Sunday, December 11, 2011

Winter Trout

I am convinced the best winter trout fishing in the Pikes Peak region is the Arkansas River tailwater below Pueblo Reservoir. I hit a couple of holes early yesterday morning and was very pleased. With temps in the teens, It was tough, but I battled through it and managed to get a bite going with a deep nymph rig. My winning combo was a Hare's Ear dropped off a worm pattern with the indicator pegged at about eight feet off the point fly. This seamed to work best drifted just off the bottom on deep holes.

I read somewhere that a nymph rig works best when you add just enough weight to get all the way off the bottom without hanging up every cast. When it comes to river fishing I am definitely all about nymph tactics. When it's 15 degrees, you have no choice.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

NC Bassin' With My Dad

iphone_pic by ...olson family...
iphone_pic, a photo by ...olson family... on Flickr.

Just got home after visiting my Dad in NC. My trips to see my Dad come with the challenge of cracking the code on Lake James - a very challenging highland lake. We started off targeting smallmouth with each of us getting on the board with smaller fish. I got mine on a fly rod which is really fun. I also found a mid day pattern to pound bream with a fly rod - also very fun.

At some point we found our largemouth pattern: green Zoom Dead Ringers tossed between timber. This is a seasonal thing as Lake James has lots of deep water structure. At 71 degrees the water was perfect for pounding the bank eastern NC style. You have to work for your bass bites on Lake James, but Dad and I both broke through in a big way. I got a solid three pound fish and Dad got a five pounder.

I learned some important points this week: largemouth fishing on Lake James is very doable; Dead Ringers are still the best plastic worms; and my Dad is one of the best fishermen I know.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Will The Real Bass Slayer Please Stand Up

iphone_pic by ...olson family...
iphone_pic, a photo by ...olson family... on Flickr.

My Dad is an awesome bass fisherman. We fished Lake James last night at sunet. He landed a five pound bass as the sun sank over the horizon. Just when I think I know how to catch bass my Dad schools me on how to haul in a trophy with a simple texas rigged worm. Way to go Dad!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Float Tube Heaven

iphone_pic by ...olson family...
iphone_pic, a photo by ...olson family... on Flickr.

I spent some time on a previous post discussing my preferred popper strategies. My approach is simple but it definitely works at Brush Hollow - the local mecca for bass fishing from a float tube.

I broke in a new fly rod today - a Redington Red.Fly2 , 7wt, 9' 6". I lined my new rod with SA's Floating Cell for Bass. This outfit served me well casting poppers from my tube and winching this 16" pig out of the weeds - awesome!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Zach's First Bass

iphone_pic by ...olson family...
iphone_pic, a photo by ...olson family... on Flickr.

Catching your first bass in this family is a critical milestone. Zach has arrived! A trout magnet under a bubble gave Zach the critical edge to land this little largemouth - plenty exciting when you are four and fishing with an ultra-lite.

Way to go Zach!

Friday, August 5, 2011


iphone_pic by ...olson family...
iphone_pic, a photo by ...olson family... on Flickr.

It's worth elaborating on popper tactics that have been really good for me over the last few years. My basic premise is that poppers are good during certain windows: sunrise, the secondary morning bite window, the mid-evening bite, and sunset. There are other times when conditions point to poppers such as off color water, and in some cases , windy conditions.

My color selection is dictated by light conditions. I go dark on dark and bright on bright. If it's cloudy or the light is low I go for a dark, usually a solid black popper. If the sun is high and bright I start with neon yellow (aka chartreuse) and may shift to white or softer light colors. Water clarity should also be accounted for. Clear water requires a natural presentation such as an olive green frog pattern. If the water is dingy an obnoxious bright color or solid black works. Calm conditions may require more subtle approaches employing smaller poppers or sliders. Good popper targets are weeds, brush piles, and rocks.

Poppers do not yield bites all of the time. They are often called a 10% solution and applied at the wrong time they are inferior to streamers and other sub-surface flies. I have found that sound popper tactics applied at the right time,place, and conditions are hard to beat.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

South Park Lakes

iphone_pic by ...olson family...
iphone_pic, a photo by ...olson family... on Flickr.

In my view, the best trout fishing in the area is found in South Park's lakes. Spinney, and Antero Reservoirs are awesome fisheries where every hook-up could be a trophy. The size limit at Spinney is over 20"!

I had the opportunity to hit both reservoirs on Sunday morning. I started at Spinney fishing a streamer trailed by a damsel nymph from my float tube. This was worth a solid 17" rainbow that fought unbelievably hard. Needing a break from the tube, I loaded up and hit Antero for a couple of hours. I had two lost hook-ups -- one was a genuine monster.

In all, I got what I came for. I just want to land one trout when I hit these lakes --anything you can net will likely be huge. Trout in the 3-5 pound range are consistently caught at Spinney. Antero produces a disproportionate number of 5-10 pound trout. Your chances are always better if you stop in at Angler's Covey or Ghillies and get word on the flies the guides are using. I take a couple hot flies and focus on changing depth until I find the right range. I found that a dropper four feet off the point fly gets the fly down in the zone. I talked to anglers who were going with 20' leaders with an indicator over using a sink tip. Next time I will try a sink tip, but adding droppers and shot to extend the leader seems to work.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bassin' at Brush Hollow

iphone_pic by ...olson family...
iphone_pic, a photo by ...olson family... on Flickr.

Brush Hollow is my top pick for bass in the Pikes Peak Region. This is not a part of the country known for great bass fishing, but Brush Hollow is a good refuge for a bass junkie like me. This morning was great. I got four really descent bass putting around in my float tube.

Largemouth bass on a fly rod - what a blast!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Monument Lake - First Day Out

Today was my first day on the water this year. I have good excuses for my tardiness: Iraq, surgery, and a nagging sense of responsibility. I hit Monument Lake at dawn. I got off to a fast start with several bites before hooking this bow.

I then set my sights on structure near a beaver dam. This is when the tide turned. I snagged a sunken branch and yanked hard enough to trigger a full intruder alert from the beavers. The first beaver swimming toward me in a confrontational manner didn't phase me. Three of them at once was a different story. At some point I decided that I needed to break off my line. That is when my rod snapped. It was my 5 weight - the one I catch trout with. Six months into 2011 and I have one trout and a broken rod under my belt. I am sure the next thirty minutes on the water will be better.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Brownie on the Wooly Bugger

Originally uploaded by ...olson family...
I was very happy to hook this brown trout this weekend in Estes Park. This was not a fishing weekend and I had less than an hour to fish early sunday morning. I chose to change flies over moving and covering water. I was down to my final few casts and I tied the old standby: the BH Wooly Bugger (black, size #6).

Landing this nice fish reminded me of a few things: I love brown trout, I love streamers, and I love catching a fish on my last cast.