Monday, April 25, 2016

Firsts of the Season

There's really not much more exciting in life than finding out you and the wife are expecting another child. We already have one and weren't really planning the second but life always has a different plan than what you think you plan. In late February we welcomed our second son into the world. I was ecstatic with the outcome already having practiced on my first son(sorry bud). 
Hes 2 in this picture. I think we've got the basics down though. 

In October we had gotten married and thought a move back to Michigan was a good idea. We have friends and family back in the state. We made the move and thought we had left Colorado in the rear view for the time being. After the struggle of finding jobs and steady livable income we called it quits. Returning back to Colorado with a new baby in tow. I have to give it to my wife for being the trooper she is being a week post partum loading a moving truck once again to get us back to our lives here in Colorful (no vacancy) Colorado.

There's a very exciting time of year that comes around the end of March. The time of year when your fishing license expires and it's time again for that excuse to find your way to the fly shop and get the latest and greatest edition. It's a perfect excuse to go look at all the new offerings from your favorite companies. It's an opportunity to day dream about your upcoming season. 

We finally were able to get out this past weekend. Finally able to get out camping and fishing of course. This was Uelis first venture into the wilderness and like his older brother was a perfect fit for our camp. I swear the little one sleeps better in a tent then he does at home in a bed. Beyond excited to see what this summer has in store for us. According to our 3 year old "I go camping! And dad catches fish!" if we can keep this theme going it will be a good summer.

Ueli's first night in the tent. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Backcountry Brookies

        Theres not much else better in life than hiking to a place where you are only present for a few moments.  Lucky enough to spend a few hours chasing fish that very seldom see flies. Life above 11,000 feet above sea level is not a place for humans to live and flourish. It is a delicate yet tough environment. The "summer" season is so short and sweet that its only a matter of time before the rains turn to snow and the ice eventually settles in for another winter in the Rocky Mountain High country.
        The family and I got out a few weeks ago to one of seems like endless high mountain lakes in Colorado. These lakes are probably my favorite thing to fish. Sure its not monster fish pushing the scale toward my toddlers weight but the eager brook trout, lake trout, and splake make for a very entertaining day on the water. Heres some pictures from our adventure hope if you ever get a chance to come out to Colorado you'll try the high mountain lakes around the state. If you time it just right you will be rewarded with lots of wildflowers.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Colorado Back Country Cutthroats

I have a complete problem with hiking. I also have a fishing problem. When you combine the two you end up with a backpack that Boba Fett would envy. With rod tubes protruding like lightning rods and everything needed for "survival" you know tent, sleeping bag and whiskey. The real bare essentials.

 I enjoy a hike that is counted in miles. Especially a hike that is counted over 10 miles of walking through complete and utter wilderness. The final location a high mountain lake damn near the clouds. Of course we all know the fish we chase always live in terribly awful dreary locations that are not worth ever experiencing.
The lake as you finally get to see it.

The Falls Just below the lake.
The first set of falls.
This is what most of the trail looked like on our hike up after the first falls. My 2 year old son holding his own on the trail.

 Generally these lakes are teeming with fish that will eat anything that even remotely resembles a bug. I cannot and will not ever be able to put words to the feeling of catching these wild fish in their native habitat. I am by no means an author or an english major. I just like to share these adventures with the rest of the fishing community.
This was my first fish after camp was established. Forgot my phone for the rest you'll just have to take my word.

I love fish that have been in the same lake for a thousand years. Unmolested and left alone to breed and regenerate their population without hatchery influence. I am talking real wild trout. Sure cutty's don't get the same publicity as their sea fairing cousins the steelhead and salmon but each one of these fish is straight up rocky mountain gold. Get out there and start prospecting!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Splurged and the selfish act of going to the fly shop.

We all do it. We as fly fishermen and women are all guilty of telling the significant other were just going for tying materials or a pack of tippet. When in all reality we are eyeballing the reel case day dreaming of that thing cranked down whining with the fish of a lifetime on the other end of that tippet we were supposed to be getting in the first place. Or false casting that brand new top of the line $1000 dollar Sage, Orvis, or Winston. When you know you should just be in the tying section and fooling oneself into "I could afford this" "If i just eat ramen and tuna packets for a few weeks." "You know just like hiking but living at home." We all know that having a family and youngsters comes with responsibility and they aren't going to be cool with having ramen and tuna for a couple weeks we have to put that dream rod back in the case and walk away. Thinking to yourself, one day I will have that rod tube tucked under my arm and reel in hand lined out with your choice will eventually come and it does.

After waiting a few years and being patient I have finally pulled the trigger on a new setup. I have been fishing the Orvis clearwater with a BBS3 reel for about 5 years. I have absolutely no complaints on either of the rod or reel. I have caught bass, walleye, sheepshead and trout on that setup. It was my first "real" fly fishing rig with the big name. Which is why I am so partial to this setup. I have broken it and my dog has broken it. Orvis has came through and honored their end of the warranty. Earning them a customer for life. They even upgraded me the second time because they didn't make the original clearwater anymore. So hell yeah as a fisherman you'll take the latest and greatest for the free!(rod return fees)

Orvis has gone away with the Access series of rods and have introduced the Recon. From the get the advertisement totally won me over. I know I shouldn't let advertisements push my direction either way. Besides who can get mad at that trout laid out in a topographical map? With being an avid backcountry hiker and enjoying the high mountain lakes and rivers Colorado has to offer the solid aluminum rod tube with the aforementioned topographical trout lured me in. Light weight sleek and not made of nylon and plastic that tends to soak out when it does rain here adding weight that you can't drink. The other part that caught me was the fact that they were made here in America. I've always wanted a rod that was made in the US, but never could come up with the coin to own one without as much guilt.

I bought the Recon in a 4 piece 9 foot 8 weight rod. Having the casting characteristics of the H2 without the H2 price was a huge plus. Thermoplastics and high end resins are nice but fish don't care about that stuff. To be quite frank neither do I. Do I enjoy a rod that casts smoothly and puts your fly within a foot or two of where you wanted it? Absolutely. I paired the rod with Sage 4280 reel. I lined it with Scientific Anglers 250 grain Wet Tip Express. This is going to be my streamer rod for big trout and pike out of my canoe.

Why am I still rambling on about my latest first world purchase? Because of ice and snow are still blocking the trailheads. Until then I will continue to construct Kelly Galloup would be a mad zoo cougars.

Monday, January 26, 2015

January Dry Fly

Well I have thought about this page and how I should be keeping up on it but honestly its the last of my worries. I sure wish I fished as much as I could just to keep a page like this rolling. Obviously in all reality I haven't fished nearly as much as I should have. Oh well what are you going to do. When you're 27 and raising a family working 40+ a week all you can do is enjoy those Saturdays with the family. I love the time spent with them and still adventuring but its not at my pace anymore. Its what satisfies the collective. If I am lucky we can squeeze in a couple hours on the river casting god knows what with crap that has been collected in my fly tying desk. Which I have learned don't keep real deal wild squirrel tail in there because mites of whatever sort will eat the rest of the materials in that said drawer. That was a fun clean out.

The weather finally broke after a few weeks of what felt like actual winter here in Colorado. We had a Sunday with a forecast that said the possible 60's! I took a random chance hoping for some dry fly fishing and was rewarded. We packed up and headed down south hoping to catch a warmer break on the river. I got what I was hoping for. Warm weather and rising fish! IN JANUARY. Being from Michigan having rising fish in January is I won't say impossible but very very close. Watching people fly fish with dries is only something you can watch on youtube and or think of those sunny days on the little creeks watching the resident browns sip them from the surface while  you're sitting in an ice shanty jigging for walleye. Anyway this was a banner day. Not a single fish broke the scale. Not one was even over 14 inches. They were all wild trout in the river. I had an awesome day on the river fishing dry flies with my family IN JANUARY! Oh yeah and technically speaking these were my first fish of the new year!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Maroon Bells Wilderness Area

      Another month is slipping by as we head into those dreaded cold months of the year. The lakes freeze over and the rivers turn to a sludge. I personally dont mind the cold months of fishing. I love the solitude and the silence of the river with trees draped in a dusting of snow. The mountains and the shadows hiding the abundance of snow that just adds to the spectacle of fishing here in Colorado. With the weather taking a turn for the worse we decided to head to the backcountry to see what was left of the fall colors of this year. Of course with fly rod in hand.
     We set off Saturday morning headed west as usual. We usually dont have anyplace in mind just knowing we want altitude and scenic drives. That usually leads us to off the beaten path county roads and passes that are seasonally open. We were happy and lucky to get to see Independence Pass that takes you into Aspen from the east side of town. The pass sits at 12,000 feet so as you would assume theres a decent amount of snow laying atop the pass. The little lakes that are up there have been frozen over for quite some time and we got to watch some back country skiers leaving their mark on the fresh snow.

     There wasnt much left for colors on the trees as we summited the pass but on the backside descending into Aspen was a much different story. The trees were on fire with yellows and oranges with tints of greens. 82 coming into Aspen at this time of year is a nice site to see. Since thats what we took the drive for in the first place.
We ended up driving through Aspen and headed up to Maroon Lake. Never had been to this lake before. Had worked in the area the previous summer and explored up around Snowmass Village. This was the first drive up high mountain lake I've even been too. I personally still like the hike into the lakes the best but not knowing the temperature didnt want to risk freezing the little one for a couple fish. Besides you have to see the Bells if youre ever in the area. As usual the pictures of that area on google just doesnt do it justice. 

 Fished for a couple of hours and had brought 12 to the net. Had cutthroat, rainbows and brookies all come to a blue wing olive about 22. There were still caddis coming off. It was fun to watch one fish go after a bug in stuck in the surface film and miss him the first time to return the second and make sure he didnt miss that fly. The fish were on yesterday rising steadily for well over an hour. 

      My favorite part of fishing in fall definitely has to be the colors of all the fish getting ready to procreate. The brook trout are colored up like rodeo clowns and the spots of purples oranges reds and yellows offset with the black head and prehistoric jaws make them easily my favorite fish. Even though they weigh in at next to nothing they have a good fight in them and will take a net full of these over one good steelhead all winter.
All in all perfect weekend. A bit of hiking with the family, fish to the net, and a wonderful hallmark holiday sweetest day dinner at The Pullman in Glenwood Springs. With dinner being about an hour out of being able to be seated what other choice did I have than to grab my rod and go and play on the Colorado River. Adding another river to the list of fished rivers here. Wished i could of spent more time there. Nothing like being setup with 6x and trying to swing streamers in the dark. Lost one and broke off another. With the dinner bell ringing it was time to finish off the night with some food and make the dreaded drive back home for yet another work week.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Not So Secret Canyon (if you enjoy reading maps)

During the days of frustration on the water where you just want to be left alone. You get annoyed with seeing people on one side of the river slowly creeping there way into "your" pools and section of water. Another on the nearside walking back in frustration stomping there feet as they are annoyed from not catching fish spooking your pool. It really takes all you have as a gentleman to not speak out to them in harsh tones. It starts with wanting to get to somewhere that takes a little work. Public access is a very needed thing for our sport obviously. It just draws a lot of the lazy fisherman to say the least. I've noticed more trash and wind knots laying on the banks in these areas. We all would like to think that by being privileged enough to have these access's that people would be shepherds of the trash. 
The best part about fly fishing or fishing in general is that fish don't live in ugly places. They pick the best water, the most scenic canyons, and tumbling rivers to call home. Us as anglers we cant stay away. Through all seasons were drawn from our beds even in the coldest of mornings in winter to go stand waist deep in an almost frozen sludge of a river. Slipping and sliding even having to sit down and slide on our butts like kids to get into casting range of a pool that might not even hold a fingerling. To me thats part of the draw to the sport. Working and meandering to get to a spot that could give you the fish of a lifetime. In that order you have to be willing to do some work in order to get a chance at that fish. A lot of people like to fish for recreation to get away from "work". For me though I prefer to put in the work to be rewarded with solitude and lesser known and fished waters. Plus who doesnt enjoy wild fish in a remote location?
Your best bet to finding places that are lesser known and fished is invest in a nice atlas & gazetteer. These come in very handy when your in the area where cell phones make a nice paper weight or camera because service cant be reached. Which is one of the reasons why we like to go to areas like these. I like to start with basic research on google earth and get a feel for which section of the river youre trying to access. Then its all about finding fire roads or county roads that will get you close. Also be sure to check and keep an eye out for no trespassing signage. I by no means advise trespass. Thats there property and as a sportsman hope you abide by the laws and respect another families property.
It takes very little skill to do this. Basic map reading skills and orienteering skills. Its quite the thing to see it all come together. From a random spot on Google maps to driving to get there to finding a trail head. Thats all part of the adventure for the true backcountry angler. The adventure can even be closer to home than you think. As long as you do your homework. Youll be rewarded.