Monday, July 30, 2012

San Juan

Wow, remember back in the winter when I was crying about the crowds on the San Juan? A Monday in the summer is as bad as a Saturday in the winter! It's not so much the crowds as the etiquette that is wrong there. Fat old rich guys assume that since they dumped their vacation fund into visiting the Juan they can just stand as close to you as they want. They'll happily walk up to a bit of water that you're fishing and stand directly across from you and cast into the same water. Call my old fashioned but I think that's totally fucked. I do, however, make sure that my casting gets very sloppy and unpredictable when people get too close, and when they look at my angrily after I splash my line at their feet I put my hands up in a "sorry, I don't know how to do this!" way. Whenever I see people on a river I quietly walk around them and would never consider fishing right next to someone no matter what the circumstances. Sadly, the population isn't getting any smaller and some day even the most remote places will be fished like this. Grrrrrr.

Ok, done with the fat old rich guy rant, now let's move on to the fishing itself... I was with Travis from Fly Fish The San Juans and we were using 7x tippet since the water is crystal clear right now. We used size 26 midges that worked very well. We hooked lots of fish, Travis brought most of his to the net while I was learning exactly how delicate 7x is, especially with a stiff 5wt. All in all it was a fantastic morning! We then moved downriver to fish a little PMD hatch and we caught some beautiful Browns. I notice that the Browns on the San Juan never seem to look as battered as the Rainbows. I've caught so many Rainbows down there with sores all over them, missing eyes, bandanas, you name it. These browns were vibrant, fresh, and fought like they hadn't been caught a gazillion times.

Like each time I visit the San Juan, I'm left with a strange collection of good and bad feelings. The fishing is magnificent and the scenery is gorgeous. The crowds are unbearable at times and avoidable other times. The etiquette is awful, but it is what it is. If someone pulled the same stunt to me on the Animas they'd be in the hospital for hours having their trout net surgically removed from their rectum.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


We did very well with the Kokanee today. I'm reaching the goal of quickly putting my limit in the cooler and then fishing for something more fun. Made some delicious dishes with the Kokes. I again saw a gazillion fish on the fishfinder. We caught Kokes everywhere in Vallecito, however, the biggest were south of the island where the depth drops off to about 50 feet. We were also keeping our eyes open for the notorious Vallecito Walleye, however, we were on a dinner mission and didn't get to fish for them, that's coming later in the week.

I was kind of bored with a lot of fish recipes so with the fillets of the largest Kokanee I did Gordon Ramsay's Crispy Salmon recipe and then made some pretty awesome fish sticks with others. Those fish are damn delicious!

Saturday, July 21, 2012


The Animas fished slow today, I tried a cool little mayfly nymph tied by my friend Travis with Fly Fish The San Juans. The water was very warm. I caught one rainbow the size of a small Rapala. I didn't fish for long and didn't fish hard, it was more of a swimming expedition. Some little kids were throwing rocks at rocks pretty close by while their parents just kinda chilled. Before I go on a tirade about people controlling their vicious spawn, I'll just say that fishing the Animas in town during the summer in the middle of the day is a stupid thing to do. Wanna beat the mobs of tubers and dog swimmers and rock throwers? Get out early, or stay out late.

Friday, July 20, 2012


Again, fishin with the pops, I decided to introduce him to the cult-like sport of Kokanee fishing. We hit Vallecito where the fish finder showed solid walls of fish throughout the entire lake from 25-50 feet. We tried some jigging but when that failed we switched to the flashers, wedding rings and shoepeg which brought us a bounty of very delicious Kokanee. Yep, they're lame to catch but my oh my they're so tasty.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

High Country

We headed up into the hills to see how my pops can cast a fly rod. Pretty damn well it turns out! We caught a mess of brookies and had a great time. The high creeks are low and slow but produce a ton of little fish. During the bright mid day hours, try to find shady spots and in them you will find fish. While many stubborned and silly people have told me that Cutthroat and Brookies can not coexist, I happen to know for a fact that they can and do in many streams in the area. In such streams I like to return the cuts to the water and keep my limit of Brookies. I suppose the Brook trout must be punished for being more adaptable than its delicate cousin. (I know, I know, one is a Trout one is a Char.)

Monday, July 16, 2012


To return the favor of years of great fishing, I took my dad over to Electra lake while he was visiting. I figured heck it's about the most beautiful place to fish in the area, the ol man doesn't need a license and it's full of tasty fish. We fished deep with jigs for nice rainbows. The fish seemed to be striking very slowly. With the surface temperature nearing 70, I can understand why. In some of the coves near the back of the lake I saw large fish taking damsel flies, and I saw tiny mayflies being slurped up, too. I didn't manage to hook a fish with a fly, but did try a few dries. Remind me to tie up some bright blue damsel flies. With the clear blue water, the view of the Needles and the surrounding conifers, it proved to be a beautiful day even with the fishing not as exciting as it could be.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Unexpected fun!

I took a little walk up Lightner Creek from the Animas. Quite frankly I'm not really sure where the public land (dog park) ends and private land begins but I didn't see any signs so I just kept on fishin up. My 5' TQR rod from Cabela's was worth its weight in gold yet again, with some very difficult and brushy conditions. I caught at least 20 rainbows, and most encouraging, I caught a lot of little ones. I mean REALLY little. Like... I've got rapalas that are bigger. Call me crazy but I think that means that there's natural reproduction happening in this creek. It's mostly private land as you get away from the Animas and I think it is very shallow and thin up there, but it was a fun change of pace. I was on my way to the Ute waters but the clouds looked like they were going to chase me away so I opted for an easier and closer location. Good times! I really need to get a small waterproof camera, the lack of pictures on this blog is directly related to the fact that my only camera is a big clunky SLR.

Electra, summer blues

My friend and his kids came along for a trip to Electra yesterday. The fish were no longer stacked up in the north end of the lake, they seemed to be all over. We caught fewer than last time, it seemed like the fish were very deep and scattered around the lake. It is still just a gorgeous place to fish for dinner. I find that this is the time of year that I fish the least. The lakes are jam packed with folks, the fish are deep and the storms usually roll in pretty quick. Call me crazy but I really do prefer the slow times, the shoulder seasons when the tourists go home, the kids go back to school and the fish get aggressive. That being said I think today I'll go get some use out of my Ute fishing license and hit some of the hot spots south of town. Hopefully we'll get up in the high country soon, so my wife can show me the cutthroat she grew up catching in high lakes. She dismisses most fish we catch as hardly edible by comparison.