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Due to my schedule I have not been able to get out and wet a line as often as I want. Considering my predicament, I decided it was time to tie some flies so I am ready for next week. The waters are clearing up so dry flies will be on the line soon. Until then I am still running nymphs. One of my favorite is my own take on a Pheasant Tail Nymph. Easy to tie, very versatile in most waters and for most fish. The Pheasant Tail imitates a variety of aquatic insects.

I also use this fly as a searching pattern. A dry dropper combination can be deadly for hungry fish. I tie, and fish them in sizes 18, 16, and 14. On rare occasions I have even used them to mimic a small stone fly. My favorite way is to throw a bead on the front. It gives the fly some weight and a bit of a flash. I have also used the same pattern in black and olive. Below are the steps I take in tying mine.

Materials needed: Preferred hook, pheasant tail, ribbing material, brown saddle hackle and peacock herl.

I can give you step by step instructions, however pictures speak louder than words. 20170616_180248

Tie in your tail fibers and wrap three quarters of the hook. Leave excess for wing case.

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Tie in your ribbing along with your body material. 20170616_18045120170616_180526

Wrap the body. Then reverse wrap your ribbing. Stopping at your wing case.20170616_18092220170616_180923

Tie in your peacock herl20170616_181037

Tie in and do three wraps of brown saddle. 20170616_181147

Last step is to fold over the wing case material and tie off your excess. Whip finish and your done. 20170616_181305

The couple things I do different is I use a brown saddle hackle for the leg and wing. Otherwise it is the same as every other pattern.

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Hope this helps some of you. Let me know how yours turn out. Or if you have improvements I would love to hear from you.

Win Some, Lose Some

Yesterday was an awesome day for fishing. The temperature was sitting around the mid 70’s, the sun was shining, and the breeze carried the smell of fresh flowers. Yep, good day for fishing. It’s a shame it wasn’t a good day for catching. I tried out some waters I’m not familiar with. Both reservoirs have a smattering of species including Northern Pike, Bass, and Crappie. I assumed, as anyone would, that since I have caught these species before in other waters, I should have no problem catching them anywhere. The saying about assumptions rang true.20170522_133937.jpg

It was a real, “me against nature” battle. I swung my lures left, I threw a worm right, then I followed with a hay maker of a jig to the bottom. After all my work, I hadn’t wounded anything but my pride. Not a fish, not even a bite. Lucky for me I had the added benefit of having my wife with me for the day. Feeling defeated by the lake, I was still able to enjoy a relaxing day out in nature with a loved one. We sat and watched the yellow Carp break the surface and splash in the shallows. We talked about nonsense, and even shared some Doritos with some friendly ducks.20170522_141813.jpg

Fishing doesn’t always have to be catching. Sometimes fishing is just the excuse I use to peel myself off the couch and get outside to do something. The very first fishermen caught fish to feed their families. Fishing evolved into a marketable skill to feed others families in order to feed their own. Soon there was recreational fishing. People fished for the simple pleasure of it. However, I now believe that fishing has come full circle and is once more a need for survival. The chaotic world we live in is filled with stress. I fish because I love to. I also fish to preserve my own sanity. So, it isn’t always a bad thing to get skunked fishing, as long as you actually go out fishing. Even better, get out fishing with the people in your life that mean the most to you.

Get out and fish!

My Nesting Phase

You may have noticed my posts have been sporadic the past couple weeks. Fear not, I am still here doing what I always do, with some minor changes. The one that is taking most of my time currently are the new additions to my family. Those that know me well, know that I am a believer in family first. To that I introduce you all to the Magpies, (Individual names still in the works). They were found by a neighbor after falling from their nest. Not wanting to take care of them, they soon found their way into my house. Magpies are native here so my hope is to get them to maturity then turn them loose. My daughter has other plans. Either way, it has been an exciting undertaking so far. 20170518_133840.jpg

I will say this however, I have never in my life heard such a racket as when they are hungry. And they are always hungry. 20170518_133631.jpgJust like a human baby, they eat, sleep, and poop. Pretty much in that order. Magpies eat a variety of food in the wild, so after doing some research we found that a steady diet of moist cat or dog kibble, thin slices of raw meat, and believe it or not, hard-boiled eggs, is a healthy diet for a growing bird.

I must confess that I do have delusions of walking the rivers with a Magpie on my shoulder. How cool would that be right? Sounds like a great story all on its own. As they are a very smart bird, my daughter believes she should be allowed to teach it to speak. When kids have pets though, it’s really the parent who has the responsibility of the pet. 20170516_190404

Any ideas for names? Love to hear them if you got them. Drop me an email, or comment below. 20170518_133846.jpg

I will try to do random updates for those who are interested.

Hey! I Know That Guy!

Cabin fever, spring fever, cat scratch fever, I got it all. The warm temperatures have me itching to get out and play. Alas, burdened with other responsibilities, I am forced to play the role of weekend warrior for now. If I want to be out, I must endure the crowded shore lines with the rest of society in my same predicament. Today however, while taking care of my, “responsibilities”, I found myself in need of a break. As a fisherman, I find that I am often times entertained as much by the thought of fishing, as the actual act of fishing. More so, I am often entertained by those who venture out with me. Not just family and friends, but sometimes even the strangers I meet on the water can bring me either joy, or sometimes pain. I found this video so true to life, that I couldn’t help but laugh and put a face to each statement made. How many of you fish with these same people?

Fish Pen

I must say, that of all the gizmo’s and gadget’s I have tried over the years, this one totally rocks. Small, light, compact, and it works. Who knew? I got my Fish Pen from my aunt as a gift. I always saw them as more of a novelty item and not something to take serious. However, I decided to take it out for a spin and see if it was actually a functional rod and reel. I hit a small local stream that I knew had a population of wild trout. My set up included the bait caster reel, which I spooled with 8-pound mono. Serious overkill on the line, but it’s what I had on hand at the time. A size 6 bait hook, some night crawlers, and I was fishing.20170430_170819

The stream is small enough that casting is not necessary. I tried to go as basic as I could simply to see if it worked. I floated a worm through several small riffle’s and holes before I got my first fish. A little Brown Trout. 20170430_171213Laying it next to the Fish Pen for a picture I realized another bonus, fish look bigger next to this set up.

 

 

 

 

A few holes later I pulled a slightly bigger Rainbow Trout from a cutout bank. 20170430_173009Again, love the size comparisons. I ended it there on a happy note. 2 fish, and new respect for the Fish Pen.

 

 

Upsides: extremely light weight, less than 8 ounces, that includes the reel. All tucked away, the Fish Pen is 8 inches long. Fully extended it is 3 feet in length. This makes it pretty much a perfect size to throw in a pocket or a backpack. Good action for a telescoping rod and enough backbone to haul in a decent fish.

Downsides: The bait casting reel is difficult to use if you are unfamiliar with this type of set up. They are prone to backlash and I kept having the line slip around the spool and binding up. The original came with a thumb cast set up which I think for general purposes would be the best reel. Since its inception, tons of knockoffs have been made available and some even come with fly reels or spinning reels.

For what it is, I had a blast trying it out. It is cheaply made, and not designed for every day angling, but not a bad little set up to keep in your glove box, or even your bugout bag. Worst case scenario, you did what I did, you go out and use it occasionally, just for the sake of, why not? There are much worse things you could be doing with your time and money.

 

Snowshoeing Misadventure.

I call it a misadventure, because I really didn’t do much snowshoeing. I had gotten a text early in the morning from a friend who wanted to snowshoe into some lakes inaccessible by car. I thought sure, why not? Just no way I was doing it at seven in the morning. Seriously I’m kind of a fair-weather fisherman, aka, wuss. It was cold and rainy out so bed seemed like a more appealing option. Not one to miss out altogether, I had my gear in the car and was soon on my way up the mountain. The lowlands and hills all showed the beginnings of spring. Lush greenery covered the landscape. For the moment, the weather was holding, but over the mountain where I was going… not so much.20170425_1114001

When I found my buddy’s truck, the snow that had been falling all morning had long since erased his tracks. I walked around looking for telltale signs, but since he said he would be at one, out of three potential lakes, I was clueless as to where he could be. I donned the snowshoes and followed what I thought was his footsteps, about a half a mile into the clearing before I lost them. Checking the time, it was almost noon. Without much hope of finding him I called it a day. I did take a picture of my feet in the snowshoes as proof that I at least had made it that far. So, snowshoeing didn’t work out; not the first time good plans didn’t go according to plan. I passed a stream on my way up the mountain though and made the decision I would stop and give it a go and salvage what I had left of the afternoon.

The stream was small and starting to color up from the rain and snow.20170425_140004 The banks on either side were both overgrown with vegetation, leaving a gauntlet of deadfall in the water. I started off throwing a size 20, red Zebra Midge with a gold bead. Well, it was more like snaking the rod through the trees and gently dropping the fly into the small pocket water below. Similar to the technique of dapping, one of the first forms of fly fishing, the fly dangled two feet below the rod tip, and more or less letting it swirl around the eddies and slack water. I was soon rewarded with a strike. Knee jerk reaction however left my fly tangled in a tree hanging three feet above the water after I pulled it away from the fish. No waders, so there goes fly number one. Fly number two, lost on a submerged root or rock. Fly number three, same fate as fly number one. After losing three flies on a twenty-foot stretch of water I decided it was time to change my game plan. Bigger fly, forget trying to land the fish.

Size 16, bead head Prince Nymph. The results, no more lost flies. Instead of my typical Bill Dance hook set, I settled instead for a got tug on the fly line. Most of them I at least got to catch a glimpse of their thrashing head before spitting the hook. I did manage to bring a few to the shore and get some pictures. I earned my money. I had to earn each strike and fish I got that day. Totally worth a few flies and a little frustration. The snowshoeing was a bust, but the wild Rainbow fishing was a blast.20170425_130939

Below are some added pics from the day.

Ice Off

Ice off. One of my favorite times of the year. This year is no exception. A friend and I decided to take a trip up to Fish lake Utah, just under 9000 ft. elevation. Fish lake is an amazing fishery depending on your style of fishing. For me, early spring and the approaching Rainbow trout spawn means that Splake trout, a hybrid of a Lake trout and a Brook trout, will be up in the shallows getting ready for a feast. Fish lake is known for its lunkers, and currently boasts the state record Splake at just over 17 lbs. I just think they taste good.

So yesterday we hit the water in hook’em and cook’em mode. The ice had pulled off the shore about a double casting distance. I could see fish surfacing along the ice edge and some further into shore. We hit a few Rainbows on a red and silver Jake’s lure.20170419_153903 But I needed dinner.

I re-rigged and threw on some garden hackle. It wasn’t long before I pulled in my first Splake. So, we settled in for some bait fishing. While we kicked back, the sizzling of fresh fish filled the air as we cooked our catch on a portable grill. We weren’t the only ones out enjoying the cool mountain air. The Osprey circled the lake, looking for lunch of their own. Chunky Pot Guts chased each other around rocks and through brush, while squirrels chattered in the tree tops. A full belly and six fish later we decided to call it a day. Between us we ended up keeping two Rainbows, three Splake, and one Tiger trout. 20170419_154119

I’ve had many perfect days fishing, and I can add this day to the list.