Deadly Ice Off Duo

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By Bob Reece

Ice off on lakes in the Rocky Mountain region can be dynamic.

It can also be extremely challenging. Tim Drummond’s extensive knowledge of still water scenarios led to his creation of two highly effective still water patterns. These two patterns have a proven track record and can help crack the code to Ice Off success.

Tim has worked professionally as a guide for well over a decade in Northern Colorado. His experience with both moving and still waters has led to a dialed in understanding of these aquatic environments. I’ve known Tim for several years and was able to ask him about his thoughts behind the creation of his Chromie and Water Boatman patterns.

“My Water Boatman was originally tied to imitate the abundant boatman we see here on the Delany Buttes lakes and other stillwaters. The fly is tied with a metallic plastic bead versus a metal bead because I did not want the fly to sink fast, only gradually. Water boatman are divers going from the surface to just below the surface as they move across the water. This fly is best fished on an intermediate line just below the surface with a slow retrieve or hand twist retrieve. I have had the most success with this fly in the spring and fall when boatman are active. Sight casting to a cruising fish is how I have hooked most of my big fish on the boatman. The fly can also

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Fishing New Water

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By Jason Tucker The time has come in my life where I want to expand my horizons. I want to light out, free myself from the confines of my routine, my local area, my set habits. It’s true that there are still many rivers, runs, hatches and fisheries I have yet to explore in my native Michigan, but the world is a big place. There’s a lot of water out there. While there are worse things in life than exploring Michigan’s water, it would be a shame to go through life without experiencing other places. My interests and aspirations are as varied as classic Western fishing in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, or remote brook trout in Labrador and Ontario, to bonefish on the flats of the Bahamas and Oahu. Somewhere in the back of my fantasies lurks one fish, the permit. That may be a bit down the pike, but someday. I hope. I recently had the opportunity to get out of Northern Michigan for a few weeks and head south, get out of the cold for a while. This winter isn’t as bad as the last, but it’s still pretty bad. I got the invitation to go spend the winter in Georgia with friends, and so I took them up on it. The problem is that they are not fly fishing friends, a character flaw that I had to overlook. A big draw for me was the idea of being able to explore new water that is fly-fishable year round. I’ve never caught a trout on a dry fly in January and the thought appealed to me. For me Georgia is a blank slate. I know they have trout streams and even some native brook trout in the northern mountains, but I personally associate the south with catfish, bream … Continue reading

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Flynn’s Stonefly Nymph

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Watch the video and learn to tie this fly

My good friend Dan Flynn shares my obsession with the noblest of insects. Dan is a great tyer with an impressive repertoire of classic patterns. I have always admired his meticulous stonefly nymphs. I’ve also spent many days watching him crush trout on them.

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Kype for Days

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I love it when I luck up and catch a big male trout, steelhead, salmon, or char. There’s something about big gnarly kype jaws that fascinate me.

For starters, males always seem to sport more vibrant colors than hens, especially during the spawning season. In the wild and according to my catch rates, there seems to be a higher ratio of females to males in most watersheds. If you really want to know what gets me fired up when I land a big male, it’s the fact that every male specimen I catch seems to have its own unique face and features, just like all of us. It probably sounds weird, but I always find myself trying to imagine what the fish would look like if it was a person. The big kype always turns into a big smile, and the shape of the snout ends up being the shape and size of the person’s nose. For no rime or reason, it happens like clock work before I release every bruiser. God bless all the kype jaws swimming around out there. They always make my guide day a little extra special and rewarding when they show up.

Am I alone here in how cool I think kype jawed fish are? 

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Fish Boy Is Sorry

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A quick heads up, this story contains some adult language and ideas.

I was fishing a little mountain lake with my buddy Dan when he told me, “the last time I fished this place I was on a date”. “Why the hell did you bring a date up here”, I asked. “Well”, he said, “things were getting kind of serious and I thought I should show her what she was signing up for”. “So you took her fishing”? I laughed, “you should have locked her in your apartment and disappeared for three days, then showed back up stinking and drunk, that’s what she’s signing up for”!

Fly fishing has developed it’s own culture and it’s own code of misconduct. It reorients priorities and skews a person’s perspective of what “normal people” will tolerate. For some guys it’s like Mardi Gras. A fishing trip is an excuse to blow off the steam they build up at work or home and then they’re back to normal. For others it becomes a life style choice. For some an occupation. Living with a fisherman has got to be tough. I know my wife puts up with a lot from me and, to her credit, does it cheerfully. However, if you talk to any hard core angler it’s not uncommon to find a long list of ex-wives and girlfriends who just couldn’t, or wouldn’t take it anymore. Fishing, like any other addiction, complicates relationships.

Many of my best friends have made big life decisions base purely on fishing. Uprooted their families and moved across country without jobs or left their families alone for months at a time to guide in some far flung location. I have a friend who commutes over fifteen-hundred miles between his family and the water he guides year round. I know guys who have walked away from homes and given them up to foreclosure to be on the water they feel called to fish.

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Articulated Nymphs, All Hype or the Real Deal?

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Ask the same question instead to a serious nymph fisherman, and most will answer with names of nymphs that aren’t articulated. I agree you don’t have to fish articulated nymph patterns to catch trout, but I do find it a little odd that we aren’t seeing more of them in the spot light today. As far as I can tell, the concept has been around almost as long as articulated streamers have. The last couple of years I’ve started to incorporate articulation into my fly tying for many of my nymph patterns. Just about all of them have done very well for me on the water. In some cases, my articulated versions have caught trout 3 to 1 over the traditional non-articulated versions. You can’t tie all nymphs articulated because many fly patterns and species of aquatic

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Restore an Old Bamboo Fly Rod #3: Video Series

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Matt Draft is back for part three of our video series on how to restore an old bamboo fly rod.

Today Matt goes over removing old components like guides, wraps and reel seats. He takes on a worst case reel seat removal before stripping the old varnish and prepping the rod for new parts and finish.


Check out

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Tight Quarters Trout Fishing

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Check Out This Helpful Video!


If you’ve been fly fishing for a while, you’ve probably become pretty proficient at dropping your dry flies in tight quarters to catch trout that are either tucked in under foliage or holding tight to an undercut bank. What If I asked you to make that same presentation, however, with a tandem nymph rig on a small stream with a strike indicator and split-shot? Could you pull it off with the same percentage of success? If you answered yes, hands off to you, because you are not the norm. I’ve found that most of my clients in this situation lack the confidence and know how to make consistently accurate fly presentations with a heavy tandem wet fly rig.

Below is a video Louis and I shot a while back, explaining how I pull off tight quarter casting on small trout streams. I had my rod rigged with a tandem nymph rig to show you  the most important things I focus on when casting to targets in these tight quarters.


Tip 1: Position yourself where you can get the correct casting angle to your target and also get a nice drift.

Tip 2: Strip off plenty of fly line but only start out with a foot or two of fly line when you begin your cast.

Tip 3: Cast smoothly and watch your

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When your fly is there, be aware!

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I’ve touched on this before but it occurs to me that the subject needs more attention.

Quite possibly the most important thing in fly fishing is situational awareness. That is, knowing what your fly is doing in relation to it’s surroundings. Surroundings like current, structure, light, the boat and most importantly, the fish. Trout fishermen are accustomed to thinking about the drift of a dry fly but less at ease with the idea of a nymph’s drift, for example. Lots of guys fish streamers with a simple swing down and across, without considering how the baitfish they are imitating would negotiate the currents, eddies and structure along the way. This idea exists in every type of fly fishing but is never more crucial than in salt water so let’s look at that in more depth.

Right from the first false cast you should be thinking about the environment in which the fish exist. An experienced angler knows that a flat is less like a pond and more like a river. Except for brief periods of tide change the water on the flats is always moving. Like a winding meadow stream it finds it’s way through a maze of channels. Unlike a river those currents are constantly changing direction and speed. Those changes affect how your fly behaves in the water and that determines the strategy of your presentation. It’s key when flats fishing that you always know which way the water is moving and how fast. How quickly will your fly be carried to the fish and from which direction? How fast will it sink? Where will the fish first see it? Which direction will the fly be moving and how fast? You need to know the answer to all of these questions before you cast.

Current also effects your retrieve. The fish is not interested in how the line moves through the guides, but how the fly moves through the water. If the current is carrying the fly away from you, that retrieve has to slow way down. No fish is going to chase a shrimp that can swim thirty miles per hour. If, for example, the current is carrying your fly toward you, your retrieve must be brisk or you’re just dead drifting. Worse, you’re creating slack that will prevent getting a hook set or even prevent you from knowing when the fish has eaten. While we’re on the subject of the all-important hook set, don’t forget that the current is carrying the fish too. Unlike a trout, who must turn and run back to his holding zone as soon as he eats your fly, a salty fish moving with the current will likely eat your fly and keep coasting your direction creating slack that must be taken up quickly to hook up. It’s best to see that one coming before the fish eats.

The most common mistake made in salt water is

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The Ultimate Cold Stopping Fleece Buff

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That became all too clear to me when the temperature plunged into the single digits and I realized I had misplaced my fleece buff. It’s my winter fly fishing equivalent of Tony Stark’s iron suit. With it, I’m impervious to cold, with out it…uhhhh, I don’t like to think about it. It’s a recipe for winter misery.

My fleece buff is homemade. My wife made it for me years ago and it was almost free. The secret is the fabric. It’s not just fleece, but 300 GSM (grams / square meter) wind-stopper fleece. Even a gale doesn’t penetrate it. It seals up the top of my jacket and puts up over my face and head, covering exposed skin and stopping heat loss where it’s the worst.

Best of all it’s

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