Saturday, November 12, 2011

Creatures of Habit

Dedicated and hardcore fly fishing bums are no different than your average ski bum. Both groups seemingly live on the fringe of greatness that only a few actually ever attain. They both have that “feast and famine” personality type that scrounges by, doing as little work as possible to survive and pursue their passions. Some nights they’re buying everyone a round of drinks, while on others they’re eating ramen noodles and week old pizza. Both groups seemingly know everyone in town. They know where the hook-ups are, whether it’s the bartender that gives them free drinks or the cute coffee shop girl that gives them free java. Living cheaply is also about living smartly and knowing the need-to-know persons in town to help you survive.

It always amazes me that people envy our fly fishing lifestyle. I’m told that we come off as having a care free attitude where the only thing that matters is the present. To a certain extent that’s true. Over time I have also acquired enough fishing equipment to open my own store. Actually, I have an entire room devoted to just my fly tying gear alone. Your average fly fishing bum generally has the newest, most expensive set of fly rods but probably can’t make his monthly truck payment. I’m also told that fly fishermen are creatures of habit. That’s definitely not true.

I started off my last off day by not taking a shower, throwing on my fleece and Crocs, getting a free cup of coffee at the store, followed by my usual pit stop at Breakfast in America for a breakfast burrito and another cup of coffee. I then drove down to Glenwood Springs where I strung up my newest fly rod and fished the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers. As usual during this time of year, I start fishing down valley and then gradually fish my way back up to Basalt. Without fail, the best fishing of my day happened to be in one of my favorite spots. After my hands were too cold from releasing more than my share of trout, I drove home, grabbed a beer and watched some football. Maybe they’re right? Maybe we are creatures of habit that live care free, happy lives? All I can tell you is that it my life doesn’t suck.

Written by Kirk Webb, Taylor Creek Fly Shop

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lightning Round Poetry

This time of year we often suggest an evening float or walk wade trip on the Roaring Fork River. After a long run-off, both the bugs and fish are very active and you can have some of your best dry fly fishing of the year for Caddis and Drakes....

Lightening Round

I went out to the muddy river, hungry at its banks

it pulled hungrily at me, I let it pull.

Rod in hand I cast into a slow seam, nymphs

down dropping down, and felt a rock,

another rock, then a quick tick.

When I let my last fish go, dusk and drakes

were on the wing, descending, descending.

I changed to a dry fly and let it fall,

silent as the dew it fell, and where

it landed I couldn't see, but landed all the same

and took another trout beneath the silver moon.

I heard the river all night in my dreamless sleep

wet and heavy. Tangled in its currents I rose at dawn

and slipped back to its wadering edge.

Written by TC Guide, Cameron Scott

Forthcoming under the title "A Song from Yeats" in Sugar Mule,, issue #32

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Streamer Fishing the Frying Pan

As we all know, fly fishing the world-famous Frying Pan River can be an incredible experience. It’s a well known tailwater fishery with rainbow and brown trout that have their bellies full of mysis shrimp along with all the other amazing bug life that makes up the fishes diet. The dry fly fishing is the main attraction for those who venture up the river to chase down the trout that frequently are sipping midges and BWO’s in the surface film. There is an overlooked method of fishing that can provide intense hook-ups and a very visual way to fish the Frying Pan. Streamer fishing can be a great way to spend a day on the river. No more 6x or 7x tippets and size 22 flies. We’re talking heavy tippets, short leaders and big meaty flies.

As with other fly fishing techniques, there’s a method to the madness of throwing streamers. I prefer a 5wt or 6wt rod with a little more back bone to them. Having a heavier rod will help you turn over those bigger flies while casting. Don’t be afraid to cut down your leaders as well. Leaders that are in the range of 4 to 6 feet in length (commonly referred to as shorty or pocket water leaders), in addition to the tippet material will make up your complete streamer leader. Your tippet sizes are determined based upon the fishing conditions at hand. Ideally, I like to fish 2x through 4x tippets on the Pan, though heavier tippet sizes can be appropriate on overcast or cloudy days. However, if there’s high sun in your picture, knock down the size of your tippet to be along the lighter end of the spectrum at 3x or 4x. When it comes down to fly selection we all have favorites that find their place in our own boxes. As with other styles of flies, there are a variety of patterns that work, some more eye catching than others. A few go-to flies to start with include: Barr’s Conehead Slumpbuster in colors, natural, black and olive, sizes 4 thru 8. Sand’s Stinging Sculpin in colors, natural, black and olive, size 8 and Mini Sculpin in colors, natural and black, sizes 4 thru 8.

The key here is to fish patterns that represent the food source that you’re trying to imitate, in this case juvenile trout and sculpin. What is a sculpin? A sculpin is a bottom dwelling, reclusive fish that inhabit most trout streams, with large flat heads, ranging in size from 1” to 4” long. These fish will be found underneath rocks and logs, in shallower, quick water. Sculpins can be a favorite food source for a big brown trout lurking for a hearty meal, or in some cases, browns trout will become territorial over a section of river and will attack any other smaller trout or sculpin that swims through that “owned” piece of water. These territorial trout are often larger than most and are referred to as “sculpin killers”.

Techniques to fishing streamers can be broken down and made to be pretty simple to understand. Let me paint a picture for you on what you’re going to be looking for in the water that you’ll be fishing. Generally, what you’ll be looking for is pocket water (ie: behind boulders, logs and back eddies, runs and seams). The best point on a stretch of river to start your fishing is at the head or top of a run and work your way down, making casts across the current and slightly down stream of your position. It’s always good to create motion on your fly while it swings through the current. Motion can be made by pulling in line using your free hand (known as your stripping hand) or by simply twitching the tip of your rod. Play around with the speed of your retrieve. Often times, the retrieval speed can be the difference maker in hook up’s. Don’t forget to cover water, making 5-10 casts per each run or pocket. Catch a few fish and then move on to the next piece of water.

The tug is the drug! Streamer fishing can be a very exciting avenue in the world of fly fishing. I hope this guide to fishing streamers opens up new doors and teaches you some new tricks that will keep you fishing for a lifetime.

Written by Taylor Creek Assistant Manager/Guide, Travis Lyons
Photo's courtesy of Kirk Webb and Taylor Creek Fly Shop

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Anatomy Of A Guide Vehicle

You can tell a lot about your guide by their vehicle. Just as each guide has their own techniques they employ along the river, each guide also drives a very distinct fishing rig. Fly fisherman are much like skaters and snowboarders in that they all seemingly have a fetish for tattooing their rigs with fishing propaganda and window/bumper stickers and decals. Most trout guides I know like to fish in the salt and have bonefish or tarpon stickers on their rigs. Let's face it. When you live in the Rockies and have snow on the ground for months each year, many guides get the urge to head somewhere warm after a long winter. They've been out on the river landing fish, getting their hands wet, tying countless knots and taking swims to land their clients big fish. All this at temperatures below freezing and often, well below freezing. Hence, why many guides come spring, take a nice long vacation to go chase fish that live in balmy latitudes. Often you'll also see rod and reel manufacturer logo stickers like G.Loomis and Sage, Lamson, and Ross. Accompanying many of these fish themed stickers are local micro brew and tavern companies along with jam band stickers from the Grateful Dead, Phish, and others. Local non-profits, be it Trout Unlimited, the Roaring Fork Conservancy, or the Henry's Fork Foundation are also popular.

What's the best guide vehicle? Almost all drive 4x4's whether it's a truck, SUV or wagon. It's rare that many of these are new. Most are five to twenty years old, some more, some less. I've seen everything from VW bus's to mini van's to large, dually diesel-charged trucks and Hummers. The outside of any ideal fishing rig is rarely clean. If there's not dirt on the rig you kinda wonder if the guide actually fishes much. Most guides are too busy working for weeks and sometimes months on end without a day off. After a long day on the river, most go right to the bar for a drink or two or ten, and then go home and either pass out, tie a few flies, or lazily just chill out. It'd be a rarity to see a guide washing their vehicle, though float fishing guides seem to diligently clean their boats. Every guide I've ever met has always had a heavy collection of flies pinned to their roof, visors, or somewhere in the trunk of their car. I find it comical to look at these pseudo fly boxes. Everything from barracuda flies, to carp flies to trout flies to wild who-knows-what flies that were created at the vise amongst tequila shots during the last football game exist in these fly car collections.

A proper guide rig must be ready to get dirty and wet. Wet waders and boots should feel at home in these rigs. You know that feeling when you walk into a high end restaurant, house, or store and feel like you can't touch anything because every object is set out perfectly on display? Well, there will be none of that here. It doesn't matter if you have mud and rocks stuck to your boots. Just hop in and drive to the next hole or boat ramp and go. Many guides have addictive personalities. I know I sure do. By that I mean that the hobbies or habits they have, they usually go full-bore and to the extreme with. For some it's surfing, photography, snowboarding or hunting. For others it might be cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco. It's somewhat rare to find a guide who doesn't use tobacco or claim to be a master at another hobby. Because of this, one might find empty chew cans, cigarette boxes, or cigar wrappers and other gear pertaining to their addictive personalities.

Rod storage is another issue. Some have external rod racks mounted to roof racks. Guides are often scrappers (broke), so their rod rack might be home made from pvc pipe and a tackle box. Some guides like the bling and professional look of commercially made rod racks that are made out of aluminum. These are often the same guides who take very good care of their equipment. Yes, believe it or not, some guides are anal about their gear. Internal rod systems for SUV's and trucks seem to be all the rage now. There are even a large number of guides that utilize both systems. They might have four rods on top of their rig and another six rods inside their car. One of our guides carries at any given time 8-18 rods in his car. Let's do some math here for grins. Eighteen top of the line rods (18 x 750 = $13,500) and reels (18 x 400 = $7,200) with fly line (18 x 75 = $1,350) would equal $22,050! You know for damn sure that his car isn't worth nearly half that! How crazy is that? That figure doesn't even take into account the tens of thousands of flies and boxes in his car either. One other option you frequently see is the easily removable magnetic or suction styles of external rod rack holders. These nifty trinkets hold up to six rods and amazingly stay on at speeds of over 100 mph, not that I'd know.

Every good fishing vehicle should have stories behind it. Something like, Remember that time we were on the Frying Pan in -15 f weather, and got the Jeep stuck in four feet of snow and kept fishing because the Mysis were flowing out hard, then later dug the Jeep out in darkness using our nets and headlamps? I used to own an old Chevy S-10 pickup that I put 200k miles on. It traveled everywhere from the Roaring Fork to the Pere Marquette, the Madison to the Henry's Fork, the San Juan to the Green, the Bighorn to the Colorado, the North Platte to the Yampa and everywhere in between. It had a rubber floor and I could literally clean the inside of it with a hose. It was the cheapest new truck I could find. No power anything, no a/c, not even a radio. I rocked that truck for ten years and never ended up putting a radio in it. I'd drive on these long road trips listening to mother nature and the wind blowing over the hood. It was surprisingly peaceful. Every guide rig has lived a long, good life. The guides are able to recount every battle wound and dent on the car, and are proud of these scars. Just for grins, the next time you meet a guide on the river or flat, ask them about their vehicle, and get ready for an hour long conversation that will range anywhere from American versus Foreign, gas mileage, best tires, the 12 point deer that was hit after getting skunked hunting or the time it died in the middle of NNAW, nowhere near anywhere worthwhile.

I wouldn't count on seeing many of the guides sporting a GPS unit either. It kind of defeats the purpose of a good guide rig and ultimately would make the guide loose credibility amongst their peers. After all, especially with men, we ALWAYS know where we are going. There's no such thing as a wrong turn, but rather a scenic route, or a new shortcut that you always wanted to try. Despite the lack of a GPS unit, count on finding many maps scattered throughout their car. More often than not you'll find Atlas and Gazetteers and topo maps of certain areas and certain states. They should look well used and maybe even have the covers worn out and torn, in addition to earmarks on many of the pages, perhaps with scribbles and circles surrounding certain pieces and bodies of water.

Most of these cars are reserved specifically for fishing. Guide rigs are generally not meant to drive across the country with, though during their lifetime all of these cars have traveled great distances. A fishing vehicle should be able to sleep two persons as well. Either in the bed of the truck under a shell, or inside the car itself with the seats folded down. Better yet, for those that drive vans, it's almost a must that the back seats be removed. All should be able to hold everything but the kitchen sink. At least enough for camping gear, coolers and fishing gear. I know that doesn't sound like much, but fly fishers are gear junkies, and when heading to new trout country, expect at least a short 3 weight for tiny creeks, a 4 weight for dries and light nymphing, a 5 weight for an all around stick, and a 6 weight for streamers and big water. And of course there'll be back-up rods for at least two of these line weights and maybe an 8 weight thrown in for warm waters that you might pass along the way, just in case.

Last year I purchased a new SUV that had power everything, a/c, 4 wheel drive, a cd player and all the trimmings. I immediately tattooed it with stickers, and put in an internal rod rack system. I took it fishing several times and it just flat out felt weird, almost eerie. Something about it just wasn't right. As luck would have it, another guide in the valley was selling his old guide vehicle, an 85' GMC V8 pickup, Ranch Edition. It didn't run, and hadn't run in a few years, but thankfully one of my fishing buddies is a mechanic and spent a few hours on it and got it back up to speed. It was perfect. It was old, beat-up, but in a good way, and had 4 wheel drive with a topper and tape deck. As an added bonus it also came loaded with old, faded fishing stickers (Umpqua and Scott rods), a few beat up drakes stuck on the dash (an H&L Variant and a Hen Wing Drake both size 12), a Derek and the Domino's tape in the deck and came already nice and dirty. Right up my alley. It was like an omen from the fishing gods telling me I had to have this truck. We settled on a price tag of $200 and it was mine. As much as I love my new fancy SUV, I'd rather be driving in my Ranch Edition 85' GMC jammin' to Derek and the Domino's with the windows down, the wind blowing in my hair, and a fly rod or two in the back of the truck. Welcome Home.

You Might Have A Guide Vehicle If...

If you have 40 bumper stickers and a cracked windshield, you might have a guide vehicle.

If the rods inside your car are worth more than the car itself, you might have a guide vehicle.

If your paint job is permanently the color of dirt, you might have a guide vehicle.

If your new 2011 SUV already has 50,000 miles on it, you might have a guide vehicle.

If your collection of flies is worth more than the car itself, you might have a guide vehicle.

If your license plate reads, TROUT or CTHRLSE, you might have a guide vehicle.

If your car houses more spit cups than water, you might have a guide vehicle.

Photo's and article courtesy of Kirk Webb and Taylor Creek Fly Shop

Friday, April 1, 2011

Earning Your Fish

all photos courtesy of Kirk Webb

Fly fishing for pike is something that rarely comes to mind when you think of fishing in Western Colorado.  My friends and I, all dyed in the wool trout bums, anxiously await for pike season to begin every February.  This is when the local low-land reservoirs begin to thaw.  Day 1 starts off with DMX blaring on the stereo and us driving around looking for hints of open water.   It's early and the pickens are slim.  The only open water we do find on the two lakes we are fishing is at a large inlet.  It's cold, windy and overcast.  Bad conditions for sighting pike in the frigid shallows.  The pike will come in to spawn in the coming weeks.  We know it's too early but then again, that one big, dumb pike might wander in and want to eat my fly.  We cast in the cold for another few hours.  The hope of finding an early pike is fading fast.

Now it's the end of March.  Carp fishing has begun to wear on us with the cooler weather.  Bad for the carp, great for the pike.  We pack up our Cross Currents and head back out, again into the cold.  This time we jam to the late Nate Dogg and rig up our freshly tied pike flies.  It's floating lines and 25lb Seaguar tippets.  We see a fish.  Finally!  A fish!  Then we see another.  And another.  They're on.  And they're in the right structure just like they should be, but rarely are.  Our hurried and excited casts bring us rejection after rejection.  We collaborate on fly patterns, switch flies and resume walking the banks and looking for pike.  We see a few more fish over the hours and fail miserably at every shot. 

Day two.  More of the same.  Cold, bored and fishless.  I bet the floating on the Colorado was killer today.  First day of good clarity in the past few weeks.  Good baetis and midge day I bet.  Pike fishing sucks.

Day three.  It all begins to happen.  We finally catch a fish.  They're back in a spot that we've dubbed the The Pike Bend Pool.  It's the perfect spot.  A shallow, dark bottomed bay with a deep cut down the center of it with vegetation and close adjacent cover.  The pike are here now.  We just need to sit back, watch the water, brave the cold and pray that we get more shots.  We do.  We've finally found a pattern and it's working.  We found the style, color and sink rate of "the" fly. We stick a few, miss a lot and the day is done.  The faith in pike remains.

The next day.  Slight to moderate breeze.  Fished all day hard.  Our pattern is still working.  Every evening, when the light gets low, we see numbers of fish and begin to consistently get half a dozen to a dozen shots at fish in an hour long period.  Prior to that though we struggle pretty hard.  We walk the lakes, even to the far back bays and glance at the waters edge for hours on end and if lucky, we'll get a shot or two each.  I did for a brief moment see a massive specimen of a pike, about 40-42" inches long for all of five seconds.  I was so stunned that I didn't even make a cast.  Holy crap (or something like that) was all I muttered to myself.  Only I saw it, and it was freakin' cool.  Renewing the faith.

Day four.  We start the day carp fishing.  It's hot and sunny with moderate winds.  We find them in the usual spots on the river.  We both blow multiple shots and neither of us hook up.  We move on to two adjoining ponds and again, immediately begin spotting tailing and mudding carp.  Josh has a freshly tied-at-8am-this-morning carp fly that he's dubbed the Carpin' Toad.  He puts it on, makes it work and sticks a nice carp.  We exchange high fives, celebrate and praise the Carpin Toad.  We call it good and move back on to pike fishing now that we've wasted the middle of the day.

The pike are in the Bend Pool.  And they're in all the pike bays.  We both get good shots.  Lot's of them.  We literally almost step on top of fish and get this, I see my first "Pike Ball".  It was literally a bait ball of about ten pike.  I can only hope that I'm so lucky to see an event like this again.  We both stick multiple pike and get shots at fish for a solid few hours.  This is what it's all about. I love this pike fishing game.
Day five.  Thought I was going to go trout fishing today simply because I felt like I've been missing out and needed some easy fishing.  We end up going to the Colorado River and while sitting at the boat ramp, we change our minds and go pike fishing.  The urge of these hard-to-catch freshwater barracuda's was too strong of a temptation.  We just had to go back out.  Upon arriving at the lake, I talk a big game about how we've started to dial in their habits and have this game on lock down.  We go to "the spots" and only see two small fish over the course of half of a very long day. 

That's pike fishing.  You pay your dues and occasionally hit it right.  When it all comes together I feel like I've just finished climbing Mt. Everest.  Euphoria mixed with exhaustion.  It's a lot like a relationship.  When it's good, it's really good.  And when it's bad, it's really bad.  Those good times keep me pike fishing for several weeks every year.  Give it a try, or two, or three, or for fours days as was my case. 

Written by Kirk Webb and Taylor Creek Fly Shops. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Most of my friends and guides are going to be pissed-off that I'm writing about Carp fishing on the fringes of our Valley, but to heck with it.  What do Roaring Fork Valley fishing guides really do on their off days?  Carp.  Growing up along the Front Range of Colorado I began fly fishing for carp at an early age.  They were available, I could sight fish them, and most importantly, they were big.  Yes, carp are tough to catch.  They're elusive, refuse bad presentations and often times are seemingly impossible to catch.  That's the fun in carpin'.  It is HARD.  It is a challenge.  Don't get me wrong, there are always days where the fishing is "easy", but when that happens you simply count your blessings and call it good. 

Our local carp fisheries are all the backwater sloughs, channels and on the river itself (the Colorado River) between New Castle and Grand Junction.  I'm not going to spoil anything here by hotspotting specific areas.  Put your time in, fish hard and enjoy the closest thing we have to fishing saltwater.  I love carp fishing, especially in rivers.  Lake carp are fun too but less challenging in my eyes. 

The gear:  Rods should be in the 6wt or 7wt category and I prefer a medium to medium-fast action.  I really like the G.Loomis NRX.  Travis Lyons (the other shop guy and carp junkie) prefers his Scott S4S.  Tippets should be kept at 0x-4x as conditions dictate.  Flies begin to get a bit personal, but most are variations of sorts of Bob Clouser's Swimming Nymph in neutral colorations. 

Take our word for it.  If you want a serious challenge and want to match wits with the most skittish of freshwater fish, the carp will become your target, or in our case, an obsession.

Written by Kirk Webb and Taylor Creek Fly Shops.
Photos courtesy of Kirk Webb, Josh Lively and Travis Lyons.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Going into Overdrive

Photo courtesty of Dave Scott
Fifth Season

Every angler has his secrets. For some it might be a coveted, hot fly pattern. For others it might be a secret, nameless creek tucked deep in the high country. For me though, it’s a secret time of year that I’ve come to dub as “Fifth Season”. Fifth season is that special time of year between winter and spring. It’s a true tweener season when the bitter cold days of winter are gone, leaving the river’s edge filled with crusty, melted and refrozen snow lingering around in select shaded areas but before the green of spring hits the trees, grass and surrounding foliage.

When you live year round in a small mountain town where skiing and snow dominate the landscape for nearly a third of the year, it’s always a welcome sight to finally have days where you can drive with your arm out the window, turn up the radio and simply go play outside in the sun. A trigger hits my brain calling out to me, “Just go fishing you idiot!” And so I do. Mother Nature is a powerful element that is not to be overlooked. Perhaps at no other time of year am I as excited to go fishing as that which takes place during my coveted and overlooked fifth season. The skiers and ski instructors who later turn into anglers and fishing guides are still on the mountains. They don’t flock to the rivers and come out of fishing hibernation until the mountains close in mid April. Fifth season generally takes place during an eight week period from mid February until mid April.

Photo courtest of Cory DeKoster

Many exciting changes begin to take place at this time of year. The fish gradually begin to move out of their usual deep and slow wintering pools and make the transition to swifter and shallower pieces of water. With daylight lengthening the rivers begin to warm and both fish and insect activity increase exponentially.

Being a dry fly junkie, spring to me officially begins when the first heavy midge hatches take place on the banks of the Roaring Fork and Colorado Rivers. Having not seen a rising fish on either of these two rivers for the past four months, it’s a much needed and welcomed sight. The excitement of casting to methodically rising fish is nothing short of exhilarating! My blood starts pumping and I get the shakes trying to thread on the first midge adult dry fly on the end of my line to kick start the fishing for the upcoming spring and summer months. I live for moments like this. Beautiful surroundings, rising fish, ideal weather and a serious lack of crowds are the hallmarks of my fifth season.

The “March Midge Madness” hits high gear during fifth season. On both of these two fisheries the midge hatch begins during late mornings. This is the time of day when the fish make the transition into the riffles and heads of pools gorging on the now abundant midge pupa and emergers. Shallow nymph or dry/dropper rigs are best for this situation. By midday, fish will be seen rising to midge adults near the banks, often on the inside seams. Again, dry/dropper setups are effective in this scenario but being the dry fly snob that I am, I prefer to just stick it out with a single or tandem midge dry fly rig. After four months of fishing sinking flies, by God if I’m going to catch fish it’s going to be on the surface!

Photo courtesy of Nick Williams

My favorite hatch to fish throughout the entire year is the evening midge hatch that occurs on the lower Roaring Fork below Carbondale and especially on the Colorado River below Glenwood Springs. This hatch occurs right at dusk but is one of the few hatches where seemingly every fish in the river is on the surface rising. It’s a short 30-45 minute hatch but is nothing short of phenomenal and is just a downright cool spectacle to see unfold in front of your own eyes. The fish of the lower Colorado can only be described and hot and pissed off, much like a fresh steelhead coming out of the ocean. These fish jump wildly when hooked unlike the slow and sluggish fights that are common with them during December and January. It’s as if these fish are also equally excited for the upcoming warm months as much as I am.

The annual return of the blue wing olive mayfly also makes its presence known during fifth season. From mid March to mid April these diminutive mayflies seem as big as a green drake after looking at tiny midges all winter long. Both midges and blue wing olives can hatch during the same time frame. Generally speaking the fish will key in on midges during bright, sunny days and will prefer the bwo’s during periods of overcast and humidity. As these two insects will often be seen hatching together, I prefer to fish crossover patterns that could imitate either of the two in a generic, nondescript sort of way. That was a long winded way of saying that I simply prefer to fish impressionistic dry flies. Old school favorites like Roy Palm’s Special Emerger (aka the Frying Pan Emerger) are killer. New school versions such as the CDC Transitional Midge or Engle’s Emergent Midge are equally effective.

Photo courtesty of Kirk Webb

Each and every year we’re seeing an increasing number of anglers that are taking notice of this unique and special time of year. Our guide and shop staff welcomes you to find out for yourself why fifth season is heralded as our secret season.

Written by Kirk Webb at Taylor Creek Fly Shop.  For more great articles subscribe to our newsletters on

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fishing Through

Spent the past week fishing my face off.  Burning vacation time to go fish my homewater is always fun, especially since the fishing has been off the charts.  Enjoy my recent pics from the Roaring Fork.

Photo's courtesy of Kirk Webb and Taylor Creek Fly Shops

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Guide Interview Questionnaire

Below is a sneak peak of one of our articles in our up-coming annual newsletter, The Fly On The Wall.  Thought that this would provide you all with a little insight into the lives of our staff.

Your Name: Travis Lyons

Been in the industry for: 4 years

Been fly-fishing for:  19 years

Originally from: Denver, CO

Nicknames: Too Tall, T-Locc, T-Rav Son

Favorite Rod(s): Freshwater - Scott G2 9’ 5wt., Saltwater - Scott S4s 9’ 9wt.

Favorite Reel(s): Freshwater: Waterworks Litespeed. Saltwater: Hatch 7 Plus.

Favorite Line(s): Scientific Angler Expert Distance, Rio RioGrand.

Can’t Live Without Item(s): Patagoina Sticky Rubber Boots, Seaguar FX tippet.

Favorite Fly(s): Big meaty flies whether it’s stoneflies, streamers, or caddis.

Wading or Floating?: Wade fishing. I like to take the time to read and work a run when I go out and fish.

Favorite Valley River: The Lower Roaring Fork and the Lower Colorado Rivers.

Favorite Outside of Valley Destination(s): Freshwater: North Park Tributaries, Saltwater: Florida Keys.

Favorite Type of Client: Any young angler, who is willing and wants to learn the sport.

Any Secrets: When in doubt, fish the Roaring Fork.

Pack or Vest?: Pack all the way.

Other hobbies/interests: Philadelphia Flyers hockey, fly-tying.

Your Name: Kirk Webb

Been in the fishing industry for: over 15 years

Originally from: Southwest Michigan

Nicknames: Kdub, Kirkdogg, The Asian

Favorite Rod: I really don’t have one single favorite rod but my most recent favorite is my 9’ 3wt G.Loomis NRX. It’s simply amazing.  Power and finesse are hard to come by but this rod has both.

Favorite Reel: For trout I love my Waterworks Force reels.

Favorite Line: Depends on the rod.  Scientific Angler Expert Distance or the Sharkskin Magnum generally.

Can’t Live Without Item: I’m a dry fly junkie so it’s gotta be Frog’s Fanny (floatant) and Seaguar FX tippet. I’d be lost without either.

Favorite Fly: Whatever the fish are feeding on.

Wading or Floating: That’s a tough call. I really enjoy both. I suppose I prefer wading since it allows me to hunt specific fish during a hatch. It’s awfully fun to just sit and watch a hatch unfold.

Favorite Valley River: When it’s on you can’t beat the Colorado River. The fish are just downright mean and you never know what you’re going to hook.

Favorite Outside of Valley Destination: Freshwater-The Henry’s Fork of the Snake, Saltwater- The southern Florida Keys

Favorite Type of Client: Those who are willing to learn. There’s more to fly-fishing than simply catching fish. A person that appreciates the beauty and splendor of all organisms that rely on our watersheds.

Any secrets: The carp fishing here can be spectacular. Shhhhh.

Pack or Vest: Definitely the pack. I’m a minimalist. Then again, I have fifty fly boxes and thirty fly cups in the back of my rig too.

Other Hobbies/Interests: Bowhunting, duck hunting, fly tying and football. I’m a huge Ohio State and Cleveland Browns fan.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Creative Fly Tying

When speaking of fly-fishing and targeting trout, Rene Harrop said it best by simply saying “to fish is to hunt.” To be a successful hunter you have to have the correct tools to gain the edge over the critter you are targeting. And just like an archer builds his own arrows and a big game hunter packs his own rounds, we as fishermen and women are able to tie our own “ammunition.”

The basic reason that all of us hunters do this is because there is a certain satisfaction that comes from getting the job done with one of our own products. For anglers it’s a fly that you tied. But not only a fly that you tied, but a fly that is the product of your own imagination, knowledge of the waters you fish, and the bugs the trout eat in those particular waters.

Creative fly tying gives you the opportunity to try and learn new things and get that “edge” over the fish. And let’s face it, sometimes the flies at the local shops may be grossly over dressed or possibly much too sparse for your taste and more importantly the trout’s taste. There is an unlimited amount of materials, colors and variations of the two to choose from and work with.

For me, the best thing about tying my own flies is being out on the water, catching fish when no one else is, and having everyone wondering, “what is that guy using?” When you really get it right, it can be one of the most amazing feelings you might every have while fishing. Whatever you did to tie that fly was right from start to finish. From the hook that you chose to tie it on, to the color of the thread you used, to the color combination you decided to go with. Days like that will make you feel like the ultimate predator and before you know it you will be spending more time behind a vice then you do in your own bed. Just don’t let your tying time interrupt your time on the water… after all, that’s what we live for right?

Written by Taylor Creek Guide and former counter-boy, Cameron Scott

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Maximizing Your Performance On The Water

There’s no doubt that there is a lot of hoopla written and talked about in the way of high performance gear for fly anglers. Think of all those ads in magazines, or all the discussions on blog and internet forums. It’s overwhelming and everyone has their favorites. Every company touts having the best waders, rods, reels, fly lines and more. I’ve often found that my biggest key to performing on the water is my body’s comfort level. If I can stay comfortable in a variety of weather conditions my brain has a tendency to keep focus on the job at hand: catching fish. I’m infamous in my circle of fishing friends for being able to stay out there in the elements and fishing hard when other give up and call it quits. In cold weather, while others are complaining about frozen hands, frozen feet and going back to the truck to warm up in front of the heater, I’m still out there. Cold spring and summer rains, no problem. Baking in the heat, no worries. Extreme wind, doesn’t faze me. Am I Superman? Far from. I simply dress right.

Cold Weather

Last March I took off to Alcova, Wyoming to go fish Grey’s Reef and the Miracle Mile sections of the North Platte River for five days. We’re still young enough, and more importantly, broke enough to make our excursion a camping trip. No hotels, hot showers, or beers while watching tv in the comfort of warmth. The weather was brutal and we all knew it was going to be a long trip for all of us, but what the hell, we’re going fishing and nothing was stopping us. If any of you have ever been to this part of Wyoming you know this area is desolate. Trees are few and far between so we packed a half cord of wood in the boat trailer thinking we’d at least be warm and toasty at night. Wrong. The wind was ripping so much that our burned through our wood in only two days. Wind is a common issue here, and if it’s not blowing hard you count your blessings. Day One, two and three were God awful. Highs in the single digits to low teens, overnight lows below zero and wind gusts topping 50 mph. I’m not kidding. It was brutal. If I ever die and go to Hell, I imagine it’d be like winter in Alcova, Wyoming. Tents collapsed despite the guylines being well staked with coolers, boats and trailers used as wind blocks. It snowed every day and got old very quickly waking up in the morning to 18” inches of fresh snow, brutal winds and subzero windchills. No matter, we caught fish. Actually we landed several large fish pushing 20-24” inches daily. On our fourth day we did have comparatively nice weather where the mercury sky rocketed into the thirties with no wind. What a relief. We knew it was too good to be true and our last day ended up being identical to the first three days. Everyone got cold, except for me. How is that possible? I’m not going to go into all the ins and outs of the layering concept as this is now common knowledge in the outdoor industry. Essentially though, dressing in multiple layers allows you to add or subtract articles of clothing to maintain your comfort level and regulate your body’s temperature. You’ll notice I’m very fond of Patagonia clothing. Patagonia started the layering concept and designed the first technical pieces of fleece a long time ago and has remained at the forefront of clothing for outdoor athletes and enthusiasts ever since. I've got to give some props to my man Casey Sheahan, a dear friend and CEO of Patagonia (who happens to live locally) who brought me on board with the merits of their wonderful clothing.  Simms, a long time leader in the fly fishing industry has also become increasingly popular with winter anglers due to their big push into cold weather clothing. Their Waderwick, RiverTek, and Guide series of clothing are all very nice as well.

My list of cold weather layers and clothing is below.

Base layers – Patagonia Capilene 3 top and bottom, Simms Polypropylene Liner Socks

Mid Layers – Patagonia R1 top and bottom, Patagonia Micro Puff Vest, Patagonia Micro Puff Hooded Jacket, Patagonia Ultra Heavyweight Mountaineering Socks

Outer Layers – Patagonia Guidewater Jacket, Simms G4 Pro Stockingfoot Waders

Hands/Neck – Glacier Glove Sun Gloves under Simms Windstopper Foldover Fleece Mittens, Patagonia Fleece Balaclava, Simms Windstopper Fleece Beanie

This is an excerpt from our annual newsletter, Fly On The Wall.  Written by Kirk Webb

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Guess Who's Back? Back again.

Yeah, I know, I know. Our blog hasn't been updated in seemingly forever. Don't be discouraged. We're back now. Look forward to many new and exciting articles on here again. After so many requests to bring our blog back, well, we're back. And we're going to hit it full force. Stay tuned..... Kirk Webb and the staff at Taylor Creek Fly Shop.