Monday, April 30, 2012

Joe Moore Report & Dynamic Lures

I try to buy local products over products from far away lands, not because I don't like people from faraway lands but because I want to put money back in the community in which I live to selfishly make my own standard of living better. I buy a lot of Rapala lures. I have nothing against the Finns, but wouldn't it be great if there was a lure company right here in Colorado who made comprable lures? There is! Dynamic Lures, based in Grand Junction, produces some amazing lures and there is a full compliment of them available at Gardenschwartz outdoors in Durango. (Guns and bullets Gardenschwartz, not tents, dreadlocks and granola Gardenschwartz) These guys are involved with an internet fishing forum that I frequent and I've been meaning to get my hands on some but until I saw them on the rack in my own town I didn't have the chance. I bought an HD Trout with a Rainbow Trout pattern. It is a sinking minnow with 2 sets of treble hooks around 2.5 or 3 inches long. It looks like a Rapala, but one of the first differences I noticed was the amazing paintjob. This little puppy looks JUST LIKE a baby Rainbow Trout. The swimming action was perfect. The weight was nice for long smooth casts (I was using 4lb test, but I seldom go much heavier except when hunting Pike)

I went to Joe Moore for a little sunset cruise and met my buddy Tim from Mancos. I was teaching him how to cast a fly rod, so I didn't have a chance to use my new dynamic lure till the end of the evening. We were catching recently stocked trout left and right and I had seen no sign of the bass that are also in this lake. After I had Tim squared away with casting demos, I switched back to my spinner and decided to throw the HD Trout. Bass on the first cast anyone? Heck this lure was designed for trout! I was impressed with every aspect of this lure from the swimming action, to the paint job to the fact that it caught me that elusive bass. It wasn't my pig from last year, just a little guy, but I know this lure is going to be first on the water for me in a lot of situations. They're less expensive than a comparable Rapala, high quality, and easy to cast. The next time you're lure shopping in Durango stop by Gardenschwartz and pick up some Dynamic Lures, you won't regret it. They make a variety of different lures (including some HUGE pike lures) which can be ordered at their website if you can't find them locally.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Lemon Kokanee and Pastorius Fun

We were on Lemon by 7 but the wind picked up something fierce and blew us off the lake pretty quick, our little trolling motor could barely keep us moving forward. We did use what seemed like a ridiculous set up while targeting the kokanee... Weight, Flashers, a wedding ring (funny looking spinner lure with a single hook on the back) tipped with anise soaked shoepeg corn. Sound weird? Apparently it's quite ordinary for the hordes of Kokanee fishermen out there. I never knew there was such a cult surrounding this tasty fish. Lis caught a little Kokanee so our technique worked but we had to go in, the wind and whitecaps were too much for the looboat. We picked up Chad and headed to Pastorius where the weather was much more pleasant. We caught a ton of rainbows that were nice looking for stockers, maybe they were last years' We also caught a few bass which provided a lot of fun on that little fly rod. We got to watch this awesome sequence of Osprey badassitude too. All in all it was a pleasant and nice day although it didn't go quite as planned. Again, I've said bad things about Pastorius in the past and I'll probably say them again, but for being a couple minutes out of town it's a nice plan B until the squabbling bureaucrats get Lake Nighthorse going. Cheers!

Friday, April 27, 2012


Another Walleye trip to Puett ends in skunk. Not even a bite, just a few lost crankbaits and a bit of a buzz. We tried everything from 5pm till 9:30. I caught 5 big crayfish in the trap, but I didn't want to have a meal of 5 crawdads so I set them free. Your lucky day, boys. It was a stunningly beautiful day out there and it got very still and lavender at dusk. There are some positive things about being skunked. Sure no one likes it, and you can look for all the excuses in the world (day-after-the-rain is ours today) but the fact is some days despite your best efforts, the lil slimy bastards just won't bite. We're gonna get them, and one day this Walleye skunking will be but an unplesant memory.

I notice we return again and again to places where we've been skunked. We confidently stomp back with new lures, with countless pages of information stored in our heads and a swagger in our step that assures anyone watching that we'll be catching dinner tonight, rest assured. About 10 minutes in that feeling turns into a bitter "again?!" feeling which then sometimes gets cut down by a call of "fish on!" and other times just grows into the hollow ache of no bites. Speaking of no bites, I've got some shoepeg corn soaking in anise juice and we're going out for kokanee in the morning at Lemon. Yep, Lemon. Remember the place where we get skunked all the time? That's it. Game on.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pastorius Round #2

Ahhh. That's more like it. I was on the lake at 7am. I found both my missing oars. I didn't find my missing shoe. I went to the back of the lake and tried again with my new flyrod. Eureka! I caught a bass! I caught a couple more bass here and there, and the biggest damn Bluegill I've ever caught. Come to think of it... that's my first Bluegill in Colorado. Not a fish I pursue much I guess. I hooked a big rainbow that gave the most spectacular display of jumps before unbuttoning itself. I fished until about 10:30 and it was positively lovely. No derelicts flinging powerbait and beer bottles from the shore, no cow shit smell, just a nice morning on the water.

The wind stopped blowing, it got very quiet. Midges started to swarm from every direction while fish came to the surface and made the water boil collecting the tiny insects. The osprey started to smack the water taking fish. The mountains said nothing. Swallows put on the best airshow on Earth. Swarming schools of feeding baitfish fed a group of Ibis standing in the waves. Wind stops, nature's cafeteria opens for business.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The wind... the wind....

Getting mad at the wind is like trying to milk a cat. Time consuming and likely to result in pain.

I got out on Pastorius to try to catch a fish on my new 5' flyrod (which I love btw) and the wind was already howling. I got into the back part of the lake and hunkered down for the wind but the fishing was good on bronze 1/4 oz Kastmasters (A great lure to use in wind) I dared not even try with a 5 foot flyrod. After a half hour of slimers I saw my friend Johnny pull into the lot near my truck so I went to pick him up. He declined to go out because of the wind and left and that's when it all came unbuttoned. I tried to relaunch but got pushed into the dam. I got out the oars (the trolling motor was useless) and starting huffing into the 35 mph wind and whitecaps just to get back to the boatramp. At one point I popped out both oars and did a backwards somersault onto the boat floor and next seat. The oars quickly sank (sinking oars?) and there I was no oars, a useless motor and a sore ass. I tried to wade out for the oars and to pull the boat over but the lake is covered in muck and plants and yuck and I lost a shoe. It was horrible for me but I'm sure the people across the lake got a kick out of it, so what the hell, lesson learned, when there are white caps.... go home.

The birds were having no problem, I saw my friends the Ospreys partying with lots of fish. The Bald Eagles were out playing and I think these curvey beaked bastards are White Faced Ibis

EDIT: Turns out I broke the little pin that holds the prop on the shaft so that is why the motor wasn't working. I fixed it, it's rad.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Puett.. So close.. so close...

I need a thermometer. I'd love to know what the temperature is at Puett. It seems the Walleye are starting to do their thing. We took the boat to the Dolores parks office to get it registered. I now have a legally registered boat and a legally registered trailer. Weird.

The Navajo State Parks office wouldn't register the boat without a bill of sale. That's cool and all because they don't want people registering stolen boats. Of course, people who steal boats would NEVER fake a bill of sale, so I applaud their clever vigilance. I explained that I have about $200 in boat and trailer combined and is it really that big of a deal? Apparently it is. My fly rod and reel cost about $200, I wonder if the DOW will make me show a bill of sale for it before I can get a fishing license next year? The Dolores parks office, on the other hand, figured that I'm perjuring myself if the boat is stolen so they'll register it. If I showed the Navajo parks office a fake bill of sale I'd be guilty of perjury if the boat was stolen. Beauracracy at its best here. Thanks to the great people in the Dolores office and boo to the Navajo office for trying to keep a licensed fisherman, who wants to give the state more money to be legal, off the water.

Ok, so after that we decided "what the hell, let's get some Walleye!" and went to Puett. I think that the problem I have when I'm hunting a fish I've never caught is that I try everything instead of sticking to good advice and being patient. We scrambled all over the lake throwing every kind of lure and trolling and doing everything EXCEPT what my buddies on the Western Slope Anglers Forum told me a year ago, "Work the rip-rap, slow and steady." When we did go to the rip rap and work some kastmasters slow and steady we had bites, but we were reeling too fast (to keep the heavy lures off the rocks) and they didn't result in fish. We're heading back out there soon to show those Walleye who is boss, but for tonight, let's let them enjoy their victory while they dine on Perch, Crawdads and baby Bass.

EDIT: Walleye do not exist, nor have they ever existed. They are a myth and should consequently be ignored.

Monday, April 23, 2012

New Rod, La Plata

The UPS man brought me my new small creek rod and reel today, and I scampered to the La Plata river to try it. I drove over the La Plata 4 days ago and it was looking very fishable, but today, when I ran up there like a kid trying to play with his christmas presents in a blizzard, I found the flow rate had at least tripled. The river was raging. I couldn't find slow water ANYWHERE apart from the beaver ponds which were suspiciously empty. Determined to see how a 5' rod would work, I decided to fish the creek as if it were July and just give it a shot. Walking through the brush was a dream come true with this tiny rod. I decided to use the fly I catch the most fish with up there, a size 20 Elk Hair Caddis, to mimic my normal day in that canyon. At first it was a bit odd, my thoughts being "where the hell is the other half of my rod?" but after a while it was effortless to whiz that fly where I wanted it. I don't see well enough to warrant a ridiculously far cast and that creek is thick with wood, so I could definitely cast further than I needed. If you're the kinda person who ties his leader around the rod with a resounding thunk (I'm not.. sorta) then untangling is a breeze the entire rod is right there. So far I am very impressed with the Rod, but I missed one very important thing... a fish! I'll take it out tomorrow and try my luck. We're talking about trolling for Kokanee at Lemon. Yay.

Gorgeous Weekend, McPhee, Groundhog

We took off Friday night and did some camping above McPhee near the Dry Canyon area. Our friends from Fly Fish the San Juans and Chad joined us for a fun day of fishing, it wasn't fast fishing but we managed to feed ourselves dinner. Several Rainbows and one Kokanee... I need to figure out how to find those consistently, they're tasty! On Sunday we headed over to Groundhog Reservoir, where the fishing wasn't as hot as usual but it sure wasn't bad considering we were there mid day. We took a lovely dinner of pink meat Rainbows to our final camping spot, somewhere awesome near McPhee and thats about all I'll say. I typically don't like to give away spots but you can always drop me an email if you really wanna know.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Chad's place

I caught a nice brown on a cased caddis (my secret not so secret weapon bwuhahaha) in the big pool below. I was using that big ugly wooly worm as an attractor yet it was on the bottom of the rig. The water was kinda fast (614cfs according to Fly Fish The San Juans website.) and off color so it seemed sensible to use something big and ugly that came with your wife's rod and reel combo from cabela's... Lucky fly. Interestingly enough, a much bigger fish came to the surface and took my indicator for a ride. I actually had the fish on for a second with no hook, which may mean it's time to start looking at dries... Or maybe I should lay off the pre-cast beers...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pleasant evening at Pastorius

I've probably said some fairly unpleasant things about Pastorius reservoir in the past and some of them are probably even true, but this evening's jaunt around that little casting puddle was a really nice time. Our buddy Johnny met us there and we put-putted around the lake catching dozens on rainbows on kastmasters (Lisa) countdown perch (Johnny) and a classic yellow wooly worm fly. The fly was funny, it came with Lisa's Cabela's flyrod combo. It's this big silly looking thing that I wouldn't think would work. I threw it on in hopes of attracting a bass but the trout wouldn't leave it alone long enough to get a bass. We got to see some amazing osprey action yet again, that lake is a predatory birdwatcher's paradise.

Monday, April 16, 2012


I was checking out some things on the boat as well as taking Anabelle, my 12 year old hyperactive dog, for some boat training. I thought I'd catch a bass or two for the Western Slope Anglers online bass tourney, but nothing of the sort happened. I did catch a lot of stocker trout, some fatter than others. The wind increased as the day went on. I watched an osprey circle the lake several times on the hunt and finally settle down onto the ground to rest. I wonder if the wind/waves push the fish down lower and out of osprey range.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Lemon Reservoir

It was snowing a bit and very cold but we bunched up and did a lap around Lemon. We were dragging little kastmasters in hope of kokanee and one big Rapala looking for that monster brown. Neither bit and we just did a beer drinking lap around the lake in the snow. An entire weekend of skunk... Keep your eyes on the blog all this skunking is about to pay us back.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Very Stupid Things... Again

We took a trip out to Puett Reservoir with a weather forecast of 100% chance of snow and 25mph winds. That was stupid. We didn't catch anything but I'd by lying if I said we were trying hard. IT was mostly an exercise in futility and checking the new sealing work done on the boat. The boat held water out and snow in. Good boat! Days like today are the reason we go back, to show the lake who is boss, or freeze to death trying.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Early seemed to be key today. As the day went on the bite went off but we landed several rainbows, nothing of spectacular size, around the rip rap and along the eastern shore. It was windy later. The forecast called for wrath of God winds and the like but we really never experienced anything of the sort. Just goes to show, you can't believe everything they say on the weather channel. Sam Kinneson had some great things to say about the Weather Channel. Wonder if he fished?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Pastorius birds

The fish were jumping but not on my hooks. A wise man told me once that fish jump because they don't have middle fingers. That makes sense. Hardly a bite, 2 fish on and both came unbuttoned. Just one of those days, but hey we got our boat back and it is almost legal! These Eagles were sitting in the tree while the Grebes fished on.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Lemon, Vallecito

The ice is almost completely gone on Lemon and there's plenty of shore fishing, however the action was non existent around the dam. We tried some black jigs and kastmasters to no avail so we headed over to Vallecito to catch some dinner. I lost a nice rainbow when my knot came untied, I musta zigged when I should have zagged. 1 other little trout sent us packing to the grocery store for easter dinner. Anabelle had fun.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Narraguinnep & Puett

We gave these two a whirll. Narraguinnep was one of the last lakes we hadn't fished in the area so we figured we'd give the walleye a shot. Nada. It was blowing harder than a def leppard video out there so we headed over to Puett where I caught 1 nice pike on a lil shadrap perch dealey. Not bad. I found more lures, a few jigs and a goofy looking pink rooster tail. I guess nothing is too goofy looking for pike fishing, but I'm starting to like this trend of finding lures every time I go out there. The water had risen a bit in Puett and was very off color. No walleye, no walleye, no walleye.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

High Velocity Cow Poo

My friend Johnny offered to take us out in a canoe on Pastorius. I should have stopped RIGHT there... The lake is still very low, mucky, and the overwhelming smell of cowshit must be from the spring poo-thaw. It's not just cowshit... it's hmmm burning leaves and cowshit? It's a bizzare mix that's for sure... The wind was howling from cowshit/burntdeadgoat pile right to lake and the lake had whitecaps. We waited out the wind only to find the canoe was a bit wobbly for 3 of us, almost tipped, no bites, and quite a beer swagger. It was really fun to see our old buddy, but the fishing was not on and it was pretty stinky. Granted, I would rather smell cowshit than see yuppies, but it's really damn stinky out there some days when the wind is right. Oh well, who am I to complain, most days it isn't bad at all.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Puett & Totten

My friend Travis, of Fly Fish The San Juans fame, picked me up around 8 to head out to Puett for some Pike. We drove through some wild fog to get there and then worked the shore around the rip rap with streamers to no avail. Heading to the back of the lake we started catching hammer handle pike for a while between 11 and 1 with a few fish approaching the 25 inch mark. I switched to a grub tailed white soft bait that was pretty big and did very well, it reminded me of bass fishing on the east coast. I found a suspending jerk bait in the grass and after replacing the old rusty hooks and polishing 'er up it worked great. I used it from the shore at Totten to catch a sweet lil bass. 1 more pike at Totten and then we headed for home. I got a pic of my favorite sign. Another great spring day on the water is followed by a reflective beer and memories of my first fishing experiences. The creek on which I grew up in the pines of South Jersey seemed to have a constant battle between Chain Pickerel and Largemouth Bass. A spring day catching close relatives of both of these just felt right. Sure the elegance of fly fishing is gorgeous, the elusive and picky trout is one classy game, but there's certainly a lot of fun to be had targeting fish who are the apex predators of their worlds.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Doing stupid things...

Never take advice without testing it out yourself. Sure, I know it's too early for brookies in my favorite stream because that's what I've always been told, but I felt like I better test the popular knowledge with this being a warm spring. I can get a line into the water and the fish MUST be eating SOMETHING right? Turns out today wasn't just early it was also high water. I didn't catch that dinner of crispy skinned pan seared brookie for which I'd been pining, but I caught something better. The satisfaction of being out on the water on the kind of day where few human faces show up. The quiet isolation of a snowy mountain stream is a reward in itself. Standing in the snow watching the water for any indication of life, sipping a cold beer and brushing flakes off your waders beats anything on any network at any time. It's better to be a happy fool than a miserable genius.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

McPhee, Puett

Checked a little canyon we like on the north of McPhee and it was cloudy with no action. Caught fish there in the fall but not today. We headed over to Puett. I hooked 3 pike on a smaller jointed Rapala but only landed one of them. The first looked piggish. We tried all sorts of things there got walleye, but no luck. Another gorgeous day.