Sunday, September 30, 2012

Vallecito Part II

Stockers, stockers everywhere. Fishing is great if you like catching stockers, slow on other species.

Vallecito Report

What happened to all the bass? Just 2 short weeks ago the rip rap at Vallecito was alive with smallmouth. There must have been some stocking because now it is alive with stocker rainbows. We caught a couple bigger rainbows as well as the standard sized finless wonders. No walleye. The mythical Vallecito Walleye continues to elude us, but I keep hearing that we need to be out at night on the full moon. We'll head up there again today and poke around for what can be found.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Salt, Cedars and Pickerel

My silence has been due to a trip to the east coast for work, play and of course, some fishing. I fished some salt water, caught a little shark as well as a few weakfish that were too small to keep. Different world out there. The bass fishing was great, and had some fun catching Crappie as well. Can't wait to get out on the water back home in Colorado, I've heard great things from Fly Fish The San Juans about the Animas in Durango (see their facebook page) and also have heard lavish reports coming from local reservoirs. The water chills out and the fish start going bonkers.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Farmer's Almanac, Solunar tables.

I've heard about this stuff for years, however, I've never really experienced it first hand. Seemed like I'd catch fish when I wasn't supposed to and get skunked when it was supposed to be hot. The last few days of Smallie fishing at Vallecito have sort of gone according to the Farmer's Almanac. Yesterday was very slow, with just 3 smallies and 2 stray Rainbow trout. Tell us about your experience with Solunar Calendars and fishing. Drop a line, you can also post on our Facebook Page. Other than that... The lake is pretty low. It is a great time to go mark the islands, stumps, trees with your gps for next year. Ahh look at that nice empty parking lot!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Old Stand-by

Everyone has their lure, their old standby. Sometimes you get seduced away from your trusty companion by expensive crankbaits, high maintenance trolling rigs and glamorous spinners. While my best lure growing up in cedar water was a size 2 Meps in neon green, nothing has produced more fish for me in Colorado than a simple 1/4oz Black Marabou Jig. You can buy them for less than 50 cents a piece and you can make them even cheaper. While I've had fun and luck with various colors and additional accessories, my most consistent has been with plain old black.

Marabou is the name for particularly soft and fluffy under-feathers, most commonly from turkey. It is dyed a variety of colors and has a very lifelike appearance when it hits the water. Like my father-in-law always says "nothing moves like marabou." I usually tie the feather around the shank a little above the bend of the hook, tie it in well, then wind the rest of the feather up to the lead head. A few wraps and you're done. It's tempting to tie in other materials, and double reenforce your body, you can even use thick chenille, but really, there's a very good chance you're going to be leaving this lure at the bottom of a lake. If you're fishing correctly with this kind of jig, you'll probably lose a few. I have fun tying in hackle sometimes, it gives the jigs one more step of liveliness. You can also tie in a bit of Krystal Flash when you're fishing murkier water. These are cheap to buy, easy to tie, and one of the most productive lures for just about any species Colorado has to offer.

I ran out to Vallecito to follow my own advice and hit up the rip rap for some Smallies. There were ominous clouds all around so I didn't take the boat out, just decided to fish the rip rap, which has dirt at the bottom of it. I tried some crankbaits, some little pointer minnow types, spinners, kastmasters, nothing. I switched to old standby and quickly caught 6 nice smallmouth. They were bursting at the gut, they're really feeding down there! Old standby worked again and it was a great time. I also found lots of nice lure parts on the bottom there. Give it a shot this weekend, you won't be upset. If you're up there on Saturday, I'll be playin' my guitar at the Schenk House from 6-10ish!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Facebook Page

Hey folks, I made a Facebook page called "Durango Fishing" so you all can post your fishin' pics from the Durango area and beyond. is the address, so post your best shots, give some reports, chime in.

Vallecito Report, First fish in a strange land...

It's always magical catching a fish in a place where you have never caught one. I've floated many muddy western rivers over the years and never really dreamed of catching anything. Mainly on a river trip you just end up busy, rowing all day, setting up camp and of course... drinking beer. This year, floating from Dewey Bridge to Moab on the Colorado, I made it a point to bring along a rod, reel and just a few random hooks and sinkers. I didn't see the point of trying any lures in such muddy water, but that might have been short sighted. The Colorado Pikeminnow, also known as the Squawfish, is an agressive predator and is often seen breaching the surface of the river quite loudly. While looking at the top 6 inches of the river, I noticed quite a few minnows swimming around and can only assume that is what they're chomping. I wished I had a little kastmaster, but that'll be next time.

What I did do was rig up a drop shot rig with a 1/2oz sinker and throw some bits of fried chicken out. I caught about a dozen catfish, none were that big but it was really fun catching fish in a new place using a method that I never really use. Good times. Cool fish.

I fished Vallecito on Thursday before heading to Utah. The reports at the boatramp were of smallmouth, smallmouth everywhere. One guy said he'd caught 30 that morning using crayfish patters on his fly rod with a sinking line. He was fishing the riprap. He also caught a few on the surface. My job was to round up dinner for everyone so I ended up dragging my old Kokanee rig and just putting a mess of silver slimers on the smoker. Tasty! If you're in need of some good fight and potentially tasty smallmouth, hit up the riprap at Vallecito. Let me know how you do!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Twisted line and cloudy nights

We just got in from a lovely night on Puett. The water is low and extremely cloudy. Deepest part of the lake at this point is about 18 feet. There is a lot of algae, in fact if my depth finder is working right it looks like algae from the bottom to about 9 feet above the bottom. Tonight, the water temp was 68F, so it might be a little warm for them to be terribly active, but sheesh, it was very slow apart from one single bite that yielded nothing. I tried the advice of a friend who said "just drag a crawler harness behind a bottom bouncer, they can't refuse that!" You guys who read this semi-regularly have heard me crack on worm dunkers. I'm not much on live bait outside of catching food you really need, or salt water fishing where you just have too much water to not use some scent, however, the continuous Walleye skunking I've had made me try it. Nothing... trolled the rig slowly around the entire lake. I even tried a crawler on a drop shot rig, nada. Crank baits, spoons, spinners, jerk baits, even my trusty HD Trout. They just weren't biting tonight. We fished from 7 til Midnight. The bats were really awesome and the eerie feeling of being on an empty lake at night was a pleasant change from getting cooked in the sun all day. If you haven't gone night fishing lately, make yourself a thermos of coffee and get out there. Even with a solid skunking, it was a great time and I'll be back for more.

In the past few days I've done a few grocery trips to Vallectio for Kokes. When I troll for them I find that my line gets twisted. So I put more swivels in the rig, but still had some twist. I'm finding out that spinning reels can do this if you happen to reel while your drag is going out. I'm also finding that most swivels you buy are not very swivelley. Some of the cheapo swivels I bought hardy turn. With the help of my buddies on the Western Slope Anglers forum, I found Sampo swivels, which are the Rolls Royce of swivels, but they'll cost ya. About 6 bucks for 2 of them in the smallest size available. Yikes.

I'm looking forward for that downward spiral of water temperature. Ready to see some active fish! I heard a report from the Zebra Mussel inspection guys at Vallecito of an 11 pound Walleye coming out. The guy apparently was out there all night. Crazytalk.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Slow at Puett

Nice day out at Puett, pretty slow fishing, Chad caught a nice lil Pike and a nice Smallie, Lisa caught a little Pike and I caught some rays. We had nibbles on white rubber grub jigs but didn't seal any deals. Fished for about 4 hours. Water temp on surface was 68-70 degrees.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Moby Dick

Think the video says it all.. Going back first thing in the morning. Biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig Pike. Of course my picture below says a thing or two.. too.

Finally!!! No more stupid summer!

Call me grumpy, call me antisocial, hell, you can call me Susan if it makes you feel better, but I'm happy that summer is sort of officially done. The warm water temps, the crowds, the jetskis, the jackasses, allllllll gone now. Fishing returns slowly to what it should be, solitude, peace and quiet, and pulling in tons of fish.

I've been a bit negligent latey when it comes to documenting every single cast, but I've had some fun on the rivers. I played a gig (if you've never checked out my music, tune in at at Wines of the San Juan in Turley, New Mexico last weekend. There's no sense in being a few hundred yards from a river like the Juan without doing some fishing. Since virtually all of the land this far down is private, (10 miles from the dam) I met up with Travis from Fly Fish The San Juans and we checked out Majestic Enchantment, a beautiful section of private land along about 1/2 mile of river. With modest rod fees and gorgeous access, we really enjoyed this place. The owner, Jake, showed us his favorite spots and we shared laughs, casts, and stories while Travis spent his time with seine in hand looking at bugs. The flow was 1100 cfs, very high all the sudden, so the bug life was a bit beaten down, but we found some neat worms, skinnier than your average "San Juan Worm." While the rest of us lollygagged and slapped the water like a herd of unstable hippos, Travis quietly matched what he saw in the water, got deep using weight and a damn long leader, and fished us all under the table. He caught at least 10 really nice Browns and Rainbows. The fish in this area are not caught dozens of times a day, so they fight. Oh not the slow, dishrag like fight of fish in the quality water section, but the unpredictable, reel screaming freakout of a fish who isn't used to being caught. A lot of people say Browns don't jump. I beg to sniffer. These pigs were making huge leaps and when they'd hit it sounded like a fat girl doing a belly flop. Great times. It was also the only time I've ever spent 6 hours on the San Juan without seeing another soul (apart from the people with whom I was fishing.) It was well worth it and I'd recommend the place to anyone. Call Jake at (505) 801-9163 or hit up his website at for a sweet day of uncrowded fishing on the San Juan catching wild and crazy fish. Once the flows drop a bit you can bet I'll be right back there.

Funky Lil Lightner Rainbow

The reason he catches more fish than us.. well.. one of the reasons...

Beautiful Majestic Enchantment

In other news, I tried a little Lightner Creek again during a bike ride. Great thing about Durango, go for a ride, pull over, tie on a dry and slap a few fish. Feisty little Rainbows but no signs of the big (well, 16 inches) Brown that I've heard inhabits the upper sections. We'll head out today to try our luck with some Crappie or Bass. I don't want to be sitting around in the winter wishing I'd done more warm water fishing while I see nothing but Trout for 6 months. Get out there while you can! Ice fishing is fun, but nothing beats a crisp September day on the water.