp and it was a good 4 pound fish.

The next time I went out I was loaded with double mulberry rigs, one floater and one sinker. Under the same tree were the hungry carp, but this time a bird in the tree was knocking berries down to them. After losing one whole rig to the tree god and then the bottom fly to another tree I was able to convince a crap that foam did taste like a mulberry. Once hooked it was another good 15-20 min fight and another 4 pound carp in the bag. This time I was lucky enough to have my dad filming the whole thing and also finally a photo of a carp in hand.

Next time I am going to hold out for the 5 pound plus sized carp.

Monday, May 14, 2012

I got some 5/0 hooks in about a week ago and finally got some time to sit down and tie one of these giants. I have to say the wing turned out alot better than I had hoped.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Two more salmon flies

Here is my latest flies that I have been working on. I really like the look of the flies, but I still have lots of work to do to improve them.

Top fly: Need to get the throat length right, the under wing should sit along the length of the hook shaft instead of up on an angle, the mallard needs to follow the under wing properly, there is a bump between the tinsel and floss which will improve if I can reduce the number of thread turns. What I do like about the fly is the silk is really nice and a spoon is a good tool for smoothing the floss.
Bottom fly: This fly almost broke me as I made 2 pairs of married wings with 5 sections, but the turkey is just really fat at the tie in point and it kept breaking the marriage, so I went with this wing instead. The head is way to fat and that is mainly due to the turkey. I also need to work on the tinsel, but I tied this before the top fly and my tinsel work is far better now.

These flies are all on 2/0 hooks which makes them a bit squashed up, I have ordered some 4/0 blind eye hooks and goose shoulders so that I can get better dimensions and married wings in the future.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Just spent last night setting the wings on this fly. It took me two hours to set the under wings and over wing to a stage that I really liked. I ended up doing each side of the over wing separately as I could not get it right at the same time.


Hook: 0/2
Thread: 70 denier white
Wax: Bill Bailey's white wax
Butt: small oval tinsel, green floss, natural golden pheasant crest, and peacock herl
Lower body: Red floss and green floss rib
Upper body: Yellow dubbing, barred hen hackle, and yellow dyed guinea throat hackle
Under wing: Lady Amherst and golden pheasant
Over wing: Kori Bustard
Head: Peacock herl and then 70 denier black to cover the white thread

Almost all my supplies are from a great site for getting exotic feathers and tools for traditional salmon flies.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Salmon Flies

I finally got around to putting all the salmon flies that I have tied into boxes.

Top - My first salmon fly "rusty rat", this was tied with what I had at the time so it was not really a rusty rat.

Middle - This was my second try at tying the "rusty rat", this time I had most of the material that I needed except the peacock was standard herl not from the a peacock sword or body or head feathers which makes it look very straight. However, I really liked the look of this fly and the body was very smooth.

Bottom - This fly was practice for tying on golden pheasant crests, as you can see I did not have any natural coloured crests (but I do now, thanks to I should have put a throat on this fly to balance the fly, but when I remembered I had already super glued the head.

This a set of Lady Amherst feather wing flys. They are not a true Lady Amherst, but still they look nice. From the top to the bottom I was changing the body sections from 1 to 3 sections with different coloured floss so that I would improve my floss wrapping to get a smooth looking body.

I finally got my order from so I could make some Dee flies (Top) and then some mated wing flies. I have not started to make mated wings as I am still in the process of trying to get just a standard wing to sit properly.

Top - This is my attempt at a Dee fly, but I did not have any spey feathers so I just used pheasant tail, problem with the pheasant tail is it is very stiff and also mates very easily. The Mallard wing was pretty easy to tie on.

Middle, Bottom - These two flies were my practice for trying to get wings to sit properly. They are tied with Kori Bustard, which I was not expected to get but was in the package from Both flies are not perfect, but were a lot of fun to tie.

Hopefully, I will get around to trying to do mated wings this week.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Lessons learnt

This is my 6th attempt at tying a fully dressed salmon fly and there were so many lessons learnt with this one fly. Firstly to get the golden pheasant crests to the desired shape they need to be soaked in water for about 30 mins and then you can create the curve by placing the fly on a flat surface with lots of water and then let the crests dry slowly as the water evaporates. To improve my butt section smoothness the tinsel needs to be stripped before tying to reduce the bump caused by the tinsel and also it is better to snip the tinsel at the end of the butt as to not cause issues in the main body. I am using uni-tread floss which is actually two twisted threads together and it is best to untwist these treads and use only one thread to get the best smoothness. To bulk up the body waxed dental floss is the best. Not only does it allow you to bulk up the body quickly and cheaply, the wax makes a really tight body and it can be easily smoothed to get the lumps out. I am still having issues with getting the wings to sit right, but they still look good, and the head is still too big. So far this is my best attempt at getting a fully dressed Salmon fly. I have ordered feathers for making mated wings, wax for improving the grip of the thread even though I am using pre waxed tying thread.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Lady Amherst

Still waiting on my jungle cock eyes, but this is a very basic The Lady Amherst. Main thing with this fly that I was trying to improve on was the smoothness of the body and the topping. Still having a lot of issues with getting the curve of the topping right and also the stems keep snapping. All my attempts at salmon flies are on 0/2 hooks, but I might get some 2/0 hooks instead. Still trying to find some turkey tail feathers that I would buy to start mating wings.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Salmon Flies

Well I have started to get use to tying such large flies, but photos of them just made them super ugly. Really need to work on making a smoother body and also the mounting of the wings. Still trying to get some feathers to mated wings but they might have to wait until I really can make a smooth body.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

My first salmon fly

So I have decided to take the leap into salmon flies. At present I do not have all the right material, but this is my first attempt. A close copy of the rusty rat tied by Davie McPhail (youtube). I was pretty happy with how it came out; even though I did not have right length hackle, or squirrel for the underwing which I just used calf tail for, and the peacock was not correct. Also as the head was drying I hit it with something and caused the superglue to deform so it has a slight bump in it. Now I need to start writing a list for materials I need once I decide on a pattern to tie.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


I have decided to start tying up New Zealand flies and to get started I tied up three types of streamers, Kilwell, Fuzzy Wuzzy, and Smelt fly (need to find the proper name).

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Dying Feathers

A friend of mine has recently got a bunch of barred feathered hens and he sent me a pile of feathers from their last roast. I ended up tying up a bunch of flies to send to him to say thank you, but I also tied up some foam poppers for bass for myself with the barred feathers. For the body of these poppers I glued sheets of foam together to get the stripped patterns and then hand cut the foam with a razor.

When I brought my first cape I got a grey colour so that in the future I could dying pieces of the cape as grey would allow me to use any colour without having to bleach the feathers first. My first try at dying was black, basically the easy way out. The patch that I dyed came out really nice and I have started to tie a bunch of black gnats and small black stone flies which I will put some more photos up later.