Sunday, November 27, 2011

Not a good day

Normally it's pretty kick ass being me. I've got a killer wife. Two bitchin' dogs. I've got a job and stuff. Despite all this tremendous karma, today was just not my day. I forgot my coffee before I walked out the door. I just wasn't feeling it but I couldn't figure out exactly why. Then my car got hit by a runaway truck. Seriously.

I made it to the river hoping to get something going but I was met with tons of ice, increased water flows (thanks a lot Denver Water Board), and the accompanying chunks of grass, and murky water that goes with these.

It was like fishing in a giant Slushy.

The damage.

Friday, November 25, 2011


I made my way back over to Buffalo Creek today for some riding. There's a lot of trails back there and they were fun. I didn't ride every trail because it started getting cold once the sun went down behind the mountains. I don't know if these trails were here before the fire but I bet it was beautiful if they did.

Because it's Black Friday I decided to bust out this bike. I haven't ridden it since August 1st. Getting back on it was like getting back on an old friend. Wait. That sounded really seshual. Regardless, I love this bike and the way it carves.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Heather and I went up to the Wolf Sanctuary in Divide this morning for the Turkey Toss. Actually, because of the unseasonably warmer weather we've been having and because there's been so much roadkill lately (a lot of it gets donated) the wolves weren't as hungry so it was a chicken toss. If you're ever in the Colorado Springs area and want a really cool way to waste a few hours check it out. For 20 bucks you can get a tour of the facilities and see all of the animals. Or you can do a VIP tour and go in a pen with some of them. They even have special events like tours during the full moon when they really howl.

There are only 2 true Arctic Wolves at the place but this is a hybrid Arctic/Timber. This guy was huge with massive paws that were about 6 inches across and included webbing that acts a lot like a snowshoe does in deeper snow.

This is Na'vi. He is a really young Timber Wolf (not even 2 years old yet) but he was big. I couldn't get a decent picture of him because he kept stalking up and down the fence line. He had the most amazing yellow eyes.

They would pick up these big frozen chickens whole like they were nothing and devour them entirely in 5 minutes.

Another beautiful Timber Wolf.

They have a small cabin near the center of the facility that has 5 freezers in it. Each freezer is capable of holding 1,000 lbs. of meat. This place runs entirely on donations and tour fees. They do get a lot of the elk and mule deer road kill in the area and right now, a lot of hunters bring up their scrap meat after they're done quartering their kills. The place is absolutely immaculate. I know we'll be going back again soon.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I got a bit of a late start today but I decided to head to the river after a late lunch and see what was up. The crowds sure weren't. There was like 2 cars there when I pulled in. After about 30 minutes of walking and glassing the water I found a decent Rainbow. She wasn't the fish I was looking for but I decided to stop. She took a legitimate Black Beauty on about the 5th cast but quickly came off. Stubbornly, she went right back to the same spot. I knew she wouldn't be having that fly again so I re-rigged but she was hip to the game so I moved on. It's post-spawn now by a week or so and a lot of the bigger lake run fish have slid back down the river but I still saw plenty of decent fish and I was hoping there would be some bigger browns still coming out to play at night.

It was cold. It wasn't as bad as it was a few weeks ago when the sun went down but I still had to break the ice off the guides every few casts.


I switched from midges to a streamer just as the sun went down. As soon as the streamer hit the water on the first cast, it was demolished by a bigger Rainbow that came out of the water. I don't know that I've ever had a trout throw a streamer before but this one did and the line all came back to hit me in the face. I stared at the river for a second and then moved on. A short while later, I saw a big brown come all the way out of the water about 25 yards upstream from me. I had line coiled up in my hand and immediately dropped it and false casted 2 times and laid it just upstream from where I had seen it. Nothing. I couldn't believe it. I was breathing heavy. I thought, for sure, that thing was gonna get hammered. I worked that spot for 30 minutes and got nothing. I even rested it while I ate dinner. I never got any action.

Beautiful night to be out on the river though. I may do it again tomorrow night.

Monday, November 21, 2011

This is the Black Beauty. It was originally invented in 1991 and fished not too far from my house in the fly speck of a town called Trumbull. This fly is really pretty simple in terms of what it consists of but tying it in size 22 proved to be a bit frustrating. I got several done though.

The Ramback

Last night I tied up this fly. For some strange reason...I thought of a friend of mine while I tied the final knot. This fly is called the "Ramback" (his name is not actually spelled like that but I think it's better for the fly). This is basically a Pat Dorsey Mercury Midge. Pat is probably the best guide in Colorado. Pat ties his with gray thread and then segments the body with copper wire. I used white thread and green wire. This fly represents the nymph stage and the bead is the key to the whole thing. Some midges will suspend themselves right below the surface of the water before hatching. These things then swim down about 6 inches and then come back up to the surface. They repeat this cycle before emerging. Each time they hit the surface, a little bit of air gets trapped in the shuck. I don't know why they do this. Perhaps the air helps them break free of their exoskeleton's? Whatever the reason is...the air bubble on their upper back looks just like a little drop of Mercury in a thermometer. My good friend is a science teacher. I think he'll get it.

I just got back from a 2ish hour ride this morning. It started out nice. It was cold but it was nice. I did a little loop that Marshal showed me a while back.

This was on the way back down. I thought I saw a trail so I checked it out. At times it was mostly game trail.

Then I saw this. Call me paranoid but I'm always a little cautious when I see stuff like this. Not long ago, a guy I know was out doing something similar and stumbled upon a much more organized camp over in Buffalo Creek. It was just off the Colorado Trail. He went in for a closer look and it was an abandoned growers camp. They left all the irrigation supplies, fertilizer, their food, and even a gun with the serial numbers scratched off. There's no shortage of that kind of stuff up in the mountains. This setup was pretty harmless other than looking like crap. A lot of the kids in town have places up here that they go to party. This is probably one of them.

I love the simplicity of the singlespeed but the fit is horrible and I hate 26" wheels. I am ordering up some stuff to start building the blue bike. I'm not giving up too many details right now but will post pics when parts start coming in.


I normally don't steal things but I robbed this right off Curiak's blog. Sorry Mike. It really IS funny.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


I did not go fishing today because it was super windy again. I figured I'd get some little projects taken care of around the house so I can get out tomorrow. The first thing I did was re-arrange the garage a bit so I could get a tying area set up. Heather wants to convert the second bedroom into a bit more of an office and wanted me to tie in there but I worry about dropping hooks on the floor and not being able to find them. Being in the garage is just better. It might be a bit cold in the dead of winter but I can be messier down there.

While I was down there and done with this project, I decided to pull the Subaru in and change out the foglight bulbs. This should have been a simple deal but those are usually the most difficult jobs. I got it all back together and adjusted them a bit better. I'll go find a flat spot and a building to really dial them in tonight. The headlights on the Subaru only have an adjustment for up and down. I really need the drivers light to go left. I think maybe the accident it was in a few year's ago might have something to do with it.

For the last year, there's been an annoying rattle somewhere in the center console. I decided to get to the bottom of that next. Once I got the console out I found the culprit. A penny was lodged right against the shift rod. Only contact was made in third gear.

While I was out for a test drive, a guy in a new STI got right up on my bumper and stayed there. I could see his smile but I didn't know him. Then he pulled along side of me and I put it all together. Rally mudflaps, suspension, exhaust, a fly fishing sticker, and a fly rod inside. It was almost like looking in a mirror except his car was really nice. He probably tie flies inside the house too.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Tying flies is something that I really enjoy doing and I've been trying to do more of it here lately. I'm probably not that great at it but it's still fun. I spent most of last night doing some typical patterns and also doing some variations of typical recipes. All of these are in size 18 and today (because it's so friggin' windy) I'll do a batch of 20's (the flies get smaller and harder to tie as the number increases). Sometimes it's actually harder to get a decent picture with a cheaper point and shoot camera than it is to actually tie the pattern. These are the best pictures that I was able to get.
I started out by putting on a Tungsten bead. I wanted a black bead for this fly but the Tungsten is heavier and will allow me to not have to use as much weight in the rig and this is nice because big trout are big for a reason. They're smart. Many of them will simply slide out of the way when they see a weight so if you can use less you're sometimes ahead of the game. Sometimes not.

Then I just built up a decent thread base. I used black, 8 aught thread for this.

Then I tie in a piece of small copper wire and then a piece of extra small, pearl tinsel. By far, the most difficult part of this fly is getting the tinsel tied in nicely so that it lays flat and on the back of the hook shank. Then it gets folded over towards the head where it gets tied in right behind the bead. Then I wrap the copper wire forward to make it look like segmented sections of the body and, again, tie it in behind the bead. Then it's just a matter of building up a nice thread base to cover all that up and make a thorax for the bug and then finish it all off. Here's the final variation of a Black Beauty.

The ones with the clear bead are Mercury Black Beauties, the ones in the middle with no bead are Black Beauties (I used dubbing for the thorax on those and I'm least happy with them as dubbing is not a strength for me). Not sure what to call the Tungsten beaded ones. Blacker Beauties? The possibilities are endless with this fly but, basically, it represents the biggest source of food for the trout that we have in the South Platte Valley which is a midge (a two winged bug) and, specifically, it's meant to mimic the pupae stage of the lifespan.

I've been told that I need to find a better spot to tie than the kitchen table. It's quite messy and I don't like having the hooks around where, if they got dropped the dogs could get to them). So today I am going to have to set something up in the garage which means I've got to find a good light source (which I needed anyways) and a stool that's the right height (or else I've gotta modify the bench). So there you have it. Get out and do something fun today!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

This is probably the worst time since I've been teaching to be employed as an educator. It's silly. It's not appropriate to go into specifics here but I did give serious consideration (while looking at myself in the bathroom mirror) to what else I could do to pay the bills today and that's a real shame cuz I like teaching. I can't be a model. I actually injured myself by having a guitar string poke me enough to bleed last week while practicing. I can't be a Swahili translator. I don't know that my quantity of beer consumption is enough to justify a funky micro-brewery hiring me as their exclusive taster. A fishing guides life is HARD and, while I've always wanted to pursue it, I often worry about what impact pimping out the river will have on me. I don't really know anything else. It's frightening. Of all the jobs I've ever had, I never felt that I was supposed to do something like when I teach.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cheesman Canyon

I haven't fished this section of the South Platte in quite a while. Scott was partyin' up in Golden last night and he ended the night drinking Busch beer. How that happened is beyond me but who am I to question? We made plans to meet up down in the canyon. I got there at a respectable hour and he brought up the rear several hours later. He did redeem himself though by lugging in 2 really nice Belgian beers. Here he is trying to showcase his form.

I got into this bow about 30 minutes after the hike in.

I ended the day with this one.

This is the Wig Wam Club. It's probably a mile or so of very private water. Some political types have been choppered in. I'd love to fish it but I'm not important enough and I certainly don't have deep enough pockets. Once in a Blue Moon, some of the larger Kamloops species of Rainbows there will roam up or downstream and be caught by some bum like myself but...not today.

This is a Scud. It's a crustacean. These are pretty simple life forms in that they don't really go through a complex process like most insects that trout eat. These are born small Scuds. They grow into big fat Scuds. Then they die. This one is dead.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Catch Magazine

Catch Magazine is an online magazine that my good buddy Rob turned me on to a few years ago. If you like fly fishing you'll really want to check it out. You'll also want to check it out if you just appreciate excellent photography. The new issue just came out and they get better and better. They include both saltwater and mountain stuff but I'm happy that they tend to lean slightly more towards the mountains as saltwater just never intrigues me as much. Each issue has some incredible videos (one of the new ones focuses on big Bull Trout up in British Columbia). Right now it's a free magazine but I've heard of plans to start charging a real minimal fee in very early 2012 but I'll support them. Check it out.
I am NOT a morning person at all but this was the light show I got yesterday while having coffee. With the time change and a busy work schedule, I haven't been able to get out to the river during the week so I decided to go last night. I was thinking about it all week long and yesterday seemed to drag on forever. Finally, the busses came and I was able to head out. My plan was to throw streamers way past sunset for some bigger browns. Before the sun went down behind the Divide, the temp was 33 so I knew it was going to be tough. Within an hour the temp had dropped to 29 and things totally changed.

When you're fishing with a nymph rig (totally sub-surface) you're making short casts and you're not really stripping line in through the rod guides. With streamers, there's a lot of line coiled up by your feet and your casting it (sometimes as much as 70 feet) and then you're stripping it in and rinsing/repeating or taking a few steps or picking it all up and moving to the next spot. When it's that cold the issue becomes the water on the fly line freezing after stripping it in or during the back cast. As you strip the line in, the water collects on the rod guides and they ice up (sometimes so much that ice builds up and completely blocks the guides). When that happens there's only a few things you can do. Sometimes you can hold the rod down in the water where it's a few degrees warmer and you can go back to work. Sometimes, you can use Pam or something similar to keep the ice from building up. Sometimes you have to bite or suck on the ice or just keep breaking it off with your fingers. Last night was cold enough that I was able to make one cast but everything would freeze while stripping line in and I'd have to de-ice before making another cast. Very frustrating. I did this for several hours before finally giving up and calling it a night.

It was good to get out for Happy Hour even though I didn't get into any trout. I did see some big fish tearing up bait fish or probably crawfish. It's maddening when you can't make a quick cast because you're too busy having a river popsicle (as tasty as they all were).

Sunday, November 6, 2011


For the last few years I have lived with neck pain and limited range of motion every day. When it locks up on me the pain is just unbearable and I'm couch bound. Usually when this happens I'm doing nothing but alternating between ice and heat for a week before it loosens up. I tried a Chiropractor but just wasn't real happy with the results and trips to see him 3 times each week for a month was not something I could afford. My friend Dan wanted me to see his guy up in Boulder but he doesn't take my insurance and I suspect this is not an issue that's going to be fixed in one visit and I'm not sure I can drive to Boulder as much as it will probably take. I should call Eric over in PbVille to see if he thinks his needles can help it out but I'm also very nervous about it because I did see the x rays and the vertebrae in my neck looked odd but I'm also not an x ray tech. Not sure what to do.

Buffalo Creek

The flows along the South Platte are dismal right now. Instead of heading out to fish yesterday I decided to go for a ride. We have such a vast network of trails out here. As surprising as this will probably sound, I had never ridden any of trails in the Buffalo Creek area before. The Colorado Trail passes through the area and I've always seen trails shooting off it but never explored them. So that's where I headed yesterday. For those back home, BC is equivalent to driving to Castlewood or the Chubb Trail from the South City so it's not all that far to go but it's sometimes hard to justify actually driving to any trail when I still continue to find new trails right out the front door.

I rode a bit of the trails in BC but they were kinda sloppy from the melting snow so I didn't stay long. This is the North Fork of the South Platte just a mile or so east of BC. Two very big bull moose were spotted standing side by side in the middle of this river in town (if you can even call it that as BC is super tiny) about 3 weeks ago. I was hoping to see them but didn't.

It was a weird day with weather moving in an snow flying for 30 minutes and then the sun popping back out again. I ended up riding a road along the river for 10 or 15 miles before venturing down a double track heading towards Strontia Springs Reservoir. I wasn't able to get too far in as it's all shut down because they're still dredging it. Then I headed back to the car and came home. I guess I was out for 3 hours on the singlespeed. I don't have any good photos of today because the camera was acting up again. I think I've dropped it too many times.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Last night I found myself missing my Vanagon. We've talked about looking for a new vehicle for me for a while now but just haven't done anything real serious. I'm told that I will have to keep this vehicle for longer than a year or two so I wanna get it right. I've considered many models from Subaru but then I fear that I will want to mod them and drive them stupidly. I'm looking for something that I could be pretty content with right out of the box. Lately I keep going back to the Nissan XTerra. It's bigger. It can hold lot's of gear and I could sleep in it if I had to. Unfortunately, it is not a van or a wagon and those are my G spots. I can't do a Vanagon even if it's got a Subaru motor swap because conversions never go right and there's always something that needs attention. So from time to time, I keep coming back to the Eurovan. It's got tremendous power with the VR6 motor. My buddy Adam pulls his trailer and drag car all day long while doing 85mph. They're big and boxy and kinda resemble a brick. YOu can get the pop top but I would be thrilled with another Weekender package. They are expensive though. Heather gives me the proper stink eye when we crunch the numbers and find out that it would be a $300ish payment on a van with 100,000 miles on it. The Achilles heel of the Eurovan is the transmission. They tend to go out and are serious money to have rebuilt. I'm pretty sure she knows about this little fact too. I know where I can find a blue 2001 right now but it would require the Homey hookup.'s not a Weekender.

Here's a fine specimen with a lot of custom work done to it (wheels, suspension, paint).

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Congratulations Colorado!!

Colorado voted against the education tax at the state level and I think almost every Mill Levy was also voted down including ours. We loves us some education in Colorado. Why people in my town continue to be fine with un-educated people walking around is beyond me. I'm hoping I have a job next year but I'm not going to hold my breath. We've already cut 3 million in 2 years and there simply is not anymore fat to trim. It could very well be time for me to find a new career.

Good work Colorado.