Monday, December 17, 2012

Smokey T

Looking for any scrap of water for a quick Saturday run we went with an option Don and I know well. Early meet up and drive in the dark with strong winds rocking us the whole way.

“Ah, these winds will be much less once we get there.” 

I said this trying to paint a positive spin on the morning. Don just looked at me knowing full well that this was wishful thinking at best. Reach the parking area and everything is whipping sideways. Don opens the door and inside the vehicle looks like an airlock was opened in outer space. We both fight our way to the hatchback and start gearing up. Or try to for that matter.

“Should have brought that extra rope!” I yell over the blustering wind. “Might need to anchor the truck down.”

At first light we make our way to the water and go to work. Both of us dust off some rust with a few missed hook-sets. But it doesn’t take long before things fall into place and the brown trout come to the hand.

CFS was low but consistent with this time of year. The lakes above are being drained. This fed sediment and decayed algae downstream. Water quality was poor and the rig needed some cleaning maintenance after every cast or so. Far from ideal conditions but doable.

Release the fish and wind starts blasting onto wet hands. Because wetting the hands is so crucial for the fish in this stretch an angler needed to recuperate the hands along with the fish released back into the water.

Don hooked into a number of fish and really took over in the last half of the game. Maybe it was the slight adjustment or it was the fact my fingers turned to mutiny after the first few releases. 

A very impressive brown trout for this stretch with a very modest hold on Don’s part. I might have mugged it up a little more with too much forward hold and some kind of angry grimace.

Managed one rainbow that looked to be a stocker that has held out for a while. In a few years this fish could get burly looking from living a river life as opposed to a hatchery existence. I almost fell in by the way reaching down to land this fish. No matter how secure I think a rock is, it can still turn against me at any moment.

It has been too long since I have hit some water. Work is still super crazy. Things may actually get crazier for me in the next month or two as several projects roll through at the same time. As much as I love fishing there are bills to pay and deadlines to meet. Hopefully I can still get a few casts in. Thank you so much for your patience and continued patronage during this fishing dry spell.  


Altitude: 7,522 feet

Early morning, Temp 35-45 degrees F.

Mostly cloudy\heavy smoke haze

Water-heavy\medium stain-temp unknown

Wind: @#$% was blowing sideways early. By 10:00AM smoke was chocking us out.

My name is Matt and went too days without fishing.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Photos from the field

Through my adventures photos are taken that never seem to make it into specific fish posts. So much of my fishing goes unseen or heard. Even though these pictures may not be ready for prime time fishing posts, I have found a way to fit them in an excerpt called “Photos from the field.”

This excerpt of PFTF was originally intended for October but a project at work that started out crazy turned completely sideways. We lost a key person at the worst time and it was everything we could do to get things back on track. Still a lot of work and we are not out of the weeds yet. No Saturday or Sunday fishing trips and I take work home in the evenings. Fail the project-lose the job.

Through the Fog

(Above: The future is never certain and destiny often hangs on the horizon through a misty haze. Some journeys require many steps through hazy fog before reaching the destination. May your path be clear and your steps carefully calculated.)

The Bugle

(Above: Every year I try to take a journey into the high country in search of fall colors and elk. Here is a sizeable bull making a challenge to other males while gathering a respectable harem.)

Bull and Harem

(Above: Here is a “king” bull with a massive harem hidden in the tall grass. This bull was massive enough to ward of most challengers with some aggressive posturing.)

Not everyone wins

(Above: There is no second place when it comes to the elk rut. You have to win in order to gain the harem and a bull elk may have to stand many challenges. One loss and you have to start over. This bull lost one side of his rack in a recent exchange. Tired and breathing heavy this beast will have to buy his time until next year.)

A number of these pictures came from the old Canon camera that finally died on me. Hopefully I can get the pawnshop camera upgraded as well as make some time to fish. This will be the longest non-fishing dry spell that I have ever encountered. If there was any time to complain, believe me I surely would. Rest assured this project will soon pass and my career will hopefully emerge all the better for rising to meet the challenge. Once that challenge is conquered I will fish.

Thank you so much for your views, comments and rates. This blog is fueled by your support. 

Good luck and good blogging.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Signs of improvement-Fishing Closure lifted for Bear Creek (Jefferson County)

DENVER -- Colorado Parks and Wildlife is lifting a voluntary fishing closure on Bear Creek upstream of Bear Creek Reservoir.

Due to critically low flows and high water temperatures in July of this year, anglers were encouraged to seek fishing opportunities elsewhere in the Denver Metro Area or in the South Platte Basin

"The voluntary fishing closure in Bear Creek likely protected the fishery from countless unnecessary mortalities," said Reid DeWalt, Area Wildlife Manager in Jefferson County. "Colorado Parks and Wildlife appreciates the ethical commitment of our anglers in protecting this resource."

For more information about fishing in Colorado, please visit:

Matt’s Rant: Hot and dry conditions spell disaster for trout. I have had to put a lot of my summer trout fishing on hold because the conditions had these fin slappers clinging to life. Now the temperatures are coming down. Scalding day temps will bring stress to fish in many ways. Evaporation merely scratches the surface. This year we had dangerously high temps overnight and this greatly compounds the overall moisture dynamic. Trapped in conditions such as this will often result in fish die-off. Large fish require the most oxygen and my guess is a lot of places may have lost some of their best gamefish.

Now we are starting to see a regular dose of day temps that are less scalding and evening temps that are downright frigid. This helps a lot and might just let me feel a little less guilty about a creek run here and there (Not Bear Creek by the way) for smaller fish while opening a window for larger waters in areas that have been a regulated or requested fish no-go.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Widow Maker Run-been a while

There are a few sections of the creek guarded by vertical canyons and fast water. It has been so long since I have been through this stretch that my mind completely forgot how treacherous a small slip of water could really be. Park the truck, grab the gear and look downstream. “Oh, I remember this.” Reset expectations.

After scaling a small portion of rocks I make my way to the large pool and pull out a small brown trout out of the deep flat water. Pretty much running scandalous stuff by most standards with two spin rods, minnow pattern on one side and a gold spinbug setup on the other.  Considering the loosie-goosie regulations on creeks these days most people could be happy I am not running bait and take. Minnow pattern seemed to get the most action.

Fish the deep pool and then climb upward about a fifty-feet or so. Grab a metal cable and swing over the vertical drop with a bunch of fishing gear. Climb my way down and then wade through a few inches of water to the next rock outcropping. I would cast into the water any chance that was available expecting some enormous fish to attack the lure.

“No one has ever fished back here…” I urge myself forward discarding a few footprints and anonymous debris. “These are just signs of mountaineers, miners, hikers….anything but anglers.”

In between the rock outcroppings and get your feet wet areas there are small flat sections of water. Flat sections of water that almost sing out to you like sirens from heaven. An angler can actually walk around in these areas and cast without having to contend with trees, cliffs or fumbling over boulders. Unfortunately the better the water looked, the worse the action was. What I expected to be forbidden paradise turned out to be the longest eighteen holes I ever played in my life. Well maybe.

Casting upstream, across and downstream on every scrap of water I managed to pull out a few fish. My largest catches came from secondary spots. Smaller rocks that create a slack current just enough to hold one fish was more or less my sweet spot on this trip. Stumbling over a few sets of footprints made me wonder if this area was as secluded as I thought.

Picked up a few small brown trout on the gold spinbug. The slightly gray coloring on this one suggests the fish is fighting off some stress. One quick shot and then let it go. “Hope you get better there little buddy.” Kick myself for handling this fish. Handling fish causes stress. No way around it especially trout. Wet hands, handle with care and handle less.  

This is the first real post from the quick pickup camera from a pawnshop, no-foolin’. A thirty-dollar digital snap and go that hopefully fills the gap until I get something more professional. I guess the good news is that my blogilicious hasn’t been inundated with cell phone fish shots and then a story about how I dropped said cell phone in the water.

Deep into the canyon section that seems like a distant memory from the road I hope to find deep pools and big fish. Ironwork from an old rail system lingers at my feet. Steal rails rusted by time adding to the feeling and mystique of forgotten times. Hopefully I can get on of these shots into my upcoming Photos From The Field-Shameless plug. 

Fall colors are still on the trees as well as blanketing the trail. Magnificent stuff and my shots don’t begin to do it justice. Surrounded in all of this splendor it is almost enough to make a person forget the twisted ankle, scraped knee and that moment where I could fallen about a hundred feet or so. As soon as I reached the bottom the realization hit me…”I should have filmed that somehow.” It was then that I was determined to wade around the deep pool regardless of the distance to reach a slow shallow spot.

Work another small pocket of water casting upstream and hook into this dark brownie. The blotches almost power out the smaller dots. And of course the camera manages to focus in on the moving water below and slightly blurs out the fish.

All of the action was from brown trout and numbers of fish were frequent. The cloudy weather may have not helped my photos but it certainly gave me the best chances for shallow water. When you stumbled upon an active spot it was east to tell. Run your gear and see what happens. In this case I continued to get seated in the “one size fits all” category. Smaller fish would strike but the largest I could come up might stretch a wood ruler.  

After going less than a half-mile or so I run into another immense large rock outcropping. This one  was blocking me from moving forward on one side. To climb around it I would have to hike up and over the tall formation. This would take a lot of time and effort to fish some spotty pockets of water. To wade across would require me to backtrack a few hundred feet to the shallower sections. With a heavy sigh I conceded. My efforts were spent backtracking and exploring the trail on the other side of the parking lot. 

To fish this section I needed to wade across the creek and follow the old wagon road trail. A slight bushwack and then you hit a stretch that people only look at as they drive by. Every once in a while you see a mountaineer tackling the knuckle but more often than not you find small trout and the stretch to yourself…even on Saturday.   

All said I would suggest this section of the creek more for the hikers and mountaineers. For this amount of physical effort I expect to see larger fish. This doesn’t mean that I actually catch them but when you can see 90% of the bottom you fish all you see and cast heavily into the unknown. Most fish will rise enough just enough to laugh at me or take the lure. This trip I missed a few and hooked up when I wanted it most. Maybe there is a pounder there…you would really have to dig that fish out.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The African fish eagle's diet usually consists of fish and small mammals, but that's not always the case.
An image shot by a safari guide shows the powerful bird snatching up a juvenile Nile crocodile from the banks of a river in Tanzania.

The fully grown Nile crocodile is one of the most dangerous predators in Africa. Its diet is varied, and includes fish, zebras, cattle, sheep, young hippopotami, birds, other crocodiles and humans, but until it grows to adulthood, the young crocodile is also prey.

The takedown happened inside the Selous Game Reserve, and was photographed by Mark Sheridan-Johnson, the Telegraph newspaper reported.

link and credit to ABC News who picked this up from The Telegraph Newspaper.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Some late gills

Normally I am only chasing bluegills and sunfish in the early summer. Stumbling across a group of gills suspending off of wood structure the other day I had to give them a cast. There was a decent grouping of fish with good size and something I don’t typically see so late in the year. Switching up from streamer to nymph, my casting elbow went to work on these little guys.

First up was a beaded head nymph. The sun would catch the brass and the fish would go after it. More than once a fish would take a nip rather than a more committing bite. This typically means the pattern is off a little. A few more curious looks and I switch up again.  

The next pattern is a smaller brown nymph with some horsehair. This gave the fly more of a hackled look and offered a bit of crunch when the fish bite down. This was the ticket and fish would commit on the first swipe.  

A helpful hint when fishing for late season gills is to keep the bait moving rather than leave it stationary. This gives the lure more of a fleeing motion and the fish will hit more aggressively. It works best if you are sight fishing as you can gauge the movement of the bait with the fish’s demeanor.

The gill action was so good later in the day that I virtually forgot about bass fishing. Of course it helps that I managed to catch a few buckets on the frigid morning bite.

 The fall fishing season is underway. I have had to change my game from fast to slow for the bass. The bluegill action is so sporadic at this time of year that I simply take it as it comes. Water temps on the smaller lakes that I fish have dropped below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. My fishing results get very inconsistent from here on out. I will have to lean on the electronics more and less on the sight fishing.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fish will eat anything sometimes…even fingers.

Idaho fisherman catches fish with human finger inside.

A fisherman found a human finger in the belly of a trout caught in a remote northern Idaho lake. And detectives located the owner, who delivered a surprising message.

Despite the hard work of investigators, Haans Galassi said he did not want to be reunited with his severed digit.
"At first the sheriff asked me if I wanted it back, and I was thinking 'um, no!" Galassi, 31, said.

The reunion may bring back too much pain for Galassi, who is getting over the accident two months ago on an Idaho lake.

Galassi was wakeboarding on Priest Lake in July while holding on to a rope attached to a speed boat. Then things went terribly wrong.

He noticed too much slack in the rope, tried to correct it and the rope wrapped around his left hand, he said.
"It pulled me over in the water and dragged me for a few feet before it broke me free," Galassi said. "I didn't feel pain at first, just numbness, and I pulled my hand out of water and it was bad news. I look and see I'm missing all four fingers at that point."

Galassi was rushed to the hospital and has been trying to get by without his fingers. He learned that he can still grip and grab items such as a steering wheel with his affected hand.

And then he got the strange phone call Tuesday from Det. Gary Johnston of the Bonner County Sheriff's Department.The fisherman who found the finger on September 11 quickly put it in a freezer and called the sheriff's department, Johnston said.

"The lake is cold and deep so it was in remarkably good shape," Johnston said. "We'd fingerprinted it and sent it to the state lab to match what's on file and lo and behold, they came back and said that's Haans' little finger."
Fisherman Calvin Nolan told CNN how he made the grisly discovery as he gutted a trout caught by his friend Mark Blackstone as they fished together.

He had noticed something in the gut of the fish that he thought looked like a crawdad, or crayfish, which they had been using as bait -- but Blackstone said, "No, that's a finger."

Nolan said the digit was very well preserved when they first found it, adding: "It was as fresh as if it was on my finger."

The two fishermen, who turned the 4-5 lb trout over to the sheriff's department, were so amazed by their unlikely discovery that they both bought lottery tickets afterward, Nolan said.

"I've caught a zillion fish, but never one with a human finger," he added.

In the meantime, since Galassi said he did not want the finger, the sheriff's department will leave it in an evidence freezer in case he changes his mind, Johnston said.

And Galassi may just do that.

"Now I'm thinking, what if I can get it put back on?" he said. "I've called my doctor to see if they can put it back on and I'm waiting for him to call me back."

Link to full article on CNN

Matt’s Rant” Fish live to eat. When they are not fighting against the biological elements that keep them alive, fish are trying to eat. Some anglers search for the perfect pattern while others get lucky by timing things right and trickin’ ‘em. Most of my fishing is a stumbling effort in between both methods. Best wishes to Mr. Galassi and hope he continues to do well despite the accident.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Don digs out another great bass

Fishing the tail end of the summer bite and the weather was perfect. The sun was out, the wind was calm, and the air temperatures were blissfully perched in the low 70’s. You think the fishing would be great? Instead we found ourselves grinding out the day and switching up baits.

Then I see Don’s fly rod bend over as he sets the hook on a brute fish. The fish hit the streamer and went straight for the weeds. Before Don could absorb all of the slack in one hand while lifting the rod with the other the fish was burrowed in deep. The line stopped moving and we both feared that the fish had spit the hook while spinning around in the thick matte.

At first Don tried to horse the fish out of the weed-muck. Then he relaxed the rod and gave the fish all the room it needed to work itself out. Lastly he pulled on the line hoping to at least salvage his rig. The heavy clump of weeds starts to slowly rise up to the boat finally giving way.

“All I see is weeds.” Don murmurs while reaching down to start picking through the weed clump for his fly pattern.

As the clump of weeds reach the surface of the water an enormous thrashing of water takes place. Don reaches his hand in the water and pulls up a fatty bass. I get him to mug it up on one photo before he quickly removes the fly and let the fish go. We chased a small “brunch-bite” for half and hour and then went back to the doldrums.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mattsabasser Driving to Fish-Tips: Don’t crash into the creek

Reaching some of the best fishing areas often requires a bit of driving. The journey to and from the fishing hole can be quite perilous. There may be a lot of fishing tips out there but few that offer advice intended to minimize trouble while traveling from Point A to Point B. I shall make an attempt to fill this void with “Driving to Fish-Tips”.

Don’t crash into the creek

(This story is a few days old and less of a developing story than this vidcapture may portray. I fish this stretch and still not sure how this person smacked right into the sweet spot.)

Most of these Driving to Fish Tips are common sense stuff for most of us and a few basic reminders never hurt. It may seem a little absurd for me to say something like, “Can you keep your vehicle out of the creek, please?” But once a year someone manages to drive their vehicle into one or two of the streams that I fish. 

Canyon roads in Colorado have some perilous turns and twists but we’re not talking about some promoted goat path featured on “IRT Deadliest Roads”. Simple things like driving a modest speed and being mindful of the road would help keep the vehicle under control. Maybe I am just asking too much and should keep one eye open for out of control vehicles while fishing. Once again as a friendly reminder I urge folks to match the hatch, crash the hatch but please do not crash into the creek.

A good fishing trip will always benefit from fewer problems. Hopefully these Drive to Fish Tips help anglers reach the water and return home to fish once again. Good luck and good fishing.

Quick cast down town

“Just grab the gear and go.” These words slip into my brain sent probably by my casting elbow. “There is enough time to hit the DT section.” Next thing I know a rod is loaded up and my truck is heading to the water.

A few rainstorms here and there have created a spur of action on the creek. Water running through the drainage areas can wash all sorts of insects into the main flow. This can kick trout into feeding mode. It also allows me to get away with a few spin patterns. Fall colors such as gold, brown and yellow are primary patterns this time of year. Second choice is black or olive. A few casts and the fish will tell me what they prefer.  

The downtown stretch can offer a decent numbers day in regards to fish but don’t expect much in the way of size. In fact I am surprised when twelve inchers come to the hand. If you fish this stretch it helps to arrive early in the morning or later in the afternoon. The bite is slightly better and the trail traffic is substantially less. Catch and release is prescribed as the fish populations are constantly rebuilding from on disaster or another.  

Even when things get hectic for me there is still time enough to grab a quick cast. Similar to this post the trip was quick and to the point. This material is a week or two old so a short write up will help add it to the post section.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Photos from the field

Through my adventures photos are taken that never seem to make it into specific fish posts. So much of my fishing goes unseen or heard. Even though these pictures may not be ready for prime time fishing posts, I have found a way to fit them in an excerpt called “Photos from the field.”

This excerpt is sort of like a “what I did this summer”. It is amazing that this old Canon Powershot lasted as long as it did. Last week it started acting crazy. I am still looking at upgrades but just being lazy about it. Apologies for the less than professional quality in most of my photos.

Another wrong turn

(Above: My life is filled with those moments that I realize too late that a wrong turn was made. This definitely looks like it could be one of those times.)

Wild Ride

(Above: I am not exactly sure what is going on in this photo. Why do pictures of Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster always turn out blurry?)

Ready to Pounce

(Above: Being attacked by a mountain lion or puma is possibly one of my worst fears. Something like this is quite possible all over Colorado so it helps to keep eyes open for anything. Luckily I spotted this feline before it could ambush me.)

Rock Planter

(Above: Now and then I come across what is sometimes called “wormrock”. Holes such as this are remnants from excavation. Looks as if some local foliage moved in and making good use of the summer real estate.)

Amusement by Lakeside

(Above: This summer I finally talked myself into going to Lakeside Amusement Park. Riding that rickety old white roller coaster may just be one of the scariest things I have ever done. It was good to finally scratch this off the bucket list.)

There are a number of projects getting underway at work that have already sidelined me from some of my fishing. Add that to a few skunkaroo trips and it really starts to make a dent in the blog material. Hopefully I can make do with just a few fishing weekends while keeping the train on the tracks.

Thank you so much for your views, comments and rates. This blog is fueled by your support. 

Good luck and good blogging.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fisherman adrift for 106 days in Pacific says shark led him to rescuers

A man who survived while adrift in the Pacific for 106 days is crediting a shark for helping to save his life.

Toakai Teitoi, 41, a policeman from the Central Pacific island nation of Kiribati, had been traveling with his brother-in-law on what was supposed to be a short voyage, beginning May 27, from the Kiribati capital of Tarawa to his home island of Maiana.

But the mariners decided to fish along the way, and fell asleep during the night. When they awoke they were far at sea and adrift in their 15-foot wooden vessel. They soon ran out of fuel, and were short on water.

"We had food, but the problem was we had nothing to drink," Teitoi told Agence France-Presse news service.

Dehydration was severe. Falaile, the 52-year-old brother-in-law, died on July 4. That night, Teitoi slept next to him, "like at a funeral," before an emotional burial at sea the next morning.

Teitoi shared scant details of the ordeal after arriving in Majuro, in the Marshall Islands, on Saturday. He said he prayed the night Falaile died, and the next day a storm arrived and, over the next several days, he was able to fill two five-gallon containers with fresh water.

Days and weeks passed, however, and Teitoi, a father of six, did not know whether he'd live or die. He subsided mostly on fish and protected himself against the searing tropical sun by curling up in a small, covered portion of the bow.

It was on the afternoon of Sept. 11 that he awoke to the sound of scratching against his boat. A six-foot shark was circling the boat and, Teitoi said, bumping against its hull.

"He was guiding me to a fishing boat," Teitoi said. "I looked up and there was the stern of a ship and I could see crew with binoculars looking at me."

The first thing he asked for after he was plucked from the water was a cigarette, or "a smoke." He was given food and juice and his rescuers continued to fish for several days before delivering him to Majuro.

Teitoi, who seemed in good health, said he booked flights back to his home island, adding, "I'll never go by boat again."

The record for drifting at sea is believed to be held by two fishermen, also from Kiribati, who were at sea for 177 days before coming ashore in Samoa in 1992

Link to story posted on GrindTV

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Transitioning into fall

A lot of bassers will tell you fall bass fishing is some of the best you can get in Colorado in regards to size and quality of fish. This may be true especially this year, as summer has drawn out hotter and longer than ever. However fall bass fishing can be very challenging for me and admittedly not my best game. So as soon as I see the end of summer approaching my transition to fall begins.

The change in seasons can be very subtle for those of us that live indoors and we may not see fall coming until the leaves are yellow. Daytime temperatures are still flirting with 80 and even 90 degrees but the heat index is dropping near 50 in the evening hours. Water temperatures at the warm water destinations that I fish regularly are at 70-72 degrees Fahrenheit. This means metabolisms are still high and fish should be active. This is the tail end of the summer bite and it still fishes and feels like summer from the boat. But the colder nights and shorter days let the fish know things are changing and time is running out. Bass will be looking to bulk up before winter when their body factory slows down. 

The first thing I start to notice about fall fishing is the drop off in forage. Most fish have stopped spawning and the smorgasbord of summer starts to dwindle down to a mere soup line at best. Populations of fish dwelling in the shallows become increasingly less once we leave the warm days of summer. Lions generally follow the herds of their prey and this mentality transitions over to my bass fishing. Once smaller fish leave the shallow spawning grounds the largemouth go with them. I find myself searching out the deeper structure points and leaning more on the electronics this time of year. Once I locate deep structure such as rock piles, sunken trees or submerged points fish of all sizes will generally pop up on the electronics (even on my cheap sonar).

Baitfish patterns like crankbaits and spinnerbaits are the bread and butter of the fall season. I also like to throw ½oz spoons in fall if there is plenty of open water to cover. The colors transition to darker colors with more orange, brown and red. I also tend to go bigger in the fall and then dial down ¼oz if bites don’t come along. My thinking here is that the bass will be keying on larger fish because that is the most common food source at this time. It isn’t a perfect science and not near as consistent as I would like.

My next option is jigging with crawdad presentations and a few plastic options. Once again this is generally the stuff I threw in July at the same locations. In reality the fish will most likely hit anything that is well conceived and presented. The only difference is that I am slowing the retrieve and going a lot deeper with the lure. In some cases I will work the bait right on the bottom with very little movement if I think the fish are beneath me. This technique often triggers a reaction bite from even stubborn fish.

In the case above I am throwing a combination of fly and bass material. Nothing pretty about this rig and I have a few kinks to work out before getting too yackity shmackity. The style is similar to the ones That Mountain Goat Keith made for Don, which he has had success with. The trick to this bait is a color combination with natural movement in the water and a perfect balance of weight. The lure needs to fall like a fleeing fish but not dig itself into the weed matte below.

This year I have done more fly-fishing for bass than trout and the success is a combination of water and luck. The fish at some of my regular haunts may have gotten wise to my spin gear but they completely let their guard down on anything with bunny fur. Quite a few of my late summer trout destinations are on hold right now due to drought conditions. So why not try to trick a few bass that have been ignoring my spin game? It is not so much a preference as a need for success.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Parker fisherman hooks surprise catch: a piranha

Parker – One fisherman got the surprise of his life when he discovered a species of Piranha living inside a neighborhood lake that’s more likely to be the home of bass and tadpoles.
“I’m worried about it eating all my other fish,” said Garry Norman while admiring his latest catch from Bingham Lake in Parker.

The fish, which experts believe is a Pacu, is a native of South America and not a species of fish normally found in Colorado. Some suggest the fish was first brought to the United States as a pet but its owner likely abandoned the Pacu after only a number of months.

“People get them at pet shops they don’t want to flush them down the toilet and when they can’t afford to feed them they’ll let them go.” added one fisherman when asked about the unlikely discovery.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Exaggeration Factor: One story = 10 feet

Fishing stories generally come with some level of exaggeration. No one likes to stretch a good fish yarn more than yours truly but I feel that a percentage of legitimacy is lost when you stretch things too much along the way. The art of telling a good story can only be made believable if it is met with honesty, the more honesty the better. Tweaking a few details here and there for various reasons may be acceptable or even prudent depending on the detail itself. Push the story too far and an angler could lose their “water-cred” which actually means quite a bit to even a shameless fish bragger like me. So how far can one push a single fish story before it can be considered complete hogwash. According to my research the answer is ten feet.

At first this may seem like too simple of answer but in most cases one story equals ten feet. What matters most is the quality of layers and overall construction of the story itself. If you tell only one story it is not as crucial I guess but if you tell many stories it is best to keep things as tried and true as possible. Keeping the entire story within a ten-foot margin helps establish just where we draw the line as a teller of the story. I will be the first to say that I have embellished a fish tale now and then. Hopefully I have stayed within the ten-foot range even after a few beers.

In par with my level of research on the subject, I will toss out some of my rules on exaggeration.

  1. Be as accurate as possible in regards to size and weight of fish. Downplay the stats if there is any doubt.
  2. Don’t highly exaggerate facts about wind, weather, water temps, etc unless people can obviously deduce the level of fiction being used.
  3. Don’t try to pass of “false-facts” that can be easily verified. Not sure why people still do this but I still see it from time to time.
  4. Humility is easier to swallow from a reader’s point of view. So it helps if you don’t come across sounding like some self-serving butt wad. Hopefully my shameless bragging is closer to a spoonful of self-humility than some of the rubbish on the Internet.
  5. Doctoring photos leads to doubt. I am guilty of doing this myself in attempt to cover certain landmarks or features in the background. But I fully accept some viewers will notice and water-cred may be lost.
Maybe a bad example of a post will explain this a little better.

“Caught a huge rainbow trout on the tenkara rod the other day. This fish is eighteen inches and well over a pound or maybe even two. Thing fought like a brick @#$& house until I swam half a mile upstream to net the fish. Guess that makes me the best angler ever!”

(Above: In reality this is may be a twelve-inch fish at best and you guys know I don’t have a tenkara rod. Lying about swimming upstream half a mile definitely violates the 10-foot rule and Colorado has a lot of great anglers. Most of them are way better than me. True story.)

Good luck and good fishing

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A little casting work on the Mayhem section

There I was scrambling for a Saturday cast and grab situation when one of those crazy insurance commercials pops up on the tube and cable box combo. The premise of the commercial is this character they call “Mayhem” and he somehow finds ways to make your life a living hell. Sorting through the tackle the man’s voice is a blur of background noise until he says, “...and protect yourself from mayhem like me.” 

And there it was, inspiration for a fishing spot. “Yes. That is it!” I blurt out in jubilation tossing aside the bass bag and grabbing the trout gear. “I’ll try the Mayhem section again.”

The evening rains have added a bit of drought relief on some of the smaller waters making this a better choice than the usual bass haunts. So I made my way up the old highway to work a few morning casts. Hopefully it would be worth the quick get in and out leaving enough time for afternoon chores. Traveling the winding road my eyes spot favorable water conditions and a few cars already on some of the better-looking areas.

My guess on the color\pattern was the same as it has been for the last month or so for this water. I pondered tying on a few other things but decided to go with what has been working lately. First cast and a brown trout swipes at the lure resulting in a miss hookset. Cast back and this time the small spin-bug gets a solid taker. Land the fish close to shore and do the quick picture and release. Cast out and land another one almost an exact copy of the first.

“Didn’t I just see you?” I laugh reaching down with the pliers for some no-pic\no touch release action.

The action cools in the pool so I move on. Careful footing is required as I make my way over the tough rock section downstream to a series of rollover dams that result from highway construction taking place way back in the day. There is no dirt or sandy shoreline here. It is all rock and the travel can be treacherous at times. Some of the nooks and crannies can be decent fishing if left alone. A few casts were made with the spin and then a few casts made on the fly. The water was very swift so I tied on a brass head nymph, #16 because it was heavy. Bringing the third or fourth cast back toward me I let the nymph run along the edge of the rocks with about two feet of water (a lot for this place).

Out of nowhere a dark streak takes the fly with some aggressive mouth bite. Thank goodness too because I would have missed the hookset on this fish for sure. Instead my hand lifted the rod as my face tried to keep that expression that says, “I was expecting that to happen”. The fish turned out to be a splake. Didn’t know they were even in here. The fish was absolutely spastic by the way and did not want its photo taken in the slightest. Really I was happy to get any shots at all.

The rest of the spot turned up nothing. Moved down to a few other areas that are known for beautiful casting and the occasional fish. In some of these areas an angler can wade in a foot of wet to reach a lot of shimmering surface water. This water is so gorgeous that you want to fish it whether you catch anything or not.

Two guys were just walking out but I just couldn’t help myself. Cast, cast…nothing. Change up and make a few more throws. As gorgeous as this place was, the action was gone. I took a few moments to soak in the beauty while taking a few pictures and then moving on.

The sound of traffic grew louder and louder on the old highway with the passing of time. By noon and especially on the weekends the number of folks in the canyon increases greatly. There may even be a few folks who like to do things other than fish. You know stuff like hiking, sightseeing and even gambling somewhere along this “two-wagons wide” asphalt trail. The sound of the cars going by every other second tells me that time is running out. Take the truck down a few hundred feet and look to pick another pocket of creek water. This time I get the first fish that hits instead of missing the strike. Probably just got lucky. Took a few more swipes at a few other spots and then went home to tackle the to-do list.

In closing I have to say this was a decent numbers situation on a half-day fish. The splake was a surprise and by noon the crowds were set on most of the water. Gold spin bug did most of the catching and got no love on the minnow pattern. Had to mix it up a little on the fly situation but it paid off in “splake”. Early in the year I fished this section and did terrible. Maybe the monsoon rains helped action pick up a bit. It is also likely that the infamous slump of 2012 kept me nabbing a single bite on this stretch in March.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Colorado Parks and Wildlife to breed muskellunge in Longmont's Burch Lake

By Scott Rochat Longmont
LONGMONT -- Burch Lake is about to become muskie territory. But don't reach for that rod.
These fish aren't for catching.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife plans to use the Longmont lake to start its first breeding population of the large, ugly fish known as muskellunge. The lake itself is off-limits to public fishing, but the fish in it will be used to breed tiger muskies, which will then be stocked in lakes and reservoirs across Colorado.

Tiger muskies are a popular sporting fish in the state, a hybrid of muskellunge and northern pike. But they're a sterile hybrid, which means Colorado has to import the fish from other states -- when it can.

"Our main source is Pennsylvania and their brood stock has a disease,"

said Ben Swigle, an aquatic biologist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. "We haven't been able to import their tiger muskies for five years now. So we want to breed our own fish, so we don't have to rely on that situation."

It can take four or five years for a muskellunge female to mature, Swigle said, so it'll be a while before the state knows whether this has paid off.
"There's no guarantee this is going to work," he said, "but we'll give it a shot."
Several shots, actually. One muskellunge female can produce around 20,000 eggs for every two pounds of body weight. So when the time comes, the wildlife division will only have to catch one or two in a season to satisfy the statewide demand. The fish will be taken from the lake to an offsite hatchery, along with northern pike from another site, so that the eggs can be fertilized and incubated.
Burch lake is owned by the Oligarchy Irrigation. The city holds a majority share of the company.
State wildlife authorities plan to start with 1,500 muskellunge. Because of the drought, stocking will wait until after irrigation season, likely not beginning until late fall.
There's also going to be a little work needed to get ready for Burch's newest residents -- namely, some screening of the reservoir's outlet to make sure the fish can't leave on their own.
"The last thing we want is for the fish to get into our waterways," said Dan Wolford, Longmont's parks, open space and greenways manager.
Muskellunge would be considered a primary predator in almost any Colorado waters, Swigle said. However, he said, the risk of escape is already low and the fish don't have good spawning areas east of Longmont -- the region is too warm and doesn't have enough vegetation.
Swigle emphasized that leaving the muskellunge in Burch Lake alone now will mean much better fishing everywhere later. On top of that, he said, would-be poachers might find themselves with a tougher task than they realize, even if they do evade the lake's "neighborhood watch."
"They are known as a fish of five thousand casts," Swigle chuckled.
Scott Rochat can be reached at 303-684-5220  FREE 303-684-5220 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Photos from the field

Through my adventures photos are taken that never seem to make it into specific fish posts. So much of my fishing goes unseen or heard. Even though these pictures may not be ready for prime time fishing posts, I have found a way to fit them in an excerpt called “Photos from the field.”

Still Fire Season

(Above: Even with the seasonal rain we are still having fires pop up here and there. Most of these small burns have been started from “dry lightning” and quickly put out by an awesome fire fighting force. This force is constantly improving and doesn’t stop looking for better ways to fight fires as well as prevent them from happening in the first place. Even though the fire bans have lifted for the most part, we still need to stay vigilant year round it seems.)

Dickey Moe

(Above: This is a fish I have chased unsuccessfully for years and it still haunts one of my old bass ponds. The ghost-like image is unmistakable and easy to spot. Somewhere along the line I have dubbed this fish “Dickey Moe” from the old Tom and Jerry cartoon that more or less parodies the classic tale if Moby Dick.)

Colorado Surfin’

(Above: Colorado is an innovator of outdoor sports and every time you turn around there is something new. Colorado may not have an ocean but we do offer some types of surfing for the long, flat board crowd. Or maybe this kayaker is extremely confused.)

Rescued Cicadas

(Above: While fishing a metro lake near a large patch of open space, I see a large bug on the water’s surface. Watching the bug struggling for several moments without getting eaten compassion gets the better of me and I rescue it. Within a few minutes its wings were dry and flew into a nearby tree. It still would have been cool to see this bug get smacked off the top of the water by a fish.)

Tigers with a Swallow Tail

(Above: Doing some Sunday morning chores and I spot a Tiger Swallowtail butterfly taking a leisurely sun-soak right in the middle of the road. The moisture of the drying puddle and residual minerals drew it to the area. I tried several times to move it over to the grass but each attempt was for naught. The winged marvel returned to the evaporating pool in the middle of the road.)

This summer has been nothing short of amazing. Amazingly tough at times and there have been a few moments where I have been amazingly fortunate. It also should be noted that the blogger community and folks that have visited my blog have been nothing short of amazing as well. Thank you so much for your views, comments and rates. This blog is fueled by your support. 

Good luck and good blogging.