My wife and daughter came along on a trip to the upper McKenzie recently and we had a great day. Some nice fish here and there but the best part is that my ever creative wife had brought along a piece of string and made my daughter a little fishing pole so she could fish like daddy. It just made me so happy to be a dad when I  looked over my shoulder to see this:

btw: you can’t see it but she would giggle away the whole time she was pulling her ring back in.

Charlie’s Store is on the Web

Oh man! Charlie Craven’s store now has a web presence. There goes all my money. Yeah you could call him before, but if you didn’t know what you were asking for or couldn’t see what they had it didn’t really help. If you have not been to his store you have not been to fly tying nirvana! And he sells the 100 count boxes of Tiemco hooks. BTW: His fly tying recipe section is off the hook.

Bang, splash I love the 4th (no one is fishing)

I have written about Ed, who I see on the McKenzie all the time, and who I had the joy of running into on my recent trip down there. He is 84 and has fished the same area for 40 to 50 years. Every time anyone gets into a fish he is excited. So when I saw him on my trip on the 4th (I was getting away from fireworks which I can’t stand) I was excited, and the lucky for us the fish were rising like crazy. Anything that looked like a mayfly was nailing fish. Eighteen or so the first hour I was there and twelve more the second. Things died off and the fish were not eve responding to the nymphs.

Two days before this trip to the McKenzie Alex and I were there and since we got no action on the river we went to explore Smith Reservoir. I fished a few streamers and had a few grabs but no takes and Alex was in the same boat so we decided to head off and explore more areas. Unfortunately when we got back to my house that night I realized I had lost my large Morell box that was packed with about fifty streamers (I was feeling Whitefishcantjump’s pain). So on this trip I went back down to the area we were and found my box right where I knew it was. The water level in the lake had risen though and the box was a mere foot from the water now. Lucky, huh.


“Angling is, or should be, essentially a philosophic and reflective engagement, rewarding the practitioner not only with trout, but with a more mature comprehension of life itself” Ben Hur Lampman

“I held the tiny nymph on my fingertips, a mere speck I duplicated with a clumsy fake. As I cast it into the fast-moving current, I too become a speck, held by the the expanse of beauty that surrounded me, engulfed by a sense of peace as enormous as the nymph had been small. Amongst the mighty scheme of things, I felt I had a place.” Chiyo Sagara

“The fish and I were both stunned and disbelieving to find ourselves connected by a line.” William Humphrey

Go Explore

Alex and I headed out to one of our favorite spots and found the fishing super slow. We persisted for a few hours trying every little section of water but the normally abundant fish could not be enticed to the surface—for that matter the nymphing was dead too. One of the few fish I found was happy to make a quick getaway:

(No that is not a swimming pool, the water is that clear. And yes it is freezing cold.)

We decided to check out some of the water we had never seen so we headed up to Smith Reservoir on the Upper McKenzie. It was beautiful (see photo above) and the water was crystal clear but there is no real drive in access around the lake so it seems more like a boat lake to me. Which is ok with me I just didn’t happen to bring my pontoon. You could see lots of trout cruising near shore and they would mess with the flies but we couldn’t get any hooked.

We worked the creek below the dam and found lots of small brookies (I think they were brook) willing to take some dry flies. The largest was about 8 inches but after such a slow morning they put a smile on our face and so we fished the creek all the way to it’s end. Here’s Alex working one of the many little pools:

On the way back we hit up our favorite spot and fished for 30 more minutes or so. Alex got a nice fish to take a Parachute Adams (my favorite fly) and we decided that was a good end to the day so we went in search of food and beers.

Colorado Fishin’

I was in Colorado last week for my younger brothers wedding and I had two days to fish at the start of the week. I arrived on Saturday and after stopping at my parents house to see my wife and daughter, who had flown out a week earlier, I headed up to the four bedroom cabin in the Mueller State Park west of Colorado Springs that I had rented for my younger brothers bachelor party. There was lots of drinking and poker that first night. The “young guys” in the group slept off there hangovers while my older brother and I in typical “old man with kid” fashion woke early. When we realized it was going to be awhile before everyone else was up we headed 30 minuets away to 11 mile. I didn’t get into any fish that morning but my brother got into a rainbow that took him for a ride down the river. It wasn’t that big of a fish but it put up one hell of a fight for him.

We headed back to the cabin and found everyone else up so we hopped into Cripple Creek for some lunch and then headed out to 11 mile again. We found my dad and his friend already fishing and we joined right in. We landed a few nice fish, but it was really fun to see my dad and both brothers fishing. It’s such a fun way for us all to hangout together.

One of the more annoying things about 11 mile is that the fish are so smart that they just hang out directly downriver from your feet and pick off whatever you kick up. I had several fish following me all afternoon. If only I could catch these guys:

On Monday my dad, older brother and I headed South of Cripple Creek to fish a private creek. It was in a beautiful canyon and there were lots of browns anxious to slam flies. When we first arrived I had on a Royal Coachman (which had been recommended by the creeks owner) but had no luck (ok, ok. I say I had no luck but I gave the Coachman about five minuets before I switched flies). I put a small Mercury Bead Brassie on the line and first cast got a nice 10 inch brown, second, cast another 10 incher, and so on a few more times. I headed back down the creek and hooked my dad up with some of the flies and then worked my way back up the river in search of my brother while picking up fish.

After I found my brother and keyed him on to the fly and copper color I went up above him a good distance and found the great hole that you can see in the photo below. It is in the upper right corner of the photo where the entire creek slammed into a fifty foot cliff and made a 90 degree left turn. I about six fish in the 12 – 14 inch range out of the hole and then I got into the fish in the photo which was the largest I found all day. Those browns sure can fight though!

A photo of my brother fishing a nice little pool:


I just got a really sweet Benchmade Barrage knife for being the best man at my younger brothers wedding. It’s an assisted opening knife and the blade snaps out with such a satisfying click. My brother knows I am a sucker for nice knives.