I've been having a little fun on the rubberlips recently. I cant say much in the way of location, but I will say that they are eating crayfish like crazy (especially my carp craws), fighting like animals (I broke my 5wt on one), and showing off why their one of the best fish out there!
During the colder months of the year, most guys switch out the bigger bugs for #22s and 24s, and some just put away the long rods, period. But in doing so, they are missing out on some of the best streamer fishing of the year! During the winter, food sources dwindle, which means they are more likely to hit a big meal that swims past their face.
Now streamer fishing technique definitely changes from the rest of the year. Heavier flies or heavier lines are the ticket, and instead of fishing through riffles and eddies, focus on deep holes and runs. This time of year, I'm throwing a 300 grain sink tip, and that in combination with a weighted streamer gets the fly into the strike zone.
One of my best areas for catching big fish in the winter is a deep hole with a logjam at some point in it. The fish hold right on the edge of the log jams, and it provides an easy ambush point, along with instant access to deep water. I also like to focus on deep runs with a steep bank on one side and a shallow sloping bank on the other side. I'll throw the streamer down stream and twitch it back up through the channel.
Another thing that is often overlooked is drifting back up under ice sheets. I may loose some people here, but trust me, it works. I'll let my fly drift 15 or so feet back under the ice, and then I retrieve it back up with slow twitches. Its an absolute blast when you stick one under the ice, and its definitely something you should try.
As for fly selection, my best overall fish catcher is a sculpin pattern. They ride deep, have a good natural profile, and are often a bit smaller in size. I generally throw a #2 el sculpito if I'm fishing sculpin patterns, and its a great overall fish catcher. This time of year though, I'm hunting for a trophy, and that means a different type of streamer.
My go to big fish streamer in the winter is a double deceiver. It is a big profiled streamer, and it is a big fish killer! I tie mine with a ton of lead wire wraps on the front hook, and that in combination with the sink tip gets it into the strike zone. Now fishing big flies isn't for everyone, and when I'm throwing flies like a double deceiver, I'm forgoing quantity for one quality fish. Its trophy hunting at its core, and although it can be tedious, its very rewarding.
My go to streamer set up is a fast 9' 8wt rod, and a good reel. I generally carry one spool of floating line, and one of sinking. My current setup is a 9' Redington CPX 8wt, paired with a Lamson Liquid3.5. I have one spool of floating 8wt line, one spool on slow sink intermediate, and a SA Streamer express 300 grain. I generally throw the Streamer Express line the most, mainly because of how well it handles a big fly, and how quick it gets my streamer down. My leaders are pretty simple, and on all 3 spools i have the same one. I simply take 15in of 20lb flouro, and tie it to 20in of 0X flouro tippet (14lb). This short leader helps with casting, and helps the fly and line sink a bit better.
For those of you who haven't ever considered throwing streamers in the winter, I urge you to try it. The fish will still chase a fly like they do in the summer, and on top of that, they are a lot hungrier. It may not be as fast of action as you'll find midging and nymphing, but I can tell you that if you put in your due time, you'll find fish that will eat the average nymping fish.
So per usual for this time of year, I'm tying flies like crazy. This winter, I've been really having fun with some different things though. From size 32s all the way up to 7/0s, I've been tying up some crazy stuff. I have been tying up plenty of my go to flies such as winged midges, famous amos's, and other midges, along with some old standby streamers like double deceivers, drunk and disorderlies, and circus peanuts.
However, I have also been tying some flies that are reaching the extremes of fly tying. I have been messing with pike and muskie flies for a while now, and I'd say they are starting to look pretty good.
On the polar opposite, I got my hands on some 28s, 30s, and 32s. They are pretty much microscopic, but definitely fun to tie!
I also have been tying some pretty fun streamers too. I have a new baitfish I spun up that I can almost guarantee will slay fish this summer! I also have been tying a ton of balanced leeches for a buddy who's headed to Pyramid in a few weeks.
I'll be the featured tyer at tonights RMFC TU meeting. I'll be spinning up a rainbow double deceiver, although I'm debating changing the name to the Ken and Barbie streamer. Hope to see some of you there!
I've been on the water a ton in the last month or so, and heres just a bit of it.
I made several trips to thow big flies in town, and bith times, they were less than willing to eat. I ended up going out and midging one day, and after 3 hours of not catching jack, I whacked one on my first cast with a streamer.
I've also been on the ice a ton, and not just on the front range. We headed up to North Park one weekend, and although it wasnt the most productive trip, we did get into some decent fish.
I've also spent a good bit of time here around town on the ice, mostly on Boyd, and a few out on St. Vrain. Boyd was great the first week it had ice, but then went to crap after everyone else got out there.
I also got the chance to go chill with a bunch of guys from fishexplorer down at St. Vrain, and we did pretty well. Got into loads of trout, and I think everyone had a good time.
Anyways, that kind of sums up in short my last month or so, and I hope you guys have been on the water a ton.
Sorry about not posting much recently. I've been on the water a ton, and haven't gotten the chance. Anyways, I recently got the chance to go through a mentorship up at Kirks Fly Shop. My first day heading up to the shop was Saturday, and it was an awesome time. When I first arrived, Kirk was on a conference call with a local radio show, but hid dad, Gary, was there and we got a loose game plan played out. When Kirk first came out, we talked fishing a little bit, and the conversation quickly went to tying. I grabbed one of my boxes, and handed it to him to check out. he quickly pointed out some bigger rojo midges I had tied for the Delaneys, and said "Lets tie those today. You'll lead the tying class." We went over to the vises, got materials set up for everyone, and started spinning up bugs. as people came, I started the class, and we knocked out a few rojos each. After that, it was onto the more seasonal bug, a midge dry. We went from #12 hooks down to #18s and 20s, and it got interesting. I stuck with the easiest midge dry, the Griffiths gnat. Everyone tied a few each, and after a while, it was time to switch up. The hot fly on the Big T currently is a little midge called the Famous Amous, invented by one of the locals. Well Amous just so happened to be at the class, so we ended the day tying a bunch of them up. After everyone left, we all sat around, talked, and eventually, I headed out.
Now the Big T has one of the few tailwaters nearby, so I was of course going to take advantage of some open water. However, it sounded like the inlet was open as well, so we hit that first. The fish were spooky, but after some hunting, I spotted a pod of around 16 fish. I sat on these fish all day, and watched as they moved up on a midge hatch. At first they were munching emergers, so I was throwing a #22 bunny midge at the few risers, and pulled 2 bows. But as the hatch got underway, I changed up to a pattern I've been experimenting called the winged midge. The fish were all over it, and I pulled 12 fish on it. as the fish went down, My dad came in and picked up one nymphing, and after that, we left the spot to hit the tailwater.
The tailwater is pretty dirrereft from most area rivers. Lets clear one thing up real quick; I consider the firs 1/4 mile of river from the dam down to Mall road to be the tailwater. Anything below it is the canyon in my eyes. Anyways, we parked below the dam, and I hooked up real quick on a #20 famous Amous. Unfortunately, he popped off. I worked the tailwater hard, but between people in prime holes, heavy wind, and the fish just not playing, it didn't end up coming together down there. It was still a killer day, and I cant wait to help out up at Kirk's open house this coming Saturday!