Friday, June 17, 2016

Match The Hatch 1.0

There is so much to learn when it comes to fly fishing, but I think that's one of the reasons I enjoy it so much. Ya gotta be in tune with what's happening around you. Slowing things down and paying attention to nature's world is not only fascinating, but its what helps me get away from the stress and pace of the working world. Its a totally different pace on the river.  And you can't force our hectic pace on nature.  Won't work.  You have to slow down, look and listen.

Besides, if you want a better chance of catching fish, put yourself in a better position. Figure out what the trout want. What's on their dinner plate? You don't have to be a great chef - just a decent entomologist.  But if that sounds a little daunting, no worries. While it helps to know your bugs, thankfully there are plenty of resources to assist.

I go old school. I tote a pocket sized booklet with me, because I am often in remote locations where there is no cell or internet service, so you can't do a quick Google search.

I found a great little book by Jim Schollmeyer called "Hatch Guide for Western Streams". Its full color, with great pictures of the real bug - and then color pictures of the flies to match. It comes in handy.

Here's a sample:

 I found this guy (and several of his friends) clinging to blades of grass along the river.

I checked my handy-dandy pocket guide - and found a pretty good match. Seems like he might be an American Grannom - and - I can see the fly that might look good to a trout.

The book shows bugs in various stages of their life, so, if you pick up a rock from the riverbed, flip it over, and see little creatures clinging to it, you'll know what stage of life the bug is in, and what fly to select.

You'll get pretty good at it over time, and might not even need a reference guide, but just in case you get stumped, its a very useful tool to carry with you.

I'll post a few more of these in the coming weeks. We will take a closer look at the major categories of bugs. Usually, the two main are caddis and mayflies. The bug in the picture is a caddis. I also like to have a stonefly category, as well as a "terrestrial" group. I lump things like ants and beetles and grasshoppers in the "terrestrial" group.

I hope this helps.

Tight lines!

Peaceful Valley Guest Ranch

If you want a fun, family friendly, laid back and somewhat rustic get-a-way try the Peaceful Valley Guest Ranch, outside Lyons and Estes Park, Colorado.

Some of the top attractions include hiking, visiting nearby Rocky Mountain National park, horseback riding, and of course, fishing.

They have a pond on the grounds, right outside most of the rooms.

But the middle fork of the Saint Vrain Creek runs though the property and is fun to fish.

Walt gets a great angle
My crew and I were there to shoot for our new TV show - "Fly Fishing West". We fished and shot along the St. Vrain - but after the day was done, I enjoyed casting into the trout pond and catching a few, just for fun.

Th ranch serves three meals a dal, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Each meal is buffet style, and is served at a set time. But the food is good and you can load your plate as many times as you wish.

Our guide Jesse Clark took us to the creek, and was very knowledgeable about the trout, where to fish, and about the flies we needed. He also is a certified Master Casting Instructor, which proved invaluable since we needed casts that would help us navigate casting in thick brush.     

 Jesse shows me the way

We usually planned our day during breakfast, then shot until noon. We took a break for lunch, and then went back out for the afternoon. We'd return for dinner, and then a relaxing evening at the pond.  I liked that because I could fish for fun, with no pressure about if we would catch fish while the cameras were rolling, or if we had enough footage, etc.

The staff was very friendly and accommodating. They even had extra fly rods at the front desk. They have a small workout room, ping pong table, a nice gift shop and plenty of places to just relax.

Another day we did a horseback ride to the chapel on the hill above the ranch, but you can ride all the way to the Continental Divide for breath-taking views.

This is not a "high end" "fancy" resort or the "Ritz", but you will be cared for and papered in a friendly and wholesome manner.  I really enjoyed it.  My crew and I were there to work, but it can be the perfect place for a kid friendly, fun, relaxing mountain get-a-way.

You can watch a "director's cut" (rough draft) of our morning on the river with Jesse by clicking this link. Enjoy!

Fly Fishing Peaceful Valley